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Motel Living. Do I Have to Starve?

I'm going to be living in a motel for the next two weeks. Maybe longer depending. The place doesn't allow cooking other than a microwave. Bologna sandwiches, canned soup, ravioli and the like really just doesn't turn my crank. (Hubby will be happy with peanut butter and Little Debbie snacks) So keeping in mind the dinky little refrigerator and microwave, what are some decent meals I could make? Not that I couldn't stand to lose a few pounds, but I hate to miss a meal. Lol! I'd appreciate any suggestions y'all could offer up.

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  1. I'm not sure where you are, or what the climate is like, but you may not have to starve. It won't be gourmet, but it will be better than bologna.

    A few years ago I was at a cutting horse show with my trainer, and after our first dismal meal out the next day we were loping horses already thinking about dinner that night. We bought a cheap bbq grill, found a local park, and I got pre-marinated chicken, a "salad out of a bag", nuked potatoes in the motel microwave, and got a good bottle of wine. It wasn't great, but it was better than starving or potential food poisoning if we ate at the local greasy spoons.

    It was really fun, and some evenings we'd just stay at the show and cook. We had a good cooler that kept ingredients cold throughout the day. You can grill a protein, lots of different veggies, and a starch can be done in the microwave.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Barbara76137

      I'm in east Tennessee. It's pretty chilly here. Hubby will grill during a blizzard if I ask him too tho. And I never even thought of grilling. Awesome idea! Thank you!

      1. re: Barbara76137

        Depending on the kind of place you'll be staying in, you might ask permission to set up a small grill in the parking lot. We've done this at small non-franchise places & then simply left it out to cool overnight. I can see where a franchise or very busy place wouldn't allow this, though. Perhaps you could set up shop in a far corner of the parking lot?

        Hope the 2 weeks zip quickly by so you can get back to your own kitchen.

        Cheers!

        1. re: FishTales

          That's actually a really good idea. We were at a La Quinta recently and there was a group there for something. In the very back they had a grill set up and had a little party. Looked like fun. Give me a grill and I can cook really happily.

        2. re: Barbara76137

          I strongly recommend you look for copies of two older Barbara Kafka books--Amazon, probably, has used copies available--called The Microwave Gourmet, and the Microwave Healthstyle (something like that ) Gourmet. She has time tables for every kind of fish you can think of--according to thickness and cut--and my copy of the first book just falls open to her incredible microwave risotto recipe, I've used it so many times. I cook almost NOTHING in my microwave, but when I do--and it has to be good for me to bother--it's invariably one of her recipes.

        3. When my condo was being remodeled, I lived in a motel for a few months. The biggest challenge was washing pots and dishes in the dinky motel sink.

          If you search on Chowhound for microwave recipes you will find lots of info. There are also some threads about this same subject.

          Oatmeal microwaves beautifully. Fish and veggies work well with a microwave. Corn on the cob is especially good. Just leave in the husk and nuke.

          You can also buy one of those electric picnic coolers to give you extra fridge space. That was very useful for my motel time.

          Seriously.. Bring the toaster and a hot plate. Pack them away before the maid cleans the room.

          7 Replies
          1. re: rworange

            I have an egg muffin maker but thought I'd get in trouble if I brought it into the room. I suppose I could hide it tho. I wanted to have my electric skillet with me but hubby says that's a definite no-no. I'll hunt up those microwave recipes right now. Thanks!

            1. re: Driftbadger

              Bring the electric skillet. Seriously, if you pack it away no one will know. As long as you are careful and don't burn the place down, just make life easier for yourself.

              Here's an idea that doesn't require serious refrigeration and is surprisingly good.

              Italian tuna and gorgonzola sandwich
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/743800

              1. re: Driftbadger

                Ask forgiveness, not permission and bring the electric skillet.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I was planning on doing that with my cat. Lol! I just had a thought tho. I'm renting a storage unit nearby to the motel so that clothing and things like that will be within walking distance. I could always smuggle the skillet in when I need it and then return it to storage when I'm done with no one the wiser.

                  1. re: Driftbadger

                    Motel 6 accepts pets, which was the reason I stayed there. There are a few others that accept pets but they were not close to me.

                    There are motels that have kitchionettes if that is any easier for you.

                    1. re: rworange

                      I'm kind of limited in the area I have to choose from in order to be close to my storage unit. I hope they don't make too much of a stink over my cat. She and I have been together 7 years now and she's like one of my kids.

                2. re: Driftbadger

                  I don't understand the difference, an iron is allowed but not an electric skillet or hot plate? That doesn't make any sense. I'd bring it. Anyway. The other thing is those George Foreman Grill like things, you could make hot sandwiches. Hope you're stay goes quickly. Before i met him, my hubby had to live in a motel due to a job, and he decided to save money and not spend his allocated meal money, so he did what you're doing. He lost weight while he had to do this worked out and he ate canned everything.. something I'd have a hard time with. But, he did go to a Chinese Restaurant nearby and would order enough so he'd have a meal the next day, it saved him money and was easiest. It's amazing what you get to used to after a couple of days.

              2. You can nuke quesadillas, potatoes, and eggs for sure. Add a variety of cheeses, veggies and beans to keep interesting. You have endless salad possibilities. Change up your greens, produce mix-ins, and protein options (canned beans, tofu, tempeh, deli meat, eggs, nuts) to keep it interesting). Microwaving tofu works well, actually - periodically drain off liquid throughout the process. Couscous also cooks easily in the MW; speaking of which, savory oatmeal is an option. Will you have a fridge, or only a cooler? Will you have access to regular grocery stores?

                4 Replies
                1. re: enbell

                  I believe there will only be one of those small refrigerators. Grocery store access will be very limited. On the plus side, I just learned that I can cook corn on the cob in the microwave thanks to a thread here! That makes me really happy! Quesadillas sound promising too. I'm pretty sure I could nuke a chicken breast with decent results. Thanks!

                  1. re: Driftbadger

                    Most veggies nuke well. Asparagus is good in a microwave. Just wrap in wax paper. Baked apples work well. Actually, fruit compotes are nice to do. Just slice the fruit of your choice, put in a dish, sprinkle with sweetener of choice and nuke until cooked.

                    1. re: Driftbadger

                      Ever since I read the thread on corn in the MW, I have not looked back. Artichokes are also great in the MW. I'm with rworange though, take the skillet, maybe invest in a cheap rice cooker or small crockpot, maybe a s small coffee pot as well...

                      1. re: enbell

                        I have a small electric percolator that I'm taking with me. I picked it up at a thrift store along with a larger stove top percolator for decoration about 3 years ago. I gave the larger one away so I'm really counting my lucky stars that I still have the small one!

                  2. Can you bring some things that could elevate otherwise boring food? Like some good spices for on the chicken or vegies. Fry some bacon ahead of time and make into crumbles to put on nuked vegies or other things. Or on grilled cheese sandwiches or eggs in the electric skillet. Really good croutons or somethings to put on salads if you will have access to greens. Some special sauces, like a good barbeque sauce for on the micro or skillet chicken? Anything to make things that might otherwise seem boring more special.

                    And maybe make a batch of your favorite cookies and package them in amounts for each day.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: karykat

                      Mmm. Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce. That stuff is awesome. I was going to throw out all my spices and just buy fresh when I get back home, but I think you have a good point about taking them with me.

                    2. Definitely invest in a small crock pot. You can make soups, stews, beans. It's low electricity and fire safe - shouldn't be a problem.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Jeanne

                        I have a really tiny crock pot. Euro Pro, I think it is. It should be big enough for two people. To be honest, I've never used it. Looks like now is the time to try it out finally!