To continue the conversation about our trailer, and why we chose the floor plan we did, let’s talk a little about RV cooking!
Carrie and I both really enjoy cooking. One of our biggest considerations when shopping for our temporary RV home was whether the kitchen would accommodate our normal routine well. We didn’t want the kitchen to be too cramped, and we definitely wanted an oven and space for all of the gadgets and other luxuries we’re used to.
The 5th wheel we ended up with fits the bill very well, and I think the kitchen is a big part of why we ended up buying this particular trailer. Built in we have:
- an “oversized” 12 cubic foot refrigerator (8 cubic ft is standard)
- a 3 burner stove
- a small propane oven
- a small microwave
- a two-basin sink
- a large pantry
- ample counter space (for an RV)
- decent cupboards and kitchen storage
Generally for breakfast we either skip the meal entirely, or I’ll sometimes throw an egg skillet or something similar together. Lunch is almost always leftover dinners from the past few days, and somewhere around 95% of our dinners are home cooked. We do a meal plan and grocery shop every week, and we proudly stick to a grocery budget of $300-350/month. We aren’t as frugal with food as we could be, but I think we do a pretty good job considering the amount of meat we buy.
I am happy to report that the RV kitchen has not cramped our normal cooking at all, and we still make all of our favorite meals. The propane oven takes some getting used to, and occasionally the 3 burner stove or the fridge get a little cramped. We also brought along (and regularly use) our Instant Pot pressure cooker, a crock pot, toaster oven, waffle iron, espresso maker, and recently we bought a sous vide cooker. Everything has a place, and as long as we stay on top of the dishes and clean up, the kitchen works wonderfully. The only thing we truly miss having is a dishwasher!
Grocery shopping has been interesting as we’ve traveled from place to place – grocery stores vary widely based on location and region, and sometimes we don’t have a close by and affordable place to shop. I’ve enjoyed exploring some of the east-coast options that we don’t see in Colorado. Our last RV spot in Frederick Maryland was not the nicest place, but I absolutely *loved* the fact that we were a 2 minute walk from an incredible discount grocery store called Aldi. Our current location (east of D.C.) doesn’t have much close by, but we have a few good store options within a tolerable driving distance.
The recent Thanksgiving holiday put our RV-cooking skills to the test – we decided to not make everything from scratch (mostly because Carrie worked on Thanksgiving), but we made ourselves turkey drumsticks (sous vide cooked), mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, and garlic green beans. I think it all turned out great!
While meal planning isn’t for everyone, I like to preach the value of using an actual planning tool to map out your meals for the week – a few years back it revolutionized how we cook and shop. For the past few years we’ve used a website called Plan to Eat (based in Loveland, CO!) for our recipe database and weekly meal plan. We absolutely love this tool, and even though it’s not free, we think it is well worth the cost. If you’re interested in trying it out, please sign up using my affiliate link, and I’ll get a 20% kick-back if you subscribe. Also, Plan to Eat does an annual “Holiday Sale” where subscriptions are 50% off, so if you subscribe in the next few days, you’ll have access for less than $2/month.
What are your favorite meals to cook at home? Could you adapt to cooking in an RV? Let us know in the comments!