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Camping Trip Food (with little to no cooking)

I'm on a 3 day trip in AZ this weekend and wanted to ask for ideas on what to bring. Since it's still quite warm here, spoilage is an issue. I did search some other camping threads and there were some nice recipes, but I'm not sure about how well we can keep stuff frozen/chilled. By the 3rd day, the chicken might be a litte suspect!

We can drive to the campsite, so packing weight isn't too much of an issue. I know some granola and jerky would work, but I want to kick it up a notch. For example... foil packets of Indian food (sold at specialty markets, Trader Joes, etc.) seem like an interesting idea. They can be warmed in hot water. Similarly, I've been enjoying the tuna and other fish now sold in foil packs. No need to be kept in a fridge, though I'm not sure what to do with them in the wild (I guess bring a one-time use jar of mayo) and make something.

Any other thoughts on easy-cook meal ideas? Thanks!

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  1. I forgot to add... anything in cans/jars is game as well. I'm happy to miz and match these with dry goods in a one dish pot. A can of XYZ brand chile + bag of pasta noodles, for example. Quick and easy.

    1. Fondue. You can do the prep ahead.

      1. I always do some granola and then get asceptically packaged milk or soy milk. It makes a good filling breakfast and doubles as a trail mix later on. This recipe from Alton Brown is great; easy and tasty. I vary the nuts (my fave is to replace the cashews w/ sunflower seeds - it's cheaper and the kids like it better).


        Why can't you bring an ice chest if you have a car? It can make a world of difference in the quality of food you can enjoy.

        Whoops. Just re-read your post and noticed you mentioned granola, sorry to have gone w/ the obvious.

        1. Google "scouts" "food" and you'll get plenty. Some of it is just adequate, but there are some real gems as well - and the gems are especially well suited to the camping experience (do you really want white-tablecloth food in such a non-tablecloth setting?)

          I'll get you started: http://www.scoutorama.com/recipe/

          1. I grew up going on camping trips with my mom and her friends. Car camping with good food and wine and sometimes backpacking with good food and less wine. A couple of things to try:
            Fantastic Foods hummus mix with pitas/carrots-- it's a yummy post-hike appetizer and you only need to add water

            for breakfast-- mix dried cherries, toasted walnuts, cous cous and powdered milk and sugar (not exactly sure on proportions, but I think you could eye-ball it) in individual zip-lock bags; in the morning you just need to dump the mix in a bowl or travel mug and add boiling water

            for dinner- wow, lots of choices; if you start out with ice or ice packs in a cooler I think you could keep fresh veggies for at least two days so you could try a fresh meal the first night (homemade camper's stew, steaks, pork chops), then some kind of cured sausage over the fire or on the cookstove with sauteed asparagus for the second night (or omlettes-- eggs keep a good while out of the fridge esp. if you wipe them with veggie oil)
            Fantastic Foods vegetarian sloppy joes are also good
            Or what about quesadillas (if you got adventurous I bet you could roast a red pepper over the open fire)? Cheese lasts a while.
            I also recommend Annie's mac and cheese (white cheddar) with almost anything mixed in (chunks of peppery salami, fresh tomatoes, etc.)

            I personally am not so excited about the packaged fish, but let me know if you come up with anything delish. I know a lot of hikers get into the sardines.

            And in my opinion, brandy and hot chocolate are a must, unless it's really hot out, which it probably is in AZ. Oh well.

            I love the camping! Have fun.

            1. We just went and had some yummy food. My favorite was chilaquilles for breakfast. Eggs don't have to be kept as cold as meat (in Europe they are stored on the counter). In a cast iron skillet over the fire or coals, saute some onions, red peppers and at the end some tomatoes. Add some chipotle chile powder, cumin and salt. set aside and to the same pan add tortillas slices and toast) add eggs to that and then the veggies back in. Squeeze fresh lime, and mmmm...that's camping. Risotto over teh fire also worked well. We used freeze dried peas and mushrooms. Not quite as good as fresh, but tastey. You could also make a good socca i bet (there are some recipes on here)

              1. There are some great al in one pancake mixes that are great for camping trips. I like the vanilla malted pancake and waffle mix on amzon the best. Another one is pamela's mix that is good for a lot of things as well.

                1. We car camp in AZ, also. One cooler for beer and wine and one cooler for food. If you put the food in frozen, it'll stay cold longer. Freeze 3/4 full water jugs and they'll last longer than regular ice cubes. We'll monitor our coolers and keep out of the sun. That makes a difference.

                  Our go to when camping is lots of fresh veggies and fruits that we grill. Leftover veggies are added to eggs in the morning to put in burritos. Grilled stone fruit is a great dessert.

                  1. This is totally uncreative, but sardines, crackers, mustard and hot sauce would be tops on my list.

                    Also summer sausage and salami.

                    1. For our car camping I take a smallist 3+ day cooler (Igloo and Coleman have these), using ice blocks or water frozen in half gallon rectangular juice bottles. This holds things like mayo, lunch meat, and eggs. I don't waste this space on cold drinks. And I don't take more than a day's worth of raw meat, both for safe storage reasons, and for safe cleanup.

                      I use more canned and packaged goods while camping than at home.

                      Canned tuna in olive oil can be turned into a salad using its oil, some vinegar, chopped vegies. TJ used to sell mixed vegetable bruscheta toppings that made a good base for this sort of salad.

                      The heat-in-a-pouch items work in camp. Hearty crackers like pilot bread work with these. I also use flour tortillas, or any of the other flat breads the TJ sells.

                      Quick grits work well for breakfast. My 1 can of Spam/yr allowance is usually eaten while camping.

                      There's is company called Minimus (or something like that) that sells (online) a wide selection of mayo, mustard, etc in single use packets.