Tag Archive: recipes

Make Your Own Campground Huevos Rancheros

Campground Huevos RancherosA great meal to enjoy while car camping is Huevos Rancheros. This versatile dish can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

I love this meal because of the array of flavors, a colorful presentation, and it’s packed with energy.

Huevos Rancheros can be made many ways, this version works well for camping. The recipe was written for use with a two-burner camp stove, one small non-stick skillet, and one saucepan.

As with all ingredients I suggest that everything has a double or triple purpose. This means when you plan one meal that you can use the same ingredients in other meals or even as stand alone snacks. Refried beans could be used in multiple meals; eggs might be hard-boiled and used as a treat on the trail, an avocado can replace mayonnaise on a sandwich. Be inventive.

Ingredients:

This recipe is intended to feed 4 hungry campers; the quantity per ingredient might vary depending on which family members have a larger appetite, which is why several items show a number range.

  • 1-4 sprigs of cilantro
  • 2-8 spoons of cotija cheese (feta can be substituted)
  • 1 Avocado
  • 4-8 medium-sized fresh eggs* (optional sliced hard-cooked eggs)
  • 1 can of refried beans
  • 4-8 tortillas
  • 1 pound of chorizo sausage
  • Ranchero sauce

* If you really want your Huevos Rancheros to taste amazing, use “pasture-raised” eggs.

Before your trip:

Prepare the ranchero sauce and fully cook the chorizo. Freeze the ranchero sauce in a re-sealable container; freeze the chorizo in a foil packet.

The ranchero sauce (make at home):

  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salsa ranchero (any salsa will do)
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of oil or fat
  • A handful of sliced onions and peppers (optional)

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions and peppers in oil. Stir in the flour, then add salsa and chicken broth. Cook until thickened. Once the sauce has cooled spoon out the desired quantity into container(s) and freeze it.

Equipment:

  • Cook stove (a 2 burner stove is suggested)
  • Small sauce pan
  • Small non-stick skillet
  • Aluminum foil

When you are ready to cook, place the desired quantity of tortillas in a section of aluminum foil, and fold over so the packet is completely sealed. Turn on your camp stove and set one burner to a very low heat. Place the foil packet over the burner so the tortillas can soften. You will need to turn these so they do not stick or burn – they will heat quickly!

On the second burner, heat the refried beans. When these are done start building your plate, using the tortillas as a foundation for your meal, add the beans and smear them over the tortillas. Cover the plate with an upside down second plate, or foil, to keep everything warm.

In the saucepan reheat the sauce. Heat the chorizo in its foil packet. When finished, pour the sauce over the beans and add the chorizo. Cook your eggs. After the eggs are added to your plate, top them off with some cotija, avocado, and/or cilantro. Enjoy your meal.

Remember: Freeze what items you can ahead of time and be diligent about keeping your cooler iced down. Always use your judgment and do what works best for you.

Enjoy.

Ditch the Packet and Discover Old-fashioned Campground Oats

Old-fashioned Campground OatsCamping is a time for discovering what is important. For me, one of the best ways to experience this concept is with a flavorful and hearty breakfast of old-fashioned oats. I’m not talking about those instant oatmeal packets that have become a convenience mainstay – I’m talking about a wholesome experience; a bowl of hot, farm-fresh oats topped off with milk, pecans, walnuts, and 3 types of fruits (shown).

Here’s how you can discover campground oats for the first time, or rediscover them again. Best of all, these oats taste amazing, and you have just one bowl (your own) to clean.

Personalize Your Oatmeal

Start with great oats. I discourage the use of most commercial oatmeal packets. They have their place, but not for every breakfast. Some of these brands sound great with farm-spun names like “Maple Pecan,” or “Blueberry-Raspberry,” yet frequently these items are absent from the ingredients lists and replaced with chemical names that cannot be pronounced. Yuk.

I like real food that has texture and taste. That is why I visit the local farmers market and seek out farmers who grow their own oats. If I cannot buy local oats, I look for regionally produced oats at a health food store. My last choice is the big-name commercial brands.

