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Jun 15, 2008 07:28 AM

Travel dilemma-how to cook/pack one week ahead?

ok...so myself and my cousin are taking a road trip to Boston....we'll likely be on the road for an entire day, so i'd decided that instead of road food or restaurants along the way, i'd pack a cooler to save some funds and time until we actually get there....all good.

problem is, I will be travelling on business the whole week before we head out on friday, and our cast off point is from my last stop, two hours away.....we will drive past my home, but with no time to stop in and cook....maybe just a quick drop off of bags, and go.

I can cook as late as sunday, but i don't want to leave things hanging around in the fridge to eat 5-6 days later. Is there anything I can make that could be frozen (such as pasta salads) and popped into the cooler on the travel day and still be good?? I've got a great greek pasta salad with shrimp recipe....and am wondering if that would be ok after a few days of freezing?

Some limitations here.... I do not eat meat so roast chicken type offerings will not work for me ( I will occasionally eat seafood, so something with shrimp or what not could be ok). My cousin is not an adventurous eater, but is ok with things that are not too hot/spicy.

I welcome any and all suggestions and input !
(p.s. if anyone has any recommends for Boston restaurants...please feel free to throw those in too !)

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  1. My husband and I LOVE to eat what we call "snack dinner"-- essentially, a smorgasbord of our favorite pickled goodies, fruits, cheese, crackers, smoked oysters, carrots, marinated baked tofu, olives, peppers and hummus, or what-have-you, etc. While this doesn't exactly qualify as Cooking (!) it is a great way to go on the road, too...
    If I were to truly cook something ahead of time and freeze it, I might go more for a wrap or burrrito-type item, rather than a salad.

    1. A lentil salad with chopped roasted veggies, dressed with a Dijon vinaigrette would be good, and freezes well. (I would freeze in small, shallow containers, so the salad will thaw quickly.) Crumble up some goat cheese or feta and store in the fridge to toss on top before you leave.

      1. Instead of freezing things, I would prep a shopping list that you and your cousin can both agree upon and do a 15 minute blitz through a good store to pack a cooler for the trip.

        We usually travel with a cooler. What you might want to freeze ahead is bottles of water with a bit removed to allow expansion. Then at stops along the way you can pick up this and that. We don't like fast food so would rather picnic on fruit, cheese, bread, hummus and other dips.

        We always include grapes- the perfect nibble between stops when one of the crew is hungrier than the others.

        And remember, many supermarkets have clean rest rooms without the long lines you find at more recognized locations.

        Incidentally, a thank you for this topic. You might have given me a topic for an article on BostonZest.com or another one of my freelance venues. I'll try to remember to post a link here if I do a full look at this topic. And, of course, I'll credit the chowhounds who supply new ideas.

        I would post the request for houndworthy Boston spots over at the Boston Board. And, of course there are dozens of threads with great info already there.


        2 Replies
        1. re: BostonZest

          I agree... don't try to pack 'a meal' a week in advance - make up a shopping list of tasty snacks and things that don't need cooking, pick them up on your way out of town, and put them in the cooler. We went away for the weekend and I decided to forgo the cooler altogether because it was too much hassle - I took a box filled with non-refrigerated snacks and all I had to buy were our drinks.
          This is what I took for three days (bearing in mind that I'm on a diet and DH is NOT a gourmet in any shape or form):

          - kangaroo pockets (pre-split high-fiber pitabread)
          - box of crackers
          - laughing cow cheese wedges
          - Nature Valley 'sweet and salty' nut bars
          - tuna lunch packs
          - low-sodium potato chips
          - goldfish crackers
          - peanutbutter pretzels (these were surprisingly good)
          - fruit cups
          - enough ce-cold bottled water for one day
          - starburst jellybeans for when the sweet tooth hit
          - and a container of homebaked brownies

          If you're taking a cooler you could take things like hummus, olives, deluxe lunch meat (Dietz and Watson is yummy), fresh fruit, yoghurt etc.

          1. re: Kajikit

            High five on the Nature Valley sweet and salty nut bars--when my husband and I got married, we took a 2 week road trip honeymoon and lived on those bars! After that, though, couldn't stand the sight of them for a good couple years.

        2. Can't offer much help on the trip to Boston; however, the cooler will also come in handy on the trip home. Be sure to make it to Formaggio's Kitchen in Cambridge to pick up meats, cheeses and tidbits for the drive.
          Enjoy Boston.

          Formaggio Kitchen
          244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

          1. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone....just wanted to stress one of the original points...I don't eat meat !! I'm happy to say my cousin has ok'd hummus....We may just do the superquick shop pre-launch.

            It's the cook in me just wanting to take over is all !

            1 Reply
            1. re: im_nomad

              Ah, but an important part of being a good cook is being an excellent shopper for the items to be cooked. Let those skills take over!

              Enjoy your time in Boston.