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Meal planning tips

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

Andy and Holly
1983 Newell
Mossyrock, WA

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.

Richard and Rhonda Entrekin
99 Newell, 512
Maverick Hybrid Toad
Inverness, FL (when we're home Cool )

Holly, Welcome! I really have to say that I am impressed with your sense of adventure!


Bill Johnson
Birmingham, Alabama



2002 45'8" Newell Coach 608  Series 60 DDEC4/Allison World 6 Speed HD4000MH


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