Making Our Lives Easier in the Kitchen

When we bought our first RV 15 years ago, I started filling up the cabinets and adding “stuff” to every nook and cranny.  Now, 5 RVs later (I’m a slow learner) I have come to realize that less is more.  I am still always on the lookout for items that store easily, take up little space, and, of course, items that make my life easier.  These are a few items I have added to the fifth wheel and these items have actually helped me eliminate other bulky items I was carrying. After all, we’re all looking to save a little space.

Collapsible Mini Colander

This is so handy because it is a colander that converts to a water tight bowl.  I love multi-purpose products.

 

 

Collapsible Storage Containers

What a great idea to have storage containers that are collapsible and easy to store.  These take up so little room and I can serve them and store without having to search endlessly through a mountain of plastic containers. I think we all have that one drawer at home when an endless number of plastic containers and lids. That’s a waste of space in a limited space RV.

Collapsible Produce Keeper

Fresh produce is always the way to go. The bad part is, fresh produce goes bad in a matter of days. This produce keeper might extend the freshness by a few days and it also doubles as a colander. The entire collapsible product line was a great invention…especially for the RVer.

 

Microwave Bacon Cooker 

First, I have to admit that I hate cooking bacon, or at least if did until this product came along.  No more grease or mess and easy to clean. Dishwasher safe, so I can cook it, eat it, then stick it in the dishwasher. Cooking bacon can be a messy endeavor without the proper tools. You can also reheat pizza and make your own potato chips on this thing. Genius.

What products have you put in your RV’s kitchen to make your life easier?

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Nana’s Recipes: Around the Campfire

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simpleinsomnia/Flickr Creative Commons

As I said in the last blog, we spent some tie on the beach with the grandkids last weekend, and there’s nothing quite like spending an evening under the stars with loved ones around the campfire. It’s one of those so completely natural feelings, and every time it happens you wonder why you don’t do it more often. So for today’s blog I thought I’d share a few truly classic recipes for campfire snacks.

The S’More

This snack needs no introduction. If you don’t know Mr. and Mrs. S’More, you’ve never been camping. For the truly classic S’More all you need is graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. Now what kind of chocolate to use I’ll let y’all argue over, because you just use whatever kind you like the best or have on hand. What you do is you take a couple marshmallows, stab them onto the end of a stick and toast them over the campfire til they turn brown. Once they’re brown you squish them onto a graham cracker, put a square of chocolate on another graham cracker and make a lil sandwich out of the two pieces. Enjoy responsibly! Haaa!

The Hot Dog

Another timeless classic that is so ridiculously easy to make yet awesome to eat. Here’s what you do (for you non-campers): take a hot dog weenie, stab it onto the end of a stick, cook it over the campfire until it is cooked to your preferred level of cookedliness, insert into bun, add whatever condiments you like. Enjoy responsibly! Haaa!

Chili Pie

Another so simple a dish it almost embarrasses me to tell you folks how to make it. Open a couple cans of your favorite chili, poor them into some sort of receptacle you can place over the fire, heat up chili, line a bowl with corn chips, pour heated chili into the bowl, enjoy responsibly! Haaa!

We have all kinds of camping and grill accessories here at PPL Motorhomes.com, come check em out!

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Nana’s Recipes: Tex Mex Shrimp Kabobs

Shrimp and Veggie Kabobs

Living on the Texas Gulf Coast, or the Lone Star Riviera to make it sound more exotic, means we have some fairly mild winters at times, as well as handy access to fresh seafood. So, I thought today we’d combine some good ol’ Tex Mex with some Gulf Coast shrimp and throw them on the barbie!

