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Cooking ideas for 6 people in a rental apartment at the beach

So, we will be going to the beach for a week in an apartment rental and I am starting to plan things. We are trying to keep our budget tight, but still have some nice family dinners. I don't believe the rental has a BBQ. Looking for delicious but easy, quick suggestions as we will be preparing meals for 6 people (B, L, D) and don't want to be slaves to the kitchen on vacation.

We need food that will be accessible at a Piggly Wiggly(?) or other non-gourmet store. Some of the items we need to take in consideration: 1) red meat only once during the week, 2) hopefully we can take advantage of good seafood, 3) one person does not eat fish (eats seafood), 4) Mediterranean diet as much as possible, 5) no pork.

The beach is a 1.5 day drive each way for us, so we are not planning to bring any perishables from home - but will bring spices and decent knives. Thanks!

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  1. What time of year?

    Definitely suggest stopping at a major grocer outside of the resort town to pick up your main items. The Pig in a resort/beach town is going to be uber expensive and have limited selections.

    1. What Scoutmaster asked, and what beach? East coast, right?

      1. Take a cooler and blue ice with you; stop at the Costco or Trader Joes (nearest to your rental) and purchase some of your basic foods for the week. Suggest you buy there: cheese and crackers and grapes; nuts for snacking; dolmas; potato salad, and one of their roasted chickens (for the first night)

        1 Reply
        1. re: honu2

          I'm with honu, fill a cooler (surely someone in the family has one to lend). Do a thrifty shop at home, freeze one night's worth of beef, some chicken, ground turkey, etc. Wrap all well and double-ziploc; then fill the cooler with other cold goods and overfill with ice. Unpack immediately on arrival.

          Small disposable grills can be had for less than $10. I don't generally like these but it's nice to have as a backup. They can be used several times; some even come preloaded with briquets.

        2. Since you mentioned Piggly Wiggly, I am assuming it's somewhere in the Southeast. If so, you should also look for Harris Teeter, which is a more upscale supermarket, which may also have some prepared items for takeout that would be appealing.

          As to particular menu suggestions, no great ideas here. Perhaps one dinner of assorted skewered/ kabobs with chicken, fish chunks, and/or shrimp, and vegetables. If no barbecue is available, cooked in the broiler.

          2 Replies
          1. re: masha

            Not many HT's at the beach, although it really does depend on which beach you're at, though there are enough smaller local stores that you surely won't lack for shopping options.

            I try to buy as much as I can from the local seafood markets. You can buy what you need as you need it and the food will be fresh. You can simply grill, broil, or saute, add a squeeze of lemon, a green salad, and some pasta or a quinoa salad, and you have a great meal.

            I'm not a big breakfast person, so I'm happy with a box of cereal or some English muffins.

            I'd be lost without olive oil and garlic. Everything else is optional. :-)

            1. re: rockycat

              Local seafood markets are where to go! I mean they have the best prices, and the best stuff.

          2. 12 of us spent a week at a big house in Duck, OBX also a day and a half travel. We did bring a few frozen entrees like lasagna and they stayed frozen until our arrival. We did our shopping at the local Harris Teeter which is a VERY nice supermarket and ate out about half the time. Invest in a large, top-quality cooler and bring some frozen home-made entrees. Saves money and relieves stress. Don't have time for that! Good luck.

            6 Replies
            1. re: grampart

              We were in Duck last year, too. (So much nicer than Nag's Head!) The folks we were staying with brought most of their stuff from home, but we were only about a 5-6 hour drive away. What they didn't bring we picked up at the Harris Teeter.

              I read downthread that you are going to be on HH Island, which I think is at the tail end of the OBX. You should have access to fresh shrimp on the cheap. There should be lots of produce stands around, too. We dined on shrimp (our house came stocked with a steamer, and another night it was pan-fried), cobia, and a lot of salads.

              1. re: Kontxesi

                We loved Duck, but how about that Saturday traffic?!

                1. re: grampart

                  2 mph crawl! That was bad. Not bad enough for me to not go back, though. I'd rather deal with the traffic up there than have to see the ugly strip down through Nag's Head every day.

                  1. re: grampart

                    We stay just north of Duck, in Whalehead. We arrive Friday evening, stay in Kitty Hawk overnight, and make our way up to Corolla Sat am. We are on 12 North by 9 or 9:30, and we miss all the bridge traffic, and the traffic thru Duck is not bad at all. To keep on topic, there is a great Veg/Fruit stand in corolla across from the Food Lion- Seaside MArket. Great peaches (we go in July), boiled peanuts, fudge, steamed shrimp, pies, and all the produce you will need.

                    1. re: macca

                      That's the one we went to. Tons of shrimp, and all of the produce I looked at looked pretty high-quality. Plus, their fudge is superb.

                      1. re: Kontxesi

                        I am from MA, and our peaches are not great. The peaches there were beyond good! THe day before we leave, I stop by and get at least a bushel to take home with me. Tried my first boiled peanut there a few years ago.