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Ideas for longer camping trip

We are camping for 2 weeks this summer. Planning for the food can be a little tough. Looking for some inspiration for some camping meals that we won't get bored of. We will intermix the usual hamburgers, hotdogs, steaks, but we are looking for some different ideas.

We will have options to restock along our trip, so fresh stuff is available. We have a 2 burner coleman stove and can grill over the fire. We will also be bringing our small back country oven, so baking is possible, but only small portions, which is fine, we are only 2 people.

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  1. Are you car camping or are you backpacking?

    I recently made a rice dish with chinese sausage, leeks, chili paste, soy sauce, garlic, minute rice. We were backpacking so i got the oily-er sausage, rendered some of the fat before i put in the leeks and rice. It is a nice dish to have since you crave warm and rich food...

    powdered coconut milk, tetra pack tofu/ dried tofu and some light veggies ( little thai eggplant) makes a great thai curry if you are not too worried about going too light weight. Quinoa and couscous is our standard grain because it is faster to cook.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jeniyo

      we are car camping....

      cous cous is a good idea, quinoa I thought of. I cook brown rice at home, so I am thinking that converted brown will be a good option. Powdered coconut milk is a great 'pantry' idea.

    2. well in this case, you can also throw eggs in the rice dish, so it'll be fried rice. Have it with some good jasmine tea. (my grandmother does this).

      get your hands on some nice demi glace and you'll be set for chilis and soups. We had nice beef soups with shrink wraped, cooked, pot roast meats (TJ's)- just add carrots, demi glace, stock/water, a bit of flour and grill up some potato pancake mix.

      dried ravioli in soup forms is a great stable with the last of your leftover veggies. Sack of herb de provence is very handy and lux.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jeniyo

        I like the 'pot roast' idea. I am up in Canada so no trader joes, but maple leaf puts out those types of roast. could even make it into a beef/barley soup/stew. what would you use for demi glace? I am thinking just a beef stock would work too.

        1. re: cleopatra999

          absolutely! demi glace is just a reduced version of the stock. if you are not dying to safe space, stock is fine. It is pretty expensive anyway.

          1. re: jeniyo

            Knorr has a dry sauce based labeled as a demi glace. That, I believe, is the name in Canada. In the US it might just be 'brown sauce'. The Knorr seem to be more common in Canada. Anyways, I used one such mix to make a gravy to go with lamb chops when camping, and was happy with the result.

            I travel with a relatively small cooler, so don't have room for home made stocks and condiments. The main items in my cooler a deli meats, cheese, a small jar of mayo, a 1L box of juice, and maybe fresh meat for the next dinner.

      2. i love doing kebabs when camping. also campfire baked potatoes. and with the 2 burner stove you can do omelette station in the morning :-)

        1. I described some of my on-the-road purchases and cooking in this Idaho trip last summer:
          and a similar trip in British Columbia in this thread

          5 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            thanks paulj, some interesting ideas, and actually the places to eat in the B.C thread was very helpful as that is where we will be.

            this is not relevant and hopefully will not get pulled, but can you tell me where you camped around Lillooet?

            1. re: cleopatra999

              Just outside of Lillooet on 99 (south) there's a BCHydro campground that is free.

              1. re: paulj

                was it nice? we are going to be there for a few days.

              2. re: cleopatra999

                Lawd, if you make it to Vanc. Isl. find me here!

              3. re: paulj

                Another BC camping trip report, this time for Vancouver Island

                On an earlier trip to Bella Coola (mid coast BC), I bought a salmon steak from a local fish retailer, and sauteed in some olive oil on the camp stove. It was one of my best salmon preparations, just the right blend of being done on the inside and crisp on the outside. However finding fish in good meal size portions can be tricky in these coastal communitees. Most of the fish is shipped out, and consumed at home.

                One of my favorite 'breads' for camping is pilot bread, which is a refined version of the old ship's biscuit or hardtack. In Canada Purity of Newfoundland may be the only baker of this. It is easiest to find in coastal stores. In the US I have to use the Sailorboy brand I can find in the Seattle area (and Alaska).

                Elsewhere I like to buy the rolls that are sold in bulk near the deli. BC stores generally have a better deli meat selection than US ones, even in small towns. Except for last year's trip in Idaho, I end up using less fresh meat when camping than at home. Partly it is price and selection, and partly the fact that it needs greater care when keeping it cool, and more attention to sanitation when cooking.

