This Friday Favorites is brought to you as part of the Kitsap Blog Circle. And this week I’m exploring camping food favorites. Plus all include a few other additional camping tips. I’d love to see you share yours too. Whether you are a novice or expert camper, what have you found to be a handy insight when camping?
My first suggestion is to know your location. Find out if there is running water nearby, electricity etc. Are there Porta potty’s or bathrooms? The site that we will be staying at on this trip has no running water or electricity and only Porta potty’s on site.
This means my first tip is actually to take along disposable plates and napkins. Normally my suggestion is the opposite because we love washing dishes while camping. I know it sounds crazy, but it just seems to be more fun to do those every day things out in the middle of nowhere. But with no water available disposable plates and dishes will really save our water storage that will be very limited.
We will try to only use water for drinking and washing the few dishes we will need to prepare food. Using disposable dishes allows us to save on how many serving utensils and dishes we would need to wash.
The next thing is to pre-cook as much as you can. Especially because when there is no water doing a lot of this cooking ahead means you will save yourself water. In the end it also saves you time while camping. I typically love to cook basic simpler recipes while camping just because I love doing it on my propane burner, but again in this situation I pre-cooked quite a bit. First up was a basic spaghetti sauce.
It’s technically a vegetarian dish although sometimes when I make it at home for other people I add sausage or ground beef.
One large can of S&W Italian seasoning crushed tomatoes
One small can of tomato sauce
Entire head of garlic either diced or pressed.
A box, I prefer a larger one than pictured, of fresh basil
Italian seasoning and salt
Press or dice an entire large head of garlic – I think the more the merrier. Sauté this in several tablespoons of olive oil until fragrant but not burned. Add in your canned crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce along with about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and a teaspoon of salt. After allowing this to simmer, slice and add the fresh basil. Simmer a while longer to blend flavors. Serve over angel hair pasta.
The next tip is to make some baked goods ahead of time. I like to make one that is geared more towards breakfast – in this case I made blueberry muffins. And a different baked good or snack that is more like treats. I made 6 dozen of my Mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies! One of the joys of camping for us is the gathering together of friends and family and meeting new people in various campsites. I found that if you have baked goods ready to go it’s a draw for folks.
I also always prep fruits and veggies and pull the trays out at every meal. Then you’re not trying to prep a salad or make up veggies and you still get the balanced meal. With camping it’s really easy to go entirely junk food, which is a fun perk of camping for us, but I also want to have healthy snack options to offer my kids and myself.
I mix up some yummy veggie dip and often also make a fun fruit dip that makes these platters more enticing.
One of my favorite Pinterest camping idea finds was to make individual pizzas that you wrapped up in tinfoil and can throw in the fire when the coals are burning hot.
Sometimes I make my own pizza dough, and other times I just grab a crescent roll of pizza dough. Then people can add the toppings that they prefer. Pictured below is the parents pizza… we just oil the tinfoil before laying down the raw dough, add pizza sauce and our favorite toppings. Ben and I prefer pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, sliced garlic and onions. (I am not sure why we don’t make pizza at home more often… so easy and live the personalization) Then you roll up the ends and the sides and wrapped in tinfoil. I freeze them and then we can toss them in the fire. Just be careful not to burn them. If your fire pit has a great you can put them on top of this is also a great way to cook them.
I fill my old school teal Tupperware bowl with cookies or baked goods just like my grandma and aunties have done for many years at family camp outs. This year it’s my mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies!
1 cup Crisco
Three-quarter cup brown sugar
Three-quarter cup white sugar
1 teaspoon Coldwater
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
One cup oatmeal
One bag semi sweet chocolate chips
Mix Crisco, granulated sugar, and brown sugar, whisk furiously until light and fluffy. Add two eggs and with again until light and fluffy.
Add cold water and vanilla.
The whisking is definitely the secret to this recipe. I use my KitchenAid and really let it go out it for a long time.
Mix flour salt baking soda in a separate bowl and add slowly. Mixing as you go.
Add quick oats and chocolate chips at the end mixing in gently.
Bake at 375° for 8 minutes – could be up to 10 minutes depending on your oven. But it’s best if they are a little bit undercooked and you let them sit on hot cookie sheet to finish up.
I also made a quick corn salsa to use for snacking.
Black Bean and Corn Salsa
3/4 of bag of frozen corn
One can of drained rinsed black beans
4-6 diced Roma tomatoes
One head of cilantro Chopped
One medium onion diced-red or white
Diced jalapeño or half a pablano
Dice tomatoes, mix with drained frozen corn and rinsed black beans. Add diced onion, cilantro, and optional pepper. Dress with lime juice and salt to taste.
My text tip I got from Nicole at Let’s Go, Lovely and it’s a huge help especially when tent camping. Always freeze anything possible. I absolutely loved her post about camping and why it’s both hard and important.
I froze leftover taco chili for one of our dinners.
1 pound ground turkey
2 package taco seasoning
Have a large onion diced
3 cloves of garlic diced or pressed
One can of corn – 14oz
One can of black beans – 14oz
One large can of crushed tomatoes – 28oz
Sauté the onion, ground turkey, taco seasoning, and garlic in the bottom of a stockpot. I had in the cans of corn, black beans, and crush tomatoes along with a teaspoon of chili powder and a teaspoon of salt. Let simmer to blend flavors.
This time we froze drinks for the kids, breakfast sausages, hotdogs, and the spaghetti sauce.
