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Going Camping - Need a good dinner idea

Hypothetically speaking, lets say you were going camping this weekend and were tasked to produce dinner for 11 people one night. Half of those people don't eat meat. One has a bunch of food allergies, including wheat and garlic, but she says if worse comes to worse she can make her own stuff.

And, all you have are cheap camp stoves.

Any ideas off the top of your head? I could go the easy route and raid the middle eastern store down the street and do hummus and filafil and pita, but I'm not sure.

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  1. 1st I need to know - are you going car camping (with access to a cooler etc?)? Or are you going on a canoe trip, or hiking, where weight makes a difference as well as refrigeration?

    2 Replies
    1. re: tochipotle

      car camping with coolers. I should be able to bring a decent amout of food.

      1. re: simply_victoria

        So, keeping it easy, I would pre-chop everything in advance. A hearty tofu ground beef macaroni (with wheat free pasta, or rice pasta) and cheese and tomatos. One pot, one camp stove. While that's cooking, the other stove could be used for baking a cobbler (tough for the wheat allergy though) or wheat free brownies for dessert. If that sounds too heavy (don't know if you'll be hiking or active all day and starving) I would do a tofu stir fry with lots of veg and rice (all pre-cut of course - can't say that enough!). Corn on the cob is also a big hit (but can be a big hit with the bears and the racoons in the middle of the night too - if you don't store garbage carefully). Hope you have fun!

    2. It really does seem off putting to try to accomodate everyone sometimes doesn't it?
      Foil packs would seem to do the trick in this situation, I have done them with tofu in the past, and lot's of vegetables, and then chicken and vegetables in the others. 'with the chicken packs I do cook and keep the chicken cold in advanced for safety reasons. And then rice to fill out the meal. Hummus, and filafil have plent of garlic, at least they should.
      Have fun!

      1. A big pot of black bean soup and some cheese quesadillas? You can do the soup in one pot and do the quesadillas in a skillet on one of the other camp stoves.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Andiereid

          the soup and quesadillas sound great! With a big green salad. Espec if the veg eats cheese and wheat allergy-prone person can eat corn tortilla-based quesadillas - corn torts come in larger sizes nowadays. .

          1. re: oakjoan

            Be sure to check the ingredients on the corn tortillas. I was surprised to see wheat listed as an ingredient in some. Go figure huh?

        2. I've made a salad for a ton of people at campsites. Get Mesclun (approx 5 prepackaged boxes), block of gorgonzola, pears/apple, toasted pecans, red onions, cucumbers, and dried cranberries dressed with a honey balsamic dressing. With some nice toasted bread (+ EVOO), it's a filling meal. If you bring tubs of hummus, olives and babaganoush, the better.

          5 Replies
          1. re: kayonyc

            We always used to make chili (vegetarian and/or meat) beforehand and bring it with us, reheating it whenever on the stove. The best!!

            1. re: stardar

              I second this... classic camping food.

              1. re: purple goddess

                I was thinking of going the chili route and making it the night before, meaning tomorrow.

                Does anyone have a good veggie chili recipe?

            2. re: kayonyc

              Oooooh, this sounds great as well - in reply to kayonyc

            3. Raid the Greek store AND prethread some skewers of chicken/lamb for a BBQ ( if you have a hibachi a little fire adds tot the camping atmosphere - and good for marshmallows after). You can add a couple of veggieburgers for the vegetarians and prechop stuff for a Greek salad. With hummus, tzatziki and pita, you'll be a star, and everyone will have something to eat while you wait for the heroes to fire up the BBQ. Ummm, cold beer?

              1. We always do curry with camping (outdoor) in Japan. Most of the time we use those curry mix "cubes" available in Japanese grocery store, and just pop them into a pot with onion, potatoes, vegetables, meat (which you can leave out in your case) and water and let it cook until everything is tender. It is very easy. It can be served with rice or just the potatoes in the curry.

                As other people have suggested, you can put tofu into the curry for those who don't eat meat. Pre-cutting all the ingredients will also save tons of times.

                1. I was thinking slicing and ciding a hilshire farms turkey sausage with potatoes and peppers. For the veggies do tempeh or some tofurky sausages.

                  1. you can make a salad bar in a cooler using prechopped vegetables and those little tupperware type lunch containers.

                    also, scrub some potatoes ahead of time and wrap them in foil. throw those on the hot coals for half an hour or so, turning occasionally. serve with sour cream, cheese, and vegetarian chili (made the night before and heated at the campsite). i love emeril's vegetarian chili recipe and have thrown away all my other vegetarian chili recipes.

