The last thing we want to do when we go away is COOK…! However, we also don’t want to eat take away every night and can’t afford to eat out all the time either…mmmm, what to do?
It didn’t take me long to realise that when I was on holidays, the least amount of time I spent in the kitchen or even inside, the better. As we didn’t grow up camping or cooking over a camp fire, we like to keeps things really simple. We hear this a lot from families on the road who feel the same; Despite LOVING being in the caravan, many find the ‘chore’ or cooking meals and cleaning a real drag!
So…we plan and prepare as many of our meals as possible. It might sound a little over organised, but, for us, this reduces the amount of prep time, cooking time and even ‘thinking’ time. It also reduces the amount of pantry items and helps us to budget…although it does fill our freezer! If we are out exploring and get back to the campsite later than expected, meals are all ready to go and we don’t find ourselves (or more importantly, the kids) having to worry about “what to have for dinner?”.
We keep it all very simple, meals that are quick, easy and that are sure to be enjoyed! In the weeks leading up to an adventure, we do a big cook up or just make extra’s of our favourite meals and freeze them.
Here are some of our top tips for Meal Preparation:
- Freeze your meals FLAT, this will make storing them in the freezer easier and will also reduce the defrosting time.
- Think about your power source? We make sure all the pre-prepared meals we take can be heated up if we are off the grid. I will find a new cool microwave product in the supermarket and think it would be perfect for when we are on the road, then Wayne points out that if we are free camping, we can’t use the microwave…oops.
- Will the kids enjoy it? Packing meals that we know our kids will love is important to us, the last thing we want is complaining about meals they don’t like while we are out enjoying our family time together.
- We love WRAPS…these are so versatile, take up very little room (compared to a loaf of bread) and have a shelf life of months…Breakfast burritos in the morning, salad wraps for lunch or Kebabs for dinner. The uses are endless…
- Vacuum Seal VS Zip Lock – the reality is, both work! If you are using your meals within the month, then zip lock bags are AOK. For longer storage or fridge storage, then vaccum seal is much better.
Here is a list of some of our basic dinner meals that we take with us:
- Spag Bol (or Bog): We make up this family favourite and fill it chocka block with extra (hidden) vegetables…carrots, zucchini , pumpkin. It is a great hearty meal after a big day of adventure, filling our bellies with some added vegie goodness too. Sometimes, if we don’t feel like pasta, we will fill lettuce cups and down the hatch!
- Corn & Tuna Casserole: Another family favourite that just needs to be heated up. We do a very simple recipe – Tuna, corn kernels, creamed corn, onion, cheese sauce and rice – all mixed up, sloppy and delicious. Heat and serve. Too easy.
- BBQ meat: once again, we freeze these flat and then simply add salad or steamed vegie. Sausages, hamburgers, steak, chops, chicken kebabs….
- Chicken Dish: We usually make a honey/mustard concoction, but you could do Apricot Chicken, some Asian flavours or one of your favourites…then simply add salad or rice.
- Taco’s – we make up the mince at home, sometimes add some onion, carrot and spices and then simply add lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream.
- Sausage Dish: Casserole or curry – we simply cook up snags and add them to a mix of onion, carrot, broccoli, baby spinach leave or anything that is left in the fridge to beef up the ‘healthiness’ – add some stock, sauces, sometimes some Keens curry powder and brown sugar…cook up some pasta, mix all together and away we go.
Breakfast & Lunches are super simple too:
• Eggs/Bacon or Vitabrits/Toast
• Wraps…wraps…and more wraps…way too easy on the go! Throw a few with vegemite or peanut butter in the backpack and away we go…
So, if like us, you would prefer to spend your time relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors, meal preparation could be the way to go…it certainly makes our adventures more enjoyable.
Happy & safe travels
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