RVing for Foodies: Cooking on the Road—Part 1
If you’re a true foodie and an RVer, you know that cooking in a small RV kitchen can be a challenge when you want more than hot dogs or spaghetti. It’s easy to cook outside when you can fire up the grill, but in western Oregon, fall is fast approaching and the cold weather will soon force us to take the cooking into our RV kitchens. Fortunately, we know a lot of excellent cooks who are also avid RVers! We’ve learned some great tips from the folks who create truly gourmet meals with only a 2- or 3-burner stovetop and a convection/microwave oven. We’ve learned how to better organize our RV kitchens and find ingredients and tools that serve double duty so we can pack more effectively and make more room for our favorite staples. In this blog, we’re going to share with you some pointers and ideas to help you up your camping, road tripping and tailgating food game.
This week we’re going to talk about ways to make the most use of your kitchen space, and share some thoughts about items to bring with you that will serve double duty and save you space. Next week, we’ll get down to the nitty gritty of cooking, and talk about recipe ideas for camping, tailgating and road trips.
Foodies need a variety of ingredients to create the cooking magic we all love. Whether you’re a summer camper, a fall and winter tailgater, or you’re living the RV lifestyle year round, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have room for the ingredients, flavors and spices that you love the most. Happily, by organizing your RV cupboards a bit differently and thinking outside the box, you’ll be surprised how much more you can bring with you and how much easier it is to find everything. We’ve talked before about the best ways to utilize the precious amount of kitchen storage space in RVs, so we won’t get too carried away here, but we want to remind you of a couple of the most important points:
Your kitchen will be travelling, and therefore things will be moving around as you go down the road. As you pack your RV, think about how to put heavy items and breakables in the safest places so they’re not going to fall out on your head. Non-slip liners will help, and getting things into smaller bins and boxes so they’re not knocking together and rolling around will go a long way towards saving that jar of spaghetti sauce from breaking open in your RV cupboard.
Think outside the box when it comes to your cupboards and drawers. Utilize every single space. Hooks on the insides of your cupboard doors will let you hang utensils, hot pads, etc. Or, purchase spice gripper clip strips for less than $10, mount them on the inside of a cupboard door, and suddenly you’ve got a perfect spot to hold those all-important spices. Not only is this convenient, it opens up drawer or cupboard space for something else.
Purchase inexpensive plastic bins, boxes and slide-out storage so you can stack things vertically and safely. For instance, by putting ingredients into clear plastic storage boxes that can stack, you’ll use your space much more efficiently. Similarly, find bowls, plates, etc. that will nest together and stack efficiently, so you’re not wasting space. Consider other hacks like a magnetic strip attached to the wall to make a great place for your favorite knives.
Unless you’re travelling in a top of the line Class A motorhome, your RV refrigerator and freezer aren’t going to be anywhere near as big as your home model. Fortunately, there are a lot of great refrigerator storage hacks that you can easily find with a Google search.
For instance, traditional cardboard egg cartons aren’t the best way to keep eggs safe when you’re rolling down the highway, and they aren’t a very efficient way to use space. Also, you have to dispose of them when they’re empty, which just means more garbage to deal with in your RV. Instead, consider purchasing stackable, click-lock egg containers that will stack in your fridge. If you’re not a big egg eater, you can go with a traditional egg carton-size box, or if you need more eggs, go with one that will hold two dozen eggs and will withstand you putting other light items on top.
Similarly, clear plastic refrigerator organization bins allow you to stack things like sliced meats and cheeses, or organize condiments, etc. Or, how about a wine rack that fits your RV fridge and lets you lift those bottles up and store other things beneath them? This rack will just as easily hold your beloved Sriracha bottle as it will a wine bottle.
When you’re packing for RV cooking, consider items that serve you in more than one way so that you can bring more of your favorite ingredients. For instance, heavy duty aluminum foil (not regular weight) is great for foil packet cooking (more on that next week) and can also act as a lid for covered cooking on a burner or the grill. It serves double duty and stores efficiently in a drawer instead of taking up any of your precious cupboard space. Because the heavy duty version is supremely re-usable, you can also fold it up and store it in the smallest nook or cranny of your RV kitchen, and then pull it out again for the next use. It has the added benefit of being recyclable, so it doesn’t impact your RV garbage or the environment.
Cooking utensils should also be as multi-purpose as possible. In the same sense that heavy duty aluminum foil can double as a pot lid or grill packet, large dinner plates can double as lids for skillets and pots, and a colander can also serve as a serving bowl for greens or popcorn.
In terms of ingredients, spaghetti sauce is another double duty star. Sure, you can use it for a big bowl of delicious spaghetti with garlic bread, but you can also put it on a piece of store-bought Naan bread as pizza sauce for pizza on the grill or in your RV oven. Or put some in a pan on your stovetop, bring it to a simmer, and poach a couple eggs in it; sprinkle on some parmesan for a delicious breakfast. The possibilities are endless, so one jar of sauce goes a long way to making us foodie RVers happy, and it means you can pack one ingredient for many things.
With some planning ahead, you can turn your RV kitchen into a travelling foodie’s dream. Check back in with us next week for some cooking ideas and more recipes.
For more ideas read Part 2 of our blog.
If you’re looking for a new or pre-owned RV with a kitchen that meets your gourmet needs, give us a call or come visit us in Junction City to take a look at your options.
Photo Credit ginny