Friday, September 8, 2017

RV Kitchen: New Stuff and Creative Problem Solving!

New Stuff for Our RV Kitchen 

After two months (and some change), we're beginning to whittle down the list of Annoying Things we need to fix. Like the freezer. The Norcold freezer is plenty big enough for two people, but it only has one shelf. 

Our first step to making the space more efficient was placing a 13 x 8 plastic container on the bottom, which is where we pack most of our meat (we repackage bigger containers into smaller baggies, since there is just two of us). We still wound with lots of frozen food bags precariously stacked on the top shelf - an impending avalanche for the poor doomed soul who opened the freezer door next.

We went looking for a solution and found these Sterlite snap top containers. What makes these containers super awesome is you can stack freezer bags in the container until it's overflowing, then use the snap top to press everything down tight. We are able to squeeze in a few more bags of veggies using two of these containers, and the space between is just big enough for a bag of hash browns and an emergency pound of coffee. A couple of tension rods hold everything snug when we are traveling (and are handy storage for rubber bands for baggies).

Oh and if you are trying to figure out how to get an ice tray in an itty bitty freezer? Ikea has the answer and they are super cheap!  We got our ice trays at an Ikea store, but you can also get these through resellers on the internet. The trays are soft rubber, which can be crammed into any sliver of space you have left over.

So yes, Virginia, you can squeeze two boxes of burgers, a ton of veggies, lots of leftovers, AND a few pounds of meat into an RV fridge. Woot!
Our other 'problem' is finding ways to not use our propane. We have a small solar system, and we've also been at several parks where electricity is free, so it seems kind of silly to use propane which we have to pay for.

While walking around Jeffersonville this week, we stopped at a thrift store and found a brand new toaster oven! Yes, it's one of Black Decker's cheaper models, but it's the perfect size and the corn bread we had tonight tasted just as good as if it had been cooked in something fancier. The oven is even rated for only slightly more wattage than the inverter, so we may be able to use it on low settings while on solar. Fortunately, our little RV kitchen has 4 electrical outlets and just enough counter space to make it possible to use multiple appliances.

Well, actually, the butcher block stove cover is an Ikea hack! We bought an Lamplig cuttindg board and added self-adhesive cork shelf liner to one side. (we found that the local hardware store had cork liner cheaper than anybody else, but it was tucked away in their closet area). Not only does this give us more counter space, but it also stops the stove from rattling. We used the rest of the cork liner on our kitchen drawers, which means that stuff doesn't rattle either.

Here's a picture of tonight's dinner; western casserole in the crockpot and cornbread in the toaster oven. You can see a couple of other things that we find super handy for a small RV kitchen. We have a collapsible collander for the sink, and a folding Grilla pan we got during an Ikea sale last year. The pan is fairly light metal, so it doesn't heat up quite as quickly as we would like, but the handle folds over for storage which is absolutely brilliant. 
And yes, a couple of people have suggested we switch to an Insta-pot, but our latest crockpot cost us a $7.50 at a thrift store. Including tax. Considering we love a crockpot to death every ten years or so, we may be better off sticking to an appliance that costs less than $10!

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