I'm a novice camper, we've done it a few times, always at a regular campsite, and never for more than 2 days. We're going camping for memorial day weekend, and I'd like to up the ante on our camp cooking. There's just two of us.
What do you usually make? What do you prep before you leave? How do you keep it organized/cold enough/etc.?
I freeze drinkable water in gallon jugs to make block ice. They last a long time and keep the cooler cold. They melt into refreshing ice water instead of making everything soaking wet. I supplement that with ziploc bags of crushed ice to fill in the gaps and make everything cold enough and to use for drinks.
Use two coolers to separate your drinks and your raw meat!
As a follow up to clarify, it all depends on what you have and are able to take. Between a stove like this
and a Weber kettle, I’ve done Thanksgiving dinner before. The better ice chests like those made by Yeti can keep things cool for up to a week. There's not too many limits on what you can take, or make with the right setup.
If you have a vacuum sealer you can make "boil-in-bag" meals and they won't leak in the cooler (though a separate cooler for keeping the ice with your drinks away from food is always a good idea when you can, just in case.) Foil packets are another one with lots of possibilities (fish, steaks, veggies with garlic butter or sauces, etc.)
Here's a link with some ideas: http://www.trailervalet.com/blog/10-e...
What is your cooking set up? Campfire? Propane stove? Propane grill? Charcoal grill?
I prep EVERYTHING at home since it's so hard to clean up efficiently while camping and its hard to haul enough water for cleanup in addition to everything else.
We've also made "boil in a bag" omelets using ziplock bags (the freezer kind - the regular ones aren't durable enough). Everyone gets their own bag, and they can add whatever they'd like to their omelet - chopped onions, cheese, little wedges of ham, whatever). Takes ~ 1-2 minutes - our camp stove is very hot. We bring tongs to pull the bags out of the water.
Like Weezieduzzit, we do virtually all the prep before leaving home. We often freeze meals like stew quite flat in heavy-duty ziplock bags, so they can stack in a cooler. Heat up in a pot of boiling water like above, just takes a little longer than the omelet. Then the one big pot doesn't really need cleaning - just throw away the bags and clean your plate and spork using the hot water from the pot.
Eating like this is a real treat, compared to when I went camping as a kid and we ate mainly ramen.
"Then the one big pot doesn't really need cleaning - just throw away the bags and clean your plate and spork using the hot water from the pot. "
I wish I had vac sealed or ziplocked the baked beans we had on Saturday night instead of having to wash the pan I had taken with water from the cooler and have more trash from the cans since where we went is BLM land without services like trash cans. Next time, for sure!
Car camping is way different than hauling everything on your back. Make a checklist, I once forgot the salt and the dusty box from country store was pretty expensive. Real food, not freeze dried, is way better and carrying a few days worth is not hard. Have a tablecloth for campground table and those flexible cutting board sheets are handy to work on. Paper goods but you still need some wash up stuff. Be able to secure your food from bugs and animals. Have a back up plan for bad weather.
Bring a large cast iron skillet if you have one, as you can put it directly down on coals to cook on. From your "main" fire pull out a small heap of coals to put the skillet on as your cooking surface. Fajitas (e.g. chicken or steak) are pretty easy to do, and you can prep and freeze bags of the mixture for ease of carry to camp.
If you have a camping sandwich press, I like bringing along butter, bread, cheese, jarred pasta sauce, and deli meats (all things that can do ok without refrigeration for a bit, with the exception of the deli meat) and making what we called "mountain pies" which were really just pizza sandwiches.
Should you have a desire to get fancier, you can bring along knives, cutting boards, and a big dutch oven and use your fire as a means of constant heat to make things like stocks and braised meats/vegetables.
If you search "boy scout" "cast iron" you can find items in which you can do campfire cooking. You can put coals on top. I have a friend that loves to do dessert in this manner, but I can't remember the preparation, unfortunately. You can definitely do a nice braise, but you would also need something to lift the pot lid.
Since you say 'regular' camping I guess you mean a pull in site so will be packing a stove and bbq?
I do: grind a bag of fresh coffee and bring bodum and cream. Must for coffee drinkers.
Good bacon. Nothing beats the smell and taste of coffee and bacon in the morning.
