For many campers, preparing meals in the RV on the road or at a campground is part of the fun of traveling. For those who live in their motorhome full time, it just another part of an ordinary day. Whichever the situation, choosing tasty and yet easy to make dishes can often find the chef in a rut.
Here are 15 dishes that range from the innovative to the traditional. Many of these recipes use very few ingredients, little space, and the least labor intense methods for preparation. I’ve divided them into cold dishes, crockpot dishes, grilled, fire-cooked, and those made on a skillet. Although I’ve specified how I make each, not everyone has a full kitchen with all of the ingredients at their disposal, so I’ve added simplified versions with fewer or combined ingredients for convenience, as well.
When traveling in an RV, cooking may be the last thing on your mind. Fortunately, cold dishes don’t have to just consist of sandwiches and chips. There are many healthy and easy options to choose from, such as the following.
1. Salad with Kale and Nuts
First wash and chop all of the produce: 1-cup kale, 1-cup medium tomato, 2 stalks celery, 1-cup cucumber. Combine the produce in a large bowl. Add 2-tbsp raisins, 2-tbsp almond slices, 2-tbsp walnuts chopped, and 2-tbsp seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower, chia, or a mix).
Mix all ingredients thoroughly together. Divide into two smaller serving bowls and top with 2-tbsp of your favorite dressing.
Note: To simplify this salad, replace the raisins, almonds, walnuts, and seeds with ½-cup of your favorite trail mix.
2. Spicy Chicken Tortilla Rollups
Combine 1-cup light sour cream and ½-cup chunky salsa (whatever your preferred level of heat) in a small bowl. Spread evenly over 6 medium flour tortillas. Top each with 1 chicken slice and 2 ½-tbsp shredded cheddar cheese.
Roll each tortilla tightly, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for about an hour. Can be cut into 1-inch pieces or served intact.
3. Tuna Wrap
Spread 1-tsp of real mayo on 1 spinach flour tortilla. Add 2 leaves of lettuce or Swiss chard and 3 ounces of canned tuna. Wrap tightly and serve.
Nearly everyone knows that crock-pots — also known as slow cookers — provide a convenient method for cooking one-pot meals. Not many, however, realize that the same no-fuss appliance that makes great stews and roasts is equally capable of cooking easy breakfasts and delectable desserts. In fact, almost anything that can be made on a stovetop or in an oven can be cooked in a crock-pot.
4. Beef and Vegetable Stew
Combine 2-pounds beef stew meat cut into 1-inch cubes, ½-tsp Himalayan or sea salt, ½-tsp freshly ground pepper, ½-cup chopped yellow or white onion, 3-cups red potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks, 4 sliced carrots, 2 sliced stalks of celery, 1½-cups of beef broth, 1-tsp garlic powder, and 1-tsp paprika into a slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours.
Note: To simplify this—instead of the onion, potatoes, carrots, and celery—use ¼-cup dried onion and 4 cans of mixed vegetables.
Place 4-cups of water, 1-cup steel cut oats, and ⅛-tsp Himalayan or sea salt in a crockpot before going to bed. Cook overnight. The longer it cooks, the thicker it becomes.
Stir the oatmeal and add 2-tbsp coconut oil, any almonds, walnuts, chia or flax seeds, berries or raisins, apple or banana slices, brown sugar and/or cinnamon.
Note: To simplify, replace the almonds, walnuts, chia or flax seeds, berries or raisins, apple or banana slices with a handful of your favorite trail mix.
6. Red Beans and Rice
In a large crockpot, place 2-tbsp minced garlic. Add ½-cup red onion, 1-tbsp white or yellow onion, 2 stalks celery, and 1 green bell pepper all diced. Add 2 (16 ounce) cans red kidney beans, 1-tsp Himalayan or sea salt, ¼-tsp freshly ground black pepper, and 1-tsp cayenne pepper. Cook for 7 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
Boil 2 ½-cups chicken broth and stir in 1-cup brown rice and 1-tbsp butter. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat, and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, remove from heat, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Stir the rice into the bean mixture and serve with ½-tbsp dried cilantro.
