We are preparing for a two week trip across the country and back – our longest family vacation yet. I thoroughly enjoy trip planning, choosing and planning out our destinations and activities, but meal planning has always tripped me up in the past. I loathe fast food restaurants, and spend a great deal of effort trying to avoid them for myself and my family.
Now that we have traveled enough that the destination planning doesn’t overwhelm me like it did when we first started RV camping, meal planning has become my new priority / project / obsession.
For our family at home, I’ve recently begun preparing freezer meals in order to streamline our weeknight dinners. In an attempt to carry this convenience over to our camper, I compiled a simple menu of our favorite freezer meals that can be prepared only with a stove top or crock pot.
Most of the meals aren’t pre-cooked. I assemble them more like kids. For example, the chicken fajitas are chicken breasts in a fajita marinating sauce, then frozen in a quart bag, Mexican cheese in a small bag, cut up peppers and onions in a separate bag, and tortillas in a separate bag, then all of that into a large gallon bag and frozen all together. It’s more about the organization and food prep to save time, and the actual cooking will still happen that evening.
In addition to the one gallon meal kits, I have lots of pantry items like Italian seasoning, pasta, marinara sauce, our favorite tikka masala sauce and naan from Aldi, and a large tote full of snacks to ration out throughout the trip. And not every meal is a freezer meal kit, some we will just thaw the meat and put together like we would at home.
Our camper freezer isn’t large enough to even hold all of the meal kits I made, so the ones that don’t fit will go in the fridge to thaw and be cooked first. We also keep snacks and drinks in a cooler to free up fridge space as needed. I also left in a few gap nights for leftovers or take out. Our one year old doesn’t handle restaurants too well, so we will avoid those when we can, but I know there will be local places we’d love to try here and there.
In addition to the extensive meal planning, I also planned our daily drive times to make sure we are back at our campground between 5:00pm and 6:00pm almost every evening. This will let us have time to relax, prepare dinner, and wind down after big days of driving, hiking, and exploring national parks.
I will follow up with how the execution of this meal plan goes, but by using easy recipes and things we often make at home, I think this will really simplify dinners for our upcoming trip.
Here are links to some of our favorite recipes:
Indian Food, Aldi Style (Tikka Masala is our favorite.)
Freezer Fajita Kits (I freeze cheese and tortillas in separate bags too.)
Stir Fry Kits (I use whatever vegetables I have on hand.)
Freezer Beef and Broccoli (I freeze cooked rice to go with this too.)
Crock Pot Root Beer Pulled Pork (To die for with those brioche buns from Aldi.)
Sausage Onions and Peppers (There’s nothing too this other than cutting everything up in advance, which is way easier in my kitchen than in my camper.)
Twice Baked BBQ Chicken Potatoes (These are in the freezer for the night we get home because they need an oven, but they are a family favorite.)
I don’t have recipes for everything. Some nights we just grill chicken and have vegetables from steamer bags and rice, or whatever meat we have leftover and add taco seasoning for Mexican.
Have you tried vacation meal planning? I hope this helps us cut down on food cost, fast food trips, and frazzled scrambling to come up with dinner on the road.
Here we go!