Delicious, easy-to-prep recipes.
By Trent Jonas
For many folks, meal planning is the biggest thing to worry about when getting ready for a camping trip. Whether you’re backpacking, car camping, or pitching a tent in your backyard, simplicity is, arguably, the most important consideration for a campsite meal. We've compiled a list of simple and delicious campsite meals to whip up on your next trip to the woods. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
This extremely simple meal can be cooked on or near a fire, or on a grill or camp stove. Simply chop up some potatoes, peppers, and onions—add other vegetables if you wish—season them to taste and put them on a square of aluminum foil. Then, pick a protein to throw into the mix, like chopped steak or chunks of Italian sausage. Add a few pats of butter to the mélange, fold it up and put it on the heat. After a few minutes, check on the pack, give it a stir and fold it back up. When the protein is thoroughly cooked, serve the packets to your eager campers.
Breakfast is an important meal when camping—and every day, of course—because it helps you to ease into the morning, warm up, and shake off the cobwebs. At the same time, it’s important that breakfast be fast and simple for all the same reasons. For each sandwich, crack two eggs into a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, and red pepper flakes if you’re feeling it. If you have milk or cream, add a little bit to the eggs. If you like, add some chopped onions and/or peppers, or even a little diced ham or bacon to the mix. Whip the mixture with a fork until the color is consistent. Put two slices of bread or a halved English muffin, as well as some cheese, on standby.
On a camp stove, a grill, or over a fire, heat a pan large enough to hold two slices of your bread of choice side by side. Drop some butter into the pan and coat the bottom with it. Once the butter is sizzling, pour the egg mixture into the pan. While the egg mixture is still runny, dip one side of each slice of bread into the eggs, then flip it and leave it in the egg mixture until the eggs are cooked through. Then, flip the whole business so that it’s bread-side down in the pan. Fold the extra egg flaps up onto the bread, and add cheese, if you like. Then fold one slice of bread onto the other slice to form a sandwich. When the pan-side bread has browned, flip the sandwich to brown the other side. Serve with hot sauce.
It doesn’t get much easier than this quick and tasty recipe, which can be made on a camp stove or over a fire. Boil a pot of water, add enough instant rice to meet the appetites of the folks who are eating, then stir in canned chicken, cream of mushroom soup, black pepper and other spices to taste. Once the rice is ready, serve it up. This dish can be made even more backpacker friendly by substituting instant mushroom soup, freeze dried chicken breast, or a mix like Patagonia Provisions Organic Mushroom and Savory Grains in place of the canned ingredients.
A campfire frittata is a great one-pan meal that your campers will love for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Although a cast iron pan is typical, an anodized aluminum pan, like Firebox Stove’s frypan, will work just as well. Whichever pan you’re using, warm it over a camp stove or fire, then coat the entire surface with butter. Pour a mixture of eggs, cheese, salt, pepper, sliced potatoes, and, literally, anything else you want to add—ham, bacon, asparagus, green beans, onions, peppers, whatever sounds good—into the pan. Cook it until the mixture sets up, then slice it like pie, and sling it at your campers. If you’re cooking on a campfire, you may want to use a lid or metal plate to cover the pan.
Whether you bring it from the market or catch your own while camping, fish tacos make for a delicious and simple midday or evening meal on your camp stove or over a fire. To start, you’ll need to make some corn salsa. You can either grill fresh corn on the cob over the fire or stove (recommended) or use bagged corn from the store (quicker). Avoid canned corn—it’s too mushy. If you grill, also grill a fresh jalapeño. Then shave the kernels from the corn into a dish and dice the pepper and stir it in with the corn. Otherwise, chop and lightly sauté the jalapeño in a pan with the bagged corn. Then add some lime juice, diced onion, and cilantro to the mix. If you like, toss in some canned black beans for a little something extra.
For the fish, use fillets. Roll the fillets in a mixture of corn meal and chili powder to taste. Heat up a pan with just enough oil to cover the bottom, and when the oil is hot, add the fish. When the fish is done, warm some corn tortillas on the grill or in a metal plate. Be careful not to leave them too long—they will warm quickly. Slice the fish into strips and place them onto tortillas. Top with diced tomatoes, onions, lime juice, and cilantro. Use your favorite hot sauce at will. Serve with the corn salsa and tortilla chips.
Frogmore Stew, named for a now-gone South Carolina town and perfected by Bowens Island Restaurant in Charleston, is an incredibly simple way to splurge a little and feed a group of hungry campers at the same time. A low country boil is definitely not a dish for backpackers, but for car campers it’s perfect. All you need is a large pot and a source of heat—for this recipe a campfire is better than a camp stove.
Toss 6 to 8 cups of cold water, 3 tablespoons of Old Bay seasoning, and a dash of hot sauce into the pot and bring the water to a boil. Then add a pound and a half of new red potatoes and cook them 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re soft (poke them with a form to see). Add two pounds of Polska Kielbasa, cut into 1 to 2-inch lengths, and 6 ears of corn, broken in half. Cook for another 5 minutes. Then toss 2 pounds of shell-on fresh (36- to 40-count) on top of the boil and pull the pot off the fire.
Stir the boil gently, until the shrimp start to turn pink. Then drain the pot and serve immediately.
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This classic Creole dish is always popular around a campsite, and there’s no real recipe—just add ingredients to taste and based on the number of campers you’re feeding. Heat up a pot, a Dutch oven works best, over your campfire or cook stove. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and let it heat up until it starts to sizzle a little. Toss in some sliced or chunked sausage. Andouille is the classic type, but any sausage will do. Then add diced onion, celery, bell pepper, and Cajun seasoning to taste. Sauté the mixture until the veggies are tender.
Next add canned diced tomatoes, some minced garlic, a few bay leaves, a little diced thyme, a cup or more of rice, and enough chicken broth to cook it in. Stir, taste, and add more chicken broth, as needed. When the rice is nearly ready, toss in a pound or so of uncooked, tail-on shrimp and let it go until the shrimp start to turn pink, then pull it off the fire, fish out the bay leaves, and voilà!