A kids camping favorite are Capri Suns which we toss in the freezer
For sure our favorite dinner is to make hotdogs over the fire. We freeze all those as well. As I mentioned before This keeps down the need for refilling our coolers with ice. We all have different favorite hotdogs so I try to snag those and also bring a variety of toppings including cream cheese, sriracha, ketchup, mustard, relish and diced onions. And on this night we always include Smore’s… a camping favorite!
(Bonus Camping food favorite is Sopa Miguel, they aren’t having it this time simply because we ate it the last two or three times we have been camping. It’s easy and tasty and you can involve lots of people in the dicing of the fresh toppings.)
French Market Sandwiches have become a wonderful go to lunch or dinner for our family. This time around I made half a batch which was six sandwiches, I think it actually made seven. But the recipe typically can make 12. This is a recipe I got from my husband’s side of the family and my sister-in-law made them for me on our first family camping trip. I don’t like to go camping without them now. They also make a great ladies luncheon sandwich.
French Market Sandwiches
12 crescent rolls
One cup room temperature butter
1/4 cup mustard
2 Tablespoons diced onions
Half teaspoon poppyseeds
2 pounds Finley sliced ham
12 slices of Swiss cheese
Directions: Mix together the butter, mustard, poppyseeds, and onion. Slice crescent rolls and put the spread on both sides. I add about 3 to 4 slices of ham and one slice of cheese per sandwhich. Then I wrapped in tinfoil. If you make them differently for folks you can also write on the tinfoil so you know who they belong too. My kiddos get no spread, just cheese and ham. I also bring along some cans of tomato basil soup to dip in. I just toss these sandwiches when there us a good bed of coals, or on top the rack of a fire ring (found in most state parks) and keep a close eye on them so that they don’t burn.
At home you can cook them in the oven at 325° for 15 minutes or for 20 to 25 minutes if they are frozen.
These are pictures from two very different campsites. But there is some consistency in how I set up my site. That’s intentional! I have a real system with how I set up my bins now almost like I have a floor plan.
Blue bin has all of our cooking utensils and dishes and it goes under the end of the picnic table where my propane stove is.
I now have a black box with the yellow lid that locks tightly from Costco ( locking is important) as my pantry bin. Another quick tip is to keep all those things tightly closed at night and put away all food as critters will get into it.
And we usually keep a cooler or two under a folding Costco table. And I have a borrowed camping kitchen, we will be purchasing our own this year we live it so much, and underneath it I put that large black chest with a gray lid and it holds things like toilet paper, soap and drying racks, along with batteries and tools and lanterns. The heavier duty camping gear.
We also have a large linens bin and Ibring several additional containers that are close to empty to help us stay organized – would like an extra empty cooler to put drinks in once we arrive at the campsite. ( tightly packed coolers are great for keeping things frozen but harder for the sake of accessing your food.)
We always put a tablecloth over the provided picnic table and we also have an additional fold up picnic table we use for the kids, although this weekend it will be one of our main places to sit and eat since the campground itself does not provide tables.
My favorite time of day at the campground is when I’m awake by myself or with just one kiddo trying to keep them quiet while everyone else is asleep. Percolated coffee is definitely a camping favorite and I’m always sure to bring along teabags, hot cocoa for the kids, and warm drinks for our cold Washington mornings.
I think breakfast is the easiest meal of the day because you can basically make all the things right there on your campfire. Or your propane stove. We typically do one morning of sausage and another bacon and always make pancakes, occasionally French toast. Sometimes we bring “just add water pancake powder” and other times we pre-make buttermilk pancake batter in Ziploc bags to freeze them or a pourable Tupperware container. We use those blueberry muffins or scones I pre make for the kiddos before other people wake up and I have breakfast fully cooking. We love to make fried eggs, and often also mix several eggs per person in a Ziploc bag with our favorite omelette ingredients and freeze it. Then you can just toss them in a boiling pot of water at the campsite and you have made to order omelettes for everyone.
And the final favorite meal to cook camping is one that utilizes the fresh food around you. Crabbing season, clams, oysters you name it! Our family loves seafood and also to do things like Berry picking or visit local farmers markets in the towns where we are camping and use those ingredients. Makes for awesome fresh meals when camping!
One last camping favorite is camping with friends, or family. We found that the adults are happier and so are the kids when there are other people to play with. Not to mention the fun memories that are made and that you can plan and create meals together. If you are intentional you can even bring half as much stuff food wise if you share the responsibilities.
Hope you got some awesome tips from this. I’ll close by summarizing them, and sending you over to Whitney Coudray Photography’s webpage where you can read about her Friday Favorites, make up and skin care.
1. Know the amenities at your campsite and what that means for what you need to pack. Think about disposable dishes versus washing camping dishes.
2. Freeze as many things as you can. Kids drink boxes, meats, premade meals like pizza rolls or sandwiches.
3. Pre-make meals like spaghetti sauce, taco soup, French Market Sandwiches, or pizza rolls. See recipes above.
4. Get organized at your site. Create a floor plan that works for you and used it the same way every time so that your camping kitchen becomes familiar. Leave camping bins packed year round, pull doubles of kitchen utensils or old pots/pans/dishes as you replace them to add to your camping bins. When we return home I always write a list of what we “forgot,” “need to get,” or “ran out of” even better if you can restock them when you arrive home versus before your next trip.
5. Make some baked goods ahead of time. Great for breakfast when you’re up before you’re ready to start cooking, or fun treats to share with other happy campers.
6. Make camping a time where you indulge in some fun traditions like Smore’s, junk food, things that will be memorable for you and your family.
Feel free to share your tips too!
Here is the preview and real time video I made the day before this post. I had a very cute little helper!