Monday, May 29, 2017

The Weekend Menu

 Part of the fun of lake living, especially when my mother in law is not involved in the meal planning, is the effortless ease in getting food on the table, served, and cleaned up. Or is it really effortless? For the days before the weekends, I and others do quite a bit of prep to make it so. Sometimes I really think the guys and the kids really think food magically appears ready in crock pots, salad bowls and serving platters. Except the meat. Sexist, I know, but the guys do the bulk of the grilling. This isn't typical as normally I would bring more grilling meats, but with this still being a mostly working weekend, having ready meals made it much more convenient. My contributions to the weekend eating was the following:

Sloppy Joe's and buns
Cheesy potatoes

Cheese ravioli and marinara sauce
Tuna salad with peas (DH has to have his peas in this salad)
Black bean, corn, and tomato salad/salsa
Cantaloupe-but brought this home
Cucumbers and broccoli 
Guacamole fixings-avocado, tomato, onion, limes but didn't pre make
Garlic Hummus
Blueberry muffins
Fudge brownies
Assorted chips and pretzels

I brought supplies such as extra ketchup and BBQs sauce and dill pickles. Another case of water as we still are getting debris through the pipes, plus iced tea, grape juice, wine, and a jug of water for coffee came along. Trying to make sure I had foods I am used to eating that bulk up my meals and keep the carbs and high calorie items at bay, I  brought a few bananas and some Greek yogurt for my and DD2's breakfast.

This sounds like a lot, and doesn't include what others brought, but we are  never sure how many will be there, and who will bring what. DH has a few cousins that are not part of the next door cabin compound, but often stop by on holidays. There's other family friends that seem to appear. It was a good thing I brought so much as one sister in law hadn't brought much more for food after she made a taco lunch for Saturday, and the other forgot a bunch of her food at home. Her daughter brought some frozen pizzas which we baked a few to try out the oven along with the ravioli and meatballs Saturday night. Friday night I let my family help themselves to what they wanted for dinner before it got packed up Saturday morning, so some was eaten at our house. I took some leftovers home which will help the home front this week. 

I pack things in either square plastic containers or gallon size bags.  Much more fits in  a cooler if you avoid round containers. I have a few coolers that over the years have gotten dented and gross, but are still functional. I scored a normally $26 Coleman cooler for $8 about three years ago randomly in the grocery store and use it now for the most part. There's now two decent size refrigerators in the cabin, plus one in the garage so we don't have to worry quite as much about storing foods all weekend in coolers as we did before, but still I freeze chunks of ice in an old milk container to keep the cooler cold. I'm sure we'll figure the best way to store and keep foods, but the decision is that we aren't keeping coolers lying around on the deck, but instead down by the boat house. 

I'm doing no cooking today. DH has to work and DD2 has plans with friends. If we don't finish the Sloppy Joe's today, I'll freeze for a quick supper another night. The salads need to be consumed today or tomorrow at latest. All together, I probably spent $50 or so on food for the lake, feeding 14 people two complete meals, plus breakfast, snacking, and many beverages. Pretty thrifty meals, but tasty all the same for under $2 a person per meal, some huge eaters in the bunch. What was on your menu this weekend?


  1. Sometimes feeding a large group is way more economical per person than a couple of people. You did a lot of prep, I do hope you got some relaxing in :)

    1. In our family, it is definitely more economical unless we do steaks and then some of the guys forget to put the lower cost pasta salads etc. on their plates. I did do a lot of prep, but so much easier in my own house. Not much relaxing but I manged a glass of wine or two.

  2. Ditto Cheapchick - you did a ton of prep! When we go on vacation, it's depends on who is joining. If it's my parents/sister, I can count on a lot of food prep help. If it's just me with the kids, I stick to super easy foods. Mostly because they are not impressed with fancier menu options anyway. ;-) I go for super basics if the boys are with me.

    1. when we have the extra cabin and its just my family, less is more is the philosophy. We'll grill, and eat just veggies and fruit. We also have extra kids that week so easier to go simple.

  3. I so understand about the home prep. It is just easier to prep at home then pull everything together at the last minute at the lake. I do it all the time including prepping veggies and fruits. I have found that we like our first nights meal to be nothing more than heat and eat, so we tend to have spaghetti, lasagne, stew, or something similar then grill something for the next night/nights.
    I also buy ground chuck and make hamburger patties, freeze them on a cookie sheet and pack in a large freezer bag. For Lake meals I take out only the number needed for any given lake trip. I also freeze chicken breasts (2 half breasts per bag) along with marinade. That way I can grab however many bags I need and they always defrost in the fridge by the next evening. Pop them on the grill, add a salad and we are ready to go.

    1. I did more prep than usual because it was a working weekend. Normally I would have done one crock pot dish one salad and then easier stuff.


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