Author Topic: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?  (Read 1069 times)

Unique User

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Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« on: April 26, 2019, 06:25:01 AM »
We rented a house on the beach for a week and told DD that it was her graduation present and she can have friends come join us.  Since the house has two bunkrooms, boys will be there also.  I'm expecting we'll have 6-10 teenagers per night and want to keep it easy.  We also spent far more on the house than I expected, so meals out will not be happening.  The house has a grill, but it's charcoal and I don't want to think about cooking for that large of a group on one charcoal grill.  I'm assuming the kids will be at the beach, but the house has a pool, so not sure what to plan for lunches.
 Or do I just keep enough snacky type of food so they can graze? Below are some of the thoughts I had, any ideas for inexpensive, make ahead meals that have enough bulk for boys?

Dinners
BBQ shredded chicken or pork sandwiches (can make and freeze meat ahead of time)
Chipotle style bowls (can make and freeze meat, rice and beans ahead of time)
Something with mac and cheese (I have a bag of ready mix mac and cheese that will make a gallon)

Snacks - bake muffins, cookies, etc ahead of time and freeze.  Bring fruit and a veggie tray, hard boiled eggs, cheese and crackers.

Breakfasts - make a coffee cake, bring pancakes & bacon and our griddle, yogurts, cereal

Pigeon

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2019, 06:46:20 AM »
With that many teenagers, I'd plan on roasting an ox or two every night.

I would do big pans of lasagne or baked ziti, a vat of chili (can be made ahead and frozen), sloppy joe mix, roast a ham.  I don't think grilling stuff would be terrible.   For breakfasts, I'd buy bagels and cream cheese and do breakfast casseroles.

Enigma

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2019, 07:45:21 AM »
Pizza night – They are teenagers and that tends to be a party favorite
Taco night – chips, dip, hamburger meat, taco shells

My mom used to do turkey or ham sandwiches for lunch.  Loaf of bread and then turkey meats, mustard, mayo, etc.  Even Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches were fun for lunch.  Sandwiches ready to go to the beach with…  Lots of bottles of water.  Everywhere they turn they could grab a cheap bottle that was bought in bulk.

GuitarStv

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2019, 07:50:57 AM »
Pizza is a great dinner item.  Flour, water, yeast, salt, sugar for the dough, tomato sauce with oregano and garlic, whatever vegetable toppings you want, and a couple bricks of cheese can be had pretty cheap.

Other classics - chili, lasagna, burritos

Pancakes are generally well received and super inexpensive for breakfast.

There's certainly no need for bottled water (or any purchased drink) if the house rented has running water.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 08:19:11 AM by GuitarStv »

Freedomin5

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2019, 09:17:30 AM »
For snacks, ask DD to invite her friends to bring their own snacks. They probably will bring up bags of chips and popcorn  and candy.

Since they’re all older teens (I’m assuming this is high school graduation), rope them into making their own breakfasts. They’re old enough to mix pancake batter and flip pancakes, or make waffles. They can wash and cut up fruit for a fruit salad. You just need to supervise but they can be your assistants. They can also cut up the veggies for veggie platter.

We fed ten people at our lake cottage last summer. We served:

- baked chicken wings/thighs/drumsticks.
- a giant salad for every meal, with lots of deli meat/nuts/fruit/cheese/boiled eggs. We kept the toppings separate and everyone assembled their own salad
- hot dogs and sausages
- assemble-your-own pita wraps
- assemble-your-own gourmet sandwiches
- pasta
- Lots of fruit that you could grab as needed
- Veggies and dip (hummus, ranch, etc.)
- Granola bars
- Muffins and cookies
- plain sliced bread so people could make their own toast in the morning
- instant oatmeal (people added honey and/or fresh fruit)
- Yogurt
- Water, Orange juice, milk, soya milk, coffee, tea

Because everyone has different tastes and food restrictions, we found that it was easiest to do meals where people could pick and choose what they wanted to eat, rather than serving one dish (e.g. lasagne) where you had to eat that one thing or starve. We had guests who were kosher, and guests who were lactose intolerant, and vegetarian, and gluten-free, and allergic to this or that. It was too hard to try to find one meal that fit all requirements.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 09:19:57 AM by Freedomin5 »

pbkmaine

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Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2019, 09:17:52 AM »
https://www.budgetbytes.com/?s=Casseroles
And Google “breakfast casseroles” for hundreds of ideas.

https://theprudenthomemaker.com has nine children, and loads of inexpensive recipes for a crowd.

Also, make a basic food like baked potatoes, have dishes of assorted toppings and call it a “baked potato bar”. Works with lots of things, like chili and tacos. If you can get bread dough or pitas or English muffins cheaply (or make your own), you can do a “make your own pizza”.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 09:25:13 AM by pbkmaine »

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2019, 09:52:17 AM »
Others have covered the food options pretty well, so as a mom of 2 older teens, I’ll chime in on not making yourself nuts. I’d set some expectations (tell your kid and let them tell others) about them making their own breakfasts and lunches from the large stash of groceries you’ve provided, and that they will clean up after themselves as they go: bagel bar, sandwich bar, salad makings, pancake mix etc. Dinners too, can be assembly affairs, so that picky eaters and vegetarians can be satisfied: pre-made pizza doughs with toppings night, “Mexican feast taco night”, pulled pork, beans and slaw night, burger and hot dog night (with a meatless version if needed), chili and baked potatoes with toppings night, and a couple pasta nights (meat sauce, pesto, or Costco lasagna). And they handle dinner cleanup. Don’t set yourself up as the wait staff!

