I don’t know what it is about the great outdoors, but my family and I are ALWAYS hungry when we go camping.
If your campground offers electrical sites (usually these are for RVs and campers), spend the extra money and get one of these sites! Yes, you are roughing it, yes, I understand it’s considered ‘glamping’, but Benjamin Franklin wouldn’t object, and neither would I. Just do it! You won’t regret it.
The food part of your camping trip requires some planning and thinking ahead. I start putting together food items 4-6 weeks before our trip. I stock up on non-perishables, snacks, marshmallows, peanuts, drinking boxes, Koolaid Jammers, etc. and I freeze things like bacon and hot dogs. I’ll also package up enough hamburger patties for two meals.
We usually camp for 5 full days, so two of these meals I plan to have crockpot meals. You can plan one for every day if you want! The choices are endless, and even if you don’t use a crockpot at home, you should definitely have one for camping. You can do stews, soups, chili, lasagna… the list goes on. Whatever your family likes most, it can be adapted to the crockpot. There are two great reasons for doing your meals this way… one, it’s easy to just dump the contents into the crockpot and you’re set, but the frozen meals will also keep other things in your cooler, cold. Win, win!
I buy two, whole, large chicken breasts, and line my little crockpot with a jumbo ziplock bag. I put the chicken in with a block of cream cheese, 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Chicken sauce, 1/2 cup ranch salad dressing, pepper, and half a cup each of diced onion, carrot and celery. I seal it up, removing as much air as possible, and I plop the entire thing into my freezer. I don’t know if you’re supposed to put the crockpot in the freezer or not, but I have never had any problems and I’ve had this crockpot forever. Freezing it INSIDE the crockpot ensures that when you want to cook it, it’s going to fit without having to fight with it. Set it on low in the morning, and go about your day. With so many things to see and do, it’s nice to not have to worry about cooking when you come back tired. When it’s time to eat, shred the chicken with two forks and serve on your favourite sandwich buns. This meal is my husband’s favourite.
Another meal I do ahead of time and freeze in the crockpot is meatloaf. I combine two pounds of lean ground beef (you could use turkey or chicken) with one package of onion soup mix, half a can of tomato soup (no water, do not dilute) and breadcrumbs if mixture is too sticky. Line the crockpot with a ziplock bag, and press the mixture into the crockpot. Seal, remove as much air as you can, and freeze. Same thing as the chicken, set on low in the morning. Serve with potatoes cooked in the fire.
I also like to make up Bisquick pancakes ahead of time and freeze the mixture in a ziplock, so it’s nice and flat for the cooler. When it’s thawed, snip off a corner and drizzle it onto a hot griddle.
This year I tried something new, and it required getting a morning fire going. I made up breakfast sandwiches (like McDonald’s egg McMuffin) and wrapped them in foil and froze them. When we wanted to eat, we put them on the grate over the fire and kept turning them, until the middles were warm and the cheese was gooey. It was seriously delicious! I’ll be doing those up again, for sure!
The trick to camping food is to do AS MUCH as you can at home before the trip. With limited resources, you want it to be as easy as possible. Cutting up veggies and fruits, baking muffins and cookies, all of these things will help your trip to be enjoyable because you’ll spend less time preparing food and more time enjoying your trip, which is how memories are made.
And of course, this doesn’t just apply to a camping trip… these ideas can also be used for road trips and tailgating!
I’d love to hear your ideas and tips! Please feel free to share!