I've got a bit of a puzzle on my hands. In about a month, I'm leaving the comforts of a grounded home to more or less drift the continent in a van (this is by choice. I know many live in vehicles out of desperation, but that is not the situation). The first obstacle aside from limited space is the lack of a refrigerator, or the ability to run a refrigerator at all times. So, storing cold food/ingredients is out of the picture. This also means I can't really store leftovers; so unless I'm cooking for company, I'll usually need to be cooking for one unless the dish can be stored at room temperature. Furthermore, I'm not one of those people who can eat nothing but twinkies and fast food burgers and maintain a healthy/able body. I have been pretty heavy in the past, and coming back from that was what triggered my interest in cooking in the first place. That being said, I need to be able to balance my nutrients. Most recipes I find or am able to create within my criteria would have me eating salt and carbohydrates in pretty massive abundance, which is no surprise. Lastly, although I do well enough as a freelance graphic designer to support this lifestyle (I hope!), I do still want to eat as frugally as possible.
Now, I know full well that there are plenty of recipes that fit through one or two of these filters; but I'm sure you all can understand it's been a bit tough to find any good number of recipes which satisfy all of these points. That's why I sought out a culinary community! If any of you are anything like myself, you love a good challenge. Most of you also probably know a great deal more about food than I do though, so I'd really love to hear what you would do in my circumstances. What equipment do you think you'd bring or buy? What kinds of food would you prepare on a hot summer day in the desert? A cold night in the mountain regions? What food or ingredients would you always have on hand?
Going over those criteria again briefly: You have limited space, no cold storage, you're cooking for one, you want balanced nutrition, and you want to stay on the cheap. I think the one criterion I don't share with many is that I don't care if it's easy to prepare. Still, I know those are hardly favorable conditions to cook under so treat these points more as guidelines.
I DO have a very capable electric system in my van, and will have at my disposal a large toaster oven, a propane grill with an additional burner built in, a set of cast iron cookware and some number of other pots and pans, and no shortage of utensils. I might pick up an electric burner or double burner so I don't need to use propane every time I boil water. I'm not asking you to cram your ideas entirely into a box so if you'd use something that I don't have (but could feasibly own/operate in a van), no problem!