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RV cooking
Road Recipes

RV Cooking Tips & Meal Planning

Cooking in an RV is not that much different from cooking in a sticks and bricks. You can still make all of your favorite foods and fill all those hungry bellies! Trust me no one will starve and that includes Phil! But there are a few things to think about before dinner is made. Today, I thought I would share some RV cooking tips that I have learned since I hit the road full time.


Plan Meals Based on RV Hookups

RV Hookup

I plan our meals based on what hookups we will have. Although, our Battle Born batteries can handle everything I throw at them they will still eventually need charging. So, while we are boondocking I don’t plan many instant pot meals. I also will avoid using the convection oven in the summer if we don’t have electric hookups. No point in heating up the RV unnecessarily.

Washing dishes uses a lot of water! So, that is another consideration when meal planning. If we don’t have water and sewer I try to stick to one-pot meals or better yet use the grill. They are great water-saving options.


Plan Leftovers

I love planning leftovers. I have been doing this for years. In my 9-to-5 life, it was how I made lunches for work. Now that we live full time in the RV, it benefits us in so many other ways. Instead of cooking just enough for the two of us, I double or triple the recipe and store the rest in the fridge or freezer.

Plan Leftovers for Travel Days
Our Leftovers

Planning leftovers or batch cooking (as some people call it) allows me to cook less often. This saves our resources if we are boondocking or without water and sewer. We use less water, propane, batteries and save our tank capacity when I cook less.

Having meals prepared in the fridge makes travel days much easier. I know exactly what we will be eating for lunch and dinner and I can avoid the dreaded sandwich. Cooking dinner after a long, stressful travel day is not my idea of a good time. I would much rather zap leftovers in the microwave and just relax.


Cook without an Oven

Most of our favorite meals were cooked in an oven so I felt a little lost when we moved into Ruby. I have a convection oven but I didn’t touch it for almost a year. Who knows why I avoided it, but I did. I finally figured it out and have cooked quite a few things in that convection oven. It does a pretty good job. But I don’t love it.

The convection oven is much smaller than what I am used too. I can’t fit more than an 8×8 size baking dish which is very frustrating. Imagine how long it would take to make cookies for a crowd or even a large batch of roasted vegetables. So, I don’t use it very often. I usually stick to cooking on the stovetop, grill or the instant pot. But there are many RVers who love cooking in their convection oven. So don’t wait a year to try out yours.


Inventory the Pantry

One of the biggest differences between the RV kitchen and our old kitchen is the amount of storage space that is available. Gone are the days of stocking up the pantry because I can save a quarter on cans of diced tomatoes. Now, that we live full time in our RV all of our grocery purchases are planned.

Before I head to the grocery store I always do a quick inventory of the pantry. I try to plan meals out of ingredients I already have on hand. These ingredients are usually hanging around from planned meals that I didn’t cook. Which usually happens when we decide to eat out instead of cooking. It is mandatory to taste local cuisine while traveling right? I mean seriously, no one will want to miss out on lobster in Maine or tacos in Texas!


Plan Your Meals

After taking inventory of the pantry, I usually make a menu for the week. I choose our meals based on what we will be doing for the week. If we are going to be exploring a city all day, I will want something simple. For travel days, I will either plan to have leftovers or another simple meal. And of course, I always take into consideration our hookups for that week.

Making a menu is so easy! I have been using Plan to Eat for about seven years and I love it. It is a website and app that helps you plan menus, creates your grocery list and stores all your recipes. To make a menu I simply choose the recipes that I want and drop them into the calendar.

RV menu planning
Menu Planning

The reasons I fell in love with Plan to Eat is because of how simple it is to add recipes. I am constantly scrolling Pinterest for new recipes and this program will import any recipe you find online directly into your library. It’s as easy as a click of the mouse and voila!! It’s added! You can also type them in yourself which is perfect for Gramma’s famous peanut butter cookie recipe.

Import recipes to Plan to Eat
Import Recipes with a Click of the Mouse

I don’t have space for cookbooks or recipe cards in the RV. Plan to Eat stores all my favorite recipes for me without stealing my cabinet space!


Grocery List

Grocery List

If you use Plan to Eat it will make the grocery list for you. No need for a pen and paper for your list. Once the list is compiled you can easily remove any items you already have on hand.

Now, all that is left is a run to the grocery store.


Download the App

Plan to Eat app

Plan to Eat also has an app. This makes shopping easy. Your list is right on your phone. No pen or paper needed. You could even do all of your meal planning on your phone if you don’t have a computer.

You want to know a little secret. I installed the app on Phil’s phone and now he always has the grocery list in hand. Literally! Although, sending Phil to the grocery store can be a little dangerous. Extra, items tend to come home with him. Usually ice cream!

By the way, Plan to Eat has a 30-day free trial if you want to check it out.


Prep Before Cooking

RV Cooking Tips

One thing I had to get use to quickly in the RV is the lack of prep space. This was the most difficult adjustment for me. I was use to spreading out all over the kitchen with several pots on the stove. Not any more! Once I put a pan on the stove my prep space disappears. There might have been an occasion where I had a cutting board teetering on a two-inch piece of the counter while I attempted to chop an onion without losing a finger. If you knew how clumsy I am you would know that is a bad idea! Now, I make sure all my ingredients are prepped before I start cooking.