I usually do a potato frittata/hash thing. Cooking hash browns and eggs needs to many pans. Do the bacon first set aside and cook potatoes until almost done add onions peppers mushrooms cheese...eggs.
Love to do pancakes one morning for sure. Usually buttermilk with fresh blueberries and top with fresh strawberries/bananas, maple syrup and whip cream if 'fancy'. or use wild berries if in season.
'Eggers' are good too but making toast can be finicky.
Eggs benny are great too. prepackaged good hollandaise works.
Precut up fruit is great to snack on esp if its hot.
Couple deli or homemade potato/pasta/grain salads are good.
Smokies or hotdogs good for when you are to hungover to cook anything else.
Pizza on a bbq is great. Brought yeast and made fresh dough last time, was awesome.
Souvlaki. Marinate chicken ahead and make/buy tub of tzatziki. take tomato, pita done.
kebobs of any kind
foil pack foods protein,veg, butter, herbs.
cheesy potato packet sliced fine with cheese and onion,butter.
carrot sticks,cut up broccoli,cauliflower dip opt.
thats the usual. I write out out every day with every meal and figure out how much of what ill need. Packing things that might leak in jars.
Assuming you are car camping vs hiking and backpacking carrying everything...
Avocados-use in place of mayo for sandwiches and to make guacamole
Washing and chopping veggies ahead makes life easier- one big ziplock with chopped veggies for a stir fry or tacos, another with salad stuff, etc
Stuffed baked potatoes are great- you can wrap and cook the potatoes directly in the fire coals (it takes a while!), then top with chili or whatever you like.
Don't forget s'mores makings!
My sister says that for me camping should be called extended picnicking; I have a hard time taking that as a criticism. :-)
I like to make Hazen's carbonara camping because it's so so easy, amazingly delicious, and (gasp) use whole wheat pasta and I sneak veggies like asparagus or cauliflower in with the boiling pasta so I feel like I've got one delicious meal in a bowl.
Also, when I was a kid we camped a lot and cooked (the bang on the table type) biscuits on a dowel over the fire for breakfast. Savory kids put a sausage in the middle, sweet ones went for jelly or syrup. My Mom would also cleverly boil potatoes the night before she wanted them for breakfast. Yum, lots and lots of great memories. (Dinty Moore stew on the first camping night is not a good food memory but I totally understand why Mom did it that way! She had plenty to worry about with getting there and getting set up without making a from-scratch meal!) I guess I do something similar when I've planned ahead--my first night is either something picnicky or leftovers; if no planning? turkey sandwiches are tasty too.
My best advice? Figure out how to make whatever you really like when you're camping. It will become its own adventure.
re: miss louella
Also, it's fun to pamper yourself when camping. One of my go-to items is dungeness crab heated over the fire, or a porterhouse that's seasoned well. Or both. And good cookies. And a boatload of wine. Agree with the Dinty Moore idea for the first night. It's not that bad, actually!
I have just one camping recipe that was taught to me in reformatory/military style boarding school, somewhere deep in the frigid winter woods in Utah. It requires one box of Betty Crocker yellow cake mix and one giant can of peaches. You heat a cast iron skillet over the fire, dump in the cake mix, then dump in the peaches and their juice. Cover and let bake til done.
It's disgustingly delicious. I made one at home last year and it was almost as good as it was all those years ago, drenched in sweaty filth and starving.
It is. It's very sweet, but just the thing after a long day in the woods.
I'm watching the Today show right now and they just made one live on TV. Theirs included enough fresh raspberries to cover the bottom of a 9"x13" Pyrex dish. They poured a can of 7-Up over them. Then sprinkled a box of cake mix over the top and baked.
These are affectionately referred to as "Dump Cakes." There are more elaborate recipes out there, but the 2 or 3 ingredient ones seem perfectly acceptable to me.
I actually just did it in the oven at home. Dumped into a baking dish and baked at 350. I didn't stir it at all, just make sure the cake mix is evenly spread. It doesn't seem like it will all mix together, but once it starts bubbling in the oven, the cake mix seeps into the peach juice and it turns into a cohesive batter. It's really strange!
