Amazing cottage meal ideas – and how to make them super easy

(Photo, left: Eric Wolfinger; middle: Gabriel Cabrera; right: CBC Life)

A cabin getaway is a time to relax, spend quality time with friends and family, and laze about being your most uncomplicated and airy self. But of course we want to relax and eating well while we’re away, and that means thinking about planning our moveable party.

To help you out, we’ve rounded up some prep and wrap recipes that will appeal to everyone so you can make the most of your time. Many ingredients can be sliced, marinated or cooked ahead of time, and when it’s time to eat, serving is just a matter of tossing everything together or reheating. These recipes shine in a cottage setting where kitchens may be unfamiliar or sparsely equipped (not to mention the assortment of charming spice boxes rattling around the pantry might be as old as the cottage itself!).

Strategies for planning your menu

Before shopping, it helps to create a meal plan. One approach is to consider menus consisting of several dishes prepared in advance that complement each other. Think of a few dipseasy side salads and one single protein or two. By establishing such a breakdown, you can accommodate dietary preferences and restrictions while keeping the menu relaxed and manageable. Similarly, recipes with a DIY element allow everyone to compose the meal according to their own tastes. What crowd doesn’t love a build-a-burger setup?

It can feel overwhelming to have to serve something different at every meal. With a game plan in hand, you can identify items that can serve multiple meals at once. For example, pre-washed and sliced ​​vegetables can go with dips one day, and leftovers with a cold noodle dish the following. Speaking of dips, use half your famous tzatziki with these vegetables and the other half for a grilled chicken dinner or to be picked up with fries by the beach. This will lighten your workload and your budget, and you will reduce food waste.

Packing Tips

Place any hearty, ready-to-eat dishes — for example, pickled grain salads and overnight oats — in an airtight container that doubles as a serving platter.

Wrap delicate foods, such as tender salads or berries, separately to protect them.

Make dressings and sauces ahead of time and store in labeled jars, then pack in a large resealable bag for transport.

Store all raw and marinated proteins well chilled in airtight individual containers. If possible, put them in their own cooler.

Remember that prepared foods should be kept cool until ready to serve. (Health Canada Food Safety Guidelines apply here.)

Pack a few sides to spice up meals: lemons and limes to squeeze over grilled meats and veggies, and fresh herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil or chives – to sprinkle over prepared dishes that need spicing. be raised. If you like things spicy, bring along a few bottles of your favorite hot sauces to spice things up.

Now what to do!


Baked oat cuts

(Photograph by Kyla Zanardi)

These baked oatmeal cups are a great make-ready option for breakfast at the cottage, for a morning hike, or as an on-the-go snack. They also freeze very well, so they can be prepared well in advance.

Yogurt Chia Lemon & Berries

Make a batch of this chia pudding the night before, then everyone can take their own portion and top it with the berry and mint filling you’ve carefully prepared.

Mango Lime Lassi Bircher

(Credit: Hungry Gap Productions Ltd.)

This Bircher muesli, inspired by the flavors of a mango lassi, can also be personalized when serving. And if you follow Nadiya Hussain’s tip to mix ingredients right in the resealable serving container, that means less time washing up and more time soaking up the rays.

Quiche Lorraine with Gruyère and Onions

(Photo: David Bagosy; Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

This one is for those of us who rush for the savory breakfast option. For convenience, the homemade dough can be replaced with a store-bought pie crust. And to make the quiche vegetarian, replace the bacon with sautéed mushrooms. You can bake it the night before and reheat it for an impressive yet leisurely brunch.


Sweet Potato and Labneh Dip

Borani-yeh Kadoo

(Photograph by Eric Wolfinger)

These tasty dips can be made ahead and easily assembled even when people are toweling off after their morning swim. Serve them with pitas, crackers, olives, pickles, and store-bought cut vegetables for an adventurous buffet to choose from. We love a midday cottage spread!

Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad in a Lime Vinaigrette

(Photo: Shayma Owaise Saadat)

It’s one of those dishes that you’ll enjoy just as much the next day. Simply make it ahead: wrap the roasted sweet potatoes, lentils, red onion and pomegranate together and marinate in half the dressing. To serve, top with tender greens or microgreens and remaining dressing.

Sarosh’s Chicken Jalfrezi Pita Pockets with Quick Pickled Onions

(Photograph by Gabriel Cabrera)

This chicken jalfrezi recipe uses store bought rotisserie chicken and can be made the day before and refrigerated. The versatile filling can be served cold or lightly heated and tucked into pitas.

Buckwheat Noodles and Assorted Vegetables with Gochujang Vinaigrette | Bibimguksu

(Photograph by Leela Ceed)

Consider this warm-weather showstopper “the cold noodle brother of the bibimbap.” The rainbow of veggies, noodles, and protein of your choice can all be made well in advance. Everything can stay in the fridge or cooler until lunch. And you can turn it up or down and serve it salad bar style — with sweet and spicy sauces — so everyone can whip up a bowl to their liking.

Ultimate Lobster Rolls

Prepare the lobster filling beforehand and toast the buns just before serving. Toss a bag of salt and vinegar chips and you’re done.

Having dinner

Shrimp and Pineapple Tacos on a baking sheet

(Photo: David Bagosy, Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

Although taco night is always a hit, it could be even better at the cabin. Instead of heating the oven, grill one set of skewers with pineapple and vegetables and another with marinated shrimp. They don’t take long to cook, so prepare the toppings while the barbecue heats up.

BBQ Chimichurri Chicken

(Photo credit: Adrian Harris and Jeremy Inglett)

The Marinated Protein Pack makes grilling dinner a snap. This particular recipe can be made up to a day ahead and will pair well with the salads below.

A citrus salad (especially!) to prepare in advance

Kale Salad with Tahini Ranch Dressing

(Photo: David Bagosy, Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

Salads that travel? Perfect for cottage living! These two are simple to prepare, plus they pack up like a dream and come together easily with awesome results. (PS: You’ll want to make more tahini ranch sauce because it’s so good.)

Make-Ahead Eggplant Borani

(Photograph by Leila Ashtari)

Serve this vegetarian option with a meal consisting of grilled meat. Each item can be prepared well in advance and assembled just before serving. Be sure to include bread or pitas for dipping.

Kalbi beef short ribs

These ribs can be marinated a day or two ahead and are great for outdoor grilling. Serve this popular dish with kimchi, sliced ​​cucumbers and lots of leaf lettuce. A platter of pajeon (below) makes a great starter for this meal.


(Photograph by Soo Kim)

Fry these savory green onion pancakes ahead of time at home and store them in airtight containers with parchment paper between the layers so they don’t stick together. Reheat them on a griddle, in a cast iron skillet on a grill or in the oven, and serve with lots of sauce.

Chickpea burgers with halloumi and roasted tomatoes

(Credit: Shahir Massoud)

Smashed burgers

Burger night! Wrap the seasoned meat shaped into patties and prepare all the toppings beforehand. Then cook the patties on a griddle (a large cast iron skillet placed on the barbecue also works) and set up a burger building station for everyone to enjoy. For a vegetarian option, look no further than these chickpea burgers.

For dessert or snack

Strawberry Shortcake Scones

Bake these scones ahead of time; let them cool completely; then store them in an airtight container covered with paper towel (this prevents them from getting soggy). They are best reheated and served in a day or two. Strawberries can be substituted with peaches, plums or blueberries, so use fruit you have purchased from local fruit stalls. Whip the cream just before serving and you have a vacation-worthy dessert or breakfast in a snap.

Orange flavored date crumb bars

(Photograph by Michael Gozum)

Here’s another make-ahead treat that’s perfect for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack with your third coffee! If you’re really organized, bake and freeze the squares up to three months in advance. Pack them frozen and they’ll be ready to eat by the time you arrive at your destination.

Flo Leung is a Toronto-based illustrator and noodle lover. You can find his work on and @hungryeyesstudio.

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