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Main Forum => Around the Campfire => Topic started by: 2 Frazzled on March 24, 2014, 07:41:23 pm

Title: Gypsy cooking
Post by: 2 Frazzled on March 24, 2014, 07:41:23 pm
We enjoyed talking to all our new Phoenix owner friends while in (warm, sunny) Florida and one of the topics that kept coming up was how we were handling food since we are living full time in the Phoenix and not doing the level of eating out that most people do on short trips. We keep a running grocery list and hit Walmart or grocery stores as needed just as if we were at home. We have smaller storage areas for the food so we have a shorter list of staples. One thing we do is restock on the more creative foods when we go Gypsy on friends and family. We joke that the Gypsies are here and that we steal their internet, laundry facilities and showers. If they have the ability to plug us in, we steal the electricity also. But we are good Gypsies. We do the dishes, walk the dogs, feed the fish and repay their kindness by leaving food in their freezers (while also stocking ours). We do this by using a cook book I found called "Fix, Freeze, Feast" by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik. The authors each ran one of those "make-it take-it" places before the market crashed and the recipes are based on the same principle. Most are marinated meat but there are a few other types of meals. Recipes are based on "club packs" like you get at Costco or Sam's Club. You label zip-lock freezer bags, plunk the chosen meat into them (usually 4-6 servings per gallon bag with 2-6 bags per recipe) then measure the other ingredients and put them in the bags. They get sealed and laid flat to freeze. They can then be stood up on end like books on a shelf. If you like you can print the cooking instructions onto labels and slap them right on the bags before freezing. You thaw them in the fridge overnight and have a really nice entree ready in about 20 minutes after you start cooking. When we had a bigger fridge, we would toss two or three in the fridge on Sunday (flipping periodically) and they would make good, quick meals during the week. We love the Rose City Teriyaki Flank Steak, An's Pork Chops, Shanghai Stir Fry, Caribbean Pork Tenderloin and several others. We make several recipes during each prepping session (using some of our hosts spices and such if we only need a little) then split the finished goods with the host, putting half in our freezer and half in theirs. So far, we have received rave reviews and have ALWAYS been welcome back. I bought the e-book and have it on board on my Kindle. I'm sure there are other books out there with similar recipes, this is just the one we use. If you are preparing for a trip and want to simplify your dinners but have good flavor and variety, I highly recommend it. And if you are planning to go Gypsy on someone, it goes a heck of a long way toward getting invited back.
Title: Re: Gypsy cooking
Post by: JimDenny on March 25, 2014, 02:23:22 pm
I remember reading someone's very similar comment years ago in one of the trade magazines.  The author said he listened quietly for awhile to an individual "stress out" about where do I store everything, and then he replied with just two words.  "Define everything!"
Title: Re: Gypsy cooking
Post by: 2 Frazzled on March 25, 2014, 06:21:56 pm
Our "everything" actually fit quite well when we started out. Now we have too many packaged foods and too many bags of not so healthy foods and too much paper that has come to visit and overstayed its welcome. We just need to clean out the food cabinets and cut back on impulse buys. A few items that save us a lot of space compared to what we've seen in some RVs are nesting pans from a camping store with one removable handle (similar to except ours is from GSI and has three pans with lids); our bowl and measuring cup set (; and a silicone baking set that can be jammed together or used to buffer noisy items. I couldn't find it online anymore but it has two round cake pans, one loaf pan, a square pan and a muffin pan. All but the muffin pan sort of nest - with help. We have one metal sheet pan that fits in the oven with a Silpat liner that fits in it. So far, we've had everything we need to cook on. The crock pot lives under the bed and the BBQ tools are in the outside bin. We won a baby 6" electric frying pan at the last Intervec-Phoenix rally and that's sufficient for two people - with creative cooking.

I heard a rumor that the newer PCs have deeper cabinets over the couch. THAT would help the boxed food storage greatly and might be an upgrade we do somewhere down the line. The current cabinets are deep enough now to hold square "canisters" of flour, sugar, rice, etc. and all those little packages of bread type bakery stuff we shouldn't have bought until we used what we already had. That's the key - replace only when you've used what's already there. The Phoenix actually has a lot of storage. It's just a matter of reducing what you take with you and then GUARDING THE ENTRY to keep unnecessary stuff from sneaking in. (aka - who bought those two bags of chips anyhow?)
Title: Re: Gypsy cooking
Post by: Syd and Margo on March 26, 2014, 06:29:32 am
Margo and I enjoyed your pulled pork you served when we met you.  I don't know if that was from your cook book but it was delicious.  We will have to cook dinner for you guys the next time you are in our area.  Keep in touch. Safe travels.
Syd & Margo Emmons
Title: Re: Gypsy cooking
Post by: gradygal on March 26, 2014, 07:33:18 am
I keep buying stuff to take with us this summer. Publix Supermarkets in the South have Buy One Get One free every week. Crackers, Chips, Coffee (I have enough for this year and next) etc. Looks like all we will have to buy when we hit New England  is lobster, clams, good fresh corn and tomatoes!!   heartshower

Title: Re: Gypsy cooking
Post by: 2 Frazzled on March 27, 2014, 08:12:45 am
Syd, the pulled pork was actually a Food Network thing - we use Jack Daniels BBQ sauce with it and the McCormick Grillers Sweet and Smoky Rub (Irvine spice in recipe no longer in production). Super easy crock pot recipe. We make extra and freeze it without the sauce so we can use it for BBQ sandwiches, wraps, nachos, salad toppings, etc.

