Updated: Jul 22, 2019
Hey, it has been a while since I actually wrote a blog post. I have been focusing all my energy on creating videos lately, but I have really been missing writing. Right now we are back in the states, to work, and visit with family and friends. Tim is currently out doing training for the military while I split my time between AZ and CA. I am working on videos and making sure we accomplish our long list of to-do’s while in the states, and man am I glad I have a lot to keep me busy while Tim is away, its rough being away from each-other! This will be the longest we have spent apart in about a year (crazy right?!) We are only a few days in so far, and it feels very odd…mostly because he is without service for a lot of his trip so going from all day everyday together to not being able to talk much at all is hard, but as they say Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Anyway I wanted to touch on one of the things we get asked about a lot. Cooking and our kitchen set-up. (Please feel free to reach out if I don't cover something in this post or you have a specific question, I am always happy to give you more info).
Okay so let's get to it! I am going to start off by saying I am no chef, cooking is not something I am hugely passionate about (however I am passionate about eating haha). In fact, before this extended journey I would usually pre-prep most of our food for a trip. Which I still think is a great way to go for shorter outings, (a week or two) especially if you don’t love spending time cooking when you could be enjoying where you're at.
Pulled pork (Super easy in a crock-pot) - Recipe Below
Breakfast burritos (Wrap them in foil and they heat up over a fire). Recipe Below
Pasta salad (Makes an easy lunch). Recipe Below
Foil wrapped meals (They can just be tossed on a fire). - Recipe
Sandwiches! (Pro-tip toast the bread they won’t get mushy).
Muffins - here is a good recipe for a "healthy" muffin - Recipe
You get the idea, I wanted things we basically just had to heat up; not much prep, cook time, or clean-up required out in the field. I enjoyed the exploring and sitting by the fire more than I did the cooking part of camping. So that was my solution and, like I said, it worked out great for shorter trips - made them feel more like a vacation to me.
But as we started looking towards at least a year on the road, I knew I needed to figure some things out, pre-prepping wasn't going to work anymore. This was an intimidating task for me...I wasn't sure where to start. Any research I did about cooking on the road just seemed to make me more intimidated as the source was clearly a much better cook than I was.
So what did I do? I just went for it honestly. It took some trial and error and a little time but I think now I have a good base, so hopefully sharing what I have learned will help you figure out what you might need. I have to say I have grown a love for cooking out of the truck, I have everything I need close by. I also really enjoy the creativity of cooking with whatever we happen to be able to get our hands on in each particular area. I am still no more of a chef than I was when we began, I keep it simple. I mean, I only have three pans and two burners to work with. We cook pretty much every night, and it is now part of our normal life so it seems a lot less daunting.
Below I made a list of the items that make up our "kitchen" and then some of the items I try to keep as staples in the truck, and finally some of my favorite meals which show how versatile a lot of these ingredients can be. It is all very basic but some items you may have overlooked, especially those little things that you don't use everyday. So here it goes...
Kitchen Tools & Utensi
Fridge - https://amzn.to/2HXX1W2
Stainless Steel Pans - https://amzn.to/2MgQjhY1 (this set comes with 3 pans I opted to leave the largest at home)
Non-stick Pan https://amzn.to/2YRXyyg (this is great for eggs in the morning, or anything that is a little more sticky)
MSR Stove System https://amzn.to/2ERCzV2 (This has saved us so much propane, we use it to boil water for our coffee each morning. I was a little worried about bringing this because I wasn't sure we would be able to find the fuel for it but we have been able to find them pretty easily in all larger cities. Just look for an outdoor type store. Using this has probably doubled the life of our 10lb propane tank that powers the partner stove).
Propane Tank - https://amzn.to/2FgXFwc (We chose this size because it fit below our jerry cans on the rear swing-out).
French Press - https://amzn.to/2YYDN8f
Coffee Mugs - https://amzn.to/2K2KGSz
Cutting board - https://amzn.to/2MiJUTz
BBQ grate - https://amzn.to/2IpKs53 (I just made a little cover for this so it can be stored without getting everything dirty, it's super basic but it works and it's cheap).
Oven mitt / Pot Holder (Nothing fancy here, but something I use surprisingly often).
Plates - https://amzn.to/2XtJRFs (We actually plastic plates like this but I think Metal would probably last longer).
Bowls - https://amzn.to/2Mi6Lic
Cups - https://amzn.to/2ECkXfF
Fork, spoon, knife combo - https://amzn.to/2O9s2eZ (I like these because you can use it as a long spoon or fork and also break them apart for some real cutting when needed).
Steak knife - (We literally just have one super cheap serrated steak knife that we share when we need it. This was one of those things I didn't think about needing, I should get one more...)
Kitchen knife - https://amzn.to/2XrxbiF (I use this knife for everything, if I need a serrated blade I just grab the steak knife).
