Friday, October 02, 2015

Cooking Smarts for Campers and RV Travelers

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    They say fall is best of all and that’s really true in camping. Campgrounds now offer hayrides, pumpkin carving, costume parties and perhaps a cor maze. Here are some hot meals to warm up cooler days.

Camp and RV Recipe of the Week
Crusty Round Steak ‘n Rice    
4 portions round steak, trimmed of excess fat
1/3 cup liquid egg
1 cup cornflake crumbs
½ cup grated dry cheese such as Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon each pepper, dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cans, 15 ounces each Spanish rice
    Sprinkle a shallow layer of flour on a paper plate and dredge steak pieces. Discard excess flour. Spread cornflake crumbs on the plate and mix in seasonings with a fork.  Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet. Put egg in a shallow bowl and dip meat in egg, then crumbs. Fry steak until it’s brown and crusty on both sides. Cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes to tenderize the steak. Push steaks aside and stir Spanish rice into the skillet to blend with pan juices and heat through. Serves 4.

See tips on RV camping and travel for women (men can look too) at

See this week's snack recipe for gorp, or trail mix. It can be passed around the campfire or packed in snack bags for pocket fuel when you’re hiking, climbing or beach combing. Made in big batches, it saves money and trash and it tucks perfectly into the school or office lunch box too. Go to

Camp Cook Tip of the Week: it’s essential to rinse sauerkraut well to remove salt and acid but that takes a lot of water and it raises a stink in the RV galley. Try this instead. Fill a bowl with a quart of water and empty the can of kraut into it. Soak, stir, drain into a sieve or colander and press out excess moisture.  Repeat. You can also soak and rinse kraut at home up to three days in advance. Drain well and keep it cold.

Shortcut Dessert: Mix 1 cup water and 1 ½ cups chocolate syrup in a saucepan. Bring to an active simmer. Mix 1 cup biscuit mix, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and ½ cup chocolate bits. Stir in enough water or milk to make a thick dough. Drop by tablespoons on the simmering liquid. Cook 10 uncovered then 10 minutes covered. Serve chocolate dumplings with cream or fruit. Serves 4 to 8.

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Crazy Quilt Casserole

     A phrase I hate is  “brown meat first”. In camping that means extra heat, extra mess, extra time and maybe an extra skillet to wash.
    Mother gave me this recipe. It’s the same old ground beef and potato mixture but SO different because the meat goes in raw in tasty little clumps that release their juices to the whole dish.
    This recipe serves 18. It’s easily cut in half. Vary the recipe by trying different types of cheese such as spicy Monterey Jack, sharp cheddar, Mexican blend or mozzarella. 

Total 64 ounces (4 pounds) hashed brown potatoes, thawed
3 cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 large green bell peppers, seeded and cut up (optional)
4 large ribs celery, cut up (optional)
3 pounds lean ground beef
2 cans, 8 ounces each, tomato sauce
Salt, pepper
8-ounce package grated cheese

    Set the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray two 9 X 13-inch casseroles. Add a layer of potatoes and some of the corn, celery and peppers. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, take small tufts of ground beef and distribute over the casserole. Continue with more vegetables and more tufts.  Drizzle a can of tomato sauce over each casserole.
    Cover with foil and refrigerate for future baking or bake now, covered, for one hour. (Baking will take longer if casserole is chilled.)  Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven to melt the cheese. Makes 16 to 18 servings.
    Campfire method: Layer vegetables and beef in one or two greased Dutch oven(s). Press a greased piece of foil down over the contents. Cover tightly with the Dutch oven lid and nestle in well-started coals for 1 hour, then test for doneness. Remove foil. Sprinkle with cheese and let stand while cheese melts. Serve at once. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Camping Meals Can be Easy but Classy

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Camp and RV Recipe of the Week
Impossible Coconut Cream Pie
    Recipes for sweet and savory “impossible” pies have been around since Grandmothers' time. They start out as a batter and form their own crust as they bake. They are still one of the best camping shortcuts. This recipe works with a regular oven, convection oven, solar oven or a stove-top oven large enough to hold the pie plate.

3 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
½ stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract
½ cup biscuit mix
½ to 1 cup sugar
7-ounce can of flaked coconut (about 2 cups)

    Set the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl whisk eggs and milk. Stir in melted butter, extract, biscuit mix and sugar. Fold in coconut and pour into a deep, 10-inch pie pan. Bake about 30 minutes or until the pie is golden on top and firm to the touch. Cool before cutting. Serves 8.

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See more shortcut recipes at

Make your own snacks and trail mix to save money, reduce trash, customize ingredients to your own health requirements. See

Women who love the camping and RV lifestyle get together at
Camp Cook Tip of the Week. When I bake in my stove-top oven, things don’t brown because moisture builds up in the small space. However, when pie crust is made with butter instead of shortening, it turns golden because butter has a lower browning point.

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Emerald Rice
    Now that rice is available in ready-to-use packets it’s a snap to make this side dish for the potluck. Or, cook your own rice from scratch. I don’t add salt to this recipe because the soup and cheese are salty.
4 cups cooked rice (2 cups raw rice)
10-ounce package chopped broccoli
10-ounce package chopped spinach
½ stick butter
3 to 4 ribs celery, chopped
Large onion, chopped
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup  heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and pepper
Grated cheese for topping

    Prepare rice. Thaw broccoli and spinach, drain and press dry. Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven and sizzle onion and celery until they are crisp-tender. Stir in rice and vegetables. Whisk together soup, cream, nutmeg and pepper. Fold into rice mixture. Cover and heat through. Just before serving, sprinkle with grated cheese and cover pan for a few minutes to melt it. Serves 8 to 10.

Camp Cook Tip: When you want a crusty crumb topping on a dish it’s likely to be pale and soggy in a stove-top oven or Dutch oven because of the steam build-up. Create that flavorful crust with a kitchen torch, the kind that professional chefs use to put a sugar crust on creme brulee. See it here.