Welcome to part four of my DVC cooking series. Today’s article was requested by several people who wanted cooking suggestions for the studio kitchens.
If you missed the first parts of this series you can find them here:
- Kitchen Kabaret: Cooking in a DVC Villa – Part One (Breakfast)
- Kitchen Kabaret: Cooking in a DVC Villa – Part Two (Lunch)
- Kitchen Kabaret: Cooking in a DVC Villa – Part Three (Dinner)
As you most likely know, while the DVC one and two-bedroom villas come with a full-size kitchen, the studios only have a kitchenette. Studio kitchens have a mini-fridge, a toaster, a microwave, a coffee maker, a small sink, and minimal kitchen equipment, including:
- four coffee mugs
- four glasses
- paper plates and bowls
- plastic utensils
- can/bottle opener
- paper towels
- dish detergent and sponge
- ice bucket
How on earth can you possibly cook a full meal in such a small space with limited kitchen resources? There a few ways, but this article focuses on slow cooker meals, which will allow you to prepare a real dinner for your family while you’re enjoying a day in the parks.
Now a slow cooker is not part of the kitchen equipment provided by Disney, but it is truly a lifesaver if you’re serious about cooking in your DVC villa (no matter the villa size) and well worth bringing with you. This is simple enough if you’re driving to Disney World, but what do you do if you’re flying? For me, ordering an inexpensive slow cooker on Amazon (the Crockpot brand basic slow cooker is $17.99) and having it delivered to my resort is the best solution. If I can cook 3 or 4 meals in it when we’re there… I’ve saved money. After my vacation, I “freecycle” it by posting it on one of the many DVC freecycle groups on Facebook. I love paying it forward, and I’m happy to have it benefit another DVC member, since I’ve frequently received generous donations of leftover food and water bottles through DVC freecycling.
Now for the recipes.
Because these recipes are geared toward studio kitchens, the ingredients will be minimal for each one. They will not require extensive preparation or any kitchen equipment other than your slow cooker.
You will need to order your food from an online grocery delivery service (we use Prime Now, but there are many others). You will also either want to bring storage containers with you in your luggage for storing any leftovers, (small enough to fit in a mini-fridge) or include those in your online grocery order.
I hate to even label this a recipe …it’s just too easy. But it’s a favorite with kiddos, and ridiculously easy to prepare on vacation.
One bag of frozen Italian meatballs
One jar prepared spaghetti sauce (a standard size is usually sufficient, unless you like really saucy sandwiches)
One bag shredded mozzarella cheese
Sub sandwich buns
- Dump the bag of meatballs into the slow cooker
- Pour the jar of spaghetti sauce over the meatballs.
- Cook on low for four hours or until heated through.
- Serve on sandwich buns, topped with shredded mozzarella.
These are great with a prepared side salad (pick one up at your resort quick service location or order through an online grocery) or some steamed broccoli (available in your resort store in the freezer section). The meatball sandwiches are perfect for both lunch and dinner.
Salsa Black Bean Chicken
This is a very easy and flexible recipe. You can dress this up with condiments when you’re serving it, or you can keep it simple.
3 to 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1 jar of chunky salsa (your favorite kind)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of black beans, drained
1 can of corn, drained, or 1 cup of frozen corn (I prefer frozen, but either works.)
Shredded cheddar (or whichever cheese you prefer for topping)
- Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker. It helps to spray it with non-stick cooking spray (available in resort store), but it’s not necessary.
- Pour the salsa and canned soup over the chicken.
- Drain the black beans and add to slow cooker. (To drain without a strainer, simply use the can opener to open the lid halfway and pour out what liquid you can. Keeping the lid attached to the can, hold the can under the tap, fill up with water, and empty. Repeat until the water is clean. Finish opening the can with the can opener, and add the beans to the slow cooker.)
- Add corn
- Cook on low for six to eight hours.
- Remove lid and shred chicken with two forks.
- Mix well, and serve.
You can serve this several ways. The first option is to purchase some rice packets you can steam cook in the microwave, and pour the chicken mixture over it. You can also place some tortilla chips on your plate and spoon the mixture over them, top with shredded cheese, and eat as nachos. I usually get a package of tortillas and make them into soft tacos. Add whatever condiments you like (sour cream, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, extra salsa, avocado, and shredded cheese). Just be sure to include any extra items with your online grocery order. Sour cream, salsa, tortillas chips, rice steamers, cheddar cheese, and perhaps some of the veggies are available in your resort store. But check first, because the inventory always changes.
Easy Taco Soup
I wanted to provide a vegetarian option for your slow cooker, and this one couldn’t be easier. Plus, it’s yummy.
1 can chili without meat
1 can whole kernel corn, with liquid (You can also use a can of creamed corn instead, for a richer soup.)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz.) beans, undrained (I like black beans, but pinto beans work great, too.)
1 to 3 tablespoons dry taco seasoning
- Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours (or until heated through).
This is a recipe that’s easily adjusted. You can add whatever toppings your family enjoys (sour cream, tortilla strips, avocado, cheese, etc.), and it’s great with cornbread.
Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
This is probably the second easiest recipe you’ll ever make (after the meatball subs). It has only three ingredients plus the rolls you serve it on. Not only is it simple, but all ages love it.
Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (1 per person, unless you want leftovers; frozen is fine)
1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 (8 oz.) can of crushed pineapple ( Drain, but crushed pineapple is more difficult without a strainer, so you can just dump in the whole can after you drain off whatever initial liquid pours out easily. Follow the same draining method as the one in the Salsa Black Bean Chicken recipe.)
- Place chicken breasts in bottom of slow cooker (You don’t have to defrost them if they’re frozen.)
- Cover chicken with half the bottle of barbecue sauce.
- Dump pineapple on top of everything.
- Cook on low for four to six hours (closer to six if the chicken is frozen) or until chicken shreds easily.
- Lift lid on slow cooker and shred chicken with two forks.
- Add remaining barbecue sauce and cook until heated through (about twenty to thirty more minutes).
- Spoon onto sandwich rolls and serve.
These are great with potato chips, fresh fruit, and cut up veggies. If you’ve made extra, they are perfect for lunch the next day.
So that’s it…some easy recipes for vacation slow cooking, whether you’re staying in a studio or a larger villa. If you are in a studio, you might want to throw in some real silverware… at least a couple of forks and a serving spoon. Those make shredding the chicken, and spooning the meatballs onto rolls, and the soup into a mug, much easier.
I hope these recipes help you save money and time on your future WDW vacations.
My next article will focus on recipes using only the appliances found in a DVC studio villa…a toaster and a microwave.
Stay tuned and happy cooking!