Today’s post is something a little different – it’s an article about camping & cooking. I provided some content to RecipeLion.com for an article on Camping cooking. So I thought I would share all of it with you.
We have a group of about 8-10 friends that we started camping with about 13 years ago. We really look forward to our annual camping trip – and since we’re sort of “lazy” campers, we like to make our meals pretty gourmet & elaborate.
Over the years we’ve figured out a few things that make camping cooking easier & more fun.
- We create “teams” and each team is responsible for 2 meals (a breakfast & a dinner). This responsibility if for all parts of the meal – from planning to cooking to cleaning up after. This makes it nice because you don’t have to cook at every meal, and you get to pick what you want to make and you don’t have to clean up after someone else.
- We plan out all of the meals ahead of time & consolidate the food onto one giant grocery list. Then we go as a group to 2-3 stores to get all the shopping done: Costco for the large quantity items, Target for the condiments and smaller quantity items and then a trip to the grocery store the morning of for the last minute items like fruit. This also helps prevent any food allergy/dislike issues since we all see the menu ahead of time. Also, it works out to be cheaper to buy the large quantities of things that we might need (if we all use a certain ingredient in our meals). But be careful – that 3 pound bag of pancake mix at Costco may be cheap – but it might never get used up. So certain things we will not buy at Costco due to the large quantity.
- One person divvies up all the costs and is responsible for making sure everyone gets paid back.
- We usually just buy some easy things for lunches – sandwiches or hot dogs – and we usually have some leftovers available. Because we usually have a big breakfast & big dinner we don’t always eat lunch as a group.
- Figure out what snacks everyone likes & make sure you get enough of those – for us it’s circus animal cookies, Cheez-its, Doritos, Nutter Butters, and Chicago mix.
- We have a “food auction” at the end of the trip to let people take home the leftover items they want. We also keep track of what got used & what didn’t get used for next year.
- We try to save our lists & menus from year to year – which makes everything easier. I usually use the notes app on my phone or the Paprika app. Most of us aren’t used to cooking for large quantities of people – so using the Paprika app allows us to scale the recipes – which reduces overbuying (because we always err on overbuying).
- Each person is responsible for any snacks or beverages that they want (that the group won’t want).
- If doing new recipe, try it out before camping. That way you don’t find out too late you’re missing an ingredient or there’s some step you can’t do. We’ve found that out the hard way….
- We LOVE bacon – and buy the precooked bacon at Costco. It’s not quite as good as real bacon – but the convenience is awesome!
- We don’t plan breakfast the last morning – it’s a free for all with the leftovers. This allows us to pack up easier too.
- Always check your meat before you go – we usually buy our groceries on Tuesday night for our trip that starts on Thursday. We have had 2 or 3 times where the meat was spoiled before we packed it in the ice chest – so we always thoroughly check the meat and put it in the freezer after we get it prepared.
- For meals – any prep work you can do ahead of time makes life easier… also, it’s better to cook smaller cuts of meat (individual slices of tri-tip versus a 3 pound tri tip) since you can’t always control your cooking environment…
While we’re camping:
- We have 2 giant ice chests – 1 for cold food and 1 for dry food (this prevents critters eating your food) and we’ve started bringing a smaller once for drinks.
- We do all paper plates & plastic forks as it makes our trip much easier….
- We camp where there is electricity, running water & toilets/showers – so it makes camping much easier!
- Some appliances we’ve taken that have made camping better (if you have electricity) – food saver vacuum sealer, small oven (one year we had fresh chocolate chip cookies).
- We have a large burner/griddle stove and find that it works for almost everything.
- We always take pictures of us standing next to the food we cooked – so we can go back & look at what we made… plus it’s one of our traditions.
- We always have smore’s but sometimes we get fancy with Nutella, or peanut butter cups, dark chocolate squares, etc.
Here are a few of our favorite recipes.
Note – these are meant to feed 8-10 people so you will want to scale
FRESH PEACH CRISP
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 stick butter
10 med. peaches
Foil pan & Aluminum foil
Before you go camping: In gallon size ziplock bag combine oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
While camping: Cut butter into small pieces (at least 10 small pieces) and put into ziplock bag. Remove air from bag and ziplock bag. Using your hands, mush the butter into the flower/oats/sugar in the bag (bonus, your hands stay clean) until mixture is crumbly. Kids like to do this part. The heat from your hands helps it mix.
Peel peaches, remove pits, and cut into slices and put into a foil baking dish. Sprinkle oat mixture on top of fruit and cover with foil and cook over heat for about 40 minutes. Remove foil for last 10 minutes.
We cook this either over the fire (indirect heat) or on our camp stove. If you have some sort of oven device, it would be even better!
Note: you need to make sure that there is something that will keep the bottom of the peaches from burning and that is sturdy enough to hold the pan. We usually put a griddle underneath the pan and it works fine. The topping won’t get crispy but it is super tasty! Serve with ice cream. We really like the topping – so this is about 3x the normal amount.
