Easy Cooking While on Vacation

Meal planning it one of the most important tasks that a busy mom can take the time to do.  It is a task listed for each week on Sunday in the Weekly Household Planner, but I have to admit, I rarely do it on Sunday!

Last week I took the time to really plan meals for our trip out of town for Memorial Day Weekend.  Often I just throw some things in the cooler and off we go, but instead of packing things we didn’t need or wouldn’t end up using, I decided to take a more strategic approach.  Vacation meal planning can become tricky, but with a little time and planning a mom can enjoy vacation – even when she still has to cook.  I am proof of that!  Let me share how I planned a successful weekend of meals that took only a minimal amount of time away from my family while on our get-a-way retreat!


Normally I like to collect a few of our family favorites to have over a vacation.  This time though, I ventured out and used several brand new recipes that we had not had a chance to try before.  I grabbed recipes from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventure {Strawberries and Cream Baked Oatmeal}, Take Them a Meal {Chicken Coconut Curry Soup} and the rest of the meals were from past Emeals subscriptions {Thai Peanut Chicken Salad, Black Beans and Rice, Onion Pork Roast, Beef and Black Bean Chili, Crustless Quiche and Green Potatoes and Ham Casserole.

Preparebeef-black-bean chili

I went ahead and looked at the recipes after I had shopped and prepared anything I could ahead of time.  For each recipe that required spices, etc I combined those and placed them either in a small plastic container or small Zip Loc bag.  This way I didn’t have to take space up to carry along a larger spice container if I only need a small amount for a recipe.  It was brilliant!

The Chili recipe was actually from Emeals Slow Cooker Recipe Plan, which has you preparing homemade black beans in the slow cooker prior to the day you make the chili recipe.  I decided to cook the beans ahead overnight the day before our trip, so that they would be done.  The batch was enough for a meal and the amount needed for the Chili recipe, so I placed what I did not use in the freezer for a ready made meal for another time.

I also made ahead what I could for the breakfast meals!

Enlist Help

While I normally do most of the cooking while on vacation, I actually was able to give me kids the simple recipes and set the ingredients out and have them create the meal!  Since I chose easy recipes {most Emeals recipes are less the 5 sentences long!} I was able to take some time off and hand over the ‘making dinner’ portion because I had done some prep beforehand.  I really enjoyed this benefit!





We had the best meals!  My family loved everything we had.  Even with most being meals we’ve never had before – everyone was raving about it.  We came home with NO leftovers, which is a sign that it was all good!  Less packing up to come home – which a busy mom always likes.


What We Ate:


“Green Potatoes and Ham” Casserole from Emeals – side dish Tropical Fruit Salad      

(pictured above)

  • 30 oz shredded hash brown potatoes (5 cups thawed)
  • 16 oz jar green salsa verde
  • 8 oz ham, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (I used real garlic)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the potatoes, salsa, ham, cheese, sour cream, onion and garlic powder.  Spread into a 13 X 9 baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown.

Now, please remember, I am not a food blogger nor an expert at photography – so hopefully the pictures are enough to entice you!

Emeals is offering a free Father’s Day Menu for subscribers too, I always use their holiday menus with recipes and it makes it so easy and less stressful.  Save 15% with code “DADS” and received the Father’s Day Menu for new subscribers.

What is your best vacation meal planning tip?

Father's Day Menu Free for New eMeals Subscribers

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