GuitarStv

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2019, 09:59:11 AM »
I would expect the teenagers to do all the cooking and cleanup themselves, with no supervision necessary.

MsPeacock

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2019, 10:46:48 AM »
I would expect the teenagers to do all the cooking and cleanup themselves, with no supervision necessary.

This! Other than some verbal direction - e.g. there are 4 frozen pizzas for your dinners tonight. Cook them when you are ready.

or

There is PBJ and some chips for lunch. Help yourselves.

Cereal and milk is in the kitchen.

I personally wouldn't enjoy myself at all if I was cooking for that many kids over a weekend. Get paper plates. Give them trash duty. Have some bags of chips and dip available.

Keep it simple. My kids wouldn't touch a salad or fruit on a weekend like this.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2019, 11:31:41 AM »
Congartulations on Graduating! You can now join the adult world and cook food. Although the tendency is to keep treating them as people you need to cook for, they're graduates, that's a milestone to celebrate and accept that you're personal responsibility has increased.

Being a kind parent you should supply some assistance. Also give them a heads up and let them have input, don't surprise them. Ask you daughter to plan some of the meals, she can do the allergy checks etc.

I'd probably eat 4 hot dogs/day at that age and some burgers, I'd end up making a fire on the beach to cook the hot dogs. Being teenagers, my friends would probably turn it into a bonfire and it would be awesome. Failing a bonfire then you could just put me on the giill, an entirely reasonable thing for a freeloading house guest. As an adult house guest its considered normal to give back to the hosts on a daily basis.

I also advocate under buying food and topping up mid week. Most people wildy over or underestimate what teenage boys eat in a week, be reasonable and just plan a top up trip.

the_fixer

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2019, 02:04:47 PM »
Dinner Pizza, pasta, teriyaki bowls (rice, steamed veggies and some chicken thighs cooked in teriyaki sauce) taco night.

Lunch diy sandwiches, fruit and chips

Breakfast refrigerator oatmeal or cereal maybe a frittata one morning.

All cheap / easy with little to no effort and stuff kids would tend to enjoy

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« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 02:09:20 PM by the_fixer »

honeybbq

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2019, 02:40:40 PM »
Honestly, I'd tap that grill. Hotdogs and burgers with salads or fries... super easy.

Do you have an instant pot (or 2?)?

Freedomin5

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2019, 05:55:11 PM »
I would expect the teenagers to do all the cooking and cleanup themselves, with no supervision necessary.

I agree with most of this, though some supervision is necessary (or at least an adult presence). I’ve been working with graduating teens for the past eight years, most of whom go on unsupervised graduation trips to Bali and Thailand, where a bunch of them rent a villa and party it up. Bad things can happen if there is absolutely no (nature) adult supervision. Some of the kids at this age still do idiotic things.

Unique User

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2019, 06:45:54 AM »
Thanks for all the ideas!  I wrote them all down.  I appreciate the encouragement to not do the cooking myself and have them pitch in.  They are all graduating and I never considered that I would do all the cooking and cleaning.  DD cooks for herself and when girls spend the night they usually make pancakes and eggs for themselves in the morning and do all the clean up.  The most I do is pull the items out of the cupboards for them so they don't have to hunt.  I figured if I had a plan and pre-made easy things, then I could post a menu and the kids could fend for themselves during the day and help at night. 

I like the idea of the assembly type meals - that fits all tastes and allergies.  I have a double crockpot that could be useful.  We never use disposables, but the paper plates is a great idea.  I'll have to check and see if the house has a fire pit, hot dogs and s'mores would be great.  Unfortunately, no fires are allowed on the beach.  Also great advice on not overbuying.  The kids, including mine, all have jobs, so I imagine they will take themselves out. 

MarciaB

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2019, 11:04:51 AM »
https://www.budgetbytes.com/?s=Casseroles
And Google “breakfast casseroles” for hundreds of ideas.

https://theprudenthomemaker.com has nine children, and loads of inexpensive recipes for a crowd.

Also, make a basic food like baked potatoes, have dishes of assorted toppings and call it a “baked potato bar”. Works with lots of things, like chili and tacos. If you can get bread dough or pitas or English muffins cheaply (or make your own), you can do a “make your own pizza”.

And you can also bake sweet potatoes just like regular ones, and then call them the "paleo potato bar" option.

freeat57

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Re: Easy meals while on vacation with 8+ teenagers?
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2019, 04:06:50 PM »
Sticking with the Mexican food theme..... Take the fixings for Quesadillas, quick and easy with a salad.  Then, the same ingredients plus beans can make burritos.  Use the crock pot to cook the chicken for the filling.  That chicken can also go in Tacos.  Then, toast some tortillas in the oven and break them up to garnish taco salads. A lot can be done with a gallon of salsa, tortillas and cheese!