Last week we started talking about RVing for foodies and great cooks, and we talked a little about how to organize and pack your RV kitchen to prioritize your favorite ingredients. This week we’re ready to cook!
Planning Your Menu: A Few Items to Consider in Order to Save on Propane
Last week we wrote a lot about space saving, so it might sound like we’re contradicting ourselves when we say a crock pot, a small portable grill and a metal camping roll-table are perfect items to invest in for the foodie RVer. Hear us out…
A crock pot not only uses no propane, it allows you to cook with minimal mess to clean up in your small RV sink. It gives you a compact way to make main meals, including desserts, whether you’re cooking for two or for a group. If you don’t have much counter space, the crock pot can go outside on a table under your awning or even nestled into the empty kitchen sink. As long as you have electricity, you’re good to go. In between uses, there’s no reason it has to be stored in the kitchen—to save space, a crock pot is a perfect item to put into an outside storage bin (put it safely in a plastic tote so it doesn’t roll around). With a crock pot, you can easily slow cook a whole chicken, make homemade refried beans or cook pulled pork. For more about crock pot cooking in an RV, as well as plenty of crock pot recipes, check out The Complete Guide to RV Crock Pot Cooking by blogger Amanda Watson at Do It Yourself RV, and blogs like Real Food on the Road: What We Ate in the RV.
Now on to that portable grill… If you’re a snowbirder, a winter camper, or a tailgater, sometimes you’re going to find yourself in weather that isn’t particularly conducive to getting outside to your grill. For you grilling foodies, we recommend getting a small tabletop charcoal grill that can safely be used under your patio awning where you’ll stay dry. We want to emphasize that you need something that’s safe beneath the awning (hence the small grill). Something like a Weber Go-Anywhere or the heavier-weight Lodge Sportsman Grill will store easily in an outside storage bin and give you just enough grill space for a nice steak, shish kabobs, chicken legs, etc. Check out Portable Charcoal Barbecue Grills: Great for Camping, Picnics, Beach Blasts and More over at Foodal to learn more. Side note: Did you know that carmaker Henry Ford is responsible for the charcoal briquettes we all use today? You can read about it in the above blog.
Since we’re talking about cooking under your awning, we also want to point you in the direction of a lightweight aluminum Camp Roll Table. These tables are a safe place for a hot grill or a simmering crock pot and, just as the name implies, they roll up into a bag for easy storage in your outside storage bin.
Aluminum Foil Packet Cooking
Foil Packet Cooking is a great way to prepare things on a grill or in the oven, either while camping or at home. Once you try it, you’re going to find yourself turning to this method again and again because it’s easy, takes up very little space, produces delicious results, and there’s virtually no cleanup. Whether you’re cooking meat, seafood or vegetables, the general principle is that you simply wrap your food in a tightly sealed aluminum foil packet, place directly on the grill or on a rimmed baking sheet in your oven, and cook until done. Like we said, it’s crazy simple. Have you ever cooked a potato wrapped in tinfoil in the coals of your campfire? It’s the same principle, with more ingredients. Try stuffing a trout with garlic, onions and lemon slices. How about summer squash, bell peppers, onions and smoked sausages? Shrimp, clams and scallops with corn on the cob and cherry tomatoes? Need a side dish? How about a Foil Pack Tex-Mex Black Bean Salad Breakfast, lunch or dinner, foil packet cooking should become a staple for the RV chef, and we’re glad to say that recipes abound online.
Favorite At-Home Meals Aren’t Always the Best Choices On the Road
At home, throwing some pasta into a pot of boiling, salted water and pulling out a jar of spaghetti sauce or taking out the homemade version you put in the freezer last month makes for a quick meal. In an RV, however, heating a big pot of boiling water could mean you’re using resources—propane and water—that you’re going to need to replenish. And you have the added problem of putting a lot of hot moisture into your RV if you’re cooking inside. If you’re at a campground and have access to good water, and you can boil that water outside, go for it. Otherwise, you may want to choose something that saves your resources and doesn’t steam up your windows.
Similarly, since you probably don’t have refrigerator and cupboard space to spare, cooking something that requires ingredients you don’t use in anything else isn’t the best way to utilize your limited space. Like the spaghetti sauce example we mentioned last week, think about meals that share ingredients. Sure, you can easily bring a range of spices without taking up much cupboard room (we encourage this, especially if you’re inviting us over to your RV for dinner), but a recipe that requires 20 ingredients is probably best left at home. For example, if you’re wanting a homemade dessert, cookies or a cake with frosting require a ton of ingredients, bowls and utensils. Instead, think about Rice Crispy Treats. These are easily made on your stovetop with just three ingredients that you can use in other ways as well: the Rice Crispies for breakfast cereal or late night snacks, the marshmallows for roasting over the fire another time, and the butter for your toast in the morning.
RV cooking may be different than home cooking, but it doesn’t mean you need to give up great food or the joys of cooking a delicious meal. By considering what you love the most, what flavors you can’t live without and how you can prioritize those, you can make your RV kitchen work for you in the best ways possible and you can serve up some of the best meals you’ve ever eaten without a lot of space-hogging appliances and ingredients.
From our RV kitchen to yours, we say Bon Appetite! Be sure to contact us if you have any questions or if you’ve got a great recipe we should try on our next camping trip.
Photo Credit cookbookman17