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You’ve found the perfect Airbnb and now it’s time to start vacation planning. Isn’t it true that part of the lure of staying at a vacation rental home is so you can have a kitchen with basic cooking essentials at your fingertips?

While it’s hard to find recipes with minimal spices, cooking oils and ingredients that you can reuse they’re all keys to successful vacation meal planning. If you’re traveling with a group these meals take in account different taste buds, picky eaters and range from sweet and delectable to chock full of vegetables and healthy.

Package up leftovers for grab and go meals and snacks throughout the week . Use our printable vacation meal planning guide to help get you organized before you go.

Day One: A relaxing Vacation Arrival!

Dinner:

Combat fast food and airport food with veggies and hummus or dip, charcuterie board and your favorite drink. The first night is all about relaxing. With kids in tow easy to make Annie’s Organic Mac-n-Cheese is a hassle-free dependable option. Serve with the fruit or vegetable that you know they will eat. Think comfort foods and don’t get hung up if that means PB&J. After a long day of travel, you want your kids to sleep and this is not the time to introduce new foods after a day of traveling excitement.

Day Two: Includes the most cooking -relax the rest of the week!

Breakfast:

Egg Strata and/or French Toast casserole. Prepare the night before or that morning. Making this early in your stay means that there will most likely be leftovers to serve throughout the week.

Cheese, Bacon & Vegetable Strata Recipe

A tried and true crowd-pleaser, this easy Strata is best prepared the night before.

PREP TIME: 15 minutes

COOK TIME: 1 hr

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 thick slices of White Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup crumbled cooked Bacon 
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 ½ cups chopped fresh Mushrooms
  • 12 Eggs
  • 2 ½ cups Half-and-Half
  • Optional – 1/4 moderate sautéed chopped Onion and/or chopped Green Peppers

DIRECTIONS:

  •  Toss cubed Bread with Bacon, Cheese, Mushrooms (sautéed Onions and Green Pepper if desired), and pour into a 9×13” baking pan
  • Whisk together Eggs, Half-and-Half, and Mustard until smooth, then pour evenly over cubed bread 
  • Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight
  • Preheat oven to 350 
  • Remove plastic wrap from the baking dish, and bake Strata in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and eggs are set, about an hour 
  • Let stand for 10 minutes before serving

Day Two

Breakfast:

Another breakfast favorite, especially for the kids, this easy French Toast Casserole Recipe only takes minutes to assemble. The pecans and drizzled topping puts it in a league of its own.

French Toast Casserole Recipe

Prepare the night before or in the morning and bake right away.

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOK TIME: 35-45 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large loaf good-quality French or Sourdough Bread, leave the crusts on for extra crunch
  • 1/2 cup (45g) Chopped Pecans 
  • 5 large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/4 cup (50g) Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Lightly grease a 2 or 3-quart baking dish
  • Slice or tear the Bread into 1-inch cubes
  • Layer Bread and Pecans until the Bread is all in the dish
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the Eggs, Milk, Sugar and ½ teaspoon of Cinnamon, pour this mixture over the Bread
  • In another bowl mix the topping: melted Butter, Brown Sugar, 1 teaspoon Cinnamon and a pinch of Salt
  • Drizzle the Bread mix with the topping right before it goes in the oven
  • Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated oven fo 35-45 minutes
  • Serve with Maple Syrup

Day Two

Lunch:

A variety of delicious sandwiches will fuel you and your active group during the week. Again making them ahead will free up time for you later, and help you to save money and calories when you opt for one of these over sweets or take out for a late-night snack.

Chicken Salad on Sweet Hawaiian Buns

Light but flavorful, we’ve never met one we haven’t liked.

PREP TIME:5- 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 lbs shredded Chicken 
  • 8-10 Hawaiian Buns -or similar
  • Cilantro -chopped, 1 handful
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Shredded Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper -to taste
  • Optional: chopped Red Onion or Jalapeno

CHEAT TIP:

  • For a really fast version use an already cooked Rotisserie Chicken from the grocery store

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, sprinkle with Salt & Pepper and then spoon onto Buns
  • Package together or in individual portions and store in the fridge until serving
    • *Optional: Spread with Avocado slices just before serving

    Day Two

    Lunch:

    A take on the classic Italian hoagie, with fresh ingredients and a little  bit of red pepper zest.

