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8 Doable Boondocking Meals

Delicious Boondocking Meals to Try

Off-grid RV camping has grown popular in recent years. Commonly known as boondocking, off-grid camping refers to a truly unplugged trip – though solar power is sometimes used. While off-grid camping can be particularly refreshing for many campers, it presents additional challenges to be tackled. One of these obstacles is figuring out how to cook without a full-hookup RV site. These delicious boondocking meals provide tasty solutions to boondockers who don’t want to sacrifice a fresh meal.

Dutch Oven Roast Lamb

A Dutch oven is a must-have for RVers and tent campers. They’re especially useful when it comes to boondocking meals. This Dutch oven roast lamb recipe from Bush Cooking is a warm, flavorful one-pot lamb dinner cooked over the campfire. This recipe includes a leg of lamb, of course, with garlic, rosemary, potatoes, carrots, onions and pumpkin. The ingredients are mixed together and seasoned before being roasted over a campfire for a deliciously hearty dinner.

Cooked chicken fajita mix next to two tortillas on a wooden table.

Image courtesy of Amanda Outside.

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Chicken grilled over a campfire is a common base for boondocking meals. In this chicken fajita recipe, you’ll also need a cast iron pan for simmering your chicken and veggies in sauce. After your chicken is browned, chop it up with bell peppers and onion. Mix the ingredients together in your family’s preferred simmer sauce and seasoning mix. Scoop your ingredients into a warm tortilla and top it off with a squeeze of fresh lime.

Seafood Combo Foil Pack

Fans of fish, shrimp, mussels and clams will love this seafood combo foil pack recipe. Foil pack recipes are a campground classic and a popular type of boondocking meals. This foil pack recipe calls for halibut, but you can replace with your fish of choice – or your camp catch of the day! The seafood is seasoned, wrapped with a clove of garlic and cooked over the fire. This is an especially easy recipe if you prefer to remove or replace certain types of seafood that you don’t like, so simply adjust it to fit your tastes!

Cilantro Chicken Avocado Dip

Though not specifically written for boondocking meals, this chicken and avocado dip is perfect for off-grid eating. The only cooked ingredient is chicken, which can be grilled or sauteed over a campfire. Chop up the cooked chicken and mix with avocado, cilantro and lime. These ingredients make for a filling dip that can replace a meal or serve as an afternoon snack. Tortilla chips and carrots are both recommended dipping options for this recipe. But feel free to get creative!

Chicken Stew and Dumplings

Take your boondocking meals to the next level with this vacuum-sealed chicken and dumplings recipe. The stew itself includes many traditional chicken and dumpling ingredients: biscuit mix, chicken, vegetables, onion, chicken bouillon and potatoes. This recipe in particular calls for mostly freeze-dried ingredients that can be stored without electricity. Pour your ingredients into a simmering pot of water, with the exception of the biscuit mix, which is added in pieces to create the dumplings. Before you know it, your freeze-dried ingredients are a warm winter stew!

Hawaiian Chicken Foil Packs

This sweet Hawaiian chicken foil pack recipe is an easy meal that can be cooked on the campfire. It combines classic flavors like barbecue sauce and soy sauce with tastes of the tropics via juicy pineapple chunks. Combine these with sliced scallions, chicken, red bell pepper, red onion, a bit of lemon juice and seasonings for a sweet-yet-savory foil pack dinner. When it comes to creative campground cooking, this foil pack is simple and sure to please.

Southwest Camp Salad

The only dish easier than campfire boondocking meals is a no-cook recipe! This southwest camp salad is packed with protein so you’ll be energized to take on the rest of the day. Mix together corn, chopped red onion, black beans, cheese and cilantro to make the salad. For the dressing, you’ll need a lime, olive oil, honey, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Once tossed together, you’re ready to dig into this super salad with a southwest flair.

Cooked Hawaiian chicken foil pack meal.

Image courtesy of Delish. Photo by Joel Goldberg. Food styling by Makenzie Gore.

