Cooking in your RV can be a challenge. My RV kitchen offers little room to move about. There are only a couple of small burners, a tiny oven, and a teeny weenie sink. There is very little counter space. Did I mention the very small refrigerator and similarly limited storage space for cooking supplies? Nevertheless, when on the road I still have to be able to come up with meals that will satisfy everyone. Of course, the menu items must be quick and easy to pull together and require only the limited supplies I can carry in my RV. Over the miles I have come up with a few family favorites, which are listed below. Although they originated as recipes for cooking in your RV , these simple recipes can really be enjoyed anywhere.
In our RV refrigerator there are always a couple apples that no one wants to eat because they are no longer perfect. They are either bruised or have minor blemishes. For those apples that don’t make it into my salad, I have the perfect recipe for them.
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
Melt butter in pan. Add sliced apples and lemon juice. Cook until lightly tender over medium heat.
Turn down heat. Add sugar and stir. Continue to cook apples until sugar is fully dissolved. Be careful not to burn sugar. Once mixture thickens, remove from heat. Stir in nutmeg and cinnamon.
Makes a great side dish or can be served over pork or chicken. Of course my children prefer it served over vanilla ice cream and frosted flakes!
No Bake Mixed Berry Cheese Cake
I love cooking in my camper but I am not crazy about baking in my camper. To begin with, there is not enough counter space. Nor is there enough pantry or fridge space to bring along everything I need to bake from scratch. So when we are on the road the ideal recipe is one where I take all the ingredients, throw it all into a bowl, mix it, and serve it! I realize that cannot always be the case; but this no bake cheese cake is pretty darn close to an ideal recipe. Unless you really want to prepare your own pie crust shell, preparation takes about 5 to 10 minutes start to finish. It really couldn’t be easier. Everyone will think you must have spent hours preparing this terrific light dessert.
1 ½ cups milk
1 pkg Jell-O pudding Cheese Cake flavor
8 oz whipped cream cheese, mixed berry flavor
1 can mixed berry pie filing (optional)
Fresh sliced strawberries or berries (optional)
1 pre-made graham cracker pie shell
· In lieu of a pre-made pie shell, you can use those left over graham crackers you bought for S’mores that no one ate. ( 1 ½ cups of graham crackers smashed up into crumbs, ½ stick softened butter, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ cup brown or white sugar if you must. Mix it all together and press it into a pie pan. Bake on 375 degrees for approximately 5 min. Then let it cool before using it for this recipe.)
Mix pudding mix with milk. Add cream cheese. Blend till smooth. Poor over graham crackers and refrigerate for one hour or until pie sets.
Remove from fridge. Drizzle with pie filling and decorate with sliced strawberries.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
Casseroles in our household are a tough sell. My kids take one look at them and turn their noses up. Their first assumption is that I am hiding something in the dish they don’t want to eat. As a rule, if they cannot see what’s in the dish, they won’t even sample it. Picky little creatures they are. I realize it’s a phase and they will eventually grow out of it. So in the meantime I am thrilled they like my Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. It takes all of about 10 minutes to prep and then it is ready in less than an hour.
When you are short on time or have a lot of mouths to feed this one works. And you can freeze it for serving later.
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (10.5 ounces)
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups cubed Chicken
1 cup cubed ham. (chopped deli ham will work too.)
Pinch of black pepper
1 cup chopped broccoli (optional)
1 box of stove top stuffing mix
Preheat oven to bake 350 degrees
Make the stuffing mix as listed on the box
Pour the soup into the baking dish. My dish is 9 x 13. Add the pepper and spread it around.
Next layer the chicken, ham, cheese, (broccoli) into the baking dish.
Spread the stuffing on top. Sprinkle with any left over cheese if you wish.
Cover it with foil and bake for 30 min.
After 30 minutes remove the foil and then bake it for an additional 20 minutes.
This dish is quite filling so I suggest you serve it with something light. Like a side salad or mixed veggies. Unless of course you have a house or camper full of teenage boys, then I would serve it over rice! This is sure to fill them up.
