If we are planning a trip up north I always write up a menu before I leave because there is only one little market in town and sometimes they have something and sometimes they don’t. It is best to be prepared and pack enough food on hand for the week. We pack extra because in the country sometimes you get visitors that stop by and it is always polite to share a meal or two with them. We also try to keep things simple and being that we usually have tons of tools and repair supplies to load up, we don’t have a lot of room for a bunch of food that may go bad if we don’t eat it. It is best to keep things light when up there.
Cereal,bananas, apples, oranges, bagels, cream cheese, eggs, potatoes, french toast, oatmeal, mushrooms, corn tortillas.
Monday- drive into town, ate breakfast in the city.
Tuesday- cereal and fruit
Wednesday- oatmeal with dried strawberries and apples, skim milk.
Thursday- Cereal/ fruit or bagel/ cream cheese
Friday-Mushroom/grilled onions and scrambled eggs with warm corn tortillas and salsa.
Saturday-Eggs and toast
Sunday- French toast/ oranges, potatoes
Monday- Banana bread/ Oranges/ cocoa.coffee or tea. Drive back to the city
We thought we had packed extra potatoes but realized we left a giant bag of potatoes back in the city by mistake otherwise we would of had our traditional Sunday breakfast together of eggs and potatoes. We only had a couple of potatoes that we ended up using for a dinner one night and the left overs were used for a breakfast another day. When planning trips up north we have to bring all our garbage back with us. It is kind of like camping, what you bring in you take out with you. Living this way really gives you an idea of the waste we create. When you have to haul a weeks worth of garbage around with you for hours you start planning accordingly. Because we left a giant bag of potatoes back in the city I had to get creative with the last two days of breakfast so I used hot dog buns for french toast sticks, and two very ripe bananas became banana bread the last morning.
Pasta. Soup, mac’n’ cheese, chicken tacos, sandwhiches, pizza, Mushroom cheese burgers, burritos, tacos.
Monday- before we got to Our Little Red House we stopped off in a town on the way in and bought some meals at a couple mom and pops. Mexican and Italian meals to go. These were going to be our late lunch/early dinner meals and left overs for the next day. There are no restaurants in the town where Our Little Red House is. We normally don’t eat out since it can be very expensive and add up but long trips and all the cleaning, packing, and unpacking can be exhausting which means we are too tired to cook after a day like that.
Tuesday- left over lunches from the day before. There were several meat balls left and those were made into sandwiches. Rice and bean side dishes were made into burritos.
Wednesday- Mushroom cheeseburgers. Potatoes.
I used to cook the mushrooms whole but my daughter hates the texture so I started cutting the mushrooms into smaller pieces before I cooked them. I toast the buns, add the cooked mushrooms, Munster cheese, grilled onions, tomato, pickles and lettuce. Potatoes are boiled and then sliced and recooked in a cast iron pan in a little oil, Boiling potatoes before a trip up north cuts cook time in half which makes things easier. We are still turning Our Little Red house into a comfortable home so we tend to try not to make complicated meals while up there after a long day of working. We do eat meat once in awhile, mostly white meats like chicken and fish. Red Meat is heavy to us so we eat it maybe once a month or sometimes once every two months or longer, usually when we eat out.
Thursday- Chicken soup, crackers.
We add all kinds of things to our pizzas. Pepperoni, sausage, red and green peppers, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, brocolli, and different kinds of cheeses. Everyone kind of picks what they like and they make they’re own personal pizzas. The salads are alwasy simple. Just lettuce, sometimes spinach leaves, tomatoes, carrots, sometimes cucumbers, sometimes croutons and either Italian dressings or cream dressings. Everyone does they’re own thing but I try to always include some sort of veggie.
Saturday- pasta/ green beans and tomatoes
Sunday- Taco buffet- chicken tacos, black beans, pinto beans, rice, avocado dip, salsa. Tortilla chips.
Monday- grilled sandwiches packed for the road trip back to the city.
When up north sometimes we will make big pots of a meal knowing we have a long day ahead of us. Big pots of chicken soup or pasta can be eaten for lunch and dinner. I add a sandwich with the soup at dinner though. For the pasta I will add salads and home made bread. On days when we have the same meal for lunch and dinner we will pop a big bowl of popcorn for later and have different toppings to go with the popcorn including cheese sauce.
Same items as lunch.
Monday- take out
Tuesday- Mac’n’cheese/ peas and tomatoes. My husband and I had a tuna sandwich. This was a day of painting inside so mac n cheese it was. Sometimes we will buy box kits to make a quick meal up there (great camping food) and sometimes we will boil plain macaroni and melt Velveeta cheese with that, then sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and that will be a mac’n’ cheese dinner for the night. This is a special treat, as you all know Mac N cheese is a comfort meal and should not be eaten all the time…kind of like ice cream, just a treat and an easy meal for breaks from serious cooking.
Wednesday- Enchilada styled bean and cheese burrito with a side of lettuce/tomatoes and rice. These are home made crock pot beans my husband makes. I tend not to eat big meals at night and will make my biggest meal at lunch time. Later I will have a snack or something small.
Thursday- Chicken soup and sandwiches
Friday- Pasta, salad and bread
Saturday- Left over pizza/salad- turkey sandwich, or black bean nachos. Left over night.
Sunday- Pasta/green beans and tomatoes
Monday- Left overs back in the city. Some left over ideas from our home that night included boiling up a bag of pasta and using some of the homemade pasta sauce I made up north. I always make extra sauce for nights like this, I had two mason jars left of sauce for pasta. There is also eggs back in the city from our chickens that week and remember that bag of potatoes we left here in the city? Well breakfast for Dinner is always a choice in our home. Or do like my son and use Rice and beans, fresh avocado, cut up tomatoes, diced green onions and cheddar cheese and make a plate of nachos topped with fresh salsa of peppers, tomatoes, and onions.
