25.2.20

Travel Recipes: 20+ Meals to Make in a Hotel Room Microwave or Kitchenette

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by Robin
healthy microwave recipes



For our next family trip, we need easy hotel kitchenette meals!  That's what this post is all about: healthy microwave recipes (and other adaptable ideas for hotel recipes) for money-saving family travel.



We are less than three weeks away from our next family vacation: a week in San Francisco! As architecture, science, aquarium, Star Wars and nature nerds - it's the perfect vacation spot for us.


Our planning is coming together well:
  • We were able to get a great deal on flights. We're flying out of a neighbouring state which was much cheaper than flying from the airport closest to us.
  • We've got our CityPasses - so we will have a few days of unlimited trollies, a boat tour and other transit and our choice of a few museums and aquariums. City Passes are a great deal and you can find them for lots of touristy cities!
  • We've booked our tickets for our Alcatraz At Night tour.  You need to book these months ahead!



Our favourite way to travel is to rent an apartment or a home for a week. Then we explore the area from our comfy home-like base.  We often do this through AirBNB or VRBO.  There are lots of great reasons to do this:
  • more space! 
  • laundry! 
  • separate bedrooms for night owls and early risers!
  • but the real money saver is the ability to cook our own meals.  Eating in restaurants for an entire week adds up for a family! (Even if you ate fast food, it would likely be over a thousand dollars for four people at three meals a day.)


Usually, our travel meal planning is pretty straightforward. We pretty much make the easiest recipes from our master list of meals.  Then we splurge on a handful of special meals in restaurants.  We pack food or eat at "home" for the rest of the time.


This time around, however, we've got more of a challenge: our apartment doesn't have an oven or a stovetop!  THAT limits our usual cooking options.


Accommodation in San Francisco is EXTREMELY expensive - so the best budget rental we could find has a tiny kitchenette - basically a microwave, kettle and coffee maker. (It's in a beautiful old Victorian house in a great neighbourhood and has a wonderfully reviewed host who will pick us up and drop us off at the airport!  This tiny kitchen was a trade-off we were willing to make.)


But, as our travel dates approach, I'm left wondering what exactly we're going to make with our limited kitchen.


We've been searching and brainstorming and have some great ideas to share - I think we will eat very well and stay on budget. Plus, these recipes will be great for family road trips! Here are our ideas...

hotel recipes

Easy Hotel Kitchenette Meals




1. Keep Meals and Snacks Simple.

  • Water is healthy and free! We each bring a refillable water bottle in our carry-ons. Then we fill it each morning before touring. (Note to the wise: don't be as daft as me. Be sure to fill these water bottles AFTER you've cleared airport security. I lost all sense and filled all four of ours at home.  Then I had to dump them all ~ in a garbage pail of all places ~ while hundreds of other impatient travellers in line glared at me and surely commented about how stupid I am. Yeah - that felt awesome.)
  • Keep breakfast ultra-simple: oatmeal, cereal, milk, fruit, toast and microwaved eggs will be our menu.
  • We stock up on portable foods for healthy snacks when we're out and about. Nothing fancy: fruit, veggies, granola bars, etc.  This helps stave off temptation for expensive snack bar junk.
  • Pack sandwiches for lunches on days when there's a place to stop and eat them. (Some museums and amusement parks don't allow outside food - grrrrr - if they do pack and save!)


2. Travel with your Instant Pot?

  • I think this would be especially genius for a road trip: bring your Instant Pot!  You can saute (like a stovetop!) and bake (like an oven!). It gives you so many more options for meals.
  • If you do pack your pressure cooker - these Instant Pot Dump Recipes would be perfect! Super low prep, fast and delicious. 
  • Note: Ed's concerned that the steam could set off the hotel smoke detector! That would suck. It might be best to vent out a window or on a balcony to be safest.

3. A microwave rice cooker might be useful to pack. Or maybe - one of our favourites - a Griddler?


4. Cooking in the coffee pot? 

  • In looking for food ideas for our trip I kept seeing ideas to cook soup or noodles and other foods in the hotel coffee pot. 
  • It's a kinda cute idea - but YUCK.  I can't help but think that coffee from that machine will forever taste terrible.  We won't be doing this one out of our deep respect for coffee.



5. Cooking with the iron (using aluminum foil):

  • Once I shared this idea with our daughter she was inspired. I'm not sure we can get away with not doing this one. So at least one day we will cook with the iron.  We'll protect it with foil, of course!  Here are some ideas:
    • Iron paninis
    • Iron grilled cheese
    • Iron quesadillas

6. Easy Healthy Microwave Meals:

  • We're going to use our microwave more than we ever have on this trip.  What follows are some really delicious looking ideas...

5 Minute Easy Rice and Beans from Two Healthy Kitchens
5 Minute Easy Rice and Beans




8 Minute Low Carb Scrambled Egg Breakfast Jars from Appetite For Energy
8 Minute Low Carb Scrambled Egg Breakfast Jars



10 Minute Gluten Free Enchiladas from Flippin’ Delicious
10 Minute Gluten Free Enchiladas



Beef Enchilada Casserole from Framed Cooks
Beef Enchilada Casserole



Brown Rice with Edamame and Pineapple from Home Cooking Memories
Brown Rice with Edamame and Pineapple



Cheesy Spaghetti with Italian Sausage from Lady and Pups
Cheesy Spaghetti with Italian Sausage



Chile Relleno Breakfast Casserole in a Mug from Home Cooking Memories
Chile Relleno Breakfast Casserole in a Mug



DIY Easy Mac from Rachel Cooks
DIY Easy Mac



Easy Loaded Baked Potato Soup from Scattered Thoughts From A Crafty Mom
Easy Loaded Baked Potato Soup



Easy Microwave Fettuccine Alfredo Mug Meal from Kimspired DIY
Easy Microwave Fettuccine Alfredo Mug Meal



Egg Fried Rice in a Mug from Healthy Nibbles & Bits
Egg Fried Rice in a Mug



Italian Sausage Microwave Baked Potato from Culinary Ginger
Italian Sausage Microwave Baked Potato



Microwave Broccoli Cheddar Omelet from Slender Kitchen
Microwave Broccoli Cheddar Omelet



Microwave Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole from Just Microwave It
Microwave Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole



Microwave Chicken Fajitas from The Wooden Spoon Effect
Microwave Chicken Fajitas



Microwave Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce from The Wooden Spoon Effect
Microwave Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce



Microwave Migas in a Mug from Just Microwave It
Microwave Migas in a Mug



Spaghetti Squash with Sage Brown Butter & Toasted Walnuts from Two Healthy Kitchens
Spaghetti Squash with Sage Brown Butter & Toasted Almond



Spinach Ricotta Lasagna in a Mug from Healthy Nibbles & Bits
Spinach Ricotta Lasagna in a Mug



Sriracha Salmon from Savory Sweet Life
Sriracha Salmon


Personal Microwave Muffin in a Mug from our teenage daughter!
Personal Microwave Muffin in a Mug



Travel Tips for Families:


Instant Pot Recipes (you could do in a hotel room!):





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