    Sweet & Sassy Italian Hoagies

    Wrap these tight in seran wrap after assembly to lock in the flavor.

    PREP TIME: 10 minutes

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 6-8 rolls or Sub bread
    • 1 pound each -A mix of Italian lunch meats: choose 2 from Salami, Ham, Capicola, Prosciutto, Mortadella, Pepperoni
    • 1 pound mild Yellow Cheese such as Mozzarella or Provolone 
    • 1 (16 oz) jar of Roasted Red Peppers
    • 2 cups shredded Lettuce
    • 2 Beefsteak Tomatoes
    • Vinaigrette – we like 
      Beano’s Original Submarine Dressing, 8.0 FL OZ

    DIRECTIONS: 

    • Spread the bottom face of the sub bread with Roasted Red Peppers
    • On the top, generously add the Italian Vinegerate
    • On the Pepper side, assemble first meat, then cheese, followed by vegetables
    • Wrap subs tightly in saran wrap and refridgerate until serving

    Day Two

    Dinner:

    Prepare in the morning and then leave in the crock pot while you explore fun activities during the day.

    Cheryl’s Southern Pork

    Expect leftovers of this delightfully simple yet delicious pork to carry over for lunch the next day.

    PREP TIME: 10 minutes

    COOK TIME: 6-8 hours on high, 4 on low

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 8-10 lbs pork shoulder
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Cumin
    • Paprika Pepper
    • Smoked Paprika (mostly) 
    • Water

    DIRECTIONS: 

    • Mix a generous portion of spices into a bowl to create the dry rub
    • Lay the raw Pork on a clean surface or parchment paper and massage the dry rub onto the meat evenly
    • Place meat into a large crockpot
    • Add 1 cup water
    • Cook on low for 6-8 hours
    • The meat will be white and easily shreddable when it’s done
    • Serve on Corn or Flour Tortillas with Cheese, leftover Cilantro and diced Onion

    Day Three: Eat what’s already been prepared and explore!

    Breakfast:

    Leftovers from the day before. Fruit, Bagel and Cereal option. Dry cereal is always easy to bag up for snacks throughout the day to fuel your adventures.

    Lunch:

    Combine leftover Pork from the night before with BBQ sauce. Serve on a bun with Chips and Fruit.

    Dinner:

    Out for John’s Birthday

    Day Four: Enduldge in some local tastes!

    Breakfast:

    Out at the local Cafe.

    Lunch:

    Grab and go pre-made Chicken Salad and Italian Hoagie Sandwiches.

    Day Four

    Dinner:

     Always a crowd-pleaser, these Chipotle-like Burrito Bowls only take 35 minutes to make and everyone can build their own.

    Steak & Chicken Burrito Bowls

    Anticipate happy bellies all around the dinner table. Serves 10. Reduce the amount of meat for smaller crowds.

    PREP TIME: 15 minutes

    COOK TIME: 20 minutes

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 3-4 bounds cubed Chicken
    • 3-4 pounds cubed Sirloin Steak
    • 2 (8 oz) packages of Frontera Classic Fajita Skillet Sauce
    • 2 (8 oz) packages of Frontera Key Lime Shrimp Taco Skillet Sauce (goes great with Chicken too)
    • 1 large (16 oz) can of Black or Pinto Beans
    • 4 – 6 cups Brown Rice or White Rice
    • Lettuce
    • Shredded Cheese
    • Cilantro
    • Onion
    • Avocado
    • Tomato
    • Sour Cream

    DIRECTIONS: 

    • Heat two large skillets and grease with oil or butter
    • Add Chicken and Steak -don’t mix meat, one in each
    • Cook through turning so all sides are evenly cooked
    • Add the sauces and let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes
    • Meanwhile, cook the Rice and Beans
    • Chop Tomatoes, Onion and Cilantro
    • Arrange all toppings along the counter
    • Layer bowls with Rice, Beans, Meat and individual topping choices

    Serving: Everyone gets a bowl and can go down the line and assemble their own, in true Chipotle-style.

