Quick & Easy Boat Recipes

For the Cockpit Grill

For the Galley

Breakfast Lunch Dinner

We all know how to throw frozen wings on the grill when we're out for a day sail and every sailor has a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew stashed in the larder. 

Here I'm trying to capture stuff we tried on board that we liked, so I can reproduce them later on.



Grilled Thin Crust Pizza

Tell everyone to drop anchor and dinghy over, this is a meal best enjoyed with friends and a cold beer. Don't be afraid to get creative. 

Start with flour taco or tortilla shells. Throw them on the grill for a few minutes per side. Just enough to start them bubbling  so the moisture is cooked out. Make a stack of cooked shells, at least two per person. 

Now turn your grill down to around 300 degrees. While the temperature is coming down make up the first batch of pizzas. Use basic off the shelf pizza sauce and add whatever toppings you want. For something different use BBQ sauce, cooked onions, cooked chicken and cheese to make BBQ chicken pizzas. 

Use a very thin layer of sauce and lots of cheese and put them on the grill just long enough to melt the cheese. You can't believe how good these taste!


Grilled portobella and goat cheese sandwiches


BBQ Steaks & Baked Potatoes

This is one of those recipes that's too simple to taste this good. 
  • Bone in ribeye steaks
  • Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce (or any rich tangy BBQ sauce you like)
  • Salt & Pepper

You want the sweeter meat of a ribeye steak. It will taste much better in this recipe than other cuts. Salt and pepper your steaks then drop them into a freezer bag with a healthy amount of BBQ sauce, two steaks per bag. Toss the steaks in the bag making sure to coat them well. Marinate the steaks in your fridge or in a cooler for a minimum of three hours. 

Bring your grill up to a warm heat (about 300º). Place the steaks on the grill and close the lid. Cooking times will vary depending on your grill. The idea is to cook the steaks slowly, as you would cook ribs. Resist the temptation to turn them. They BBQ sauce will carmelize on the steaks and infuse them with flavor. Serve with chips for a simple meal, or put potatoes wrapped in foil on the grill when you start the marinade. After three hours at 300º the potatoes will be fork tender. Remove them when you put the steaks on, leaving them in the foil so they'll stay hot.

Hoisin shrimp skewers

  • 1lb fresh raw shrimp, peeled and deveined.
  • Khun Chun Hoisin sauce
  • Salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Cayene pepper
  • Sugar
  • Grill skewers

Hoisin is a sweet Chinese BBQ sauce and these sweet hot shrimp skewers are great as a snack or as a main course. Make them up and start the marinade in the morning or at lunch (the longer they marinade the better).

Soak the wooden grill skewers in warm water while you're peeling the shrimp to prevent burning. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Put five shrimp on each skewer and coat each side with salt, pepper, cayene pepper and a sprinkle of sugar. Be liberal with the cayene peper. It will be balanced by the sweetness of the hoisin. The sugar will carmelize on the surface of the shrimp and help the BBQ sauce to bind to the shrip. Brush both sides of the shrimp liberally with hoisin sauce. The taste of hoisin can vary greatly from brand to brand, use Khun Chun if available. Seal the skewers in a tupperware container in your fridge or cooler for at least four hours. longer is better. 

Heat your grill to a medium heat. Fold a paper towel and coat one side with olive oil and use it to coat your grill. This will keep the shrimp from sticking. Lay the skewers on the grill for 10 minutes with the lid closed. Exact grilling times will vary based on your grill, but the shrimp will tell you when they're done, they'll turn pink under the BBQ sauce and will butterly open where they were deveined. 

Forget the wine and the rum drinks. Wash them down with a cold beer and watch the sun set. 


BBQ shrip skewers


Simple BBQ Chicken

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
  • ½ tbl sp mustard powder
  • Salt 
  • Pepper

Clean the chicken and cut each thigh in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine chicken and BBQ sauce in a large Tupperware container, close the lid tightly and shake to coat chicken. Let marinate for at least four hours, overnight is better. For something a little different mix in mustard powder for a little extra spice.

Heat your grill to a medium high heat. Fold a paper towel and coat one side with olive oil and use it to coat your grill. This will keep the chicken from sticking. Put the chicken on the grill for 12 minutes with the lid closed. Exact grilling times will vary based on your grill.

