Being on the road often creates a “go, go, go” lifestyle, and there can be little time to prepare a homemade meal when easy, fast food options are in abundance on most journeys. Although it may take some time and intentionality, preparing delicious meals in your Airstream can be done with ease. Ramona Creel is a full-time Airstreamer with tons of knowledge about the ins and outs of life on the road. We’ve consulted her to share a few tips that will help you make the most of your traveling kitchen— and lessen your number of fast food restaurant visits!
What are your best tips for cooking in your Airstream?
When you live in a home with a dishwasher, it’s no problem to accumulate mounds of dirty pots and pans while preparing a delicious meal. But with the nature of cleaning in an Airstream, putting your trailer back in order after meal construction can take all evening. If Airstream living has taught me anything, it’s that ease and simplicity always win when it comes to cooking! (And many other things, come to think of it.) Although my Airstream is equipped to operate just like a “normal,” brick-and-mortar kitchen, there are two types of recipes that fit best with my style of RV living and keep clean-up to a minimum.
- One Dish Wonders— I often take advantage of meals that require just a single pot or pan, either in the stove or in the oven. For the stove, I frequently find myself throwing a yummy conglomeration of fresh veggies in with some spices to whip up a flavorful stir fry. For the oven, I’ll choose meat and veggies that can be seasoned similarly and roast them together in one dish. You can also find me making a mean frittata (more on that below.)
- Leave ‘Em and Go— Armed with my slow cooker, is there anything I can’t make? (Serious inquiry.) Recipes of this sort usually only require ingredient shopping— and potentially a little chopping. If you’re a neglectful chef that returns to the kitchen only to find things burnt and bubbling over, I would recommend hopping on the slow-cooker train. From chicken soup to spicy fajitas to hearty chili, the options are endless. Pick up some yummy ingredients, throw ‘em in the slow cooker and relax for a while— dinner will be ready soon, and there’s only one pot to clean! (A great resource for recipes is The Chef and the Slow Cooker by chef Hugh Acheson, featured on Airstream’s Endless Caravan)
Was it hard adjusting to cooking on the road?
Really, no. I’ve never been one for extravagant, intensive cooking. You won’t find me with a pig smoking on a rotisserie or a homemade baklava baking in the oven. Regardless of your cooking style, there are an endless number of dishes you can prepare in an Airstream.
Another quick tip: I have noticed that my Airstream oven tends to get hotter than the full-sized oven I used before transitioning to the RV lifestyle. I usually bake my dishes in the oven for less time than instructed or expected.
What are your favorite kitchen items/utensils that you couldn’t manage without?
Since hitting the road full time, I’ve learned that I previously owned a lot of kitchen items that I can actually manage without. I now operate with a knife (rather than separate slicers for cheese, boiled eggs, apples, etc.), a grater (instead of a zester and a garlic press) and a frying pan (instead of an electric grill, a sandwich press, a quesadilla maker, etc.) Admittedly, I do still love my potato masher, olive/cherry pitter and hand-juicer. I have found replacements that can accomplish the specific jobs as efficiently as they do. I also appreciate my microwave in a way that I never did in an apartment or house. It’s utterly essential in hot weather when you are aiming to create as little heat as possible in your small space.
Any favorite recipes?
My go-to for having company over is a good, old-fashioned Mediterranean frittata. It’s inexpensive, easy to prepare and can be adjusted for all food-sensitivity issues. (For example, my vegan friends appreciate my swapping tofu for the eggs, almond or rice for the milk, and soy-based cheese instead of cow or goat-based.)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- 1 can large black or kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 1 ½ cups tightly packed baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 sweet red pepper, diced
- 9 large eggs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 (4 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven on broil.
- Heat the oil in a 10" oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic and onion, stirring constantly until slightly browned.
- Add the vegetables, stirring constantly until softened.
- Lightly beat the eggs, milk, and seasoning together in a separate bowl.
- Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet.
- Cover and cook over medium-low heat 10-12 minutes, or until almost set.
- Remove from heat, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Place the pan in the oven and broil 5-1/2" from heat with oven door partially open 2-3 minutes.
- Cut into wedges and serve.
If you have other tips and tricks to help Airstreamers make the most of their mobile kitchen, please share them with us on social media. We would love to continue inspiring our Airstream community!