There are many enjoyable things about camping. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of life and getting back to nature are two of them.
Camaraderie is also a big part of the experience. Whether it’s with family or friends or both, camping is a great time to bond.
Another delightful component of camping is exploration. Every time you go camping you see something you’ve never seen before. Or find a new way to appreciate it.
Of course, one of the best aspects of camping is eating. Food just seems to taste better when you’re outdoors and cooking over an open fire or grill.
Today I’d like to give you a few recipes that are ideal for camping. I could write a book about this subject, but you probably wouldn’t have time to read it. So, I’m going to stick with four of my favorites. They’ll get you through a day of camping.
Breakfast – Apple Cinnamon French Toast
If you or your fellow campers get hungry shortly after waking up in the morning, it’s best to mix all your ingredients the night before.
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
12 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups whole milk
1 French bread loaf (15-16 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup roughly chopped Braeburn apple
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1) Line a 9-inch springform pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil to the top edge of the pan. Lightly grease bottom and sides of foil with cooking spray.
2) Whisk together cream cheese and maple syrup in a large bowl until combined. Whisk in vanilla, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Whisk in eggs until combined. Whisk in milk. Add bread cubes. Stir to coat. Stir in apple and pecans, and let stand at least 30 minutes.
3) Heat a camping stove to medium-low (300-325 degrees) or fit a grilling grate over the direct heat of partially glowing embers. Cut 6 18-inch squares of foil. Crumple each foil square into a 1 1/2 to 2-inch ball. Arrange foil balls on the bottom of a 7 1/2-quart cast-iron Dutch oven and cover with lid. Preheat on the camping stove or a grilling grate directly over the heat source for 10 minutes.
4) Pour the bread cube mixture into the prepared springform pan. Place the pan on top of the foil balls in the preheated Dutch oven. Coat a large sheet of foil with cooking spray and place it over the top of the Dutch oven, coated side down. Press the foil around the top edge to tightly seal and cover with the lid. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 2 hours. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and remove the foil from the sides of the strata. Cut into the wedges. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.
Lunch – Foil Pack French Dip Sandwiches
French dip sandwiches never tasted better. They’re perfect for grilling or cooking in an oven. Easy to make and very popular on camping trips.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 package au jus gravy mix, separated
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp. dried minced garlic
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Heavy-duty aluminum foil
1 long baguette
1 pound deli roast beef
1 package pre-sliced provolone cheese
1) Preheat a grill to medium-high heat or an oven to 400 degrees.
2) Combine softened butter, 1 tablespoon of au jus gravy mix, Worcestershire sauce, dried minced garlic and onion powder in a bowl. Stir until ingredients are completely combined, then set aside.
3) Cut the baguette into equal parts of 6-10 inches in length. Make an odd number of slices (1/2 inch wide) into each piece of the baguette, cutting only about 3/4 of the way through.
4) Separate the butter mixture created in step 2 into equal parts. Using a butter knife, spread a small amount of the mixture inside each slice of bread. Save half the mixture for later.
5) Slice the individual pieces of cheese in half and place 1 piece, along with 1 piece of roast beef, in between every two slices of bread.
6) Take the other half of the butter mixture and brush it along the tops and sides of each of the sandwiches with a pastry brush.
7) Wrap each baguette section completely in foil. Make sure none of the bread is exposed.
8) Place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or on the preheated grill for 6-9 minutes, turning frequently, or until bread is toasty and cheese is melted.
9) While the sandwiches are cooking, take the remaining au jus mixture and place in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 cups of cold water and whisk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer to allow it to slightly thicken.
10) Remove foil packets and open carefully to allow steam to escape. Pull apart the sandwiches and enjoy with the au jus sauce.
Dinner – Marinated Chicken and Onion Kebabs
Everyone knows that chicken tastes even better when it’s marinated. And onions taste better when grilled than when raw. Combine them and you’ve got a great dinner.
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsps. lemon zest, plus 2 tbsps. lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
Canola oil, for grill grates
1 medium-sized red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges, then halved crosswise
4 pieces flatbread or naan bread
1) Combine yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl. Add chicken and stir to combine. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
2) Heat grill to medium. Once hot, clean and lightly oil grill grates. Thread chicken and onions onto six large skewers. Grill, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and onion is just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Grill flatbread until lightly toasted, about 1 minute per side.
3) Serve kebabs and flatbread with cucumber and cilantro yogurt sauce alongside.
Desert – S’mores Cookie Cake
This is really a large, sweet cookie that adults and kids love. When warm, the cookie base is soft and gooey. But it hardens after cooling.
6 graham cracker sheets, divided
1 17.5-ounce package sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 12-ounce package milk chocolate chips
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1) Heat a camping stove to medium (350-375 degrees) or fit a grilling gate over the direct heat of glowing embers. Cut 8 12-inch squares of aluminum foil. Crumple each foil square into a 2-inch ball. Flatten each slightly and arrange on the bottom of a 7 1/2–quart cast-iron Dutch oven. Cover with a lid and preheat on the stove or grate directly over the heat source for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low (300-325 degrees).
2) Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan with 2 layers of aluminum foil, allowing the foil to extend about 1 inch above the rim of the cake pan. Fold the edges of the foil down to create an even 1/2-inch collar above the rim of the pan. Coat the foil with cooking spray.
3) Finely crush 4 graham crackers in a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Stir together the crushed graham crackers, cookie mix, butter and egg until a soft dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared cake pan. Using tongs, lower the pan onto the foil balls in the Dutch oven. Cover and cook on the cooking stove over medium-low until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges are golden, about 1 hour. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat.
4) Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top of the cookie in the Dutch oven. Top evenly with marshmallows. Cover with the lid and let stand 10 minutes or until the chocolate melts and the marshmallows slightly soften. Coarsely crush the remaining 2 graham crackers and sprinkle over the marshmallows. Lift the cookie out of the cake pan using the foil collar as handles. Cut into 10 wedges.
If you’re able to try any of these recipes, let me know how it went. Or feel free to share one of your camping recipes. Our readers will love it!