Friday, March 24, 2017

Quick Menus for Camping Cooks

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Camping and RV Recipe of the Week
Tropic Isle Pie
    Just a little cooking adds up to a LOT of compliments when you put this pie on your crew's plates.

1 large or 2 small graham cracker crusts
20-ounce can of crushed pineapple, not drained
3/4 cup water
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup golden raisins
3 ripe but firm bananas
1 cup shredded coconut
½ cup coarsely broken pecans (optional)
Whipped topping

    Chill crusts. In a saucepan mix pineapple and sugar. Stir cornstarch into cold water, add to the pineapple and cook until it thickens. Cool. Fold in bananas, coconut, raisins and nuts. Put in pie crust(s). Frost with whipped topping.  Chill. This is best served on the same day it’s made.

What foods do you have hand for emergencies in the RV or camp? How much food will you need for a week in the boondocks? Do you really need survival rations that cost a lot and taste awful?  See Janet Groene’s Survival Food Handbook

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Sweet Potato Dressing
    Here’s an easy,  affordable side dish to make at your campsite to wow ‘em at the campground potluck. Jimmy Dean, for one, offers sausage crumbles in 9.6-ounce packages.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 packages (about a pound) fully cooked sausage crumbles
Large onion, diced
1 tablespoon each parsley flakes and poultry seasoning
#10 can of sweet potatoes, drained

    Heat the oil and stir-fry the sausage crumbles and onion until fragrant. Set aside.
    Open the can of sweet potatoes but leave the lid in place while you drain off the juice. Save the juice. Now remove the lid and mash the sweet potatoes coarsely in the can with the seasonings. Add  just enough juice to make them moist. Lumpy is OK.  Spoon into a baking dish or Dutch oven alternately with the sausage mix, mixing as you go.
    Oven method: Bake in a buttered pan at 350 degrees until it’s heated through.
    Stove-top or campfire method: Put mixture in a greased pan or Dutch oven and heat through.

    Make your own trail mix to save money, control ingredients, control portions and reduce packaging. Each big batch can be served in a bowl or measured into snack bags to carry in a pocket or tackle box. See easy recipes at Create A Gorp.

Camp Cook Tips

    * To make 4 muffins, whisk together 1/4 cup real mayonnaise, ½ cup milk and a cup of self-rising flour. 

    * Use your sewing machine  buttonhole attachment to put buttonholes in all your camping washcloths, dish cloths, tea towels, bath towels and hand towels. Then you can hang them anywhere, even if you have nothing more than a nail or twig to hang them on. 

    * Double up on plastic tablecloths for the campground picnic table. One covers the table. The spare can be spread over the table and everything on it if there’s a sudden rain shower. 

    * Make your own gravy mix. Stir together 2 tablespoons powdered chicken bouillon per cup of cornstarch. To make gravy mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mix with each cup of cold water. Then cook, stirring,  until it thickens.      

    * If you need a funnel, curl a cheap paper plate into a cone. 

    * Cut up a deli-roasted chicken. Finely chop a tart apple and an onion. Melt a little butter in a skillet and stir in the apple, onion and a tablespoon of curry powder. Stir in a can of condensed cream soup and a cup of light cream. Smother the chicken, heat through and serve over rice.    

Bonus Recipe
Skillet Raisin Oat Bread
    No electric mixer needed. For weekend camping, measure dry ingredients into zip-top bags  before you go. Better bring several!
2 ½ cups flour (all white or part whole wheat)
½ cup each brown sugar and minute oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon each baking soda and salt

1 cup milk or water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup raisins

    Measure dry ingredients into a clean bag and jostle to mix. 

