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Help. Inexperienced Bachelor Needing Recipes :)


I'm trying to pinch pennies a bit more lately, and I was just relocated to a new town. For my job i drive about 1000 miles a week and am out of my home 4 out of 7 days. Im starting to tire of fast food and restaurant bills every day. I was wondering if anyone had any recipes that worked well to save some dough, as well as could keep for weeks at a time...and if possible could be mobile food for while im on the go. I do have a cooler in my car usually.


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  1. I would say that keeping anything that could keep weeks at a time would have to be frozen. And unfortunately that most likely means reheated. Do you have access to a microwave? I haven't tried this but pesto freezes beautifully, add to cooked pasta and add frozen cooked shrimp, maybe some frozen peas and store in the freezer and I'm guessing it would be a nice meal when thawed.

    1. This is such a broad question, it might help to narrow it down by telling us what kinds of foods you like, what kinds of foods you have available in your area, and what your level of cooking skill is.

      1. Are you looking for things to only take with you when you're traveling? Or do you want things for when you're home, as well? What sort of appliances (microwave, cook top, oven, toaster oven, crockpot, etc.) Do you have access to, or are you willing to invest in?

        It's a whole lot easier for us to narrow it down for you when we have this sort of information. :)

        1. Not sure if you have a particular nutritional regimen, but I'm stocking up on Paleo Kits in preparation for the busy season at work.


          Other than that and frozen foods like jules mentions, anything that would keep for weeks at a time and would be marginally healthy are items such as canned salmon/tuna, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, beef/bison/turkey/etc jerky. Could pop into a store and get fresh fruits and salad vegetables from the prepared foods bar. Personally not a big fan of the meal replacements or protein bars.

          1. Hey srgilber,

            I'd recommend a slow cooker (crock pot), and a cookbook written for slow cooking, a wok, and a cookbook on stir-fry (it's fast and simple). Make enough for 3 or 4 meals at a time, freeze anything you will not use in 2 or 3 days and go from there.

            1. When i built tennis courts as a youngster, we would be out of town for a week at a time sometimes. I hated having pizza or burgers for dinner with the crew so i started cooking a little. I would make a pot of chili. I would freeze some and save some not frozen. The frozen chili(they were all portioned before freezing) I would pack in a double layer ice cream bag and put into a cooler with ice blocks along with the unfrozen chili. Thankfully at that time I was never bored with chili. W e would stay at amotel that had kitchenettes. So between me bringing chili and a somewhat adequate kitchen I would rustle up some good grub. Sometimes I would make various flavors of burritos or rollups etc... for quick meals. Good luck

              1. Please let us know your likes and dislikes, micro and oven I presume these are needed for home. Do you have time or no time.

                I love soups, quesadillas, easy and quick and can use store bought if necessary, still can makes great stews, roasts like roast chicken easy and simple and have leftovers. Even a turkey, simple and quick when home one night. Tons of leftovers, Chili is great, a creamed chicken is wonderful and hearty and beef tips, meatballs easier than you thought, just baked, lots of simple pasta sauces. Just ask, be glad to share with you. you can also see my profile to fine any recipes. Glad to share anytime.. Salmon is great, buy a bunch, cook it all and save. Great for tacos, quesadillas, salads, pasta or stir fry. All veggies, stir fry with a good rice. Orzo with some amazing grilled veggies and fresh scallops which take minutes to cook. Pestos is great with pasta or over grilled bread and filled with deli meats and some fresh mozzarella and grilled. A huge hoagie which is amazing. Stuff with pre sliced portabello or slice your own. What ever you can afford and have time for. Let me know. Kim

                1. This is a recipe that I used to make during my poor graduate student days :)

                  Creamy Pasta Bake

                  1 jar (30oz) spaghetti sauce
                  1 pkg (16oz) rotini, cooked
                  1 1/2 cups sour cream
                  1 pkg (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
                  1/2 cup parmesan or mozzarella cheese.