Note: To simplify this dish, use ¼-cup dried onion, ¼-cup dried celery or celery seed, and 1 can green chilies instead of the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Also, use “minute rice”.
7. Two-Meat Chili
In a large skillet, brown 1-pound stew meat cut into 1-inch cubes with ⅛-cup Worcestershire sauce and then 1-pound ground beef over medium heat. Place it in a crockpot. Add 1-cup onion, ½-cup green peppers, and ½-cup red pepper, all rough-cut. Stir in 2-tbsp of chili powder. Add 2 cans chili beans, 2-cups of chopped tomatoes, and 1-quart tomato juice.
Cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for about 3. The longer it cooks, the thicker its consistency and the stronger its flavor. Add 1-tsp cilantro, and/or grated cheese or sour cream before serving.
Note: To simplify this chili —instead of an onion, green pepper, and red pepper—use ¼-cup dried onion, small can of green chilies, and ¼-cup crushed, dried red pepper.
Fire-cooked food is a great “go to” option when camping at a campground. There is no fuss and no mess. Of course, you should verify the park’s fire regulations before choosing this method.
8. Loaded Baked Potato
Thoroughly wash the potato and poke several holes in it with a fork. Rub it with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and wrap in two layers of aluminum foil. Place the potato directly under the hot coals and cook for 30-60 minutes or until soft. Allow it to cool for at least 5 minutes and then cut lengthwise.
Consider setting out the toppings as a “potato bar,” so everyone can choose their own. Options include topping the potato halves with ¼-cup steamed broccoli, ¼-cup grated cheddar cheese, 1-tsp melted butter, 1-tsp sour cream, 1-tsp bacon bits, and 1-tsp chives.
9. Silver Dollars aka Hobo Packets
Tear off a 12-inch square of aluminum foil and spray the side you are planning to cook in with nonstick spray. Place ½-pound ground beef, ¼-cup of red potatoes, ¼-cup carrots, and ¼-cup celery, all diced, in the center of the foil. Add ½ can of your soup of choice (consider tomato or cream of mushroom), and desired seasonings. Either mix the contents together or layer them. Wrap the foil around the ingredients and secure it by folding the edges. Place the pack on hot coals for about 25 minutes.
Let it cool for about 5 minutes and then place it on a plate, in a bowl, or feel free to eat it directly out of the foil.
Note: To simplify this dish, replace the potatoes, carrots, and celery with ½-can of mixed vegetables.
For many, demonstrating their prowess as a master griller is one of the best things about camping. Some RVs, ours included, even come equipped with a propane powered outdoor grill attached. Although burgers and brats can be delicious, this method is useful for a variety of other dishes, as well.
Whisk together ⅓-cup olive oil, 1-tbsp Dijon mustard, 1-tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1-tbsp minced garlic, 1-tsp Himalayan or sea salt, and 1-tsp freshly ground black pepper. Place the mixture in a plastic Ziploc bag. Add 1 ½-pounds lean beef cut into 1-inch cubes. Seal and shake the bag, and then let it marinate in the refrigerator at least 8 hours. Place 16 cap mushrooms in the bag and refrigerate for another 8 hours. Cut 1 large onion, 1 green pepper, and 1 red pepper into 1-inch pieces.
Preheat the grill to a high heat, and oil the grate. Place the beef, mushrooms, peppers, and onions onto skewers and cook them about 15 minutes, turning them periodically, until they are nicely browned.
Note: This can be exponentially simplified by purchasing a prepackaged Kabob kit found in many grocery stores. Additionally, marinating is an art. Feel free to use your favorite marinade or a premade steak sauce like A-1.
11. Salmon and Asparagus
Coat 3-pound salmon fillets (skin intact) with olive oil. Coat the grate with olive oil and heat it to medium. Whisk together 2-tsp low sodium soy sauce, 1-tsp garlic powder, and 1-tsp lemon pepper. Brush the mixture over the salmon and place the fillets on the grill skin side up. This is to get the sear marks and is purely aesthetic. Gently flip the fillets over. Cook them skin side down over lower heat until they are done and then remove them.
