One of the many reasons a lot of us love RV travel is that it’s less expensive than other forms of travel. And one reason it’s less expensive is all the money you can save by not eating in restaurants. At a time when the price of a typical fast-food meal can run more than $5 per person, the money you would need for eating out for every meal quickly adds up. Cooking in an RV can be a challenge, but if you plan well, it can be a fun activity as well.
We talked last year about how to stock your RV kitchen (read more here), but it’s always a good topic to go over again because RV travel needs extra and careful planning of supplies and provisions to make sure that you can prepare easy and healthy meals that will appeal to everyone in the family.
Even with the largest RVs, you will face storage and weight limitations that will determine how much you can carry in your rig. Unless you are planning a trip to a wilderness area with limited grocery shopping options, you should be prepared to restock along the way. Your kitchen should only be stocked with non-perishable foods: condiments, pasta, pancake mix, tinned food, dry soups or sauce mixes, and snack foods form a good base. ( read more here ) Non-perishables will keep for the whole RV season, then all you need to add is fresh food on the day of your trip, and away you go.
Before you put anything into your RV kitchen, look at it with a critical eye to be sure it is really needed. If only one person drinks coffee, do you really need a 12-cup coffee maker taking up a lot of counter space? You can find very good single-serving coffee makers and save a lot of space.
Plan your meals and then do your shopping. Remember that you have limited space for food in both cabinets and in your small RV refrigerator. You will not often find that you are far from a place to buy food. Plan on shopping for food along the road and be flexible with your meal plans to take advantage of regional foods or specialties you find along the way. Look for food products that can be reconstituted with water when needed. Dried beans and peas weigh much less than their canned or frozen equivalents.
There are many ways to prepare before you leave that can cut down on the time spent in your RV kitchen on the road. The cook is on vacation, too, and does not want to be stuck in the galley the whole time. One of the easiest ways to prepare is to pull out your family’s favorite recipes and adapt them for the road. It is generally best to stick to trusted foods and recipes, especially when you have young children. Children don’t always adapt well to change, and travel can sometime be unsettling for them. Familiar foods can help ease the transition and make mealtime much more pleasant.
Precook meats such as chicken and beef. Cut them into bite-size pieces and freeze the amount needed in heavy-duty freezer bags. You can pull out a bag from the freezer and thaw it to use in a quick meal. Use the beef as a basis for stew or chili. The thawed chicken along with flour tortillas can quickly become que-sadillas on the grill or in a pan on the stovetop. Add a salad (the prepackaged salads are a great value) and you have a fast, tasty, and satisfying meal.
Another way to save time and energy in the galley is to premix dry ingredients. You can prepare the dry ingredients for brownies, corn bread, muffins, etc., and pack them in resealable plastic bags. When you are ready to make them, just mix in the wet ingredients and bake.
One of Mr. B’s favorite recipes on the road is Strawberry Stand Spinach Salad. That recipe is featured in our Recipes for the Road link at the top of the page. If you have any favorite recipes you’d like to share – or any kitchen ideas or shortcuts, we’d love to hear them!
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