RV Tips and Tricks: Our Favorite Campsite Dinners

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In preparing for camping trips – most of ours are weekend or long weekend trips – we try to prepare as much food at home as we can before we leave. Who wants to spend all weekend cooking when there’s hiking, and photography, and sights to see? In our experience, convenience foods are the way to go, especially if prep time is limited. The following recipes utilize as many convenience foods as possible and can be pre-prepped at home to save a lot of time at the campsite. Each recipe serves four but can be easily adapted for more hungry mouths, or minimized for less servings. Our trick is to go ahead and cook the extra to enjoy as leftovers later. Bon appetit!

Main Dishes:

Lemon Basil Garlic Grilled Chicken

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  • 1/2 c lemon juice, fresh or concentrate
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T minced garlic – use more or less as desired. (We use the kind in a jar.)
  • 2 T chopped basil, or more if desired
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts without rib meat

Place the first four ingredients in a zip lock bag. Seal bag, squeezing out air, and gently knead/shake to mix ingredients well. Add chicken breasts, reseal, and knead/shake to coat chicken. Place the sealed bag into another zip lock bag to ensure against leaks during transport to the campsite. Marinate in refrigerator or cooler until ready to grill (at least two hours) or up to 24 hours if kept properly chilled.

Dispose of marinade, and grill chicken over medium heat 5-7 minutes per side until done.

Close-up of Salad in Plate

Serve with grilled corn on the cob and tossed green salad.

Variation: Cut grilled corn kernels off of the cob and add to salad along with the sliced or diced grilled chicken.

Tips:

  • Make two batches of the marinade. Use one to marinate the chicken breasts and the other for salad dressing, adding a dash of salt and pepper or other preferred seasonings to the dressing batch – sometimes we add a teaspoon or two of sugar or sugar substitute. Do not reuse the marinade that contained the raw chicken.
  • Chicken may also be baked in the oven (350 for 30 minutes) or sauteed in a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until done.
  • Leftover cooked chicken breasts may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Pork Tenderloin Two Ways for Two Meals

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  • 3 Hormel Lemon Garlic or Peppercorn Pork Tenderloins
  • Two bottles of Heinz Texas Style Bold & Spicy BBQ Sauce (or any favorite BBQ sauce)
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Hamburger Dill Pickle Slices
  • Sliced or chopped onion

Place the tenderloins in a (lined for easy clean up) crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours or prepare according to label directions. When done and cool enough to handle, tightly wrap one and a half of the tenderloins in foil, then place in a gallon size zip lock bag in the refrigerator.

Meal one:

At the campsite, heat the foil wrapped tenderloin in the oven, over a campfire, or on the grill at medium-high heat for 30-45 minutes, until heated through. Slice into medallions and serve.

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Serve with canned ranch style beans and potato salad or coleslaw. Try the Fresh Express Coleslaw Kit or make your own with the leftover cabbage and carrots used in the soup below. And, if you want to get really fancy, serve medallions on top of mashed potatoes. (We like the Simply Potatoes brand that can be heated in the microwave.) Spoon jarred Heinz Pork Gravy with a splash of red wine added while heating or Heinz Homestyle Mushroom Gravy – with a few fresh or canned mushrooms and a splash of white wine added while heating – over the top of the meat.

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Meal Two:

Take the other one and a half tenderloins and shred the meat. We cut them into chunks and put them in a food processor or beat with a hand mixer to shred. The meat can also be shredded with bear claws or forks. When the meat is coarsely shredded, place in a lidded Tupperware type bowl and add the barbecue sauce to taste, mixing well. Refrigerate until ready to use. Heat in a pan on the stove top, grill top, or in the microwave and serve on buns with hamburger dill pickle slices and onions. Take along the remaining BBQ Sauce to serve with the sandwiches.

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Serve with chips and fruit for an easy dinner or lunch.

Tips:

  • The shredded barbecue mixture freezes well. Thaw in refrigerator or cooler then reheat. This (or sloppy joes) is our go-to meal for the first night at camp, especially if we’re arriving late in the day, and it’s perfect for when the weather isn’t conducive to outside cooking.
  • If using jarred gravy, doctor it up with extra pepper, garlic or onion powder, fresh or dried herbs, or sprinkle in a few sliced green onions, including the tops. Add small amounts at a time and taste as you go.

Foil Packets

  • 2 packages of Hillshire Farms 14 oz Polska Kielbasa or other smoked sausage of your choice sliced into 1/2″ thick coins and divided into 4 portions.
  • 1/2 head green cabbage sliced into thick chunks and divided into 4 portions
  • 8-12 small red potatoes halved, divided into 4 portions
  • Onion sliced into 4 – 1/4″ inch thick – slices
  • Butter or margarine
  • Salt and pepper or Season All
  • Pam or other non-stick cooking spray
  • 4 – large (at least 12″ x 12″) squares heavy duty aluminum foil
Hillshire Farm® Polska Kielbasa Smoked Sausage Rope, 14 oz.
Spray foil squares with Pam. Then layer, starting from the bottom, 1/4 of the red potatoes, onion slice, 1-2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 of the sausage coins, and top with cabbage. Season to taste. Fold the foil over the sides, then fold down the top, creasing to make a slightly loose packet, but don’t smother the food. The packet needs a little space inside to allow the food to steam. Place the packets on the grill over medium heat. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until everything is heated through and potatoes are fork tender.
Several sections of lemon. Macro

Variations: Layer 1/4″ thick potato slices, uncooked hamburger patty, sliced onion, sliced celery and sliced carrots. Add butter, season to taste, and cook 45 minutes to one hour. Try salmon, lemons, and asparagus, or shrimp, lemons, and broccoli. Or go vegan and use only fresh veggies. The sky’s the limit with these little gems, so try your own variations. Cooking times may need to be adjusted.

