What Food to Pack for a Long Weekend Away
Pack smarter, cook better.
It's Labor Day weekend. You've deliberated and decided on where to spend it – a trip to the lake, camping (granted you refreshed Camp America obsessively enough to snag a coveted permit), or just hopping in a car spur-of-the-moment. What (and how) you're going to cook is most likely not top of mind when you're packing for the weekend. But it should be.
Here's the thing – detouring to a packed grocery store in the first few hours of vacation is not vacation. Neither is spending it settling for whatever remains in the only store in a 15-mile radius after being picked over by dozens of caravans on the same hunt.
Planning, stocking, and packing the essentials before you take off empowers you to cook (and eat) what you want, when you want to. No searching for non-existent grocery stores, or eating at restaurants for every meal. Our community knows this first hand. We turned to you on Instagram and called for your tips on the essentials to pack for an easy, food-filled weekend away. Here are some of our favorites:
Limit tools to the essentials.
If you're renting via AirBnB and the like, chances are they'll probably have most of what you need in the equipment and tools department (a former Good Egg once made an entire tiered wedding cake from scratch in an apartment she found on AirBnB).
Camping is a different story. Stick to the basics so you're not lugging a ton of cargo, but think through what you're planning on making so you don't forget anything essential.
- @makingitwithmeleyna relies on a good cast-iron pan, spatula, and foil for cooking over the fire.
- We agree with @maggiejblack: a good knife (and a small cutting board) will get you far. Especially in late summer when you can get away with less cooking.
- Bring a small pot or kettle for boiling water for coffee or soups (and filters for coffee).
- Use the ice packs in your Good Eggs order and a cooler for short-term refrigeration.
Bring seasonings that will work with pretty much anything.
Rely on the flavor of good, fresh summer ingredients and supplement with a few key seasonings to amplify it.
Simple meals reign supreme.
If you have access to a refrigerator:
- Locally-made frozen tamales and pupusas make for easy mains. Add a no-cook tomato salad and you've got dinner.
- Pre-marinated local fish and meats cut down on number of dishes and ingredients.
- Need a pack-and-go lunch? Our product photographer @caitbeyer relies on what she calls "tear sandwiches." Tear off a chunk of baguette, and tear off pieces of cooked rotisserie chicken and sliced or string cheese. Stuff into the baguette with pre-washed greens and a slick of mustard or mayo. Perfect trunk lunch!
If you're off the grid:
- Try a grain salad with sautéed vegetables and toasted seeds.
- A pot of brothy beans with blistered tortillas and peppers makes for a grade A campfire meal.
- And if something goes wrong–your produce spoils, a bear runs away with your dinner–boxed mac and cheese is your insurance. Take it from @makingitwithmeleyna.
No-cook snacks fill in the gaps.
For road trips, lazy meals, and everything in between. Stick with nutritious, high-calorie snacks to get you through that hike or afternoon lull.
- @zzuzzana has a few great examples: dry fruits, nuts, dates, and nut butter.
- You can't go wrong with fresh summer fruit, says @makingitwithmeleyna. And we agree (especially the pre-cut or -cubed kind). Think melon, berries, or stone fruit in late summer.
- Bars make for long-lasting fuel. Avoid the heavily manufactured kinds, and stick with ones that employ whole foods with naturally-occurring protein, like Perfect Bar.
- @sabormexicano's chips and salsa are always great to have on hand.
Something to wash it down.
- For mornings, @ameliamclear suggests packing pre-measured ground coffee to cut down on the amount of equipment (instant coffee is even easier).
- Late summer trips are the perfect excuse to drink some refreshing California wines. Use ice packs that come in your order to chill on-site.
- Jugs of kombucha make for a great non-alcoholic treat, and you can use the jugs to store water after the kombucha runs out.