RVs come in all shapes and sizes.
But with a few exceptions, the one common feature is a kitchen with little counter space and limited storage.
This can be a challenging situation for many people and often the solution is to eat out more often—or only use the RV kitchen sparingly.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! With these 4 can’t miss tips from hard-fought experience, it’s entirely possible to feed the whole family—and feed them well—in even the smallest RV kitchen.
1. Have a plan ready to go
Whether you’re embarking on a weekend trip or full-timing in your RV, a little planning can go a long way towards saving time, space and money in the kitchen.
Don’t overlook meal planning
Spending a few minutes every week making a meal plan and meal-specific grocery list will save a considerable amount of time and stress in your RV kitchen.
Even if you don’t follow the plan to the T, there’s a definite peace of mind that comes with knowing you have an entire week’s worth of meal ideas and the ingredients to make them ready to go.
Meal planning also helps save precious storage space in your RV by ensuring that you are buying only what you need.
It’s also a great way to keep it healthy and avoid the urge to splurge on restaurant meals every night.
How to plan RV meals
Meal planning can be as simple as writing down your ideas and schedule on a sheet of paper. Or you could go high tech with an online service that provides you with recipes and an automatically generated grocery list.
If you want to use online tools to plan your meals, there are a ton of services out there to help you.
- Plan to Eat – Add recipes to your recipe book, drag the recipes to a calendar to make your plan, and let the site create a grocery list based on your plan that you can then customize.
- Ziplist – Offers the same services as Plant to Eat, but with the addition of a built-in database of recipes that you can choose from. You can also add your own.
- Cook Smarts – An online meal planning tool. This service virtually eliminates all the planning work by providing you with a menu (custom tailored to your taste and preferences), recipes with step-by-step instructions and a grocery list.
2. Simplify your cooking while on the road
Simple meals don’t have to be boring meals.
Instead of breaking out your entire arsenal of cooking tools to make a gourmet five-course meal, stick to simple and tasty meals that don’t strain the limits of your RV kitchen.
Slow cooker saves the day
Many RVers swear by meals made in their slow-cookers. It really doesn’t get much easier than piling ingredients in the cooker, setting the heat to low and then letting time do the work.
You can explore all day and come home to an amazing, sensational meal.
The variety of meals you can cook in a slow-cooker is pretty astonishing:
- tender meat dishes
You can cook nearly anything in a slow cooker!
There are a slew of slow-cooker recipes available online and in print.
Here are a few resources to get you started:
- 46 Slow-Cooker Meals from Southern Living Magazine
- 105 Slow-Cooker Favorites from Cooking Light
- Easy Slow-Cooker Meals from Better Homes & Gardens
- Slow Cooker: 365 Days of Slow-Cooker Meals
- Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook: 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow-Cooker Revolution: One Test Kitchen. 30 Slow Cookers. 200 Amazing Recipes.
Make use of the Wonderbag
Slow-cookers are all well and good, but they do require a steady supply of power. So what if you’re camping off-the-grid, or in a park without an electric hook-up and you still want to make an easy, hands-off meal?
Introducing the Wonderbag.
This truly amazing product is basically an insulated bag that you put a pot of food inside of and let it slowly simmer for up to 12 hours—no electricity needed!
The Wonderbag works by retaining the heat from an initial simmer on the stove.
You can use the Wonderbag with any two to nine-quart pot, although you’ll get best results with metal and cast iron ones.
One-pot meals keep the mess under control
A great way to save space, and make after dinner clean up a breeze, is to prepare one-pot meals.
Many recipes such as soups and stews are already designed as one-pot meals, but with a little creativity, you can adapt a wide variety of meals into one-pot wonders.
One of the easiest meals to adapt to one-pot meals are pasta dishes.
Instead of cooking the pasta separately from the sauce and veggies, why not throw everything—including the uncooked pasta—into a single pot and let it cook together?
Here are a few tried and true one-pot pasta recipes:
3. Prep ahead and clean often
An RV kitchen with little counter space to spread out your ingredients can be challenging.
Pre-stage cooking utensils and prep ingredients
Save space and time by pre-chopping veggies and prepping ingredients ahead of time.
If you are lacking in counter space, move your cutting board over to the dinette and chop there, or close your stove-top lid and use that as a chopping surface. You’ll find that for most recipes once all the ingredients are prepped, the cooking is the easy part.
Are you planning to make more than one meal during the week containing rice or pasta?
Then make extra and store it in the fridge until needed. Likewise, chop up extra veggies and store them in airtight bags.
Clean as you go
You’ve heard this advice before right?
Well, in an RV kitchen it can make a HUGE difference.
It can mean the difference between running out of room, piles of dirty dishes, hours of after meal clean up, and a neatly organized kitchen with plenty of space and minimal clean up after the meal is over.
4. Take your cooking outdoors
By far the easiest way to extend the space of your RV kitchen is to take it outside.
Grilling is generally a quick and simple way to make tasty meals without needing to clutter up the kitchen or make a huge mess that requires lots of clean up.
Grill it outside
These days grilling has gone beyond simply throwing a piece of meat over a hot flame. While it undoubtedly remains one of the best ways to cook a flavorful steak or juicy burger, if you limit your grilling repertoire to only meat you’re missing out on so much.
A few extra accessories for your grill such as a veggie basket, a cast iron griddle or a set of shish kabob skewers can open up a whole new world of grilling possibilities.
Or simply invest in a roll of heavy duty aluminum foil and cook these amazing dishes in the campfire.
Get a small portable grill
Like RVs, grills come in all shapes and sizes. But there are a number of small and portable grills perfect for RVing.
The Weber Q series of grills is one of the most popular grills for RVers on the market. Made with quality materials, lightweight yet sturdy, and offered in a variety of sizes to fit everyone’s needs, you really can’t beat a Weber.
If you follow the advice in this article, I guarantee you’ll have more fun and better results when cooking while your RV.
Remember the four secrets to RV cooking:
- Have a plan
- Simplify your cooking while on the road
- Clean as you go
- Cook outside as often as possible