Then, trim 2-pounds asparagus. Toss them with 1-tbsp minced garlic, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Place them in a pan with olive oil on the grill for about 5 minutes or until they’re done.
12. Turkey Drums and Corn
Preheat the grill to a medium-low heat and oil the grate. Rinse 4 turkey legs, pat them dry, and then spread butter evenly over them. Sprinkle Himalayan or sea salt and freshly ground pepper over them evenly and then lay the legs on the grate. Cook for about 50-60 minutes, turning the legs ¼-turn every 10 minutes until the outside is crispy and golden brown. Remove them from the heat and let them sit for 10 minutes to cool and redistribute the juices.
When your turkey has been cooking for about 40 to 45 minutes, place 4 (or more) ears of corn (husks intact) on the grate. Turn them ¼-turn with tongs every few minutes for about 15-minutes, or until done. (The husks might be charred.) Remove them from the heat and allow them to cool for at least 5 minutes to avoid burning yourself on the steam that will escape when you remove the husks.
When you’re staying in a motorhome or travel trailer, you don’t always have the opportunity to grill or cook over a fire. If the RV park you are staying at forbids open flames — or if it’s raining, windy, or cold — you probably don’t have this option. Plus, if you are boondocking in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart or Cabelas, you absolutely shouldn’t try to cook outside. In these scenarios, using a skillet to cook an easy and tasty dish is a better choice.
13. 4-Cheese Chicken and Rice With Zucchini
Cut 2 chicken breasts and 1-large zucchini into small cubes. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chicken in 1-tsp olive oil together with 1 small chopped onion and 2-tsp minced garlic until it starts to brown. Add ¾-cup rice, 1-can cream of chicken soup, and 2 to 3-cups of chicken broth.
Season it with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the zucchini and then cook it for about 10 minutes or until the rice is thoroughly cooked. Add ¼-cup shredded cheddar cheese, ¼-cup shredded Romano cheese, ¼-cup shredded Parmesan cheese, and ¼-cup shredded jack cheese. Cook it for 2 more minutes to melt the cheese.
Note: This can be greatly simplified by using the following: 1-package “Creamy 4-Cheese” Rice-a-roni prepared according to the directions. Add one 9-oz can of chicken, 1 chopped zucchini, and additional shredded cheese “ to taste,” cooked until zucchini is tender.
14. BLT Wrap
Cook (at least) 4 slices of bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until done to taste, turning at least once while cooking. Remove the bacon from the heat and blot the excess grease. Cover 2 spinach tortillas with two leaves of lettuce or Swiss chard. Slice 2 tomatoes and place the slices on the lettuce. Add two slice of bacon to each of the two servings. Wrap them tightly lengthwise and serve.
In a large bowl, combine 1 ½-cups flour, 1-tbsp baking powder, 3-tbsp sugar, and ¼-tsp sea salt. In a separate bowl, beat 2 large eggs and whisk in 1 ¼-cups milk, and ½-tsp vanilla extract, and then it stir into the flour mixture to make a smooth, thick batter.
Heat a skillet, oiled with butter or coconut oil, over medium-high heat. Scoop about ¼-cup of batter onto the skillet, making no more than 2 pancakes at a time to allow plenty of room between them. Cook them for about 2-minutes, until bubbles break on the top and the bottom is golden brown, then flip them with a spatula to cook for 1 more minute. Remove them from the heat and cover to keep them warm as you repeat the process to make the rest of the pancakes. Serve with butter and syrup, or fresh fruit and whipped cream.
Note: To simplify, use a “complete” pancake mix to which you only add water. Making them from scratch is so easy (and generally tastes better) it should be at least tried once.
These are just 15 of the many recipes that you can make while camping or living in your RV. Even if your kitchen only consists of a campstove and minifridge, you can cook pretty much anything you normally would with a few tweaks to accommodate for limited space and fewer ingredients. Whether you prefer making your meals indoors or outside, there are plenty of entrees to excite your senses. Bon Appetit!