It’s National Camping Week, and Cooking Examiner loves the great outdoors. What to do if you don’t have a “real” stove and oven, but really like the idea of cooking on a camping trip? You can barbecue, either with coals on a barbecue grill, or over a wood campfire with a special grill added. Also, many campers invest in a Coleman camp stove, but Boy Scouts just invest in gathered wood, which they somehow magically rub together to make a fire.
Using recipes created and taste-tested by those Boy Scouts, we’re fixing a full day’s menu without using the kitchen stove. If you’re toting meat or dairy along on your trek, be sure to ice it well. We’ve found great success pre-freezing meat, wrapping it well, and carrying it over ice. By cooking time the meat will be almost thawed. For a good ice substitute, freeze water in half-gallon plastic milk jugs. It’s much less messy than a melting ice block, but don’t drink the water: freezing many plastics causes leaching of chemicals you don’t want to ingest. (And yes, freezing does toughen the meat fibers, but hey – this is roughing it!)
If you’re planning on cooking in your backyard, you don’t really need to think too much about prep, but if you’re going to be in the piney woods, we’ve always found the best bet is to pre-measure and package ingredients for each recipe. It makes for much less clean up at the campsite, and you leave a much smaller footprint in the wilderness. Be sure to pack out your trash so the next camper finds the place pristine.
Cooking utensils and equipment you’ll need, aside from the stove or a campfire:
small bowl for prep work
large bowl for washing up
roasting sticks for the dessert course
barbecue mitts or heavy pot holders (to protect your hands)
heavy duty aluminum foil
small bottle dish detergent
And then …
Breakfast: Tongan Toast
Ingredients for 4 sandwiches:
- 8 slices bread
- 2 bananas
- oil for frying
- Mash the bananas, mix with butter, and spread on the bread; make sandwiches.
- Heat the oil in the frying pan and when hot fry the sandwiches on both sides until golden brown.
- Cut into quarters.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon together; dip sandwiches into sugar mix.
Lunch: Cabbage Patch Stew
- 1 pound ground meat, beef, turkey (or venison)
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 16-ounce can stewed tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
- Bisquick Dumplings (click here for a recipe)
- Cook and stir ground meat in Dutch oven until browned; drain.
- Add onions, cabbage, and celery; cook, stirring, until veggies are light brown.
- Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans (with liquid), water, salt, pepper, and chili powder.
- Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer until cabbage is tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare Bisquick dumplings.
- Drop by spoonfuls into boiling stew; cook uncovered 10 minutes.
- Cover and cook another 10 minutes.
Dinner: Awesome Chicken Foil Dinners
Ingredients for each foil dinner (for the correct amount of food, multiply each ingredient times the number of campers):
- 1 boneless/skinless chicken breast
- 1 potato, washed and sliced
- sliced onion
- 3-4 fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced
- 6-8 stalks fresh asparagus, tough ends snapped off
- salt, pepper, other seasonings as desired
- Place the chicken breast on a large square of foil.
- Season chicken.
- Add layers of sliced potato, mushrooms, and onions; top with asparagus stalks.
- Wrap dinner drugstore-style; place chicken-side-down on hot coals, turning after about 20 minutes.
- After another 10 minutes or so, unwrap one dinner and slice chicken to test for doneness. If chicken is fully cooked – dig in! (If not, re-wrap and leave on coals a few more minutes.)
Dessert: Tired of S’mores Recipe
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- chocolate chip cookies (click here for a recipe for Refrigerator Chocolate Chip Cookies. You do need to bake these ahead of time, though.)
- Roast marshmallow over campfire.
- Place on the flat side of a cookie.
- Top with a Reese’s Cup.
- Top with another cookie.
Recipes from Scoutarama.com. (Those Boy Scouts really know how to do it: they even barbecue pizza! Click here for a recipe.)
REI, 400 El Paseo de Saratoga, San Jose, carries camping equipment such as Coleman stoves and lanterns.
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