    Heavily grease a 10-inch heavy skillet. In a bowl whisk liquids, then dump in dry ingredients. Fold together until everything is evenly moist. Fold in raisins. Put batter in the skillet and cover tightly Place over low/medium coals or burner. Check after 20 minutes, and every three minutes after that. It’s done when it’s springy to the touch and bread pulls slightly away from edges of the pan.
    Let cool in the pan 5 minutes. Serve out of the pan or turn out on a cutting board and cut in wedges. This moist bread is good with or without butter. Serves 6.
    Cook’s note: To bake in a loaf pan, give it 40 to 50 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees. For easier slicing cool, then wrap and let “season” several hours.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Good In-TENT-tions Camping Cuisine

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Camp and RV 
Recipe of the Week
Risotto Ratatouille
2 cups peeled eggplant, cut in bite size
2 tablespoons olive oil
Small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
Small red sweet pepper, seeded and diced
Medium zucchini, diced
Large onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup arborio (short grain)  rice
2 cups hot water
2 bouillon cubes (chicken, beef or vegetable)
Fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved

    Stir-fry eggplant in hot oil, gradually stirring in peppers, zucchini, onion and garlic. Stir in rice. Dissolve bouillon in hot water and stir 1/4 cup into the hot mixture over medium heat.  When  liquid is absorbed, add the next quarter cup and so on. Rice should be creamy and tender and all liquid absorbed. Serve with shaved Parmesan. Serves 4. 

Janet Groene's book Cooking Aboard Your RV 2nd Edition, makes a good Mother's Day gift. 

Camp Cook Tips
    The experts at Weber Grills offer these 10 Top Tips for Smoking. Add them to your barbecue skills and you’ll never regret it. To order the best smoker cookbook go here.

1. Start early. Best flavor absorption occurs when meat is raw.

2. Most of the time, go low and slow.

3. Regulate heat with a water pan. If your grill doesn’t have one, fill a disposable foil pan with water.

4. Don’t over-do. Too much smoke makes for bitter meat.

5. Watch the color of smoke. White is good, black bad.

6. Keep air circulating by using the vents on the grill.

7. Be there. Don’t leave the grill unattended. You may have to add charcoal, adjust vents or add water.

8. Try not to peek. Smoke and heat escape when you do.

9. “Let bark get dark”, say the Weber folks. The meat should glisten with a dark mahogany crust.

10. Focus on the feature. Other flavors on the menu should support the smoke recipe, not overpower it.

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Pickledilly Carrots
    This salad dish needs to soak up flavor in the refrigerator or ice chest overnight. Save room by making it in a 2-gallon zip-top bag.

1 can of condensed cream of tomato soup
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon dried dillweed
1 teaspoon each celery seed, salt, pepper and dry mustard
#10 can of sliced carrots, drained (about 8 cups)
    Whisk soup, sugar, vinegar, oil and spices until sugar dissolves. Put carrots in a large bag and add dressing mixture. Refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally. Empty into a large bowl and provide a draining spoon for serving.

See Janet Groene’s Pantry Recipe of the Week, made entirely from shelf-stable ingredients, at

Bonus Recipe
Oyster Skillet Bake
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup of crumbs made from round, buttery crackers
1 pint oysters, drained and picked over
14.5-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 rib celery, finely diced

    Heavily butter a nonstick skillet. In a bowl whisk the egg and milk. Fold in cracker crumbs, oysters, corn and celery. Bake in a covered skillet over low/medium heat until it sets, about 35 minutes. Cut in three or four wedges.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Camping and RV Recipes for Roving

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Camp and RV 
Recipe of the Week

Nutso Risotto
    This may become a vegan or vegetarian favorite in your camping cuisine. Carnivores will also love its toothsome texture and rich taste.  I like it with pecans but you might make a different dish each time by using walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts or cashews. For an exotic taste, throw some black walnuts into the mix.    
4 cups water
4 bouillon cubes (chicken or vegetable)
10-ounce package of chopped spinach, drained and pressed dry
1 cup nuts
1 cup rice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
Medium onion, diced
Parmesan cheese or non-dairy cheese substitute
Water or white wine

    Heat water and dissolve bouillon cubes. Stir-fry nuts in hot olive oil, gradually stirring in mushrooms, onion and rice. Keep stirring over medium heat while adding bouillon about ½ cup at a time. When each addition is absorbed, add another. When bouillon is used and rice creamy, stir in spinach for about 3 minutes, adding a little more water or white wine if needed.
    To serve, pass the cheese and the pepper mill. Serves 3 to 4.