                    1. Last time I went camping I made foil wrapped burritos filled with a variety of different things like cheese, black beans, veggies, shrimp, (for the non veggies) and served with salsa and guac. Just peel em open and spoon on top. For the wheat allergy use corn tortillas. You can prep these in advance and just toss them on the fire when its time to eat. At most campgrounds they provide a grill to put over your fire pit. The only thing that you need to be careful about is not leaving the burritos on the grill too long as they can burn easily if the fire is too high. For dessert we split bananas skin on and stuffed them with chunks of chocolate then wrapped them in foil and grilled till the chocolate melted. Ate with a spoon. Messy and so good after a long day of hiking.

                      1. Eggplant parm - I actually had the best eggplant parm EVER by cooking everything in foil packets on the grill. Earlier in the afternoon do some garlic and tomato and onion together, all in foil (double-wrapped) right on campfire. When it comes out smush it all together with some fresh basil and salt and pepper, add a little olive oil. The tomatoes should be juicy. Bring one of those cool tubes of tomato paste if you have one. You can slow-simmer in a pot if you want but you don't really need to. Just make sure it has time to sit so all flavors marry.

                        Later-- Grill the eggplant and toast up the rolls and top with soupy homemade campfire-marinara. No bread for your wheat-free friend.

                        I just foil-wrap any and all produce and cook on the fire when camping and it always tastes sooo delicious. Definitely get some fingerling potatoes and serve with a scoop of sour cream and fresh chives.

                        Grill fruit for dessert with ricotta or mascarpone.

                        Good luck! Post a report so we know how it comes out!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: foxy fairy

                          "Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook" has a great recipe for Southwestern Pinwheels using large spinach tortillas...cream cheese, shredded cheese, scallions, salsa, chipolte chiles, spinach leaves and sprigs of fresh cilantro. Wrapped in a roll and cut into slices. Keep wrapped tight in plastic wrap, chilled and cut in pinwheels before serving.

                          ((I had a variation on his idea on an earlier response and found this in my cookbook today)

                        2. We went camping last weekend and for one dinner we had tacos in corn tortillas. The "in charge" person pre chopped/pre-prepared the lettuce, salsa, refried beans, meat, etc.etc. People then can put whatever combo they want (the vegetarians had beans) and it minimized tyhe need for utensils and stuff. It was very good!

                          I just realized that my reply is a few days late for your trip. Maybe next time :-)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ctl98

                            We camp a lot and tacos are our family tradition for the 1st night :)

                          2. I am wheat-free (celiac) and here are some of my tips:
                            - Cedar's hummus (gluten-free) or homemade with cucumber slices
                            - cornbread (without wheat flour) in a cast iron skillet over a camp stove/fire
                            - I eat the Aztec brand corn tortillas - for quesadillas
                            - grilled portabellos filled with cheese or spinach or tomato sauce, etc...
                            - love the foil wapped potatoes tossed in the coals
                            - for dessert: take a bannana, slice down the middle (not cutting all the way through), stuff with chocolate chips, optional add nuts/mini marshmellows, wrap in foil and toss into the hot coals for a while (10 min?). Let cool a few mins then open up and scoop out of the skin with a spoon. heaven. and a good alternative for your wheat free friend to s'mores (grahm crackers are off limits).

                            have fun!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: PamelaD

                              Remember the least amount of cooking the less time to clean pots and pans especially in cold water and the more time to HAVE FUN .I steam or boil or have meats that go inside the bread from the grill hot dogs,kabobs,wraps such as burrito size tortillas come in handy Have Fun!!!!!

                              1. re: scunge

                                I had to laugh because we love cooking over the camp fire, so I feel like that is most of our time camping - and we like it. Eat, hike/bike, eat...you get the idea.

                                Anyway, we always have migas or chiliquilles in the morning - its a tradition, and so good over the campfire. We have a cast iron skillet that we take. For Thanksgiving we did chicken legs with sliced up peppers and onions. Roasted sweet pototoes and bananas (in aluminum foil) and salad. We have done smores of course, but sinc e my son and I are Celiac we actually used corn tortillas the first time and melted in aluminum foil - not bad. We have also just brought wheat free graham crackers that I make or you can order them online. Risotto is great over the campfire - you just bring rice, broth or cubes, and cook it slowly in the cast iron skillet. The possibilities are endless.

                                The trick to camping is: 1. Preslice things before you go, so all you have to do it toss them in. 2. Here in California (I don't remember having this problem in Idaho growing up), guard your food! Racoons will eat half your meal while you turn around to flip the chicken for the fajitas - we learned that the hard way, several times. 3. Bring spices! You can premix spice blends in little baggies and it makes such a difference.

                            2. Fajita's are great camping food! marinade the vegies (presliced) and meat in separate zip lock bags, get salsa, sour cream, guac, ect. Just thriw all the meat and vegis on the grill.

                              1. Well, thanks all for the advice. I ended up serving Emeril's veggie chili on my night to cook and it went over fantastically. I had precooked some brown rice and offered blue corn chips.

                                Everyone kept complimenting. The pot was empty at the end.