These Staycation Menus Take You to Faraway Places on a Dime Thanks to Trader Joe's
While we love to travel to other states and countries to taste their own cuisine right in their homeland (and meet the local experts who make the classic recipes), our bank accounts and calendars don't always allow for several extended vacations every year. But we don't know about you, but after the wackiness of the past couple years we are ready for an escape!
So we're decking out our backyard for alllll the summer staycations. With these 10 classic lawn games and 15 low-fuss backyard picnic recipes, plus 12 vacation-inspired cocktails and mocktails to keep the travel blues away, we can enjoy an affordable, rejuvenating "getaway" just steps away from homes. As well as our beds and showers, because to be honest, camping often sounds more relaxing than it actually is, right?
To make each weekend staycation taste like a new, transportive experience, we've rounded up the best globe-spanning menus featuring products you can buy all at one place: Trader Joe's.
4 Backyard Staycation Menus Featuring Trader Joe's Goodies
Stock up on your next supermarket run, mix in a few fan-favorite Allrecipes dishes and you'll be all set to savor four stellar three-course snack-ations. Each of these recipe ideas can be easily made ahead or assembled in a matter of minutes so you can keep those vacation vibes in full effect. While they don't call for exclusively all Trader Joe's items — so you can add in your freezer and pantry staples or use finds from other stores — they star a majority of products you can find at the value-minded retailer.
By the way, this isn't sponsored by Joe, but we shop at TJ's and see you there doing the same!
For a taste of the tropics, say, Hawaii, Costa Rica, or Jamaica, you can't miss with this oh-so-summery collection.
- Appetizer: Build a tropical "charcuterie board" with Trader Joe's Plantain Chips, our Mango, Corn, and Black Bean Salsa, Easy and Delicious Avocado Dip and Trader Joe's Sesame-Crusted Hardwood Smoked Ahi Tuna so everyone can dunk, stack and savor as they desire.
- Entrée: Stuff Trader Joe's Sweet Pull Apart Aloha Rolls with shredded pork shoulder simmered in the slow cooker with Trader Joe's Organic Sweet & Spicy Pineapple BBQ Sauce. It's like the saucy, set-and-forget makeover of a pig roast!
- Dessert: Freeze up a batch of our Kiwi-Lime Pops and use Trader Joe's Organic Kiwi, if desired.
- Drink: Add a splash of club soda to Trader Joe's Cold-Pressed Watermelon Juice (and stir in a shot of vodka or tequila for the 21+ crowd, if you're feeling spirited).
Whether you're craving a French feast, would swoon over a trip to Spain or Greece or wish for a visit to an Italian trattoria, this menu will satisfy.
- Appetizer: Assemble a snack spread featuring Trader Joe's Quinoa-Stuffed Dolmas and Giant Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce, crostini made with Organic French Baguette and plenty of fresh crudites.
- Entrée: Remix our Tortellini Salad with Trader Joe's Ricotta and Lemon Zest Ravioli instead of tortellini and snag some Salame di Parma Mild Salami to swap in for the pepperoni.
- Dessert: Crumble Trader Joe's Belgian Butter Waffle Cookies atop a scoop of stracciatella-like Trader Joe's Organic Vanilla Fudge Chip Ice Cream for a cool, 60-second final course.
- Drink: Pop open a French rosé like La Ferme Julien Rosé—it pairs well with pretty much everything! (Especially your glass on a warm evening.)
So cozy, so comforting and so stress-free! This semi-homemade Southern menu tastes like what we imagine a warm hug from a Southern grandma might feel like.
- Appetizer: Warm up a sheet pan full of Mac and Cheese Bites to get the staycation started in fitting comfort food style.
- Entrée: Fully cooked and already dressed in hickory smoke barbeque sauce, Trader Joe's Barbecue Pulled Chicken turns into a meat and three once you add toasted and buttered White Sliced Bread, warmed canned baked beans and canned green beans. (Add No Sugar Dry Rubbed Uncured Bacon if you like—we do!)
- Dessert: Pair warm slices or Trader Joe's Peaches and Cream Tarte and halved, grilled Peaches with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.
- Drink: Wash this all down with icy glasses of Trader Joe's Fresh-Squeezed Limeade.
Enjoy the best parts about camping — the crackling fire (might we recommend this fire pit/grill?), the conversation and of course the food! — minus the al fresco restroom situation and the hard-as-a-rock sleeping surface.
- Appetizer: "Ultra easy" is our M.O. when we're in a camping mood, these recipe ideas follow suit. For a snacky starter, set out hearty Trader Joe's Trail Mix Crackers with this Cheese Party Tray and your favorite jams and mustards.
- Entrée: The fire is likely already stoked, so put it to great use by grilling up a batch of Organic Grass-Fed Uncured Beef Hot Dogs and toasting up several of your go-to hot dog buns. To take the dogs over the top, spoon on Tomato Ketchup with Black Summer Truffle. For vegetarians or an easy side dish, toss some Veggie Kabobs on the grates as well, then pair allo of the above with Ridge Cut Potato Chips with Sea Salt.
- Dessert: DIY s'mores are a must on a camp-inspired staycation night. Use that fire pit to roast some Trader Joe's Marshmallows to sandwich between a couple graham cracker squares along with several pieces of Organic Almond Beverage Chocolate Bar.
- Drink: Since you can just stroll back home after the fire and party dies down, crack open an intensely-hoppy and surprisingly-boozy (8.4 percent ABV) Boatswain Double I.P.A.. It's a treat with any barbecued eats and will please craft beer aficionados and brew newbies alike.