Judy - don't forget the wine! We've quickly learned to carry a bottle of wine even though we don't usually drink it. It seems to be an RV staple. We may run into you in New England. We are booked into Acadia for two weeks starting July 13th. One week at each of their two campgrounds - with the granddaughter. You want entertainment, sit and watch John try to keep up with her (then he naps to recharge).

We look forward to meeting all of you again on the road or maybe back in Florida.
Title: Re: Gypsy cooking
Post by: gradygal on March 27, 2014, 09:17:32 am
We have reservations at Blackwoods Campground July 29 leaving on August 3rd. It looks like we might miss you.

If you tire of the National Park Campgrounds, I hear that the Bar Harbor Campground is nice. You can't make reservations and they only take cash/check but you get to choose your site, they have water, electric and a pool. We are thinking of staying a couple of nights at Blackwoods and then driving over to Bar Harbor Campground to see what they have available--if we lose $20/30 by leaving Blackwoods and going to Bar Harbor it is no biggy.

We then go to Orr's Island Campround for a month. We have never stayed in one place for a month before, so it will be interesting.

Hope we are able to see you and partake of that wind.

Title: Re: Gypsy cooking
Post by: 2 Frazzled on June 03, 2018, 03:53:36 am
Four years ago I started this post and it's time to update it. We are prepping for a seven week whirlwind trip with the granddaughter and just prepped the freezer food. I had all these lists and plans and John listened (sort of) then piped up with " I hope the fridge doesn't fault when we are on Isle Royale and it sits alone in a parking lot for four days". Whoops - good thought. We can't figure out what's wrong with it. Sometimes it's fine, sometimes it won't stay on. The thought of returning to a freezer full of rotten meat made me rethink things.

My brain sparked and I went back to " Fix, Freeze, Feast" and prepped our planned meals without the meat. If we lose power, I'll lose my marinade but that beats dealing with rotten meat... And the cost of the loss. I have all the little marinade and seasoning bags filled, labels attached, and frozen. I added a note on each label telling how much meat goes in that baggie. Example: for Rose City Terriyaki the label has the name of the entree, cooking instructions, and "1.5 lbs flank steak" - I have a written list of the potential meals so when we restock we'll pick a few to buy the meat for then check them off. We thaw the marinade, toss in the meat, let it hang in the fridge for a while, then feast!

This is going to be our method from here out. A few entrees will be prepped with meat and the rest are marinades. If you try this, remember to put that little bit of marinade in the bigger baggie called for in the recipe so all you do is throw in the meat - no repackaging.

Added note: I did this with the basil garlic paste in the recipe below. We just smear it on the chicken after John fillets it so the paste is frozen in little snack baggies, labelled and ready to go. So much yumminess in such a little package
Title: Re: Gypsy cooking
Post by: donc13 on June 04, 2018, 06:22:41 pm
I also prep ahead of our trips, especially hamburger.  It is too messy in the RV kitchen.  I flat pack, freeze and store vertically in bins in the freezer.  I thought I'd share some easy meals that you can do the meat at home and pick up the rest of the stuff just before you need it.

Ravoli Lasagna
Brown as much hamburger/ sausage as you wish and pour in a jar of spaghetti sauce.  I use Prego.  To save space, I make my lasagna in a bread pan.  It fits better in the microwave.
Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the pan and a layer of large round ravioli.  Top with a layer of sauce and mozzarella.  A bread pan usually does three layers.  Sometimes I will top the final layer of cheese with some parmesan.
Bake at 350 for 45 min.

Taco casserole

I brown hamburger with taco spices.
I put a layer of corn chips in an 8x8 pan, top with the meat and shredded cheddar.  Microwave until the cheese melts.  Top with lettuce, salsa or whatever you want.

French Bread Pizza

The dipping sauce that they sell at pizza places freezes well.  I spread it on a small loaf of french bread, top with mozzarella and pepperoni or ham and pineapple etc.  I put it in the convection oven (or toaster oven) until the cheese melts.

I wouldn't call any of this "heart healthy"  but it is easy on the days when you can't grill.

Title: Re: Gypsy cooking
Post by: 2 Frazzled on June 05, 2018, 05:01:34 am
A side comment on pasta sauce; John and I were laughing at people's faces as we selected our sauce for the rig. We tapped all the small bottles until we hit plastic then said "ooh, plastic, this looks good". We wound up with Newman's Own. It was that or a can.
Title: Re: Gypsy cooking
Post by: 2 Frazzled on July 01, 2021, 06:52:01 am
Here's an update to the pulled pork mentioned above: we pull out the little frozen baggie of precooked pulled pork, thaw in microwave, dump in a jar of medium salsa verde, throw a couple of cheese sticks along the sides and microwave until hot. Serve with tortilla chips or roll in a soft tortilla with whatever looks good in the fridge. Also goes well with rice and black beans. You'll need the large tortillas if you go for the mega burritos.