Author Topic: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?  (Read 3550 times)

monkeytree

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Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« on: July 18, 2016, 12:09:59 PM »
We have a few short road trips/summer travel coming up over the next month and we've always gone the rest stop fast food route. Fast food has gotten pretty expensive and I hate the idea of wasting $30-40 for our family on a meal we won't really enjoy. So this summer I'm going to try to pack as much food (meals not snacks) so we can save some money and spend it on meals we would actually want to try in a new city. Any ideas?

nereo

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2016, 12:47:10 PM »
Since it's summer and you're taking road trips I'd start by considering anything you'd normally pack in a picnic. A basic cooler with a few ice-packs can keep you from turning to fast-food places.

For some (sometimes unconventional) ideas, check out this.
Click adverse?  look up the Portland Picnic Society as well as other picnic idea websites.

A few of my favorites for road trips/summer travel
Asian peanut noodles (can be eaten cold or hot and prepared days ahead of time)
An assortment of cheese, dried sausages, fresh bread and olives, hummus.
Salads without lettuce (they keep for days - any combination of cucumbers, corn, feta cheese, olives, beans, etc)
Slaw

If you want to get more advanced, pack a camping stove ('coleman style') and your options instantly open up to anything you can cook on a grill, from grilled sausages to veggies (zuccini, bell peppers, squash all work very well).  Almost anything can be wrapped up into a tortilla and eaten with no flatware (try Marinated skirt steak with any fresh veggies, all grilled on a portable stove and eaten burrito style).  Whole corn keeps great in a car and tastes wonderful when freshly grilled/steamed.
Bonus points - plan ahead and look for rest stops that have charcoal grills (many in the US do) - you can make lunch/dinner a festive stop instead of just a midway point before your final destination.

Iced Tea can be made by the gallon and kept in a large cooler - a nice and low-calorie alternative to sodas.  Or lemonade/limeade if you prefer.

EDIT: fixed the link to direct to the correct website.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 03:34:43 PM by nereo »

meandmyfamily

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2016, 01:10:19 PM »
We make sandwiches on fun sub rolls and try to make them like Subway with Italian dressing, avocado, etc.  My kids love this for some reason!  Cold pasta salad, made at home chocolate milk and other fun drinks, all kinds of fruit, salads (bring the right containers really helps so you can make and eat it in same dish with minimal clean up), if we have a microwave we do burritos, quesadillas, chips and salsa, bring a backpacking stove and you can make all kinds of stuff!!  We road trip all the time and we have 4 kids!  Figure out things that everyone loves and then everyone is happy.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 01:11:51 PM by meandmyfamily »

nottoolatetostart

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2016, 04:54:31 AM »
Just came back from a road trip using our cooler to serve most of our meals. We stuck to sandwiches, hot dogs cooked in a thermos (they are cooked anyway, just leave them in hot water until ready), hummus and cucumbers/carrots, fruits (I wash beforehand), applesauce, and those little containers of mac and cheese. We never eat some of that stuff so it is fun for our kids and gives them something to look forward to. Also, as mentioned, we got fun Hawaiian rolls for the sandwiches to add some zest.

I found some great ideas for other dishes on Pinterest, but was not able to incorporate them in for this trip. Maybe another trip, but right now, my kids are toddlers and their tastes are pretty basic.

Good luck!

Secretly Saving

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2016, 07:23:23 AM »
We take a big cooler and freeze the drinks ahead of time to double as ice.  We also go with meats and cheeses for sandwiches with a variety of breads like Hawaiian rolls, tortillas, and sandwich thins.  We also keep some non-mayo based salads - caprese, Israeli, pasta etc. 

pbkmaine

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2016, 07:35:35 AM »
I second the sub idea, with cheese, meat, lettuce, tomatoes and onions kept in separate bags. If you see a good sale on bento box type divided lunch containers, grab some. Little kids love small amounts of miniature foods. Create your own lunchables with carrot and celery sticks, grapes or orange slices, crackers and hummus or peanut butter or small bits of meat and cheese. For chilling, we take gallon ziploc bags, tripled and filled with ice. Every morning at the hotel, we empty and refill from the ice machine.