              4. gouda lasts quite some time on a camping trip

                you can make an awesome onion soup in a tinfoil pack thrown on the fire, cut top off onion, dig a bit of a hole in the top, put one tsp butter + boullion cube over it, touch of water and cook. (you can add more stock later for soup if you like

                i make a savory and a sweet snack mix, if you're interested i can post the ingredients...

                good luck!

                2 Replies
                1. re: lollya

                  that onion soup sounds great, couple of questions...do you peel the onion? do you double wrap it? have you tried topping it with cheese or bread? that would be a nice touch. maybe just toast the bread separately then put grated cheese on top with serving. I really like this idea.

                  keep 'em coming!

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    Um, i'm sure you could do either, but i peeled the outer skin of the onion...sliced off the top and bottom then dug a hole out. you cn definitely double wrap. if you want the soup, cook the broth separate and add to the bowl with the onion (it should just fall apart after being cooked. you can top with cheese and eat with toasted bread for sure. If you wanted you could bring homemade croutons to plop in for effect.

                2. We camp pretty often and I almost always make a link of kielbasa on the grill for dinner one night. I chop up the leftovers and add it to diced potatoes and onions in the morning for kielbasa hash. Especially good with a sweet potato in there!
                  I also tend to bring a corn/black bean/red pepper salad. No mayo, so I'm not nervous to keep leftovers for the next meal or a snack. It goes well with burgers, sandwiches, fish...
                  Breakfast is usually either pancakes or burritos.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CeeBee

                    Yum, love the kielbasa idea, will have to use that one this summer! And the corn/bean salad!

                    We keep it simple too. I usually bring marinated chicken breasts in a ziploc, usually frozen first, then thrown in the cooler, and grill them for fajitas or just plain chicken, like my 5 & 7 yo's like.

                    We also do bacon, scrambled eggs & cb hash in the cast iron on the campfire, no grill required.

                  2. Some really good ideas here. I would think all things grill or firepit. Lamb, steak, sausages, kebobs. The good thing is there is like almost zero cleanup.

                    I usually make a giant pasta or rice salad ahead of time and pop it in a ziplock. We eat it several times and when we are downright sick of it,we add chicken or salmon to it and it turns into something new and delicious. You can make up potato salad ahead and corn on the cob is awesome on your fire. While doing one night's meal, consider the following night - meaning roast the peppers and such while you have a fire going.

                    Also, you can do rice ahead and pack it. Just heat it up. You can do it in heavy foil so you just heat, eat, toss. Heavy duty foil is the answer to happiness. My FIL insists he wraps potatoes in heavy foil and drop them in the fire. I have my doubts. We stick a skewer thru them and plop them on the fire outside direct heat. You could foil them up there. Bring tongs.

                    Most importantly: Ice. Wine. Beer. Or for you - prosecco!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                      I sure like the idea of lamb for a change and we will definitely pack our metal skewers.

                      1. re: cleopatra999

                        here's a question, what about desserts, other than the usual banana boats and s'mores?

                        1. re: cleopatra999

                          How about Clafouti? pineapple upside down cake in a cast iron over the fire? There is this popcorn ball that I saw on food TV done by Paula Deen - I will look it up : http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa... You could pop corn and have it with your drinks pre dinner and then use the rest for the balls. YUMBA!

                          1. re: cleopatra999

                            For dessert . . . how about taking along a dutch oven? We always have one in the camp box and it's really fun to play with......we take along sourdough starter, and bake cinnamon rolls, biscuts, pancakes, plus use the dutchy for baking brownies (from a mix), pies, cakes, bread, fruit cobblers, etc. I'm not familar with back country oven, but I imagine you could bake any of this stuff in one. Grilled fruit, like peaches, pears, is good with a splash of balsamic vinegar, too. Choco quesadillas are fun, too.

                            For dinners I always make Paul Prudomme's BBQ shrimp (which is cooked in a skillet, not grilled) and rice first night out, then stuff like cornish game hens (packed frozen, and wrapped in foil and baked in coals or grilled), ribs, and lamb steaks. Longer trips, I'll pack stuff like frozen chile verde or stew, that is good for 4-5 days under ice. If we are going to be a long, long ways from ice and town, I'll pack some canned salmon for salmon cakes, canned tuna for pasta, and sausages for some sort of jambalaya or grilled with the oddball veggies in the ice box.

