Friday, May 22, 2015

Campers Eat Big With Shortcut Recipes

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 Where will you camp over 4th of July weekend? It's time to make reservations and to order a new flag

Where are you camping on these fine May days? I’ve been in upstate New York, where spring flowers are all a-bloom and the Adirondack Mountains are threaded with miles of new hiking and biking trails. That works up an appetite, so let’s make camping meals that are quick and easy.

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Camp and RV Recipe of the Week
Chunky Cheese Muffins
    Self-rising flour is one of my favorite shortcut ingredients. This quickie mixes with a spoon. For camping, carry mayonnaise in a squirt bottle. Most major brands are available in plastic dispensers. Mayonnaise is a shortcut ingredient that mixes in easily, an easy way to add oil and eggs to a recipe.

2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 cup real mayonnaise
1 3/4 cups milk
4 slices thick-sliced American cheese, diced

    Oven, toaster oven or convection oven: Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan and set the oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, mayo and milk until evenly moistened. Do not beat. Fold in diced cheese. Fill muffin cups no more than 2/3 full. Bake 8 to 10 minutes and let cool in the pan about 5 minutes before removing. Caution: melted cheese can be very hot.
    Camp stove method: Grease a heavy, 12-inch skillet, preferably cast  (not stamped) aluminum. Spread batter in the pan, cover tightly and cook over low-medium heat 8 minutes, then check for doneness every 3 minutes. Dough is done when it’s firm and pulling slightly away from edges of the pan. Let cool 5 minutes and cut in wedges.
    Campfire method: Grease a 10- or 12-inch iron skillet. Let a campfire burn until you have a nest of hot coals. Put batter in the skillet, cover tightly and nestle in the coals. Check for doneness after 15 minutes. Baking will be quicker if you have a flat lid that allows coals to be placed on top as well as under and around the skillet.
    Solar method: Preheat the solar oven to as close to 400 degrees as possible. Bake until muffins rise and are firm and springy to the touch.

Why would an RV traveler want a suitcase? You may be surprised. See what’s new in travel goods at

Try our Pantry Recipe of the Week, made from shelf-stable ingredients from the supermarket,  at 
If you're a car or tent camper, this portable refrigerator freezer goes anywhere with you. Plug into 12V or 110. If you're an RV camper, this nifty portable provides extra food storage space.  
Trail mix meals and snacks are healthier when you assemble yourself from ingredients that suit your personal needs. Use or adapt a recipe from

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Bird ‘n Bacon Ziti
    If you don’t want to cook pasta in camp, drain and cool it at home, drizzle with olive oil, bag and chill.  This recipe also works with other starches such as cooked white or brown rice, no-cook lasagna or ramen. Crumbled real bacon is sold in shelf-stable pouches or bottles; vac-packed chicken dices keep for days in the fridge or ice chest. (Watch use-by dates).

4 cups cooked ziti, cooked al dente and drained
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 soup cans milk
1 teaspoon crumbled, dried thyme
½ cup cooked crumbled real bacon
16-ounce package cooked, diced chicken breast
1 ½ cups peas, thawed
16-ounce package shredded three-cheese blend
Optional topping:
1 cup cornflake crumbs
2 tablespoons butter

    Grease a deep 9 X 13-inch baking pan or a Dutch oven.  Set the oven to 350 degrees or burn the campfire down to hot coals.
    Toss cooked ziti with olive oil and spread half in the pan. In a large bowl whisk soup, milk and thyme. Stir in bacon, chicken and peas. Fold in cheese. Spoon half the mixture over  the ziti. Add remaining ziti and top with remaining chicken mixture. Bake uncovered in the oven or in a covered Dutch oven in the campfire just until it’s heated through and bubbly.
    Melt butter in a small skillet, stir in cornflake crumbs and sprinkle over the dish just before serving. Serves 8. 

Cook's note: if you're using another cooked pasta or starch instead of ziti use four to six cups.
Camping Tip of the Week:  To drain meat that you have been marinating in a plastic bag, simply cut or punch small holes in the bag and drain.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Camping and RV Meals for Real People

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These recipes help you cut down on cleanup, quicken your crew’s appetites and cook like a camping pro in anything from a tent to a ten-ton Taj Mahal on wheels.

