Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beach Report 3: Foodie Edition

For today's (final) "beach report," I want to share some ideas for beach meals that are easy on the brain and budget.  Matt & I agreed that our dining for the week was both low-maintenance and yummy.  We didn't feel like we went overboard, but we didn't think we skimped either.

The first thing I did was sit down and plan out meals for the beach (options for breakfast and lunch and specific menus for dinner) that had some overlapping ingredients.  I made a list of every item we would need, and divided the list into things to bring from home (like chicken seasoning and cooking spray), things to buy and bring (dry grocery items), and things to buy upon arrival (refrigerated/frozen items).  I actually made this list a month in advance and watched the sale ads and coupon inserts for the items on our buy and bring list.  Most of the things we took I was able to purchase on sale!  (To take it a step further into budget friendly, you could base your meal plans around your current coupons.  To really get crazy, you could plan for meals that have a variety of produce and meat options so that you have the flexibility to work with sales at your beach grocery store.)

These are the basic meal options we ended up with:

For Breakfast- cereal, oatmeal, waffles, fruit, yogurt/granola, muffins, cinnamon rolls
(coffee, milk)

And for Lunch- PBJ, meat & cheese sandwiches or wraps, chips and dip (see below), or leftovers from dinners.  Sides: carrots, sunchips, fruit, yogurt

1-  Dinner Salads (greens, baked chicken, craisins, feta, and pecans) and garlic toast
*We also ate salads once for lunch later in the week, and you will see the overlap of ingredients in the lunches above and dinners below.

2- Fiesta Tacos
*Tacos sound like a lot of chopping and prep for an easy meal, but we used simple, quick ingredients including Ready Rice (spanish flavor- heat in package in microwave for 90 seconds), cucumbers (also used in meal 1 and 3), canned olives (meal 3), cheese (a Reed staple anyway), salsa, and onions and cilantro leftover from dip recipe below.  Paired with a couple of fresh margaritas, easy taco night is a fiesta waiting to happen!

3- Grilled cheese sandwiches with steamed veggies and salad
*This is a good "safety net" meal- all of the ingredients are from other meals so you can take it or leave it.  Reed eats the leftover steamed veggies with other meals.

4- Greek Wraps (Chicken, greens, feta, cucumber, olives) with fruit
*A great meal to enjoy on the balcony after bedtime with a glass of wine!  Again, all ingredients overlap with other meals and chicken was ready to go.

5- For the rest of the meals, we planned to go out twice and eat pizza once.

Other Ideas and Snacks
 One of the best ideas we had was to bake all of the chicken on the first night.  This meant there was basically no other cooking for the rest of the week- just throwing ingredients together... we thanked ourselves often for this!

Another specific idea, passed along from my friend Lauren, was watermelon for a beach snack.  Reed was LOVIN' it!  We chopped the melon into pieces and froze baggies full to take down to the beach each day.

Of course, we also had a few favorite splurge treats on hand including twizzlers and snickers ice cream bars!  For Reed, we brought lots of crackers fruit pouches.

Lastly, I mixed up a huge bowl of fresh chip dip on the first night and we dove into almost every afternoon when we came up from the beach.  It lasted us the entire week and was a great fresh and healthy staple to have on hand, complete with veggies and protein.  Here is the recipe!

Chip Dip
1 can black eye peas
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn
2 Tbls. chopped parsley or cilantro
1 medium chopped onion

1 chopped green pepper
Zesty Italian salad dressing (use as much or as little as you'd like)

Drain and rinse all the canned ingredients. Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate overnight covered.

Serve with "scoop" type chips.


  1. uhhh, YUM! I'm making this very soon! Wish I'd seen this earlier and I would've made it this past weekend!

  2. Hope you like it, Mo! I use cilantro (not parsley) and red and yellow bell peppers are great in it too :)