RV Meal Planning on a Budget

When we first moved into our RV, I got the grand idea to cook an elaborate meal that I had never made before, which included multiple steps and pots, pans and dishes. I was still getting used to a much smaller space and ended up SUPER frustrated that I couldn’t make it happen in the RV kitchen.

Related video: Simple RV Kitchen Storage Solutions To Maximize Space

Now that we’ve been living in the RV full time for 7 months, I have become accustomed to the limitations of a tiny kitchen and figured out how to make it work for us! I try and stick to easy, low cost meals. This keeps it simple, lessening frustrations in the kitchen, and keeping money in our pockets!

Grocery shopping:

Since we travel full time and move often, we see the variances of grocery costs around the country. Hands down, Aldi grocery stores are our favorite. We also just found out how great Grocery Outlet Bargain Market is. They have great prices on tons of items. Walmart is our another favorite place to grocery shop, as we love their low prices. We always look ahead when traveling to a new area to see what grocery stores are there. If we are going to a more remote place that only has one grocery store, chances are prices will be high, so we plan accordingly and shop before we get there.

Kitchen necessities:

Since we have limited storage, the main kitchen items I have are:

1 large pot
1 small/medium pot
Instant pot
1 cookie sheet
1 8×8 dish
A cutting mat
A small toaster

We also have a small tabletop outdoor grill.

For breakfast, I eat an English muffin each day and the kids and my husband have cereal. Sometimes on weekends we will have scrambled eggs with avocado and cheese!

For lunch, some regular options are leftovers, sandwiches, yogurt, pretzels, chips and salsa and guacamole.

For dinner, I usually cook. We do enjoy grilling out when the weather is nice! Burgers or grilled chicken and veggies are our go-to grilling items. We recently found steaks for a crazy deal of buy 1 get 2 free, so we treated ourselves to a delicious steak dinner! (Planning meals around what’s on sale is a great tip!)

Recipes:

Here are a few of my favorite dinners that I cook on a regular basis and fall under the category of simple, easy and inexpensive!

Tuna Casserole

*For this dish I use my medium pot, and square 8×8 dish. It feeds my family of 2 adults and 2 small children, when served with side dishes. If you are big eaters or want to have it without side dishes, you may want to double the recipe!

Boil 2 cups wide egg noodles in medium pan al dente according to package.
Open 2 cans of tuna and scoop into dish.
Open can of cream of celery soup and scoop into dish.
Fill empty can 3/4 full of water and add to dish.
Stir it all together.
When noodles are ready, add to dish.
Stir all ingredients.
If you have any leftover veggies such as peas, corn, carrots, etc, feel free to add them in!

I personally like to add a topping, but you could put it right in the oven as-is.

*optional topping
Sprinkle your favorite kind of shredded cheese on top.
Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of cheese
Sprinkle garlic powder on top of bread crumbs

(Crushed Ritz crackers also make an excellent topping)

Put in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 20 min.
Let sit for 5-10 min and then serve with spoon!

After I’m finished using the pot for the noodles, I rinse it out and use it to boil frozen green beans and have those as a side item. A loaf of French bread is also nice to add as an additional side!

Related article: 5 Easy RV Meals For Your Next Road Trip

Zucchini boats

Brown 1 lb ground beef, and add taco seasoning according to package.
Slice 2 large zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the center to create a shell and place in a baking dish.
Fill each zucchini with 1/4 of the beef mixture.
Pour green enchilada sauce over ground beef
Sprinkle shredded cheese on top
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 min or until zucchini is soft
Remove from oven and sprinkle cilantro on top if desired
Serve with a scoop of sour cream!

Hopefully these tips can give you some ideas of ways to plan/budget/shop/make meals a little simpler in your RV!

You might also be interested in:
Campfire Cooking: One Skillet Breakfast Hash
Campfire Cooking: Dutch Oven Lasagna
Campfire Cooking: Doughnuts

About the Author: Lauren is a wife, mother of two, photographer, blogger and lover of nature and adventure! Currently traveling around the U.S. in a fifth wheel, Lauren and her family seek to live life to the fullest and continue to look for ways to simplify their lives in order to live larger with less. Follow along on their journey by visiting their family travel blog.

