If your vacation plans include a rented cottage or condominium, chances are you won't be taking a vacation from cooking - at least not every day. Although dining out is certainly a highlight of any vacation, many people economize by taking advantage of the kitchen facilities that come with their lodgings. But vacation cooking doesn't have to be a time-consuming chore that takes you away from swimming, sightseeing or relaxing. With advance planning a family can enjoy simple and inexpensive tasty home-cooked meals.
It's always advisable to inquire beforehand about the cooking facilities and equipment available. Obviously there will be a stove and presumably an oven, but beyond that, don't take anything for granted. Ask about applicances, such as a toaster, portable mixer or electric coffee pot. What about measuring cups, cutting board, can opener, baking pans, colander, and cleaning supplies? Has the owner provided any staples - salt, sugar, spices - in the cupboards for your use? Furnished cottages and apartment usually contain most of these items.
It is easier to figure out what utensils and staples to bring along if menus are planned before leaving home, but stay flexible to incorporate local foods into your menus.
You don't have to limit yourself to hot dogs and hamburgers. If, for example, the family likes chili or chicken paprike, these are easy one-pot dishes to fix. Simply pack the necessary herbs and spices instead of buying them after you arrive. With a general outline of what to cook, it is easy to decide which items to bring from home and which to buy after arriving.
Many vacationers return home in a state of shock over the exoribitant food prices in sesort areas. For this reason, try to bring as many non-perishable foods as will fit round the luggage in the car's trunk. If it's only a short trip, you might even want to back meat, butter and eggs in an insulated picnic hamper. Take advantage of local specialties, however. Farm stands will be in bundance almost everywhere and the produce is bound to be cheaper and fresher than at supermarkets. If you're headed for the beach, you should find a selection of frest fish and seafood.
Don't be afraid to break a few rules. During the rest of the year, it's wise to buy foods in the largest and most economical [WORD ILLEGIBLE] , but on vacation, this can be wasteful if it means having several half-finished containers of food on hand when it time to go hom.
Many relatively expensive convenience foods which consumers may shun at home can prove useful while on vacation. Such items as instant mashed potatoes, packaged pizza mix and frozen pie shells can add variety to menus and get you out of the kitchen faster.
Keeping your vacation meals simple does not mean that they have to be boring. Here are some recipes that call for very little work or special equipment. SWEET AND PUNGENT CHICKEN (6 to 8 Servings) 2 frying chickens (3 pounds each), cut up 2 bottles (12-ounce size) chili sauce 1 cup grape jam (not jelly)
Wash and dry chicken pieces. Place in large kettle or Dutch oven. Add chili sauce and jam. Full both empty chili sauce bottles with water, and pour over chicken. Bring liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat, cover kettle, and cook 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove lid, and cook 10 minutes longer over medium heat to thicken sauce. Serve over rice, if desired. STOVE-TOP TUNA CASSEROLE (4 to 6 Servings) 2 cans (10 1/2 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup 2 cups milk 2 tablespoons mayonnaise Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas 2 cans (6 1/2-ounce size) tuna fish, drained and flaked 3 cups cooked elbow macaroni
Place soup milk, mayonnaise and lemon juice in large pot and bring to boiling over medium heat. Add frozen peas, and continue cooking, separating peas with a fork until they are heated through. Add tuna and cooked macaroni: let simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tuna and macaroni are well heated. SLOPPY JOE SANDWICHES (4 Servings) 1 pound ground beef 1 small onion, finely chopped or 2 tablespoons instant minced onion 1/2 cup catsup 1 teaspoon prepared mustard 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup water 4 hamburger buns, split
In large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until brown. Add onions, and contiune cooking until they are soft, but not browned. Drain off excess fat. Add catsup, mustard, sugar, salt and water, and simmer 15 minutes. Serve over hamburger buns. FRESH PEACH SHORT CAKE (6 to 8 Servings)
Peaches are at their best during the summer.If you buy all-purpose biscuit-pancake mix for this recipe, you can use the rest of the mix to make pancakes for breakfast. Sustitute vanilla ice cream for the whipped cream if you do not have a portable mixer. 2 cups biscuit mix 6 tablespoons sugar 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened 1/4 cup water 2 pounds ripe peaches, peeled and sliced 1/4 cup orange juice 2 cups whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, slighly thawed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl combine biscuit mix with 2 tablespoons each of sugar and butter until blended. Using a fork, toss in water, mixing just until moistened. Press dough into greased 8-inch cake pan or 9-inch pie pan. Bake 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and split in half crosswise with sharp knife. Spread remaining butter on cut side of each half. Keep warm.
Mix peaches with orange juice and remaining sugar. Let stand 15 minutes.
To assemble shortcake, place one cake layer, cut side up, on serving plate. Top with one-third of peaches. Cover with second layer, cut side down; top with one-third of peaches. Spoon whipped cream or ice cream over peaches, and top with remaining peaches. Serve while cake is still slightly warm by cutting in wedges. STRAWBERRY PARFAIT (4 Servings) 1 cup fresh strawberries 1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin 1 cup vanilla ice cream, softened
Reserve 4 whole-berries for garnish. Slice remaining strawberries and set aside. Prepare gelatin according to package directions. Let set in refrigerator 1 hour. Divide equally into 2 bowls. Stir softened ice cream into one bowl, beating with wooden spoon until well combined. Stir sliced strawberries into bowl of gelatin. In four dessert dishes for juice glasses, alternate layers of the two mixtures. Garnish each with a whole strawberry, and return to refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.