Kid-approved camping food
Our custom is to share the planning and prep for meals when we camp together. Each family does a breakfast and a dinner with lunches on our own (which generally means everything gets shared when we eat on the trail). This year we were able to have a campfire only one night due to a high fire danger, and we felt lucky to get the s'mores in that night. Aside from that tradition, here are a few other recipes that make repeat appearances -- or will next year.
Can Opener Chili
Our friends Jenny and Mike annually provide this make-ahead vegetarian chili for the arrival night of our camp out.
Saute together in a pot large enough to hold the chili:
1 bag vegetarian burger crumbles (usually frozen)
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
Once the onion and pepper soften, add the spices:
1 teaspoon of chipotle powder or adobo sauce (from canned chipotles)
Spice packet (not the cayenne) from Carroll Shelby's Chili Kit
When the crumbles have browned and onion and pepper are softened, start opening cans and add everything to the pot:
2-3 cans beans (a combination of pinto and black beans is my favorite), drained and rinsed
1 large can of chopped tomatoes in juice
1-2 Tbs. tomato paste
A bit of water
Stir together and let it heat through. Finish by stirring in:
2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider vinegar close to the end
Adjust the salt and spiciness to your liking.
Serve with toppings like chopped scallions, shredded cheese, and sour cream.
These are popular with everyone. Our friends Mark and Carol introduced us to the idea -- top a pita with sauce and toppings of your choice and then heat it in a skillet on the camping stove (covered works best) until it is warm and melty.
This year, we served these alongside a platter of fresh veggies for a filling and somewhat healthy group dinner. Here's a list of our ingredients:
- whole pitas or mini naan breads (we used the Stonefire brand small naan breads that come in an 18-pack at Costco)
- pizza sauce
- sliced black olives
- fresh mushrooms
- pineapple pieces
- feta cheese
- veggie sausages crumbled or sliced
- sliced fresh tomatoes
- fresh basil
- shredded mozzarella (even better if you mix in a bag of shredded Parmesan and Romano)
Orzo salad with lots of veggies
Our friends Courtney and Blake introduced us to this salad, which has "little surfboard noodles," herbs, and crunchy veggies. It was a perfect accompaniment to a dinner of felafel with tahini sauce, cucumber, and tomato in pita breads.
1 pound orzo
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
lemon zest from one lemon
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the orzo, drain, rinse in cool water and drain again. In a large bowl, toss orzo together with all the ingredients, adjust the seasonings and serve.
Spelt pancakes topped with "Ohanapecosh spread"
These are a riff on pancakes from a Marion Cunningham recipe that Byron and Wyatt make all the time at home. Although you have to do more than add water, they are sooooo much better than a mix. For camping, we measured the dry ingredients for a double recipe at home, brought eggs, butter, and buttermilk along, and voila!
We spread the pancakes with peanut butter and drizzle real maple syrup on top -- a.k.a. Ohanapecosh Spread. We always bring along yogurt and fresh fruit as an option too.
For a single recipe (makes a dozen)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 T granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
4 Tbs. melted unsalted butter
Add the wet to the dry and stir until combined but still a tad lumpy. Fry on a griddle and enjoy.