Tips for making a small kitchen work

Our truck camper kitchen is easy to work in and really has all the room I need for full time living.  It is hard for me to fathom, but we’ve seen some other larger RV’s that have a smaller work space than we do.

We are equipped with a microwave (don’t use when dry camping), oven (use it all time), and three burner stove (could probably do with two).  Glenn did turn one cabinet from a TV storage into a food storage cabinet so we really have more than enough space for pots, pans, dishes, spices, and food.  We do have a tote in the rear of the truck and store extra food, pop/beer and paper goods in it.

All the cooking pots/pans

All the cooking pots/pans/utensils

We cook our meals from scratch about 95% of the time so I thought it would be helpful to post what type of pots/pans/utensils that we stock and some tips on cooking in a small space.  I am not a gourmet cook but I like to fix three ‘real’ meals every day and because we remote camp or boondock, we only resupply when close to a town.

Some techniques I’ve found that work well for small spaces and using very little water, electricity, or propane.

Handy RV cooking tips:

  1. Bacon:  Who doesn’t love bacon and hate the mess? Cook 2 lb of bacon (cut the slices in half before cooking)  outside in electric skillet when at a campground with electric and then freeze it in a gallon size freezer plastic bag.  It is easy to take out 4 -5 pieces and warm in the same pan I am cooking eggs or french toast in without any mess or smell inside the camper.
  2. Use parchment paper and foil for lining pans to use in the oven for easy, waterless clean up.
  3. Cook several pounds of burger with diced onion outside in electric skillet when at a campground with electric skillet and freeze in quart size freezer plastic bags.  Make sure you squeeze all air out and flatten contents for compact storage.  One bags makes two different meals without any of the browning mess inside the camper.
  4. Use tuna and salmon foil packets vs cans because there is no water to drain and try to dispose of.
  5. Mince onion and freeze flat in quart freezer bags.  Break off a section when needed without having to chop onion each time I need it (use onion a lot).
  6. Use powdered milk to extend milk.  I buy two quart size container because of refrigerator size constraints but many times we are not near any town.  I mix powdered milk in with full strength milk to get us through several more days without shopping.
  7. I collect small packets from convenience stores or fast food restaurants of items we don’t use often like catsup, salt, honey etc this saves lots of room because I don’t buy the larger container.
  8. Use ramen noodles instead of spaghetti pasta.  If I’m doing something with fresh veges, salmon, shaved meat – I use ramen.  Much faster to cook so less condensation in camper and less water needed.
  9. Keep a small spray bottle with vinegar and water in kitchen to spray dishes and pans before washing.  I spray then wipe with paper towels.  This keeps oils and food sediment from going into holding tank.

So far, I have not needed any other dish or utensil and there isn’t an item that I haven’t used several times (at least enough to make me know it is worth the space it takes up).  Most pans serve a dual purpose.  Some of the dishes that do double duty as prep, cooking and serving are the two corning bowls, the collapsible bowl, and the glass 9 x 12 pan.

Here is a specific list of pots, utensils, etc (not everything was shown in photo):
Utensils:  cheese grater, half rubber spatula, regular spatula, metal tongs, large nylon fork, large nylon non slotted spoon, large nylon slotted spoon, nylon pancake turner, can opener,wooden spoon lighter stick.

Pots and pans:

9 x 12 glass lasagna pan,8 x 8 metal square pan, two corning ware bowls, 8″ frying pan, 4″ frying pan, 5 qt saucepan with lid, 3 qt saucepan with lid.

Other miscellaneous items:

Toaster, two-cup measuring cup, fold-up cup measuring set, set of measuring spoons, collapsible colander, collapsible 5 cup and 15 cup plastic bowls, electric frying pan and cutting board.

Please make a comment and share your tips — your input really helps everyone!

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