By Terri Nighswonger
Apparently, RV designers don’t believe that much cooking goes on in their rigs. Unless, of course, you live in one of those ultra-fancy models that have full-size refrigerators, full-size ovens, dishwashers and king-sized beds. Oh, and a washer and dryer. Don’t I wish!
Hey, our families still need to eat! Every. Dang. Day. And let’s not forget those dishes that need doing on a regular basis.
If you are a newbie to RVing and want to know how this all works, take some advice from the semi-professional: Make it simple. Focus on nourishing the body but not making gourmet meals every night.
In my sticks and bricks, I really liked to cook. I liked to make homemade salsa and hummus, put together mouth-watering casseroles, as well as use my slow cooker, food processor and other fancy kitchen gadgets. These days I don’t have room for all that and my oven will only hold a small cookie sheet sized baking pan… 9×12 if I remember correctly. Plus, because it runs on propane, it’s easy to burn the bottom of whatever and the top never gets crispy. It also makes the RV warm and during the summer when we are fighting the AC to keep the temperature down, it’s just not worth it.
So, what do I do? Here are my go-to’s for you when you are getting ready to pack your RV kitchen.
Electric skillet: This is an absolute necessity. I rarely cook on my stovetop and would be hog-tied without it. I’ve even perfected the art of making multiple dishes at one time in the same skillet.
Instant pot: get on an instant pot Facebook group for tips and recipes. I cook hard-boiled eggs, rice and corn on the cob in it on a regular basis. There are lots of recipes I need to try.
Outdoor grill: speaking to you cooks, take a break and let your spouse brave the heat for your next meal. There are tons of propane type grills out there. Invest in one and use it often.
Slow cooker: I left sticks and bricks life without this one. I wish I had room to add it to my kitchen appliance list. The instant pot is supposed to have a slow cook setting but I haven’t found that it works very well. I’ll have to give it a try again.
So, our meals tend to be quite simple, a meat and a veggie most nights. Sometimes we just cook up chicken and put it in our salad. Sometimes we fry up a potato.
Even with kids in tow, simpler is always better. If you like organization, meal planning is a must. Our refrigerator only holds so much food and we need to grocery shop once a week. I like the idea of shopping for meals for the week. I do admit that a lot of times I just wing it. When we do that, it seems we go out to eat more than we should and spend more money than we should.
Maybe take a night and cook hot dogs over a fire. The kids will love it. Don’t forget the s’mores. In the end, you will find your own cooking groove.
Meat from rotisserie chicken is an easy basis for a range of easy meals. Either pull it yourself or buy it already pulled.
Most places that sell rotisserie chicken such as Walmart and Costco sell the pulled white meat. (When a chicken doesn’t sell within a certain time frame, they remove it from the heated display case, pull off the meat, and package it.)
We’ve used it for chicken salad, tacos, BBQ chicken, chicken pasta salad, curry etc.
I have been using a thermal cooker for two years when wanting to slow cook a meal. Prep your meal, simmer 10 – 15 minutes, place in the thermal cooker, let sit 2-3 hours. Or drive and meal is slow cooked ready to eat at destination. If needed heat up more. Perfect for cooking potatoes, spaghetti sauce (use of the imagination can be endless) and less heat in the rv.
Instead of the Instant Pot, I would suggest looking at a Ninja Foodi. It is a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot, but also bakes, air fries, and other functions. I have 2 Instant Pots and one Foodi. I also have a Ninja Foodi grill which does not have the pressure cooker features. If and when I am able to get on the road, the Foodi and one of the Instant Pots will be going with us.