Breakfast in our house can be a bit of a problem. The kids always default to some sugary packaged cereal. Getting them to eat something nutritious is a challenge. The mention of eggs or the idea of even cooking eggs will get a resounding “no”. However, bacon will have every one clamoring for more than their fair share. Unfortunately, bacon is not only expensive and not very nutritional; it is also messy and smelly. Getting rid of bacon grease is also a bother. So I decided to come up with a recipe that was easy and that would get them to eat eggs — using bacon bits.
My answer is the frittata. Made in a muffin pan it makes for a nice presentation and it is easy to serve. Because my kids still prefer their fingers over utensils, it’s also ideal for our family. It’s a simple mix, bake, and serve solution that serves six.
½ cup milk
¼ shredded cheese (I usually have some Italian blend or Mexican blend left over in my fridge. If you have to buy it, I would suggest cheddar.)
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of dill
1/8 teaspoon of salt
2 heaping tablespoons of chopped sauteed onions (and/or green peppers)
Dash of olive oil for sauteing the onions
¼ cup bacon bits.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray 12 muffin pans with nonstick spray
Sauté the onions in olive oil till lightly cooked. Try not to brown them.
Mix the milk, eggs, salt, pepper and dill in a bowl.
Add the onions, bacon and cheese to the bowl. Mix all the ingredients together. Then use a ladle to scoop it into the muffin pans.
Bake for 20 minutes and serve hot.
Leftovers work well when heated up later or frozen. To heat using a microwave, allow approximate seconds for 1 frittata.
Bacon Chicken Bake
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you just add bacon to a recipe the kids are sure to eat it. Or, at least they will try it.
My kids seem always to want the same old thing. So introducing them to new meals is a challenge. My latest strategy has been to throw bacon bits into everything. So far, so good.
This meal takes less than 15 minutes to pull together. Then it’s off to the oven for 45 minutes. What does not get eaten can be frozen. Or you can serve it as a leftover the next day. It really seems to get better tasting over night!
This recipe yields enough for at least 6 adults. If you have growing teenagers in your house or surprise guests for dinner, I suggest you serve this over rice or a big baked potato. It’s sure to go far. Otherwise, I find it very filling served by itself with a side salad.
1 ½ pounds chopped chicken breast
1 can condensed tomato soup
2 cups cut broccoli crowns (Cauliflower would also work. Fresh spinach would be my personal favorite; but that won’t work in our house.)
1/4 cup bacon bits.
½ cup French Fried Onions (found in a package or can usually near salad dressings in your supermarket)
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2.5 oz cheese and garlic salad croutons (half a bag)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a mixing bowl mix the soup, chopped chicken, and bacon bits together.
Then pour the chicken mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Then add the broccoli, spreading it around the dish.
Add the cheese next, leaving a little left over to sprinkle on later.
Top the dish off with French friend onions and croutons.
Cover the dish with foil and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 min, remove the foil, top it off with remaining cheese and put it back in the oven, uncovered, for another 20 min.
When done, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Bake for 20 minutes and serve hot.
Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Do you love soft backed cookies? How about a cookie that is so soft they don’t need milk and melts in your mouth? That’s how my husband describes these cookies.
These cookies are super easy to make especially if you have a few extra helping hands. They are also the perfect answer for those brown bananas that no one will eat.
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup softened butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 package semi sweet chocolate chips
2 very soft bananas
**Makes 4-5 dozen 2 inch cookies
Preheat the oven to 350
In a medium size bowl mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
In a second bowl, mash your bananas. I use a mixer to get the bananas super mashed up.
In a third and larger bowl, mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar (packing it down when measuring) ,vanilla, and butter. Mix it all together so that you get an almost creamy consistency.
Add the eggs to the sugar batter and mix well.
Now slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar batter, addressing all lumps of flour. When thoroughly mixed, add the banana mixture and the chocolate chips to the batter and mix again.
Using a tablespoon, scoop out the cookie dough and place them about an inch and a half apart on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
Once out of the oven move them to a cooling rack.
Don’t forget to refrigerate uneaten cookies.
But, if your husband and kids are like mine, there will probably not be very many cookies left to go into the refrigerator!
