A Trucker’s Guide to Cab Cooking
With long stretches on the road and seemingly limited options for food, most truck drivers end up eating packaged items, fast food, or choose to go to a restaurant. Not only is it a challenge to make healthy choices with these options, but the cost can also eat away at your paycheck. When you add up approximately $30 in food per day for a year’s worth of work, you’re looking at over $10,000 in food expenses easily. Truck drivers that make their own food can pocket extra money, have more versatile options, and end up with healthier, nourishing meals.
For a functional truck kitchen set up, you will need to have on-hand stock items in either cupboards (if you have them) or storage bins with secure lids. With time and practice, you will find that it is easy and more filling to cook meals in either a small crock pot or an electric skillet. With your combined on-hand ingredients, pick 2-4 of your favorite things to combine and make a meal.
- For Mexican flair, try quesadillas using salsa, cheese, chicken, onions, and tortillas. Later in the week, use the same stock ingredients with eggs and potatoes instead of chicken for a delicious breakfast burrito.
- Try out different styles and flavors of quick-cook rice combined with a meatless but hearty protein like black beans and a can of corn; these are all easy options when you are in a hurry.
- For a pasta fix, add broccoli and thick cut deli roast beef to bow tie or macaroni pasta. Put the leftovers in a crock pot with beef broth for a comforting beef soup the next day.
Small crock pot
gallons of water
kitchen basics like cooking utensils, measuring cups and a couple of mixing bowls
your favorite on-hand stock pantry items
Pantry Stock Items
1 minute rice
Pasta: bow tie, elbow, macaroni or other favorites
Frozen/steamer bag veggies
Thick cut deli meat: chicken, turkey, beef or ham
Precooked, refrigerated chicken or beef strips
Chicken and beef bouillon (powdered is best)
Favorite seasonings like: Steak or Poultry seasoning, paprika, sea salt, pepper, Italian spices
Making Counter Space and Cutting
Use the top of a cooler, a large butcher block, or even a well-made metal, wood, or plastic tray as counter space when prepping meals
Look for knives with plastic blade covers for both safety and durability
Taking Care of Cleaning & Storage
You can use an empty crock pot, cooler or even empty, unplugged electric skillet as a makeshift sink. Get rid of used water in your portable toilet.
Use a plastic container with a removable top or flip-top to store utensils. Aim for plastic utensils when possible to avoid excessive clanking in the truck.
For the Thrill Seeker
If you’re feeling adventurous, invest in high quality kitchen appliances like a heating blender or a slow cooker/electric pressure cooker combo. These upgraded kitchen appliances can take your menu options to the next level. A high quality blender with heat settings can perform multiple kitchen duties aside from making smoothies or drinks. Some blenders can puree your vegetables, broth, and spices. Once you add meat or other whole components, it will heat the blender contents to create a fresh soup, stew, or sauce.
The key is to remember that cooking in your cab kitchen does not mean you will have boring, repetitive meals. With very little ingredients on hand, its quick and easy to make flavorful dishes that will give you energy during long stretches on the road and leave you feeling nourished.
As you begin, remember that trial and error is key to success and feel comfortable changing your routine in order to fit your personal preferences. Any meal cooked in your cab kitchen will save you money. Every new recipe you try, you will be one step closer to being master of your cab kitchen.
Have tips for cooking in your cab or great recipes for on the road? Share them with us and be entered to win a $250 Driver Appreciation Award!