All of the “Recipes for the Road” posts on Escape Campervan’s website have great ideas and recipes to get you started. Here are some more to add to the list. But before I share them, I will have to agree with 3 things that others have already said: add fresh fruits and veggies (choose sturdy, not soft varieties), do a simple stir-fry or one-pot meal, and plan out your meals so that you can use the food items in several different recipes (example: EGGS; scrambled eggs and bacon, fried egg sandwich, spinach cheese omelet, breakfast burrito with salsa and cheese, French toast).
So here we go, Dawn’s van life cooking tips and recipe ideas.
I make tomorrow morning’s coffee the night before. I store it in a large thermos so I can quickly warm it up in the morning if needed. Add some cappuccino mix to make it VANtastic!
For easy cleanup, spray skillet with cooking oil or drizzle with olive oil packet
It’s ok to stock up on nonperishable food items. Grab some boxes or cardboard flats for storage bins, but do plan to stop by a supermarket or farmers market every few days for fresh produce and perishable items, so you have room in the fridge drawer.
Add sautéed onions, peppers, zucchini, fully cooked chicken breast, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese packet, and serve over your favorite pasta.
Easy to thaw and add to salads, veggie wraps, cheese quesadillas, pasta, rice dishes, and stir-fry.
Stir in some trail mix, nut butter, or a honey packet.
Find toiletries, first aid items, small sized canned goods, instant mashed potato pouches, snacks, condiments, and even frozen meat items for one dollar!
I give my co-workers, who order lunch often, my condiment wish list, and they bring me their unused packets of olive oil, soy sauce, parmesan cheese, jelly, syrup, honey, mayo, mustard, ketchup, Barb-Q sauce, taco sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, and salad dressing to use on my van trip.
Pick up some supermarket deli-prepared favorites, like potato salad, cole slaw, chicken salad, fried chicken (is cold fried chicken just a southern thing?) rotisserie chicken, prepared green salads, and sandwiches to enjoy when you get to camp.
If you are new to van camping, I recommend that you start off with a simple and easy meal plan until you find your groove.
These first three dinner ideas are what John calls “Backpacker meals” and I keep a few on hand to make a quick dinner on those nights when it’s raining, or we get to camp late.
Okay, now that you are settling into your van life routine, here are some other recipes and ideas:
1 Reynolds Wrap Extra Heavy Duty Grill Bag
Pork tenderloin (the flavored ones are great, I like the teriyaki or garlic and herb the best)
Red potatoes, sliced
Soy sauce packets
Salt and pepper
When the weather is dry, stack some Matchlight charcoal briquettes, light, then spread out slightly when the flames die down and the coals turn gray. Add meat and veggies to the foil bag. Season with salt and pepper and a soy sauce packet, drizzle with olive oil. Press out air, and make a small fold along the open end, fold at least one or two more times to close tightly. DO NOT PUNCTURE BAG. Place foil bag DIRECTLY ONTO THE COALS, gently press to flatten out, carefully flip over every ten minutes ‘til done (use oven glove), about 25-30 minutes total, depending on size. Carefully remove foil pouch from coals, supporting it with a plate lined with aluminum foil or paper towels, and let rest on picnic table bench at least 5 minutes. Slice an X pattern on the top side to open the bag, WATCH OUT FOR STEAM, remove and slice pork tenderloin and serve with cooked veggies on the side. Make garlic toast out of bread or leftover hot dog buns.
Happy meal planning, and bon appétit!