Cooking in a kitchen that is not your own can be nerve wracking! Whether your home kitchen is fully gluten-free (GF) or not, cooking at a vacation rental or someone else’s house requires an extra level of preparedness to be safe.
If the house is close by, one option is to make the meal at your own house and bring it with you. When driving for a trip, I pack a Rubbermaid tub with the cooking essentials. If we are sharing the house with others, I make sure everyone knows that that box is only to be used for gluten-free cooking.
Checklist for Cooking Meals in a Non-GF Kitchen:
- Aluminum foil (and lots of it!) – this can cover cookie sheets, serving platters and grills and wrap around food to keep the chance of cross-contamination low. Don’t forget a sharpie to mark GF as needed.
- Cutting board (Bring a large wooden cutting board to double as a serving platter for you’re your Thanksgiving turkey if needed)
- Frying pan
- Pasta pot
- Paper plates and bowls
- Plastic cups
- Plastic forks, spoons and knives
- Chef’s knife (transport it in a paper towel tube)
- Whisk (I have used a plastic fork instead of whisk many times, so bring it only if you have space)
- Mixing spoon that can double as a serving spoon
- Gallon and sandwich size Ziploc bags or containers for leftovers
- Chicken stock
- GF flour
- Sugar, salt and pepper, condiments and other herbs that you like to keep separate
- Aluminum cake pans, casserole or bread pans, if needed
- Crockpot or crockpot liners (When not using the crockpot, I use the bowl as my mixing bowl for other recipes)
- Cheese grater
To separate items in the refrigerator, either designate a separate shelf (the higher the better) and/or a drawer. If it’s a small amount put it in a small Rubbermaid bin.
This seems like a lot. I know. It’s a mobile kitchen. If you are not going to be cooking entire meals, then you will not need all these items. Everyone’s checklist will look different depending on what you are cooking. Keep your recipes simple and bring only what you need to make your recipes. If you are flying, consider buying cheap or one-use versions of what you might need at your destination.
An easy way to keep things simple while on vacation is to make a one pot meal in a crock pot. It will feed a crowd, allow you to enjoy the day and can easily be made gluten-free. This is especially important on holidays. Here is a mashed potato recipe you can make entirely in your crock pot.
Slow Cooker Mashed potatoes
About 6 medium yellow potatoes, washed and diced
1 ½ cups milk
3 Tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
4 ounces of cream cheese, optional
Add potatoes, milk, butter, salt and pepper to slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Add cream cheese if you like cheesier mashed potatoes. Mash or whip with handheld mixer. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed and it is ready to serve. To keep warm, pour about 1/4 cup of milk over top, cover and set on low or warm until service. Then just mix in milk and its ready for some gravy!