Now that you’ve decided to take the challenge and have your menu planned, you’re on to the next step. It’s now time to make a list of all the food you will need to make all the pre-cooked items on your menu. You are also going to need quite a few freezer bags of various sizes. Do all of this a week or two before you leave. You’re going to put it all in the freezer until you leave.
Make all of your items, being sure to slightly undercook things that will get mushy when reheating (ie pasta, veggies…) Let them cool in fridge. Place them in freezer bags, laying them flat so as to take up less space in the cooler and/or fridge.
If you have soups on the menu, pour the cooled soup into a plastic bowl or container. Place soup in freezer until solid. Remove from container and place into freezer bag. You don’t want the soup to leak.
Pre-slice any homemade bread, pre-grate cheese (if you aren’t already buying grated cheese, which I would recommend) and individually wrap or bag things if desired. The less work you do at the hotel, the fewer things you’ll have to bring along and the more you’ll enjoy yourself.
Anything that you want to make but cannot freeze you will want to make as close to the time that you leave as possible. You also may not want to freeze whatever you are going to eat that first evening.
If you are going to be gone several days, consider buying pre-made things that will stay fresh longer. Having things that you’ve made get stale and/or spoil stinks!
Now make a shopping list of all the food you want to bring along. Depending on your car space, you may want to do some of the shopping once you arrive.
Also be sure to make a list of all the other things you will need for eating in a hotel. This will possibly be a lengthy list.
Here are some things you do not want to forget… (You will probably think of more)
crock pot, liners, serving spoons, can opener, electric tea kettle, small cutting board, sharp knife, sponge, dish soap, towels, serving bowl, 1 or 2 plastic containers with lid, napkins, plates, cups, bowls, spoons, forks, knives.
I would also recommend using disposable napkins, plates, cups, bowls and silverware. You want to keep doing dishes in a hotel bathroom sink to a minimum. You are on vacation… :o)
Also, juices in boxes or pouches are much better than jugs. They are less messy and portable. If you drink soda, bringing your own will save money. The same for coffee. I would also recommend bringing individual disposable water bottles. Losing an expensive water bottle while on vacation isn’t fun! Just remember to bring a Sharpie for writing names on them!
You are now ready to pack!
Place all cold foods in a cooler with ice. Make your ice with jugs of drinking water (not old milk jugs). Be sure to pour a bit out before freezing to allow for expansion. This will also make good drinking water later as the ice thaws.
You may want to take out whatever you are going to eat the first night so it will be thawed when you arrive. You may also need to think of a non-crock pot meal if you are going to arrive at your destination late in the day. Crock pots need a few hours to cook.
All your frozen food should get packed tightly in its own cooler and topped with about 20 pounds of dry ice wrapped in paper bags. This should keep it frozen for about 3 days. You may want to buy more or just let it thaw in a cooler with ice.
And you’re off!!!