                  Heat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients. Spoon into 13 X 9 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

                  Its pretty easy to do and freezes well and makes a lot :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jenwee

                    Spaghetti with some spinach, chicken, mushrooms, Parmesan and Mozarella and some onions and olive oil it a great light dish and pretty healthy. A a little heavy cream and a nice cream sauce again. Simple like above.

                    This easily feeds four

                    1 pkt spaghetti
                    3 chicken breasts just cut in cubes
                    1 large onion sliced
                    1 can of presliced mushrooms (fresh if budget allows)
                    1 package of spinach
                    1 pakage of frozen spinach
                    1 package of frozen mozzarella 5 oz
                    Some grated parm just some about 1/4 cup
                    Heavy cream optional.

                    Cook the spaghetti according to directions. In a separate saute pan cook the chicken with a little olive oil or canaola oil or vegetable oil is fine. Add some all purpose Italian seasoning about 1 tablespoon, a little salt and pepper and saute. After a couple of minutes add the onions and mushrooms. Cook until onions and soft and the chicken is done. Add the spinach drained and cook until it is warm. Drain the pasta and add the cheese and the chicken mixture. Add a little extra olive oil and toss. If you want a little more sauce just add some heavy cream. A small container is great to keep in the fridge at all times. Great to make this sauce very creamy. Great simply sauce. Inexpensive for 4 people or more. You can freeze too.

                    Heavy cream can be used for coffee, scrambled eggs, added to a regular tomato sauce to make it creamy added to some butter and parmesan to make a alfredo sauce, added to mushroom gravy to make a creamy sauce for over meatballs. A great quick go to.

                    Another hint ...
                    Most grocery stores reduce the price of their rotisserie chicken after 9 oclock. Great time to buy a couple. Use them in quesadillas for a quick diner or a stir fry (don't buy the store bought veggies expensive) but get some peppers onion, snap peas and bean sprouts. Great simple stir fry with just a few seasonings. Use them for chicken salad or anything. Like I said, just let us know what type of food.

                  2. One of my things when travelling, to save money is hit a grocery store. A lot of places have some in store prepared foods that are at least cheaper than take out or a restaurant. You can also get fresh salads, single yogurts, sandwiches, pieces of fruit, cheaper drinks a lot cheaper than a convenience store.

                    I know it's not cooking but it's a cheaper way to eat when you can't be at home to cook.

                    1. Bachelor here, some experience. If it helps any I'll tell you what I make pretty often: Seafood, lots of seafood, I usually buy it frozen at Trader Joe's. Most of it is good, never cared for their salmon, have had very good luck with their cod, turbot, and dover sole. Shrimp and scallops are easy too. Quickest way I've found to defrost the frozen fish is put it in your sink, filled up with cold water, leave it in its shrink wrapping, and it's usually defrosted in 30 min. or less. Might not sound cheap, but usually ends up being no more than $5 worth of fish for dinner so it is much cheaper than dining out.

                      I also buy lots of bags of frozen vegetable, broccoli, corn, cauliflower etc, just pop it in the microwave for 2 or 3 minutes and you have your side.

                      I always keep a large container of yogurt and cottage cheese in the fridge.

                      I make things like hummus, black bean dip, butternut squash soup, chana masala, and chicken tika in large batches then break them down in to dinner size portions and freeze. It doesn't take much more effort to make a double or triple batch of these things and it's great after a long day at work to come home and pop something in the microwave but still have a home cooked meal.

                      Some things keep well for several days in the freezer. Taco meat, mexican rice, hamburgers, pizza, I've eaten all of those 4 or 5 days after I've made them. Taco meat freezes well also.

                      Sometimes on Sunday I'll make myself crepes, these too freeze very well. I'll make a full batch, eat four or five, then freeze the rest with wax paper in between each crepe. One batch probably makes maybe 15 crepes, so I make them once and get three Sundays worth of crepes out of it.

                      I just found this recipe and took it to work for lunch a few days: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/el...

                      If you'd like any recipes just let me know which ones. Most of the things I mentioned take no more than a half hour to make.

