Author Topic: Hotel room cooking  (Read 15004 times)

horsepoor

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Hotel room cooking
« on: May 16, 2014, 01:49:55 PM »
I'm going to be on travel all next week, and unfortunately won't have a fridge or microwave in my room.  I'm driving, so I will bring a cooler, and will be able to go to a large grocery store while I'm there.  Also planning to bring an electric kettle, and cone/filters for making coffee.

Thought I'd ask this creative group of Mustachians for their favorite hacks for healthy, cheap eating while on the road.  I pretty much have it dialed for cold food, but without a microwave, I'm coming up kind of blank on some ideas for hot food.  Maybe figure out a way to steam food in the kettle or heat soup?  I eat mostly paleo/primal, but all ideas are welcome.  Thanks!


nereo

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2014, 01:59:00 PM »
if you are driving and already planning on bringing an electric kettle I'd look around for a portable induction burner.   In fact, you could skip the electric kettle and just use the induction to heat water for your coffee, then make breakfast/lunch/dinner.
With that there's very little you *can't* make in a hotel room with a simple 120v plug. Safe, easy and portable.
I've seen people hawking them craigslist for $30-50.  You could probably re-sell it for the same price after.


Joggernot

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 02:00:53 PM »
When I was traveling at lot (2 weeks/month) I took a 2-cup rice cooker that plugged into the wall and a can opener.  Bought the rice and cans of beans at the store to make "rice and beans".  Sometimes tried to make PBJs, but the bread didn't last.  This stretched the per diem a long ways.

Find a cheap 2-cup rice cooker on Craigs List or at Walmart.

ketchup

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2014, 02:01:27 PM »
+1 for induction burner.  I have one that we used about a month ago in a hotel room during a trip.  We also brought our slow cooker, which was excellent.  Chili cooked all day while we were out and about for us to feast on when we got back to the room.  And then reheated chili on the induction burner the next morning for breakfast.  Did the same with some stew.


furrychickens

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2014, 03:33:10 PM »
Induction burners weren't around when I was in college, but if you don't mind soup/rice type stuff, you can get pretty creative with a rice cooker/hot pot.

Assuming you have ferrous pans that will work with an induction burner, though, that's hella versatile.

CarDude

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2014, 03:52:26 PM »
I made nearly 4 years' worth of meals in college with a rice cooker. Google some recipes and make stuff happen!

horsepoor

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2014, 08:39:20 PM »
Thanks!  I was thinking rice cooker after I posted.  Will look into an induction burner, too; hadn't thought of that.  I have a couple more week-long business trips coming up this summer, so it might be worth buying one of the two.  My coworkers already think I'm weird for traveling with my kettlebell and a cooler full of food, might as well add in some electric appliances!

mikefixac

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 09:40:37 PM »
You're gonna love this.

I just found out about this electric pressure cooker a few weeks ago and it's now my most used cooking pot. I have a pressure cooker for the cooktop, but this one is electric. Literally, you push (usually) one button, and done.

I'm not paleo, but WFPB, the opposite of you, but I'm sure you could it find useful for everything you cook. I'm doing potatoes, soups, rice and my breakfast oatmeal with this amazing device. I'll certainly be taking it on my cross country trip.

Can't give it a high enough rating.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 09:43:00 PM by mikefixac »

Hamster

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2014, 11:05:57 PM »
Hotel room cooking? When I read that I thought this was an episode of Breaking Bad or something. Anyway, nothing ng to add. Moving along.

horsepoor

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2014, 11:07:16 PM »
Hotel room cooking? When I read that I thought this was an episode of Breaking Bad or something. Anyway, nothing ng to add. Moving along.

Umm... WHY do you have methylamine in your cooler?  And those beakers and masks??

OldDogNewTrick

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2014, 05:47:54 AM »
Since you are eating mostly paleo, you may find an inexpensive electric skillet more useful than a rice cooker. It is both heating element and pan in the same device. Bacon, eggs, chops, steaks, veggies.

DollarBill

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2014, 07:02:00 AM »
What hotel doesn't have a microwave? I can cook seven course meals with one. After many years of dorm living I found a few hacks. Only need hot tap water for couscous or noodles then add veggies, instant oatmeal or potatoes, instant coffee (Just shake in a water bottle). Grilled quesadillas with a hot iron :).