As for when we were camping, I remember him dumping it into the CI skillet--I don't believe he stirred it up, but I might be wrong--then covering it on top of the fire. We didn't have a grill. He left it there, checking on it occasionally, until it was done. Since it has no eggs or oil, there's really no danger in it being underbaked.
I'm Googling it right now and can only find ones that call for a can of fruit, box of cake mix, and a cut up stick of butter: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Peach-Du...
Hmm... I don't recall the butter being involved.
I seem to remember doing cobblers on the fire in a dutch oven, we'd pour biscuit batter into the bottom of a buttered pot, and pour the fruit over the top, as it baked the batter would creep up and absorb and incorporate the fruit. or if we were even lazier we'd layer the bottom with pre-made fridge biscuits (of the slap and pop packaging type) add the fruit, and then another layer of biscuits.
i am going to a music fest next month (firefly in delaware) - i have gone previously and spent the night in a hotel, we are camping this year, loving these ideas...i will be stealing many, especially the frozen water gallons!
previous to this all i was thinking was ramen, canned veggies and granola bars. basically to have some stuff and the rest would be bought at a premium on-site.
When I go camping I try to perfect the art of minimalism. I'm all about cooking food on a stick. And playing with fire. Campfire grilled cheese sandwiches can be transcendent IF you can find the perfect forked stick.
One of my favorites is caramelized apple slices. At home, prep a baggie with a few tablespoons of brown sugar (I love demerara for this), cinnamon, nutmeg, and sometimes allspice or cloves, a pinch of cayenne and a tiny amount of salt. At camp, core and slice a green apple with a pocket knife while drinking lots of beer. Put the slices in a baggie and shake them up. Put one or two on a stick and twirl them over the campfire for a few minutes until you see the juice in the apples start to bubble up then immediately stick it into the flame for a few seconds. This makes the outside nice and crunchy. It's like a lazy version of apple pie.
Occasionally, I'll soak the apple slices for 20 minutes in liquor (Yamazaki or bourbon) before they get rolled in sugar. This is a yummy variation but the sugar doesn't stick as well so the outside doesn't get quite as caramelized.
I always eat these off the stick but I bet they'd be great over ice cream or a slice of cheese. I've always wanted one of these ice cream balls for camping, they look like fun:
I grew up camping and have camped around the country for months at a time. Ziplock bags come in handy for many things as to save space. Aluminum foil has many uses. I've cooked enchiladas in them as well as meat, onions, peppers, potatoes and oil over coals. Pasta is always good. I make the best fettucine alfredo on a propane stove. One good easy recipe of mine is: heat a big stewpot, cut up some potatoes, cook in pot w/oil, slice some kielbasa, slice some peppers and onions, cut a head of cabbage in quarters and put on top. Now pour a can of cheap beer over the top and simmer for one hour. Serve it with spicy honey mustard. That can be a good first night to get used to the new setup. Fried chicken(even cold) can be good for the first night if you don't feel like making sandwhiches. Many things can be tried at home in the backyard. Packing and unpacking plays a big part. Keep it simple and have fun. Oh and quesadillas are always good.
I have sent bread mix to scout camp for dutch oven baking. Dry ingredients in bag, including yeast. Amount of water to add written on bag. Giant SS bowl sent along. Mix in bowl, cover, rise. Dump into preheated dutch oven and bake.
Keep it simple. If you can grill. I like chicken over the hot coals. Its best to have a stove also for heating and cooking food. Coleman stove as a example. The number one thing to do is clean up well. Leave no food out . Bears,racoons, and the creatures of the night are waiting to check your campground when you are sleeping.
If you are driving and not packing in, and have a propane stove, take your pressure cooker. It lets you have a delicious hot meal like beef stew in about 20 minutes.
I was first introduced to velveeta, I know, camping in the 70's on baked potatoes cooked in coals with lots of butter. Delicious while roughing it. Camping in a Colorado canyon don't take lsd and have your tent flattened by 50 mph winds. Trust me.
For me, one of the best things about camping is that camping areas are usually close to family farms. Look for (or Google in advance for) farm stores and roadside stands and get the ingredients for the meals in this thread from there. Fresh corn on the cob of course, but also peppers, onions, tomatoes and zucchini for shish kebobs, fruits to grill, eggs for breakfast, etc.
