Meals for the road


Food is maybe the last thing in our mind when we plan our road trip. After all, don't we want to savor the local flavors? and with so much to do and see, who has time to prepare meals?


However, the cost of food, when not managed carefully, can quickly break your budget... and your diet.


I am not a chef but I like food with flavor that is easy on my body though I am yet to reach agreement with my 12 years old son on what that means. One thing is certain, without a game plan, we'll be sucked into ready-made meals and fast foods that are neither great in flavor nor good to our body.


So I came up with some guiding principles that help me plan my meals and, after several months of trying them on the road, I can share them with you along with 5 of our favorite meals. Enjoy!


GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • Plan a flexible menu before the trip and review during the housekeeping day.

  • Prepare food in advance. Consider stew, rice, boiled eggs, mashed potatoes, etc. that can be reheat without losing flavor or texture.

  • Use fresh ingredients as much as possible but do not feel guilty when a tradeoff is needed

  • Spend 20 minutes or less preparing each meal. Go out and make memories!


Meal #1 - Express Meat Tacos

Meal #2 - Pesto Chicken

Meal #3 - Egg and Avocado Sandwich

Meal #4 - Pasta Marinara with Meat

Meal #5 - Lemon Pepper Chicken


Meal #1 - Express Meat Tacos

Honoring my Mexican origins ☺️

This requires some advance work. You could skip the salsa and the beans but let me share a secret: a taco is only as good as the salsa.

Salsa

Step 1: In a sauce pot, put 2 medium sized tomatoes and 2 small serrano peppers with water to cover and bring to a boil for about 2 minutes

Step 2: Peel the cooked tomatoes and put in the blender together with the peppers and 1 small onion cut in quarts. Pulse a few times using the coarse function, we are not looking for a tomato shake here, we need texture

Step 3: Add a handful of cilantro and salt to taste and pulse one more time

Listo! Let it cool down and refrigerate covered until needed, it will last for about 4-5 days


(Optional) Pinto Beans

Beans must be cooked at home because although they are easy to prepare, they take time to cook.

Step 1: Take one small bag of pinto beans, select and wash with warm water

Step 2: Put beans in a sauce pan covered with water. Water should rise about two inches higher than the beans

Step 3: Add one small onion cut in quarts (if you have an onion bag, much better) and two large garlic cloves whole

Step 4: Bring to a boil, cover and let them simmer until fully cooked

Step 5: Salt to taste

Let them cool and refrigerate until needed. They will be good for about 4 days or you can freeze them.


Meat Tacos

Step 1: Prepare the milanesa (thin cut) with salt, pepper, and sprinkle with lime (or beer) on both sides. Let it rest while setting up the grill/skillet

Step 2: Chop about half cup of onion and about half cup of cilantro, set aside

Step 3: Prepare on a dish some slices of lime and some slices of avocado, set aside

Step 4: Re-heat the beans

Step 5: Grill the meat and when ready, cut it into small pieces (or let each person cut their own)

Step 6: Heat up a few corn tortillas (NOT hard shell)

Step 7: Make each taco using a warm tortilla, adding meat, onion, cilantro, some beans, and a slice of avocado. Based on preferences, add salsa and lime

In my experience, people eat about three tacos each.


BONUS: The leftover salsa and beans can be used for breakfast with scrambled eggs


Meal #2 - Pesto Chicken

Pesto

Option A) Find your preferred pesto recipe and make at home

Option B) Buy a small bottle of pre-made pesto sauce

Chicken

Step 1: Pat dry two chicken breast and cut lengthwise

Step 2: Rub chicken with one or two tablespoons of pesto sauce and let them sit for a few minutes while the grill is ready then cook about 2 minutes on each side. Note: you can also cook on a regular skillet just use a cover to protect from the sprinkling

Step 3: In a separate sauce pan, bring one cup of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add your favorite veggie ( green beans, spinach, or asparagus) to steam

Step 4: Re-heat rice or mashed potatoes

Serve hot


Meal #3 - Egg and avocado sandwich

Step 1: Prepare egg based on preference or use a boiled egg

Step 2: Toast two slices of grain bread using a frying pan unless you brought a toaster

Step 3: Cover one toast with slices of avocado and add some salt to taste

Step 4: Add the egg

Step 5: Top it off with the second toast

Optional:

Add some sliced red onion


Meal #4 Pasta Marinara with Meat (optional)

(Optional) Meat - prepare at home

Step 1: Put your sauce pan on medium heat and add one teaspoon of oil

Step 2: Add ground meat. Turn until all cooked then drain

Let it cool down and refrigerate. I fill zip-loc bags with right sized portions and freeze otherwise it can last about 5 days in the fridge


Marinara sauce

Option A) Prepare your favorite recipe at home

Option B) Buy a bottle of marinara sauce


Pasta

Step 1: Bring one quart of water to boil, add salt and olive oil

Step 2: Add your preferred pasta and let it boil for about 5-8 minutes, check often to reach al-dente, then drain

Step 3: In a sauce pan, heat up the meat and cover with marinara sauce

Step 4: In another sauce pan, bring one cup of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add broccoli florets and cover, let them steam for about 2 minutes

Step 5: Serve pasta and cover with marinara sauce and meat, accompany with broccoli


Meal #5 - Lemon Pepper Chicken (credits to my Vshred diet)

Chicken

Step 1: Pat dry two chicken breast and cut lengthwise

Step 2: Mix 1/4 cup of flour with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some pepper

Step 3: Toss the chicken breast in this mix to coat

Step 4: On a skillet over medium heat, add one teaspoon of olive oil

Step 5: Sauté the chicken for 3-5 minutes each side until golden brown sprinkling with lemon pepper seasoning directly in the pan

Step 6: Remove chicken from the pan


Asparagus

Step 1: Wash and chop a bunch of asparagus

Step 2: Add them to the skillet while it is still warm and sauté until bright green. Sprinkle additional lemon pepper seasoning if needed. Remove from the pan

Step 3: (Optional) add few slices of lime to the pan and cook without stirring until they caramelize. Let them pick the browned bits from the pan

Serve while hot. Lay veggies and lemon then top off with a chicken breast and accompany with rice


I hope you like these quick meals. Let me know in the comments what you think and feel free to share other ideas, I would love to hear from you!




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