Whether you yearn for the taste of home-cooking on the road or you just want to save money, these road trip recipes will help you out. For me, it’s the urge to eat my own cooking, which I prefer over most restaurant food. Not to mention I just don’t like fast food for the most part. How about you?
Although I love the challenge of complicated recipes, road trip recipes should be essentially simple and easy. Let’s face it; you have a lot of stuff to do! From mapping your trip to making packing lists to calculating your budget, you’re going to be pretty busy.
Each recipe here is not only easy to prepare – it’s delicious! The recipes have been broken down into five categories:
I’m sure you will have a cooler, but probably just one and there will be lots of competition for space when you add up water, other beverages, and any food you’re bringing. Having some dependable good eats that can last a day in the car with you will be a great help.
Although these are “no-cooler” recipes, they won’t last over a day, so make them for the first day of your road trip to be eaten in the car or at a rest area/park. Check out my no-cooler recipes and enjoy!
What was life like before they invented sandwiches? The most portable meal ever, sandwiches were practically designed for road trips!
With these recipes, I recommend you bring the ingredients and make them on the road to avoid the dreaded soggy mass of bread and filling. Make smaller versions of any condiments by using small Tupperware-type containers if your original container is large so that your condiments don’t take up too much room in your cooler.
If you’re planning on eating these sandwiches many days into your road trip, you should plan on swinging by a grocery store to get fresh cold cuts. As far as lettuce, I never bring a whole head (it’s too much usually), but instead, rip enough leaves and layer them to create a flat disk which I keep in a large baggie in the cooler. Lettuce can be wedged in anywhere, so it’s the last thing I add to the cooler.
Both bread and cheese can last the duration of your trip, so it’s just a matter of space. If you’re maxed out, just bring the minimum (in baggies) and purchase more as needed.
I’m not talking just lettuce leaves here! To me, a salad has to have some real substance. Salads are great road trip meals – just make sure they’re chopped (no knife required), in a single-serving container, a napkin and a fork is provided and you can eat them in the car assuming you’re not the driver.
Salads are great because you can make them ahead and they should last four days. If the salad has any lettuce in it, keep the dressing in a separate container and dress it when you’re ready to eat.
Who says you have to rely on store-bought snacks? The stuff in the stores is usually pretty old when it gets to you – think about its trip from the factory to warehouse to truck to store to your mouth! Plus, the store-bought stuff is full of preservatives and I’ve never heard that those are good for you.
These snack recipes will satisfy every snacker – from those with a sweet tooth (my husband) to those who crave salty crunchy treats (me!).
If you’re interested in bringing a camp grill (Coleman grills are the best), you can have lots of nice hot meals at scenic rest areas and parks along your route. If you’re planning on doing this, pack only enough food to grill for the first two days of your trip. After that, it’s better to purchase fresh meat and other ingredients at a grocery store in one of the towns along the way. You don’t want to get sick!
Use my grilling recipes to kick it up a notch from plain hamburgers, hotdogs/sausages and steaks. Remember to bring enough fuel, too. You can buy it on the road, but it can be a little hard to find sometimes.
Tips for Meals on the Road
Here are some pointers to make your in-car/road-side dining experience a great one:
- As much as possible, eat at parks and scenic rest areas along your route and bring a blanket for when there aren’t picnic tables. The best kind of blanket is the kind that’s waterproof on one side and fleece/soft on the other so that you don’t get soaked when the ground is damp. Why not just eat in the car? I think of it like this – eating in the car is like standing alone in your kitchen eating a microwaved meal at the counter. It’s just not that special. You’re on vacation here! There are parks in every town are great to check out while eating a meal and hanging out with your friends/family.
- Keep your cooler cool. It’s very important to keep items that need refrigeration at a steady cold temperature. Food poisoning is a very real threat, but easily avoided if you refresh the ice in your cooler every morning and evening, and you pay attention to expiration dates on your food. If you’re staying in a hotel with a refrigerator, you can skip adding ice in the evening and just put everything in the fridge. Add some fresh ice to your cooler in the morning and you’re good to go.
- Make sure to bring lots of napkins/paper towels, paper plates (or real), and either plastic or real silverware. You can wash your real dishes/silverware in your hotel sink – just bring a small bottle of dishwashing liquid and a sponge. Also, you might want to bring some moist towelettes to clean your hands more thoroughly.
Have a great – and delicious – trip!