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Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week

Turkey-in-a-Rice Paddy
    To save time, get 16 to 20 ounces of thick-sliced deli turkey and dice it,  use canned chunk turkey, or buy a vac-pack of  diced, cooked chicken. Start with your own cooked regular or instat rice or pouches of ready-cooked rice. This works great on the RV or camp stove and it’s also easy to make in a big kettle over the campfire.

1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons powdered chicken bouillon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon dried lemon zest (optional)
1 cup evaporated milk (regular,  low-fat or fat-free)
½ stick butter
8 cups cooked rice
12-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
About 4 cups diced, cooked turkey
1 to 2 cups thawed peas (optional)
Additional water, milk or white wine if needed
    In a large kettle stir cold water with cornstarch. Then turn on medium heat and stir in bouillon, nutmeg and lemon zest. When it comes to a low boil, stir in milk and butter. Over low heat, fold in rice, mushrooms, turkey and peas. Cover and cook over very low heat just until everything is heated through. If mixture is too thick stir in water, milk or dry white wine to taste.  Makes 12 potluck servings or 8 family dinner servings. 

For boondocking and emergencies, see Janet’s Pantry Recipe of the Week, requiring no fresh foods, at

Women on the go in an RV, motorhome, camper or travel trailer get together at

Love a great snack that can fit into a sensible diet or  even substitute for an entire meal? See Janet’s Create A Gorp recipes at

Camping tip: Do you breakfast on smoothies? More campers are now carrying  blenders or other smoothie makers. One way to add fiber is to add a teaspoon of milled flax seed. Do your smoothies require ice cubes? This portable icemaker can go anywhere with you.

Camp and RV Recipe of the Week

Pumpkin Hoe Cake
    This makes a delicious breakfast bread or snack.  To make it a more festive dessert add fruit, yogurt, cream or whipped topping. For finer texture use more white flour; for more fiber use whole wheat.

1 3/4 cups white or whole wheat flour or some of each
½ cup white or packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs
1 cup canned, pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup water
Individual tub applesauce (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon flavoring (vanilla, rum extract or butter-rum extract)
½ cup coarsely chopped nuts (or to taste)
Cinnamon sugar for topping (optional)
    Put dry ingredients in a clean bag and “work” the bag gently to mix.  Grease a heavy skillet (preferably cast aluminum)  or a 9-inch square baking pan. In a bowl whisk wet ingredients to mix well. 
      Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well but do not over-beat. Put batter in skillet or pan and sprinkle with nuts if using. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. You can sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar after cake is done if you wish.
    Oven or solar method: at 350 degrees or in a pre-heated solar oven, bake 30-35 minutes or until cake is springy to the touch and pulling slightly away from edges of the pan.
    Stove-top method: Cover skillet tightly and place over the stove burner, with a flame spreader if necessary. Bake without peeking for 20 minutes on low/medium, then check every 5 minutes until it’s springy to the touch.
    Campfire and Dutch oven method: Prepare a fire with well-started coals. Put batter in a well-greased Dutch oven. Cover and nestle in coals for 30 minutes. Check for doneness. 

Friday, May 08, 2015

Quick, Tasty Camping Recipes

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Where are you camping at this time of year? I’ll be in upstate New York, rushing the season. They say the weather this May will be a roller coaster, subject to unseasonable highs and lows, but my guess is that locals will delay planting their tomatoes until Memorial Day as they always do. My wardrobe? Layers. 
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This blog, which publishes new recipes weekly, is available for Kindle by subscription.
Camp and RV Recipe of the Week
Baked in the oven, the top will be crusty. Cooked in the microwave, it will be softer.
Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole
1 pound bulk sausage ( mild, medium or hot)
1 packet sausage gravy mix, 2-cup size (such as Pioneer brand)
2 cups milk or water
2 cups corn kernels, thawed OR
1 ½ to 2 cups drained canned corn
4 hard-cooked eggs

