Friday, December 9, 2022


How to prepare easy, delicious meals in an RV


By Joyce Ryan
The thrill and adventure of an RV camping trip always fills me with excitement. I look forward to relaxing and enjoying the beauty of natural surroundings, and I also eagerly anticipate the pleasure of leisurely breakfasts and dinners. Because I believe that the quality of a trip is often greatly influenced by the quality of the food, I’ve been determined since my first trip to prepare camper meals that are just as delicious as what I prepare at home. But who wants to spend all their vacation time in an RV galley?

The secret to easy RV cooking is to be prepared. Planning ahead simplifies campground cooking.

When deciding what to eat on your vacation, consider cooking some meals at home before your trip. Foods such as stews, soups, sauces and meatballs can be prepared at home and frozen. Beef and chicken can be precooked and cut into bite-size pieces to aid in the preparation of stews and casseroles at camp.

The amount of food that you precook depends, of course, on the capacity of your freezer and refrigerator. Even if available space is limited, try to include at least one precooked meal. I’ve found that the first-night dinner practically ready to eat when you pull into camp is especially appreciated after a long day’s drive.

Another time- and energy-saving tip is to premix dry ingredients for meat rubs, brownies, and corn bread and place them in reclosable bags for easy use. When at camp, you can stir in the wet ingredients. I also premix breading for fish and chicken and store these mixtures in reclosable bags in the refrigerator.

Save additional time at mealtime by letting someone else do the work for you. Keep prepared ingredients on hand for quick-and-easy preparation. Shortcut products provide variety without sacrificing flavor.

Stocking favorite seasonings, prepared sauces and packaged casserole mixes reduces your time in the kitchen. Consider including these shortcut products: pre-cut fruits and vegetables, packaged coleslaw and salad mixtures, deli salads, jarred/canned salads, pre-shredded cheese, bread and cake mixes, store-bought cookies, frozen pies and cakes, frozen hamburger patties and canned chicken.

Be advised that some camping locations will not have electricity. If you don’t have a generator or solar-powered batteries, you will need to plan for those occasions by including additional equipment. For example, if you rely on an electric can opener and an electric coffeemaker, include a manual can opener and an espresso coffeepot.

On the other hand, I’ve also had the misfortune of running out of propane at inopportune times, usually in the midst of preparing a meal. At these times, an electric skillet or an extra burner has saved the day.

Although at most camping locations you have access to a wide variety of fresh foods, be prepared for unusual circumstances. Out-of-the-way stores are not restocked as efficiently as urban stores; they frequently run out of milk, bread and produce. Stock non-dairy creamer, extra crackers, and dried or canned fruit in your RV pantry.


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1 year ago

We make meals ahead and load up the pre-chilled freezer. We found some rectangular storage containers that maximize RV freezer space: Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers (Walmart and Amazon)
We’ve been using them for almost two years without staining or problems. Freezer to Microwave. They’re expensive but worth it.

If the RV freezer is pre-chilled and the containers are frozen, it’s OK to solidly pack the freezer–no need to have much air-circulation.

2 years ago

Our slow cooker (not an instant pot) often rides with us in the truck. It doesn’t draw much current so the inverter built into the truck powers it. Dinner is ready and hot as soon as camp is set up and we’ve had a refreshing beverage.

2 years ago

It’s a matter of trade-offs and compromises. If you want garden-fresh veggies like those pictured in the article, you need to be within a day or three of the supermarket produce aisles. If you want easy, nourishing camp meals from food stuffs carried in a small non-refrigerated space for an outing of a few weeks without going back to the store, it’s possible, but it takes experience and planning. I did four years in Forest Service lookout tower cabs, with monthly resupply. I learned the priceless value of the “forever” stew on the back of the little wood-fired corner stove, and simple one-pot meals. In multiple Cascade Mountain back-packing trips before freeze-dried food and prepared meal-paks became available, we learned to carry basic dry food staples much like early horse-back and wagon travelers relied upon. And this experience carried over to month-long cruises in a 30-foot sailboat with no refrigeration. The secret? Seasoned, spiced meats like tube sausage, ham or turkey loaf, and canned meat like pulled pork or chicken or beef. Meat is used mostly as a condiment in soups, stews, and noodle dishes. Plan around long-storage vegetables like cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes, and dry staples like rice, oatmeal, barley, beans, and packaged dry mixes and bullion stock.

Of course, this may be a bit extreme for casual tastes, but it is quite handy to go long periods without refrigeration or perishable goods, and still have good eats. Hint: soups, stews, and noodle & rice dishes are your forever friend. With a good seasoning kit. Add pancakes and pan-fried breads, and hard crackers.

From the base level of nomadic, off-grid, long-term food stores and diet, anything rising above that to home kitchen levels will seem like pure luxury. Believe it or not, one can eat and be well fed without a double-door refrigerator-freezer and a produce market just down the street.

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
2 years ago
Reply to  Gray

Thanks for all of the great tips, Gray! 😀 —Diane at (aka Mountain Mama — and I’m referring to the Cascades, where I own 18 beautiful acres on both sides of a creek)

2 years ago

We added a small freezer in one of our bays so that we can carry more prepared meals. Don’t want to waste precious time preparing meals. The frozen hamburger patties are great and quick on grill.