Did you find yourself stuck for meal ideas on your last camping vacation?
Eating delicious, hot, nourishing food while in America’s backyard can be tricky. After all, you only have limited space in your car, backpack, and tents – can you really pack a hefty selection of gourmet dishes along with the other essentials?
Well, yes. Just because you’re away from the luxuries of everyday life, doesn’t mean you have to survive on junk food or forage for nuts out in the woods. Take a couple of saucepans (one small, one large), a frying pan, as many plates and bowls as you’ll need, as well as a stove and fuel (unless you plan to start your own fires).
With your gear set, here’s a range of ideas to help you eat well when away from home …
Potato cakes are pretty quick and simple to make, and they taste amazing. You can prepare these for any meal, though they probably work best on the side of fried veg for dinner.
All you need to do is boil your potatoes over your stove or campfire, and then mash them. Add a single egg, as well as any seasoning you have with you, and then introduce a little flour to the mix.
Combine it all together, and then shape the potatoes into plump, round shapes. You just need to fry them for a while, until they turn a satisfying golden-brown color, and then serve.
Burning food on a stove or campfire is pretty easy to do, so don’t be too disturbed if you end up with a couple of cakes resembling coal.
Cheesy Nachos and Veg
This may sound like something of a cop-out, but it’s actually a fairly complete meal (thanks mainly to the presence of your preferred vegetables).
Start by cutting your veggies – this may be mushrooms, peppers, chili, jalapeno, onion, courgette, carrots, or anything else you like. Fry these in a pan, and add some salsa. Mix it all up.
If you’ve a casserole dish to hand, put your nachos inside and mix the saucy veggies in with it. Mix it up. Sprinkle some cheese on top, place the lid, and then put hot coals on the top so it heats from the top down, melting the cheese nicely.
No casserole dish? Use a cast iron skillet, or wrap the nachos with sauce up in foil to heat over your fire.
Healthy, Hearty Pasta
Pasta works beautifully on camping vacations. You can cook it in batches, keep it in airtight containers, and dip into it over a few days.
For a delicious lunch or dinner, boil your pasta over your stove or campfire, and then add plenty of chopped vegetables. Tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, asparagus, corn, and anything else you like will bring plenty of flavor and create a healthy dish.
Mix in a can of chopped tomatoes or condensed soup (with a little water or milk). Let it heat for a while, so the veg cooks thoroughly, and then top with some cheese or herbs.
Safety is paramount when cooking on a campsite. Certain spots will have their own facilities, but if you’re looking to go back to basics, cooking at your own space is pretty authentic.
Don’t make fires near the woods or your tent. Don’t leave children unsupervised around the fire. Ensure all knives and sharp utensils are kept out of sight from young kids.
As long as you stay safe, there’s no reason cooking can’t be fun, creative, and help to make your camping trip even better. Make sure you have all the equipment and essentials you need before heading out.