So you’ll need to get a couple dozen shrimp, and a BBQ pit. First you’ll need to peel and de-vein them, and make sure you leave the tails intact. Then you’ll need to mix the following ingredients together in a decent sized bowl:

  • Chop a red bell pepper until you have about a cup of finely chopped bell pepper bits
  • Do the same with a clove or two of garlic (one if you don’t like garlic flavor too much)
  • Throw in a couple teaspoons of lime juice, a teaspoon of cooking oil, a teaspoon of ground red chiles (whichever variety you prefer)
  • Then add a quarter cup of tequila, a quarter cup of red wine vinegar, and a half teaspoon of salt

Blend all those ingredients together real well and then stir in the shrimp. Let the shrimp marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes or so, then bring them out and put them on skewers. Let them cook on a medium heat over the coals for about 5 minutes, and keep brushing the marinade and turning them until the 5 min are up or they start turning pink. Take what’s left of the marinade and put it on the stove and bring it to a boil, then let simmer for 5 minutes or so. Once the sauce has simmered, serve the shrimp with whatever grilled veggies you prefer, and add some Mex style rice, chips and salsa, and some nice warm tortillas. If this doesn’t warm your winter a little bit, maybe add some jalapeño!

Don’t forget to swing by PPLMotorhomes.com and say howdy! We’ve got your parts here waiting for you.

 

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Nana’s Recipes: Fall Cocktails

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ctj71081, Flickr Creative Commons

Fall here in Texas is one of my favorite times of year y’all. The edge comes off the heat, the humidity rolls back…just a little bit, and you know the days will eventually get cooler. Another great thing about fall is the beginning of football season. Everyone knows how big High School, College, and yes even pro football is here in Texas. For those big-time fans that means tailgate season is here as well. So today I thought maybe we could talk about Fall Cocktails. They work especially well if you’re not as big a fan of the game as everyone else at the tailgater!

Apple Cider Mimosa

There’s something almost Martha Stewart-meets-Texas with this drink. You have that Northeastern apple cider flavor and I don’t know very many people down here who don’t enjoy a Mimosa. So here’s what you do: wet the rim of a champagne flute…or heck a keg cup will do…and then dip the rim into a sugar/cinnamon mixture (2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon mixed together). Fill the glass about a quarter full of apple cider and top off the glass with champagne and enjoy the game!

Apple Pie Bourbon

Now lets mix together two great symbols of America: Apple Pie and Bourbon! This drink requires a little bit of dwell time so plan accordingly. What you do is get yourself a Mason jar and put a cup and a half of Bourbon in it. Then chop one green and one red apple and put the pieces in the jar. Add 4 cinnamon sticks, 3 sugar cubes, 1 slightly shaved nutmeg, and a one inch piece of fresh ginger and let it sit for two to four days. Yes, please taste it after 2 days to see if it is ready. Once it had achieved the level fall flavors you prefer, pour the bourbon through a strainer and into as many different glasses as folks you have whom you are willing to share it with. Then…enjoy!

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Nana’s Recipes: Hatch Green Chile Cheeseburgers!

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theturquoisetable/Flickr Creative Commons

Hatch Green Chiles are all the rage these days, and justifiably so…they’re darn tasty! A friend of mine just returned from a trip to Hatch, NM and brought me some Hatch Green Chiles straight from the source. He’d had a Green Chile Cheeseburger at Sparky’s BBQ there in Hatch and was so enthusiastic about them I thought I’d try and cook up a more Tex Mex version, so here’s the four steps you need to take: make green salsa, make cheeseburger, combine, consume!

Hatch Green Chile Salsa

  • 7 tomatillos
  • 3 Hatch Green Chiles
  • 1/2 white onion
  • pod of garlic
  • half bunch of cilantro
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Husk the tomatillos and place them in a pot. Add enough water until the tomatillos are covered, and bring to a boil. Once the water is actively boiling, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Chop all the other ingredients and throw them into a blender. Add the tomatillos after they’ve cooled a bit and puree for 6-7 seconds. THAT, my friends, is good salsa. Bee sure and save a dollop or two for your cheeseburger.

Now on to the cheeseburgers. Today we’re cooking burgers in the skillet, so add some butter to the skillet and set it to medium. Make your patties however you like them in terms of weight and diameter and style of ground beef…whether it’s ground chuck, sirloin, or just regular ground beef. Be sure to work the patties as little as possible to get them to shape, but add some black pepper while you’re shaping them. Once the patties are made throw the buns into the skillet for a minute or so to toast them and set aside. Toss the patties into the skillet and cook to you preferred level of “done-ness” and add a slice of you r favorite cheese on top. Once the cheese has begun to melt onto the patty, pop the patties out and onto the buns and add a scoop of your Hatch Green Chile Salsa. Enjoy responsibly.

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Nana’s Recipes: Ceviche!