1 cup bread crumbs
Liquid margarine or melted butter

    Butter a 9 X 13-inch baking dish or microware dish.  In a large skillet, fry out the sausage and spoon off any excess fat. Stir gravy mix into cold liquid per package directions and stir into the sausage. Keep stirring over medium heat while adding corn. Put sausage mixture in the prepared pan and slice eggs over the top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle with butter or margarine. (I don’t use much margarine but the squeeze-on liquid is good for recipes like this one.)
    Cover and refrigerate. In the morning, bake at 350 degrees or microwave on High, turning every 60-90 seconds,  until the casserole is bubbly. Serves 4 to 6.
    Same Day Campfire method: Make the sausage mixture in a large skillet. Stir in chopped eggs. In a small skillet, melt ½ stick butter and stir in bread crumbs until they are toasty. Spoon the casserole onto plates and sprinkle with buttered bread crumbs.

See my Pantry Recipe of The Week, made entirely with shalf-stable ingredients from the supermarket at

Snacks don’t have to be high in salt and sugar. See my recipes at, then fine-tune if necessary to substitute, say, soy nuts for peanuts or rice cakes for wheat squares. Just keep proportions the same.
Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week

Big Bowl Spinach Salad
To make this ahead, just chill ingredients separately then toss with the dressing just before serving. 

1 cup canola oil
½ cup each ketchup and sugar
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon onion salt
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce

2 bags, 16 ounces each, washed baby spinach (remove any tough stems)
2 cans, 8 ounes each, sliced water chestnuts, well drained
Large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, sliced in thin crescents
4 hard-cooked eggs, diced
3- to 4-ounce pouch or jar of crumbled bacon

Whisk dressing ingredients, preferably several hours ahead. Chill. In a large bowl toss spinach, water chestnuts and onion. Chill. To proceed toss spinach mixture with eggs, bacon and dressing. Serves 10 to 12. 

Campground Tip of the Week: When you'll be serving salads on individual plates, toss greens and dressing in a large, ziip-top bag. Serve with tongs and discard the bag. No bowl to wash!

Friday, May 01, 2015

Best Recipes for Quick Camping Meals

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask for rates to sponsor a post or place an ad email

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Hear Janet Groene and more than a dozen other RV and camping experts chat about the camping and RV travel lifestyle. It’s the new and exciting RV Summit audio series, an ongoing showcase of insider RV information. It’s free through May 5. Click here to register. After May 5, each podcast will be available for a nominal fee.

    Spring camping calls for hot soups and skillets to warm up cold nights, but it’s not too early to start collecting cooler recipes for the hot summer ahead. This recipe makes a sensational main dish salad.

Camp and RV Recipe of the Week

Thanks to subscriber Dee Varner for this recipe. She makes it at home to take on camping trips, sometimes quadrupling the recipe. She says it keeps beautifully in the ice chest. It's great hot or cold, as a dipping sauce, pasta topper, rice dish or as a binder for pasta salad.

Thai Peanut Sauce
3 cloves minced garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons hot sauce  (she uses sriracha)
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
    Blend everything except the hot sauce for one minute, then add hot sauce. This is enough sauce for 8 ounces of pasta.
    Cook’s notes:  Dee suggests starting with two tablespoons of the hot sauce, then go to three if you like more heat. Add a little more water if you like a thinner sauce; more peanut butter if you want it thicker. She uses it in many ways including as a salad dressing over cooked, cold spaghetti plus shredded chicken, bits of asparagus, scallions, toasted sesame seeds, celery, roasted unsalted peanuts and such. Can you hear your family saying YUM?
    Janet adds: It takes a little longer to make this in a campsite without electricity  but it's chunkier and oh, so delicious. Start by mashing peanut butter, garlic and sugar in a bowl, then use a fork to mix in other ingredients. 

   Incidentally, I have found a high-power, hand-cranked blender if you're serious about off-grid camping but still need a real blender to make baby food, smoothies or recipes. I found it at

See Janet’s Pantry Recipe of the Week, made entirely from foods stored in your grub box or RV pantry, at Emergencies happen. Stowed food is the best insurance.  

