Sierra Nevada Airstreams -> TT Owner's Guide -> Living

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Multi-purpose food

Are you ready for anything, food-wise, when camping?

Do you have food items you can combine in a variety of ways, food that is easy to store, food that makes it easy to prepare a variety of snacks and meals?

Owning an RV often means that at one time or another you will be involved in meal sharing. Pot Lucks, must go dinners, picnics, BBQ's and other such activities are a mainstay of the camping experience, especially group camping. When you need to bring food for a potluck, especially if it is a rally or other camping experience, multipurpose foods are your best bet. By multipurpose I mean foods that store well, that can be used in a variety of ways, and that can be used with other foods to increase amounts. Camping usually means you are not near a store where you could pick up any last minute items. You are limited on food storage space, especially refrigeration and freezer space. You may also be limited in the size and types of utensils available for preparing and serving various foods. With the majority of groups the number of participants is usually known. Often each contributor is asked to bring a specific type of dish. These factors make planning, shopping and preparing a relatively easy task.

In a group like the Sierra Nevada Unit, WBCCI we often don't know how many people might be at any given rally. At present we usually have between 3 to 12 rigs attending any one rally. Our small size enables us to be much looser in our planning than larger groups. Contributions to pot lucks and joint meals are ad hoc. Usually no specific meal is planned and what each participant chooses to add to the pot luck and how much is entirely up to them. So far we have always had a wide variety covering all the basic food groups and nobody has left hungry.

There are some very good options using cans, boxes, and other prepackaged foods but my personal preference is for “from scratch” ingredients and dishes. I do tend to use more can goods and other prepackaged foods on camping trips. I use them primarily to augment other ingredients or as emergency supplies.

Things to consider

Food safety -|- Food preservation -|- dietary restrictions

Tips and ideas

Prepare as much as possible ahead.

Samples of some multi-purpose foods

These are just a few ideas. This list could go on and on depending on your own preferences and creativity.




Basic BBQ meats

Chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs depending on the marinade or BBQ sauce used can be used in a wide variety of dishes.

Extra BBQ'd hamburger patties can be frozen and reheated in a microwave at a later time. Cooked patties can also be crumbled and added to mac and cheese or made into a stroganoff dish.

Chicken can be cut up and used in chicken salad, for chicken alfredo, for sandwiches, and with rice or pasta for various casseroles.

Grilled hot dogs can be cut up and added to mac and cheese. They can be added to beans as well as various soups or stews.

Take the usual precautions for the storage and handling of meat products.

hard boiled eggs

Deviled eggs make a good snack, addition to lunch, or hor dourves for Happy Hour. Left overs can be made into sandwich spread. Hard boiled eggs can be chopped into salads, added to tuna, and as a garnish for certain casseroles.

Make sure eggs are kept at the proper temperatures.


Carrot and celery sticks, broccoli, and other vegetables can be used raw as appetizers they can be cut up or shredded for salads, they can be added to soups or stews, they can be cooked as a side dish for various meals. Veggies can also be used for kebobs or roasted on their own on the grill. Some roasted veggies can be added to soups or stews. Various vegetables along with rice and leftover chicken, cubed can become great a stir fry.

squash and other soft vegetables as well as lettuce products do not keep as well as harder veggies so buy only what you know you will use for a specific purpose.


Fruit can be eaten as is or it can be chopped up for fruit salad. Certain fruits can also make cobblers or compotes or even cooked in tinfoil over the grill. Fruit can also be the basis for smoothies or ice cream.

dry pasta, rice and other grains

Pasta, rice and grains have a multitude of uses. they are one of the best choices to expand a meal when needed. More pasta or rice can be cooked to help make sauces go a little further. Various forms of pasta, rice and other grains are an easy addition to soups or stews. They are also a great component in many salad recipes and often the basis for casseroles. Leftover white rice can be used in rice pudding.

For best results, store in air tight containers.

specialty breads

Zucchini, Pumpkin, Banana and similar type breads are good for mid-morning snacks and as desserts. These can be made in muffin tins or small loaf pans and frozen then only defrost as much as needed for the specific meal.

Links to sites with recipes and ideas for feeding a crowd

Feeding a crowd. Things to think about

Good basic information plus food ideas for parties

Mormon Chic – Feeding a crowd

recipes and discussions on catering vs homemade, full meals vs snacks, and renting vs packing it all

Potlucks for Dummies

planning charts and information

Quantity recipes

Groups recipes by type – main dish, desserts, etc as well as by special occasion - St Patricks, Valentines etc. Also a discussion on converting recipes to feed crowds

Creating your own recipes for feeding a crowd

A discussion on how to convert a recipe for a few to one for a large group

Shaboom's Kitchen

Great charts on how much of something (meat, salads, cookies etc) you will need for varying sized groups of people

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