Chellyd01 posted on General topics that she needed help planning camping meals for her SO...she is apparently a total camping virgin. So I thought we could all chip in here and share good recipes that are simple, don't involve a lot of prep, and will keep well. Apparently she is talking car camping, not backpacking...but both varieties of recipes might be nice.
Here's mine, Chelly:
Camping "Packaged Dinners"
Chicken breasts, boned and skinned. Freeze these ahead of time, put them in the cooler, and by the time they get to the campsite they'll be thawed enough to make this the first night. One per person.
Sliced zucchini, mushrooms, and onions. (about 1/2 cup per person. You can prepare ahead of time and store them in ziploc bags).
One medium potato (I like Yukon Gold) per person, washed, peeled, and sliced fairly thin lengthwise. (Again, try the ziploc trick)
One small jar (the smallest you can find...usually 8 oz) premade spaghetti sauce
Mozarella or Jack cheese, or any white cheese you like. Its ok to cheat and buy presliced.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Place one breast on a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. (You might want to use two sheets, or double-wrap). Layer potatoes, vegetable, and cheese on top. Drizzle on about a tablespoon or two of spaghetti sauce per serving, and salt and pepper to taste. Wrap it all up (again, you'll want sturdy foil!) and poke a hole or two in each package to vent.
The packages can be cooked on a grill on indirect heat, or even placed right next to wood coals on the fire if there is no grill. They will take about 45 minutes to an hour to cook; turn occasionally (tongs help for that!). The cheese will pretty all melt away, but it adds a nice flavor.....
An easy one dish meal that can be prepared in a campfire!
We usually do a greek salad and a mock-tandoori chicken the first night, as all the ingredients are pretty sturdy. My favorite thing to make recently is apple french toast.
Slice a bunch of french bread up and then tear it into chunks (cheap supermarket french bread is fine here-you're camping!). Peel, slice and cube some apples and toss w/the bread in a big pot or bowl. In another bowl, mix together eggs with a dash of milk and vanilla and cinnamon and brown sugar-a dash of OJ is great too. Stir into the bread and apples. Melt butter in a saucepan and cook the french toast jumble one layer at a time, flipping to brown on both sides. Serve with syrup.
The favorite recipe of the kids in our group is "buttery noodles"-cook noodles and drain. Add a big chunk of butter and one of cream cheese and some garlic to the noodles in the pan over low heat. Grate a bunch of parmesan, add salt and pepper. Chives are good, too. You could even (gasp!) add some veggies or a can of tuna. Stir until it's nicely coated.
I'm sick when it comes to camping food.
On my jeep trips across the desert southwest, my SO and I eat as well as we do at home and everyone else in camp always seems a bit jealous.
The secret is my vacuum packing machine.
When ever I make something that will travel well, I double it and freeze. For example, napa cabbage is on sale... chop and freeze. In a seperate bag (in the stages I use them in) I do chopped bell pepper, garlic, ginger and herbs and freeze. I take chicken that I've cooked and shredded (and frozen) and that becomes a stir fry with soba noodles.
Homemade mushroom ravioli in a garden fresh pesto? Yep, all in the freezer in bags ready to boil in camp for a five minute meal.
I tend to cook extra meats at home and freeze the chopped leftovers for simple camp tacos, nachos or burritos. I do the same with roasted vegis. The great part is that if you wrap the burrito in foil you have a hot lunch on the trail, foodie style, right off of the motor without ever firing up a stove. Mmmm... grilled vegi burritos rock!
I've gone back and forth the US camping a few times and have some staples that are always a hit and super easy to deal with. Although I think if you're an efficient griller camping is a piece of cake assuming you'll have a fire pit.
Corn on the cob - buy it fresh, soak in water, throw over the fire (assuming you'll have a fire pit of some kind)
I make pull pork ahead of time, it keeps really well in the cooler, then warm and serve with the corn.
Black beans - another easy one to warm in a pan over open fire.
Marinated chicken pieces. Thighs and big wings (NO WINGETTES). Marinate in your fave spices, throw over open fire.
Baked potatoes - yukon gold and sweet potato. Baked sweet potatoes are super yummy. Both can be sliced into 1/4 pieces and stuff in foil pak or bag with butter, salt & pepper.
Sausage, brats, etc. All super easy on the fire. Add some whole peppers and big slices of onions and these bad boys are terrific on a roll with mustard.
I also make a HUGE muffuletta sandwich - like 4 feet long - and slice into individual size sandwiches. These are a huge hit and good to pack if you're going hiking or canoing.
Kebabs of any kind are great too. Cut your veggies up before you leave. I like to bring along hummus and pita bread. Grilling the pita bread makes this one extra good.
If you have a dutch oven, I was checking out some sites with dutch oven recipes
just click on you favorite search engine for dutch oven recipes, and if you like that
kind of thing, you can get the recipes before hand and prepare for a nice trip. you
might be surprised about how good the scouts websites are too.
I second the dutch oven. A cast iron skillet is also a highly valuable camping tool. (car camping only...I'm not lugging a cast iron anything in a backpack). You can use the skillet on the camp stove or just stick on a grate over the fire depending on the situation and use it to cook pretty much anything that doesn't require precise temp control. (i.e. no eggs benedict while camping.)
Last time out with a group of 8 people, I was the food boss and we had chicken and dumplings for dinner one night, which was a big hit. I pre-chopped all of the veggies and meat and then froze them and just threw them in the cooler when we packed up. Cooked it over the fire in the dutch oven on the second day. That idea would work for anything that can just be tossed in and let to cook at pretty much any medium temperature. (beef or veggie stew for example). You could also venture into the realm of braised anything if you don't have friends that insist that the fire must be BIGGER like mine do. A nice low even bed of coals isn't an option camping with those jokers. Or you coudl use the dutch oven as it's meant to be used with coals under and on top and make darn near anything that you'd make in an actual oven.
I second the recs for the boy scout website for general guidelines and instructions in the use of a dutch oven. Did you know they can get merit badges for cooking?
And...I'm sure I'll get somebody pointing out that cast iron isn't supposed to be used for very wet and/or acidic things because it will mess with the seasoning/patina. I say throw caution to the wind and make sure you grease your cast iron well after every use.
Corn on the cob is great. You can leave it in the husks, the double wrap it in aluminum foil and place it around the outside of the fire for about 15-20 min, turning occasionally. The moisture in the husk steams the corn.
Quesadillas are super-easy too. And don't forget coffee. They sell old-style percolaters made for camping that you just place over the fire. A hot cup of coffee in the crisp, early morning hours is great.