Save money when you make snack mixes yourself. Fine-tune my easy recipes to your own diet needs, then package in re-usable snack bags for the trail, the airline seat, commuting, fishing, beach combing. See

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
    Here’s an idea. Make a quadruple batch of the Thai recipe above and toss it with 2 pounds of cooked spaghetti.  Serves 16. Or keep reading for another big-batch idea.
 Onion Lovers’ Chicken Curry
    Known in India as Murghi Dopiaza, this is a familiar chicken curry with extra onions. If your supermarket sells onions already diced, you’ll need 2 ½ to 3 cups. The more the better.  In southern India, cooks stew the chicken with the onions to drench them with flavor. Here is our shortcut version for camping.

Deli-roasted chicken
½ stick butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
Small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced (optional)
3 large onions cut in small dice
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
    Cut the meat off the chicken in bite-size pieces and set aside. Heat butter and oil, then stir in curry powder, ginger and garlic until fragrant. Stir in onions and jalapeno until well coated. Cover and cook over low heat until onions are tender and golden. Stir in tomatoes and chicken, cover and cook over low heat until flavors are thoroughly blended. Traditionally served with rice it serves 8 to 10.   

      Slow cooker method: Proceed as above, then cook on Low 2 hours and switch to the Keep Warm setting until the potluck.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Go Camping and RV Trekking with These Recipes in Tow

blog copyright janet groene, all rights reserved. To ask about rates for placing an ad or sponsoring a post email

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Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week

Herbalicious Dip
    It’s so easy to whisk these ingredients into a tasty swirl. Then just keep it cold and use it for up to a week as a dip, salad dressing or sauce.  It’s also good on hot baked potatoes or grilled chicken. Optional: shave calories by using low-fat mayo and nonfat yogurt.
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup plain yogurt (8-ounce carton)
1 cup lemon flavor yogurt (8-ounce carton)
1 tablespoon each dried parsley, dried chives, dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried dillweed, celery seed
Optional: 1/4 to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Whisk together and chill. Makes 4 cups sauce.
Shortcut idea: buy mayonnaise in one-pint jars and use the entire jar in recipes like this one. No messy measuring.        
See healthful, homemade snack recipes that are easy on the cook (may require no cooking) and easy on the budget. Package in portions for the trail or serve in big bowls around the campfire. See
Camp and RV Recipe of the Week
    Need some cookies in a hurry ? No need to bake these beauties. It’s easy to stash the ingredients together in a secret spot, then bring them out to make cookies on a rainy day.
12-ounce package butterscotch, white chocolate or chocolate flavored morsels
1 1/2 cups crisp Chinese noodles OR
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
1 ½ cups peanuts, raisins or a mixture
    Melt morsels in a large microware container, stirring very 30 seconds until you can stir in the remaining ingredients. Drop by tablespoons on waxed paper and let harden.

When you go boondocking you don’t need expensive emergency foods sold by doomsday suppliers. See Janet Groene’s Pantry Recipe of the Month, made entirely with shelf ingredients found at any supermarket, at
Bonus Recipe (copyright Janet Groene)

From Cooking Aboard Your RV, 2nd Edition
Baked Onions
    This recipe from my RV cookbook is one I turn to often because it’s so versatile. Use a different topping every time. 

4 jumbo sweet onions
2 teaspoons melted butter
    Peel and trim onions and cut them across the equator. Arrange in a baking pan cut side up. Drizzle with butter and one of the toppings shown below. Cover with foil and bake 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees. They should be just tender but still hold their shape. Remove the foil and bake another 5 minutes or so. Makes 8 pieces.

1/3 cup brown sugar with a dash of cayenne OR
1 can condensed cream soup mixed with a teaspoon of curry powder OR
1 cup sour cream whisked with a teaspoon or dillweed OR
½ cup barbecue sauce (add another 1/4 cup after foil is removed)

    Have another fave topping? Love to hear it. Leave a Comment. 

    Cook’s note: If you have no oven, this can also be made in a covered, heavily greased skillet over medium/low heat. When onions are tender but still holding their shape, remove the lid and cook over high heat if necessary to reduce liquids to a syrupy sauce. 

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