Island Chicken

Same as above but use any of the spicey pineapple marinades you find in your supermarket. Make black beans and rice in advance and spread it flat over tin foil, wrapping it over the make a sealed pouch. Throw the pouch on the grill to heat the rice to go with your chicken.

Italian Chicken (4 servings)

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle Italian dressing
  • 4 tbl sp chopped portobello mushrooms
  • 4 tbl sp black olives
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 1 tbl sp dried onion flakes

Mariniate chicken a minimum of four hours in Italian dressing. Make four individual foil pouches. In each pouch put a chicken breast, a table spoon of marinade, ½ tbl sp mushrooms, ½ tbl sp olives, ½ tsp capers, ¼ tbl sp onion flakes. Grill pouches over medium heat with grill closed for 15 minutes. Serve with cold pasta salad and a sweet white wine.

Old Bay Scallop Skewers

  • 1 lb fresh scallops cut into chunks no larger than 1"
  • 8 slices bacon
  • Pan searing flour
  • Old Bay seasoning

Brown the bacon but don't cook it completely. It should still be pliable and fatty. Cut the bacon into 1" long pieces.

Mix the Old Bay into the pan searing flour to taste. Coat the scallops with the mix. Alternate the scallops with slices of bacon on skewers soaked in warm water. Grill skewers until the scallops are done and serve with your favorite libation.

Lobster tails on the grill

Lobster tails are easy and they taste great. The shells should be split down the middle, if they're not use a sharp knife with the tip inserted just ahead tip of the tail. Slice downward with one smooth motion. reverse the knife and finish the cut through the tail. You want a nice hot grill to get that char taste on the lobster. Once your grill is nice and hot simply sprinkle the lobster with a little salt, you don't need much, and spread butter on the meat and place it meat side down on the grill and close the lid. The tail is done when the shell turns bright red. 

Serve with drawn butter and lemon wedges. 

How to make drawn butter

  • Over low- medium heat, gently melt butter in a saucepan and bring melted butter to a slow boil.
  • As the butter boils, foam or froth will form on the surface. Remove the foam with a spoon and discard.
  • After a few minutes, the milk solids will separate themselves from the oil and sink to the bottom. The drawn butter is done when the oil is clear and is golden in color. Drawn butter is traditionally served with the mild solids settled to the bottom.

Lime Grilled Shrimp 

  • 36  large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2  cup  Grilling Marinade
  • 2  tablespoons  honey
  • 1  teaspoon  Key lime zest
Make marinade up in advance and refrigerate. 

Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Combine shrimp, marinade, honey, and zest in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Marinate 1 hour in refrigerator. Drain shrimp well before grilling; discard marinade.

Grill shrimp in a hot grill basket 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Grilling Marinade, makes 1/2 cup 

  • 1  egg yolk
  • 1  tablespoon  balsamic vinegar
  • 1  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1/4  cup  canola oil
  • 1/4  cup  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  seasoned salt
  • 3/4  teaspoon  onion powder
  • 3/4  teaspoon  paprika
  • 1/2  teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground white pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  dry mustard
  • 1/4  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1/4  teaspoon  dried thyme
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground red pepper
Place first 3 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. With blender on, add oils in a slow, steady stream until blended. Add seasoned salt and remaining ingredients; process until smooth. Cover and store in refrigerator.

Lemon Lime Littlenecks

  • 1lb fresh littleneck clams
  • 4 lemons and 4 limes quartered

Bring the grill up to a medium high heat. Rinse the littlenecks to wash off any sand. Transfer them to the grill with tongs. As the clams open, flip them so the meat side is down, and squeeze a few drops each of lemon and lime into each clam so the clam is simmering in the juices. They should simmer for three to five minutes after opening, keep an eye on them to make sure they don't dry out. Serve with cold light beer.





Potato Hash, Sweet Eggs and Bacon
The sweetness of the eggs complements the spice and starch of the potato hash. Reserve this dish until you've been cruising a day or so if there are any sensitive stomachs on board. Otherwise you may be tempting mal de mer. You can substitute sausage for the bacon.

  • 1 can potatoes
  • 1 ½ tbl spoons dried minced onions
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbl spoon chilli powder
  • 2 tbl spoons pan searing flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 slices bacon

In a pan cook the bacon over a medium heat and set aside. Open the canned potatoes, pour off the water and crush them on your cutting board. Add minced onions, salt, pepper, chilli powder and pan searing flour and knead together. 

