Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner in an RV

This will be my first year making Thanksgiving dinner in a camper!  Last year we got a few days to go home to see family. We were in Oklahoma City at Abe’s RV Park, so it wasn’t too far to Cincinnati… The year before Allen was in India working and I was staying at my mom’s house.

I’ve made Easter dinner (I attempted to cook a very large ham in my slow cooker…All I’ll say about that is: At least we had fun!… And I burnt my finger really bad! And, yes, I made those bunny ears and forced Allen to put them on. That’s it. That’s all I’m saying.)Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 5.53.12 PM.png

I’ve also made St. Patrick’s Day dinner, Shepard’s pie to be precise…

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We made fast friends with the neighbors and didn’t eat until REALLY late! This was at Poche Plantation in Convent, Louisiana… 

And I cook dinner almost every day in our RV. So I’m no rookie in the kitchen. But Thanksgiving is always more challenging no matter how much space you have! To top things off, I’m not THE best at time management. For example, I make a lot of Rachael Ray’s recipes, her 30-minute meals, and they typically take me around 90 minutes!!! No lie, ask Allen, usually he’s starving by the time dinner is ready.  I can’t help it, I’m just slow… But perfection takes time. Right??

Anyhow, in a camper, space is limited, as is counter space, and cooking space.

Luckily for me, I have the advantage of a new fifth wheel with far more space than the travel trailer we had prior to this. My stove has 3 burners whereas the average stove in a “normal” home has 4. My oven is small. And this one is slightly larger than the oven in our travel trailer was. My saving grace (I think) will be the convection microwave. I absolutely love the thing! I mostly use the conventional oven for storage now because the convection microwave just cooks so much better. Our fridge is huge compared to the one we had in the travel trailer also, so that helps a ton!

I was willing to cook for all the guys on the crew, provided they had some opinions or ideas on what they wanted and where we could all eat. Three of them are staying in the motel a block away and one is next door in the campground. But they are men, and nobody would speak up and say what they wanted to do. So it’s just me and Allen (and Charlie), which makes everything a little easier for me!

We went shopping today and got everything we needed. (I also got a new coat because my old one stopped zipping and we can’t have a non-zipping coat in “Little Canada”!

I measured my convection microwave from top to bottom and decided I could fit 7″ of turkey in there without shoving and squishing! So I was armed with my tape measure… But then we spotted a roasting oven for $25. Boom. Sold! Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 6.01.42 PM.png

Now (hopefully) I will have a super delicious, juicy, flavorful turkey and have room for other stuff in the convection oven and maybe, just maybe, fingers crossed, I can get by without using the “real oven”, because that thing just stresses me out! Always has.

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Thanksgiving is for food and football… And family… And friends… But definitely not for stress! 

So my TENTATIVE plan is to have a turkey in the roasting oven (unstuffed because I don’t want to risk that… ); a small ham, green bean casserole, and stuffing in the convection oven; then gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce (for me only-Allen’s not a fan) on the stove, with deviled eggs (strictly for me also) and cheesecake in the fridge and freezer, respectively. And let’s not forget the mimosas in the morning…Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 6.23.32 PM.png

Followed by Wild Turkey later in the day!

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Image: Donald M. Jones  

Not that kind of wild turkey…

This kind!Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 6.28.09 PM.png

Yum! It’s kind of a tradition of mine that I started when I was in college in San Francisco with no mom to cook for me and no cooking abilities of my own!

I currently have the 15lb turkey Allen insisted we get in a bucket of cold water in the garage where it stays pretty cold (like, we’ve been keeping our beer back there cold, it has one vent and we are using it as a mudroom cold, Charlie shivers upon entering cold… So I think it’ll be okay until Thursday).

I want to make the green bean casserole tomorrow and toss it in the fridge so it’ll just need warming. I don’t want to do the stuffing ahead of time because I love the smell of the trio of onions, celery and garlic all simmering on Thanksgiving morning, so I’ll wait to do that. Then I’ll just have mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce  to make (super easy-just cranberries, some water, sugar, lemon juice and salt and pepper makes it delicious!)

I’m pretty excited!  I think my planning (albeit tentative) is going to help things go smoothly… Wish me luck!  On the plus side, Allen’s pretty used to waiting for hours to eat, so it should be fine! Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 6.03.02 PM.png

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