DollarBill

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2014, 08:48:50 AM »
Like a boss :)

Tyler

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2014, 11:02:06 AM »
I usually prefer staying in a cheap hotel suite when possible.  They'll always have a small kitchen area with a fridge and stove.  Look for places that offer extended stay options or that have "suite" in the name. 

AlanStache

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2014, 11:03:31 AM »
Quote
What hotel doesn't have a microwave?

Most hotel rooms will not, but it would not be uncommon for one to be in the breakfast area.  But that too is hit or miss.

RNwastash

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2014, 06:21:28 PM »
When I vacationed for a week in Death Valley with the family, I too had a small rice cooker, small George Foreman grill, and electric kettle in a plastic tub that I stowed everything in when we were out of the room.  It saved us quite a bit of money.

LadyStache

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2014, 06:39:21 PM »
It seems like there are a million things you can do with a slow cooker. Would probably be more versatile than a rice cooker.

plantingourpennies

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2014, 07:33:17 PM »
You're gonna love this.

I just found out about this electric pressure cooker a few weeks ago and it's now my most used cooking pot. I have a pressure cooker for the cooktop, but this one is electric. Literally, you push (usually) one button, and done.

I'm not paleo, but WFPB, the opposite of you, but I'm sure you could it find useful for everything you cook. I'm doing potatoes, soups, rice and my breakfast oatmeal with this amazing device. I'll certainly be taking it on my cross country trip.

Can't give it a high enough rating.

I got my instant pot a few months ago and also absolutely love it.  Though I'll throw out the recommendation to spend $5more and get the one with the built in yogurt maker. 

http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-IP-DUO60-Programmable-Generation/dp/B00FLYWNYQ/ref=dp_ob_title_kitchen

Best yogurt I've ever eaten in my life is coming out of this.  So amazingly good.  And all the other fun stuff I've cooked in it, too.   

Don't know if I'd want to lug it to a hotel, though.  It might be tough to clean in teeny tiny hotel sinks. 

nereo

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2014, 02:12:56 PM »
I got my instant pot a few months ago and also absolutely love it.  Though I'll throw out the recommendation to spend $5more and get the one with the built in yogurt maker. 

http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-IP-DUO60-Programmable-Generation/dp/B00FLYWNYQ/ref=dp_ob_title_kitchen

Best yogurt I've ever eaten in my life is coming out of this.  So amazingly good.  And all the other fun stuff I've cooked in it, too.   
just curious how you do your 'best yogurt' - do you use those yogurt bacteria packets, and if so which ones? 
yogurt-making is the next thing I hope to start doing, since I'm spending $8/week on something I should be able to make for ~$2.

Gimesalot

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2014, 04:45:39 PM »
I think a slow cooker would be the best bet.  Cheap and there are tons of ideas already floating around on the internet.

As a side note:  I make yogurt using this site's method http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2011/04/making-homemade-yogurt-2.html.  For even thicker yogurt, let it ferment for 2 nights.  For my fist batch, I bought a plain yogurt that contained live and active cultures.  After the first batch, I just save a 1/2 cup in the fridge and use that as the starter for my next batch.

OldDogNewTrick

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2014, 04:40:48 AM »
I think a slow cooker would be the best bet.  Cheap and there are tons of ideas already floating around on the internet.

As a side note:  I make yogurt using this site's method http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2011/04/making-homemade-yogurt-2.html.  For even thicker yogurt, let it ferment for 2 nights.  For my fist batch, I bought a plain yogurt that contained live and active cultures.  After the first batch, I just save a 1/2 cup in the fridge and use that as the starter for my next batch.

You know, with a slow cooker you'll need to leave it on all day in the hotel room.... unattended. First, there might be rules against that because management is worried about fire or mess. Second.... eh, I'd worry the staff might eat or add something undesirable to my pot.

DollarBill

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2014, 06:16:49 AM »

plantingourpennies

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2014, 08:22:30 AM »
I got my instant pot a few months ago and also absolutely love it.  Though I'll throw out the recommendation to spend $5more and get the one with the built in yogurt maker. 

http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Pot-IP-DUO60-Programmable-Generation/dp/B00FLYWNYQ/ref=dp_ob_title_kitchen

Best yogurt I've ever eaten in my life is coming out of this.  So amazingly good.  And all the other fun stuff I've cooked in it, too.   
just curious how you do your 'best yogurt' - do you use those yogurt bacteria packets, and if so which ones? 
yogurt-making is the next thing I hope to start doing, since I'm spending $8/week on something I should be able to make for ~$2.

