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cooking in a hotel (fridge and microwave only!)

I am going on a super frugal bike vacation. Half the trip we have a full kitchen, easy peasy. The other half we are in cheap motels with a mini fridge and microwave. We may have access to a bbq which makes it easier, but there is a better, cheaper motel we could stay at without the bbq. This means microwave cooking! yikes! I don't even own a microwave.

breakfast is a no brainer, I am bringing a magic bullet and will make smoothies and a kettle for oatmeal. Lunch, we can do sandwiches/salads/bars

now dinner ideas anyone?? Short of buying TV dinners and reheating, what can you do in a microwave? And what should I bring for cookware?

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  1. No need for 'foodie' meals here, just decent, healthy sustaining :)

    1. Bacon! How about BLTs, or club sandwiches? I also really like meatless sausage patties, which nuke just fine. Couscous works well in a microwave. You could bring water to a boil in the microwave, mix in a handful of that bite-sized trail mix, stir in some cilantro, scallions and curry powder, then your couscous, cover and let it rest. WHen it's done, fluff it and toss in some rotisserie chicken and you'll have a pretty satisfying, if not gourmet, couscous pilaf.

      1. I have a plastic cover to put over dinner plates full of food to heat in the micro-wave. It doesn't usually get dirty so it saves you from carrying a roll of plastic wrap around.
        I have a microwave steamer from Tupperware. It's pretty good for cooking vegetables.
        Potatoes and sweet potatoes are easy to "bake" in a microwave. You might think along the lines of toppings such as broccoli (pre-cooked in the steamer) and cheese.
        Scope out any farmers markets that might be in the area. Some have vendors who sell cooked items, sometimes wonderful ethnic treats. A lot of larger supermarkets have ready to heat and eat meals. (Will you have a car following?)
        You might roast some chicken pieces before your trip, freeze them and they might get you thru a couple of meals. Re-heat in the microwave. Let them defrost in an insulated bag and hotel frig.
        Couscous is easy. I haven't cooked it in a microwave but it's probably easy to do. Boil water with flavorings i.e. chicken broth. Add the couscous. Let absorb. Add things like microwaved onion in butter, cooked broccoli, grape tomatoes, etc. Look thru some recipes. Another flavor combination might be a little cinnamon, dried cranberries, apple pieces, chopped scallions.

        Bring a good knife or two (I like a paring knife as well as a good slicing knife). Have some things pre-measured in baggies and ready to throw together.

        2 Replies
        1. re: dfrostnh

          We will have a car. I am not able to bring a lot with me, as crossing the border with fresh fruit or veg can be a pain. A rotisserie chicken and couscous pilaf is a great idea.

          I have some glass dishes with microwave lids, I can bring one of those. I don't think I want to buy any specific cookware for a microwave since I don't have one at home. I am adverse to covering with plastic wrap in microwave.

          has anyone tried those instant brown rices? What about pasta? Can I boil water and let pasta sit covered or nuke it? I wonder about quinoa too? Actually I could precook and freeze brown rice, and quinoa and bring a small cooler.

          thanks, getting the juices flowing!!

          1. re: cleopatra999

            I think you would be happier cooking brown rice ahead and freezing it. Your microwave lids might work to cover food you are microwaving. You need to cover it somehow because the contained steam/heat cooks the food. You can skip buying a plastic steamer although it can later be used as a storage container but I think the re-usable food cover is well worth the purchase. There's a vent hole but otherwise you might try an upside down plastic food container as long as it's microwave safe.

        2. Winter squashes cook up pretty well in the microwave if you perforate them to release steam beforehand. With your blender, you could make squash soups.

          2 Replies
            1. re: cleopatra999

              Eggs turn out pretty good in microwave. Very light and fluffy, all things considered.

          1. My sister cooks jasmine rice in the microwave all the time - I don't but that is her go to method of cooking rice. Always turns out great.

            What about bringing a small crockpot with you? That would really broaden your choices.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jeanne

              Not sure how useful a crockpot would be unless they're returning to same hotel.

              Frankly, I'd cook ahead at home and freeze, then assemble at the hotel and nuke as needed. Since you've got the car you have room for cooler; stock your frozen foods with frozen water bottles as ice (to be re-used later). Brown rice, as OP asked, freezes fine.