Khaetra

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2016, 10:31:39 AM »
For short trips sandwiches are the way to go, but add a few others things as well like pita/hummus, cut-up fruit, cheese, yogurt, maybe a few pudding cups.  Variety is the key, as I made the mistake of thinking sandwiches would be awesome all day, every day on my road trip.  I was so wrong.

purplepear

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2016, 11:20:09 AM »
My friend & I roadtripped from Texas to Oregon and back last summer... so 6 days of driving total. We're both vegetarian so we figured it'd be easier (and more enjoyable) to pack our own meals instead of eating Subway for lunch/dinner for 6 days.

Meals in the cooler:
1) Burrito Bowl salads for Day 1
2) Avocado sandwiches w/ Cholula hot sauce
3) PB&Js

And we used extra avocados for...

Roadtrip guacamole:
1) Cut an avocado in half.
2) Drizze with hot sauce.
3) Use tortilla chips to scoop the deliciousness out.
4) SAFETY TIP: If driving, have your passenger feed you. It is impossible to scoop tortilla chips and eat them while safely manning the steering wheel.

Also packing meals is great because you can stop at "rest stops" along the highway to eat, some of which are lovely. There were some beautiful rest stops in Northern California.

tyleriam

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2016, 11:48:24 AM »
We used to do cooler full of sandwich stuff, yogurt, cheese, salads, chicken salad, milk, lots of other stuff that needs to be kept cold.  The only bad thing about that is you have a big cooler that has to go in the back, empty melted water or your food is swimming, add/buy more ice.  It got to be a little annoying.

Recently we have been simplifying by going to minimal food that has to be on ice, more towards the PBJ sandwiches, apples, pears, pretzels, etc.  For breakfast we do instant oatmeal packets and fruit.  Diner we do ramen with canned chicken or spam sometimes.  We still bring a cooler but we bring the small one that fits behind the seat and can be reached while driving.  We also have a backpacking stove for heating the water.

The basis of the concept is that we can have elaborate meals at home, no need to try to fuss with that on a road trip.

Not saying this is for everybody but this is sort of the mode we are in currently.

nereo

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2016, 12:02:01 PM »
We used to do cooler full of sandwich stuff, yogurt, cheese, salads, chicken salad, milk, lots of other stuff that needs to be kept cold.  The only bad thing about that is you have a big cooler that has to go in the back, empty melted water or your food is swimming, add/buy more ice.  It got to be a little annoying.


'just sayin... keeps stuff cool for multiple days, no watery mess and you can make them yourself.

tyleriam

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2016, 01:17:44 PM »
We have those but after a couple days those are melted and then have to be replaced with ice.  Now you have the warm freezer packs along for the trip too.

Trudie

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2016, 12:36:25 PM »
Lots of good suggestions up above, I'd also add (if you're a Costco member) that stopping when you're near a Costco can work out well too.  For healthier food you can grab a $5 rotisserie chicken and a salad from the ready prep foods.  If you want pizza or $1.50 hotdogs you won't find them cheaper.

The cooler is best, but I realize sometimes a person gets tired of packing food and/or eating the same things.

zoltani

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2016, 04:31:18 PM »
I like quinoa salads, add what you want a few ideas:

Roasted nuts, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, peppers, broccoli, smoked tofu

tyleriam

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2016, 09:18:46 AM »
Oh I forgot to add...

When we do bring a smaller cooler we do a lot of soft tacos/fajitas.

We will buy precooked steak and chicken and sour cream.  We will heat up a can of re fried beans on the stove and if we are camping we will grill vegetables (bell peppers, onions) on foil over the camp fire.  The pre-cooked meat comes in handy because we don't have to worry about raw meat bacteria/contamination (which my wife is overly cautious about).  You can also pre-cook the vegetables and bring a backpacking pot.  We will stop in a park, setup the pot and warm up the meat, beans and precooked vegetables in the pot, onto tortillas.  Add avocado, salsa, whatever.  Tacos on the go.  My wife is vegetarian so she just puts the beans veggies avocado sour cream in.  Also cheese sometimes, whatever we have. 

The tortillas we also eat for lunch with PBJ roll ups because they take up less space and don't crush as easily as bread. 

crispy

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Re: Road tripping - ideas for home-made meals to go?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2016, 01:40:32 PM »
One thing we tried and liked this summer was buying prepackaged meals from GoPicnic.  They weren't cheap (around $2.50 after using a 40% off coupon), but they are tasty, fairly healthy, and don't require refrigeration.  We also do sandwiches, but usually bring peanut butter and jelly because it keeps better.