Newell Gurus

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Hello everyone,
First let me introduce myself. My name is Holly. Andy and I just took our first trip in our 1983 Newell and we absolutely LOVE our bus. We spent a year remodeling inside and solving many other challenges involved with buying a vintage bus. We of course have more on our to-do list after our trip, but we are so happy with our decision.

Now to my message about food preparation techniques. Andy and I spent a few years cruising the South Pacific on our sail boat, then living off the grid during the winter in a home we bought in the Australian outback. The longest crossing we had was 3 1/2 months with two provision stops, so you can imagine the meal planning challenges. To keep from over stocking food items that would not be used, here is what I did. Our 1983 Newell has lots more storage than the boat and it is much easier to stop for groceries, but I found by modifying this a bit, it worked well for the bus.

1. I developed a list of all the recipes I planned to use and made a 3 x 5 card for each recipe.
2. I made a grocery list for all the ingredients.
3. When I had all the ingredients, I spent a day measuring the spices and putting them in a snack size baggy (combining those ingredients added to the recipe at the same time). I then wrapped/labeled the meat and other things like chopped onions and peppers, that can be frozen.
4. I then put all the dry ingredients with cans, noddles, etc. into a cheap gallon size bag, put the recipe inside so I could see it without opening the bag. I used a numbering system - meal #! - on the ingredients so I could match the freezer ingredients to the bagged ingredients.
5. On cooking day, I gathered the ingredients for recipe #1 cooked per recipe.

Optional: On the boat, I would use things like freeze-dried milk and eggs and bagged them in small baggies with instructions e.g., 1/4 C Taco seasoning and 1 1/4 C cup water. On the boat I also used a lot of canned meat like tuna, chicken and beef for easy casserole recipes.

You may not want to go to this level of organization, but I found it works great for me. I less often find myself wondering what I should cook and whether I have all the ingredients. I no longer have to ask Andy to stop at the store and have him look at me like - again?, or how far out of our way is it? or I really don't want to take time to stop - or does the store parking lot have room to maneuver the bus in? He's a great guy and these are challenges we both face so if I can minimize hassles it makes me happy too.

I also bought some recipe books like Four Ingredients or Less or Pantry Cooking as these seemed to lend themselves to this method, but I use many of my tried and true recipes as well.

It is no nice having this web site - I'm a big fan.
Would love to hear any other methods you use in your Newell that makes meal prep easier.
Cheers, Holly
Holly, you and Rhonda will get along fabulously.

I have a different system. I look in the pantry and freezer. Then I make something with that.

Seriously, we have used your method on backpacking trips. It really is effective when space (weight) is at a premium.
Holly, Welcome! I really have to say that I am impressed with your sense of adventure!