Meal Planning – Share Your Favorite Camping Recipes

Now that we have the travel dates set for each state, it is time to start planning all the details of our one-year journey across the country, including Meal Planning.

When we first decided to take on this adventure, our initial focus was to map our general travel itinerary.

meal planning chart
We need helps with developing a weekly meal plan that will fit our storage and cooking needs.

We tried to map out the best route so that we could to enjoy what each state has to offer without being in treacherous weather conditions along the way.

Of course, we know that Mother Nature could have different plans and that we will have to deal with that as we go. There are just some things that you can’t plan for.

However, with a little under two months to go before we take off, there are many more details that we need to figure out before we leave.

Planning Our Meals

And one of the most important of those is planning our meals.

If you know anything about us, food is a major part of our life.

We are huge gardeners and the majority of our summer meals are based on the food that we grow. See our home & garden website: Old World Garden Farms.

Not only do we eat fresh from the garden but we also can over 300 quarts of jarred vegetables, sauces, juice, etc… each year.

canning pantry for meal planning
Our pantry shelves are full of canned goods from our garden.

However, we know that we will not be able to take these homemade canned goods with us on our trip.

Not only do we not have the storage room, the variance in temperatures could impact the quality of the food. Not to mention it would be nearly impossible to protect the jars from breaking.

So now we need to adjust our weekly meal planning to meet our needs while we are on the road.

Weekly Meal Planning

Of course we want to continue to plan our meals using as many whole foods as possible. We rarely eat store-bought, processed foods. And from a health standpoint we would prefer to continue to do so.

whole foods
Healthy and whole foods take up a lot of room in a camper.

However, that in itself presents another obstacle. The amount of food storage needed to keep whole and fresh foods is much more than if you were storing premade meals.

So now comes the dilemma. How do we plan our meals for our trip across the country.

The Storage Issue

Being on the road for an entire year will require us to carefully plan out how we will use our available storage space in our T@B 400.

For now, we are concentrating on dedicated spaces to store the items necessary for meal planning.

The Refrigerator
refrigerator for meal planning
Our refrigerator is slightly deeper than dorm size and does have a small freezer.

Obviously this will include the use of our 2-way built in refrigerator. The refrigerator will run on electricity when the camper is plugged into a power source.

However, when we are driving or boondocking at a Harvest Host location, the fridge will be powered by solar/battery power. See: Harvest Host Discount Offer

The size of the refrigerator is very similar to a small dorm size fridge. It is slightly deeper and does include a tiny freezer that can hold a few things.

large storage area
The larger opening area above the counter will be used to store taller food items.

Although, based on a few trial camping runs, it appears that the back of the top shelf will also allow some foods to reach close to the freezing level.

We have also dedicated the bottom drawer that is underneath the refrigerator as a pantry drawer. We are thinking of storing some food and spices in this area during our trip.

And we have already found that the open storage area above the kitchen counter is a good place to store larger items like trail mix, whole peanuts, and tortilla chips.

In addition to the storage space inside the camper, we will have a Yeti cooler inside the bed of our truck to use as needed.

yeti cooler
We will have our Yeti cooler in our truck as a back up for any refrigeration needs.

So now that we know where we can store food, we have to figure out how to develop weekly meal plans that will fit in the dedicated space.

Weekly Meal Planning By Campers

Campers are very good at planning out their meals. In fact, they don’t have much of a choice since they could have limited access to grocery stores in their area.

And although there are a ton of convenience stores, the amount you could spend on forgotten items could add up quickly.

Our plan is to go the grocery store or Farmer’s Market once a week to stock up on items needed for our meals.  

meal planning at farmer's market
We intend to hit the Farmer’s market or grocery once a week.

We will also dedicate a single day for food preparation for the week.

This will include time to chop up vegetables for easier storage in the refrigerator or cooler. But also making entire meals that we can reheat later in the week. Or simply browning ground beef for use in various recipes during the week.

Cooking Appliances Available

Inside of the camper we have a two burner propane stove top. We have used that mostly for making eggs, bacon and potatoes for breakfast. However, because we are in tight quarters, anything that gets just a little smoky immediately sets off the smoke detector.

However, we also have our 3 quart Instant Pot Mini Multi-Cooker to use when making our meals. See: Camping With An Instant Pot

And when we are at an area that outside cooking is permitted, we have a small, tabletop propane grill that we can use.

Meal Planning with Instant Pot
The 3 quart Instant Pot Mini will be making the trip across the country with us.

Of course, whenever there is a campfire pit we could use that as well. 

So what we need from you are ideas for meals that we can make while we are on the road utilizing the storage space guidelines that we have discussed.

Please leave us your favorite recipe or meal planning ideas in the comment section at the bottom of the page. Who knows, we may even feature your recipe on our food blog – Make Your Meals.

