Before we embarked on this trip, I had an ambitious meal plan all laid out with ingredients and a grocery list to go along with it. When we got on the road, this plan obviously went out the window and we ate like busy people who had little time on their hands to cook. We learned tricks to help save time, and wanted to share some tips with you. Things like boiling water in an electric kettle at a campsite while we prepped other things shortened the time to boil, and reduced butane wastage for pasta or rice.
Peeling, chopping, and then cooking carrots became a tedious chore that neither of us wanted to do. Our shortcut of using a vegetable peeler to make ribbons made the cooking process faster and upped our cooking game. We would often peel carrots and zucchini and then stir fry it with butter and that would be our vegetable dish. And it was beautiful to look at.
Roast chicken from the supermarket became a staple in our diets. We would shred the whole chicken and portioned what we needed for that evening, and the rest went in a container for the next meal such as chicken sandwiches. The juices in the bag were used to flavour rice or vegetables. Another added bonus was that the pre-cooked chicken would also eliminate the worry of dealing with raw meat on the road. No food poisoning for us! If you get sick of chicken, other fast meats to cook are steak and pre-cooked sausage (like pepperoni). A vegetarian alternative would be frozen falafels, which also cooked up quite quickly.
When we were in a real hurry, gnocchi was an amazing shortcut to a starch instead of waiting for pasta or rice to boil. It used the same pasta sauce and only needed a few minutes to boil and it was ready to eat.
If we were really tired after a full day of touring, or if the weather was super cold (and there wasn’t an indoor camp kitchen), we would resort to our laziest meal. That entailed heating up a can of soup (chicken & corn was our favourite) and dumping in some Uncle Ben’s microwave rice (perfect in 90 seconds). It’s easy enough over a stove top, but if there’s a microwave, it’s even quicker.
Most of the caravan parks had electric BBQs on site, and a tip we picked up from a pair of retired grey nomads was to line the BBQ with baking paper. Then after you’re done cooking, you just chuck out the baking paper- which makes cleaning the BBQs much easier. It’s also worthwhile to pick up a lighter to ignite a BBQ or a stovetop, since sometimes the igniting part can’t make a spark.
We kept it simple for breakfasts and lunches. Breakfast would include oatmeal (and we would add raisins or strawberries), tea and eggs. Egg-tip #1: buy a plastic egg-holder so you can put it in the eskie without the cardboard carton getting soggy. Egg-tip #2: to speed up our morning routines, we would usually hard boil the entire dozen of eggs after dinner, so that we had pre-cooked eggs for 6 mornings. Lunches usually alternated between sandwiches or crackers & hummus. We also ate a lot of protein-rich snacks like string cheese, pepperoni sticks and nuts to keep us feeling full all day.
At the start of the trip, we had melted ice water in our eskie leak into packaging such as our hummus, pepperoni, and strawberries. Needless to say, this was a flavour we didn’t want to have in our future food so we became vigilant in making sure food was stored properly in containers. We cleared the eskie of melted water every morning and this prevented us from food spoilage. It was like a game of food tetris where we had a larger vertical container stored upright in a cooler to protect food from the eskie water.