What To Cook Before A Vacation

The more frequently I travel, the more I stress about having enough time to prepare to be away from home for a week or two, and avoid coming home to a refrigerator full of rotten food or leaving a sink full of dishes. Through trial and error, I’ve discovered the best food to cook before a vacation is a simple roast chicken (sorry, vegetarians). The Department of Health suggests you can keep cooked chicken in the fridge 3-4 days, while I’d say you are good for up to a week, but you don’t want to take a chance on getting food poisoning before you leave on a trip. So let’s say four days to be safe. Now, how to minimize your cooking and cleaning time, and mix it up so you aren’t eating the same leftovers every night? Let’s say you are leaving on Friday: here’s your timeline.

Sunday – Roast a chicken
Buy your last groceries for the week and if you are feeling really pressed for time, pick up a supermarket rotisserie chicken, but it’s easy enough to bung a chicken in the oven with some seasonings in the early evening and feel like you’ve accomplished something. Serve with a hearty salad leaf like kale, and some good grains like buckwheat or wild rice.Monday – Strip the bird
Depending on your preferences, you can use the chicken to top a salad (use more of that kale!) or on some pasta with some store-bought sauce (put leftover sauce in a freezer container for later use). Try to strip the chicken of meat so you can wash out the roasting pan, but keep the carcass and bones.

Tuesday – Make broth and sandwiches
Take that leftover carcass and simmer in water to make broth. You won’t need it tonight, so you can do after work and refrigerate before you go to bed. Use up a loaf of bread and make sandwiches, maybe melt some cheese on them if you have anything open and are feeling fancy. Make kale chips with a little olive oil and salt (I like to use garlic salt); line the baking sheet with foil so you have less to wash.

Wednesday – Simmer soup
If you have a slow cooker, you could put it on in the morning set on low for the day, but you can throw together chicken soup at dinnertime too. Strain the broth you made last night, add the leftover chicken bits, and toss in any remaining vegetables (goodbye kale!) and grains from the first night. A can of beans is a good addition too; fiber is important before traveling! Any left? Put it in the freezer for an easy meal post-vacation.

Thursday – Get delivery
Sick of chicken (or don’t want to be sick from chicken)? Play it safe and order something in that doesn’t require many dishes, like pizza or noodles (sushi is always a gamble before a trip, but a good light option). Try to keep it a little healthy and make/order a side salad. Pack, take out your trash, and finish doing dishes.

Friday – Departure
Leave on your trip, feeling good that you didn’t waste any food, and you ate a heck of a lot of kale. Eat anything other than chicken.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Mark Turnauckas]

Fried Chicken In Ulan Bator: KFC To Open In Mongolia

Would you like home-style biscuits or mashed potatoes to go with your yurt?

No country is out of reach for global food brands these days, and this week it’s Mongolia. In partnership with Ulan Bator-based Tavan Bogd Group, Yum! Brands is opening up four KFC outlets in Mongolia this year.

A country known for its nomads and ger yurts, it’s the most sparsely populated country in the world. But it’s also growing: the Mongolian economy is expected to expand 15.7% this year, the fastest pace in Asia.

That means it’s prime real estate for a large restaurant chain looking to expand. But how do you go about introducing fried chicken into a place that’s usually known for mutton and goat?

“We are conducting a market survey together with a global research company to determine the market potential and identify eating habits of Mongolians, which will outline our development road map,” said Ts. Baatarsaikhan, chief executive officer of Tavan Bogd Group.

Which begs the question: do Mongolians prefer original or extra crispy?

[Photo credit: pshegubj]

Photo of the day – Don’t look a gift buffalo in the mouth

Shopping at a local market can be a highlight of any trip. You might find antiques in Paris, produce and food in Ethiopia, or just tube socks and funnel cake in America. Today’s Photo of the Day was taken by

Flickr user American Jon at the

Bac Ha Market in Vietnam, known for colorful hill tribes, livestock of all kinds (some good advice on transporting your new chicken can be found here), and moonshine. Just don’t have too much of the local swill – you want to stay sharp when bartering for your buffalo like the gentleman above.

Have any good market photos to add to the Gadling Flickr pool? Make sure we can download them so we can use one for a future

Photo of the Day.

Get out and go: Events around the world this week (September 24-29)

Happy Hump Day, Gadling’ers! The weekend is approaching, so it’s time to look at the festivals and events happening around the world this week. If you’re close and have time, then you have no excuse to get out and go!

  • Kentucky World Chicken Festival: Did you know the World Chicken Festival is held in London, Kentucky? Neither did I. Apparently, it is a family event with fairground rides, stalls, live entertainment and fried chicken. The festival runs from September 24-27.
  • London – ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ opens Friday, September 25 at Shakespeare’s Globe in London and will continue through October 10. It is a play about the King of Navarre and his courtiers who have forsworn every kind of pleasure.
  • Maine AppleFest 2009 will take place at the Monmouth Museum in Maine this Saturday, September 26. There will be a series of family activities to celebrate the apple harvest.
  • Singapore – The Singapore Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, September 27. The race is part of the Formula 1 World Championship season.
  • Brighton – Last, but certainly not least, the UK Air Guitar Championships will take place Tuesday, September 29! According to its website, sweet moves and an outrageous costume are a must!

If you make it to one of these events, let us know how it was.

‘Til next week, have a great weekend — the last of September!

Photo of the Day (5.2.09)

I’m a vegetarian, so the sight of these chickens in the window elicited a very strong gurgle from my stomach. Before college, however, I was a meat-eater. I didn’t have my first salad until I was 18. My parents would frequent Chinatown, and I would gawk at the meat in the window in a similar fashion as I am now.

I love Peking duck. I miss the taste of crispy skin with that tangy sauce on a steamed rice bun. When I lived in Beijing one summer during college, I would have Peking duck every weekend. That was the real deal. I miss fresh Chinese meat.

This appetizing (to some) photo comes to us from jerry.r.lem. The steam in this Bostonian Chinatown store window, the triad of colors, and the obscure meat on the right just makes me want to take a stroll in my neighborhood Chinatown and remember the good ‘ole days, when Mom would buy bok choi for less than a dollar, Dad would treat us to dim sum, or I could watch rice noodles being made through the Look Fun window.

If you have some great travel shots you’d like to share, be sure to upload them to the Gadling pool on Flickr. We might just pick one as our Photo of the Day!