Ready to do some cooking on your vacation? Yes, we said that right! While a lot of folks seem to think vacation is a good time to abandon the kitchen, we happen to think vacation is a fine time to gather family around the table for a home-cooked meal. And when you’re staying in a condo-style accommodation with Exploria Resorts, you have a full kitchen at your fingertips. So why spend all your money on restaurants and all your time waiting on a server? Take along some simple recipes, stop at the grocery store or have groceries delivered to your resort, and add a fun new flavor to your family vacations!
Simple, Fresh Ingredients: Take your family’s meals back to basics with a short grocery list that stretches into a lot of meals. Coastal Living’s incredible 5 Easy Meals for a Week at the Beach gives you supper or lunch for five days, ranging from a crisp panzanella salad to a light and flavorful Parmesan chicken, all with just 20 ingredients on your shopping list. Add on easy breakfasts like bacon, eggs, cereal, milk, peanut butter, and bread to fill a family-pleasing pantry in your condo’s kitchen.
Big Crowd-Pleasers: Gathering a lot of people on this vacation? Family reunions and get-togethers can mean a big demand at dinner-hour. We’ve found some big beautiful casseroles that are easy to whisk together, pop in the oven, and forget about until the oven timer goes off. The Kitchn’s Double Spinach Pasta Casserole with Pesto and Asiago sounds high-end, but it’s really rotini, some veggies, grated cheese, and a jar of pesto, with eggs, cream, and yogurt to hold it all together. They also have an incredibly easy macaroni-and-cheese with some fun suggestions for add-ins. Check out their 10 Easy Vacation Meals to Please a Crowd list of recipes.
The Ultimate Planner: If you’re looking at all these recipes and shouting, “Please just show me a plan!” at your computer, this 7-day vacation meal plan from The Chaos and The Clutter blog is perfect for you. With easy recipes like nachos, time-saving tips like veggie-packets (foil wrapped around a vegetable assortment which can be baked or grilled), and fun spins on classics like Cajun chicken quesadillas, there’s plenty here to inspire your own vacation meal plan – or you can just print this one out! Making out a recipe plan and grocery list ahead of time will smooth your path when you’re settling into a clean slate of a kitchen at your resort.
Weekend Foodie: Maybe you’re just heading out for the weekend, but you want to eat like a gourmet anyway. Cooking Light has an intricately planned weekend menu for you. How intricate? They made an illustration to show you exactly how to pack everything into one cooler. We’d say this was overkill, but it’s actually pretty ingenious, and will give you some good ideas on packing food from home on your next road-trip. That’s perfect if you’re not sure what to expect from the grocery stores around your resort, or if you’re heading somewhere with limited access to groceries. Admire their packing job, then admire their recipe for brandied peach shortcake, made with citrus shortcake you packed in your cooler and peaches seared on the grill. Take a look at the 1-Cooler, 1-Weekend Getaway here.
Slow Cooker Solutions: You want the kitchen without the cooking? Say no more – just bring along your slow cooker. (Stuff it with dry goods so it doesn’t waste too much space in the car, or order one to be delivered to your resort if you’re flying.) Over at Thirty Handmade Days, you can find three recipes for crock-pot meals that can be made ahead, frozen, and brought on your trip with you. Otherwise, pick your favorite crock-pot recipes and pick up the ingredients when you arrive. We also love the plan to cook everything ahead of time from Wellness Mama – this blog post even explains how to pack your frozen meals so that they’ll stay cold on the way to your vacation destination (her drive was about nine hours!).
No matter how you prioritize your vacation time, there’s a good way to work in home-cooked meals during your trip. Make it at home and bring it along, throw a roast in the slow cooker, or get the whole gang in the kitchen chopping and prepping for a gourmet meal – either way, there will be good food and smiles at the end of the day.
Looking for a vacation destination with plenty of room to cook and enjoy meals with your family and friends? Exploria Resorts offers villas and condos with full kitchens, dining rooms and even outdoor grills. For more information on our collection, you can explore our Destinations tab.