Butter Garlic Herb Steak Foil Packs

Chicken and seafood are great for boondocking meals, but there’s nothing quite like a tender steak dinner. This foil pack recipe makes a steak-and-potatoes supper easy to serve up with just a campfire. The garlic herb butter topping is made with butter, parsley, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to give your meat and veggies a savory flavor. The heart of this dish is the steak pieces, along with potatoes, carrots, bell peppers and onion. After being cooked in a foil pack by a campfire, this butter garlic herb steak foil pack is ready to chow down!

When it comes to doable campground cooking, these are just a few of the best boondocking meals. There are hundreds more to try, test and experiment with! If you’re ready for a new RV built to take you off the beaten path, check out RVs for sale from Juniata Valley RV. We have everything from luxury fifth wheels to off-grid ready popup and teardrop campers for sale at our Pennsylvania RV dealership. Visit us here in Mifflintown or browse our inventory online from anywhere! Contact us when you’re ready to get started.

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Campgrounds for Winter RV Camping

Top Winter Campgrounds in Pennsylvania

Spring and summer are the prime seasons for campers here in Pennsylvania, but some RVers prefer to enjoy the great outdoors year-round. As a blanket of snow coats the campground, campers enjoy the peace and quiet cuddled together around the RV’s electric fireplace. With all the winter activities in PA, it’s not surprising that winter RV camping is a popular choice. We gathered this list of the best winter campgrounds in Pennsylvania so, this season, you can try your hand at camping in the cold.

French Creek State Park

This state park and campground is open year-round. French Creek State Park spans almost 8,000 acres through the Schuylkill Highlands. They have cottages and cabins to rent, and full-hookup sites for winter RV camping. The forests, lakes and wetlands that make up the state park are ideal for visitors to hike, fish, camp and bike. In winter months, the hiking trails and open areas of the park are perfect for skiing with proper snow cover.

Riverside Campground

In Montgomery, PA, Riverside Campground is a great destination for winter RV camping. This campground offers cabin rentals April through October and full-hookup RV sites year-round. There are 135 RV and tent camping sites available, some on the riverfront and others that border Montgomery Park. As long as you’ve got your RV ready for winter camping, Riverside Campground has a site for you year-round.

The sign at the entrance of the Loose Caboose Campground.

Image Courtesy of Loose Caboose Campground.

The Loose Caboose Campground

Winter in Amish country is as peaceful as it gets! The Loose Caboose Campground in Lancaster County is known for its large, wooded areas and secluded sites. Of course, you’re not far from nearby tourist attractions, but you’d never know it from the quiet of this campground. Loose Caboose also participates in Tents for Troops, which helps veterans find complementary campsites where they can relax and enjoy time spent in the great outdoors!

Shady Rest Campground

While winter campgrounds are perfect for relaxation, the enjoyment of winter outdoor activities can’t be overlooked! Shady Rest Campground in Union Dale, PA, is open year-round. While the wooded campground offers plenty of serene nights, it’s popular in winter because it’s just a few minutes down the road from Elk Mountain Ski Resort. It’s easy to enjoy winter activities before tucking into the RV at night at Shady Rest Campground.

Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountain KOA

Enjoy the on-site and surrounding local activities at this year-round KOA. The Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountain KOA is conveniently close to big city winter vacation destinations like Philadelphia, New York and even Hershey, PA. And, at the end of the day, there are plenty of activities at the campground itself to keep your family busy.

StonyBrook RV Resort

Looking for a luxury RV park to visit this winter? StonyBrook RV Resort is the place to go! This park has everything from pristine landscaping to fire rings and spa bathhouses. Their standard RV sites include a stone pad and seating area while their patio sites include a paved seating area where you can enjoy the outdoors. Or, if preferred, you can rent their premium sites complete with pavers, easy hookups, patio furniture and smokeless firepits so you can stay warm and comfortable. This luxury resort is open all year for winter RV camping with all camp events included!

