You think you are set for a weekend camping trip (or longer). You have your supplies, including your tent, sleeping bag and backpack. You have your case or two of water. What about the food?
You can’t stop by a fast-food joint, or haul your refrigerator, stove and microwave oven with you. You are not into hunting and eating your prey on the spot, unless you are fishing, of course. But even then, how much fish can one ingest?
What are you going to eat?
Don’t worry. Cooking on camping trips can be the most enjoyable part of the experience, especially if you are not too keen on spending the entire day hiking or playing cards.
Several camping recipes exists – some that would even make the kitchen gourmet chef take a second glance – as do many useful food preparation tips.
First some of the preparation tips, which will make you scratch your head and say, “I should have thought about that”:
- Cook before you leave. For example, if breakfast burritos are to your liking, cook the eggs, sausage and bacon at home. Store the food in a plastic bag and place in your cooler along with Ziploc bags of shredded cheese and tortillas. Warm the ingredients and cheese on a skillet, place in a bowl, and then warm your tortillas. Within a couple of minutes, you have breakfast burritos.
- Don’t want to take cumbersome and dirty grill brushes along? Take a package of aluminum foil. Ball the aluminum foil and scrub the cooled-off grill.
- If you are going on a day trip and need freezer packs for your cooler. Freeze water or juice in plastic water bottles and use those. You can even drink them when they defrost. It’ll save you space in the cooler.
- Pita bread is a good substitute for loaf bread because it does not crush or fall apart and it contains your sandwich ingredients more efficiently.
- Don’t like the idea of cracking your eggs on a bark of wood and want to avoid the mess of egg shells? Simply crack your eggs into a mason jar before you leave. Keep them eggs cool and drop out of the jar one at a time onto the skillet.
When going on any camping trip, even if it is for a day or two, bring only the basic ingredients with you. Camping is all about maximizing the amount of space you have, and making a sacrifice of normal everyday living, even if you are camping in an RTV. What good is camping if you bring the kitchen cupboard with you? You might as well camp in your backyard.
Here is an example of typical camping recipes for one day of fun in the wilderness:
Egg Shell Sandwich (feeds one)
- 1 piece of pita bread
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat butter in skillet. Slice open the pita bread slightly and cook on one side until lightly brown. Flip over the bread and place an egg into the opening. Cover pan for four approximately four minutes or until egg is cooked. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Sweet Bananas (feeds four)
- Four bananas
- Lemon juice
- Brown sugar
You can prepare this after you finish your breakfast when the heat from the fire is dying down. Slice the bananas in half lengthwise. Place two banana halves on a sheet of aluminum foil and sprinkle with brown sugar and lemon juice. Repeat with remainder of bananas. Dot with butter.
Fold foil over bananas and place on the grill. Cook for 15 minutes (if the fire has died down) or until bananas are hot and sugar is melted.
- 1 package of flour tortillas
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce
- Sliced pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives and green peppers.
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
Place tortilla on griddle. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce. Add toppings and cheese. Place pan over the skillet to trap the heat. Cook until cheese is melted and toppings are warm.
Barbequed Drumsticks (serves six)
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/2 celery rib, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 14-ounce can no-salt-added chopped tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Prepare the barbeque sauce at home and store in an airtight container. In a large saucepan, combine the onion, celery, garlic powder, tomatoes, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and pepper. Cover the pan and simmer ingredients over low heat for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the pan from the heat. When the mixture has cooled, purée it in a food processor and strain. Simmer the sauce uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it is thick and the quantity has reduced by half (approximately 30 minutes).
At the campsite, spray the grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Brush the drumsticks with some of the sauce and arrange them on the grill, 5 inches from heat. Grill the drumsticks for 10 minutes, turning them frequently and basting with the sauce. Move drumsticks to outer edges of grill and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until cooked through. Serve immediately.
Some good additions to these meals are sliced vegetables and fruit, canned goods such as soup, beans and vegetables, bread and chips.
As you can see with these simple recipes as an example, cooking at campsites adds to the fun of the getaway. Don’t let it be a burden. Leave the concerns to whether it will rain or if the bugs will stay away.