                      1. Wow, lots of great help. Umm i guess I do need to be more specific. I have a microwave, gas range and oven, and a toaster. Things to take are great, and so are things for when im home. I dont have lots of time to cook, so the easier the better. My cooking skill level is inexperience to amateur. Nothing too impressive really. :) But I'm getting better! I like all sorts of food. I love food. The only thing i really dont like is peanut butter and ketchup. Odd, i know, but thats me! lol.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: srgilber

                          The rotisserie chickens are great, make tons of meals from them. Meatloaf, traditional but goes a long way for a little money, I do keep frozen onion, mushrooms and some vegetables, peas and corn only. I use the onions and mushrooms in emergencies, but nice to have on hand. Peas and corn I prefer frozen. Put a pork roast in a crock pot if you have one or borrow one, add a onion some beer a bottle and some all purpose seasoning, salt and pepper and honey, it is dinner. May not be gourmet, but pretty darn good. Use it that night. Cut up and BBQ beef subs the next. Freezes great. Use it in hash add some (yes pre diced potatoes frozen or in the dairy aisle usually by eggs or bacon) some frozen onion and frozen peppers and frozen onions. Cook in some olive oil and butter till soft. Add the pork and yes even a can of beef or chicken turkey. Amazingly good for frozen. Inexpensive and easy. BY ALL means, if you can use fresh, please do. So much better. but trying to help and this does make it easy for you. It will serve 4 adults, very hearty and great flavor.

                          Use the pork in tacos, add your favorite seasoning (a simple taco seasoning taco packet and buy some lettuce, sour cream and salsa and cheese. Great way to use it.

                          Just a thought.

                        2. My quick Fettuccini Alfredo. 1 box of fettuccini, 1 stick butter, 1 small carton of heavy cream, 1 small bag of grated parm.

                          Boil noodles. While they boil add butter to a small pot with cream I use almost all, just shy of a small container. Melt on medium low, then add cheese and melt. Add some salt and pepper and remember to keep stirring the sauce. Once melted drain pasta and mix with sauce. I add salt and pepper and some parsley (optional) at the end. Great simple 15 minutes. Feeds 4 or more. Add some pre cooked chicken or cooked shrimp from the store and dinner is served. Even a bag of lettuce is better than nothing. Make your own or get a descent quality, Kraft Asian sesame is good or Kens has a few descent ones. Maries blue cheese, I usually make, but anything works if it works for you. That is a great simple dish, even date night material :)

                          If you like salads I grill romaine, just in a saute pan or in the oven. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper first then grill or boil then cut. While that cooks I add my favorite veggies cut in a bowl and drizzle with dressing. Then just add the lettuce and a simple warm elegant but really healthy salad and not hard. Please take advantage of chopped mushrooms, small grape tomatoes, they go along way. Farmers markets are a great way to get cheap veggies and only as much as you want.

                          I make beef tips in a simple beef broth, some pre sliced mushrooms, onions and some simple seasoning and some red wine, cook a couple of hours or crock pot and serve over rice. Great and hearty. Serve with some hearty bread.

                          My stuffed bread. Take a large Italian loaf, cut in half lengthwise and scoop a little of the bread out of the bottom piece. Stuff with onions, peppers, mushrooms and sausage all pan sauteed and then added with a package of shredded cheese. Or some deli meats and cheese. I saute onions, mushrooms and chicken and just stuff (I used leftover chicken) and then just topped with some cheese shredded from a bag. Put the top piece on and wrap in foil and bake at 400 for 15, turn once in the oven. Great, simple and yummy, can't get much easier.

                          21 Replies
                          1. re: kchurchill5

                            These are great! Thanks so much for all the ideas. It looks like a crock pot might be a good investment soon. lol

                            1. re: srgilber

                              Yeah, you can get a decent sized one for like $20. Totally worth it. Hot food and a great smelling house when you get home, can't put a price on that. ;D

                              1. re: srgilber

                                Yes, inexpensive and a great investment. I make or put things together at night some times. I was cleaning out my freezer and pantry a few weeks and maybe a chineese sort of chicken (best way to describe it. Left over chicken from a rotisserie I had, a 1/2 of frozen peppers (they come red, green, yellow thin slices in the frozen section), a can of water chestnuts, some chicken broth, some teriyaki, some ground ginger for spice with s/p, I also had some pineapple chunk in natural juice, some pre minced garlic and a large onion I chopped up. I put everything in the pot except for the teriyaki, chicken broth and pineapple. The morning of I took it out to get it a bit to room temp, put the liquid in turn on low for 8 hours or high for 4. Turns out great.

