And no, we didn’t “order in”, we didn’t smoke or deep-fry the turkey, and we didn’t have pizza – this traditional Thanksgiving dinner was 100% cooked in the RV.
Having only been married for 2 ½ years (3 in January 2020) we’ve only celebrated 2 Thanksgivings as a married couple. The first year we went to my parents and the second year we were moving out of our apartment and into the RV – so we didn’t celebrate. This year, I wanted to make up for that.
I have always wanted to cook my own Thanksgiving meal, like since I was a kid. I do enjoy cooking and I definitely enjoy challenging myself. To me, cooking a Thanksgiving dinner all by yourself is the ultimate test of a cook’s ability (just my own thoughts in my own head). There’re desserts, the appetizers, and the many, many dishes that make up a Thanksgiving meal – talk about a challenge!
To make that challenge even more steep, I would be cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner with only the aid of a miniature RV oven, VERY limited counter/fridge/freezer space, a crockpot, an electric skillet and an instant pot.
My issues with the RV oven is that I can only fit one dish in there at a time and the heat is not exact – I light the propane and then wait for the VERY inaccurate temperature gage to tell me when it’s about the temperature that I need it to be. Plus, everything cooks differently in an RV oven, so I’d have to make my best assumptions and “go with it”.
The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving were FILLED with list making and notes. What was I going to make? What can I make ahead? How can I get everything I need for the meal to fit in the fridge as well as food for the rest of the week? Where am I going to put everything? Will I have enough propane?
Here is what my menu was eventually narrowed down too:
- Queso & Salsa and chips
- Potato chips
- Veggie platter with Ranch dip
- Pumpkin Bread
- Coffee Punch
- Turkey (in the crockpot)
- Corn pudding/casserole (oven)
- Cheesy potato casserole (oven)
- Sautéed green beans (electric skillet)
- Stuffing (box mix on the stove)
- Dinner rolls (brought by my guest)
- Cranberry sauce (brought by guest)
- Apple pie
- Pumpkin Roll
- Brownies (brought by my guest)
Now that my list was narrowed down, I needed to make my grocery shopping list (which literally took me hours) and then my game plan on how/when to make everything.
I am still in shock (and very proud) that I was able to get EVERYTHING I needed at the grocery store in one trip! However, due to other events and celebrations I was not able to prep as many things as I wanted to the night before – I decided that my sleep was a little more important. Only the apple pie and pumpkin bread were made ahead of time, oh and part of the coffee punch.
Thanksgiving Day I was up early to get the tiny turkey (7.8 lb) in the crockpot. I made an herb butter rub which kept it nice and juicy and wonderfully seasoned. I prepared the appetizers, did dishes. Made my family breakfast, did dishes. Made the pumpkin roll, did dishes. Prepped the casseroles, did dishes. Then I was free to “freshen up” for the guests, set out all the appetizers and sit… just kidding, I never got to sit.
Everything was hot, juicy and delicious. I was in shock! We also barely had any leftovers so that took care of the “where do I put the leftovers”.
As far as where everyone sat/where the food went. Our wonderful table from IKEA extends to twice its size. I was able to use that to put all the food on and then everyone went through it “buffet style”. We sat around the main living area and everyone had access to a little side table. It was perfect.
It was really that easy and so much fun. I didn’t even have to use my Instant pot! I’m so –so thankful that nothing burned, I didn’t run out of propane, I was able to stay happy and cheery despite doing dishes 1 million times, and that I got to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and the people I care about. **TIP – because you have to do dishes so frequently in an RV, use all plastic wear to eat on – makes the cleanup easy!
Absolutely I am already planning my Thanksgiving dinner for 2020 and it will be even bigger and better but first, I need to get through Christmas – which, we have never celebrated in our own home as a married couple – so stay tuned for that one and wish me luck!