18 Brilliant Beach House Meals
You know the drill, you rent a beach house for a week during the summer—the fact that you have a kitchen to prep your own meals in is convenient, the fact that it’s not exactly well stocked is less so. Thus, you need meals that are fast, easy, and don’t require a ton of ingredients or equipment. Worry not, we have you covered. Featuring smartly streamlined recipes along with genius summer slow cooker dinners (this is your vacation, after all), here are 18 of our best beach house meal ideas.
Slow Cooker Shrimp Boil
For a classic summery meal without a fuss, look no further than this slow cooker shrimp boil. With a simple ingredient list and a largely hands-off cooking method, this easy seafood boil is a perfect recipe to plan on for casual warm weather entertaining or even as a low-effort meal to make at the rental house during a beach vacation. We opted to pull the corn out after 30 minutes of cooking as we preferred it on the crisp side, but as long as your slow cooker is large enough, feel free to leave it in the pot as the shrimp and sausage cook.
Sheet Pan Seafood Bake with Buttery Wine Sauce
Finally, a seafood “bake” that lives up to its name. This lively platter of mussels, clams, sausage, and potatoes is a super fun alternative to your typical sheet pan suppers. It’s easy to make and doused in a ridiculously tasty, buttery white wine sauce—kicked up a bit with a little hot sauce and seafood seasoning—which is heavenly sopped up with the potatoes, as well as some crusty bread if you have it on hand. As far as seafood seasoning blends go, we prefer Slap Ya Mama brand, as we’ve found they use high quality ingredients, but feel free to use whatever you have kicking around your spice cabinet. When cleaning the shellfish prior to cooking, tap any partially opened mussels on the counter; if they close their shell, they’re fine to cook. However if they don’t close up—toss them, that means they’re dead, and no good to eat. Also discard any mussels or clams with broken shells. The clams will take a bit longer to cook, which is why you’ll want to start these on the pan first. Doing so also allows the pan to preheat, so when you add the wine, instant steam is created to help open the mollusks. We consider this dish the ultimate in laid-back evening eats, so crack a cold beer open and enjoy. And if you wanted to dress this dish up a bit, you could eliminate the potatoes and serve the shellfish, sausage, and sauce over a bed of linguine.
Everything Bagel Salad
Your favorite brunch special just took on a new, heartier format. Everything here comes through: The bagels, capers, lox, raw onions, and cream cheese are all balanced out by spinach’s natural mild sweetness. This makes a lot of salad, so you could serve it as either a main or a side dish for a larger crowd. Using whipped cream cheese will make it easier to whisk. You can opt for hot smoked salmon, but cold is a classic. Since the spinach is hardy, you can make this up to 30 minutes before serving.
Easy Taco Salad
Perfect for hectic weeknights, this easy taco salad recipe is something both kids and adults will love. The beauty of taco salad is that it’s entirely customizable to your favorite taco components, so feel free to stray from the recipe to accommodate whatever you’re craving and/or the ingredients you already have on hand. For example, you can easily swap in some diced avocado for the prepared guacamole. Pro-tip: Allowing the ground beef to sear before crumbling helps it to brown nicely without steaming.
Crock-Pot BBQ Ribs
If you’re skeptical about ribs in a slow cooker, prepare to be amazed by the tender and delicious results. Cooking ribs doesn’t get easier than this two-step method, and while they serve as the perfect summer entrée, you can make this crockpot ribs recipe just as easily at any time of year. Start by selecting the style you like: baby back ribs, spare ribs, St. Louis style ribs, or country style pork ribs. Combine with your favorite sweet and smoky BBQ sauce and let your Crock-Pot take it from there. These easy slow cooker ribs are fall-off-the-bone tasty.
5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
Three family dinners start with this one recipe for succulent and tender 5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork.
Ultimate Grilled Tomato Sandwiches
Toasty bread, juicy tomatoes, melty cheese, and smoky bacon—what’s not to love? These decadent grilled sandwiches are the perfect place to put your ripe summer tomatoes, and pair beautifully with a light, refreshing summer soup. While you could certainly prepare them in a skillet on the stove, going to the grill takes these superb summer sandwiches to the next level.
A Perfect Pot of Mussels
Mussels may be the perfect at-home seafood. They are easy to make, delicious, super fast, and endlessly adaptable. You can use any herbs, spices, and liquids you have to impart delicious flavor. Try the recipe below, mix and match your favorite ingredients, or use what you have left in the fridge—it's hard to go wrong!
Sheet-Pan Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya
It’s definitely not traditional, but it sure is convenient (not to mention, way tasty). With our trusty sheet pan and a few smart supermarket shortcuts, we keep the prep for this weeknight jambalaya recipe incredibly quick and easy.
Slow-Cooker Beef Nachos
From the Kitchen of Julie Hutson, Callahan, Florida. "This is surprisingly yummy to have such simple ingredients."
Homemade Sloppy Joes
Once you try these homemade sloppy Joe’s, there’s no going back to the can. Sloppy Joe’s have secured their place as a tried-and-true family favorite for good reason—they’re quick, they’re easy, and they’re a weeknight dinner the whole family can get behind. Our homemade version is simply a wholesome, full-flavored rendition of the savory-sweet sandwich you know and love from childhood. A blend of ground chuck and ground sirloin provides just the right level of beefy flavor and richness to stand up to the sweetened tomato sauce. Be sure to chop your onion, carrot, and bell pepper as finely as you can so that they’ll blend seamlessly into the mix (and pickier eaters won’t even know they’re there).
BBQ Pork Loaded Baked Potatoes
Set up a top-your-own potato bar at your next family movie or game night.
Green Gazpacho with Shrimp
Fresh bread gives gazpacho body, making it a substantial summer entrée soup. Use bread from the bakery section for the best results (bread from the supermarket aisle can be overly soft and sweet).
Perfect Grilled Burgers
Delightfully charred, juicy, and full of nuance, these burgers are the only ones you will ever want to make. That’s why we named them Perfect.
mr-Perfect Grilled Burgers
Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
When you’re going for a mouthwatering BBQ experience done indoors, these Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs are the way to go. Using the Instant Pot creates incredibly succulent ribs with virtually no fuss; you even make your sauce right in the pot. Finishing these honey-soy ribs under the broiler creates a nice, crispy exterior crust, but you can bypass this step if you want to avoid heating the oven at all. And if you’re short on time and looking to make this recipe an even speedier dinner solution, you can skip the dry rub; however, the flavor enhancement this mixture of dry spices and aromatics provides is well worth the extra effort when possible.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Chicken and Couscous
Not only does this vibrant salad taste like summer on a plate, but it’s also a fantastic make-ahead recipe that doesn’t require heating up the kitchen. While this is certainly not a meal that will weigh you down, store-bought rotisserie chicken makes the tomato salad hearty enough to serve as a satisfying entree. Soaking the couscous is a genius trick that yields a perfect fluffy texture—no cooking necessary. Plus, the overnight soaking means your couscous will be chilled and ready to go when you’re ready to assemble the salad. Plan ahead to take advantage of this savvy meal prep move.