It can be uncomfortable traveling abroad with children, especially if they’re picky eaters. And until your entire family gets acclimated to the array of foreign foods which may seem unfamiliar, even unappetizing in a foreign country, I found the answer is to supplement their favorite home-cooked pasta meals. Familiar comfort foods make everyone happy!
1-Pot 7-Minute Meals for Expats on the Go
Quick and healthy pasta meals with veggies and cheese will satisfy most expat family members abroad.
If your family is on the go, try my trick of boiling all ingredients together in one pot from home or a kitchen-equipped hotel suite.
Meat & Veggies
The meat and veggies will cook perfectly, right along with the pasta, and within 7 minutes, your meal is complete, ready to be served and enjoyed by all.
This works for leftovers and bite-size cuts of meat, and all the chopped veggies you wish to hide or highlight in your dish.
The first night we started out with kid-favorite spaghetti (whole grain version), adding strips of sliced ham, chopped zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, onions, garlic, and red sweet peppers.
It cooked for 7 minutes (according to cooking directions), excess water was drained off, and the pasta dish was served with a splash of virgin olive oil and topped with olives – but you could use a favorite vinaigrette dressing.
Favorite Pasta Meal from Leftovers
Using the leftovers from the first night’s dish, we heated up our spaghetti, veggies, and sliced ham.
Then served it up by adding cuts of chicken leftovers from the outdoor chicken BBQ lunch the day before, covered it with pasta sauce, and shreds of parmesan cheese.
This turned the second night’s dinner into a quick meal of Chicken Parmesan.
Home-cooked Mac & Cheese
We can accomplish the same with a double-duty 1-pot, kid-friendly Mac & Cheese.
Again, cook pasta for approximately 7 minutes in boiling water, along with your chopped veggies, such as healthy tomatoes, onions, and garlic, plus sliced lunchmeat, if you desire.
Grate your cheese while this is cooking – I grated a quarter-pound brick of cheddar cheese to add to the pasta.
When the pasta and other ingredients are cooked to the desired texture, and water has soaked up into the pasta, turn off the stovetop. Immediately stir in the entire package of grated cheese, as it will melt quickly. Stir it in, and serve it warm.
Super Efficient: Spiced Up Leftovers
On the 2nd night, heat up leftover Mac & Cheese, and combine with either a package of chili seasoning mix, or a can of chili beans, or canned chili (with or without beans) for another kid-friendly meal of Chili-Mac & Cheese.
Sprinkle with chives, as pictured, or you could add a little more grated cheese to top-off.
Variety from Home
Easing into a new country’s cuisine can seem unattainable for families with picky eaters.
But by serving home-cooked and healthy comfort foods such as pasta, served up in a variety of ways, makes transitioning to another country and traveling with kids a lot easier.
It lets your family know, they don’t have to give up everything they’ve grown to love, and soon, they’ll be enjoying the delicacies offered in your new country, dining with new friends and family.
Where will you and your family land? Share your favorite foods abroad, and which comfort foods you took along with you.
by: Cheri Majors, M.S.