I am not a big chocolate fan. However when it comes to these brownies, I find myself in serious trouble. These brownies are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and they taste like real chocolate. (Not like that boxed kind!) The last time I made these I think I ate most of them, which is why I don’t make them often.
These are what I would call adult brownies, rich in taste and heavier than a traditional box brownie. Not something I would serve to young kids. As far as my 9 year old twins go, there is nothing that’s going to replace Duncan Hines. As for my 13 year old, going on 20, I could not help but notice that she helped herself to quite a few the last time I made these, which is another reason I won’t be making these again so soon.
All that being said, if you are looking for something to serve as a dessert at a dinner party or to bring to an office party, football party, etc., these are the ones. I promise, no one will think they came out of a box.
1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup flour
¼ tsp baking powder (optional) This makes it less dense.
½ cup bakers chocolate. I used Hershey’s cocoa
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Optional, substitute coconut for chopped walnuts (or some Bacardi cocoa rum!)
Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Then mix in the flour, baking soda and cocoa until your get a nice smooth mixture. Finally add your coconut and chocolate chips. Once mixed, pour it into a greased 8 x 8 pan.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes. Test with a tooth pick. They are ready when your tooth pick comes out clean.
Cranberry Banana Bread
The first time I told my kids I was making Cranberry Banana Bread you should have heard the comments. I got everything from, “I hate anything with bananas in it, except chocolate chip cookies,” to “Cranberries are gross; it’s bad enough we have to eat them at Thanksgiving at Grammy’s house.” As usual, I took it all with a grain of salt. Deep down I was kind of happy to hear these complaints because that meant there would be more for me. This is one of the many recipes my grandmother would make for me. I loved baking and eating this bread because it brought back great memories of her and the many hours we would spend in her kitchen, cooking and talking. She was an exceptional soul.
Our Cranberry Banana Bread is made with fresh cranberries. The recipe requires only a ½ a cup. The rest of the cranberries are cooked to make cranberry sauce, which is served with the bread. Warm or chilled, it makes for one delicious serving.
Of course, the first time I made my Cranberry Banana Bread it never made it to day two. Every one swore they were not responsible for eating it. “NO WAY!”
This morning, after the kids went off to school, I found a note on the counter. Some little person was hoping I could find time to make more banana cranberry bread with dip and coffee cake too. Hmm, I wonder which child that was. Or rather, who put him up to it?
My recipe for Cranberry Banana Bread is really quite easy. It’s the perfect answer to over ripe bananas that no one will eat. Or cranberries that are drastically reduced in price after the holiday or that never quite made it into the holiday meal.
½ cup melted Butter
1 cup sugar
3-4 medium mashed bananas
2 cups Flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
½ cup fresh cranberries chopped (a couple of quick rounds in the food processor works perfectly)
½ cup Chocolate chips or nuts
Preheat oven to 350:
First mix the sugar and the butter together until you get a creamy texture. Then add the eggs, vanilla, and mashed bananas. The flour and baking soda (your dry ingredients) are added next. When it’s all mixed, add the cranberries.
Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan. (I prefer to butter and lightly flour my pan vs. spray.)
Bake at 350 for 50 min. Use a tooth pick to test. Bread is ready when tooth pick comes out clean.
Let cool a few minutes then remove from pan and set on a rack to cool.
While your bread is baking you can be making your cranberry sauce. It’s a no brainier.
Cranberry Sauce for Cranberry Banana Bread
1 ½ cups cranberries. That’s approximately what you should have left over after adding cranberries to you bread.
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup orange juice
In a sauce pan add all three ingredients and cook over medium/high heat. Bring the pot to a boil and then let it simmer. Stir intermittently so that it does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. After about 5 minutes the cranberries will start to pop. That means it’s ready.T urn off the stove and set the pot aside to cool.
Cranberry sauce can be served cold or hot. I personally love my Banana Cranberry Bread served warm, with no butter, but with a huge dollop of hot cranberry sauce on top.
I have served this for breakfast, brunch and dinner too. It’s the perfect pairing partner for a meal or a salad.
