Vacation House Cooking -- Pack These Easy Recipes!
Roast Spatchcocked Lemon Chicken
You're renting a vacation house at the beach, on a lake, in the mountains. It’s like Top Chef
for the layman. Only instead of a kitchen counter full of mystery ingredients, the real challenge is cooking in a mystery kitchen. Your temporary workspace might have a new stove or one where only three burners work. Utensils may be in short supply and the pans not as good as your own but the view from the window above the sink is wonderful and the company excellent. When cooking for your family and friends in this glorious locale, stick with simple recipes that require minimal equipment and tweak dishes as you see fit, working with your loot from the local store or market. Here some of our favorite recipes to pack for vacation.
Roast Spatchcocked Lemon Chicken
This flattened bird is a game-changer: it halves the cooking time by nearly half while evenly cooking the bird. If the grill or oven’s large enough, roast two -- leftover meat is ideal for salads, sandwiches, or just a quick hit of protein.
Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta
Remember this salad near the end of your vacation, when overripe tomatoes and lemon wedges collect alongside day-old baguettes and leftover red onion halves. It all gets mashed together for a bread salad that pairs well with plenty of add-ins: the cucumbers, tomatoes, all the herbs that didn’t get used up. Taste the seasoning as you go and be generous with the olive oil -- this is vacation!
Grilled Stone Fruit
Truly a simple pleasure in life, it’s delightful what a grill can do to sweet summer fruit, where sugars caramelize into smoky bits that play against type. So good and so easy. Try this with bananas, or mango and pineapple, preferably cut into long wedges you might not otherwise take the time to slice up at home.
Learn more about grilling fruit.
Of course you'll want pasta! The trick here is to remember what the beaten egg and grated Parmesan do when they come into contact with freshly drained cooked pasta -- insta-sauce! Try this with anything or nothing, it’s good both ways.
In the mood for more Italian holiday fare? Read about shopping and cooking in Rome.
Fancy some quiet time in the kitchen? Pizza dough can be downright meditative to prepare. Pre-made dough from the store or the local pizzeria will also work here. The topping for this pizza has a surprising mix of blissfully banal ingredients (two kinds of mozzarella?!) that are sure to make this vacation-home-made pizza night one to remember.
Cucumber and Watermelon Salad
A crisp salad that tastes like pure summer and keeps well in the refrigerator. Stick to this elemental duo, or punch it up with chopped fresh herbs, spicy minced chiles, or a crumbly, pungent cheese like feta.
Frozen desserts that don’t require special equipment or multiple ingredients are few and far between, but the slushy-cum-granita is a happy and thankfully easy exception.
Tuna Macaroni Salad
Be the house hero by preparing a big batch of this deli-inspired salad that keeps well in the refrigerator, ready to satisfy when hunger pangs strike.
Herbed Potato Salad
Pasta and Cheese Frittata
Pasta leftovers are magic the next day in a frittata. Come to think of it, frittatas are magical for transforming leftovers into something new and even more delicious.
Mexican Grilled Corn
It's hard to beat grilled corn, but the minimal ingredients needed to make this Mexican-style street corn -- essentially lime, mayonnaise, and Parmesan -- produce craveworthy results.
Blueberry-Cream Cheese Hand Pies
Hand pies are easy to assemble and easily transportable -- just right for taking on vacation treks to the hills or beach. Obviously we think making pastry is a relaxing holiday pastime, but if you don't feel the same way, use store-bought pie crust.