Welcome to our newest series. In “Friday Favorites,” our team will share a handful of favorite items. These can range from clothes to beauty products to recipes to books and anything in between.

Preparing a good meal while traveling used to intimidate me.

I used to marvel at a safe distance at all the people making meals with common hotel room items like ramen in a coffee pot and panini sandwiches using the iron with their own tinfoil. I thought the extra effort was applaudable, yet too tedious, until we spent eight days in March traveling from North Carolina to California. We ate pretty well for breakfast, but the day’s other two meals were retrieved by the highest bidder (or the fast food restaurant that had the most visible sign from the highway).

By the time we checked into the hotel at our destination, I knew it’d be at least a month before we moved into the house.

Fortunately, with a little creativity, cooking in a hotel room ended up being less tedious than I originally imagined. We worked around the suite’s absent oven and tweaked some of the things commonly made at home to make our stay more comfortable. Here’s some of the hotel food and meals that worked for us.

sandwich on white table

Sandwiches

The sandwich might be one of the easiest meals to make while traveling. Sandwiches from a shop for a family of five can be a bit pricey, so we prefer to buy the fillings and use whatever bread we have on deck for this one. For this make-do meal, I like to put whatever chips and fruit we currently have on the table for them to choose from. 

What are your favorite sandwich fillings?

Teriyaki Chicken

Stovetop teriyaki chicken was one of my family’s favorite comfort meals from home. All I needed was olive oil, chicken tenders, teriyaki sauce, and juice from half a lemon. I don’t have the exact recipe for this, but all you really have to do is cook up your chicken pieces and heat with as much or as little teriyaki sauce as you’d like. We usually bake tater tots with this meal, but I went with potato chips because it was easier to do in the room. 

 

Rotisserie Chicken

There’s so much you can do with a rotisserie. If you purchase your chicken earlier in the day, you can reheat it in the oven or in the air fryer for ten minutes on each side at 400 degrees. Our family favorite was the chicken with stuffing and cranberry sauce, and my favorite was chicken roll ups with green salsa and shredded cheddar cheese. 

Easy Baked Ziti

Here’s one that’s great for leftovers and your spouse’s lunch the next day! I took two cups prepared noodles, poured the marinara and Alfredo sauces until I was happy with the sauce level, added some Italian cheese blend, and heated through. This one usually gets baked at home, but my husband was happy with this adaptation. 

Pack your Air Fryer!

An air fryer, in my opinion, is one of the handiest small appliances you can tote with you while traveling. We used ours to heat up frozen mini pancakes, frozen chicken fries, Dino nuggets, frozen breadsticks, fries, yesterday’s pizza, and countless other food items. It also allows you to prepare separate meals in a timely manner. My kids rarely want to eat the same thing for lunch, so having the ability to have something cook quickly in minutes and stay warm until served while I was off preparing something else was such a time and sanity saver. 

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