If I'm camping, I'm making things that benefit from cooking over a real wood fire, not stuff I could make at home. Because camping is about the outdoors and playing with fire, while drinking wine from dixie cups
Personal Favorite food EVER: Pizza pudgy pies: get a sandwich cooker (available at most Targets or similar this time of year), melt a bit of butter in each side, then place sandwich bread in each half. Put pizza sauce on the insides of each bread slice, then top One side only with your favorite toppings (ours are cheese, pepperoni and green peppers f or this application) then close up the cooker, and hold over coals/flames until golden brown and delicious. It has this smokey, pizzaie, rustic feel that only comes from an open fire. For desert, sub out the pizza toppings with pie filling. Apple vs cherry. . .
Our other favorite is foil dinners. In a double thick of foil, crumble 1/4 pound ground beef, the add chunked potatoes, carrots, peppers, etc add a small splash of water, then seal tightly and place in not too hot coals to cook through. Once cooked (about half an hour or so) open foil packet, and top with salsa and shredded cheese. YUM! For these, I do all the chopping at home before we leave, and portion the meat out, usually food savered, so there is just assembly and cooking. Have fun!
I'd focus on as many things as possible that don't need to stay too cold. So, not so much milk and meat -- more veggies. Think about whether you can freeze some of the meats you may be planning to take.
Potatoes wrapped in foil, baked in coals. (butter and cheese don't have to stay *terribly* cold)
Fruit cobbler baked in cast iron skillet/dutch oven over coals from fire (baking mix, evaporated milk for use in dough)
Kids love pizzas cooked this way, too -- you can make a yeasted dough in a ziplock bag, and the toppings (except cheese) don't need a lot of cooling
Veggies in foil packets (olive oil, herbs)
We had a grate that hung from a tripod for cooking meats -- worked great, and you can take it easily in a canoe.
Eggs (surprisingly) don't need a lot of cooling either, so if you like eggs for breakfast, use the cast iron skillet.
Big camper's coffee pot for campers' coffee
This recipe is the $hit! I always take tart apples as it's pretty rich. We've used it many times and depending on how much you eat, the leftovers go into hash the next day. Minus the fruit. I usually use this as our first meal out as once you get there and set up (we're always at higher elevations when we camp) we want to be DDFD. Start a fire and throw it on - I prep all the cheese w/ booze before hand.
SO camps all the time and I join him when I can. We keep drinks separate from food, in separate coolers, and freeze anything we can prior to putting into the coolers.
You can go cheap or you can go expensive. We typically tip our frigs / kitchens / houses out and go. One time, we showed up and we had a butt load of carrots, so, since then(!), I try to at least do some meal planning before hand. Have fun! It's always nice to wake up the next day in a new environment!
We are pretty novice as well. We always car camp but at the tent only "primitive" sites that don't have electricity or water. I try to only really bring a large cast iron skillet, however if you bring a cookstove the possibilities are endless! I prep as much as I can at home. We have a yeti that keeps things very cold while we are there but we usually only go for a weekend.
For dinner we usually do ribeyes on the CI put directly over the coals. I prebake potatoes most of the way, slice in half and put butter, garlic powder and rosemary inside, wrap in foil and place in the coals until warm! These are AMAZING. other dinners i love a smoked sausage foil wrap with corn on the cob, a sliced onion and small red potatoes halved. Season and put butter in each pack.. Do all this at home then put right in the fire. Add some shrimp at the end and these are so good. If the husband has caught anything, those wrapped in foil with some butter and dill/season to taste, roasted asparagus in the iron skillet.
For breakfast, sizzling bacon and coffee, or my favorite is to make ham and cheese croissants wrapped in foil at home then put over the coals until warm and melty and toasted... THis works well on regular sandwich bread as well. So good on a cool morning.
Lunches: I make chicken salad at home for chicken salad croissants, pasta salad, chips, pickles again all prepped at home to be able to just put on the bread and serve. Fruit, raw veggies, dips. Love Inas guacamole salad. We try to keep lunch simple.
I LOVE the boozy cheese recipe from this site, I go ahead and poor the bourbon in the cheese and wrap in foil. Place in the coals until melty. Great crusty bread and you are set. This is a great midnight snack after drinking too much wine.