Happy Traveling – Jim and Mary

25 thoughts on “Meal Planning – Share Your Favorite Camping Recipes

  • July 9, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    . Foil dinners are perfect. I cook them over the fire grate. Foil, nonstick spray, potatoes, any type of protein. My favorite is ground bison or chicken. Then just add your favorites ours are mushrooms, onions, potatoes. I have used canned tomatoes with chicken and a little taco seasoning with potatoes and unions. Another one you can tryin insta pot. Chicken and your favorite blend os salsa. Depending on how spicy you like it add what ever pepper or onions you like warm a tortea and your got dinner. We add a little avocado.

  • July 9, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Spicy Zucchini One Dish Meal

    Chopped onion
    2- Chopped Zucchini or yellow Squash
    1 can Rotel Tomatoes
    1 lb Hamburger Meat
    1-2 Tbsp Oil
    Heat skillet with oil and sauté onion.
    Brown HB meat
    Add Zucchini and cook briefly.
    Add Rotel, gently boil until zucchini is cooked.

    • July 12, 2019 at 1:48 am

      That seems right up our alley! In fact, we have so many zucchini from our garden that I might just give that a try tonight!

  • July 9, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    I have a couple recipes that are pretty simple and easy to do. Neither one I have done while camping, but I don’t think it will be much of a problem in your little teardrop. First one is Chicken Salad. We love this and eat it quite frequently. Put in large bowl 2.5 oz. can of chicken, 20 oz. can of chunky/tidbits pineapple (both cans drained), 3 chopped celery, 1 apple diced, and a Tbsp. of Craisens (but I like to add more). Mix. Put in 5 Tbsp. mayonnaise and 1/2 tsp. curryand mix ( I have used cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg mix also, or even a little lemon juice would work if you don’t have curry. It can also be left out) I will sometimes add some chopped pecans or almonds. This usually makes enough for my husband and I for dinner. Can also be ate at lunch. My other recipe is Mexican Soup. I brown about 1 lb.of ground meat (I like to add a little chopped onion to mine, but can be left out) Then add 1 can kidney beans, 1 can whole corn, 1 can diced tomatoes. Do not drain cans, but dump the whole can in. Add a package of taco seasoning, or if you make your own just add to your own taste. Heat and eat!! Top with sour cream, avacado, cheese, etc. and serve with tortilla chips. You can add other items to the soup if you like….olives, cilantro, etc. Makes a hearty meal that’s good on cool evenings! When camping I used to try to get dry packaged food….mac and cheese, dry soup, etc where are you do is add water. You can even dehydrate food, package them up and have your meals already prepared in ziplock bags. Just add water! Have fun!!!

  • July 9, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    One of our favorites is reubens. They can be made simply on the stove top, or in “camper Pie Irons” over the campfire.

    Taco meat mixed with a box of rice-a-roni Mexican or Spanish style (already prepared) and a can of black beans and/or corn is also easy.

    Have fun!!

  • July 9, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Our Girl Scouts always and still do love the hobo packs. We cook them in the fire/coals but they can also be cooked in an oven. You simply choose any meat and cut into small bite size pieces so they cook thoroughly, also cut up veggies of your choice, add some seasoning and put all this onto a square of foil and wrap it tightly. You can also use rice in them. Then put it in the fire to cook. Our older girls have gotten much more discriminating with their choice of meat, now wanting shrimp or steak. The girls like these cause they always turn out delicious and they can each prepare their own pack to their own taste.

    • July 12, 2019 at 1:47 am

      Can’t go wrong with the classic hobo packs. Isn’t funny how the older girls are now choosing shrimp or steak. I love the idea of customizing meals to individual portions. Thank you so much for sending in your suggestion.

  • July 9, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Quick, easy, and use what you have: brown some ground beef. Add onions, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms or whatever veggies you like. May have to add a little water. Cover and steam till cooked to your liking. You can then take lid off to let water evaporate. Add salt and pepper. It is really tasty with coconut amino. Kids (and some adults) may like ketchup on top.) My go to recipe when I want a one dish meal. Can serve with cucumber slices or other fresh veggies.

    • July 12, 2019 at 1:46 am

      Thank you for the recipe tip — and what a great addition to serve with fresh veggies as well!

  • July 9, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    I would suggest looking at ‘mason jar meals’ that you could pack in ziploc bags. Just add water to cook. Camping staple for us! We always pack s&p, garlic powder and parsley (our most used spices), bullion cubes, canned chicken and tuna, and some type of pasta. That way, you’ve always got something fairly quick to throw together if you can’t cook outdoors, or the weather turns chilly. It also offers a ‘base’ to add the fresh local food that is available to you. Happy travels!

    • July 12, 2019 at 1:44 am

      I love the idea of keeping a few staples on hand to doctor up with the local produce whenever needed. Thanks for the tip!

