We try to save money while traveling by frequently eating in our room.
If we don’t have a refrigerator or cooking facilities, we’ll just order take out, buy a bottle of wine, and spread out in the room.
Here in Des Moines, we reserved a room at the Residence Inn that promised a full kitchen. Well, on arrival, I would have to say…yes, but…the cooking facilities were definitely compromised.
The first problem. The room turned out to have microwave and a two burner cooktop, one covered pot, and a frying pan that fit the same cover. So one cover, two pans. And the next problem, the two pans were too large to fit on the cooktop at the same time. For example, it was impossible to heat water and cook something in the pan at the same time. So this required a plan for serial cooking if the meal took more than a single pan.
But we persevered.
We survived the first night by buying one of those whole, fully cooked chickens that supermarkets use as loss leaders. Great price, no fuss. We picked up salad fixings, and Meda prepared a great spinach salad. All I had to do was heat up a can of baked beans. It wasn’t fancy, but we were tired after the long flight from Honolulu.
The next night we tried again, this time with fresh chicken thighs cooked with garlic, onion, and a canned of diced tomatoes. Meda made another salad. And I prepared some penne pasta with a bit of garlic. Another straightforward meal.
We spent a couple of nights with takeout orders, one from the nearby Fong’s Pizza, the other from Thai Flavors, about a six minute drive away.
The next night we were back at Hy-Vee looking at our options. We needed up with salmon filets from Scotland. I first sautéed onion and garlic, and then added the rest of the bag of salad spinach we had bought previously. Cooked it down a bit, then took it off the stove in order to make room to heat water for the pasta. When the pasta was done, I set it aside, and put the onion-garlic-spinach mix back on the stove, added the salmon, then added a little lemon juice and a dash of white wine, covered and cooked for maybe six minutes or so. Meanwhile, Meda worked on a picky plate with carrots, avocado, and sliced tomatoes. When the salmon was cooked, it was served with the pasta. A bit of parmesan added at the end. It all came together pretty well, and both looked and tasted great.
Better than most restaurants (at least those in our price range!).