                            1. re: kmr

                              How's about you sharing some of those dutch oven recipes kmr??? I am relatively new to using the dutchy and am still figuring out the whole coal ratio thing and what all I can do in it. We use it A TON, but always for the same handful of things. It is awesome for no knead bread!

                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                The trick is to place more coals or briquets on top of the lid, and fewer underneath, maybe 2:1 or 3:1 ratio or so. I also highly recommend lining the oven with foil before cooking anything sweet or sugary. If you are a long ways from water, line it for everything! Baking times vary greatly depending on the type of fuel and elevation. A good lid-lifter is really handy for checking your goods without dumping ashes in.

                                We just use the same recipes, such as they are, at home as in camp. A really easy cobbler is to use canned fruit with the juices (peaches are really good), dump 'em in the oven, pour a dry box (or partial) of vanilla cake mix over it, pour on some sprite or seven-up, add a few pats of butter, and cinnamon. Bake for about 20-30 minutes. Kinda white-trashy, but good, especially served warm.
                                Fruit with a crumbly sweet topping is good, too (like butter, oatmeal, spices and brown sugar, nuts).

                                The sourdough stuff is real basic, tons of information on the web to get your starter made and recipes. We feed the starter the night before with flour and water, then take out what we need for the next morning....cinnamon rolls are spectacular, especially if you remember to pack a tub of cream cheese frosting ;-). For these, we make up a basic bread dough with added yeast, don't have proportions, just kinda eyeball it.

                                Even stuff like canned cinnamon rolls, canned biscuits and such are fun at camp. If we don't have sourdough, I'll make quick drop biscuts for gravy in the mornings. I premix dry ingredients at home, and then note the wet and greasy stuff needed to complete on the ziplock. My mom has been known to bring pie filling and crusts, and bake them up in camp....just keep the pie tin off the bottom with some nickles, washers, 4 maching small rocks, whatever.

                                There's lots dutch oven cookbooks, "Camp Cooking:100 years" by the Forest Service museum is fun and has some good info, "Cee Dub's Dutch Oven Cooking" looks great - got it for my mom, but she hasn't let me borrow it yet.

                                Completely off topic: one fall we made a final trip over the sierras, got home just before the pass closed for the season. I always clean my dutchy and camp gear at camp, so when we get home, it's easy to unpack. Except this trip, for some reason. Probably something to do with moonlight and Blue Moon. The following spring, the lid wouldn't come off the oven when I was packing for our first trip over the pass....forgot to clean out the basque style cornish game hens. We we finally got it open, it looked like a possum had crawled in and died. Ugh.

                                So, how about this no knead bread? Is it the one I've seen on this board but haven't tried? Please tell!

                              2. re: kmr

                                cornish game hens! what a great idea!! they would take quite a while to thaw, so you would have them for a few days probably in the cooler? I love it!

                        2. Most important is packing a two week pantry! You don't want to try to buy pantry items on the road where they will come in far too large amounts and at way higher cost than what you can get at home. Make sure to take sugar, flour, salt, pepper, garlic, chiles, spices, cooking oils, vinegar, rice, dried beans, herbs, potatoes, stock cubes, dried pasta, raisins, canned tuna, anchovies, caviar, balsamic & red wine vinegar, and more. I "camp" a lot in Washington, DC, in suite hotels. I shop at the supermarkets but am always frustrated by not having / not wanting to purchase anew the pantry ingredients one needs to cook or prepare everything else.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            Oh you are so right, my friend!! I find myself using little snack baggies to fill w/kosher salt and other spices and my DH asking why did you bring this or that (soy or dressing, etc.) and I'm like, "You don't cook, so don't ask"! He always says I overpack., then after the trip and we're a lot lighter on the way home, he's so grateful b/c he still got to eat well!!

                            1. re: Phurstluv

                              Exactly, P luv. It is great that I get to stay in suites with kitchens in DC as I'm there at least 10 days at a time per month; but also frustrating. I can't travel from Colombia with pantry items; but also don't want to buy soy sauce (as you mention), fish sauce, all the things I mentioned above, as well as ketchup, mayo, you name it ... every time I'm there. Every time I leave DC, I leave behind a lot of pantry items.

                              So, car camping is an opportunity to take with you the essential ingredients needed for cooking up the stuff you buy along the way on that wonderful two week trip.

                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                I wonder if you could find a source for those items in little packets, like what you get in fast-food restaurants.

