Suggestions needed for Beach vacation Cooking

Hello everyone! We're renting a house for a week in the Outer Banks in September. There will be 12 of us and I believe everyone takes turns providing dinner (this is my first time vacationing with the inlaws). Any suggestions for fresh, fun or generally big bang for your buck types of meals are appreciated! We are driving up so I dont mind bringing a few things from home if necessary, but Im assuming we will be grocery shopping when we arrive.

Jennifer W
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8 Comments

Kim S. July 26, 2020
For a group that large, a pot of chili, meatballs in sauce, or pulled pork can be held warm for a long time in a crockpot to allow folks to come & go and eat on their own schedule. Cornbread muffins or sandwich rolls would be good accompaniments. If there's a grill, foil packets of veggies with a pat of butter and a splash of liquid (wine?) or a fish fillet w/veggies can be prepped early in the day, stowed in the fridge and dropped on the grill for 20 minutes for dinner, and will make post-meal clean-up a breeze. For breakfast, a savory casserole like strata or sweet muffins with local fruit is easy to prep the night before and bake off in the morning. Don't underestimate the power of a platter of crudité with a selection of good dips. For snacking, a log of goat cheese, rolled in shelled sunflower seeds, coated generously with honey and garnished with raspberries is super-easy but impressive served with sturdy, lightly salted crackers.
 
Butter &. July 24, 2020
Jennifer,

Just to add to the comments already made...we too like to spend time at the beach in a rental...we drive, so our suggestions factor that means of transportation in. We have done this as a family, sometimes with friends, for years...so we have our meal planning down.

You are a large group and for those who are also driving...ask everyone to bring something. We usually assign different groups with small shopping lists...some bring wine/beer, someone brings sweets, someone brings fresh produce, someone shops for the kids, a few bring protein... It's a shared effort, especially with such a large group...as for help.

1) We take an oversize YETI cooler packed with fresh ingredients to make meals and snacks from...fruit, cheese, salad mix, pickles, condiments, high quality deli meat, fresh bread, hot sauce, yogurt, wine, beer, sparkling water, pasta, sauce, popcorn, tea, etc...

2) We serve a single platter meal once a day...like a large charcuterie platter with sandwiches-chips-salsa...easy items to pack for. Self-serve once made. Sometimes we cook before we go...taking a few frozen dishes with us has worked too.

3) We encourage guests to go out for breakfast...fresh coffee, pastries, eating in a local restaurant, fresh air, we have fresh fruit out each day, yogurt and granola to top it, and for those who want to eat in...we take organic frozen breakfast items like egg burritos and other frozen am dishes - kid friendly too anytime of the day.

4) Last-we plan to eat dinner out or buy it to eat in at least every 3 days...that keeps everyone happy, fed, and it mixes the routine up. You could do this with other meals as well, we don't as we try to maintain our healthy eating as much as possible - even on vacation.

Going to the beach and feeding everyone while away is a bit like "glamping"....some of it you take and some of it you buy there...but either way you will have only so much room and only so many options to prepare full meals for such a big crowd...so be creative, plan (write it all down), get the entire family involved in meal planning, buy what you cannot carry, and mostly have fun!

Also, before you go find out what food resources are there...know what's there and what the quality of it is - before you go!

Best,
Butter & Bacon
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KLS July 23, 2020
How about a clambake?
 
HalfPint July 23, 2020
I would do pulled pork or carnitas which is easy to make for 12. As @SillyBee suggests, do a taco bar or Viet-style noodle bowls where everyone can customize their own bowls. Leftovers can be used for breakfast (like hash) or lunch (sandwiches).
 
Nancy July 22, 2020
A couple ideas.
Cooking for 12 may also be a space problem. Split the cooking between indoor (fish stew from hot weather seashore areas like Mediterranean, Black Sea, southeast Asia) and out (grilled vegetables). Finish with ice cream topped by grilled fruits.
Use a menu cookbook like the food52 another way to dinner one. Use one of the summer menus (all meant to serve 4 multiplied by 3). And you'll have some preparations intentionally left for lunches and dinners later in the week.
 
SillyBee July 22, 2020
Does the place come with a BBQ? California street tacos are always a big hit. Street tortillas are smaller, like 4". They're a standard in my part of the country in the grocery store. Grill some marinated beef and/or chicken. Chop meat into little pieces and set out toppings (shredded lettuce, green and red salsas, cotilla cheese, avocado, sour cream etc) Serve with spanish rice, beans, corn or salad. Also, how about make your own personal pizza. They can be cooked on the grill too.
 
MMH July 22, 2020
There is a place in Duck called Steamers. There are others if you search the area. They will pack a steamer bucket with whatever you like - crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, corn on the cob, potatoes, sausage etc. Your only work is to add liquid and steam it on the stove. I’ve done it several times and it’s a big wow.
 
MMH July 23, 2020
I was going to add eating local in a place like that is usually the way to go. You can’t get fresh seafood and fish like that in many places and there are many good fresh markets all over the islands. It’s a shame to pass it up for stuff you can get anywhere.
 
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