Written by monthly contributing writer, Trina Holden.
Summer means road trips and adventures in our family, but along with the fun and change of scenery is the challenge of eating well while away from home. Did you know you can enjoy the comfort and nutrition of home cooking while traveling with just a little bit of planning? Here are my tips for real food on the road, actually written from our campsite in PA. while attending Creation Festival Northeast. We’re saving money and enjoying delicious, home-cooked meals the entire trip, thanks to these menu ideas…
While on the Road…sandwiches get old fast. I like to packed hearty salads and pepperoni rolls to spice things up. Try these quick and tidy meals for in the car or at a rest stop.
- Taco Salad To Go: Layer seasoned meat, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, and chopped veggies and beans of your choice in a bowl with a lid. Pack sour cream, salsa, and chips on the side. When you get hungry, throw the toppings on, put the lid on and shake it to mix.
- Rice Salad: Combine cooked rice, cooked and chopped chicken, sliced avocados, slivered almonds, chopped celery, and dried cranberries. Make a simple dressing of mayonaise, yogurt and a bit of curry powder. Store in the cooler. Refreshing and filling!
- Pepperoni Rolls: Roll pizza dough out into a wide, thin rectangle. Spread sparingly with pizza sauce, then sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese, basil, and chopped pepperoni. Roll up jelly-roll style and slice into 1 inch thick sections. Place cut-side up on a greased baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and let rise for 30 min. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. Enjoy fresh and hot OR cold and packed in the cooler – great for passing to kids in the back seat!
At Your Destination...The secret to nourishing, tasty meals on vacation is doing the work before you leave and planning meals you can heat and serve with minimal effort. I begin filling my freezer weeks in advance of a trip by doubling a night’s dinner and freezing half for the trip. Meals that work great for this include:
- Sloppy Joes: Sauce and Rolls freeze well, and the rolls won’t get crushed as easily if they’re frozen!
- Pizza Dough: Thaw the dough while you’re hiking or at the pool, have everyone pitch in with toppings for a great family dinner when you get back.
- Meatloaf: Season and shape meatloaf in advance. Throw it in the oven with a few baked potatoes and serve with fresh, local produce.
Roughing It With Real Food…Camping may be the most challenging place to attempt real food, but again, planning ahead gets you there. Frozen meats and other foods will keep several days in a sealed cooler, so use one cooler as ‘fridge’ and one as ‘freezer’ and only open your ‘freezer’ once a day to pull out dinner.
- Hamburgers: Make your own hamburger and hotdog buns ahead of time, freezing them to keep them from getting crushed on the trip. Season and shape, and freeze hamburger patties ready for the coals.
- Marinade: Freeze chicken or steak in your favorite marinade so it’s all ready for the grill.
- Chili: Don’t overlook the simplicity of a good pot of soup. Choose something that doesn’t burn easily (vegetable beef stew, chili, or goulash). Make ahead, freeze, and it will help keep the rest of your cooler contents cold.
I hope these tips help you realize that “Bon Voyage” doesn’t mean “Farewell” to good, home cooking. You can take your diet convictions and comfort food with you on vacation and get the best of both worlds.
What are your favorite travel-worthy menu ideas? Please share!
For more tips for travel, check out Healthy & Frugal Travel Meals.