                                1. re: Full tummy


                                  Minimus sells those items, aiming particularly at travelers. I placed an order with them several years ago, mainly for things like mayonnaise, soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard, oil. They even have 1.7oz travel size bottles of maple syrup, and 2oz jars of Icelandic caviar.

                                  Keep this quiet, though. We don't want the people on the 'evil convenience foods' thread know about it.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    Wow!! Cool. I took a look, and there's some great stuff there. Very handy for camping or extended stays in a suite.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      "Keep this quiet, though. We don't want the people on the 'evil convenience foods' thread know about it."

                                      Always ready with the sharp stick. Giggles~~

                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                So true. I wish I packed caviar. Odd things I bring: Anchovy paste/ tin and capers. I also prepack a bunch of dried fruit and nuts. I use them in rice, couscous, pancakes, pasta... and if I don't I will eat them while hiking or bored in the car.

                                Bring a small dish pan. Trust me.

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  Hear! Hear! I never go on holidays (camping or otherwise) without some pre-fab spice mixes. While not usually a fan, I am not buying all the individual ingredients for Tom Yum, or curry, when I can carry one handy little sachet.

                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    speaking of dried beans...at our local coop you can get spicy black bean mix you just add water too...it's delicious and EASY. would be nice with some warmed tortillas and fresh salsa

                                  2. Fajitas are a favourite of ours. Thinly slice the steak (or chicken); put in ziplock bag with marinade and freeze. (Obviously must be used once it thaws in the cooler). Saute some peppers and onions, cook the meat and serve in soft tortillas.

                                    1. To make the most of your room in the cooler, I'd make edible "ice blocks". Make a favorite freezable dinner (chili, beef bourguignon?) freeze it, then, take advantage of the cold while it's frozen -- and it's a premade meal when it's thawed. You can just hang around the campfire and drink wine that night!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: mr99203

                                        Frozen foods from home are a good choice for a couple of days.

                                        I also like to freeze water in rectangular juice bottles (1/2 gallon ones in the US). They make good use fo the space in the cooler, and don't get everything wet as they melt. Once melted that water can be used, the bottles can be refilled with water, or toss if I have too many. At some point or other in a long trip I have to depend on store bought ice. Generally blocks last longer than cubes.

                                      2. When hubby and I went camping, we made good use of all the local stuff available. I most often used my little propane burner and made wonderful pastas with lobster (in Nova Scotia), and sea asparagus. I would check when local markets were on, and look for the bakeries and smokehouses, creameries, etc. We had one of those coolers that can be plugged in in the car, and that was useful to keep perishables. Usually, campgrounds sell ice, so that always helped.

                                        Here are my thoughts:
                                        - healthy cereal
                                        - tetrapaks of soy or almond milk
                                        - apples, oranges, pears (all last a while)
                                        - granola bars (I like Larabars)
                                        - trail mix (very handy when you've got the munchies and don't want to eat junk, especially in the car)
                                        - gnocchi and udon noodles need very little cooking time and come in handy air-tight packages that don't need refrigeration
                                        - peanut butter (kind that doesn't need refrigeration)
                                        - small cans of cream (I think you can get something like clotted cream in a can in grocery stores; handy for anything you want to be creamy)
                                        - canned soups
                                        - canned beans, chickpeas, etc. (useful in a quick salad with some market veggies)
                                        - canned meats, tuna, salmon
                                        - dry pasta, rice (try to find things that will cook quickly, without going "instant"
                                        - onions, garlic, ginger
                                        - oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, dried herbes de provence

                                        Oh well, that's a start. My camping has always been pretty much a gourmet feast, and if you're headed out to Vancouver, I'm sure you'll come upon all kinds of great foodie finds, if you want. Enjoy! And let us know how it went, in case some of us end up camping out there!!!

                                        1. If you are feeling sporting, get a good dutch oven. Lots of one pot meals right over the campfire, desserts in it... excellent bread. But it is big. But you can ditch things like the oven. It is only two weeks and you can do lots of oveny things in it.

                                          Edit - I see a kind soul has mentioned this above. So... I second the motion.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                            Dutch oven cooking is nice, but not something you should pick right before a trip. The oven needs seasoning; you have to learn how to mange coals to get the right temperature; you have to learn how long it really takes. The first time you make biscuits, it is likely to take an hour or more, from the time you pull the gear out and start the charcoal. That could dampen your enthusiasm if the family is hungry and tired after a full day's drive.