                                Soups, hearty bean, barley, creamed soups, or even a nice pork roast with some apple cider, beer and onions. Chili is great,

                                There are hundreds of recipes and so easy.

                                FYI, but all means if you have a farmers market or a good store get fresh vegetables and fresh ingredients, but I do understand with no always having time. Until you learn more about cooking start with some fresh and some frozen. It may help you learn some favorite recipes and work into it.

                                Also I recommend a good cast iron skillet or grill pan. It makes awesome steaks and porkchops, bacon and not costly. Nothing better than a good steak now and then with a baked potato. Pork chop are inexpensive at times and that pan seared and finished in the oven with a light cream sauce is easy and very quick.

                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                  That all sounds really good. Quick question, you said after you added the broth and such you set it to low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. What was it on all night? low? and does that ever overcook the meat, being on for so long?

                                  Also, what recipe for sauces on steaks, porkchops, etc did you have? That sounds real good.

                                  Oh and anything with Bacon is amazing. haha. Gotta be a favorite ingredient of mine. So i think im gonna get a crock pot and try someting this weekend. Thanks :)

                                  1. re: srgilber

                                    Sorry not to be clear. I leave all the ingredients in the pot over night. Just no liquid. Most are ok in the pot together. Some people will say layer the meat away from the vegetables etc, but I have never had a problem. I don't add the liquid until the morning. It can bread down and over marinate the ingredients. Some will also say to sear the meat too, also a nice touch if you have time.

                                    If worried, put all the veggies in the night before. Set the met in a baggie on top all ready to go with s/p added. Then Mix all the liquid the night before and also set in a baggie in the pot. Then in the am. Take it all out and add together. No worries of contamination.

                                    I only cook during the day, sorry to confuse, I cook low 4-5 depending on the dish, this is not a large piece of meat so less cooking time. Roasts and other meats take longer. But low you can cook what I gave you and it will be fine.

                                    Steak I love my easy blue cheese warm sauce or my cold blue cheese dip. Also a simple marsala and mushrooms glaze, 5 minutes in the pan while the steaks sets.

                                    Add to the pan you grilled the steaks in ... hopefully cast iron but if not, and any dripping to a grill pan from the steak you cooked. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter, 1 small onion diced and a few small mushrooms (use pre sliced in the produced section if needed. Sautee until brown about 3-4 minutes. Add the marsala, some s/p and fresh or dried thyme is you have it. Great sauce.

                                    Second, mix sour cream and blue cheese, some fresh chives and a little lemon, pepper and go easy on salt, blue cheese is salty. A nice dip.

                                    My melted blue cheese dip ... 1 small shallot (onion family great item to keep on hand and cheap) diced, sautee in butter, add some white wine, just 2 tablespoons and blue cheese and melt. That easy. I have also just melted some blue cheese with a little heavy cream, added some pepper and some parsley and also good.

                                    You Can also just take the dripping from the steak and a small shallot or onion sliced or diced, doesn't bother me and cook just a minute or two, add some red wine and cook just a few minutes until it reduced a bit. Add some butter and serve over the steak.

                                    A great quick trick. They make herbed butter. Sold right above regular butter in a grocery store. Lots of fresh herbs. 1.50 or so. Great on veggies steak, pork chops anything. Just slice and put a pad of butter on top. Grilled portabellos.
                                    Buy portabellos, sliced or whole, drizzle some simple balsamic and olive oil on the mushrooms and broil till brown. Serve with steak. I hated bottled dressing but they will work just fine.

                                    PORK CHOPS:
                                    I make a awesome bechemel sauce (white sauce, just fancy name) over chops with mushrooms, comfort food! Or I hate to even tell you, Add a can of cream of mushroom soup, add a little white wine, 1/2 cup and some chicken broth 1/2 cup, after searing the pork chops add to a casserole and add the sauce. Some seasoning, I like thyme and rosemary and then salt and pepper and it is great. Serve over rice over good pasta.