RV Kitchen Pub Chicken
A traditional pub chicken calls for molasses; but that’s not something I keep in my RV kitchen, or my home kitchen for that matter. On the other hand, I do have Maple Syrup! Never leave home without it.
This is my version of a Pub Chicken and one that gets top billing in our house. It is a recipe that uses just what I keep in my RV kitchen.
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast sliced in half
1 tbsp of Maple Syrup
½ teaspoon of powder with parsley (or plain garlic powder)minced garlic works too
Pinch of pepper
1 large sliced onion
2 to 4 slices of Swiss cheese (like is spicy? Try Jalapeno cheddar)
Crispy French Fried onions
¼ cup Caesar Dressing
1 tbsp Mustard (I used Dijon because that’s what is in the fridge, yellow mustard works too)
Start by preparing the marinade. In a bowl or bag, add the soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix in the chicken and let set for at least 10 minutes. (Over night works too)
Prep the oven at 425 F
In a bowl, drizzle olive oil over the sliced onion, lightly salt and pepper. Then place the onions in the bottom of a 9 x 13 backing dish. Top with the chicken and bake for 20-25 minutes.
In the meantime mix the mustard into the Caesar dressing and set aside.
When the chicken is ready (165 degree F), turn the oven off and remove the chicken dish. Sprinkle the chicken with crispy onions, top it with slices of Swiss cheese and drizzle it with the dressing mix. Place the chicken back in the oven and let it set for about 5 minutes to warm the dressing and melt the cheese. When the cheese is melted, your Pub Chicken is ready.
Served with a side salad, mashed potatoes, a pint of ale and you will think you are back in your favorite pub!
Simple Chicken Tenders
If I give my kids a choice for dinner, the odds are they will come back with Chicken Tenders. When I got tired of buying the frozen kind I came up with my own version. It is simple, quick and always perfect. Best yet, I don’t have to invest in ingredients. When on the road in my RV or home in my own kitchen, it’s a no brainer that works every time.
Italian Bread Crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 F
After washing and drying your chicken tenders, toss them in a bowl with ranch dressing. You will need just enough dressing to coat the chicken tenders. Once coated, bread them with Italian Bread crumbs, then place them on a cookie sheet and salt them. Once ready, bake at 350 for approximately 15 minutes.
When I was in the Publix the other day I saw them making what they call a Meatball Sub Casserole. I had a chuckle because it was not much different than what we call in our house a Meatball Slider. The only difference, other than the name, was the added ingredients: cheese spread, feta cheese, and mayonnaise. All these extra ingredients are really not necessary and only add lots of calories to your meal.
My Meatball Slider is pretty darn simple and takes only minutes to whip up in your RV or home kitchen. It is also the perfect answer for that day old stale baguette.
I usually serve my Meatball Sliders as a main meal to my kids; but, I have also served them as appetizers. They make great “finger food” for football parties, picnics, birthday parties etc…
1 Baguette, sliced
Approximately 12 one inch meatballs sliced in half. (I use the frozen kind.)
½ jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 cup shredded Italian or Mozzarella cheese.
½ cup smashed croutons (or 1 tablespoon of Italian bread crumbs)
Preheat oven to 400F
Line a baking dish with the sliced bread. While the over is warming up place the baking dish in the oven for a couple minutes to lightly toast the bread. (A nicely toasted baguette slice will be easier to eat.)
In a sauce pan or microwave, heat up the meatballs with the pasta sauce.
When the sauce and meatballs are ready, spoon the meatballs with sauce over the toasted bread. Top it with cheese. Lastly sprinkle with bread crumbs. Then return the pan back to the over for 4 to 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve hot.
Greek Seasoning is a new staple in both my RV and home kitchens. I have found that Greek Seasoning can make an old recipe new. Whether you use it to rub down a roasted chicken, throw it over nachos, or mix it with mint to marinate your pork tenderloin, the uses are endless.
