5 Ways To Simplify RV Cooking
I love to cook, so I’ve made some amazing camping meals just for the fun of it. However, many people see meal preparation as a chore, and for you, these ways to simplify RV cooking may help. Keep it simple and follow these tips so you have time to enjoy all that the RV lifestyle has to offer.
1. Start meal planning
You know what you like to eat, and you know what you like to cook. Make a list of those meals and be sure that you keep the raw ingredients for those meals in your fridge or cupboard. Some minimalists even go so far as to eat the same meal every day.
Personally, I can’t imagine doing that, but it apparently works for some people. Before you go to the store or order your groceries online, check your list of favorite meals and your pantry to be sure you have all the necessary ingredients on hand.
Also, look for easier ways to prepare some of your favorite foods, like corn on the cob. When I had the large home kitchen, I would boil water in a huge kettle on the range top and cook the corn in boiling water. When we started our full-time RV journey, I took that kettle with us, but I discovered it is much harder to manage that kettle in our RV. Therefore, we seldom ate corn on the cob in the RV, until my brother showed me a better way to cook it. Now, that we have a simpler cooking method it has become one of our favorite dishes.
For those who want to know… the new technique is to cut both ends off of the corn without shucking it. Microwave the unshucked corn for 8- 12 minutes depending on how many ears are being cooked. As soon as the corn is done, and using oven mitts, hold onto the outside of the husk, push the ear of corn out of the husk toward the larger end of the cob. Most of the corn silk will get stuck inside the husk so the corn comes out ready to eat.
There’s no cleanup and it’s much faster to cook corn in the microwave than on the stove in boiling water. We typically cook enough for at least two meals at one time and reheat the corn for the second or third meal.
2. Keep easy-to-prepare foods on hand
With today’s packaging technology it’s easy to keep quick meals on hand. A can of chili or your favorite soup, with fresh veggies and a slice of bread, only takes a few minutes to prepare. A package of frozen lasagna, frozen premade hamburger patties, or a can of tuna can all be quickly converted into an easy meal.
Buy two dozen eggs at a time and boil one dozen to keep on hand for a quick egg salad sandwich, or as a high protein snack on travel days. An extra loaf of bread in the freezer and jars of peanut butter in the fridge can be easily transformed into a quick lunch.
Keep fresh fruit on hand for a quick healthy snack or to accompany a sandwich for lunch. Before a move-day, cook a whole chicken or buy a pre-cooked roasted chicken and debone it so you can make a quick chicken salad sandwich for your move-day lunch. Try to think about these tips to simplify RV cooking when you’re preparing your shopping list and/or getting ready for a move-day.
3. Using a Crock-Pot will simplify your RV cooking
Another way to simplify RV cooking is to utilize a Crock-Pot or Instant Pot. It only takes a few minutes to put a roast, potatoes, onions, and carrots in a Crock-Pot early in the day. By dinnertime, you have a fully prepared hot meal.
Usually, it will last for multiple meals and only require a quick reheat. There are so many excellent meals that can be made in a Crock-Pot. One of our favorites is 15-bean soup with a ham hock.
I keep several ham hocks in the freezer, and I keep several packages of this soup mix in the pantry. Any time I don’t feel like cooking for a few days I just pull out the Crock-Pot and make a roast or soup. Chili or zucchini soup are also favorite Crock-Pot meals. AllRecipes.com has hundreds of recipes for Crock-Pot or Instant Pot cooking and I’m sure you’ll find a few new favorites there.
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There has always been something powerful about coming together over a homecooked meal with friends & family. A time for bonding, meaningful conversations and understanding. We hope your table, plate and heart is full this week! . . RECIPE: Minestrone Soup Serves 10-12. Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time 4-5 hours on HIGH. -10oz smoked bacon, diced -1 tbsp vegetable oil -5 large carrots, peeled and diced -6 sticks celery, diced -2 large onions, peeled and diced -2 large leeks, cut into slices -4oz whole green beans, cut -4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped -3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped -1 tbsp dried oregano -3 tbsp tomato puree -3 x 14oz cans of chopped tomatoes -10 cups of vegetable or chicken stock -1 x 14oz can cannellini/white kidney beans, rinsed and drained -1 x 14oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained -4oz spaghetti pasta, snapped into bite sized pieces -4oz savoy style cabbage finely shredded or spinach leaves -Salt and pepper -Grated parmesan Heat the vegetable oil in a medium sized frying pan or skillet and brown the bacon pieces, stirring regularly to prevent sticking. Tip into the stoneware bowl. Add the carrots, celery, onions, leeks, green beans, garlic, herbs, puree, tomatoes and stock, stir well. Cover and cook on High for 4-5 hours until the vegetables are almost tender. Stir in the tinned beans and spaghetti pasta, cover and cook for a further 30 minutes until the pasta is cooked through. Add the shredded cabbage or spinach and allow to wilt, before serving piping hot in bowls dusted with grated parmesan.
4. Prepare larger quantities and freeze the extra
This one tip has saved me many hours of meal preparation time. I almost always prepare more food than what is needed for one meal. If I’m making a salad, I make a lot of salad. If I’m preparing a dish in the Crock-Pot, I fill it up, and I boil at least a dozen eggs at one time.
When you prepare food for more than one meal, you only have to clean up the cooking mess one time. Yes, you need to package the extra food for later and you will eventually need to clean up those containers, but I find it’s much easier to cook extra food, package, reheat, and clean the containers then preparing a meal from scratch.
If I cook a whole pot of 15-bean soup, I may not want to eat that dish for multiple days in a row, so I freeze the extra. A couple of weeks later, that frozen soup will be a big treat and so easy to prepare and clean up. If you have limited freezer space in your RV, you can at least prepare some extra food and refrigerate the excess.
5. Use your whole grill or barbecue when cooking outdoors
This last tip to simplify RV cooking ties into tip #4. If you are going to fire up the grill or barbecue, then be sure to load up the whole grill with food you can save for later. Make four steaks instead of two, eight ears of corn instead of four. Barbecue the whole side of a salmon, not just enough for one dinner. Hash browns and bacon can easily be reheated, so prepare at least two days’ worth while you’re doing it.
Some of the larger propane grills have enough surface area to cook large quantities of various dishes, so take advantage of the whole surface. You’re paying for the propane anyway, and the whole grill will need to be cleaned after it cools, so you might as well cook for multiple days while the grill is hot.
If you like to cook, and preparing exotic dishes in your RV appeals to you, then go for it. If you want to make Chocolate Bakala for dessert, that’s awesome, and if preparing Cranberry Stuffed Game Hens for an extra special holiday meal with all the side dishes is an important part of your holiday traditions, most RV galleys will accommodate that effort. But if you’re not all that excited about cooking, then following these tips to simplify RV cooking should help reduce the stress of meal preparation.
I am an author and writer, my partner is a web designer. We are full time RVers traveling around the US and Canada. We’ve been RVing for over 20 years and we’ve traveled more than 130,000 miles in an RV.