What’s for dinner? I’m hungry! Is it time to eat yet? Those words can even be more aggravating when you are camping and you are the only one that cooks in the family.
Frequently I see people asking the same questions, and moms making the same comments over and over again on different social media RV Group sites:
“Can anyone give me some easy meal ideas?”
“What are some healthy foods that are best for camping?”
“Tired of hot dogs, burgers and steaks!”
“Tired of cooking & cleaning, no fun for mom!”
MEALS ON WHEEL 101
1. Make a menu. Design a menu that suits your family and utilize 30 minute recipes. Rachael Ray & Food Network has many 30 minute meal ideas.
Creating a menu can be time consuming but you will save time and money at the grocery store and you will know each day what you are making. It also helps you store your food in a way to access what you need first.
2. Save time at camp – Meal prepping will make life a little easier at mealtime. While I am a make it from “scratch” cook at home, I don’t want to spend all my time cooking when camping especially if our kids & grandkids travel with us. Meals on Wheels means sometimes my family will HAVE TO SUFFER as I utilize some packaged foods like Zataran’s Rice & Idahoan Instant Potatoes, Bob Evans Refrigerated Mashed Potatoes or Amy’s Organic Mac & Cheese.
3. Combine, condense and collaborate.
Combine & use the same ingredients in different ways. For example roast a chicken in advance or purchase a couple at your grocer and shred it. Vacuum seal part of it for nachos. Prepare a chicken salad with part of it and make chicken salad sandwiches for lunch. Use part of it in a pasta salad.
Condense items by VACUUM SEALING IN PORTION SIZES PER MEAL. For instance if you purchase premade hamburgers, take them out of the packaging and VACCUM SEAL to save space in the freezer or refrigerator. Same goes for anything that comes in a box like perogies.
Collaborate – If traveling in a group and you think you may end up eating together some evenings, talk among yourselves and decide what each person is doing on a given evening. Saves confusion and time.
4. Tools of the trade. Figure out what items work best for you to quickly make meals. We utilize our grill most, but I also use an electric skillet, a crock pot, a small waffle iron and 1 iron skillet and 1 nonstick skillet. Others swear by the Instapot and Air Fryers. Figure out what works for you and how much room you have to store such items. Mini Waffle Iron is fabulous on Amazon https://amzn.to/3yNJKqQ – Food Saver Vac Seal is our favorite on Amazon https://amzn.to/3i19hWI
TIP: CREATING A MENU TAKES TIME – DON’T WAIT TILL THE LAST minute.
If you get stuck – design a menu using a theme or by specific cuisine.
TIP: DON’T DISCARD MENUS. SAVE MENUS for future trips. Tweak what you didn’t like and improve it if necessary
TIP: Use your menu & make a shopping list. If you hate making lists, use an online site to save your recipes and enter the list of ingredients first in the recipe and use it when shopping. Paprika App, Pinterist & Big Oven are just a few. My sister has used Onetsp.com for years.
Tip: Check yourself out and bag your food by meal day plan, dry & canned foods together and refrigerated foods together. Our camper sits in our driveway, when I unload the car I carry all the dry/canned bags into the camper. I store the last day ‘s menu food items in the back of the cupboard and work forward so on the first day, all your main ingredients are in the front and you are not digging around trying to find what you need to cook.
When it is just the two of us for a few days or a week, we typically eat a large lunch consisting of a grilled protein and have a salad. If you plan to make salads, prep before hand. For example, make your hardboiled eggs in advance. I also precook my bacon and then it only takes seconds to warm in the microwave for breakfast or add to a salad. When grandkids are coming, I make pancakes in advance & then it only takes a few minutes to warm them and add that already cooked bacon and serve it up. Look for creative ways to serve your food. Then it won’t look like the same ole thing!
MY FIRST DINNER MENU TRAVELING WITH FAMILY
Since our daughter’s family was traveling with us, I thought it would be best to utilize basic dinners and make sandwiches for lunch. Then breakfast could be a combination of cereals, muffins, yogurts and fresh fruits. Our campground had a great little ice cream bar so that took care of dessert each evening.
Sunday: Chicken Kabobs with Cilantro Lime Rice (Vigo or Zatarain’s) and Grilled Pineapple (Mojitos for adults)
Monday: Pulled pork Sandwich with cole slaw, mac and cheese & Watermelon slices (Jack & Coke for adults)
Typically I make pulled pork & freeze it for camping trips. Then I use it for BBQ Sandwiches or have it with rice and black beans. Or if I am pressed for time, I use Jack Daniels Frozen Pulled Pork . I prefer to make my mac & cheese from scratch but when camping we use Bob Evans Mac and Cheese or Annie’s Frozen Mac & Cheese depending on refrigerator space.
Tuesday: Shrimp & Crawfish Boil (Grilled Mahi for our daughter) (Hurricanes for adults)
Wednesday: BBQ Ribs, cole slaw, baked beans and Pasta Salad (Long Islands for adults)
Thursday: Filet Steak tips with onions and mushrooms with mashed potatoes. If I have enough space in the fridge I used fresh mushrooms but just in case I also buy jarred mushrooms & a jarred gravy if necessary. (Old Fashioned for adults)
Friday: Grilled salmon with grilled bacon wrapped asparagus and baked sweet potatoes/ baked Idaho potatoes (Chelsea Sidecar for adults)
Saturday: Chicken Alfredo – Prefer to make my own sauce but take jarred sauce just in case we are pressed for time.
(A nice bottle of wine….just for me!)
CHECK OUT MY FUTURE INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL MENUS BLOG
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