                                    I also make some where after seared and done I remove and cover with foil while I make sauce. This does need to be done in a saute pan not a grill. Add some apricot preserves to the pan with 2 sliced shallots, thyme, parsley and white wine and simmer. Easy simple sauce over pork. Great with wild rice or good mashed potatoes. You can use current jelly too, just in the regular grocery store. Tastes good.

                                    Last thing, simple mashed potatoes. 5-6 small red potatoes, just washed and cut in quarters. Put in a microwave dish and add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover with plastic wrap and micro 5 minutes. Check and just mash lightly with a fork. Add your favorite, sour cream, just broth, cream, bacon, cheese, butter, salt and pepper anything you want. Warm another minute and serve. Mashed in no time and to me just or almost as good.

                                    Let me know if anything else. Also a great simple horshradish, dijon and sour cream is a great dip for pork. Easy and quick.

                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                      okay so drop the ingredients in the pot the night before. Then I let it sit on low heat all night? and then add the liquids in the morning and let it go for another 4-5 or more depending on how large the meat is? Sounds easy enough. I think this is something i cant mess up! haha

                                      1. re: srgilber

                                        No No, refrigerator all night, take out in the am, let set a bit, add the ingredients then put in the heating element and turn on. Just as easy. Don't cook all night.

                                    2. re: srgilber

                                      Aha! You like bacon? You like pasta? This is an almost universal favorite with everyone. And easy to have all the ingredients on hand.

                                      Hazan's Carbonara:


                                      And it's fit for company. I also don't hesitate to reheat in microwave. Changes the cheese consistency but I still love it. Also that recipe as a main is only four servings for us. And easy to halve. You should make this tonight! You're gonna be hooked. And if you want a salad, you can do MMRuth's arugula with olive oil, lemon juice (I do a ratio of about 3:2), salt, pepper and shaved Parmesan (you can shave it with a vegetable peeler). You will be the most eligible bachelor with that meal :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I love carbonara, and arugula is great. Not accessible fresh to all, but love it. My favorite as well.

                                        I don't add white wine to mine and I use bacon, more economical for most. but love the recipe. I love cream on mine but still a nice recipe.

                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          I'm finding arugula at my big supermarkets and also TJs. I use bacon as well because of price. And I won't get into the cream/no cream discussion which seems to get overly debated.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            true, I just like the cream, personal taste. Glad to hear Arugula. FL I get it year round at the farmers market. Wasn't sure up north. Bacon, yep, just with price. And to be honest, I started using wine and my friend from Italy said, white what is that. I never use why grammma and momma always used cream. That is not Italian. But many regions in Italy and many variations of every dish. I used cream and never went back. But it was good I have to admit.

                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                Cream fan, I sure am but too debatable :)

                                          2. re: c oliver

                                            This does sound very good. Going to try this sometime this weekend for sure. Thanks for the great idea.

                                            1. re: srgilber

                                              You're gonna love it! And you really should invite someone(s) to join you. I cook the bacon and wine combo hours ahead of time and then reheat at the last minute so there are no timing issues. I squeeze the lemon ahead also. Salad components can be gathered while the pasta is cooking so it can be thrown together at the end. Thanks to CH, this has become my go-to dinner party dish. I'm afraid I'm going to start repeating on people too soon :) AND I know that, if I want a good dinner for just me, I can make a mini-version at the last minute. Mmm, maybe we'll have this tonight if I don't make jfood's ravioli :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                oh i think i have a good idea on who to invite. Sounds terrific though. Thanks for the idea.

                                                  1. re: srgilber

                                                    I good idea, I make a great stuffed bread. Yes stuffed.

                                                    Take a large baguette and cut lengthwise and remove some of the bread
                                                    from the bottom piece
                                                    Then sautee some onions and mushrooms in butter until soft, I like to add
                                                    some thyme and wine wine if you have it./////
                                                    Line the bottom of the bread with swiss or a good gruyere cheese
                                                    Top with the mushroom onion mix, salt and pepper and then top with more
                                                    cheese and then the top piece of bread
                                                    Wrap in foil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Flip over 2x during baking.
                                                    Easy and great. Use the middle shelf when baking.

