The words “cooking” and “vacation” don’t often go hand in hand. But this TravelingMom loves to cook, even on vacation. Here are 3 recipes for easy meals for vacation. The prep is quick and clean up is easy. Since food and lodging are two of the biggest expenses of any vacation, booking a place with a kitchen and cooking a few meals is an easy way to save money on your next family vacation.
Easy Meals on Vacation
In a past life, I attended culinary school. I had aspirations of being a famous chef. While I followed that path for a while, I quickly determined that I didn’t want to continue. The whole “working when everyone else was off” just didn’t work for me. Not to mention the atmosphere in a commercial kitchen isn’t the most *ahem* wholesome.
Still, my culinary training has served me well. I can look in a practically bare pantry and come up with something for dinner. Going on vacation is no exception. Assuming you have booked a place with a kitchen, such as an Airbnb apartment, a resort rental or a houseswap, you’ll have a kitchen. It will have different pots and pans, but you can still cook in it.
My family and I like to eat in for a portion of our stays. After a long day out with the kids, the last thing I want to do is take them to a restaurant. When my kids are done for the day they are DONE. Sitting in a restaurant and waiting for food is the last thing that I want to do. If a few dishes need to be done at the end of a meal to keep my sanity in tact, then pass the dish soap.
Without further ado, here are three of my favorite go-to recipes while we are on vacation!
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 1 box Penne Pasta
- Head of Romaine Lettuce
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Caesar Dressing
- Cook chicken (I use a grill but on vacation it may be necessary to saute) let cool and cut into cubes.
- While your chicken is cooling, cook the penne according to the directions on the box, drain and rinse with cold water.
- Slice cherry tomatoes in half.
- Toss all of the ingredients together with the dressing ( use your own judgment on the amount of the dressing) and top with the croutons.
- If you are making ahead, don't mix the lettuce in until right before time to serve, otherwise it will wilt.
- You will need a medium size stock pot to boil the water for pasta, a frying pan to cook the chicken (unless you have access to a grill), a colander, and a large bowl to toss the salad together.
2 Chicken Breasts
1 box Penne Pasta
Head of Romaine Lettuce
Slice cherry tomatoes in half.
Toss all of the ingredients together with the dressing ( use your own judgment on the amount of the dressing) and top with the croutons.
TravelingMom tip: If you are making ahead, don’t mix the lettuce in until right before time to serve, otherwise it will wilt.
You will need a medium size stock pot to boil the water for pasta, a frying pan to cook the chicken (unless you have access to a grill), a colander, and a large bowl to toss the salad together.
Before you say “my kids won’t eat that,” let me tell you – I once thought the same thing! Then one night, I just decided to give it a shot and I was shocked that my kids ate the salad…and liked it!
Ground Beef or Chicken ( my family of 4 uses 1 lb on taco night)
1 package of Taco Seasoning
Black or Refried Beans (if desired)
Diced Fresh Tomatoes
Shredded Cheese of your choice
Shells (hard or soft)
Brown ground beef or chicken. After the meat is cooked throughly, add the taco seasoning. In the microwave or on the stovetop (whichever is available).
Shred the lettuce, dice the tomatoes.
Put the desired components into your shells and serve!
You will need a skillet for browning the meat, a sauce pan or microwave safe bowl for heating the beans, a cutting board and knife.
Foil Pack/Hobo Dinner
The ingredients can vary wildly on this type of supper. I recommend finding a farmers market in the area and picking up some goodies!
Veggies (whatever vegetables are in season or your kids will eat is perfect for this) I have used zucchini, squash, carrots, onions, asparagus and bell peppers
Meat (chicken, beef, shrimp and fish all work really well.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Cut pieces of aluminum foil 17 inches long (or so), do one per each person.
Slice veggies, and then toss in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide the veggies among the foil sheets, placing the veggies in the center of the foil.
Brush the meat of your choice with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Once you have your foil packed assembled fold the sides together to create a seal. Place all of the foil packets on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 mins.
You will need aluminum foil, a cutting board, a baking sheet and a knife for this recipe.
More Tips for Easy Meals on Vacation
If you are driving to your destination, pack a cooler with pre-made food that is easy to pop in and out of your vacation rental and grab for lunch or even a snack. Some of the foods we like to prepare ahead of time: chicken salad, tuna salad, frozen baked spaghetti or lasagna.
We’d love to hear in the comments below the easy meals that work well for your family when you decide to cook on vacation!