Half the fun of a vacation is trying food at the local restaurants. Our idea of a good night is feed the kids at home (more on that here), ideally walk to dinner at a new-to-us restaurant, have some drinks, appetizers and enjoy a meal together and a walk back to our rental home. Realistically, we can’t do this every night on vacation because it gets too pricey and usually unhealthy.
We’re sharing our go-to, quick, easy and affordable meals to make on vacation so you can spend more time having fun and less time in the kitchen! You’ll see a lot of the ingredients can be used interchangeably between the recipes which cuts down on all the different groceries to buy. These recipes are all pretty flexible to adapt to any dietary restrictions or low calorie / low carb considerations.
(Note: these can also be adapted for cooking over a campfire with just a bit of prep ahead of time at home)
A hearty breakfast is a must when we’re on the go. We try to fill ourselves and the kids up in the morning with a big breakfast before heading out for the day if we intend to be busy. Protein pancake mix from home is usually packed too, as a good way to fill up the kids before an adventure. Bloody Mary’s optional, but highly encouraged.
- Bagel, English muffin, or Bread, toasted
- Butter or cream cheese
- Eggs, cooked over-easy
- Meat of choice, like bacon (which can be used on more meals below)
- Veggie of choice – (again, prepare ahead of time so you can use multiple with meals)
Mexican dishes are such an easy meal idea when traveling, so 99% of the time we’ll do some sort of tacos, fajitas, or burrito bowls. Margarita’s optional, but highly encouraged.
- Meat of choice – steak or chicken (Katie does her vegetarian)
- Vegetable blend – onions and bell peppers, thinly sliced into strips
- Fajita seasoning – we usually just pick up a packet from the store and follow the directions, usually adding a bit more olive oil and adding fresh lime juice
- Tortillas or Lettuce Wrap
- Toppings – black beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, avocado, fresh tomatoes, etc
If prepping ahead of time at home, we’ll chop the vegetables and meat and marinate in separate bags, which we then pack in the cooler.
This makes a great camping meal too!
Aluminium foil bread pans are great to bring camping. We use them to keep food warm over the fire, like the vegetables while the steak is cooking. They’re also a nice way to store the leftovers or reheat meals on the fire.
If you haven’t put avocado (the A) on your B.L.T. sandwiches, you’re missing out! Add some good bread and homemade aioli spread, and you’ve got yourself a gourmet meal. BLTA’s are another great option for vacation meals since they’re so quick and require minimal dishes. A good IPA beer optional, but highly encouraged.
- Bread – a good sourdough or hearty butterbread are our favorites
- Bacon – don’t skimp out on cheap, stringy bacon, get the good stuff
- Lettuce – a crunchy romaine or greenleaf lettuce works best (we usually have this too for lettuce wrap sandwiches on the go)
- Tomatoes – your choice here
- Aioli spread – a classed up version of the mayo spread usually put on BLTs, we go for either a garlic aioli or a Southwest aioli
If you’re adapting this for camping, simply prepare the aioli ahead of time at home (it can be stored in the cooler for many days in an airtight container). Either bake your bacon (yes, bake. Oven-baked bacon is the way to go!) at home ahead of time, or cook over the fire when camping. Toast your bread, slice your tomato and avocado, add some aioli, and you’re good to go. Bonus points if you make and bring some yummy pasta salad from home too!
An adaptation of the BLTA sandwich, which uses simple and common ingredients and can also be made on lettuce wrap, is this quick Chicken Bacon Ranch wrap. If you’re on a stove or campfire, toasting the sides of the tortillas makes it extra crunchy. Easy to prep ahead of time and pack in a cooler for day outings. A spiked seltzer optional, but highly encouraged.
- Tortilla or lettuce wrap
- Bacon, cooked and chopped
- Lettuce, chopped
- Tomatoes, diced
- Meat of choice, cooked rotisserie chicken in this case
- Spread – ranch dressing, dill spread, or sandwich aioli are all good choices
Lunchbox Meals for the Kids
…and let’s be honest, the adults too. Our go-to lunch for a day on the go is to pack up a cooler full of snacks and sandwiches. The kids usually opt for some sort of peanut butter & jelly or deli meat and the adults add in whatever leftovers are had from the meals above.
As you can see, a lot of these ingredients and meals can be interchanged. Buying and making extra bacon for the BLT’s serves as a breakfast side and sandwich topping for lunch. The lettuce can be used as a lettuce wrap for sandwiches, and the aioli can be used as sandwich spread (also yummy on breakfast sandwiches!). Fajita fixings are always easy to eat as leftovers too.
- For more tips and supplies we use when camping, visit this post on Camping Supplies.
- For more on packing bags for day trips, visit this post on our Adventure Bags or What’s in Our Day Pack?
…and for even MORE recipes (delicious ones that we can attest to!) visit our friends’ blog to see what Melissa & Katie are cooking up on their post “Meal Ideas for a Long Weekend Away”