I follow the directions on this pressure cooking site I have quickly grown to love:
http://www.hippressurecooking.com/video-how-to-make-yogurt-in-instant-pot-duo/

WRT to the variations in the directions, I do mine in individual 8oz Ball jam jars, 6 fit in the instant pot at one time.  If you're going to use jars, make sure they're identical, otherwise the cooling process happens at different speeds and it's harder to start them all at once. 
Prior to steaming, I add ~1/2 tsp of rounded Carnation brand powdered milk (a suggestion at the bottom to boost thickness and richness) to the whole milk I use for the process.  For starter, I originally used Fage's 2% plain greek yogurt, but now use the previous batch of yogurt.  I just use the instant pot's default setting of 8 hours for incubation time.  Then I strain each serving in a coffee filter in the fridge for at least 4 hours before eating.  I like my yogurt very thick. 

Sounds like a lot of work, but it's really not... ~ 5 min prep at the start, and being around for the next hour or so until it cools and you can start the incubation.  Then another minute to remove the jars and store in the fridge 8 hours later.  And lastly, I just start a new serving straining after I eat the one that's currently been straining or sometimes at night before bed if I want yogurt with lunch in the morning. 

I'm currently saving up the whey in an attempt to make ricotta when I get a gallon or so of it, so we'll see how that works.  If it doesn't, I've also heard that the whey is excellent to use in breads instead of water or whatever liquid the recipe recommends. 

This yogurt is so good, and without all the sourness of normal plain yogurt or the boatloads of sugar in flavored varieties.  Top with a tiny bit of fruit, granola, honey, or homemade preserves and I'm in heaven. 

Oh, and I wouldn't try and approximate the temperature as she suggests is an option if you don't have a thermometer.  I can handle the jars when they're way higher than 115 degrees, so that's a horrible measure for me.  Just get a cheapo meat thermometer - I think ours was $1 at a flea market or something and isn't instant or digital.  It only goes up to 200, but that's more than sufficient for yogurt. 

The milk for each serving costs ~$0.25, and the powdered milk will last quite some time.  Even accounting for the coffee filters (maybe 1 cent each?), I'm betting I'm easily at < $.30 per serving. 

Recently Mr PoP saw my treat (yogurt topped with a spoonful of homemade strawberry preserves) sitting ready to eat on the counter and took a bite for the first time.  I believe his words were, "Oh my gosh, this is better than ice cream!"  He then proceeded to eat the entire thing.  =)

netskyblue

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2014, 01:44:36 PM »
Plantingourpennies - (how far off topic we've strayed!) instead of using coffee filters, I keep a clean white flour sack-type towel and drape it over a wire strainer.  But I strain the whole batch at once and dish up however much I want to eat, rather than going for single-serve containers.

plantingourpennies

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2014, 08:49:49 PM »
Thanks for the tip if I ever want to aim for a big batch.  For now the single serve works great for taking in lunches.

Hamster

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2014, 10:37:20 AM »
You know, with a slow cooker you'll need to leave it on all day in the hotel room.... unattended. First, there might be rules against that because management is worried about fire or mess. Second.... eh, I'd worry the staff might eat or add something undesirable to my pot.

I had to laugh. Reminds me of the toothbrush and camera urban legend.

horsepoor

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2014, 02:14:31 PM »
Well, I ended up with more social dinners out than anticipated, so didn't end up doing any cooking.  However, I'm now inspired to try making my own yogurt.

I did manage to eat all my breakfasts and lunches from my cooler - mostly Greek yogurt with nuts and fruit, then tuna with a green salad for lunch.  Veggies and hummus and a little bit of cheese.

LadyStache

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Re: Hotel room cooking
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2014, 08:47:59 AM »
You know, with a slow cooker you'll need to leave it on all day in the hotel room.... unattended. First, there might be rules against that because management is worried about fire or mess. Second.... eh, I'd worry the staff might eat or add something undesirable to my pot.

A slow cooker should be fine to leave unattended. If you're worried about the staff seeing it or touching it, just leave the do not disturb sign on the door while you're out.