Why not shake things up this year by having Christmas dinner in the RV? Pack up the family, load up the fridge, and head out to your favorite campground for a long weekend filled with tasty food and lifelong memories.
There is one major hurdle to overcome: how to cook a classic Christmas dinner in a small RV kitchen. From tiny ovens to tables that barely seat a small family, there’s a whole new set of challenges to deal with when preparing a big feast in a small space.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Follow these tips for a successful and scrumptious Christmas dinner, RV style.
1. Make a plan
As anyone who has ever made Christmas dinner already knows, a good plan is the key to success. Add in a small space, limited cooking supplies, and a possibly finicky oven, and that well thought out plan becomes even more essential. Start by asking yourself these questions a few weeks ahead.
- Will your camping spot be near a grocery store or do you need to bring everything with you?
- Do you have the necessary cooking equipment? Consider using disposable or recyclable cookware to save space.
- Will that cooking equipment fit in your RV oven?
- How many people are you cooking for and where will you all eat?
- Is this a potluck style meal or will one person or family be responsible for all the dishes?
2. Less is more
While you’re planning the menu, keep this mantra in mind: less is more and simple is better. Instead of trying to prepare a dozen dishes, choose a few favorites that you know will be delicious. Remember that RVs don’t have an abundance of counter space or large ovens with multiple racks where you can cook several dishes at once.
3. Prepare some dishes ahead
Many traditional Christmas dishes will be just as good cooked ahead of time. In fact, casseroles and other hot dishes may actually be more flavorful a day or two after cooking (there’s a reason we love leftovers so much). After they’re cooked and cooled, wrap them well and store the dishes in the fridge or freezer. Or, if you don’t have space in RV fridge, use a cooler stocked with blocks of ice.
4. Think beyond the oven
The RV oven is an often misunderstood and underused appliance. Many people either use their oven strictly for storage or are afraid to turn it on. Some RVs don’t even have ovens which present a whole new challenge. If you do plan to use your RV oven for Christmas dinner, start by learning how to use it.
If you still don’t want to use your RV oven, or if you don’t have one, here are a few great alternatives:
Judging by the number of grills you see perched on picnic tables around any campground, most RVers already love grilling. So why not take your Christmas dinner to the next level by cooking some of it on the grill?
Not only is the grill a great way to maximize the space in your tiny kitchen, but it also adds a new dimension of flavor to many traditional Christmas dishes. You could go simple with roasted veggies on a grill pan, or impress the family with fancy Hasselback potatoes. You can even cook stuffing on the grill!
Another great outdoor cooking option. A Dutch oven is the perfect piece of equipment whether you’re camping off the grid, or you just like cooking over an open fire. Dutch ovens are versatile and practically fool-proof. Most, if not all Christmas dishes can be cooked in a Dutch oven.
Yeah, I know, it’s not how your grandmother did it, but the truth is that slow cookers and Christmas go together like…well, like Santa and his reindeer. Crock-Pots are perfect for RV cooking because they take up relatively little space and require practically no clean up. Whether you’re making mashed potatoes or cranberry sauce, Crock-Pots are one of the easiest ways to simplify your Christmas dinner.
5. Main dishes made simple
Okay…let’s get real. I know you’re thinking that making side dishes on the grill and dessert in the Crock-Pot are good ideas and all, but how the heck do I make a main dish like a turkey or a roast in an RV? First of all, don’t panic! It can be done, you might just need to think a little differently.
- Buy a smaller cut. We all like leftovers, but a small RV oven is no match for a 25-pound turkey or a gigantic pork roast. Simplify things by purchasing a smaller cut of meat and round out the meal with extra side dishes.
- Put it on the grill. We already talked about cooking side dishes on the grill, but another option is to cook the main course on the grill, which will free up the oven and stove top for other dishes. Grilled meat also has a delicious smoked flavor that you will never get in the oven. You can cook anything from a whole turkey to a succulent brisket on the grill with a little know how.
- Break tradition. You could forgo all of the main dish stress and simply skip a big piece of meat altogether. Instead, make something easier like a tasty lasagna or chicken pot pie. Maybe this is the year to create some new traditions. In the end, there is no wrong way to make Christmas dinner in an RV.