Add the mixture to the hot bacon fat. Cook for four minutes and flip with a spatula, break up the larger sections that have started to brown together. Cook an additional four minutes. Angle the pan up to let the excess bacon fat drain off to one side and scoop the potatoes out of the pan. They should be well browned. Reserve about a table spoon of bacon grease in the pan and pour off any excess. 

While the potatoes are cooking beat the eggs, sugar and a dash of salt and pepper together. When the potatoes are removed from the pan add the eggs to the remaining bacon fat and scramble.

Spanish Fisherman's Breakfast, Chorizo & Eggs
Use equal numbers of sausage and eggs, two links to two eggs, or three and three depending on how many people for breakfast. Figure two eggs and two sausage per person. You can substitute smoked sausage or andouille for chorizo.

  • Chorizo Sausage 
  • Eggs 
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Remove the casing from the sausage and pan fry over a medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp. Drain excess grease from the pan. Crack and beat the eggs and pour over cooked sausage in the hot pan mixing until the eggs are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toasted bread or rolls. If you have leftover potatoes from dinner mash them and add them in with the sausage just before adding the eggs for a thicker, heartier hash.



Cuban Sandwich (Key West Cuban Mix)
There are a lot of different ways to make a Cuban sandwich. This is how they're made at B's in Key West. The first place we had one and still one of the best. Combine healthy helpings of the meats, a quick brush of dijon mustard and a slice of cheese on each slice of bread (top and bottom). Give the outside of the bread a light brush of olive oil. Cook in a pannini press or sear each side in a pan compressing the sandwich with another pan. The cheese will melt and bond the whole sandwich together.

  • Cuban Bread (you can susbtitute French bread, not Itallian)
  • Roast Pork
  • Ham
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Pickles

Simple Crab Spread 

  • 12 oz. cream cheese 
  • 13 oz. crab meat 
  • 4 Tbsp chopped onion 1/2 cup mayonaise

Mix with fork. Bake at 350° for approx 30 minutes. Serve with crackers.

Simple Crab Spread - #2

  • 1 pack Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 13 oz. can crab meat 
  • Cocktail sauce

Mix crab meat and cocktail sauce to taste and serve room temperature over cream chees with crackers. 

Salsa & Cream Cheese Spread

  • 1 pack Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 jar mild salsa

Pour salsa over room temperature (soft) cream cheese. Serve with Townhouse crackers.




Quick and Easy Chilli
  • 1 lb ground beef or beef/lamb/veal mix
  • 4 tbl spoons chilli powder
  • 1 tbl spoon garlic powder
  • 4 tbl spoons dried minced onions
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 can Campbell's tomato soup

Brown meat over a low heat. Spoon off excess grease. Add all ingredients and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes until thickened. Serve in a bowl topped with cheese and a roll for a filling meal.

Waterman's Oyster Stew
This is an old Chesapeake Bay Waterman's recipe. If the forecast is calling for rainy, sloppy weather, make a pot up before leaving the dock and set the covered pot in the sink. Laddle out a bowl of the still warm soup for lunch and reheat on the stove for dinner for an easy meal that will take off the chill. Serve with bread or rolls.

From James A. Michener's "Chesapeake", (An excerpted conversation between the cook, Big Jimbo and the crew aboard the Skipjack, Jessie T. as she prepared for her maiden trip to dredge for "arsters" in Maryland's Choptank River). I'm going to scale this down and reproduce it. A couple of people who have, have raved about the results.

A She-stew is the traditional one: Eight oysters per person boiled slightly in their own liquor, then in milk thickened with flour, flavored with celery, salt and pepper. A great opening course, but not a meal for a working man. 

A He-Stew is quite different, as Big Jimbo prepared his version. First he took a mess a bacon and fried it crisp. As it sizzled he chopped eight large onions and two hefty stalks of celery. Deftly he whisked the bacon out, tossing the vegetables into the hot oil to saute. Soon he withdrew them, placing them with the bacon. 

Then he tossed the forty eight oysters into the pan, browning them just enough to implant the flavor, then he quickly poured in the liquor from the oysters and allowed them to cook until their gills wrinkled. 

Next Big Jimbo did two things that made his stew unforgettable. Taking a small pinch of tapioca powder, he tossed it into the oysters and liquor and in a few minutes the finely ground tapioca powder had expanded it into a large translucent, gelatinous mass. 