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Gustavo Andrade/Flickr Creative Commons

As it gets hotter and hotter here in Texas, it’s only natural to think of meals that don’t require heating up the kitchen. Now the only thing better than not heating up the joint would be put put together a wonderful tasting south-of-the-border style meal so I thought today we could talk ceviche!

Ceviche is one of those classic Mexican seafood dishes that oddly enough requires no heat to cook! The secret is this: the lime juice cooks the shrimp for you. Shhhh! Don’t tell anybody. Let’s go!

You’ll need a couple pounds of decent sized shrimp, let’s say three pounds. Peel ’em, devein ’em, cut ’em into quarters and place them in the bottom of one of those glass baking dishes. Juice a half dozen or so limes and maybe 3-4 lemons then pour the juice over the shrimp. Put that dish in the fridge and let the juice work it’s magic for the next two hours. While the shrimp is “cooking” dice up four decent sized tomatoes, no need for seeds by the way. Also dice up a red onion, a couple serranos, a cucumber (peel it first), chop up a fistful of cilantro, and cube up an avocado.

Once the shrimp is “cooked”, throw all those ingredients plus the shrimp into a bowl and add a teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper (to your tastes) and then toss it all together. Once everything is good and mixed, put the bowl back in the fridge for an hour or so to let all the ingredients get good and friendly and it’s ready to eat! Granted it’s about 3 hours of fridge time to prepare this meal, but if you like do it the night before and leave overnight, it’ll be just as tasty. And it’ll be ready to go when you are! Speaking of which, when you’re ready to hit the road, hit us up at the website so we can help you get on your way with any parts or accessories you may require.

Nana’s Recipes: Chili Gravy

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goblinbox_(queen_of_ad_hoc_bento)/Flickr Creative Commons

This is Texas y’all. We like gravy on everything. I don’t think I could even point to a moment in my life when I didn’t know what gravy was…maybe before I had teeth. Anyhow, seeing as how we are in Texas, we don’t just do the plain old brown gravy that is smothering meals all over America. No sir. We also do Chili Gravy. The spicy mix of the standard Anglo-fied brown gravy and pure Tex Mex chili sauce. So if you make your own enchiladas for example, wouldn’t it be nice to drown it in some home made Chili Gravy? Let’s get started.

Since this is an old-school recipe, we’re going to use lard today. If you don’t feel particularly old-school you can of course replace the lard with vegetable oil…but it’s not going to taste as good. Tee Hee.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • quarter cup of lard (or your new-fangled vegetable oil)
  • quarter cup of flour
  • two cups of chicken broth
  • two teaspoons of chili powder
  • half teaspoon of black pepper
  • teaspoon of salt
  • one and a half teaspoon of powdered garlic
  • two teaspoons of cumin
  • half teaspoon of dried oregano

What you do is heat the lard in a skillet on medium heat, and add in the flour. Stir it for a few minutes and stop when it’s made a roux, which should be a light brown. Blend in all the dry ingredients while continuing to stir for a minute or so, then add in the chicken broth, stirring the whole time. Then you turn the heat down low, and let simmer for fifteen minutes. If you want to adjust the thickness afterwards, use water…sparingly…until you get the desired thickness.

This gravy will add that perfect bit of zing and Texas-ness to any dish you care to use it on! And don’t forget to swing by our website and let us help you with any parts or accessories you require to get on down the trail!

 

Nana’s Recipes: Tequila Drinks

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RicanGeek/Flickr Creative Commons

Summer is creeping up on us…kind of slowly this year, but never the less headed our way. The humidity is going to rise after all this blankety-blank rain we’ve been drowning in. You know it’s a wet year when you overhear farmers worrying about root rot and the cost of fungicide instead of the usual drought and pestilence talk. Anyway, the thought of a long hot and humid Texas summer got me thinking about cool refreshing tequila drinks, and there are a bunch of them. That aren’t margaritas.

Tequila Sunrise

Boy this is tasty. Pour an ounce and a half of your favorite tequila into a glass, then cut a lime in half. Squeeze out the juice from one of the halves into your glass, and add three quarters of an ounce of creme de cassis (which is a dark red, kind of sweetish liqueur made out of blackcurrants) and then top it off with club soda. Wonderful, refreshing tequila drink that isn’t a margarita.