CAMPING ICE CREAM
1 pint of Half & Half
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
For freezing (so you don’t forget)
I got a Play and Freeze Ice Cream Maker Ball many years ago & it is fun to make ice cream with it. Open the core, dump the ingredients in there. Close the lid.
Open the other side, add ice and rock salt.
Shake. If you have kids camping with you they will think this is lots of fun and they can roll or throw the ball between them. This doesn’t make much ice cream per person – but the novelty is really that you are having ice cream.
- the ball gets sort of gross and hard to clean on the outside if you roll it on the ground (from experience)
- don’t lose the tool to open it (it will get hard to open)
- It takes about 20+ minutes to get ice cream
Original recipe came from the package: https://www.amazon.com/Industrial-Revolution-Play-and-Freeze-Ice-Cream-Maker-Ball-Quart/dp/B004D1AJO4
CAMPING YUM YUM (aka Smore’s golden graham treats)
1 bag (10 oz) Mini Marshmallows
1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips
1 box (12 0z) Golden Grahams Cereal
6 Tbsp Butter
In a 9×9 inch foil pan, wipe sides & bottom with butter. Set aside. In a large non-stick pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add in marshmallows and stir together with butter until marshmallows have melted and become creamy. Fold in grahams cereal until all marshmallows and grahams are evenly mixed together. Spread treats into foil pan. Press into pan and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips on top of the treats, lightly pressing into top of treats to make sure they stick.
the original recipe came from herebut I’ve tweaked it slightly; http://www.countrycleaver.com/2012/06/smores-graham-krispie-treats-and-tuesday-wedding-things.html
This was a very dangerous recipe – we couldn’t stop eating it.
As you can tell we like desserts when we camp…
Individual Camping Pizzas
Pre-made pizza dough (assume 3-4 people per pizza dough)
toppings of your choice – such as sliced olives, pepperoni, chicken, bbq sauce, bacon, salami, mushrooms, pizza sauce
Before Camping: Make sure pizza dough is in container that will not get wet.
When camping: Divide pizza dough into 3 or 4 chunks. Roll out or toss by hand the pizza dough for each person. Oil griddle. Lightly oil pizza dough. Medium heat on griddle. Put pizza dough on griddle for a minute or so until it starts to bubble. Remove from griddle. Put griddled side up and put toppings on pizza dough as desired. Return pizza to griddle and cook until cheese melts and pizza looks done. It may help to cover the pizza with foil. Remove from griddle when done & enjoy.
Tips: This was fun – but it makes for a long time before everyone gets dinner. We also way overestimated the amount of dough we needed – so we had pizza leftovers for a few days (which we liked).
And I love my marshmallows well done:
I’m not a pancake fan – but these pancakes are my favorite and are super easy… My husband introduced me to pancakes with peanut butter and everyone loves it!
1 box Kodiak Cakes Protein Packed Flapjack & Waffle Mix Buttermilk
pint container of raspberries
pint container of blueberries
jar of peanut butter (creamy or chunky, your choice)
bottle of maple syrup
Make kodiak pancake mix according to recipe on box. Overestimate the quantity since you will usually lose the first few pancakes (from our experience). We typically don’t finish a box.
Wash raspberries & blueberries
Peel bananas and cut into thin slices.
Preheat griddle, and prepare with butter. When griddle is ready (water dripped on it will dance), pour pancake mix on griddle. Quickly add 2-3 each of blueberry, raspberry and banana slices on top. When pancake is ready (bubbles form) flip pancake. When golden brown, remove from griddle. Serve with peanut butter & maple syrup.
Quick & Easy Korean style steak
I love this recipe and make it all the time at home on the BBQ
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons agave or sugar
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (add more if you like it spicy)
One 2 1/2-pound beef flank steak, cut across the grain into twenty 1/4-inch-thick slices
Slice meat thinly. In large vacuum seal bag (or ziplock bag), combine the soy sauce with the sugar, white wine, chopped garlic, toasted sesame oil and crushed red pepper, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the sliced flank steak and coat thoroughly in the marinade. If using vacuum seal bag, vacuum bag and seal, otherwise remove air from package & close ziplock. Freeze meat.
When camping: Defrost meat, Light a grill or heat a griddle. Working in batches, grill the steak over high heat until the slices are richly browned and medium-rare, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer the steak to a serving platter.
Serve with rice (which I cook ahead of time, and bring in vacuum seal bag or ziplock bag). If you’re feeling fancy, you can make an easy fried rice by cooking the pre-cooked rice with butter, pieces of bacon, some frozen veggies, and soy sauce & garlic powder.
Note, I usually use tastefully simple’s garlic garlic instead of the garlic (because I’m lazy).
The original recipe came from here but I’ve tweaked it slightly:
Thanks for joining me on this long post. Hope you enjoy these tips…