Make Your Own Signature Seasoning Blend.
Save space and time, and be king of your own mobile castle by consolidating your spice jars into premixed Signature Blends. Make your own with basics like salt and pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder. And toss in some interest with unexpected spices like smoked paprika or chipotle chili powder. Or, in a pinch, leave it to the pros and try a blend like Emeril’s Original Essence.
Mise en Place, the Commercial Kitchen’s Secret.
Unless you’re an RV full-timer, don’t waste precious time at the campground chopping and slicing. Nearly everything you cook with can be peeled, pruned, sliced, and diced ahead of time. Commercial kitchens call it mise en place, but we call it more campfire time. Bonus: This typically saves tons of trash too, because you can leave all the peels, seeds, cores, and more at home.
Perk Up Your Premades.
There’s no shame in opening a can of something. But thou shalt not stop there! Most premade food is made to be pretty mediocre. Try adding a pinch of hot sauce or even your Signature Blend to canned goods. Premade soups almost always need a little more tang, which can come from a dash of vinegar or lemon juice. And in our rig, we never put a cooked veggie on the table without butter, lemon juice, and salt.
Fat and Acid. Salt Everything.
Every great dish has a balanced mix of these three primary tastes, with sweet and spicy often mixed in. The mysterious taste of umami is also important, found in tomato products (even ketchup!), aged cheeses like parmesan, or products like ranch dressing or soy sauce. For fats, you want butter or any kind of oil. And acids are vinegars, lemon juice, or anything pickled. As you’re cooking, be sure that all three of the majors are represented.
Go Ziplock or Go Home.
Plastic bags are versatile, lightweight, and easy to store. A box of sandwich-sized and gallon-sized freezer bags can easily fit even in the most compact kitchens. Don’t skimp on the quality. The difference between low- and high-quality bags is noticeable; but the price usually isn’t. (And a bag tear can lead to absolute RV kitchen disaster.) Use Ziplocks to replace Tupperware when holding leftovers, your custom seasoning mix, and more.
Use Two Skewers Instead of One.
This sneaky tip for campfire cooking makes everything from sausages to smores just a little easier to handle. It has also saved many a toasty dog from falling onto my foot, into the campfire, or somewhere other than where it belongs: my mouth.
Take Paper Copies of Recipes.
You never know when you’ll be out of reach of the internet. Print out any necessary recipes (or directions!) ahead of time to make sure you don’t get stuck without sweet, delicious data when you need it.
Make It Once. Eat It Twice.
Soups, stews, chili, casseroles, pasta, rice—these dishes all hold up as leftovers extremely well. Consider doubling recipes so you can count on leftovers the day after. And, typically, the day after that too.
Recipes Are Just a Starting Point.
Thou shalt not let anyone tell you how to eat. Recipes are made to be broken. Use a little extra of this, a little less of that, and grab your culinary life by the horns. You’ve earned it. Eat your way to your best life.
Master el Arte of the Quesadilla.
OK, the quesadilla is basically just a Mexican sandwich: a little of your favorite meat, a little of your favorite cheese, a little whatever you feel like, wrapped in a little bit of carbs. Here’s an extra ‘Merican version: cheddar cheese with hot dog slices, topped with ketchup and relish. Or, if you fancy, use brie or goat cheese and pear slices. Give the tortilla a light spray of oil and toss on a pan or griddle. (Perfect for tiny kitchens that are also living rooms.)
Egg in a Hole
RV breakfast is a special kind of fresh heaven. When it happens all in one large skillet, saving both cleanup time and burner space, it’s a winner in our rig. Egg in a hole is RV easy, and with a large skillet, you’ll have space for a couple slabs of bacon beside it. Put a hunk of butter down on medium heat, cut a hole in a piece of bread, put the bread on the butter, and crack an egg in the hole. Salt. Flip once. End of recipe. Start of breakfast.
Nachos are the quesadillas of snacks: infinitely customizable, exceptionally easy, extraordinarily delicious. Here’s the recipe: Put some chips on something flat, put some stuff on the chips, then heat it all up. Over a fire, a grill, a cooktop, or even in a microwave! Meat and cheese are the go-to topping, and a small can of pickled jalapenos adds spice and acid. Also try sprinkling some of your custom seasoning on top and mixing up your cheese types for variety.
Truffle oil on fries: truffle fries. Truffle oil in your ranch: truffle ranch. Truffle oil on your nachos: truffle nachos. (If you like truffle fires, trust us on this one.) There’s a world of flavored oils out there, and most do just fine without refrigeration, packing a fantastic flavor-to-storage space ratio.
I can’t stress enough how important caffeine is to me. If that’s you too, you have to give a French press a try. It steeps the grounds in the water instead of filtering them, giving a surprisingly distinct taste, perfect for campground mornings. Check out Page 44 for our favorite pick.
Sink-Toppers (Cutting and Drying)
One of the most functional gadgets in an RV galley is the sink topper, which plugs up the top of your sink for bonus counter space. They come in a few styles, including cutting boards and dish racks, and most either fold or roll up for easy storage. Extra counter space for the big win.