Texas Two Step

This one is a for-real mixed drink, so it’ll probably require a trip to the store unless your RV has a fully stocked bar! And you’ll need that super cool James Bond cocktail shaker. So what you need to do is pour an ounce and a half of your favorite tequila into the shaker, add three quarters of an ounce of Texas Grapefruit Shrub, a quarter ounce of Pineapple juice, quarter ounce of Yellow chartreuse, a little wildflower honey, a couple drops of bitters, and a pinch of salt. Stir so the honey gets mixed in, then add ice and shake shake shake senora! Pour into a glass and enjoy!

These two not margaritas ought to do the trick for you folks that enjoy a sip of tequila from time to time. They’re easy to make, smooth to drink, and are thoroughly refreshing after a long hot Texas day!

Remember to swing by the website and say howdy, we’ll be glad to get you sorted!

Nana’s Recipes: Stuffed Jalapeños

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Nikki L/Flickr Creative Commons

There is something just a little wonderful about stuffed jalapeños, maybe it’s that hint of danger like it’s the pepper version of Russian Roulette. If you’re not a spicy person, yet you enjoy the flavor of jalapeños, let us first talk about how to pick the right pepper for the amount of heat you can stand. Generally speaking, if you want a jalapeño with less heat you look for a uniform light green color and smoothe skin. The darker the pepper becomes, and if the skin has little lines, the hotter that pepper will be. So for the purposes of this recipe, choose jalapeños that fit into your own personal heat spectrum. Get macho if that’s your thing, or wimp out guilt-free if you need to, because it ALL tastes good.

So here is what you’ll need (ought to be enough for a family gathering):

  • twelve Jalapeños (try to pick uniform color and size if possible)
  • half cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
  • quarter cup of pretty finely chopped white onion
  • quarter cup of chopped bacon (already cooked)
  • quarter cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • teaspoon and a half of cumin
  • teaspoon oregano (dried)

What you’ll need to do is pre-heat that oven to 375. While the oven is warming up to temp, cut the stems off the jalapeños then cut them in half lengthwise. You’ll need to scrape the seeds and ribs out as well. Mix all the ingredients together and pack the mixture into the jalapeños. Then you’ll put the stuffed peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and pop them into the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on them as you get close to 20 minutes because what you’re looking for is the cheese to be bubbling and turning a light brown. Once you see that, they’re done. As an aside, some folks will cut a strip of pepper jack cheese and place it on top of the mixture to act as a kind of “lid” to the whole deal and you’re welcome to do that depending on how much cheese you like. Same indicators for being done though, bubbly cheese turning light brown. Enjoy!!

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Nana’s Recipes: Red or Green?

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stu_spivack/Flickr Creative Commons

Sometimes it can be the most difficult question of the day… Red or Green? Salsa that is. And that decision can totally change a meal in wonderful ways. Chicken enchiladas with verde (green to you non-Texans out there) sauce is sooo good, but that red sauce packs a punch too. So today I thought I’d pass along two simple salsa recipes you can make them yourself:

Red Salsa

  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes (medium size can)
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • handful of chopped purple onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1 bag of your favorite chips

Heat skillet on stove (medium heat) with a couple drops of olive oil in it. Combine all the ingredients in the blender and puree for 5-6 seconds. Pour ingredients into skillet and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 45 minutes and stir every 15 or so. After 45 minutes, transfer to a bowl and set in the refrigerator until chilled. Serve and enjoy.

Green Salsa

  • 5-6 tomatillos
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • handful of chopped purple onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

First take the husks off the tomatillos, then place them in a pan with the lid on. Bring them to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or so. Take them off the heat and let them cool in the water. Once they’re cool, take all the ingredients and puree them in a blender for 5-6 seconds. Now this is a recipe that you can make as thick or thin as you like, so feel free to add water if you need to to allow for a texture of your choice…but remember a little goes a long way so start small.

Speaking of texture, the puree times on the blender are just averages. If you like chunkier pico de gallo style salsas, then don’t puree as long! If you like finely pureed salsa, let the blender run an extra second or two. Once you’ve got them cooked and served, leave a comment in the section below and let us know: Red or Green?

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