How to Cook in a Hotel Room: Check Out What You Can Use !

You may find yourself stuck in a hotel for days, or weeks on end. The novelty of eating every meal at a restaurant or room service soon wears off, adds to not only your bill but your waistline!

The traveler craves nothing more than the taste of a home-cooked meal. Sometimes to stay on your goals, you have to have a "Jason Bourne" type method and approach to using what you have at your disposal without breaking the bank.  Check out my innovative approaches to get around the lack of a kitchen. Be aware that most hotels will only allow the microwave method.

The following are outlined tips I have compiled together to keep you in shape when you are stuck traveling

1. Wash the pot and filter thoroughly. Wash with hot, soapy water to remove as much coffee taste as possible. If the bathroom sink is too small, ask the front desk for a communal sink, or ask to have the coffee pot cleaned.

    ◦    For most of these recipes, you can remove the filter basket entirely, and let the water drain through directly.

    ◦    Do not use coffee pots with a dark, reddish-orange stain, or a chemical smell. This may have been used to brew methamphetamine, and the resulting coffee could be hazardous to your health.

2. Make oatmeal. Put two packets of instant oatmeal into the carafe. Add an individual packet of honey, an individual packet of fruit jam, and a pinch of salt. Pour 8-10 ounces of water into the coffee maker, turn on the machine, and the oatmeal will be ready in about 5 minutes.[1]

    ◦    For extra flavor, put a fruit-flavored herbal tea bag into the filter basket.

    ◦    Even old-fashioned (non-instant) oatmeal can be cooked this way, but it may take longer.

    ◦    No honey? Try cut-up fresh or dried fruit.

3. Prepare soft-boiled eggs. Place the eggs carefully into the carafe and let the hot water drip over them. Let the eggs sit in the water for a few minutes. Repeat if necessary.

    ◦    There are a few tests you can do to tell whether the egg is cooked. Try spinning the egg, then stopping it with a quick touch of your finger. If it wobbles after you remove your finger, it is still raw.[2]

    ◦    The yolk will still be somewhat runny. It is very difficult to make hard-boiled eggs this way.

    ◦    Do not eat the egg if the white is not fully cooked.

4. Use the coffee maker as a vegetable steamer. Place carrots, broccoli, or other vegetables in the filter basket of the coffee maker. Run water through the coffee maker several times to achieve desired tenderness.

    ◦    Do not use aromatic vegetables such as onions or peppers. Generations of travelers after you will curse your name as they drink spicy coffee.

    ◦    You can cook more vegetables at once in the carafe, but the water may make them soggy. Empty the water frequently if you choose this approach.

5. Make instant rice. Put the rice in the coffee pot. Add the recommended amount of water to the coffee maker, as described on the rice package. Leave the burner on until the rice has thoroughly cooked and absorbed most of the water.

6. Mix the hot water with sauce packets or instant mashed potatoes. Run water through the coffee maker and adding the heated water to a sauce mix or instant potato flakes. You should not run anything other than water through the coffee maker. These machines are made to heat water only, and the water comes into direct contact with the heating element. Sauces will burn onto the heating element, ruining the coffee maker.

7. Poach meat cautiously. The old "coffee maker meat" recipe isn't even on the radar of food safety organizations, but it's easy to guess they'd have a problem with it. A good coffee maker heats water to 200ºF (93ºC).[3] This is close to boiling, and hot enough to poach thinly sliced, boneless chicken breast in roughly 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through.[4][5] However, many coffee makers, especially old or cheap ones that you might find in a hotel room, reach much lower temperatures, which cannot cook meat to a safe temperature. Try this at your own risk.

    ◦    When poaching, the water level should be about halfway up the side of the meat. Pour out the excess water whenever necessary.

    ◦    After the meat is cooked all the way through, add a little milk, butter, and pepper. Let sit one more minute, then remove from heat.

8. Use the heating element as a hot plate. Remove the coffee pot to reveal a weak hot plate beneath it. You can grill food over this on a small, heat-safe plate, or a tray made from heavy-duty aluminum foil. See the clothes iron recipes below for a few ideas.

    ◦    Grilling will take much longer than it would on a stovetop.[6] You may not be able to reach temperatures required to cook poultry or thick cuts of meat.