As the final camping/glamping post (for awhile), listed below are a few items recommended to be on your camp-out cooking grocery list along with some tips and a select few ‘recipes’ that are practically fail-safe. Here’s a quick reference to all the posts in the Camping series:
- A Little Dirt Won’t Hurt
- Camping Etiquette
- Glamour Camping: What to Pack
- So You Want To Be A Glamour Camper?
See the hard work below? It’s not always possible to 1) do this safely – this guy’s a pro, or 2) have an open fire due to drought/burn bans. If you can’t have a fire, memorize this word: resourceful.
During the winter I roast hot dogs at home over my gas cooktop. So the trip’s not bust just because of a burn ban.
I made a comment in the post A Little Dirt Won’t Hurt that is not really accurate. To be diplomatic, instead of stating that camping and cooking don’t mix (which is my opinion), the correct statement would be that I camp to get away from every-day activities, cooking being one of them.
If you spend a lot of time cooking in camp, you can’t do these activities:
So if you don’t want to be staked (pun intended HA!) to the kitchen machine, take heed:
- Always use a green stick when roasting marshmallows. Dry branches catch fire faster than the marshmallow and metal burns the lips. I’m an experienced camper. Never said I was smart.
- Leave the baking potatoes at home unless you’ve pre-baked them to an almost done state – then and only then are they awesome.
- Aluminum pans. See photo below. They’re much more flexible than just a roll of aluminum foil. And unlike aluminum foil, you can see the food, or at least carefully peel back a corner.
- Hot dogs, smoked brats, li’l smokies, turkey kielbasa, buns, mustard and ketchup should always be on the list. As should whole sticks of hard salami or better yet, pepperoni. Roast them over the fire. Eat them from the stick.
- Anything you can cook on a stick, okay skewer.
- If you’re a vegetarian, Amy’s vege patties should be on the list.
- Tortillas. Don’t leave home without ‘em.
- English muffins.
- Pre-cooked sausage patties (love the turkey ones by Jimmy Dean)
- Peanut Butter
- Pre-shredded cheese
- Pre-cooked beef brisket
- Pre-cooked frozen bricks of chili, white chili, stew (they’ll thaw before you need them)
- If you plan to fish and assume you’ll catch a few, whole lemons and a bottle of capers. You’ll also need oil, pan and a knife but that’s all discussed in this post: Glamour Camping: What to Pack.
- If your spouse mentions how cool it would be to cook something in a dutch oven, kick ’em in the shin.
- Marshmallows. Think again if you want to improve on the marshmallow roasting experience by making home-made ones. The heat and intricate process demands the stamina-infused-highly-processed-white sugar and plethora of ingredients you can’t pronounce of the store bought kind. The cheaper the bag the better.
- Graham crackers and chocolate bars.
Favorite Camping Recipe (entire meal in one pan and no pre-prep required): We may make this once per day for either breakfast or supper with alternative add-in ingredients for variety.
- sticks of sausage
- bagged hash browns or the breakfast potato chunks
- shredded cheese (pre shredded)
- oil if the sausage is lean
- can of sliced black olives
- can of chopped green chilies
- chopped bell peppers (pre chopped)
Lightly brown 3 sticks of sausage in a large skillet/wok, add 1-2 bags of hash browns and brown those into the sausage until everything is done to liking. Into this mixture directly crack 12 eggs. Season the eggs with a little pepper (no salt required due to the sausage) and stir until done. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
These amounts will feed 6-8 people (there or about). Recipe is easily doubled/tripled.
Recipe #2 isn’t really a recipe. Similar to the Hash, it’s an entire meal — not in one pan, and being that it’s fancier means a bit more fuss. In general it’s a potato salad with heft (served cold), and chicken. Between the two you have a meal.
Raw chicken is messy to deal with on-site. So I don’t. I’ll grill ahead the number of whole breasts, freeze them, then use them as the mood strikes.
Chicken and Potato Salad Camp Style
For this recipe take the grilled [thawed] chicken breast, cut them up, skewer them, and warm them through over what ever heat source you have P.S. the larger the chunks the better the chance they aren’t chicken jerky. You can even add a bit of spice (see the combinations below) while the warm-up is happening. For the potato salad, bake whole potatoes at home. On camp-site, cut them up into a serving bowl (I really like stainless steel bowls – they can be washed easily in the stream, don’t break, and are lightweight). To the potatoes, add corn or my preference – hominy, roasted red peppers, red onion, cilantro (the real thing – just roll the bunches in paper towels and place them in a plastic sack that you will then pack out), oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. All these ingredients are fantastic together or you can leave out/substitute. Chicken and Potato Salad Camp Style – Voila!
Let’s talk Spice. It can give the most basic, even mundane food a special kick. I’ll pack a pepper shaker, but not salt, preferring instead to use salt while cooking only and so I pack it in bulk (typically a baggie). Thanks to MaryJane Butters, I discovered the magic of spice blends that I prepare at home in various combinations, then use them on-site, again as the mood strikes. In her book, MaryJane’s Outpost, she gives several combinations utilizing various spices in almost every spice cabinet: Sante Fe blend, Curry blend, Puerto Rican blend, to Greek and Beijing blends. Check out her book or Google spice blends, or be creative and toss together your own.