    Day Five: make it easy and reuse ingredients!

    Breakfast:

    Combine remaining Eggs with Milk, Salt and Pepper. Whisk together and slowly cook scrambled Eggs over medium-low heat. Throw in any leftover Lunch or cooked Meat, Veggies and Cheese for a hearty Scrambler.

    Lunch:

    At the Festival

     

    Day Five

    Dinner:

    Pasta with Marinara, a White Sauce option and Meatballs.

    Classic Marinara & White Sauce With Meat Balls

    For a diverse crowd, you can appeal to vegetarians, Italian lovers and those who can’t do the red sauce. Again this is along the lines of build your own so anyone who’s not happy can literally go sit in a snowbank.

    Start with the meatballs and while they are baking make the Pasta and Sauces.

    MEATBALLS – Makes 25 to 30

    PREP TIME: 15 minutes

    COOK TIME: 25 minutes, turning once halfway through

    INGREDIENTS: These are best and most tender if made with a meat mix that includes ground Veal. If that’s against your constitution or hard to find, make your own breadcrumbs or add Ricotta cheese to retain flavor and tenderness in each bite.

      • 1.5 lbs ground Beef 80/20
      • 1 lb ground Mild Italian Sausage (pork)
      • 1 lb ground Veal OR Homemade Breadcrumbs
      • 2 Eggs
      • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
      • ¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
      • Dry Italian bread crumbs (if using Veal)
      • *Add 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese to replace the Veal
      • 1/2 – 1 cup Flour to Coat
      • Olive Oil

    DIRECTIONS:

    • Combine all ingredients with the exception of the Flour and Olive Oil in a large bowl
    • Using your hands, generously mix together ensuring all ingredients are spread throughout
    • Roll into 2 bite-size round balls
    • On a flat surface or plate, sprinkle the Flour
    • Roll each Meatball in the Flour so all sides are coated
    • Generously coat two baking dishes with Olive Oil
    • Place the Meatballs in the dishes, then bake at 350 for 25 minutes, turning halfway through

    PASTA: Cook 2 lbs Pasta of your choice in a large pot on the back burner while you prepare the sauces.

    MARINARA SAUCE – Makes 10 cups

    PREP TIME: 10 minutes

    COOK TIME: 30 minutes

    INGREDIENTS:

      • 12 tbsp Olive Oil
      • ½ cup Butter
      • 6 large Garlic Cloves, mashed
      • 1 tsp Parsley
      • 1 tsp Salt
      • 1 tsp Pepper
      • 12 cups -6 1 lbs cans Peeled Plum Tomatoes
      • 2 tbsp dried Oregano
      • 4 heaping tbsp Tomato Paste

    DIRECTIONS: 

      • Heat Oil and Butter in a large saucepan
      • Chop Garlic and Parsley together and add to the pan
      • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes
      • Drain the Tomatoes and chop the solids
      • Add Tomatoes and Oregano to the pan
      • Cook slowly over low heat for 30 minutes

    WHITE SAUCE – Serves 6

    PREP TIME: 5 minutes

    COOK TIME: 20 minutes

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 5 tbsp Butter
    • 3 cloves Fresh Garlic -minced or 2 tsp prepared
    • 3 tbsp Flour
    • 1 cup Chicken Broth
    • 1 cup Milk
    • 1/2 cup shredded Mozarella Cheese
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
    • Salt and Pepper to taste

    DIRECTIONS:

    • Melt Butter in a saucepan over medium heat
    • Add the Garlic, cook for one minute
    • Add Flour, cook for another minute while stirring occasionally
    • Add the Milk and Broth to make a rue, stirring constantly
    • Cook until sauce thickens
    • Add the Cheeses and Salt and Pepper
    • Serve immediately or set the burner to low, stirring often if waiting for the Meatballs or Marinara to cook

    Day Six: Combine simple, fun & healthy!