                                                    Great with my carbonara pasta.

                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                      If you and I were friends, I'm sure I'd weigh 400lbs.

                                                      1. re: salsailsa

                                                        Naaa, I love to cook, usually very healthy but you can add "fattning" food with healthy food :)

                                          3. re: kchurchill5

                                            Thanks kchurchill for the links I found tons of great recipes. One site you didn't mention but also has tons of great recipes is http://www.a-crock-cook.com/

                                      2. My easy carbonara sauce

                                        12 oz, just shy of a whole box of spaghetti
                                        olive oil to saute onion and garlic
                                        1 medium onion diced
                                        1/2 package of bacon diced
                                        2 teaspoons of garlic minced (pre minced is fine)
                                        3 eggs
                                        1 1/2 cups heavy cream
                                        2 oz or 1 small package of pre grated parmesan cheese
                                        Salt and pepper
                                        I also like fresh basil, dried will work

                                        Cook spaghetti according to directions, add plenty of salt as pasta cooks. While it cooks, saute the chopped bacon in a pan Cook until brown, drain on a paper towel and leave just a little of the bacon grease just a teaspoon to saute the garlic and onions. Add the garlic and onions and cook 4-5 minutes and set a side. Add the bacon back in and then in a small bowl mix the cream and eggs and beat well to get all mixed up, also add the salt and pepper. Now mix the veggie and bacon to the eggs and cream and then drain your pasta. Now mix the bowl of onions, garlic and bacon, eggs and cream to the pasta. Mix and toss well. Add grated cheese and basil and or parsley. Toss and serve.

                                        Nothing better.

                                        1. This is how I set my college age son up.

                                          One of those Foreman grills, for chicken thighs, sausages, burger patties, chops or cutlets.

                                          Rice cooker, for grains. It can steam vege too.

                                          Mircrowave for reheating and frozen vege.

                                          Pasta cooking pan plus other assorted pans.

                                          A selection of packaged sauces, leaning toward Indian, which he likes.

                                          It makes for quick, easy nutritious meals that he can manage on a busy schedule.

                                          1. Quick salad idea. Buy romaine hearts. Cut in half leaving the end in tact. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill on a outside grill inside grill or grill pan or even a saute pan. Just 2-3 minute per side. Top with some toasted bread crumbs or crunched up croutons and some fresh shredded parm. Or just drizzle with a good blue cheese. Easy quick 4 minutes and done. Wonderful salad.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                              I can't say ive ever had a "hot" salad before. lol

                                              1. re: srgilber

                                                I've had something that was wrapped in pancetta and then grilled.

                                                1. re: srgilber

                                                  I serve more of that than anything. It is lightly grilled just 1-2 minutes per side and then served. Absolutely Heaven trust me. I serve it at catering events all the time. People love it. It isn't hot, just lightly warm. My second requested salad is my roasted vegetables (tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and peppers) served over romaine or your favorite greens) and warm dressing are a top too. Salad is not the every day cucumber tomato onion and lettuce anymore. I don't think I have made that in over 3 years. Honestly.

                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                    I see. Well I dont currently have a grill, but Im sure i can improvise. But I do love a nice refreshing cold cucumber salad. So, you say "most requested", are you a caterer? or just a well-known around the family and circle of friends amateur chef? lol

                                                    1. re: srgilber

                                                      Personal chef caterer and currently writing a cookbook ... entitled You Can Cook Too ... Pretty much for those who like yourself that need some shortcuts ideas but still some fresh ingredients, teaching those what to keep in a pantry and type of appliances that are most used and some standard refrigerator ingredients. As a busy single Mom I love to cook fresh and try to many times, but I have to take cuts now and then and want to share that with people. Trying to get people to learn to cook is what I want. It is so much cheaper than take out, fast food or going to a restaurant. Also slowing teaching them to buy fresh ingredients from farmers markets rather than canned or frozen, but hey ... we all use frozen or shortcuts now and then. I know I have to with my schedule. But when I can I use fresh. Tonight I just got in from 50 miles offshore on a research boat. My friend whose boat we were on wanted to have dinner, he doesn't even have pans. We were having a dish, but it changed last minute so ...

