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Cooking on Vacation


Creole Chicken Over Brown Rice

Creole Chicken Over Brown Rice

The nice thing about renting a condo on vacation is that if it’s moderately equipped you can save your waistline and your wallet by having a meal or two in. 

Breakfast, of course, is generally pretty easy.  My staple while in Palm Springs has been TJ’s oats and flax oatmeal with a teaspoon of almond butter and 3/4 cup of California strawberries.  Low-cal, healthy and YUM.  A good way to fuel up before our daily tennis battles. 

Snacks have been easy too – string cheese, carrots, sugar snap peas, celery and hummus – all designed to help me get my 3 cups of veggies a day plus a little protein to hold me over til lunch.

Last night, I tackled dinner: roasted broccolini, Chicken Creole over brown rice and for dessert, quick and dirty chocolate souffle.  I found the Chicken Creole recipe at The Unpolished Spoon.  This is the second recipe I’ve tried from Jennifer and both have been incredible and easy.  The souffle recipe came straight out of a memoir I just finished reading (and loved) Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes.

Shopping for the meal was pretty easy but I ended up buying a lot of spices that are staples at home.  It would have been much less expensive if I had premeasured the spices before I left home and brought them in a Ziploc.  I also had to buy ramekins to make the individual chocolate souffles in; luckily there’s a Crate and Barrel outlet nearby!

Meal prep was fairly easy – the condo has a bowl big enough for the chicken breasts and marinade to fit in and I chopped the veggies into a Ziploc (I prepped ahead when I had some downtime in the morning so the chicken could marinade for a while and I could just start cooking when we all got hungry for dinner).  The knives left a lot to be desired, but that’s what happens in rental kitchens.

Cooking was a bit tricky.  I started with a mid-size dutch oven and had to upgrade to the biggest saucepan I could find when it came time to put the chicken in the pot – this worked, barely.  To say the saucepan was filled to its limit was putting it mildly – still, it worked.  We didn’t have another pot big enough to cook rice in, so we relied on Uncle Ben’s 90 second microwavable rice pouches.  Not bad for the base of a dish.  After 50 minutes or so, the result was a condo filled with the fragrant smell of a home cooked meal and a colorful, healthy, delicious dinner of chicken, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, and brown rice with a side of broccolini.

Basic Broccolini Recipe

  • Heat oven to between 450 and 500 on broil. 
  • Line a deep cookie sheet with foil and spread broccolini on the foil.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the broccolini.
  • Sprinkle pepper and kosher salt over the broccolini.
  • Cook in oven for 6 minutes.
  • Shuffle broccolini around and cook for another 6 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and serve.

So basic and so good!

After dinner and some digestion time, I got to work on the Quick and Dirt chocolate souffle.  This was beyond easy with a very short ingredient list (chocolate, eggs, sugar, butter for the ramekins).  From start to finish including 14 minutes of cooking time, the souffles took about 25 minutes.  Here’s the result:

Quick n Dirty Chocolate Souffle

Quick n Dirty Chocolate Souffle

We added a dollop of whipped cream (heavy cream with 2 TBSP. powdered sugar, beat on high with an electric mixer until consistency you desire is achieved) to cut the chocolate flavor a bit.  The result was a decadent dessert worthy of any dinner party.  In fact, my brother in-law is planning to make it in a week or two to impress his neighbors!  Plus, since it was made from dark chocolate, I’m pretty sure there’s a health benefit in there somewhere . . .

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6 Responses

  1. Indeed, not only a way to save big on the eating budget, but cooking away from home is an adventure too. Especially if you purchase local ingredients for some areas like the eastern coast where seafood is plentiful and fresher too.

    Bon appetite!

  2. I love renting vacation spots with kitchens. It’s so much more fun to shop the local markets and cook from what’s available.

  3. I definitely love mixing up cooking and eating out on vacation. The last trip I took, we were definitely in the eating out mode, but it’s so fun to cook for oneself. Camping can also present interesting and fun challenges!

  4. YUM! Love this…always a bit of challenge when not in my own kitchen for me.

  5. ah, vacation sounds so nice.

  6. Over the years I had plenty of experience with this. we had a rented vacation place in Sonoma (furnished) so we’d be up there months at a time. I started bringing equipment back and forth with me. Never thought of the ziplock spices, that would have been a great idea. The one downside of our place is no dishwasher..(it was an old farmhouse) which made cleaning up a pain.

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