You all have seen me pitz around my kitchen pulling cakes out of the oven – no surprise there. There’s part of me that you might not be as familiar with. She’s outdoorsy, she can build a fire, she can make a cobbler over hot coals, she owns a bow and arrow, she is a Girl Scout forever. That’s me! And boy-howdy (where did that come from?) I’m going to stretch those outdoorsy muscles this coming holiday weekend.
It’s TIME TO GO CAMPING!
Listen… camping is the ideal pandemic vacation. Up and away, into the fresh air, with our boos and babies and the stars and bugs so many bugs. If we going it, we gotta go all the way in.
What follows is a list cooking gear I bring camping, a few of the recipes I use, and some simple tips that make my camp life easier. Please feel free to ask any questions or leave your own tips in the comments below.
Whatever you do this long weekend, I hope you take your summer body outside into this summer sun.
Before we start talking about camping food, let’s acknowledge that there are different kinds of camping. This upcoming camping trip is an RV camp – so I’ll have a refrigerator, small stovetop (that I won’t really use) a fire pit, and grill. I want to cook all my food outside over a fire but I have access to refrigerator which is ideal for a long weekend away.
This could also work for more primitive tent camping, but you’ll need a cooler and a refresher of ice during the weekend. This isn’t a backpacking menu – don’t nobody want to carry all this food around.
Here are a few kitchen things to bring for your next big camp adventure:
• a small grill – I love this small Weber and use it at home and on all 2-4 person camping trips.
• a cast iron skillet for breakfast.
Listen…. I’m like Ina Garten out here camping with my fancy salt and good olive oil. I might be grimy and covered in bug spray, but your girl is eating WELL.
It’s important to make a menu – know what you’re eating a what leftovers you’re eating for each meal. Of course things can switch around once you’re out in the woods, but a menu will help you grocery shop precisely. Refrigeration space is precious.
Here’s a bird’s eye view of what I pack of a weekend of camping.
Breakfast is eggs, bacon, and the occasional pancake. Pre-measure pancake dry ingredients into a large mason jar and bring a small jar of buttermilk (or add powdered buttermilk to your pancake mix).
Lunch is tomato soup made at home and brought in jars, Seemore sausage, sandwiches, and salads. I wash lettuce and bag my own salad greens with cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumber in zip lock bags with paper moist towels.
Dinner is usually a meat protein and skewered vegetables, sometimes marinated and always grilled. I love Commander’s Palace Grilled Chicken with Banana Peppers – I make this marinade at home and put it in a jar or zip lock bag and throw the chicken in the marinade the morning before I’m going to cook it for dinner. This marinade is delicious with boneless skinless chicken thighs.
I also make 3-Ingredient Yogurt Marinade that I invariably add three or four more ingredients to. You can over-marinade chicken. The acid in a marinade can break down the proteins in the chicken so I always assemble my marinades, place them in a plastic bag or jar and marinade my chicken the morning before dinner.
These are my favorite campfire potatoes (and I sometimes put slices of bacon at the bottom of the foil to grease it).
Camp Cooking Tips:
• Assembled as much as you can at home. Anything thing that calls for a lot of ingredients (marinades) or anything that can be consolidated by prepping (vegetable kebabs).
• Cut watermelon, apples, oranges, and any other juicy summer fruit.
• In general, keep it all simple with a few spices: salt and a general grill seasoning. This is no time to like… carry coriander around.
• Cook in the fat you have.
Oh drats – it’s bacon fat.
• It’s ok if things are burnt over fire. It adds character and flavor.
Listen, anyway you do it – get outside and away from it all. There’s no perfect way to camp – that’s the joy of it.
A little planning goes a long way so you don’t have to suddenly decide what’s for dinner when you come back to camp halfway exhausted in the late afternoon. Make a loose plan, mix your marinades and cut your watermelon. That’s it. Other than that – wear sunscreen and hydrate.
Be good, be well. Happy almost almost weekend.