Tips:

  • Look for Hillshire Farms Sausage on sale at Walmart, then stock up. It is also fantastic for breakfast!
  • Foil packets are super versatile, and we love the “fix it and forget it” way of cooking. All ingredients can be cut up at home and placed into zip lock bags for transport to the campsite, however, we do not recommend slicing potatoes until they are ready to be cooked as they can turn an unappetizing gray color. The packets can also be cooked in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, or until done.

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Wondering what to do with the leftover cabbage? Make this:

Hearty Vegetable Soup

  • 2 – 32 oz boxes of beef broth (use only 1 box if choosing to use V-8 juice for additional liquid)
  • 2 – 4 cups original V-8 juice or other V-8 variety of choice, optional for additional liquid
  • 1/2 head of cabbage chopped into chunks
  • 3/4 c shredded carrots
  • Large onion chopped
  • 3-4 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1/2 of 1 small package fresh green beans cut into 1″ pieces – use the other half as a side dish later
  • 2-3 medium zucchini cut into bite size chunks
  • 2 T Better Than Bullion beef base, optional, but recommended for slightly thicker, beefier stock
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 t minced garlic (we use the kind in a jar)
  • 1/2 t garlic powder (or to taste)
  • 1/2 t onion powder (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste. Note: if using Better Than Bullion, taste soup before adding salt,

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, saute the onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil over med-high heat until just tender – about 5 minutes. Add beef broth and other ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.

Serve with: sandwiches or warm buttered bread for a light and easy dinner.

Variation: Add cooked pasta, cooked stew meat, or cooked meatballs for an even heartier soup.

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Side Dishes:

 Grilled Corn on the Cob

  • 4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • 4+ T butter or margarine, divided into 4 portions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle each ear with salt and pepper, then place 1 T (or more if desired) butter or margarine on each. Wrap individually in foil and place in a gallon size zip lock bag. Store in refrigerator or cooler. When ready to cook, place on grill over medium/high heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the kernels are tender. Remember to turn them occasionally so they don’t burn. If charred corn is preferred, unwrap during the last 10 minutes of cooking time and place ears directly on grill, continuing to turn occasionally.

Grilled corn cobs on wood background. Free Photo

Serve with: additional butter and/or garlic herb seasoning, or garlic and/or onion powder, smoked paprika, or other seasoning of choice.

Tips:

  • Corn may be cooked in boiling water on a stove top until done. Cooked ears will keep well in a refrigerator or cooler for a day or two and can be wrapped in foil and reheated in the oven or on the grill. If reheating in a microwave, wrap in a damp paper towel and place on a microwave safe plate.

Grilled Veggies or Fruits

Fresh halved ripe tomato viewed close up at an oblique angle to show the juicy texture of the pulp
  • Halved (longways) zucchini or yellow squash or both – grill cut side down
  • Onion, thickly sliced
  • Cabbage, thickly sliced – think of them as cabbage “steaks”
  • Bell pepper
  • Beefsteak or Heirloom tomato halves – grill cut side down
  • Portobello Mushrooms
  • Pineapple rings
  • Peach halves – grill cut side down
  • Pear halves – grill cut side down
  • Apple halves – grill cut side down
  • Grapefruit halves – grill cut side down
  • Any other fruits or vegetables of choice

Brush will olive oil and grill over low-medium heat until cooked/heated through, then season as desired.

Variations: cook any of the above in a foil packet, turning occasionally, until done. We like to add butter and a dash of Worcestershire sauce to our onion packets. The grilled fruits are wonderful with a little butter and brown sugar for an easy side or dessert.

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Super Simple Salads

Prepare these easy salads at your campsite:

  • Bagged salad from the supermarket. Add any variety of vegetables, cheeses, and fruits of choice, or eat it as is. Red or green grapes, strawberries, and mandarin oranges are great on green salads.
  • Sliced avocado and halved grape tomatoes with coarsely ground salt and lime juice.
  • Cut a head of iceberg lettuce into four wedges. Top each wedge with creamy dressing of choice, such as ranch, blue cheese, green goddess, thousand island, etc. and sprinkle with bacon bits and shredded cheese.
  • Jarred marinated artichoke hearts mixed with any combination of halved grape tomatoes, black and/or green olives, pickle slices, baby corn, and cut up pickled okra or other pickled vegetables such as beets, asparagus, carrots, and green beans.
  • Halved grape or cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, onion, and basil, mixed with store bought balsamic glaze and a little olive oil. Best if prepared 24 hours before serving so the flavors can blend.

That’s going to do it for this post, y’all. Come back soon for more RV tips and tricks, campsite recipes, road trip ideas, and awesome destinations. If you’re not a follower, become one so you never miss a post. In the meantime, happy eating!

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road – or at a campground! 

Mike and Kellye

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⇒Tossed Salad Photo Credit: Jill Wellington

⇒Grilled Corn Photo Credit: “https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background photo created by jcomp – http://www.freepik.com

⇒Halved Tomato and Sliced Lemons Photo Credit: freefoodphotos.com

⇒Bell Pepper Photo Credit: Photo on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re6/1d21115b”>Visualhunt</a&gt;

Photo by Malte Luk from Pexels

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