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Oct 25, 2011 06:55 AM

Food options challenge of a sort

This is a bit complicated, so please do take the time to read through my request. :) I don't even know how possible this will be to meet. I'm a pretty creative cook, but even I am being stumped by these limitations.

I'm trying to come up with foods I can prepare or buy (assume I have a very-well-stocked pantry and very good cooking skills, and plenty of time to do prep) to bring along for a three day weekend with minimal refrigeration (an electric cooler in a hotel room), and no microwave or other cooking options available. There are, however, strict limitations on what sorts of food will be acceptable (I am not interested in the harsh judgements of anyone over these limitations, we have good reasons for them and I don't want to hear "just make him eat X").

Generally speaking, veggies are not going to cut it, at all. Person in question is a picky eater and only actually likes potatoes, onions, cooked tomatoes, peppers, some types of beans, and iceberg lettuce. I am thinking I will bring along some cut up green peppers for snacking. Any salad suggestions should include some sort of protein.

Sulfurous foods can't be brought (foods that generally cause gas, like beans).

Should be high in protein, but low in fat, but limited to beef, pork, chicken, or turkey. No game meats (though ostrich and emu are fine). Cold cuts aren't a good option (Though we might bring some along) because they usually have gristle in them somewhere, and the person in question is highly sensitive to gristle in cold cuts and will not be able to continue eating them if he comes across any (it makes him throw up).

No fish. No eggs. No dairy. No Asian-style food (he dislikes ginger, soy, and sweet spices). No tofu. As low fat as possible. No hummus (he doesn't like it).

Breads and crackers are fine but aren't enough to sustain someone an entire weekend. Person in question is not very fond of sandwiches in general, but will eat them for some meals if required to. He's not very fond of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, for instance.

He DOES like fruit, but fresh fruit needs to be at least mostly ripe, and it generally isn't substantial enough for long-term.

He is also fond of pasta and tomato-based sauces. He likes Mexican food a lot as well.

I know this is very complicated and difficult, and I really do appreciate suggestions from folks. Please give me enough information so I can research recipes, if you can. Thank you all so much.

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  1. my first suggestion would be some kind of stuffed baked potato with a ground meat of some kind. possibly even potato skins or twice baked potatoes (minus the cheese it wont be quite the same, but can follow a similar procedure mixing in say... a ragu instead.

    stews with potatoes and some of the veggies mentioned might fit. or stuffed peppers.

    beans and rice is a good option (depending on what types of beans are OK and what arent) i make a good black beans and rice with chipotle in adobo and some onion for flavor.

    for quick snacking, beef jerky sounds like a great option as it requires no fridge, is high in protein, and easily transportable.

    canned chicken, while not the best chicken ever, is high in protein and great in a pinch. can be mixed with salsa, rice, pasta, etc, and doesnt need to be stored in any special environment.

    i would also definitely look into cereals! easy to store for a weekend, great nutritionally, and some even provide a decent amount of protein. oatmeal, can even be cooked in the coffee pot of a hotel room in a pinch.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mattstolz

      Oh, hmm, hadn't thought about the coffee pot being used for heating water. That opens a few possibilities up.

      1. re: mattstolz

        and yeah, we're totally bringing jerky. :)

      2. Hi Morganna, just want to check I've understood: no microwave or any other cooking/heating appliance? So everything will be served cold and should require minimal refrigeration?

        1 Reply
        1. re: gembellina

          Yes, no cooking options are going to be available. Though I MIGHT be able to scare up access to a microwave, we can't count on it. (HUGE PAIN IN THE BUTT)

        2. For a snack. would nice, whole grain tortilla chips with salsa work, if the traveller likes tomatoes and green peppers? A mild salsa could be nice, if he likes Mexican.

          I and many folks in my family love cold pasta. A light marinara tossed with al dente pasta (his choice of shape/type) would travel well.

          As a snack, would the traveller enjoy non-dairy protein bars, or fruit bars (Larabars?)

          Does the traveller like rice? You have a lot of variety with cold rice salads, or if no rice, orzo salads. Canned chicken (in a pinch, as the other poster wrote) could be tossed in with whatever mix-ins the person likes...light dressing of his choice?

          2 Replies
          1. re: pinehurst

            Oh these are all good ideas. He doesn't dislike rice, but needs there to be more to it than just "rice" if that makes sense. Some sort of cold rice salad might be good, and the tinned chicken is something I'd not considered. I'll try something out this weekend on him for that.

            1. re: Morganna

              Try short grain rice if you're going to cook it in advance and bring it with you. The grains get kind of clumpy and sticky and it doesn't have a mealy grainy texture. If he eats avocado, bring a whole one and top the rice.

              Since he likes peppers, try sauteeing peppers (and onions?) and cooking the rice with those. It adds flavor and makes it something other than plain white rice.

          2. Do you have access to a small crock pot?

            1. Morganna, looking through your list and the posts here, it made me think of the chicken soup they have at some of the Mexican restaurants. It's basically shredded chicken, salsa, rice and chicken broth with some cilantro and avocado thrown in. If you can heat water in a coffee pot, add a little chicken soup base, canned chicken, cooked rice and a cilantro salsa, you'd have a meal.

              There are canned fruits in single servings with pop-tops that you can keep in the fridge - and you don't need to worry about under or over ripeness.