Tall Oaks Campground

Spend the winter protected by the towering trees at Tall Oaks Campground. Located in the Laurel Highlands, you’ll find nearby state parks, state game lands and private nature reserves. Even better, the campground is just an hour drive from all the attractions available in Pittsburgh. On days you’d rather stay at camp, you can find everything from firewood at the camp store to free books and games at the lending library.

WaterSide Campground and RV Park

After you’ve hitched up to a new camper at Juniata Valley RV, head on over to WaterSide Campground along the Juniata River itself. This year-round campground is less than an hour away from Whipple Dam State Park. This park is known for cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling and more. If outdoor sports and activities are a favorite of your family, WaterSide Campground is perfect for your winter RV camping trip.

Kid on a ski trail during a winter RV camping trip.

Whether you need a new tiny camper for winter boondocking or you’re searching travel trailers for sale with a cozy electric fireplace, you’ll find tons of new RVs for sale at Juniata Valley RV. If winter RV camping isn’t your thing, you can always schedule a winterization appointment at our service department. Whatever your RV needs, our Pennsylvania dealership is here to help!

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Venison Recipes for Big Game Season

Could one of these venison recipes replace your turkey this Thanksgiving?

While Thanksgiving might be all about the turkey, fall is big game season! This means you and/or the hunters in your family may be rushing through dinner to get to the tree stand. Whether you are anticipating a freshly bagged buck or have a freezer stocked, here are some venison recipes to try this season.

 

Before we dive into these venison recipes, it is important to know that each cut of venison is unique and lends itself to best to different cooking methods and preparations. Let’s look at the cuts of venison and the suggested cooking methods.

Loin & Tenderloin

  • Filets/Steak
  • Chops
  • Kabobs

Neck, Shoulder & Shank

  • Roast
  • Stew
  • Soup
  • Braise

Leg & Rump

  • Steak
  • Stew
  • Braise
  • Roast
  • Kabobs

Flank

  • Soup
  • Stew

It is important to match the cut of meat to the cooking method and preparation to ensure that you are getting the best depth of flavor and texture from the venison. We’ve compiled a list of venison recipes for you to try this hunting season. The recipes are based on the cut of venison and can be cooked at home or in your RV kitchen and are guaranteed to make everybody happy campers!

Venison Recipes: Cuts of Deer

Venison Recipes: Loin & Tenderloin

The loin and tenderloin are considered prime cuts; they are the most flavorful and naturally tender cuts of venison. These cuts can be cooked via high heat grilling or pan searing and should be cooked medium-rare to medium with internal temperatures ranging from 130° to 135° F.

Venison Recipes: Marinated Venison Steaks

Image courtesy of Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Marinated Venison Steaks

This Marinated Venison Steaks dish adapted by Sam Sifton is a recipe from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. It’s a simple twostep recipe that could easily be prepared at home and marinated as your drive to your destination to be cooked in your RV or at your campsite. It is delicious and deserves to be a fall staple. It could even provide some competition for the classic Thanksgiving turkey. Turkey or venison, here’s how to successfully host an RV Thanksgiving dinner.

Grilled Venison & Bacon

We already covered all the best ways to cook outside the RV, so you know there’s normally a grill available at the campsite, attached as part of your RV’s outdoor kitchen, or accessible as a portable electric grill. You’ll need one of these for our next recipe: Grilled Venison Steak and Bacon. This recipe takes a little bit more prep work as you wrap the venison chunks in bacon, but you can enlist your friends and family to help because well…bacon! You can grill these individually as the recipe calls for or you could modify the recipe to make kabobs.

Venison Backstrap Steaks with Mushroom Cream Sauce Recipe

If you love mushrooms, this is the venison recipe to try! For this Venison Backstrap Steaks with Mushroom Cream Sauce recipe you will season your venison steaks (loin or tenderloin) to your liking and sear them in a buttered cast-iron skillet. You will then use these delicious pan drippings to sauté the garlic, a chopped onion and mushrooms before drowning them in heavy cream to create a heavenly gravy. Yes, please!

