You all know I love to cook and I love to travel, but sometimes cooking while traveling is neither the best nor the easiest task to accomplish! I have learned a thing or 2 over the years which has made life on the road so much more enjoyable and I have some great tips for you all that I practice every time we load up the Motor Home. It doesn’t matter if you have a 35 foot behemoth RV or a single room tent for 2, when you have been on the road all day heading for your destination, the last thing you feel like doing is prepping all kinds of food so you can get a delicious, healthy meal on the table. And BTW, I have indeed “camped” in everything from an old blue and yellow canvas 1 room tent that leaked with every rain storm to our current motor home that comes complete with everything you can imagine including the kitchen sink! When we travel I still want to eat well and avoid feeding Sparky frozen meals, fast food junk and canned foods. And with a little advance planning I can have a delectable meal on the picnic table in the campground in no time at all. An added bonus, is with advance prep and cooking, dish and pan washing are kept to a minimum, a huge advantage when water and dish washing facilities are limited.
Here are 12 of my favorite shortcuts that are time tested, user friendly and standard fare in our traveling world!
- Pre cooked Rice. I cook large amounts of Jasmine rice and freeze it in w portion sizes that suit our family. For us I put 2 cups of cooked rice in zip bags and pop them in the freezer. So easy to thaw and add diced vegetables of your choice and Italian Salad Dressing for a delicious cold rice salad. I also just thaw the rice, heat it briefly as a tasty side dish. It is super simple to make Fried Rice with pre-cooked rice. For a delicious and filling start to your day, try heating the rice with a little milk, and topping it with brown sugar, maple syrup or honey. No sticky rice pan to scrub! Wunderbar!
- Pre-cook boneless chicken breast and/or sirloin steak. Slice the meats thinly and put in portion size bags. When thawed, both are perfect to add to meal size salads, fajitas or tacos. Just season the meat before cooking with your favorite flavors and dinner is ready in no time!
- I can not say enough about pre cooking ground beef! So versatile and life is just so easy when you don’t have greasy frying pans to clean and then deciding how to dispose of the grease. What is your favorite ground beef recipe? Chili? Sloppy Joe’s? Taco Salads? Goulash? Grabbing a zip bag of already cooked, frozen ground beef out of the freezer saves so much time and clean up. I cook several pounds at a time and again, freeze it in portion sizes just right for us.
- Breakfast Sausage! Take a 1 lb package ( as many as you like) slice it and fry it up. When cool, put it in zip bags and freeze away. So easy to add right to the pan in the morning with a little water, cook until thawed and breakfast is served. Take that same sausage and fry it up at home making sausage crumbles. When done, freeze it and you have the makings for a fabulous omelet filling or add to scrambled eggs with a little grated Cheddar cheese. YUM!
- Do the same thing with Bacon. Cook up a pound a few weeks before leaving on your trip. No pan to wash. No grease to dispose of and when cooked, chopped and frozen, you have omelet filling or bacon bits for salad topping. Or, cook the bacon, leave in whole slices, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for quick fantastic BLT sandwiches or Turkey clubs!
- Sparky and I love Mushrooms but keeping them fresh, cleaning them, slicing, seasoning and cooking ‘shrooms when on the road is time consuming. Pre-cooking them and popping them into zip bags to freeze is a huge time saver. We use them with eggs, omelets and for topping a grilled steak.
- I finely dice Onions and Green Peppers and place them in sandwich bags. They will keep for several days in your fridge or cooler and are great for adding to your pre-cooked ground beef for your favorite meal. For longer storage, just throw them in the freezer.
- I love salads but I am not a fan of pre-washed and packaged salad greens. I can never tell how fresh the greens are and I like to make my own combinations. Take your favorite lettuce and tear it,wash it and spin it dry before placing in gallon size plastic bags and tossing them in the cooler. When it’s time to eat, add your favorite chopped veggies to the bag, add salad dressing and shake that bag up to combine everything. Serve your salad straight from the bag and then toss the bag away. NO cleanup!
- I have found that a “Zesty” type Italian Salad Dressing has many uses and all are just great. Use it as a dressing for rice or pasta salads. It is fantastic as a marinade for Chicken, Pork or even Salmon. My favorite shortcut for marinated Chicken is to take bone in Chicken thighs and put them in a gallon bag. Pour Italian dressing in with the Chicken and shake it around. Seal and put in the freezer. When it is time to cook, take the bag out of the freezer and as it thaws you have perfectly marinated Chicken, just waiting for those grill marks!
- Pre-measure ground coffee into plastic sandwich bags. One bag for each day of your trip plus 1 or 2 more for “just in case.” Just think, no measuring in the morning. No spilled grounds. No guess work. Perfect pot of coffee and no thinking required 🙂
- I do the same thing with powdered Lemonade mix. We typically buy it in a Canister and scoop out the required amount. It never fails that I spill powder all over the counter top and generally make a mess of it. Then there is the storage issues with canisters and other large containers. I just measure out the amount needed for a 2 qt pitcher and place it all in plastic bags. Dump one bag in the pitcher when it is time to make a cold refreshing beverage and that’s it! Yes, I know that Lemonade mixes come in small and/ single serving sizes but the price is not economical so we buy the larger sizes.
- Sparky and I do not eat a lot of cold breakfast cereal, but when on the move, it is nice to have a couple boxes of our favorites on board. But again, when you are “camping” however you define it, storage is at a premium and those cereal boxes take up a lot of space. Taking the cereal out of the boxes and wax paper bags and pouring it into gallon size zip bags accomplishes 2 things: 1-it takes up much less space and 2-the zip bags keep out moisture ensuring freshness where the wax bags don’t help at all.
My 12 favorite tips above have really helped me on my journeys over the years. Time saving tips that make me a happy camper with more time to spend enjoying relaxing,hiking, canoeing, family and friends while still allowing me to serve up mouth watering meals in very little time.
Thanks for stopping by today friends. Today finds us back in Sheridan, Wyoming on our way back to Washington State. We had a great time at the wedding of Dan’s cousins daughter last Saturday and have just completed the first leg of our 3 day journey to home.
Wherever your journey leads you today, I hope that in addition to enjoying family, friends and fantastic scenery, you have time to enjoy a simple, but perfectly cooked meal outdoors on a picnic table while watching the sunset.
Hugs and much love from me,