Last night I sprinkled it over my pan cooked chicken tenders, then served the chicken with the Greek Seasoning over fresh green beans with a light sprinkle of feta cheese on top. The meal was a huge success; one that I did not anticipate since I had prepared macaroni and cheese for the kids’ dinner. (Look like it will Poor Boy Mac and Cheese burritos tonight!)
To make the Greek Seasoning I adapted a couple of recipes I found online. I had initially planned to buy it in the market. But I could not find any that did not have Monosodium Glutamate in it, a preservative that I am not fond of.
Here is what I used to make my Greek Seasoning:
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Basil
2 tsp Oregano
½ tsp Thyme
2 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Dill
1 tsp Marjoram
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried Parsley flakes
1 tsp Rosemary
½ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Nutmeg
Breakfast cake ( Coffee Cake)
It’s really a classic coffee cake but you’ll make it using yellow cake mix. In our house we call it Cameron’s Coffee Cake because my nine-year-old loves to make this cake. He does it all by himself. Then he eats most of it, all by himself. Which is fine by me; otherwise I would be eating all. It’s that good. Last week he made one for our neighbor (to show off his new cooking skills) and it wasn’t ten minutes later that she was knocking at the door saying it was the best thing she had tasted in a long time and wanted the recipe, which he was more than happy to give to her.
Did I mention how simple it is to make?
Here are the ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 box instant butterscotch pudding 3.4 oz
1 cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 F
In a large mixing bowl mix, cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil together. Make sure you get out all the lumps.
In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup of well packed brown sugar with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.
Using a well greased bundt pan or baking pan, pour half the cake mixture into the pan. Then layer it with half to 2/3rds of the brown sugar mixture. Follow that up by pouring the remaining cake mixture into the pan. Top it off with the remaining brown sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F
Then reduce the temperature to 325 F and bake for 30 more minutes.
Your breakfast cake will be ready when your toothpick, or in my case my wooden chopstick, comes out clean.
Bacon Ranch Chicken
If there is a “house favorite” for our family, Bacon Ranch Chicken is it. The reason it gets top billing is simply because it is highly favored by everyone in my home. In our house full of very picky eaters, finding a dish that everyone agrees on can be very difficult. If you have had a chance to try any one of my other dishes, you know that to make this list the recipe had to be easy, the ingredients did not cost an arm and a leg and plenty of those ingredients are generally kept on hand. A good recipe also needs to respect my time! This one takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook.
1 ½ lb chicken cut into cubes
½ cup bacon bits
¼ cup Bacon Ranch Dressing
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 glove garlic
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp parsley
Pinch of salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a mixing bowl add all your ingredients except the chicken.
Cut the chicken up into bit size chunks and place in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Next, pour your ingredients on top of your chicken.
Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes.
When ready, serve as a side dish or over rice or pasta.
Trader Joe’s Chicken Teriyaki at Home Recipe
One of my favorite pre-made meals is Traders Joe’s Chicken Teriyaki. Quick, easy and a meal everyone loves. Unfortunately the closest Trader Joe’s is 30 minutes away and one bag of the frozen chicken Teriyaki barely makes a meal for my growing family. Fortunately, after making a couple tweaks to a basic chicken teriyaki recipe I found online, I think I have finally found the perfect substitute. A chicken Teriyaki recipe that rivals Traders Joe’s frozen chicken alternative in flavor, allows me to adjust the serving size, uses just what I have in my RV kitchen and takes all of 15 minutes to make.
1 ½ -2 lbs boneless chicken thigh meat sliced and fat removed.
2 tablespoon vegetable oil (I prefer safflower oil or canola)
½ cup sugar
¼ soy sauce, low sodium preferred
1 tsp fresh lemon juice (half a lemon usually)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoon corn starch with 2 tablespoon of water mixed together to keep it from lumping when added to pot.
First, prepare the chicken.
In a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the cut chicken and toss. Add to a hot pan and cook for 3-4 minutes. When done, set aside.
Second, prepare the sauce.
In a pot, add everything else except the corn starch mixture. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, boil for 2-3 minutes. Then slowly add your corn starch mixture. Your sauce should start to thicken.
Add your chicken to the sauce and stir. Continue to cook for another minute to two. Remove from heat and serve.