Venison Schnitzel

This Venison Schnitzel recipe is an honorable mention for us as it is not conducive to easy RV cooking, but you can take and process the game in camp and cook the fresh venison at home. The venison steaks will be dredged in flour and breadcrumbs which can get messy but is oh so worth it!

Venison Recipes: Grilled Venison Steaks

Image courtesy of MissHomemade.com

Venison Recipes: Hindquarter

Hindquarter cuts, such as sirloin, bottom round, top round, eye of round and the shank, are versatile and can be cut into steaks, cooked like a loin cut or slow cooked. These cuts of meat can be substituted into most venison recipes.

Venison Recipes: Venison Stew

Image courtesy of Miss Allie’s Kitchen.

Venison Roast Recipe

This Venison Roast recipe is the epitome of simple and easy with only 10 minutes of prep time! Because it calls for shelf stable ingredients, you could easily make this in your RV or onsite at your RV camp. This recipe uses a slow cooker and is truly a set it and forget it meal.

Venison Stew

Stew is unquestionably the quintessential fall food, and this is the perfect recipe for a hearty family meal. This Venison Stew recipe is gluten free, dairy free and paleo. And it’s packed with veggies and fall-apart tender venison. We recommend cooking this stew in a Dutch oven, as you know we love campfire Dutch oven recipes!

Chicken Fried Venison

Here is another recipe to make at home after you’ve had a bountiful hunting harvest; this recipe for Chicken Fried Venison recommends using steaks from the hindquarters. The venison steaks are pounded flat and tenderized before being dredged in batter, fried and blanketed with country gravy. Can gravy ever be wrong?! This recipe makes our country hearts happy.

Venison Recipes: Neck, Shoulder & Shank

These cuts are from naturally tougher areas and should be cooked slowly with braising or stewing. The flank steak and crosscut shank are considered the least tender cuts but, when prepared correctly, can be meltinyourmouth tender.

Venison Shanks, Juniper & Redcurrants

Jamie Oliver elevates venison to the next level in his recipe for Venison Shanks, Juniper & Redcurrants! This recipe calls for juniper berries, redcurrants, fresh rosemary, and red wine. This savory dish is perfect for a date night dinner or a special meal to celebrate bagging a trophy buck.

 

Braised Venison Shanks with Garlic

If red wine isn’t your thing, here is a recipe for Braised Venison Shanks with Garlic, which calls for white wine and pairs with garlic and lemon zest to deliver a lighter, more mellow flavor pairing. This recipe needs a side dish to soak up the sauce; we recommend mashed potatoes, because you can never go wrong in the fall with mashed potatoes!

 

Venison Osso Buco

This dish is inspired by the classic Italian dish of braised veal shanks but is next level when the meat is substituted for venison shanks. Braised in red wine and beef broth with herbs, this Venison Osso Buco recipe delivers robust flavor and deliciously tender venison.

 

Tips to Remember When Cooking Venison:

    • Venison fat is different than beef fat, and it does not taste great.
    • You should trim away the fat and silver skin before following venison recipes.
    • Remember, venison is lean. Take caution not to overcook.
    • Marinate, Marinate, Marinate! But do not oversalt the meat as it will dry the venison out.
    • Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking it.
    • Oil the meat, brushing each side with a little bit of oil before grilling or pan-frying it.
    • After cooking, let the venison rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to evenly disperse.

We hope you enjoy the big game season and these new venison recipes! If you are planning a camping or hunting  RV trip in the future, here are some make ahead meals for your trip and easy campfire dinners. If you are looking to make your RV dreams come true, the staff at Juniata Valley RV can show you some of our most popular models. And seasonal campers can browse our fifth wheels for sale in Pennsylvania.

