In January we surprised the kids with a 2-night stay at Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA. We love Great Wolf but our bank account does not love it. The plan was to pick the kids up from school and drive through Seattle and Tacoma rush-hour traffic, arriving at the resort just in time for dinner.

In an attempt to minimize the financial damage, I planned to pack a picnic dinner that night and for at least one other meal on property. How could I make the meal a little more exciting than the standard PB&J?


At about 1pm, I cooked up a big pot of chili in the thermal cooker, boiled it for a few minutes, sealed it up and threw it in the trunk of the van. When we arrived at our hotel room at 7:30, we opened up a burning-hot chili dinner. A family favorite on the road for the win!

Try taking your favorite chili or soup on the road next time you travel. You’ll love it! provides recipes as a resource and educational tool only, and makes no food safety guarantees. We are not liable for any failure to meet food safety standards that may arise in your thermal cooking. We make every effort to ensure that our recipes meet established food safety standards. But all thermal cookers are not created equal, and there are many variables at play resulting in the temperatures reached and maintained in your thermal cooker. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific brand and model of thermal cooker, even if that means tailoring our recipes.

If you are in doubt, please consult the FDA page on foodborne illness for safe cooking temperatures and other safety tips. And use a food thermometer to ensure that your food has been cooked and stored at a safe temperature.

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