See Janet Groene’s Pantry Recipe of the Week, made with no fresh ingredients, at

Eat right when the hungries hit. Make homemade trail mix, package for the pocket, eat anywhere.  New recipes every week at

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Strawberry Whip
    You might keep out a few of the fresh berries to garnish the finished dish.

1 quart strawberries, trimmed and cut up
1/4 cup water
1 packet strawberry gelatin dessert mix, regular or sugar free
Large (8 servings) box French vanilla pudding mix, regular or sugar free
3 cups whole milk
8-ounce tub of whipped topping.
Graham crackers

    In a covered pan over low heat, stew strawberries with water until juices are released. Bring to a boil, turn off heat and stir in gelatin to dissolve it. Set aside to cool to lukewarm. Spray a 9 X 13-inch dish with nonstick spray and cover the bottom with a single layer of graham crackers.
    In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk. Fold  in whipped topping. Spread  half the strawberries over the graham crackers and top with about one-third  of the pudding mixture. Add another layer of graham crackers.
    Top with remaining strawberries and half of the remaining pudding mix. Add a last layer of graham crackers and spread with the last of the pudding mixture. Cover and chill. Serves 12 to 15.
Is full-timing on your bucket list? We full-timed for 10 years, earning a living along the way.  Living Aboard Your RV, 4th Edition, starts with making the decision and choosing the right RV for full-timing.  Chapters cover the lifestyle A to Z  and end with an exit strategy. 

Camp Cook Tips

    * Cut a piece of ribbon, rope or clothesline about 3 times the length of a roll of paper towels. Thread it through the roll and tie a square knot (or a pretty bow). You can now hang the roll on any nail, hook or limb.  Ditto for toilet paper. 

    * Use a sharp, pointy knife to cut a walnut-size cone out of the top of each fresh, hot muffin. Fill hole with a marshmallow, peanut butter or cheese.  Pop the cone back on top and serve.

    * To make a quick supper in a frying pan,  whisk a can of condensed soup, any flavor, with half  a soup can of milk or water and a one-pint  carton of liquid eggs. Pour into a buttered, nonstick skillet, cover and cook over low-medium heat until eggs set. Serve as is or sprinkle with grated cheese and crushed Fritos.

    * Inexpensive mesh pop-up laundry hampers make good temporary waste baskets for camping, especially if you use multiple bins for recycling. Line with plastic bags. They weigh nothing and stow flat.

Bonus Recipe
One-Pot Pasta-La-Vista
    Is your family tired of tomato-based pasta dishes for camping? Here’s one that isn’t.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil   
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
Large onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup cut-up mushrooms
3 1/2 cups water
2 cups small pasta such as dilatini
20-ounce bag of baby spinach, trimmed if necessary
½ cup heavy cream (or more to taste)

    Heat oil in a large pot and stir-fry sausage, breaking it up. Keep stir-frying while adding the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Add water and bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and cook 7 minutes. Stir in spinach for 2 minutes more. Stir in cream. Serves 4.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Camping Meals for the Quick and the Fed

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Camp and RV 

Recipe of the Week
Chunky Chicken Scrapple

 A take on  fried cornmeal mush, this meaty main dish puts a crispy finish on a hearty mix of polenta and chicken. The chilled loaf keeps in the fridge or ice chest for up to three days, so it’s ideal for a solo traveler or couple. Slice off some each day to fry crisp, hot and fresh.
3 cups water*
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2  tablespoons dried onion bits
1 cup cornmeal
Dash nutmeg, cayenne pepper , sage (optional)
10-ounce can of chunk chicken, broken up
Vegetable oil for frying

* Including any juice from the chicken.

