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