Discussion
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14 Responses to “RV Meal Planning on a Budget”
  1. Barb

    RV Make: Titten, RV Model: Alegro bus, RV Year: 1999

    Enjoy your recipes do you have them for your Insta pot

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Barb,

      We don’t have a list available for the Instant Pot just yet, but that is a great idea! I will pass it along and maybe we will get some good ones up soon.

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  2. Martin Payne

    RV Make: Tiffin, RV Model: Phaeton, RV Year: 2019

    We bought a Nuwave portable induction cooktop to supplement the gas stove in our RV. When grilling, I use it outside to cook veggies, rice etc so that I’m not running back and forth. Inside, it gives us more cooking surface by placing it on the table, or in our coach, the pull out “island”. Works really well.

    Reply
  3. Art Gelder

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Cougar, RV Year: 2007

    Looking forward to trying these campsite meals. We started RVing about 4 months ago and are very excited. Can’t wait to try some of these meals.

    Reply
    • Art Gelder

      RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Cougar, RV Year: 2007

      We started RVing 4 months ago and enjoy it very much. After reading about RV meals on a budget we found it interesting and that it pertains to us. Looking forward to the down loads.

      Reply
  4. Melissa Cole

    RV Make: Jayco, RV Model: Greyhawk, RV Year: 2017

    Hi. We just started living in our RV about two weeks ago. We are building our house and we sold our other one and had to move out. Anyway. Its hard to cook with limited space. We have been eating out a great deal and that is getting expensive. I don’t like to heat up the oven in the summer (Tennessee is already hot) any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Melissa,

      If you have a place to build a fire outside or use an outside grill it gives you a lot of options to cook and you won’t be inside. You can always set up a grill under an awning so even if it is raining you will still be able to cook outside. You can also get a folding table to put outside so you can have more counter top space for preparing food. I use a 6ft long folding table and set it against the outside of my RV near my outlet. It is covered by my awning and I put my coffee maker, griddle and stove top on it and still have plenty of room for food prep. I also get food screen covers so the bugs don’t get to it. You also have the option of cooking over a fire. They make grills that go over a fire or other stands for using pots and pans on the fire. This does take more effort but it makes cooking a lot more fun! This is what I would recommend if you don’t like cooking indoors.

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  5. Tami Boxley

    RV Make: Gulfstream, RV Model: Conquest, RV Year: 04

    We use call ahead ordering at Walmart we pull in and they bring it out.

    Reply
  6. Sean Fitzgerald

    RV Make: Chevy g30, RV Model: Cruise Master by Georgie boy, RV Year: 1984

    Sealing the roof with all the different brands of sealer how do you now which one to go with?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Sean,

      Just like any product, there are many different brands. They should all work well but you want to make sure to use the correct sealant for your type of roof. There are different types of rubber and you want to make sure to use the correct product. There are some that can work on multiple types as well. Alpha Systems and Dicor are the two brands I use most often. Dicor has one for EPDM roofs and Alpha can be used on either EPDM or TPO. I will share a link below to help determine what kind of rubber you have on your roof. I hope this helps!

      https://www.rvrepairclub.com/video/rv-roofing-material-011538/

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  7. Barbara

    RV Make: Forest River, RV Model: Rockwood, RV Year: 2018

    Sounds interesting and helpful

    Reply
  8. Paul A Peterson

    RV Make: Cobra, RV Year: 1995

    Is a 20 rv enough room for just me and my did? Im 64 and collect disability. Want to travel.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hey Paul!

      Thank you for contacting us.

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can email us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

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      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  9. Bob

    RV Make: Roadtrek, RV Model: 200 Popular, RV Year: 2001

    If you are in a town that has a Trader Joe’s they are way better than Aldis!

    Reply