    Bring 2 cups water to a boil and dissolve bouillon. Stir in onion bits. Stir cornmeal into a cup of cold water and stir into boiling broth. Stir over low heat until it thickens. Stir in herbs and chicken. Cover and cook , stirring over very low heat, 10 minutes until very thick. Put mixture in a greased loaf pan and  chill until firm.
    Slice in 10 portions. Dip in flour and fry on both sides in hot vegetable oil until it’s crispy. Serve hot. Serves 5.
    Serving suggestion: make up a package of sausage gravy mix according to label directions and stir in a cup or two of thawed peas. Spoon over scrapple. 

See our Pantry Recipe of the Week, made entirely from cans and packages you can stow in your emergency pantry.

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Brownie Trifle
    Bonus points if you can serve this in a clear bowl, letting the yummy layers show through. I’ve found large, clear plastic bowls at tag sales for 25 or 50 cents. I save them for campground potlucks and simply discard them.

1 pan of brownies, your own or store-bought
16-ounce tub of whipped topping
2 packages, 4 servings each, chocolate fudge instant pudding
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (optional)
3 or 4 nutty or toffee candy bars, chopped
Small jar maraschino cherries, well drained and cut up*

    Crumble the brownies. Stir instant coffee into pudding mix and complete it according to package directions. Make layers in a bowl alternating brownies, pudding, candy, cherries, whipped topping, repeat.  Top with a final sprinkling of candy or cherries. Chill. Serves 10.
* Use leftover juice to sweeten tea or fruit punch. 

Tips for the Camp Cook

   It's hard to find a complete set of measuring cups. Some sets don’t include 2/3 and 3/4 cup measures. I like this set in stainless steel. Unlike plastic cups, they can also be heated on the stove to, say, melt butter.

    * Tip: to measure  “packed” brown sugar, fill the right size cup, then ram it down with the next size smaller cup. This is also a way to mold servings of rice.  Spray a half cup measure with nonstick spray. Tamp down hot rice with the next size smaller cup, then hold the cup over the plate and give it a sharp whack to unmold the rice.

    * Try a different scooper for a change with a sweet dip such as fruited yogurt. Break crisp waffle cones into chunks. Cake cones are too fragile and they wilt quickly.  

    * If you make parfaits or banana pudding with vanilla wafers, try using layers of honey-sweetened round oat cereal instead. 

    * Why stop with pineapple upside down cake? Sweeten pie-sliced apples with brown sugar and cinnamon. Put in a greased , nonstick skillet. Top with apple cinnamon muffin mix batter, made according to package directions. Cover and bake until topping is firm to the touch. 

    * Add a spaghetti claw to your galley. It serves pasta, sauerkraut, spaghetti squash, shredded cabbage and other stringy foods. It’s also the best way to lift eggs or potatoes out of boiling water. In fact, I keep a couple on hand,  a durable stainless steel claw for the galley and another for arranging hot coats and briquets. Cheap plastic claws also make good back scratchers for people or pets.

    * This is the most fun with hot dogs since relish. Make a grid in sausages and dogs using this Slotdog and they'll hold more ketchup, cheese and other goodies.

    Women on the go in an RV, camper or motorhome get their groove on with Janet Groene at Solo Woman RV. 

Bonus Recipe
Holy Smoke! Sassy Sauce
    Something different and more interesting for the same old chicken? Pass this sauce. It also goes well on plain rice or on roasted wienies.

12-ounce jar roasted red peppers
1/3  cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 cup coarsely chopped toasted, salted pecans

    Drain peppers well and chop them. Whisk paprika into oil and vinegar. Stir in pecans and peppers. Serve hot or cold. Makes about two cups.  

Where to go next? Follow Janet Groene's travel tidbits and teasers at

Friday, February 24, 2017

Campground Recipes for RV and Tent Campers

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Camp and RV 
Recipe of the Week
Orange Blossom Breakfast Sliders
    These two-bite breakfasts will disappear in a wink. Make the filling. Make the glaze. Then it all comes together quickly at the last minute. The secret is in the cutting of a package of fully baked dinner rolls.