Drinks: Can't live without wine, we make a huge drink cooler with a spout thing full of Arnald Palmer, beer, peach or blackberry moonshine, solo cups. If you bring bottled water and those little bottle drink flavor things like crystal light makes good individual mixers.
Desert: We would rather have savory or more to drink, but we have done the banana split thing with chocolate chips. Also, the best is to pour a can of peoches, a yellow cake mix over that then top with butter, sooooo good. Layer in a CI and put over the coals.
Again, it is all about your setup.. With an iron skillet and prepping at home you can do a lot. Some people go all out with electric stoves and pots/ pans, ovens. You can do anything with all of that!
Don't forget hand wipes/sanitizer and something to clean your utensils/ plates with.
I agree with Puffin3, we will take the site on the other side!
We have a cottage with the world's smallest kitchen so I do a lot of cooking over the campfire. I like that boozy cheese and haven't done that in a while. I put it on the meal plan for this weekend.
I precook as much as possible. I do bacon and sausage at home and package in meal size bags.
Hahaa! Like I said pretty much the only thing I bring is a 12" cast iron skillet and do all the prepping at home. We don't even bring a camp stove. It may not seem like camping to some, but for me planning and preparing the food is part of the excitement. For us, camping is just about R & R, hopefully with some water nearby and a mason jar of something good! Life doesn't get much better than that! We are going canoeing this weekend down the Harpeth in TN and I'm trying to plan our picnic lunch. Puffin3, do you ever camp in TN and cleobeach, that boozy cheese is so yummy! I think you could even leave out the booze and just have the melty cheese!
having had a boat the last 25 years and it going everywhere with us but mostly Lake Mead, I know camping cooking.
I do most everything in advance at home.
we have favorites and stand bys always that are expected.
easiest to make things in advance, put in seal-a-meal bags and chuck 'em in the freezer, toss 'em on the grill/in a pot of boiling water/in the cast iron skillet once needed for our meal.
1. make jerk chicken wet marinade-boneless skinless breasts&thighs cut in large pieces, toss in SAM bags, freeze until use. let thaw toss on smokin hot grill.
2. make a pasta sauce, long cooking flavorful sauce put in SAM bag freeze until use. the sauce in the SAM bag goes right into a huge pot of boiling water, take out of water, let rest and cook pasta, sauce over noodles, serve.
3. buy a corned beef, while it's in the pressure cooker, cut up all needed onions/garlic/dice potatoes/sautée in butter add herbs/spices, let cool.
take out the CB cool&chop fine-add to veg potato mix, in SAM bag freeze till needed,put whole SAM bag of corned beef hash in boiling water 18 mins, eat.
4. make your own BBQ sauce-buy a tri tip roast. let sauce cool, cut thick steaks (drop in sauce > in SAM bag) freeze till needed. toss on smokin hot grill, eat.
5. do a batch of taco meat do a batch of fajita chicken put in separate SAM bags, freeze till needed. dump both pkgs in huge pot of boiling water to make hot... bring along tortilla chips, flour&corn tortillas and brick of cheese. eat.
6. make a rich multi cheese bechamel sauce - place in SAM bag after cooled/freeze. take pkg of elbow noodles to camp, add sauce in SAM bag to big pot of boiling water, cut open and pour over your boiled noodles, mac/cheese.
7. burgers&dogs with buns & same brick of cheese.
8. peel deveined cleaned jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon.
so, make a fresh lemon&olive oil vinaigrette, take each shrimp and wrap with 1/2 strip bacon, secure with toothpick. of course the toothpick has to be flush with shrimp so it won't puncture SAM bag. pour the vin in the bag, place shrimp in there, seal up and toss in freezer after you've turned the bag a few times to coat all the shrimp. when ready with the grill medium hot, take out of SAM bag and place on grill, turning to ensure the bacon gets nice&crisp.
the family says we eat better and fancier in the cove @ the lake with no kitchen. it's true we do.
when cooking is your passion, it's with ease and a smile how doable this is
Cold water clean up is a drag . So for me some steaming or grilling .So good quality frankfurters I have a German butcher with a variety of steaming /grilling sausages to steamed in kraut) ,steak sandwiches (from the grill to the bread ). The less time cooking and coldwater cleaning the more time to fish,swim canoe etc