Snacks and deserts
Saltines, peanut butter, strawberry jelly, tortilla chips/ salsa. Corn nuts, chocolate, pop corn, fruit, hard candies, string cheese, peanuts, cookies, brownies, nuts, trail mix.
My son and daughter love their snacks. Tea and cookies in the afternoon, baked corn tortillas and fresh salsa,. Sometimes it is apples and string cheese. Living here in Arizona there is never a shortage of oranges which we all grew up on and love. Apple slices with peanut butter or sliced banana pieces with peanut butter on top and chopped walnut pieces on top of that. My son takes saltine crackers and adds peanut butter and strawberry jelly to that. I buy the unsalted kind.
Air popped popcorn is left out in big bowls on the table for those moments when everyone just needs a handful of something before heading back to work, school, or repairs being done. Sometimes I will have a veggie tray prepared and stored in the fridge to be taken out when someone needs a little snack. I have had the tray for decades now. Bought it from a friend at work one year when she was selling kitchenware on the side for extra Christmas cash. I fill that tray with sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, broccoli, cheese, pickle slices and sometimes rolled up deli meats. The tray doesn’t last long, everyone loves eating from it.When food and snacks are prepared in pretty ways it draws the eyes and encourages everyone to try it. At least I like to believe this.
Some recipes from our menu plan
Nothing fancy just some simple tips of mine when preparing road trip meals. My husband is the one who loves to cook and I love to create. We make the perfect team because I will take the meals he prepares beforehand and put them together into a pretty presentation like the Taco buffet. I grew up around a lot of Hispanic families as a little girl with two families that would go on to open their own mom and pops in our city. I always loved watching my neighbors from the old neighborhood cook. I guess I picked up a few tips while doing that because my family loves my tacos. A cousin of mine (her mother is Hispanic) taught my husband how to make rice like they do in Mexican restaurants and it taste so good just like sitting in a restaurant. We also shop at different locations to save money. We use coupons and shop for bargain deals at different stores. What we don’t use up right away we can and store for later. Any scraps go to the chickens.
I make my pasta sauce in a crock pot. Then I let it simmer all day for hours before I pour into mason jars to be used later or for pasta that night. I did not grow up eating a lot of pasta. My family being half Swedish and German ate a lot of meat meals. Being someone who isn’t really into meat, especially red meat, was hard growing up in because I was like an outcast in a way but “That’s just Cheri” they would say. I would always pick out all the mushrooms from the spaghetti my family made and just eat those…I know weird, but I have always loved beans and rice mostly. Maybe this is why I would escape to neighbors homes and eat their traditional meals from their country of Mexico. I do love fish though and my husband and kids think it is so gross when I eat little tin cans of fish and my favorite Pickled Herrings. I kept some of my families traditions, just not a big meat person. We will cook pot roast in crock pots and make them into sandwiches, green chili burritos etc…but usually we keep things pretty simple in what we eat. We try to stick with local traditions and food from our area of Arizona.
Pasta sauce ( My husband’s Italian aunts taught me a little about making pasta sauce)
8 small cans of tomato sauce
1 whole onion diced
2 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
1 small can of tomato paste
After chopping up a whole onion I will add a little oil into a pan and simmer for awhile until onions become soft. In a crock pot I will add tomato sauces and paste with olive oil and garlic, then add cooked onions to mixture. If using fresh garlic always buy local garlic from your area or as close to your home as possible. With all foods always be careful and do your research, or as we do, try to buy local or grow your own if possible. Fresh garlic grown in rich soil picked that day taste wonderful.
Monday morning I looked in the fridge and saw two ripe bananas and one egg. I knew everyone would be hungry once they woke up and we still had to pack for the trip back to the city. I had to come up with something. So I made a breakfast cake/bread of sorts. I had two oranges left and sliced them up to add to breakfast along with coffee, tea or hot chocolate. The little market in town was not open yet otherwise I could have gone down and bought some donuts or something.. There is a farmers market open early on the weekends and a few houses down the street they sell fresh eggs and fresh milk if we need it as well. But I just used what we had and came up with this. The can of apple pie filling was from a stash of can goods we have on hand for situations like this. Where ever you are, whether in a city or country setting, always have at least 2 weeks or more of water and food supplies on hand for emergency situations.
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 very ripe bananas
1 can of apple pie filling
Soften butter, add 1 beaten egg, ripe bananas, and can of apple pie filling. Mix all dry ingredients. Add mixture to two lightly greased 9×13 bread pans.
1 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons of cold butter
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/4 cup of flour
Mix all dry ingredients then add butter and with a fork and mix together until crumbs form. Add topping to bread mixture. Bake both pans at 360F for 1 hour or until wooden skewer tip comes out dry to center.
Hope you all liked this simple menu plan of ours. Sometimes I will make caserouls, they also travel well. When my kids were little they would make Corn chip salad. They loved this meal. My husband and I loved it because we didn’t have to make a meal when the kids put this together. We could continue working through the night and then the kids would hand us a plate. So cute when they were little and made us dinner. They make pasta now and bake things together to treat old mom and pop when we need a break from cooking.
Corn chip salad
1 cup corn chips
1 can of Kidney beans
1 can of pinto/ or chilli beans
Grated cheddar cheese
So there it is, hope you all liked this little tip on what it is like when figuring out our meals during our trips up north. It really is like camping in a way. Do any of you have favorite meals that you do on road trips or out camping and traveling? Happy meal planning everyone.