I’ve been doing road trips since I was a kid traveling with my family all over the country. May dad was in the military and he, my mom, my four brothers and I frequently travelled many miles to get to Houston, Texas for the holidays or back to the military base where dad was stationed. As an adult, I’ve continued to do road trips with friends going to weekend beach getaways, ski resorts or nearby amusement parks. So, I’ve had a lot experience on the road. Some things have changed over the years and I’ve modified my approach to how to prepare for these trips. So, here are a few tips and recipes that I think you’ll enjoy when you get ready for your next trip with your family or friends.
Two Coolers – If you have room in your vehicle for two coolers, have one for beverages and one for food. The food cooler shouldn’t be opened on a regular basis, because the food won’t say at the proper temperature. By having two coolers, you can grab a beverage anytime time you like and your food will stay at the appropriate temperature.
Wet Naps - We all make messes along the way…especially kids. Having some wet naps for those little accidents keeps you from having to make unnecessary stops along the way.
Garbage Bags – Tied to the wet naps, a garbage bag to discard all of your trash will keep the car clean is a another helpful item.
Cloth Towels – Invariably, a big spill will happen in the car during a road trip…a carbonated bottle my spray its contents everywhere or someone my just have an unexpected spill. Having a few cloth towels is a quick way to clean away the mess. Cloth towels will be more absorbent…and reusable.
Sealable Bags – These will be helpful when you want to seal away something that might be a bit messy…even cloth towels that have been used for a big mess. Once you are home or at your destination, you can discard or recycle whatever the item was.
Music Mixes or iPod/iPhone/Car Link – Not everyone has satellite radio. And, since radio stations go in and out when you’re traveling across states, build your own music list and burn it on CDs for the trip. Or, if you have a smart phone or mp3 player with an adaptor for your car, play your own music list(s) while driving. Also, give your traveling companions the opportunity to bring their music, too. Everyone should be heard!
Freeze Drink Bottles Filled With Your Favorite Beverage – I’ve often purchased bottled water and used the water to make my own flavored drinks, like lemonade, then poured it back into the bottles. By taking these bottles and repurposing them, you not only have a homemade beverage to enjoy on the trip, you also have an extra cold storage device. Freezing the flavored water bottles and putting them in your food cooler will insure that the cooler stays cold. The beverages will thaw out at some point during your trip and they’ll be available as a refreshing drink to enjoy.
First Aid Kit – just because you never know what might happen on a trip, always be prepared by having a simple first aid kit on board.
Here are two quick recipes that you can use on your next trip. I think road trip food should be easy to prepare and store as well as easy to eat during the trip. These chicken fingers are great at room temperature with or without the mayonnaise honey mustard recipe that is included below. The trail mix Rice Krispies are a nice alternative to a recipe that’s been around for a long time.
Rosemary Parmesan Chicken Fingers
1 lb Chicken Breasts (thinly sliced if available)
1/2 cu Breadcrumbs (Panko if available)
1/2 cu Corn Meal
1 tsp Fresh Rosemary, finely minced
1/3 cu Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 lg Eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse and dry chicken breasts. Slice chicken into strips about 1” wide and 1/2" thick. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, corn meal, rosemary, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. In a separate medium sized bowl, beat eggs until smooth and creamy.
Dip chicken pieces in egg and then coat them in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on baking sheet. Do not overlap chicken pieces.
Bake chicken in the oven for 25 minutes or until crispy brown. Remove from oven and allow chicken to cool. Place chicken in a paper lined sealable container and refrigerate until ready to eat. For a simple dipping sauce, combine 1/4 cup each of light mayonnaise and yellow mustard with 2 tablespoons of honey.
Trail Mix Rice Krispies
4 tbl Butter
6 cu Miniature Marshmallows
8 cu Rice Krispies
1 1/4 cu Mixed Dried Fruit and Nuts*
1/2 cu Shredded Coconut
Lightly spray a 9” x 12” baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large pot, melt butter over a low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until mixture is smooth. Turn off heat and pour in Rice Krispies, fruit and nut mix, and coconut. Stir to complete combine. Pour mixture into baking pan. Lightly spray your fingers with cooking spray and press mixture evenly into pan.
Allow mixture to set and then slice into small serving sizes.
*this mix can be any combination of nuts and dry fruit that you like.
The most important thing about a road trip is to have a good time with the people with whom you are sharing a car for that long ride. If you do a little planning and make easy but enjoyable foods, I’m sure you’ll have a great time.
If you have any questions, pleases send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.