Camping Food Ideas
Summer is in full swing and camping season is here. Over here in our little world, we are not striking out for days at a time with backpacks while channeling our inner Gone Girl. We are bringing our car with us. We are setting up next to some sort of running water or at least it’s in walking distance. There’s also going to be coolers and ice involved. Ok, so maybe it’s more like glamping, but there is definitely a difference between car camping and backpacking. We still like to sit down around a camp fire, cook some good food, but not spend a bunch of time on it. I’ve figured out a few hacks that make camp food ideas a breeze. Read on.
Make Ahead Food Ideas
Soups and Sauce: Recipes like soups, stews and maybe some pasta sauces like a chicken bolognese. All you have to do is throw the zip lock or vacuum sealed bags that you’ve stored the food in, into some boiling water along with the pasta.
Grains: Cook your grains like rice and barley before you head out the door. Store them in a bag and place in boiling water to reheat. You could also have a grain salad by mixing in some veggies to make something like this room temperature Greek Faro Salad. I also like to make lentil or chickpea curries as side dishes to grilled meats.
Hobo Packs: Now, if you want to get your fancy chef lingo going, we could call this en papillote. But we are camping so hobo packs it is! This is when you take thin pieces of chicken, pork or fish, wrap them in aluminum foil with some veggies, citrus, herbs and little liquid like white wine or water. When it’s time to cook, just throw on the grill, coals or right next to the fire – or more like half way on it.
Marinate the Meats: A good idea before getting to the camp site is to marinate whatever meats you are wanting to grill or sauté. Once you have them marinading in a bag, throw them in the freezer. This helps cut down on how much ice you use and definitely keeps the food cold. When you are ready to eat, remove and throw on the grill or your nifty cast iron skillet you brought along.
Burritos and Wraps: Make a bunch of breakfast burritos like this black bean and egg burrito then throw in the freezer. All you have to do in the morning to reheat them is thrown them next to the fire or the grill. I also make a lot of pinwheel sandwiches because they are portable and hold well for days.
Foods That Pack and Travel Easy
Vegetables: Staples that are super easy to grill and you can even throw on the charcoal to cook are potatoes, onions and corn. To save even more time, par bake the potatoes in the microwave before heading out. Other vegetables like lettuce and salad fixings need to be kept in the cooler so pack accordingly.
Canned Beans: There are so many great baked bean recipes in cans nowadays. Load up on the ones you like and all you have to do is crack open and throw in a pot to reheat at the campsite.
Canned Soups: Say what? I know – I know it’s easy to make soups, but sometimes the convenience of some pretty good gourmet canned soups that you can find in grocery stores now, will trump homemade. Grab a few because sometimes after a long day of paddling, riding, running or hiking, canned soup is all we want.
Space Saving Ideas
Dressings, Sauce, Salsas: Make sure you put each of these items in smaller, travel containers. Unless it’s a large group of people you typically don’t need the full size container in your cooler taking up space.
Eggs: And I don’t mean eggs in the shell. I’m talking about breaking the eggs open and storing in small container or small zip lock bags. You can also throw in some veggies so you could have individual omelets.
Separate Foods and Beverages: We open the beverage cooler way more often than the food cooler. By keeping them separate, you keep the cooler with the food cold because the last thing you want is spoiled food.
Camping Kitchen Essentials
- Cutting board
- Pairing knife
- Chef knife
- Wooden Spoon
- Fish spatula
- Cast iron skillet and Dutch oven
- Coffee percolator
- Charcoal, lighter fluid and a lighter
By keeping these camp food ideas handy, you too can car camp like a pro in the camp site kitchen.