Knife sharpener - https://amzn.to/2KwkorA (This sharpener, works great, is nice and compact, plus it's only $4)
Spatula - https://amzn.to/2MxipWr
Large Spoon - https://amzn.to/2JZKZ0I
Tongs - https://amzn.to/2WjiYD0
Can opener - https://amzn.to/2Mi6onO (Again, small, works great, and can't beat the price).
Corkscrew- https://amzn.to/2JZd1JG (We actually have a full on corkscrew, but I think something like this would be better as it saves a bit of space).
Bottle opener - (An essential! We have one mounted on our cabinet in the back of the truck and the corkscrew has one on it as well).
Tupperware - (I only have two or three of these, but they do get used often. I like lids that screw on so I know they are secure, I also end up using these as mixing bowls sometimes).
Ziplock bags - (Always nice to have on hand for leftovers etc.).
Foil - (Good for cooking over a fire or on a BBQ).
Egg holder - https://amzn.to/2Xt5Mgf (This will save your eggs from cracking as they bounce around in the fridge).
Koozies! - https://www.dirtsunrise.com/koozie (Shameless plug!)
Spice Holder - https://amzn.to/2MhI59l - (These are handy for those herbs that you don't use often but still like to keep around).
Water Filter System - https://amzn.to/2MU7N4d
Bucket for sink - (We do have a folding bucket but honestly I just cut a 5 gallon water bottle in half and use that as my sink. Works great for washing clothes too or as a foot bath to wash off sandy feet before climbing in the truck).
Pan scraper - https://amzn.to/2YV58IE
Anti bacterial wipes - (I like to have these around for the yucky clean-ups, they are awesome for cleaning out the fridge).
Silicone Scrubber - https://amzn.to/2JZExql (This thing is multi purpose, dishes, laundry, even bathing).
Dish soap - https://amzn.to/2IrzvzY (If you can find one that is Biodegradable then you won't have to worry about where you use it).
Trasharoo - https://amzn.to/31fFkcn (I like that this stores our trash outside the vehicle, I also use it to store our trash bags and ziplock bags, so far I have not come across a better option).
Staple food items:
Canned beans (usually black beans)
Maybe a canned soup (depends on what I can find)
Cilantro (Fresh if I can find it)
Cloves (I only keep a small amount of this in the spice holder listed above).
Chicken stock cubes
Some sort of BBQ dry rub
Sriracha (or as close as possible)
Peanut butter (This can be hard and expensive to find depending on where you're at)
Bacon (adds lots of flavor and lasts a long time)
Steak (Side note: I tend to stay away from chicken because it is just a nightmare in terms of germs and clean-up)
Brats (These save for a long time and are pretty versatile, you can always chop them up and add them to a stir fry, or rice and beans)
Jalapeño / or whatever is spicy
Local veggies (we love grabbing local veggies - whatever is fresh. Sometimes I have to google how to cook them or just ask someone).
Any fruit that is local and in season
Note: Take these recipes as a starting point, I am constantly cooking to taste, adding things I like, or just things I have. Veggies are usually pretty interchangeable, so I like to get whatever is fresh and local as we travel. I also hate wasting anything so if something is getting to the end of it's life it is going in whatever I'm making. Again please note that these recipes are a starting point, I don't measure things when I cook so all of these are an approximate "guesstimation" of what I would use so don't be afraid to change it up.
(This meal saves pretty well, so I will make a large batch the day before I know we are going to have a long day, say crossing borders etc. and it's super easy to heat up).
Sautéed veggies (I usually do onions, peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper)
Black beans (I usually just do canned black beans and heat them maybe throw in a little cheese)
Pico de Gallo Salsa (We have a hard time not eating this as our whole dinner sometimes. This is one of our favorite snacks on the beach).
(I like to start with a piece or two of bacon once those are close to crispy I throw in onions, whatever veggies we have, whatever seasoning sounds good. I love thyme so I use that a lot with garlic, a little bit of butter. If I have goat cheese, I toss a little bit of that in there and maybe a little tomato paste. Cook up pasta of your choice and enjoy!)
I just grilled up some eggplant with a little bit of cinnamon honey and salt to go with our pasta in this picture.
(Bread, meat cheese, veggies, you can get real fancy and add some butter on the outside and make it a toasted sandwich. I sometimes add a fried egg to top it all off).
(this one is a weird one introduced to us by some friends on the road, but it is SOOO good! I especially love it with the curry, perfect for soaking up the sauce).
(Make the flat bread mentioned above just leave it one big flat piece, cook one side then once flipped add your toppings to the other side. Tomato paste, garlic, basil, cheese, maybe some sautéed veggies, the possibilities are endless!)
There you have it! I hope all this info helps with not only longer term travel but weekend trips as well.