A forceful kick from behind you sends the chair launching forward. Another blow immediately follows, and somewhere a child starts to scream. You feel the anger swelling inside of you as you start to plot your revenge. The hunger is taking control...
This may sound like the beginning of a horror movie, but in reality it's just another day on a plane. Travel can do a number on anyone's diet: airports are littered with fast food, pubs, and ice cream stores. On the plane it is even worse. Complimentary peanuts are little more than a joke, and $20 "snack packs" featuring processed cheese spread and Oreos are just plain offensive.
And then you see your smug neighbor the aisle over happily munching on a homemade picnic lunch and it makes you want to scream. Or steal it. Or both. But if you take a few minutes the day before your travels to plan ahead, you can be smug too. Packing a creative "sky meal" is so satisfying. Even better, it gives you something to look forward to mid-flight. (As long as you did it right. I don't think a pb&j really counts.)
A pasta salad is my ideal travel dish because it holds up at room temperature, holds me over even longer, and still fills a little indulgent, which is sometimes all that we really want. This version of cold noodles with creamy peanut sauce perfectly fits the bill. The carbs fill me up, the protein gives me energy, and the vegetables balance it all out. It's rich without making me feel guilty.
Whip this recipe up the night before, then adjust any seasonings before you head out the door. I enjoyed this cold salad en route to Vegas, and it was enough to make my seat mates stop and stare. But instead of being smug, I happily whipped out a second box. Because it's times like this when it tastes even better to share.
Cold Noodle Salad with Creamy Peanut Sauce
- You can use a combination of stock and water, if desired.
- I used a mix of green, orange, and yellow bell peppers because that's what I had on hand. Carrots, cucumbers, and green onions would work equally well.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)