Monday, May 3, 2010

Question: Vacation Meal Planning

You all have been a wonderful at resource to my questions. I love your ideas for children's cookbooks! Do you mind if I ask another question?

We are planning our very first week long family vacation this month. Since we will be staying at a house with a kitchen, I'm hoping to cook all our meals. Not only will it be cheaper, and healthier, but waiting in a restaurant with four hungry tired children is not my idea of a vacation.

On the other hand, spending hours in the kitchen is not really a vacation either. I'd appreciate any ideas for simple meals that I could prepare ahead. We will have a full kitchen, grill and I may take my crockpot. It would be nice to have some meals that could be packed along for the day and others that we would eat when we return to our vacation home.

I'm looking forward to your ideas! Thank you!

12 comments :

  1. I am so happy to finally have something to offer you since you've so blessed me. We did a week long trip last fall in which we stayed in a condo with a full kitchen. Because it was a homeschool field trip we were gone all day everyday so I didn't want to have to come home and cook.
    So, before we left home and prepared and froze a casserole (in a disposable pan) for every day that we'd be gone. Then we packed them tightly in our cooler and moved them into the freezer at our destination. Each evening I'd move the next day's dinner into the fridge to thaw. Overnight and while we were gone. As soon as we got home each day I just slid the casserole in the oven and turned it on. By the time we'd had showers, etc., it was ready.
    I served the casseroles with bagged salads (please don't be horrified, I was on vacation), bread and brownies that we'd also made before we left.
    That most amazing thing is that everyone, even my teenagers, agreed it was better to have a restful meal at "home" than to stretch out an already long day by going to a restaurant.

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  2. We've done this sort of thing several times. Usually the three-day specials, off-season, at the state parks. I just tried to keep things very simple. Make a list of the meals. Make another list of every item needed to fix those meals. Make a list of things to buy at the nearest grocery store so we don't have to carry cold food with us. I didn't worry about a stellar menu for the trip. Relied a little more on mixes and canned items. Cant go wrong with hamburgers, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, spaghetti with a bagged salad, and macaroni and cheese. And WalMart has Angus hotdogs, no nitrites/nitrates, now. Grab some buns and no-bean chili, and you're in business. Sandwiches are good, too. Plastic pitcher for tea and bag of ice when you get there (or take ice trays to make SURE you have them). Make it easy on yourself! Have a good time!

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  3. I would suggest taking your favorite crockpot recipes and putting them together before you leave for the day and when you come back to the house where you are staying they will be ready for eating!

    Or you could precook and freeze ground beef for spaghetti, tacos, burritos or pizza(make and freeze crust ahead, preshred the cheese and freeze to) to be thrown together when you want it.

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  4. One of my favorite fast easy left over meal is Taco Soup. Mix left over taco meat, kidney beans, corn, onion and a couple of cans of tomato sauce. Mix about a can of water and you're in business. Then I serve with tortilla chips for dipping/ breaking into the soup, sour cream, cheese, and salsa. It's a crock pot meal and takes 5 minutes to put together.

    I love being able to vacation without having to eat out. I think it's worth it's weight in gold! :)

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  5. This weekend I made a very simple lunch that my kids all loved. It is soooo simple and quick. I bought several cans of pillsbury crescent rolls and I chopped up some ham lunchmeat and some cheddar cheese. Then you just roll it up in the crescent roll and bake and you have super quick ham and cheese croissants. You could use any type of meat or cheeses. And you could pack it up for a picnic or beach trip.

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  6. Wow. I'm liking everything I've read so far!
    I was going to leave a recipe - Santa Fe Chicken from the Fly Lady. Chicken breasts or tenders (I use 2 -3 breasts or about 6 tenders, raw and cut up in chunks/ bite size pieces); a jar of salsa (about 1 1/2 cups worth); a can of black beans; a can of corn (or pint of frozen corn); one block of cream cheese. Mix everything except the cream cheese in crock pot. Put on low and leave alone for about 4 hours. Add cream cheese and leave alone for about an hour. Stir and serve with tortillas or tortilla chips or rice. We really like this and it's easy.

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  7. You ladies are making me hungry! Thanks so much for all your ideas! I'm working on the menu now and want to start making some things for the freezer this week, so it isn't all left for the last minute! I'm excited about eating good this vacation!
    Thanks,
    Gina

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  8. Gina, I too am going on our very first long vacation to a condo with a full kitchen. We will be there 2 weeks. I am planning on doing what Susan said. I want to make casseroles that can be frozen and taken with me ( ie, broccoli and cheese, spaghetti, lasagna, pre-grilled hamburgers, my own breads, beef stroganoff, poppy seed chicken casserole, frozen oven-fried chicken breasts for sandwiches, chili, squash casserole, quiche and such). The area where I'm staying also has a local farmer's market so I will be able to get the ingredients for a fresh salad and veggies. Hope this helps. I am planning for the weekend (Saturday or Sunday) to be a restaurant day just for fun!

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  9. We do a lot of "vacationing", mostly going to our hunting camp where you have to carry everything in on your back so hauling in a lot of fresh groceries is not my idea of fun!

    I agree with the frozen casseroles, nothing easier than being able to pop something in and not have to worry about it. Cabbage rolls and poultry pot pies are favourites around here too. I've never used a crock pot, but that sounds like a great idea. Too bad you don't whether or not the oven there has a timer, you could set something in at the beginning of the day to cook slowly until you get home.

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  10. Gina,
    One of our favorite things was campers stew. Make out a large hamburger patty, put it on heavy duty aluminum foil, on top of the beef put large chunks of onion, carrots and potatoes. Wrap up the foil and bake for about an hour at 350. With a salad this is all you need and it is something the children can help with. Also when we were traveling when our daughter was small, our traveling meal was fried chicken, pimento cheese sandwiches, dill pickles and chips. Nothing like stopping at a rest area and eating outside in the picnic area. A good way to rest from being in the car....have fun on your trip

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  11. My hubby and I stay in a cabin with kitchen for a few days a couple times a year. I've learned to plan carefully and creatively for our food, knowing we will be packing most of it along with us. I tend to plan very simple meals, almost as simple as if we were camping.

    You could grill meats and have purchased potato or pasta salad as a side dish. Most supermarket delis carry prepared salads and for the most part they are quite good. Same with the bagged salads. Yes, these things are more expensive than making your own, but still cheaper than eating out, and after all, you are on vacation!

    Love Susan's casserole idea! (And the accompaniment ideas as well.) I would definitely do that if I were vacationing with my family. In fact, I may borrow that idea for our next getaway.

    The crockpot is also a wonderful idea. I've done that a few times in this situation and it was wonderful to have a meal all ready when we returned from whatever we'd been doing away from the cabin. Just add bread or rolls!

    Thanks for asking this question. The answers are helpful to all of us, I'm sure!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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