    Breakfast:

    Pastries & donuts from the local bakery.

     

    Day Six

    Lunch:

    Meatball Bombers

    Meatball Bombers

    Using remaining Meatballs from the night before, these are easy to prepare on the fly and throw in the oven.

    PREP TIME: 5 minutes

    COOK TIME: 15-20 minutes, until meat is heated through and cheese melts

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1-2 loaves of Italian or French Bread, depending on how many you are feeding
    • Mozarella Cheese -remaining from precious recipes
    • Meatballs & Marinara from the night before

    DIRECTIONS: 

    • Slice the loaves of bread in half and then cut into individual sandwich portions
    • Add 3-4 Meatballs to each
    • Cover with Mozarella Cheese 
    • *For a saltier flavor additionally sprinkle with remaining Parmesan
    • Bake in the oven at 350 until heated up and the cheese is melted

    Day Six:

    Dinner:

    Healthy option. If you’re like us, by day six you’re tired of eating out and crave some fresh food and vegetables to get you through vacation bloat.

    Salmon Quinoa Bowls 

    Healthy and flavorful, these easily prepared bowls combine robust flavor with your choice of vegetables. Serves 6

    PREP TIME: 15 minutes

    COOK TIME: 35-45 minutes

    INGREDIENTS:

    • A generous piece of salmon, 1.5 to 2 lbs, about .25 lbs for each person in your group
    • 2 cups Tri-Colored Quinoa -follow instructions on the package
    • 4 cups Brown Rice -follow instructions on the package
    • Sauce:
      • 1/3 cup Soy Sauce
      • 3 tbsp Rice Vinegar
      • 3 tbsps Honey
      • 3 cloves Garlic -minced
      • 2 tbs fresh Ginger
      • 1/4 tsp crushed Red Pepper flakes
    • 2 tbsps Olive Oil
    • 24 ounces mixed veggies of your choice – we like Kale, Onion, Red Pepper, Mushrooms, Snap Peas and Water Chestnuts
    • 4 Scallions
    • 2 tsp Lemon Juice

     

    DIRECTIONS: 

    • Cook the Quinoa and Rice according to the package directions
    • Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce
    • Prepare the Salmon by rinsing it in cold water, then pat dry with a paper towel
    • Sprinkle the Salmon with Salt, Pepper and Lemon Juice to taste
    • Add the Salmon to a coated shallow baking pan
    • Pour 2/3 of the sauce mixture over the Salmon
    • Place in oven, preheated to 375 degrees
    • Cook 30-45 minutes until the top is flaky and the middle retains some pink
    • Heat a large skillet with 1 tbsp Olive Oil (add a bit of Peanut Oil if you have it on hand)
    • Add the vegetables, including scallions
    • Saute until crisp and tender, about 8-10 minutes turning often
    • Sprinkle with Soy Sauce to taste
    • Heat the remaining sauce mixture on the stove or microwave and serve alongside Salmon
    • *Remove the skin from the Salmon before serving
    • Layer in bowls and enjoy!

    Day Seven: Enduldge in leftovers all day!

    Leftovers all day long. If this means your five-year-old is eating Pasta for breakfast, let him. You have enough to do with packing and making the checkout time. Conserve on travel snacks by bagging up leftovers and taking them on your journey home.

    Shop Now

    Spend your well-earned vacation with loved ones rather than at the grocery store. We will shope and stock your vacation rental home prior to your arrival.

    Travel Thoughtfully! Order groceries ahead.

    Vacation meal planning is not always easy but it’s a lot less stressful if you plan in advance. Lucky for today’s travelers, the option of staying at a vacation rental home over a hotel, gives you the option of dining in, catering to different taste buds and diets and overall relaxing in a true family or group fashion. Eat in to truly enjoy the ambiance of your ‘home away from home’.

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