Road Recipes

Road Recipes: Chicken Caprese Salad
Chicken Caprese Salad

I have started a new series on the blog called Road Recipes. I will be sharing some of our favorite recipes and hopefully some of your favorite recipes too! Be sure to check out our very first post: Chicken Caprese Salad. Phil loves this salad…probably because it is loaded with bacon!


Share Your RV Cooking Tips

I hope these RV cooking tips help you as you travel throughout the country in your RV. Please, post your RV cooking tips in the comments below. We would love to see how you navigate cooking in your tiny space.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you out on the road someday!

Stacy

Author: Stacy Farley, You, Me & the RV, All Rights Reserved.

Disclosures: We are a participant in the RV Trip Wizard associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. It does not cost you anything to use these links. We purchased our membership with Plan to Eat eight years before becoming an affiliate.

22 Comments

  • Tina Burns

    Great post!! I will definitely want to look at “Plan to Eat”. Roger does most of the cooking, but I make suggestions from time to time. He takes my ideas of what sounds good and turns them into really great meals! One problem we have is he doesn’t like to eat leftovers! So if we have any, I am usually the one to eat them. Our fridge and freezer are tiny compared to the ones (yes, 2 refrigerator/freezers and one chest freezer — all full to the brim!) we had in the sticks and bricks. We have had to change our way of life completely!! It’s still a challenge but we are making it work! Love your videos, blog and upbeat and fun attitude and hope to meet you down the road someday! Our channel, FB, etc is Never Too Late to RV. Still working on the consistency of it, but we’ll get there!

    • Youmerv

      A lot of people dont like to eat leftovers. I guess it is all about person preference. Cooking is a different thought process after moving into the rig but it is an easy adjustment.

  • Pam Miller

    Stacey, thank you for the RV cooking tips. I am enjoying your blog. We are just starting our adventure and will pick up our Open Road in a couple of months. We can’t wait. Be safe out there!

    Pam

  • Catherine & Russ McCullum

    We are still finding that balance between eating in vs out! I definitely should inventory before grocery shopping 😳! Love our seafood in Florida, lobsta in Maine, etc. so need to truly PLAN our weeks better, great tip!

    I just bought a mini rice cooker and love it! Perfect for the 2 of us. I’ve also enjoyed our Instant pot Beef stew in 1 hour (We plug it in outdoors) I’m going to try your chicken capresa salad my husband loves bacon too! Great meeting you two in Nashville happy trails and see you all at RVillage meet up in February!

    • Youmerv

      No eating out to much is a struggle for us as well! It doesnt help that neither of us like to cook. Let me know what you think about the salad when you give it a try.

      Nice meeting you guys. Thanks so much for coming out to meet up. It was a wonderful night.

  • Carol and Ron Jones

    These are great tips Stacy. I remember when I started cooking in our RV. Started out with planned and prepared meals for our first trip. Being used to an electric stove and switching to gas was terrifying. Now that the RV cabinets are stocked and refrigerator/freezer is stocked, cooking is a breeze. Ron and I laugh at how I have progressed in the kitchen. I’m not a huge fan of the convection oven either. I have cooked a coffee crumb cake (Trader Joe’s Box mix) and it was delicious. I also cooked crab dip for a cookout and it was delicious. But I miss my oven so much! I love your idea to prepare and freeze meals for being on the road. We have several days with Harvest Host visits coming up next month and freezing meals will come in handy. Safe travels!

    • Youmerv

      I miss my oven too! I know I would use it all the time if I had one in the rig.

      Enjoy the Harvest Hosts. Safe Travels.

  • Anonymous

    Wow you are way to organized for me 🙂

    We usually plan our meals a day or two at most in advance. With the large residential fridge we can store lots of meats and stuff in the freezer and lots of room above for veggies and staples. We hit farmer’s markets when ever we can for local produce.

    The grill is our friend and usually grill 75% or more of our meals.

    Sometimes just cheese, crackers, olives, hummus, and an apple are more than enough. Oh and add a glass of wine or two!

    Bob

  • Linda

    Stacy,
    As usual I know you will provide excellent tips and this blog proved no different. I had not heard of the Plan to Eat app. Going to check it out now. Thanks!
    Linda

  • Tina

    We’re new at RV’ing and are not full timers. That being said, on our last trip we discovered that using our electric skillet outside worked well.

    • Youmerv

      A lot of people love using an electric skillet. I haven’t tried one yet mainly because I dont know where I would store it.

  • Chip Bott

    Great post Stacy! Having less prep space is probably something most people don’t take into account when preparing to cook a meal. I guess there is definitely a big learning curve on getting used to so many things in this life style and eating has got to be one of the things on the top of the list! Travel safe!
    CB

  • Hoosier Roadies

    We tried cooking in our convection oven when we purchased our older Phaeton…nothing turned out! So we decided to replace it with a Whirlpool Microwave/Convection oven. Let me tell you, we now love it and everything turns out perfect and delicious. We can use our whirlpool app to scan a box, or choose their recipes and it automatically knows the settings. It has so many unique settings. Or just cook and do your own thing according to their settings. We are so thankful this was on our update list.

    • Youmerv

      I guess I am not the only one who hates it. Glad you were able to upgrade to something that works better for you.

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