                                                      Took some frozen grouper from a week ago out of the freezer, thawed quick in the sink. Pan fried with some regular bread I made crumbs. Used a mini food processor (another great cheap investment), some herbs, he only had dried, a little red pepper and 1 lime we stole from a neighbors tree, he doesn't mind. He did have dried mashed potatoes (not my fave) but added chicken broth, milk he did have dried parsley and some cheese, better than nothing. I made them and then put in a casserole topped with more cheese and baked, they were descent and finally veggies he had a container of plum tomatoes (I'm surprised he had that, he said his girlfriend bought them), so I cut them in half and roasted them with some olive oil, s/p and went to the mini mart and got some crappy dinner rolls, but a little butter herbs and grated parm and you can make something pretty good. So a lot of fresh, a lot of short cuts, but overall, pretty d*mn good. So You can make even a descent meal out of anything..

                                                      I always like to help because I went to college, I cooked to make money for friends, I cooked for 1/2 the football team, made soups and fresh breads all the time. I then lived alone so I learned to be frugal, my ex worked night shift (police) I worked days so things had to be made ahead or reheatable or easy, but I was learning to love to cook, then he worked days then I worked days and nights as a chef, another challenge, It changed all the time so I learned to be very flexible with how to cook and what to and just rolled with the changes.

                                                      A grill pan you can get very cheap for use just on the stove and it works very well.

                                                      Also, hope you got the post, DON"T cook the food all night in the crock pot. You can put in all together, take out in the morning, add the liquid and then turn on. Keep in the fridge all night.

                                                      Sorry I rambled a bit but it all goes to just helping others to learn to cook and enjoy it and hopefully continue to learn more.

                                              2. There are a lot of great recipes and meal planning tips here:

                                                www.eatrealgood.com and http://mealplanner.eatrealgood.com

                                                You can filter the recipes to get only crock pot meals, too. I HIGHLY recommend getting a crock pot!

                                                I also agree with the poster who suggested trail mixes and turkey jerky in your vehicle.

                                                1. It seems most hotels/motels (at least the non-5-star places I stay!) have at least microwaves. I'd pack a plate, knife, fork, etc. I think Trader Joe's has tons of frozen, microwaveable things. If you want a glass (or more) of wine, you can buy a bottle and have that in your room also. I used to travel every other week and going out gets really old --- and I was on an expense account. My husband traveled extensively and it was common for him to take something back to his room --- and he was on a LAVISH expense account. It doesn't matter, does it? You get tired of eating out, regardless of who's paying for it.

                                                  1. why not try getting a copy of the book "manifold destiny"? it's about cooking meals using the heat of your car engine.

                                                    the basic idea is to assemble meals at home in aluminum foil, and if you can keep a cooler in the car, pre-freeze some of the packages so you have meals for several days. if you're staying at motels, you should have access to ice to restock the cooler every day.

                                                    1. This easy, delish chicken dish was shared some time ago, I've made it several times and love it - and it's inexpensive because you use bone in breasts of chicken (I've tried a few boneless, doesn't come out as good). Only a few ingredients but sooo fantastic - can easily freeze some after making a big batch:

                                                      1. Marinate a small brisket overnight, wrap tightly on foil and cook in a low oven all day (crock pot could be used as well).
                                                        I can usually stretch a brisket over several meals and not feel like I am eating the same thing. ....sliced brisket plate, awesome nachos & tacos, breakfast burritos, chopped beef sandwiches. If I ever have any left I chop finely and freeze enough for 1-2 sandwiches in baggies.

                                                        1. Since you're in your car a lot, you might enjoy this. http://www.instructables.com/id/Cooki...
                                                          There's also a book called Manifold Destiny which I haven't read yet but it supposedly has lots of recipes. I think if you experimented a bit, you could easily reheat your meals in the car if you don't want to actually cook.