Time spent at a summer cottage can be a fun, and relaxing way to spend your weekends or precious vacation time. Splash in the lake, nap in the shade, spend time with friends and family and eat too many marshmallows.  How do we savour those moments and make summertime meal memories and keep it simple?

Whether you own or rent a cottage, having a go to list of kitchen equipment, pantry items and make ahead or quick to prepare cottage meals and snacks is essential.  Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than the daily question of “what’s for dinner” and not having the tools and ingredients on hand you need.

Kitchen Necessities

This list includes our favourite basics. If you plan to do most of the cooking and you have extra space, consider packing equipment such as a citrus zester and juicer, knife, whisk, good quality tongs and basting brush.  Don’t forget your wine opener, cocktail shaker and go to cocktail ingredients.  Consider these summer pantry essentials:

  • Favorite spices and seasonings for cooking and grilling
  • Favourite condiments – mustards, chutney’s, and pickles
  • Your go to coffee or tea blend
  • High quality oils and vinegars plus other flavour accents such as chili paste, citrus, capers, sesame oil and salsas.

Meal Planning Ease

Meals at the cottage can either be your escape from cooking or a time to enjoy preparing summer’s bounty in a beautiful and relaxed setting.  If cooking is not on your vacation to do list, preparing food in advance or stocking up on prepared salads, and pre-marinated meats for the grill may be your best solution.  Subscription meal packages also provide a time saving solution with delivered and measured ingredients along with quick and easy recipes. Pancake, muffin mixes and fruit crumble toppings can be prepped in advance as can pre-cooked ingredients such as grains and beans. The fun of cooking in the summer is taking advantage of pairing proteins and seasonal vegetables with flavour packed marinades, vinaigrettes, and condiments.  Many summer favourites work well served at room temperature which is a big plus when feeding a crowd!

Foodie Family Snack Must Haves:

Summer just isn’t summer without Smores and a few salty snacks.  But of course, we can’t eat like that all the time, so have on hand, fast, prepared, and healthier snacks to manage the instant hunger pangs that accompany a good hike through the woods, or a morning of swimming or kayaking.

  • Fresh fruit and quality chocolate
  • Yogurt parfaits
  • Cheese, charcuterie, and assorted dips
  • Gourmet potato chips, popcorn, roasted nuts and gluten free crackers
  • Prepped vegetables

Bringing it all Together

Now that you have a plan for easy and delicious meals, don’t forget your favourite beverages for dock side relaxing.  Along with craft beers, refreshing wines and make ahead cocktails, be sure to also have hydrating drinks on hand such as flavoured and sparkling waters.  We love cottages for their simplicity and ability to transport us away from everyday life, and with a little pre-planning, we can do it deliciously!