I love the occasional restaurant meal. It is so refreshing to sit back and let someone else prepare a meal, to have the liberty to have an actual conversation at the table instead of jumping up every ninety seconds to fill someone's plate or clean a spill.
But eating out for two straight weeks? Not so much fun. Especially not so much fun on a limited budget or while traveling with small children who despise sitting still.
So I prepare as many of our meals as possible, saving our restaurant money for quality meals that we all will enjoy. Seven days into our trip, we have eaten at three restaurants -- for fresh seafood on the wharf, Thai noodles, and pancakes at IHOP.
We have been eating cold cereal for breakfast along with mini-bar refrigerated soy milk and fresh fruit. I have "cooked" lunch and dinner using shelf stable ingredients. These recipes can easily be accompanied by couscous or ramen noodles if you have access to hot water from a coffee maker.
In addition to washable plastic flatware, we also brought along 6 bowls that store nested inside of each other -- two mixing/serving bowls as well as four cereal bowls. Our kitchen tools are minimal -- a thin cutting board, a paring knife, a vegetable peeler, and a large spoon.
The recipes are old family staples as well as new family favorites culled from the disaster recipes at Busy Cooks.
Mango and Bean Salad
can black beans, rinsed and drained
can corn with peppers, drained
can mango slices, cubed (we used one whole fresh mango)
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup oil and vinegar salad dressing
14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 red onion, chopped
11 oz. can corn, drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 cups vegetable cocktail juice
6 oz. can tiny shrimp, drained
1 cup garlic croutons
Combine all ingredients except croutons. If possible, refrigerate before serving. Top with croutons.
1 can kidney beans
1 can green beans
1 can chick peas
½ cup oil
½ cup vinegar
¼ cup sugar
dill or other spice
Mix sauce, pour over beans.
2 cans tuna
1 stalk celery
saltines or bread
Mix first four ingredients; use as sandwich filling or as a dip with crackers.
3-4 cups freshly grated carrots
½-1 cup raisins
1 large apple, cored and chopped
¼ to 1/3 cup mayonnaise (or yogurt if refrigeration is available)
Combine all ingredients . If possible, refrigerate before serving.