Love camping, but really bored with the same old, same old for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Time to spice it up with some easy to make meals that will make your taste buds - and your camping companions - stand up and cheer. Some are no-cook meals that give you more time to enjoy your trip, while still eating well. There are also ideas for how to cook some items once - and use the leftovers for other meals. Check ‘em out.
Starting your day with a good meal will help give you the energy you need for your adventures in nature. Try one or more of these:
If you haven’t tried it, you should. It is shamelessly easy, yet provides equal doses of healthy and delicious to your breakfast routine with no cooking required. You assemble the night before (and can put them together up to several days in advance), put in the cooler and go. And you can use ingredients to meet your particular tastes with different fruits, yogurt (or vegan yogurt), seeds and flavorings. Check out these ideas from Wholefully for combinations to inspire.
These egg pies can be decadently delicious, like this Ham and Cheese one from SpendWithPennies made even easier with a store bought pie crust, or try this lighter, healthier option from Cooking Light. The flavor combinations are endless. To make a quiche for a camping trip, make in a metal or disposable pie pan. Once cool, wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate. In the morning at the campsite, leave whole pie wrapped in foil and throw on the grill - or cut a few servings at a time and reheat the slices in the frying pan.
I have to admit, this is one of my all-time favorite breakfasts to eat anytime, anywhere. And it couldn’t be easier to make right at your campsite:
- Slice open a firm, but ripe avocado, removing the pit and scooping out the creamy flesh into a non-metal bowl.
- Add in a good squeeze of lemon or lime juice (save the rest of the fruit for garnishing cool drinks later).
- With a fork, mix in the juice while mashing the avocado. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Put a thick slice of your favorite crusty bread on the hot grill to toast. When done, slather on the avocado mix.
Now top with anything else you like, from the delicate flavor of fresh basil and sliced grape tomatoes to the salty goodness of crisp, crumbled bacon. Like a little more oomph? Try adding your favorite chunky spicy salsa. The options are endless!
Caldo de Pollo (Mexican Chicken Soup):
Who says you can’t have soup for breakfast? This classic soup warms up both your heart and stomach on a cold morning at the campsite. Make ahead of time, freeze and just heat through thoroughly over the camp stove in the morning.
It can be hard to plan for lunches - do you plan for something eaten around the campfire or something for on the go to take on your hike, bike ride or other activity? Here are some choices that easily go with you:
The definition of no-cook deliciousness, this is an easily assembled lunch right from your backpacks. Slice or cut bite sized pieces of the fruit, cheese and cured meat before leaving camp and put in small containers. Take along things like olives, dried fruit and nuts plus mustards for dipping in other small containers. Add slices of a baguette or hearty crackers. When ready, find a comfortable place to stop, break out your picnic and enjoy sharing your feast.
Pesto pasta salad:
Made ahead of time and kept cool, pasta salad with a pesto sauce has great flavor and travels well. With colorful ingredients like chopped zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers, it’s a feast for the eyes too. It’s also easy to adjust those ingredients to address the preferences of your traveling companions.
Nut butter and jam sliders:
Why should kids have all the fun? Try different combinations of nut butters and good jams on small rolls for an easy peasy lunch. How about cashew butter with peach ginger jam on a whole wheat roll? Or almond butter with fig jam on sourdough? And no judgement if you want to revisit your childhood with peanut butter and grape jelly on a Parker House roll.
Dinner - and beyond
You’ve had a full day of activities out in the fresh air. You are ready for a cool drink, a hot meal and kicking back around the campfire together. Check out these alternatives to the standard hamburgers, hot dogs and chili:
Indian Spiced Chicken Stew:
If you like the flavors of India, this recipe with chicken, potatoes and tomatoes rich in spices, will make you very happy. Put it in the slow cooker the day before you go camping while you are getting packed to go. Then just reheat at the campsite and serve with naan (or any flatbread).
Grilled ham and pineapple skewers with three bean salad:
These skewers are both adult and kid tested - and are very little work:
- Presoak the wooden skewers 15 to 30 minutes.
- Cut up a pre-cooked ham steak into evenly sized chunks - approximately 1 ½” cubes or a bit bigger.
- Use pre cut chunks of pineapple (fresh or canned) that are approximately the same size as the ham chunks.
- Start building the skewers, alternating a chunk of ham with one of pineapple.
- Place them on the hot grill and turn often, heating until lightly browned on most sides.
- Serve hot with your favorite mustard - honey mustard and grainy brown ones both work really well. And don’t forget the crunchy and colorful three bean salad.
A food group at my house, pizza while camping sounds like the best of both worlds. With a store bought dough and fun toppings, you can make enough and in enough varieties to please everyone.
And while dinner is settling and you are telling tall tales around the fire, put a campfire cobbler on the fire for dessert. It will send you off to your tent with a full tummy - and a smile on your face.
Wrapping up the leftovers
You may have noticed that many of these meals could be eaten at any time of day that the mood hits. Have avocado toast for dinner or ham and pineapple skewers for breakfast. And no worry about waste - take the leftover cheese and meats from the charcuterie, chop up fine and sprinkle on a pizza or mix in scrambled eggs. With a little planning and some imagination, you can enjoy a wide variety of meals with very little work. Happy camping!