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Friday Favorites: Campfire Cooking

Campfire cooking

“Friday Favorites” features my favorite great ideas/recipes/etc., from across the giant world wide webs.

Campfire cooking

The Guy, Kiddo and I are headed for our first camping trip of the year on Father’s Day weekend, and I am already so excited. We took our first camping trip together as a family last summer, in a borrowed tent and with borrowed equipment. It brought back a lot of memories of summer camping trips when I was growing up, particularly our first trip, when my parents were brand new to camping. Thankfully, the trip last summer was a bit less eventful than that first childhood trip–no invading raccoons and only a slightly leaky tent. Those moments do make for a lot of laughs later, though.

While I picked up quite a few camping tricks watching my parents learn how to navigate outdoor living, this was the first camping trip I had taken since college, and the first where there wasn’t another adult “in charge.” It was just the Guy and I together, figuring everything out. We had to make sure we could get the tent up in one piece, come up with something edible for the Kiddo to eat, and make sure no one came home with poison ivy, covered head to toe in mosquito bites or sunburnt to a crisp. Oh yeah, and ward off those nasty raccoons. Turns out, we survived okay.

The upcoming trip will be to Kitty Hawk, so I’m particularly excited, since it will be my first camping trip ever to the coast. This time, we’ll be using a brand-new three-room tent we got for a wedding present, along with various other new gear (yeah, instead of registering for towels and china, we went with camping stuff). And, OCD planner that I am, I am already working out our meals and figuring out how to make them low-fuss, healthy and absolutely delicious. We just picked up a camp stove this week, so that will make things a lot easier, since we won’t have to get a fire or charcoals going for every hot meal. We had some wet weather on our last trip, so getting a fire going was a bit of issue.

One of the easiest ways to camp cook is with tin foil packets. Throw in some meat, veggies and seasoning, wrap it all up, and stick it in the coals until it’s done. Searching for inspiration online, I found amazing variety, with options for breakfast, main courses and dessert. I’m sure we’ll have our staple “hobo meatloaf” one night of our trip (mix up ground beef, canned potatoes and carrots, diced onion and a little salt and pepper–amazingly delicious), but we’ll have to give a few of my new finds a go to. This year, I’m going to prep my packets ahead of time and freeze them, so they’re all ready to go and we don’t have to take “food prep time” out of our “fun activity time.”

If you’re planning a camping trip or two over summer break, here are a few good resources for camp cooking. The Art of Manliness has some great tin foil packet recipes, and a very nice tutorial with tips and tricks for this cooking method. Six Sisters’ Stuff offers a collection of 25 camping recipes, with a lot of kid-friendly options. Many are foil packets, but they also take advantage of a dutch oven and some other creative camp cooking techniques.

If you’re on Pinterest, this is another great place to look for inspiration, and I’d highly recommend checking out this camping and tin foil dinners board. There’s an awesome tip on here for freezing pancake batter in a gallon Ziploc bag, thawing it out overnight, then piping the batter straight onto the griddle for easy campground flapjacks.

And, while “Friday Favorites” generally points you to resources across the web, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my family’s favorite camping recipes from my childhood–campfire stew. This one’s easy, because almost everything comes out of a can, and truthfully, there’s not a hard and fast recipe for it. You just throw together a can of tomato sauce, beef broth, an assortment of your favorite canned veggies, some kind of meat (ground beef, which you can pre-cook at home and freeze for simplicity, or you can used canned chicken or ground beef) in a large stock pot and let it simmer over the fire. Even canned everything tastes great with a little smoke and “outdoors” flavor!

Happy trails…and happy eating!