Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What's Cooking? (Beach Cottage Version!)

Hi!  I'm blogging today from beautiful Hilton Head Island, SC!

I am here for the week with "the fantastic five" and two friends from church -- Maddie and Dianna!

When on vacation, the challenge is what to make for supper each night that is quick and easy (Hey, I'm on vacation, too!), reasonably healthy, uses a small number of ingredients, and can be made in a tiny kitchen with only a skeleton of the pots and pans and kitchen tools that I normally have at my disposal.  

Going out to eat every night would be awesome -- but that's only for the rich and famous -- or possibly for those with 1.8 children!  ;)

We usually do go out for seafood one time during the week.  We have a seafood restaurant here that we've been going to for 22 years -- The Crazy Crab.  It has become a family tradition to eat there!!  This year, we went to The Crazy Crab on Saturday night, as it was so late by the time we all arrived here and bought the needed groceries for the week.  Plus, it was not just raining, it was a drenching downpour!!!

My hubby was here with us for the weekend, so he grilled hamburgers and hot dogs on Sunday night and I made baked beans. A no-brainer American vacation meal that is as satisfying to smell cooking as it is to eat!

I was on my own for the rest of the week.  Here's my beach cottage menu:

Soft Tacos
Greek Chicken Thighs
Chicken Alfredo

We bought a big hunk of ground beef at Sam's Club when we got here, and I browned it all up to have ready for the week.  I also brought my crock pot with me from home.  There is nothing easier than dumping some browned ground beef, taco seasoning, and mild salsa into the crock pot and letting it simmer on low all day while we enjoy the sand and the surf.  Then, come supper time, it is hardly any work at all to dice up tomatoes, and set out the grated cheddar, tortillas, sour cream, tortilla chips and salsa, and present the family with a tempting Taco Bar. Simple, but satisfying.  

Next up is spaghetti -- again the crock pot to the rescue!  This is my meal for today -- I will dump the browned ground beef, three jars of pasta sauce and some extra Italian seasoning into the crock pot, turn it on low, and forget about it until we get back from the beach later today.  At that point, I'll just put some water on to boil while everyone hits the shower, and cook my spaghetti noodles.  Then, I'll sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top and add a bagged salad for a simple spaghetti dinner that is sure to please!

Last night we had chicken.  Before hitting the beach, I filled my crock pot with chicken thighs, seasoning each layer with a drizzle of olive oil, seasoned salt, plenty of oregano, and some lemon pepper seasoning.  I turned the crock pot on low, and enjoyed the sand and the surf with nary a thought of supper!  When we were ready to eat, I cooked some rice on the stove and steamed some broccoli in one of those steamer bags in the microwave. (On a day to day basis, I never buy those Steamer bags of veggies, and try to refrain from cooking in the microwave -- but here, where I'm very pot-and-pan challenged, it was a perfect solution!) When the rice was done, I ladled the yummy broth from the chicken on top of the rice, and voila!  We had a delicious supper of chicken, rice and broccoli in no time!

The meal everyone is most excited about is the Chicken Alfredo!  I recently learned how to make the simplest, most delicious homemade Alfredo sauce here.  I tried this out last week and it was Awesome!  This is what I did:  I combined two 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, 2 sticks of butter, 1 cup of half and half, and about a cup and a half of Parmesan cheese.  I melted together on low heat and then stirred into hot fettuccine noodles and added some heated pre-cooked chicken breast strips - for a very easy, delcious meal!  The kids raved about it and it was their top request for this week!

The final night here, we will eat up any odds and ends left over from the week, including the "undesirable job" of finishing off any ice cream left from the week!  ;) 

What do you cook when on vacation?  Do you have any great, easy meals that don't take much prep work or much clean up and are family friendly?  Please share!


Lindsay Harold said...

I love chicken alfredo and will have to try your alfredo sauce. I usually use store bought sauce, but wanted to find a good recipe to make it myself. However, I have found the absolute best way to make the chicken. The secret is bacon. I just cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into cubes and place them in a crock-pot with bacon strips cut into short pieces (about 1 strip of bacon per 3 chicken breasts) and cook until tender, then flake it partially with a fork. No water or other liquid is needed and the meat turns out tender, juicy, and delicious. Layer noodles, chicken and sauce and it's soooooo good.

busymomof10 said...

Thanks Lindsay for sharing your way of making delicious chicken for your alfredo! I normally would make my own chicken strips and saute in olive oil . . . but since we are on vacation, I decided to use the Tyson pre-cooked and frozen strips. That speeds up the process and requires less pots and pans!

When a chef from my church shared with me that he makes his Alfredo sauce just like the recipe I posted . . . but had never seen it in print . .. I knew I was onto something good! Trust me, it is Delicious! I love that I'm controlling the ingredients and only using healthy fats (no soybean oil, canola oil or partially hydrogenated fats!)!! My kids love that it tastes Delicious!! :)

Rebecca's Refining said...

Now that I am hungry for both food and the ocean....

Sounds like you are having a great time!!Please remember to take your favorite sister with you next time you decide to spend a week at the beach!!! :)

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