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Best Meals to Cook on Vacation

cook on vacation

For those looking to escape the cold and snow, Florida is one of the most popular winter destinations to flock to. Between the theme parks, beaches and laid-back atmosphere, Northeasterners love the Sunshine State.

Whether you like to go camping, travel by RV or plan to stay at a timeshare or rental with family and friends, cooking on vacation often means having to prepare your meals in a tiny kitchen. But a small kitchen can still produce big flavor – you just need the right recipe! Luckily, there are plenty of options designed for the ease and convenience required of working with limited space.

If you are heading to Florida, stop into the nearest Winn-Dixie for quality groceries like fresh produce that’s checked twice daily for freshness, U.S.-raised Angus Choice Beef and fresh bread that’s baked in-store daily. Save extra when you download the Winn-Dixie app.

One Pot Meals

What could be easier than prepping ingredients, tossing them into a pot and forgetting about it for a while? Crockpots/slow cookers and Instant Pots/pressure cookers are great for cooking in a tiny kitchen because they don’t take up a lot of room and don’t need to be carefully watched.

These appliances can produce full meals like pot roast with very little fuss.

Slow cooker meals do take a bit of patience – “slow” is in the name, after all – but the resulting meal is sure to be flavorful. Instant Pots are faster, but typically a bit more expensive, so use what works best for you.

You also don’t need a slow cooker or pressure cooker to make a delicious one pot meal, sometimes all you need is, well, a pot. Soups and stews loaded with vegetables are simple, hearty and require little more than the initial prep work and an occasional stir.

And if you are looking for something even simpler, there’s always pasta. Pasta salads are filling, easy to customize and can do double-duty as the next day’s picnic lunch.

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Skillet Meals

Some quicker options come in the form of one-pan or skillet meals. These kinds of dishes often require cooking in stages, like browning the meat before setting it aside to cook the rest of the dish. Like one pot meals, using only one cooking vessel means quicker cleanup, which we all can appreciate, especially on vacation.

Types of one-pan meals include stir-fries, sausage and peppers and fajitas. Tacos are also always a crowd-pleaser that you can get the whole family involved in. While your seasoned protein is cooking, let the kids prepare toppings like shredded lettuce, cheese and avocado.

cook on vacation

Oven Meals

Whether it’s in a baking dish or on a sheet pan, oven-made meals are also great to make in small kitchens.

Roast whole or – to save time – a portion of chicken or turkey in the oven along with some veggies to make it a full, homemade meal. When tossed in a thin coat of olive oil and well-seasoned, vegetables like potatoes, onions, carrots, Brussels sprouts and asparagus roast well and will round out the meal.

Baked pasta dishes like lasagna do take some assembly, but their bake times will give you an opportunity to cleanup while they are in the oven.


As a side or a whole meal, salads are the ideal vacation food when you need something quick without the need (or desire) for any actual cooking. Bonus points for being healthy!

Make your own “house salad” with whatever you have on hand. Jazz it up by adding beans, nuts, seeds, fruit and cheeses. For a little added protein, you can always throw in a hard-boiled egg. Or think outside of the basic green salad with a panzanella, Waldorf or bean salad.


Did you leave room for dessert? Of course you did!

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this apple crisp and pair it with Winn-Dixie’s Award  Winning Prestige French Vanilla ice cream for a winning combination. If you have access to a blender, you can also whip up milkshakes or smoothies with ease. And if you are camping, the classic s’more is a fantastic option.

When working within a small cooking space – or any kitchen – cleaning as you go is one of the best tips. You might also want to look into some space-saving solutions, like stackable or nesting utensils.

Whether you find yourself in an RV, timeshare/rental space or camping, you’ll be able to relax on your winter getaway knowing that dinner is taken care of.

What are your favorite meals to cook on vacation? Tell us in the comments.


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