Four ingredients or less



The 1969 Shasta Compact has an electric-only fridge, which means food easily spoils in those unplugged hours on the road between campground A and campground B. This means that as I try to accomplish some work during the day, my wife and son will be frequenting the local Piggly Wiggly for supper and breakfast supplies.

Between the refrigerator restriction and the fact that our Honda Element is already crawling along with the Shasta in tow, we are trying to keep our food stuffs to an absolute minimum. I am starting to collect recipes with four ingredients or less that cook easily in one pan, are ready in fifteen minutes or less, and manage to be at least decently tasty.

Tonights concoction was a heavily-scaled version of Gumbo, requiring the purchase of brown rice, grape tomatoes, green pepper, and chicken sausage (plus cayenne pepper, garlic salt, and olive oil — already stocked in the ‘pantry’). The sultry stew ubiquitous in the Big Easy it was not, but my two bowlfuls were piping hot, tasty, and utterly satisfying.

Okay, fellow budget travelers. I want to hear from you. What are some of your favorite, stupidly-easy recipes that live up to my criteria? Send them along in the comments below, and thanks for the help!

12 thoughts on “Four ingredients or less

  1. I like angel hair pasta + pasta sauce + parmesan (boil pasta – only takes a few minutes, drain, add sauce, top w/cheese). Couscous is also a great base for veggies and chicken breast if you like. There are couscous mixes that are already seasoned. You can saute the chicken or vegetables, set aside and make the couscous by boiling water adding couscous and leaving covered for 5 minutes. Add cooked veggies and/or meat and voila – dinner!

    • Hi Puravida. Thanks so much for the tips. With a toddler in tow, we will definitely be munching on some serious pasta. The couscous idea is fantastic and would lend itself to so many variations. Thanks for the tips. Much appreciated! Cheers.

  2. Chicken and pepperoni stir fry – 1lb chicken cut in bite size chunks, 3 oz pepperoni sliced in strips, veggies. I use frozen peas and zucchini cut in half circles. Also need 2 garlic cloves chopped, 3/4 beef broth, crushed red pepper for zip, 1T each basil and oregano, 3T flour, s&p, zip lock bag.
    Place chicken and half the basil and oregano in bag, shake to coat. Put chicken, pepperoni and garlic in non stick skillet and cook until chicken no longer pink (5-8 minutes). Set aside in bowl. Add rest of ingredients to skillet and cook until veggies done. Add chicken mixture back to skillet and mix. Enjoy!

  3. Sam’s (and maybe Walmart?) sells cans of Members Mark Chicken Breast in water that’s not bad at all. Makes great chicken salad with green grapes… but then I guess you’d need some mayo too…. hmmm, I see your problem. I’ve also used it to add to a flavored rice mix—you know the kind, add water, pour in season pack. Anyway, the canned chicken breast is a decent way to add some meat to your dishes that doesn’t have to be refrigerated. You probably need to think about your cooking much like you would for tent camping/hiking. By the way, I browsed recently some blogs of people living in RVs and vans and they show how they tricked out their vehicles and discuss electrical needs and how they solved them. I’ll email you some links.

  4. I like to keep lots of dried goods such as rice and oatmeal on hand and I always stop for good Gleaning opportunities. People love to share their fresh veggies if you talk to them about gardening. Also, my fridge has a crisper drawer in the bottom that I sometimes just plunk a block of ice in. I have not been following but I am reading up now. 🙂
    I am trying to keep my wanderlust in check right now, we’ll see if I can control myself!
    Happy Trails.

  5. corned beef hash in a can with eggs. Just make sure you get a brand name kind, not a generic one. Not all corned beef in a can is created equal.:) And if you fry it for long enough with a little butter thrown in it’s actually pretty good. One of Sheppard’s gluten free staples. Or how about hobo dinner in a pan instead of in foil buried in the coals of the fire (that takes a long time!) You do have to go to the store to get ground beef, but it’s good. potatoes sliced thin thin thin, ground beef, tomatoes (or tomato sauce or even just ketchup), onion, and carrots layered in the frying pan. Dump in a bit of water and cover the pan until the veggies are soft and the meat is done.

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