When it comes to camping, meals are simplified. I get it. Not worrying about food means you have more time to hike and swim and enjoy the great outdoors. Thinking back to my last camping experience (truthfully, one of two as an adult—I’m not really the camping type), most mornings started with cereal, lunch was cold cuts or sandwiches and salad (snore) and dinner consisted of basic pasta (one evening we had cream sauce with rice—I was silently horrified). This time around I wanted to eat food that was still easy to prepare, but suited to a more sophisticated palette. Now I’m not talking gourmet (I don’t even do that at home), just different options to the traditional hot dogs and pasta. I also had to keep in mind that we may not be able have a campfire-made food (it’s a fire hazard if the weather is too dry), so all of the meals I came up with had to be stove-top ready.
To prepare, I researched and found some really great tips from Design Mom. She’s a wealth of information (plus, a new online fave) and posted an in-depth feature on Secrets to Cooking on a Campfire . Now, while she had some pretty awesome ideas, like packing food in layers according to when you’d be eating them (genius!), and how to build the perfect fire, many of her meal ideas were pro-campfire so I had to make some adaptions.
- Although the hubby is an avid camper, with a family of four, we had to upgrade from one camping utensil set to four. We made a trip to our local thrift shop and was able to find cutlery, plastic stackable cups and bowls, cooking utensils, tin cups and plates. Score!
- Make a list, check it twice. Do a blitz of baking a few days before, and freeze.
- Pack a small selection of herbs such as fresh parsley, cayenne pepper and rosemary. They’ll make all the difference to a meal.
- Don’t forget (like I almost did!) tea towels, cling wrap, aluminium foil, a small bottle of bio-degradable dish detergent, sponge and cloth for spills, paper towels, toilet paper and sanitizing wipes.
- If bringing juice boxes, freeze and use as ice packs.
- Line the cooler with cardboard so it’ll keep food cold, longer (cardboard acts as insulation and holds in the cold air).
- Pack cooler as full as possible to keep food cold.
- Pack in layers. Start with the last day of food first, then put cardboard or paper bags between each layer.
My close friends know that I’m a detailed planner so I had to prep accordingly. I needed plastic containers and freezer bags that were durable (translation: no leaking, sturdy tops, keeping food fresh and BPA free). GLAD had everything and their large variety of styles and containers (they had one called Deep Dish AND one specifically for Soup and Salad!) calmed my OCD anxieties (am I alone in this?).
A few days before our trip I kicked the kids out of the kitchen and went to work. Dry goods were measured and sealed in zipper freezer bags. Baked goods were made and promptly frozen. And just so you don’t think I’m crazy, I did include some traditional camping meal staples such as mac and cheese (with mascarpone!), scrambled eggs (more cheese!) PB & J sandwiches and ‘smores. In the end, my meal plan looked like this:
BREAKFAST (3 mornings)
Cheesy scrambled eggs with naan and bacon (8 eggs needed)
Blueberry muffins (premade and frozen) *Can also be used as snacks on hikes. Recipe HERE.
…and Lemon poppyseed and quinoa pancakes (dry parts pre-mixed) and bacon (4 eggs needed) Recipe HERE.
LUNCH (4 days)
Corn muffins (premade). Recipe HERE. Also, summer sausage, carrots and cucumbers (you’ll see these veggies more than once. My kids are very particular with their veggies, but you can sub in red peppers, zucchini and cherry tomatoes).
Coconut curry lentils with naan, carrots and cucumbers
PB and J sandwiches (these didn’t need a cooler when hiking), summer sausage, carrots and cucumbers
Grilled cheese and ham sandwiches, broccoli and carrots
DINNER (3 days)
Chicken breasts with olive oil, beer and parsley marinade, corn. Recipe HERE
Farm-fresh sausages (bought at the local farmers market and frozen), corn and potatoes with butter and sour cream
One-pot mac and cheese. Recipe HERE
Ants on a log (celery with peanut butter and raisins)
Chips (let’s be honest, you gotta have them)
Yoghurt and granola with honey
Trail mix energy bites (premade and frozen). Recipe HERE
‘Smores (more than once) Recipe HERE (just keep scrolling down).
Strawberries, whipped cream and melted chocolate
So how did my first meal-planning camping trip with two kiddos and my outdoors-y hiking/canoeing/sleep-under-the-stars, husband go? Well, you’ll have to wait until I recover from this trip and then I’ll fill you in. Stay tuned.
This contest is closed. HERE’S YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A GROCERY GIFT CARD COURTESY OF GLAD:
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