We're on the road again! The thrill and excitement of a 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 a RV galley?
ADVANCED FOOD PREPARATION
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 bitesize 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.
EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT AND FOOD
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.
MORE INFORMATION For additional RV cooking tips, information on how to select basic supplies and equipment plus 381 delicious RV-tested recipes and 108 menus, see AMERICA'S BEST RV COOKBOOK by Joyce Ryan, $16.95, paperback. The cookbook is available from RVbookstore.com