Lately I have been leaving my husband behind while Dek and I wander around the globe. The first time was when I went back to China for work. The next time I headed back East to visit family so we could get the most out of our plane ticket. Someone has to stay home and make some money, right? I’m lucky he took on that challenge.

Whenever I leave town, which was happening long before Dek was born, I try to think of easy ways for Mike to feed himself. Don’t get me wrong, Mike is an amazing cook. Much better than I am in fact. He has the patience to follow complex directions. He also works really hard and sometimes very late when I am gone. It’s always been this way.


My travel prep always starts with a trip to Trader Joe’s for frozen foods. These are quick and easy for him to grab to bring to work or eat late at night when his brain isn’t firing on all cylinders.

I also try to leave groceries for a crock pot meal. He is a big fan of Pot Roast. I usually leave a lasagna for him to throw in the oven too. A jar of pasta sauce and linguine is a staple in our house for his desperate moments.

Everything I suggest below can be made in advance, stuck in the freezer and separated into individual meal containers.


Almost all of these recipes are also kid friendly and have been tested by my son. In certain instances you may want to try the meal first to see if the heat/spice level is too much for your children. Even my kid wasn’t ready for the Pulled Pork.

Crock Pot Meals


  • Beef & Black Bean Chili with Cilantro Lime Sour cream via Fine Cookingmagazine
    • Modifications: I tend to triple this recipe so it lasts a little longer. It’s a labor of love type of recipe so when I make it, I want to make a lot. I double the black beans, use cubed panchetta from Trader Joe’s instead of bacon.  I also generally just use flank steak instead of hamburger, but that is a personal preference. You can also experiment with the beers you use. My husband prefers Mirrorpond. He still wants to test a few more.
    • Kid Friendly? Yes, extremely. To cool down the heat of the chili, I just add in a little shredded cheese and plan sour cream.
  • Beef, Leek and Barley Soup via my friend Nic


Every person left behind on a trip deserves a little something sweet. I don’t have a lot of time as I run out the door, but this dessert, taken from Everyday Foods, is an all time hit at every party I bring them to.

Got a Meal Suggestion? 

Do you have a favorite meal you like to stash in the fridge before you head out on a trip, or even stick in the freezer for your return. Send it my way to be included. Really, who likes to cook when they just get back from a trip or when there is only one person in the house to cook for? Even when I was single I regularly cooked for 6. I grew up in a big household. I didn’t know how to cook for one.