3 easy road trip dinners that seem fancy

Ali Hedin | Road Trip Dinners

When I tell most people that we love to road trip, they give me a quizzical look and ask about food.  It took me a little while to realize that most people equate a road trip with diners and drive thru food.  I don't.  I see a road trip as a chance to stop at road side fruit stands, eggs at tiny little home stands, farmer's markets, and buy fish from actual fishermen.  

The trick is to plan ahead enough so you can purchase groceries if you need them.  I also like to marinade and freeze the meat before we leave the house so we have menus planned out.  If you take the meat out of the freezer in the morning, it will be ready to cook by dinner.  



Grilled Oysters & Mizithra Pasta

Oysters are prolific on the Pacific Coast.  Almost every town we stopped in had plenty of stops including an old fishing boat (!) that we bought oysters straight from the fishermen.  In the summer, oysters must be cooked in order to kill any bacteria that could be lurking in warmer waters.  In the winter (or any month containing an "r") the water is cold enough that you don't have to worry about bacteria and can eat them raw.  

Also, my kids eat oysters and enjoy them.  If yours don't, then just buy 6 for you to eat and the kids can stick to the pasta.

The best part about this dinner is that it's done in about 15 minutes because really all you have to do is boil the water.  So when you arrive to the campsite later than expected and everyone is starving, instead of immediately devouring a bag of potato chips, you can have this on the table.

Ali Hedin | Road Trip Dinners
Ali Hedin | Road Trip Food
Ali Hedin | Road Trip Food

12 oysters

1 lb spaghetti

2 lemons, 1 of them zested & juiced

1/4 cup grated mizithra cheese

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, grated



Bring a pot of water to a boil and pop the oysters on the grill.  



In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, zest, garlic, and parsley.  



Strain the pasta when cooked and reserve some of the pasta water.  Toss the pasta with the reserved lemon juice until coated.  If the pasta seems dry, add pasta water 2 tbs at a time.  You will probably use about 1/4 cup. 



Toss pasta with cheese & serve with oysters.  You'll know they're done when they begin to pop open.  Serve with lemon wedges on the side.


Ali Hedin | Road Trip Food


Beer Brats & Onions

In every small town there is a meat shop that has local sausages.  I don't know why.  I have yet to fail to find a little spot to buy local sausages.  I don't know if they are as exciting to most people as they are to me, but it's so fun to seek out the locally produced goods.  Cooking these brats over the open flame with a little beer and a bunch of onions brings out the flavor of the sausages.  Serve these on a kaiser roll and a big green salad - OR even better - some sliced peaches from what ever farmer's market you found the sausages.  

Ali Hedin | Road Trip Food
Ali Hedin | Road Trip Food
Ali Hedin | Pacific Coast Highway Trip

4 brats or local sausages

2 onions, sliced

1 can of pale ale beer

salt & pepper



Place the pan over the open flame and heat for a minute.  Add the sausages and shake to brown on both sides.  You can also use tongs or a fork.  The goal is to get them slightly browned - not cooked through yet. 


Add onions and move them around with the tongs or a fork until lightly browned.


Pour in 1/2 cup of beer and cover with a lid.  Move off of the direct heat and off to the side.  This is when you are cooking the sausages all the way through.  Cook until they are done.

Serve with a kaiser roll.

Ali Hedin | Pacific Coast Highway Trip

Dinner #3

Hawaiian Barbecue Packets

Anything on a kabob is a big hit in my family and this dinner is fabulous both as a kabob and as a 'packet.'  Cooking it packet style keeps the moisture in and eliminates the crispy char on the outside of the meat.  It also reduces prep time by more than half.  Not threading skewers but popping everything in foil makes for a quick prep - and a quick clean up!  

I make rice on the stove while this cooks on the grill but you can use quick rice or camping rice if a trailer stove is unavailable.  

Ali Hedin | Pacific Coast Highway Trip

1.5 lb pork chops, cut into cubes

1 can pineapple rings

2 bell peppers, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 tbs fresh ginger, grated

1/4 cup soy sauce



Toss pork with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.  Let rest.  You can do this in the morning or have it frozen ahead too.



Tear off 4 sheets of foil.  Fill one side of each one with pork, bell pepper, onion, and pineapple.  You can customize what goes in for picky eater - just remember to label the top with a sharpie.



Place packets on the edge of the fire away from direct heat, but still in the heat.  So basically, not on top of a flame but just off to the side.  Alternately, you can bake these in an oven or pop them on a traditional barbecue.  Cook in any situation about 15 minutes until pork is cooked through.  

What do you cook while you're camping?  Want to see more of my "food from the road?" in the future?  Most of my recipes are healthy-ish and at the very least, an improvement on drive through options!  Let me know in the comments.



In the trailer, I'm a big fan of keeping everything in jars so we can refill at the bulk bins at stores we stop by.  We don't need LOADS of everything, but we do seem to need "everything."