When he was satisfied he poured the oysters into the milk, which he had already brought to a simmer, tossed in the vegetables, then crumbled the bacon between his fingers, throwing it on top. The sturdy dish was almost ready. Finally, Big Jimbo dusted the top of the stew with Saffron, giving it a golden richness, which he augmented with a hollowly of butter at the last moment. When the crew dug in, they found one of the richest, tastiest "Arster" stews a marine cook had ever devised.

Seafood Chowder 
Serves six. Like the oyster stew this is a great recipe to cook up if you know you have a wet rainy day ahead of you. 

  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed 
  • ½ cup water 
  • 2 small slices salt pork 
  • ½ cup chopped onion 
  • ½ stalk celery, sliced 
  • 1 bay leaf salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 can cream of celery soup 
  • 1 can cream of potato soup 
  • 1 pound fish fillet cubes (white fish preferred) or equal amounts crabmeat (cleaned), shrimp, oysters or all of the above 
  • ½ cup grated carrot (for color) 
  • ½ cup peas (for color)

Cook potatoes in a half cup of water until done.

In a separate pan, fry salt pork, and sauté onions and the celery in the fat until tender. Then combine those and rest of ingredients and simmer gently for ten minutes.

Simple White Clam Chowder (makes 4 servings)

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups minced clams
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Combine water, potato, onion, salt and pepper in a large saucepan over medium high heat; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until potato is tender. 

Add clams and return mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let stand 20 minutes.

Stir in cream and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thoroughly heated. 

Pan Seared Scallops & String Beans
Light, sweet and filling one pan dish. Easy to make, easy to clean up. Serve with rice or potatoes. 

  • 1 lb fresh scallops
  • Pan searing flour
  • ½ lb fresh string beans
  • Salt, sugar and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Butterfly scallops to half their thickness and dust them heavily with pan searing flour, shaking off the excess. Clean and prep green beans. Drizzle olive oil into a sautee pan over a medium high heat. Put the scallops in the center of the pan and arrange the green beans around them. Salt and pepper the green beans to taste, and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Don't overdo the sugar, just enough to carmelize on the beans and add a touch of sweetness. After three minutes turn the scallops and green beans. Sautee until scallops are done. Remove and serve.

Sauteed Chicken & Green Beans

Follow the directions for the dish above substituting chicken for the scallops and substituting cayene pepper for the sugar. Butterfly the chicken breasts so they're thin and will cook faster. When the chicken is just about done drizzle real maple syrup over the beans (don't use fake syrup, it will be a mess). Let the syrup just come to a boil, remove from the heat and serve. The contrast of the sweet and hot is what makes this dish.

Rosemary Potatoes

  • 1lb baby red potatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Dried minced onions
  • Olive oil

Thin slice or cube the potatoes. Coat a baking pan with olive oil and put line the pan with the potatoes. Sprinkle salt, pepper, onions and finely chopped rosemary over the potatoes. This isn't precise, just get plenty of each on the potatoes and be especially generous with the salt. Bake for 30 minutes at 425. Remove from the oven, toss the potatoes and put back into the oven for another 15 minutes. 

To add chicken to the mix, salt and pepper two chicken breasts and lay them on top of the potatoes for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.


Chicken & Sundried Tomato Pasta
Quick, easy and tasty. Make sure the galley is well vented to allow the steam out.

  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • ½ tsp powdered garlic
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ lb pasta (spagetti or zitti)
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 small can mushrooms

Prepare pasta and set aside. Pan sear chicken breasts, seasoning with salt and pepper. When done dice chicken and set aside. In a sautee pan add sun dried tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, capers and mushrooms. Cook together over a very low heat. After three to five minutes check the amonut of olive oil that has cooked out fo the sun dried tomatoes. You need enough to lightly coat the pasta, and you may need to add a little more to the pan (don't use extra virgin, it will be to sharp).  Continue cooking for for ten minutes to infuse the flavors into the olive oil. Turn the flame up to a medium heat and slowly add the pasta into the sautee pan tossing it in the oil as you go. Make sure to thouroughly coat the pasta. Remove from the heat, add the chicken and serve.

Sailor's Beef Stew

Open a can of Dinty Moore, heat it on the stove and serve with bread. 



  • Fried Plantains