1 package of a dozen baked dinner rolls
1 pound lean sausage
4 eggs
1 teaspoon each salt, pepper
1 cup orange marmalade
1 cup powdered sugar
2 drops vanilla flavoring
Water, milk or orange juice    

    Do not separate rolls. Carefully cut the top half off the entire piece.  Set aside on a cutting board. Beat eggs with salt and pepper.  Set aside. Fry out sausage, spoon off any excess fat and add eggs. Cook, stirring until eggs set. Stir in orange marmalade. Spread hot filling on the bottom half of the rolls. Put the top on the rolls.
    In a bowl stir vanilla into powdered sugar with just enough liquid to make frosting.  Spoon glaze over rolls. Now use a long knife to cut rolls into 12 sliders. Serve at once. Makes 12 sliders. Plan 2 to 4 per person.

Never be without a healthy, hearty pocket snack. Snack recipes you can carry anywhere, eat anywhere. Create A Gorp. 

Tips for the Camp Cook

    * The syrupy juice from canned chickpeas is used as an egg substitute in recipes for many dishes from mayonnaise to pavlova.  Shake the can, open and pour off juice.

    * Make “croutons” with pound cake. Dice, brown in hot butter. Sprinkle over instant pudding or canned fruit for an easy camping dessert.

    * No oven? Here’s how to make crisp, toasty chicken pot pie.  Heat creamed chicken (your own or canned). Butter thick sliced bread and fry on both sides until golden. Use a biscuit cutter to cut a hole out of each slice. Put slices on plates, fill hole with creamed chicken, top with round toast piece.

`    * For food safety, use these covers on your cutting board, red for meat or eggs and green for fruits and vegetables. They cost little, weight nothing, wash easily. Bonus: they bend to form a funnel. 

.      * This mini-kitchen fits perfectly into a camper, tailgate or trunk. It’s a coffee maker, griddle and toaster oven all in one. In nice weather, use it on the campsite picnic table. You’ll need 1500 watts from electric hookup, generator or inverter.  

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Lasagna Pepperoni Poppers
    Easy to cook, serve and eat at potlucks, these poppers can be baked in and served from disposable foil muffin cups. You’ll need 24 foil cupcake papers and four six-hole aluminum foil muffin pans.

24 wonton wrappers
Olive oil spray
24 slices of pepperoni
1 egg
15-ounce carton of part-skim ricotta
8-ounce package of shredded 4-cheese mix
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 can or jar of your favorite pasta sauce

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Press wonton wrappers into muffin cups and spray with olive oil. Press a pepperoni slice into the bottom of each wonton. Whisk egg, ricotta, parsley and half the cheese. Spoon some into each wrapper. Top with pasta sauce.  Do not over-fill.
    Bake about 25 minutes or until wrappers are toasty and filling is set. Makes 24 poppers.

    Have you tried any of those high-priced survival foods for camping or home emergencies? Portions are small,  nutrition is so-so and some taste simply awful. Instead, stock your emergency panty with familiar, affordable supermarket staples. Survival Food Handbook tells how to plan, then gives mouthwatering recipes requiring no fresh ingredients.

Bonus Recipe
Corny Bucatini Casserole
    The knock on pasta for camping is that it requires so much water for cooking. However, this recipe shines because (1) pasta takes on sweetness from the corn and (2) bucatini is a hollow pasta that really soaks up flavor. Here’s how:

6 ears fresh sweet corn, husk and silk removed
16-ounce package of bucatini pasta
1 stick butter, cut up
12-to 16-ounce jar of Alfredo sauce
Parmesan for garnish

    Bring a  pot of salted water to a boil and cook corn 5 minutes. Use tongs to remove corn.  Use the same water to cook bucatini. When corn is cool enough, cut off kernels  in chunks. Drain pasta and gently fold in butter, Alfredo sauceand corn.  Cover and heat over low burner until heated through.  Sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves 6.

See the Pantry Recipe of the Week, made entirely with shelf-stable ingredients, at Boat Cook.

Cooking Aboard Your RV, 2nd Edition is filled with shortcut recipes that save space, time, fuel and water.