Meal planning for camping trips can be overwhelming, especially when trying to find RV-friendly recipes that please the palates of both kids and adults.
We’ve got your back with these easy, kid-friendly dinner and snack recipes that will fuel everyone in the family—grandkids included. But first, here are some cooking tips for small travelers.
Tips for Cooking for Kids
- Ask your kids to help plan menus. Including their favorite dishes in meal plans makes it more likely they’ll be excited about mealtime.
- Get the kids into the kitchen—being included in meal preparation will make more foods familiar to them, which may make them more likely to try new ingredients.
- Pair new ingredients with things the kids already enjoy eating, so that new dishes won’t feel as unfamiliar.
- Make meals that are easily customizable at the table, like tacos or rice bowls, so the kids can choose what to add to their plates.
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Pepperoni Pizza Dippers
This fun, quick, and easy recipe is a cross between grilled cheese, mozzarella sticks, and pepperoni pizza. It’s bound to be a crowd pleaser for kids and adults alike. This is an easy recipe for kids to help with—have them assemble the sandwiches while you warm up the marinara sauce.
- 1 ½ cups jarred marinara sauce
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 8 slices thick-cut white bread (like Texas toast)
- 4 slices of provolone cheese
- 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces thin-sliced pepperoni
- In a small saucepan, mix the marinara sauce and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Heat over medium heat while making the rest of the recipe, occasionally stirring until hot.
- In a small bowl, mix the butter, remaining dried oregano, and garlic powder until well combined.
- Spread herbed butter evenly on both sides of the bread slices.
- Layer a slice of provolone cheese, 1 ounce of pepperoni, and 1 ounce of mozzarella cheese on four slices of the buttered bread. Top with the remaining four slices of bread.
- Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and add the sandwiches to the pan. Toast on both sides until golden brown and the cheese is melted.
- Cut each sandwich in half and then each half in half to make four equal sticks.
- Serve with the marinara sauce for dipping.
This recipe is easily adaptable to your family’s favorite pizza toppings—replace the pepperoni with sausage, sliced leftover meatballs, or cooked vegetables.
Cheesy Chicken and Cauliflower Pasta
Serves: 4 to 6
This cheesy, veggie-packed pasta is an easy stovetop macaroni and cheese. But since kids can be picky about their mac and cheese preferences, calling this a pasta dish gives them a way to open their minds to something new.
If you’re using block cheese, let the kids help by grating the cheese while you cook the pasta.
Whisk together the evaporated milk, eggs, butter, dijon mustard, paprika, granulated garlic, and white pepper ahead of time to make this recipe easier to assemble at the campsite. Store the mixture in an airtight container in your cooler or refrigerator.
- 4 cups cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces dried pasta
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 6 ounces evaporated milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 6 ounces medium-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced into bite-sized pieces (leftovers or a rotisserie chicken work well)
- Place the cauliflower in a medium saucepan with half a cup of water. Cover and place over medium-high heat to steam the cauliflower. Once the cauliflower is fork tender, after about 7 to 10 minutes, remove from the heat and drain into a colander. Set aside.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat in a small skillet and add the panko bread crumbs. Cook until the bread crumbs are golden brown and toasted. Set aside.
- Add the dried pasta to the same saucepan and add water until it just covers the pasta. Stir in the salt and simmer over medium-high heat, occasionally stirring, until the water boils and the pasta cooks through. By the time the pasta is cooked, it will have absorbed most of the water with just a bit of water left in the pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the evaporated milk, eggs, melted butter, dijon mustard, paprika, granulated garlic, and white pepper in a medium bowl.
- Once the pasta is cooked, add the milk and egg mixture to the pot. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the milk mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
- Add the cheese to the pot until it melts. Then fold in the cooked cauliflower and chicken.
- Serve. Top each serving with toasted breadcrumbs.
Substitute the cauliflower with your kids’ favorite veggies—cooked broccoli, peas, and winter squash all work well in this dish.
Make-Your-Own Taco Dogs
Taco dogs are a fun twist on two classics. Kids will love customizing tacos with their favorite toppings, and they can even cook their hot dogs over a campfire.
- 8 crunchy corn taco shells
- 8 hot dogs
- ½ head romaine lettuce, shredded
- 24 grape tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 avocado, diced small
- 1 jar of salsa
- Toast the taco shells in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat until warmed through; if your RV has an oven, you can also toast them on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Cook the hot dogs. Pan-fry in a non-stick skillet or let kids toast them on sticks over an open campfire.
- Place the lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, avocado, and salsa into bowls to create a make-your-own taco bar.
- To serve, fill the taco shells with cooked hot dogs and let everyone in the family choose their toppings.
We’ve suggested toppings, but get creative and add your favorite taco fillings to your taco bar.
Cheez-It Chicken Tenders
What kid doesn’t love chicken tenders–or Cheez-Its? These cheesy, crispy, pan-fried chicken tenders are quick and easy to whip up for an outdoor dinner at the campground—and we can confirm adults will love these tenders too. Let your kids smash the Cheez-Its while you gather and prep the rest of the ingredients.
- 2 cups Cheez-It crackers
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise into 8 equal(ish)-sized tenders
- 4 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
- Ranch dressing for dipping
- Place the Cheez-Its into a zip-top bag. Try to remove as much of the air as possible and seal well. Use a small skillet to smash the crackers into crumbs.
- Set up a breading station using three bowls. In one bowl, whisk together flour and kosher salt. Crack the egg into the second bowl and whisk until it’s smooth and well combined. Pour Cheez-It crumbs into the third bowl.
- Bread each chicken tender by dipping it in flour to coat. Shake off excess flour. Next dip into the egg mixture. And finally, dip into Cheez-It crumbs until the chicken tender is well-coated. Try to use one hand for the dry ingredients and one hand for the wet ingredients, so your hands don’t also get breaded.
- Place tenders on a plate as you finish breading each one.
- To pan-fry, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and place chicken tenders into the pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on the first side until golden brown. Flip the tenders and add the remaining oil to the pan. Swirl the pan to evenly distribute the added oil.
- Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes until the second side is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
- Serve with ranch dressing or other preferred dipping sauce.
You can substitute Goldfish crackers for the Cheez-Its if you’re more likely to have those on hand.