Basic Kitchen Essentials

I’m assuming most people reading this blog have kitchens with at least bare-bones essentials: a refrigerator, cooktop, convection microwave (or conventional oven and microwave), and running water. Beyond that, I inventoried items in my RV kitchen to come up with the following list. 

If you are outfitting your RV kitchen for the first time, check the kitchen in your home to see what extras you may have on hand. 

Essentials for Serving Meals

  • Corelle service for 6 has dishes that are light-weight, microwave-safe,  and break and chip resistant, but if they go flying out of the cabinet after hitting a pothole, you may lose a few. (See number 6 on the list of 10 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make in Your One-Butt Kitchen.) This 18-piece set has service for six, which includes dinner plates, bread plates, bowls, and soup/cereal bowls.
  • I have two Large Plastic Bowls in my one-butt kitchen. One is for salad, and the other contains produce that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, like onions, potatoes, and apples, which sits in the sink when we are driving.     You could also use Collapsible Prep/Storage Bowls.
  • Plastic stackable tumblers will take up less room in the cabinets. These tumblers come in several sizes. 
  • This Stainless steel travel mug can be used for hot and cold beverages. It comes with 2 lids, a straw, and a cleaning brush. It’s a space saver in our one-butt kitchen since we used to have separate travel mugs for hot and cold drinks. Be sure that the base of the mug fits into your cup holder so you can enjoy your beverage on the road. The mugs come in several colors so you can each pick your favorite.
  • Double-wall insulated glasses are good for wine, cocktails, hot coffee, and other drinks. Even though these glasses are supposedly tough and durable, I wrap mine in the mesh sleeves that protect Asian pears.
Asian pears wrappers
Use the protective mesh from Asian pears to cover wine glasses or other breakables.
  • This set of silverware and steak knives has service for 8 and some serving utensils.
  • If I’m feeding more than 4 people or we are dry camping and water is scarce, I’ll use disposable plates. I’ve recently started using these biodegradable and compostable palm leaf plates made from naturally fallen Areca palm leaves. This Square Palm Leaf Plates Set (50 Pack) contains 25 each 7-inch and 10-inch plates. 
Palm Leaf Plates
Biodegradable and compostable palm leaf plates are made from naturally fallen Areca palm leaves.

Essentials for Food Preparation

  • Since things in an RV get jiggled around a lot, covers on knives will help protect the knife edges and anything they might rub against.   6-Piece Kitchen Knife Set with Sheath Covers has 6 knives of various sizes with covers. 
  • Flexible Plastic Cutting Board Mats can make food prep and cleanup easier. When you’ve finished cutting onions, for example, hold the mat above the pan, dump the diced onions into the pan, and rinse off the mat for easy cleanup. A set of two is plenty for an RV kitchen. 
  • Make short work of peeling carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, and other veggies with a Vegetable Peeler.  It can also be used to shave parmesan cheese. 
  • Since a lot of my recipes use crushed garlic, a Garlic Press gets a lot of use in my one-butt kitchen. 
  • For recipes that call for minced garlic, chopped nuts, and various other diced foods, a Manual Food Chopper works great.  
  • This Collapsible Measuring Cups and Spoons is another space saver. 
  • To rinse fruits and vegetables, this Collapsible Colander Strainer comes in handy. I also like having a set of 3 Fine Mesh Strainers. It’s nice to have various sizes. 
  • This Can Opener is my preferred opener for most cans, but I have an old fashioned Can Punch Bottle Opener that I use for chicken stock. If you are a wine or beer drinker, you’ll need a 3-in-1 Can Opener, Cork Screw, and Bottle Opener
  • A Zester and Grater and Boxed Grater are handy for recipes that call for zest of lemons, grated onion, grated cheese, and that sort of thing.
  • Herb Scissors or Herb Roller Mincer will make short work of slicing cilantro, Italian parsley, and other herbs.  
  • Silicone Basting Brushes are great for brushing butter, olive oil, or barbecue sauce on food before or during cooking. The silicone brushes are easier to clean than the old fashioned bristle brushes, and you don’t have to worry about a stray bristle ending up in your food. 
  • This Rubbermaid 1-Quart Pitcher is perfect for a batch of cocktails or salad dressing. 
  • A microwave plate cover keeps food from splattering all over the microwave. This Collapsible Microwave Plate Cover/Colander does double duty as a plate cover and colander. 
  • This Egg Separator provides an easy way to separate the yolk from the white. 
  • Whisk will come in handy for blending ingredients. 

Essentials for Stovetop Cooking 

  • This set of Pots and Pans is stackable, which means they save space. The 10-piece set includes 2 skillets, 2 saucepans, a stock pot, 3 interchangeable lids, a slotted spatula and solid spoon.
  • When my old non-stick skillet started sticking, I checked reviews on Cook’s Illustrated. I bought the one they rated the highest out of the 10 they tested. This 12-inch, Non-Stick Skillet with Lid made by OXO Good Grips comes in several sizes. I have 10-inch and 12-inch skillets in our motorhome. A Cast Iron Skillet can be used on a grill or campfire, as well as on the stovetop. 
  • This 11-piece Silicone Kitchen Utensils Cooking Set  contains a ladle, pasta fork, spoonula (a combination spoon/spatula), slotted spoon, tong, slotted turner, large spatula, whisk, small spatula, basting bush, and silicon baking glove.
  • When we are on the road, we make our coffee in a French Press Coffee Maker.  The double-wall, stainless steel construction will keep our coffee hot for two hours. Of course, we have to have a Tea Kettle to heat the water. (Yes, I know that’s two items to make one pot of coffee, but they take less than half of the storage space of the set up we have at home: a Coffee Grinder to grind the whole beans, a Ninja Coffee Maker, and Nespresso Milk Frother.) Coffee pot (or teapot, coffee grinder, and French press)
  • A 2-Burner Griddle  is handy for making pancakes or lobster grilled cheese sandwiches. I use an aluminum grill griddle by Nordic Ware that doesn’t take up much room.
  • We’ve had several instant read meat thermometers, but none are as fast and accurate as teh Javelin Pro Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer. We like it so well that we gave them to several people on our Christmas list last year. 

Essentials for Cooking in the Oven

  • An Oven Thermometer is necessary for two reasons.  First, it indicates when the oven is preheated to the specified temperature.  Second, it shows the actual temperature, which seldom matches what’s on the dial. My oven takes at least 10 minutes to preheat, and it’s usually about 10 degrees hotter than the dial.
  • A Pizza Stone on the rack helps distribute the heat of the oven.  Without it, food is likely to burn above the heating element and be undercooked on the sides.
  • An 8 x 8-inch Porcelain Baking Dish can be used to make casseroles, brownies, or other baked items.
  • If you are going to do any baking, an AirBake Cookie Sheet and an AirBake Cake Pan are highly recommended. Amazon explains, “2 Heavyweight aluminum sheets surround a layer of air. Air reduces the temperature of the metal that comes in contact with the food.”  With the  food sitting directly above the heating element in an RV oven, it’s much less likely to burn. 
  • Three of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts (Grace’s egg muffins, green chili quiche, and sausage egg muffins) require a Jumbo Non-Stick Muffin Pan.  
  • In addition to pies and quiches, a Pyrex Pie Pan is the perfect serving dish for several happy hour favorites including Buffalo chicken dip and pepperoni pizza dip
  • A rimmed baking pan is essential for roasted veggies and other dishes. This Baking Pan with Rack also comes with a silicone pad. 

Essentials for Cooking Outdoors

  • A Charcoal Grill or a Gas Grill allows you to enjoy the great outdoors, which is one of the primary reasons to have an RV, right?

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