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How to Host an RV Thanksgiving Dinner

Guide to Successfully Host an RV Thanksgiving Celebration

Celebrate with an RV Thanksgiving this year at your favorite fall campground! Why leave your southern vacation destination when you can host a beautiful family dinner in your camper? From essential prep to the best advice other RVers have to offer, here’s everything you’ll need to consider when you host an RV Thanksgiving dinner.

Clean Up & Prep for Hosting Thanksgiving

RV or traditional home, cleaning up is essential before guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure you give your RV a good scrub down and all your fall decorations are in order! One important consideration in your RV is space. This means, before you go on your Thanksgiving shopping trip, you should clean out your fridge and pantry. Get rid of all the expired food and make room for a three course Thanksgiving feast. You’ll need to store lots of ingredients and plenty of leftovers in your RV fridge.

Consider RV Thanksgiving Cooking Methods

We already covered all the best ways to cook outside the RV. Now, it’s time to decide whether you want to cook your turkey in the RV oven, haul a smoker to the campsite, or challenge yourself with an in-ground oven. There are tons of creative ways to cook Thanksgiving dinner, especially the turkey.

Take Advantage of Outdoor Space

Even the biggest RVs only offer a limited amount of space. When you’ve got the grandkids coming to your RV Thanksgiving, there likely isn’t a ton of space for everyone to unbuckle their belts at the booth dinette. There are two ways to take advantage of outdoor space – as a prep station or as a dinner table.

Winter at a southern campground means comfortable weather all season long. When you host Thanksgiving at a campground, we recommend setting up work and prep stations outside. This can mean using an outdoor kitchen, or a simple foldable table, as space to prepare your favorite pies and casseroles.

If you need more seating than the dinette offers, we recommend holding your RV Thanksgiving dinner outdoors. Enjoy fresh air and cool weather with your warm turkey and stuffing. Setting up tables outside means there will be more than enough room for everyone in the family to spread out and dig in.

Cook Thanksgiving Dinner in Advance

Even if you don’t completely cook your dishes, we recommend preparing everything in advance. This way, you’ll have less work on Thanksgiving Day and can spend more time with your family. Pies, casserole and stuffing are all great options to start preparing in advance. These can be safely stored in your freshly cleaned-out fridge, ready to pop in the oven on Thanksgiving.

Share the Work

Hosting an RV Thanksgiving is stressful! One way to lighten the workload is asking your guests to contribute. This might mean asking your guests to come early and help with prep. Or, it could mean asking your family and friends to bring fully prepared dishes. Assign your family members different casseroles and desserts. This way, you can focus on deep frying a delicious turkey!

If asking friends and family to contribute won’t work, you can always have your RV Thanksgiving dinner catered! Some restaurants and grocery stores offer Thanksgiving dinners to go, so all you have to do is heat up your meal.

Make Just Enough Food

Sure, we all love a leftover Thanksgiving meal, but in an RV too many leftovers can quickly take over the limited space. Think about how many people you plan to have at Thanksgiving dinner and make just enough food. Most recipes online will tell you how many the meal serves, and some can be automatically adjusted when you enter the number of people you plan to feed. If there’s no automatic adjustment, make some quick cooking conversions and you should be good to go!

Smaller portions and limited leftovers will help you save space both before and after Thanksgiving dinner. Even after you’ve cleaned out your fridge and pantry in preparation, space is sure to be limited if you plan to cook all or most of the meal yourself. If you want to make the most of your RV kitchen, the staff at Juniata Valley RV can show you some of our most spacious floorplans. And seasonal campers can browse our fifth wheels for sale in Pennsylvania.

Woman cooks in an RV kitchen.

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner in an RV doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Plan your dinner in advance, take advantage of all the space your campground offers and ask friends and family for help. And make sure, whatever you do, to leave room for dessert!

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How to Keep Your RV Warm in Winter

Camping in fall and winter presents a specific set of obstacles to overcome. One of the most pressing issues, of course, keeping your RV warm. Not only can cold weather damage your RV, specifically when temperatures drop below freezing, but a chill in your unit can put a damper on the whole trip. To help make winter RVing more enjoyable, we gathered this list of tips to help keep your RV warm in winter.