  • July 10, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Hi … traveled 13,000 miles around the US back in 1982 in a large sedan – 4 people 1 dog – we were young!! No tent at first, but northwest (Oregon & Washington) were very damp/wet so we got a small pup tent. Soooo many great memories … even the with challenges along the way. So, to one of my favorites … can be made over fire (coals) in cast iron skillet and will bake while you are eating the meal you just cooked on the fire. Originally from Better Homes & Gardens, but I have adapted it to so many purposes over the years. Happy trails – enjoy the journey, enjoy the food. Notes: Can substitute milk from aeseptic container, or use prepared powdered milk if you have limited space for fresh milk. The best thing about this recipe is using melted butter or shortening, no need to soften butter. Take lots of vinegar with you. Good for washing, cleaning, as an antiseptic, and to make buttermilk!

    • July 12, 2019 at 1:43 am

      Wow – you must have some fantastic memories with a trip like that! Thank you for sharing the brownies recipe. That will help with those sweet cravings. And also thank you for recommending we take vinegar with us – it does have so many fantastic uses that it will definitely come in handy!

  • July 14, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    This does not sound like the camping that I used to do when hiking the Pacific Crest Trail as a Wilderness Ranger but you might appreciate my favorite campfire recipe. At home, cook up a very thick split pea soup with plenty of vegetables (sweet potatoes, onions and garlic are staples) and then dehydrate it and pack it into a plastic bag. Of course, you will not be carrying it in a backpack but it is delicious rehydrated and you can adde cooked rice at the end if you have some leftover! Have fun!

    • July 24, 2019 at 12:30 pm

      That sounds delicious – and healthy! Thank you so much for the suggestion!

  • July 14, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Dumb question but do you have a repetitive meal plan for hime? I am overwhelmed with most meal planning sites that have multiple recipes for multiple meals taking hours of prep. Cooking for 1 or 2 is boring and i end up winging it way too often.

    • July 24, 2019 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Laurie
      We do meal plan weekly so we can plan our trips to the grocery as needed (and I don’t want to think about it every day). It will vary per season but if you are interested, email me at and I can share what we do.

  • July 16, 2019 at 5:17 am

    Overnight Oatmeal. If you are hooked up to power and use the Instapot, I love waking up to the smell of oatmeal in the morning. I add 3/4 water and 1/4 apple juice for my base. Then add all of the other fun stuff that you like…apple chunks, cinnamon, brown sugar, etc. The smell of the Apple Juice and Cinnamon is amazing!

    • July 24, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Oatmeal will definitely be on the meal planning list! And because we have a solar generator we can use our Instant Pot at all times!

  • July 20, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Sounds like you are well on your way with all these great recipes so I’m just going to share a couple of tips. Because we do the majority of our camping in the summer I am always looking for ways to keep the RV cool while cooking. The grill and fire will help with that but to save time and energy, I precook all meat in bulk. This means chicken breasts cooked and seasoned on a cookie sheet, cooled, and then frozen in meal sized portions. I also cook ground beef a and venison in the slow cooker, drain, cool, and freeze in the appropriate size for my family. I use freezer bags laid flat for easy storage and take out what I need to thaw for up to four days. After doing this for many years with a family of up to eight people when our kids all lived at home, we enjoy our travel so much more with the cost savings and comforts of our home meals.
    I don’t can from the garden but do freeze quite a bit and bring some produce along that way as well. I am loath to buy what is growing in my garden if I can help it!
    Happy trails!

    • July 24, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      Thank you for the suggestions for our meal planning. We definitely want to precook as much as we can. Without an oven we will have to resort to the grill, fire or Instant Pot. And I agree, we will be missing out on our own garden produce next year. But hopefully we can find farmer’s markets along the way.

  • August 1, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    If you are in the columbus area when in Ohio there is a great farmer’s market open daily called HTH market. It supports a sober living program. They bring fresh vegetables from around ohio so you will get ohio corn around the time you will be here. You ohio sweet corn is the best!

  • August 7, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    I dehydrate lots of veggies in the summer when produce is plentiful. Spiralized zucchini dries in no time and a ziplock bag of it is a staple for me. Chopped onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, potatoes, and peppers are often combined into bags so I can grab and dump into my IP. Dehydrated tomatoes are another staple. No refrigeration, no prep time at the camp site, and little space needed for storage. With these you have countless meal options. I’ll bet you will love your RV adventure.

  • September 1, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    I just taught an alternative camp cooking class at a large camp gathering in Bandon, Oregon to a group. I showed all the ways to cook with and without electricity. I make my own “Mountain House” like dehydrated meals, use an instant pot, propane camp stove and a thermal pot. I always have at least 3 ways to make our morning coffee too- that most important start of the day for me. I do all of this advance prep because I also am the only driver when towing our camping trailer and we travel 300-500+ miles a day so I am tired and need easy to prepare meals since I am the only cook also!


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