Saturday, July 28, 2012

Feeding the Family without a Kitchen

We love to pack up the van and head out of town, but the continuous rising cost to travel together keeps us and other families taking creative measures for vacations.  This past week, we've been staying in the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville, KY. while my husband, who serves as the ITS Director for the Church of God of Prophecy and logistics coordinator for our International General Assembly, unfortunately works long hours. Because this is a business related trip, our hotel is covered but feeding a family of 6 (my nephew tagged along) means using some unconventional cooking methods or taking out a small loan just for eating out.  Restaraunts, when feeding a family with teenage boys, can be extremely expensive and unnecessary. With a small amount of creativity, you can also enjoy meals in your hotel room instead of the local restaurant scene.
First survey your hotel accomodations.  We have a mini fridge, a coffee pot and a sink available for cooking but no microwave.  That makes this more of a challenge, but not an impossibility.   

When you are packing for your trip, make sure to pack a few kitchen necesities to help provide meals that consist of more than cold sandwiches and junk food. For this week, my crockpot and a sandwich maker with interchangeable plates (sandwich maker, waffle iron and panini grill) are my main appliances.  Most of you will have a crockpot but if you don't this could be a much used investment.  The sandwich maker could be substituted by an electric skillet or griddle as well.  Along with these small appliances, don't forget to bring a serving spoon, can-opener, small cutting board and knife, and ziploc bags.  I would probably add a strainer, a plastic bowl and lid to this list. My menu plans for feeding all of us on the cheap follow with a couple of my favorite recipes!


Cold cereal, bananas and milk
Toasted Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches using the sandwich maker
Chocolate Oatmeal creatively made in the room's coffee pot
Sweet Rolls made with the interchangeable waffle plates following a pinterest recipe


Turkey sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and cucumbers, potato chips w/ dip, oranges, and cookies
Pizza Pockets made in the sandwich maker using canned biscuit dough, pizza sauce, mini pepperonis, and mozzarella cheese, served with marshmallow fruit salad. 
Ramen noodles cooked in the coffee maker and PB&J grilled sandwiches with either apple slices.
Last day leftovers .


Crockpot Lasagna, Caesar Salad and Garlic Toast
Chicken Cheese Tortilla Soup and Chicken Quesadillas with chips and salsa. 
Spicy Chicken Patty Sandwiches trimmed with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. 
Hotdogs grilled on the panini plates with chips and dip, pudding treats, and fruit
Fend for yourself Leftovers Sunday or pizza while mom and dad go out to eat. :0
I'm thinking Sunday will be fend for yourself while mom and dad go out for supper to celebrate another Assembly finished. 

Even a few friends have come for dinner!
There are quite a few Crockpot meals to consider when eating in a hotel room or any other unusual circumstance. I went with ease and what I thought my crew would eat without leaving leftovers!  Here's the recipes for our meals.

Crockpot Lasagna

2 bags of frozen ravioli (I did half cheese and half meat filled)
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
1 pack of shredded motzie cheese

Dump the ravioli in the crockpot, cover with the sauce and top with the cheese. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Serve this with a caesar salad kit and french bread.  I just mix the salad together right in the bag and dished it out into our disposable bowls.  I sliced the "everything" seasoned french bread, buttered both sides and placed on the panini grill plates.  It was so tastey.  By morning even the left over slices were gone. 

This is our favorite soup!

Chicken Tortilla Cheese Soup

2 cans of cream of chicken soup
2 cans of cheese soup
2 large cans of chicken
1 large can of red enchilada sauce
2 soup cans of milk

Dump all the ingredients into the crockpot, and stir.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Serve with crushed tortilla chips.  I don't always remember to take pictures but here's one of the soup after everyone has helped themselves! 

We also made cheese and chicken quesadillas to compliment our soup as well as chips and salsa.   The quesadillas were made on the panini grill using a bag of ready to eat grilled fajita chicken and co-jack cheese.  I just buttered the tortilla, folded it in half and stuck it in the sandwich maker. 

Mmmmm Good!

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

Frozen Chicken Patties
Lettuce, tomato, and cucumbers
mayo and mustard

Defrost the chicken patties.  Grill the patties on the panini grill.  Assemble sandwiches.  Set out the chips and dip, and fruit. 

This has been a favorite this week with everyone eating seconds.  Glad I bought two bags of chicken patties!

These were a huge hit with our crew! 

Pizza Pockets

Canned Biscuits
Mini pepperoni
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese

Using your fingers press the biscuit dough into a flat circle. Spoon sauce, toppings, and cheese in the middle. Fold over and pinch around the edges to seal. Place up to four into the preheated sandwich maker and bake.

This lunch was eaten as fast as I could make them so I didn't even bother to break out the salad or fruit.  But it would have complimented these nicely.

This week has gone well and I've kept my hungry crew and their friends fed.  My sons have felt independent roaming back and forth between the room and the conference and yet still checked in like clockwork at lunch, supper, and after church for snacks which means less worry for this mama.  I plan to have my crockpot and sandwich maker accompany me on vacations and business related trips for years to come.


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