Keep Your RV Warm When You Camp in Winter

Insulate RV Floors

RV floor insulation will help keep your RV warm, of course, and will help reduce engine noise and vibrations on the road. Floor insulation should be installed between the floor and subfloor in your unit. The main options for floor insulation are foam board and automotive insulation.

Foam board insulation is thicker and often more effective at maintaining temperatures, but it’s rigid and difficult to install. Meanwhile, automotive insulation is flexible and easy to install. Additionally, it has a vapor barrier and high weight-bearing capabilities, which makes automotive insulation ideal for RVs. You can purchase automotive insulation online and install it yourself, or you can let the RV service technicians at Juniata Valley install it for you!

Insulate Your Doors and Windows

Much of the heat inside your RV is lost to the single-pane windows on all sides. If you feel a draft near the windows and doors, or a noticeable drop in temperature, you’ll know you need to work on the insulation. This can involve both upgrading your windows and doors, or replacing the caulking and stripping.

A low-cost option to help keep your RV warm is to re-caulk and replace the weather stripping. Weather stripping will easily last two to three years before it begins to deteriorate. After that, we recommend a replacement. You can also purchase shrink insulation to install on your windows.

On a similar note, you can check on the rubber seals and gaskets around your RV windows and doors. These should be inspected and lubricated regularly, and should be replaced once they begin to deteriorate. Cracked or hardened seals provide an easy path for cold air to slip into your unit.

The last option is a complete replacement to upgrade your RV windows and doors. You can opt to switch out cheaper, single-pane windows for more high-quality, energy-efficient options. The service department at Juniata Valley RV can help with this, of course!

Install an RV Skirt

RV skirts can be installed around the bottom of your RV to prevent cold air from entering the undercarriage. RV skirts are popular in colder months, plus they can often be aesthetically pleasing and offer extra storage space underneath your unit. RV skirting seals the air underneath your RV off from the outside, so the air there stays stationary and warm.

RV skirting can protect your pipes from freezing, which can cause damage if they are filled with water. Additionally, if the air underneath your camper is warm, it helps keep the floors warm as well. In this sense, RV skirts have the same logic as double pane windows. You seal off a pocket of warm air. By doing so, you gain another layer of insulation.

Additional RV Accessories

Another cost-effective, easy option to keep your RV warm is to purchase interior accessories. This means decorating your RV with window shades, curtains and rugs or carpets. These provide an additional layer of insulation to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. In addition to preserving heat, they can add to the homey feel inside your camper. You can easily add some décor that fits your tastes and personalizes your camper while saving cash on RV heat.

Portable Heat Sources

Another low-cost option to keep your RV warm and cozy is the addition of space heaters and electric blankets. These offer localized heat right where you need it. They’re especially popular heat sources at night. You can easily add a space heater to the bedroom, or huddle under the warmth of a heated blanket. As long as you use them safely and responsibly, these are great options to help stay warm.

RV Heat Pumps

Our last suggestion to help keep your RV warm in winter months is an RV heat pump. These pumps provide warm, dry air in your unit. They lower indoor humidity levels and raise the temperature. There are two types of RV heat pumps: ducted and non-ducted. In general, ducted pumps are better for large campers and non-ducted work in small campers. While these do require electricity to run, the addition of warm air and removal of humidity can go a long way to keep your RV warm.

A couple sits outside their travel trailer in the snow.

All of these resources, or any combination of them, will do wonders to conserve heat and help keep your RV warm all fall and winter long. Camping season doesn’t always have to end when the leaves fall! At Juniata Valley RV, we have plenty of RVs for sale that are ready to provide you with winter living. You can also check out our new RVs for sale specifically, and ask us about modern units with extra heating sources, like solar panels or an electric fireplace. Once you’re ready to see a unit in person, visit our dealership in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Our staff is always happy to take you on a tour!

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