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Aug 21, 2008 03:36 PM

pre-bagged "meals" to cook on a small sail boat?

I have a friend who is taking a few of us on a 3-day weekend sailing trip Saturday morning. We'll be eating almost all the meals on the boat, with limited fridge space and a small two burner stove. I don't believe there is an oven either. We'll be stopping each night and can replenish on drinks, but I'd like to prepare a couple meals that I can basically throw into a ziploc bag and then cook on the stove top without needing to do much if any preparation to cook. Lunches we'll probably just make variations on the sandwich theme (bread, sliced meats and veggies).

Anyone have any ideas for breakfast, dinner and snacks I could try?


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  1. If they like spicy, do some pork with chicken broth onions peppers and hot sauce. Cook the pork and then the vegs ahead of time and then seal in a baggie. Reheat in a pot or in the baggie in water and serve over rice.

    Great with cornbread

    1. I'm hoping you'll have a small cooler available for things that would benefit from being out of the sun. Especially since you'll be stopping each day, so you can, presumably, get ice. Don't know how many you'll need to serve.

      Pre-made muffins or tea breads, granola, fruit cut just before serving (melon and stone fruit hold well without refridgeration, grapes) Tried a "breakfast cookie" once that had eggs in the batter, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheese. Good, but I'd rather have a big ole oatmeal cookie with raisins or dried cranberries or blueberries and nuts with my morning cup of tea.

      Couscous salad. While couscous is steeping, chop veggies for a Mediterranean-style salad, crumble feta, toasted pine nuts, add ripped basil, serve dressing (pre-made, in cooler) on the side.

      1. Think "One Pot" meals; anything from chicken caccatore to stir-fry. It is even better if the meal is relatively thick instead of thin (like broth) because there's less spillage when serving and eating. If you have a gimbeled stove, a wok is a great implement because of the small bottom and roomy interior. (Put it in your car and have it with you so you can ask when you get to the boat. Tie a line through the handle and drag it behind the boat for cleaning).

        NB: sandwiches are best made at anchor. While underway, keeping a hand on bread, sliced meat, cheese, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato slices, etc on a heeling boat -- you get the picture ......... plus, generally there is very little counterspace available for slicing and assembling, especially if the captain requisitioned it for his charts, etc.

        Think soft-sided luggage. Once, we had a couple show up for a weekend sailing trip with two large Samsonite suitcases and a big dog! Oh yes, she was wearing high heels and one of the first questions had to do with plugging in her curling iron .......

        Depending on your locale and weather, thick, hearty soups are a good bet. They can be stowed in a thermos and enjoyed with one hand.

        Double Ziplock bag your food and if you can freeze it ahead of time, so much the better as it will act as ice for your cooler. I am assuming you have a cooler. If you have a fridge, you're on a larger craft than I'm imagining in which case, all my advice goes out the window and you can use the china and silver!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sherri

          Twice I tried to edit my post and twice the edits disappeared. Here goes .....

          Anything you can make ahead of time is a huge *plus*. At home, we think nothing of reaching for a bowl to make scrambled eggs. But on a small sailboat, you are assuming there will be a bowl available for scrambling the eggs ....... that may not be the case. I used to take a dozen cracked eggs aboard for the weekend in a screwtop jar. No mess (bowl to clean), no trash (shells and carton) and if we didn't need them all, they stayed happily in the cooler. Scrambled eggs with (shredded at home) cheese and (pre-chunked at home) ham makes a hearty breakfast. Add muffins and/or big oatmeal-raisin cookies and you've got a hearty meal. On board, pancakes are a nightmare and cooking bacon doesn't bear thinking about.

          Another easy-at-home item is pasta. We think nothing of filling a large kettle with water and boiling the pasta. Think twice about the logistics on a boat. It takes a large pot (which you may or may not have aboard), it takes a lot of fuel to heat that much water and having a large pot of boiling water in close quarters in unsteady surroundings is potentially dangerous. Instead, cook a sturdy pasta at home, coat with olive oil and bring it in a Ziplock bag ready to be sauced from another Ziplock bag! The heresy of pre-grated cheese is second to the ease of not worrying about whether or not there is a cheese grater aboard.

        2. Breakfasts - hard boil some eggs and bring along. You can have them sliced with smoked salmon on a wrap or bagel with cream cheese. We also like soft-boiled eggs with bread. We soft boil so we don't have to clean the boat pans. eggs are a real pain to clean and from the sounds of it, you may have a limited amount of fresh water for washing up so think about clean cooking foods!
          Snacks - I love to have mixed nuts, cheese and crackers, marinated olives, procuito
          If you are a coffee or tea drinker bring some instant coffee or tea bags
          I make up a pasta salad and put it in a gallon zip lock and keep the dressing in a small container until ready to use. It is great alongside sandwiches at lunch.
          Dinner- endless options just keep in mind - freeze the meat, it'll be well thawed by the time you eat and less likely to spoil if the ice melts. ICE MELTS - i've lost countless supplies by having them get waterlogged in a cooler.
          don't forget a can opener if you are bringing cans and a wine opener if you are bringing wine.

          1. Read and reread Sherri's advice.
            Then try to adapt.
            Stir fry but use spam instead of pork that may need more cooking time than you want to spend over one burner. Instant rice. (Sweet and sour spam with canned pineapple, fresh green peppers and a premade sweet and sour sauce is one of our favorites.)
            Black beans (canned) with precooked bacon added over white rice. Salads, prewashed.
            Precooked calzones served with a heated marinara sauce.

            Think of camping cooking, but in a tighter space constraint.

            And if the stove is propane, check the tank before departure. Empty tanks don't cook very well.

            (Our sailboat has a three burner and oven, but keeping the pots on when the boat is heeled is a whole 'nother art form.)