Monday, May 10, 2010

Five Awesome Camping Recipes

We love to camp, but we don't technically like to "rough it." I don't know many who do, so I don't feel terribly bad about being a "car camper," since who wants to go out into the woods without their kitchen anyway? Not me! But I do like to make cooking very simple when we're cooking by campfire, and thought to share these awesomely-easy recipes for your next trip to the woods.

1. Hobo Chili- for us, the key to campsite cookin' is the lack of cleaning, so this one is the highest maintenance of all with one big pot to clean. If you time it right however, you can make this meal last and bring home a dirty dish to clean in a more civilized location. You'll need:
  • Big soup pot
  • 2 packages of hot dogs
  • 3 cans of chili, chili beans, or combine cans to your liking
  • Chopped onion
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 hot dog buns
  • And a roaring fire with a cooking grate
  • Spoon or fork
Put chili, dogs, and onions into the pot to heat up. When hot, break up and add the buns and cheese stirring for another 10 minutes until buns are soft and cheese is melted. This meal may sound too simple for your palette, but it's a crowd pleaser if you're camping with a platoon.

2. Hunters Meal- this works with many different ingredients, and is prepared ahead of time so you don't have to bring the kitchen into the woods. Here's our staple list, alter it to your liking:
  • Hamburger meat and your favorite spices
  • Diced potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Butter, salt, pepper
  • Tin foil
  • Fork
  • Fire coals
Break the hamburger meat into patties, flavoring with your fave spices. Lay out a piece of tin foil for each individual who is camping, as if they were plates, placing a burger, a portion of potatoes, and a portion of beans onto each sheet. Put a dollop of butter and salt/pepper onto your potatoes and beans, then top with another piece of foil and crimp the ends so no juices can escape. Throw in the cooler and keep cold until ready. When it comes time to cook, take them out and place on the coals, flipping every 10 minutes or so for about 30-50 minutes depending on how hot your coals are. The last time we tried this we only had a Coleman burner as the wind was too high to make a fire, and these took about 15 minutes on that.

3. Foil Alternates- With foil you can wrap whole potatoes or ears of corn and put in the fire as well, remember to wrap tightly and even twice if possible. The strangest thing we've cooked in tin foil is pasta, and if you put enough water in there and seal it tight, it actually works. The best thing though is biscuits- right out of the tube into the tin foil, turning often (lay biscuits out flat so they have room to rise). The smell will bring the neighbors over!

4. No Bake Cookies- this is a great recipe for scout troops who want to make their own cookies, or if you're just in the woods for a longer while and want to no-bake your own. Also good if you're green-conscious and don't buy things with a lot of wrapping, which cookies sometimes do (that plastic liner in the Oreo's bag has always bothered me...) You'll need:
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. cocoa
  • 2 T. butter
  • 3 c. oats
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • Wax paper
  • Medium pot
  • Mellow fire
Mix first five ingredients thoroughly and boil for 1 minute over the fire, then remove from heat. Combine all the remaining ingredients into the pot and combine/stir, drop cookies onto wax paper to cool when finished. Throw the paper in the fire when you're done!

5. Brown Bag Breakfast- saving the best for last, we actually hadn't attempted this until our recent trip to the desert, (photo at the top, Cholula optional :)) and man were we impressed. You'll need (per person):
  • Brown bag
  • 1/2 cup of potatoes, cut into small squares or in frozen hashbrown style
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • Roaring fire
  • Cooking grate or stick
  • Fork
Starting with the potatoes, layer food into the bag, with eggs on top. Roll or fold the top of the bag down to the food (this air-tightness will allow it to cook faster), and place on the grate over the fire. You can also hang the bag by a stick over the fire, but be careful not to move the back too much once the eggs are in it, as they can and will bleed through the bag. Also be careful not to have the flames of the fire touch the bag, as they will burn it, of course. It will cook in 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the fire, so keep rotating the bag. YUM! When you're done, throw the brown bag in the fire!

If you have any easy, no-clean recipes for camping, pass them on!

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