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Self Catering in your Florida Villa - Part 2
Continue from part 1
One of the things that puts a lot of people off preparing their own meals is the ' extras' they need to buy in order to cook.
You may actually find that you arrive to a well stocked store cupboard, depending on what the villa owners leave and what previous guests have left behind. Cleaners will remove all perishables but you may find that other guests have left behind things that may be useful to you. We tend to leave salt, pepper, cornstarch, one or two spices and flavorings that we have accumulated and a spray on cooking oil. We may leave other items but nothing that will expire before our next visit
Because I am unsure as to what you will find at your villa the following suggestions need nothing more than salt, pepper, and a little cooking oil. All inexpensive and easy to go out and buy.
I thought you said cooking? Yes, I did but salad can be a meal in itself and for many of my upcoming suggestions can also make a tasty accompaniment.
We tend to buy cartons of ready prepared salad stuffs from Publix. Chopped tomatoes, chopped sweet peppers, chopped red onion, sliced green onion(spring onions) hearts of Romaine lettuce , usually found in packs of three, toss this lot together and you are away! If your salad is more than just a meal accompaniment then add ready grated cheese of which you will find a huge selection, Cheddar, Jack, Mexican, Parmesan Mozzarella to name but a few. Next add bacon bits or bacon pieces which you will find on the shelf with the salad dressings and croutons, they can live on the shelf until opened then will last quite nicely in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Want more in your salad? There is a large selection of croutons, cheese flavor, garlic flavor, Texas toast style need I go on? Finally salad dressing, full fat, low fat, fat free and every flavor you want to imagine, my favorites are Kraft Honey Mustard and low fat raspberry and walnut vinaigrette.
If you want to make a larger salad than you need it will last a couple of days covered in cling film but don' t add the croutons and dressings until you come to eat them. They are so quick and easy to knock up though that I prefer to make them fresh and if you are not watching your weight serve with fresh crusty bread and butter!
Chicken and bacon.
Another mainstay for us, you can use either, or, or both together but they form the basis of a couple of our favorite, simple meals. I often cook more than I need and then freeze half for later on in the holiday or refrigerate to add to salad. A pack of fresh chicken fillets or chicken strips is usually enough for two or three meals for the two of us.
Once you have roughly chopped the chicken and bacon fry it in a large pan then take out what you are not going to need and save for another meal, you can now add extras according to your taste, for us that is always mushrooms, buy them ready sliced and save on prep time, and sometimes we will add peppers and onions as well depending what we fancy. I usually serve this one of two ways;
With pasta and a sauce, rigatoni is our favorite but you are spoiled for choice really, and then add a jar of sauce, our favorites are the four cheese rosa and garlic Parmesan but again the choice available is vast.
Secondly as a risotto, you can cook something like arborio rice from scratch but Publix do a very nice mushroom or sun dried tomato risotto rice which is quick and easy to prepare.
If you are a seafood lover both the above also work well with shrimps, sadly my husband isn' t so it has to be my treat when we are eating out (The Olive Garden baked shrimp Parmesan is to die for! )
From prep time to serving you can have the pasta or risotto on the table in thirty minutes, not a great chunk of your holiday time wasted!
Read on in part 3 for more ideas
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