Then at home, I plan what to eat during the camping trip. This includes measuring out the oatmeal for each person (the snack sized Ziplocks are great for this). Then each person adds whatever they want, this could include a variety of healthy ingredients: pecans, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.).

Cooking Oats at the Campsite

The easiest, and least messy method involves one bowl per person and makes use of the individual Ziplocks mentioned above. All you have to do is add the dry oatmeal to your bowl and pour in boiling hot water. Cover the bowl and fully insulate it with a towel. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.

At the end of 10 minutes I might add a little more hot water to make the mix easier to stir. Then I add the milk, fruit and anything else that I want. To clean, wipe out the bowl with a paper napkin to remove any residue so washing up is a snap.

Got Milk?

When my family goes car camping we sometimes bring a quart container of milk. The milk is used in oats, to flavor a cup of coffee, and maybe a splash in an evening’s cup of hot chocolate. I keep the milk in a well-iced cooler to prevent spoilage. Other times we take powdered milk. But, finding good tasting powdered milk is not easy; for some reason the vast majority of powdered milk sold in the U.S. is nonfat. Powdered nonfat milk might have its supporters, but I am not one of them! If you want powdered whole milk in your oats there are several brands that are sold on Amazon.com. The best tasting whole milk in my opinion is a brand called, “Peak: Dry Whole Milk”. This product is imported from the Netherlands.

Fruit Will Rock Your World

Don’t add sugar; add seasonally available fruit – it will rock your oatmeal’s world. If you want an added power boost, sprinkle in some chia seeds.

Great tasting campground oats aren’t just found in a packet; they must be discovered. Start with locally produced oats or buy oats from a health food store. Add milk, fruits, and an assortment of nuts to make the breakfast that will power you through the day – create the practical, healthy, and great tasting breakfast you deserve.

Delicious, Nutritious, and Quick Campground Waffles

Campground WafflesHow about a crisp waffle for breakfast on your next car camping trip? Here are several tips for healthy, low mess, and quick to prepare waffles. These tips work for pancakes too.

The Secret

The secret is to make and freeze the waffles several days before your trip. This little step saves time, money, and headaches; you don’t need to take extra equipment camping, or buy anything new, and you will have fewer dishes to wash at the campsite.

Nutrition

Because most off-the-shelf waffle mixes are not very healthy, I supplement them with nuts and oats. Here’s how I do it:

Use the directions on the package of waffle mix as you normally would, but instead of a full amount of mix just use one-third the amount, then add a third of crushed nuts (pecans, walnuts, etc.), and a third of oats. The oats might soak up some of the liquid, if so add a little water to the batter. Cook your waffles as you normally would.

Let the waffles cool and put them in a Ziploc bag, then place the bag in the freezer. On the day of your trip add the Ziploc to your cooler and you’re ready to go.

Reheating

Remove the waffles from your cooler and set them on a plate for a few minutes so they warm up a little. Use this time to prepare some of your other food items. Then use the burner on your camp stove, turn the heat down as low as possible and place the waffle over the burner rack. Using a fork or tongs turn it as needed until the waffle is reheated and/or crispy. Be careful and watch your waffle like a hawk, as it will burn quickly.

Toppings

I add a lot of toppings. I do this for taste, and because I need a breakfast that will power me through a day of hiking. I leave the syrup at home and instead use honey and fruits to liven up my waffles. I might even add (shown in the photo above) a cooked egg, blueberries, walnuts, and avocado slices. Every topping has a double purpose, meaning every topping can be used in other meals or as snacks. I keep costs down by buying toppings that are in season.

Enjoy.

Campfire Pocket Stew

Campfire Pocket Stew

Some of the best-tasting campground meals are also the most simple.

Campfire Pocket Stew is one of my favorites. It has the benefits of being quick to prepare, easy to serve and has minimal clean up. It also tastes wonderful, is healthy and affordable.

The pocket is especially helpful if your family has special diet requirements or preferences.

Select from a variety of your favorite foods. Small or thin-sliced potatoes, chicken tenders, fish, and thin chops also work well.

The individual pockets can be assembled at home and transported in a cooler. At the campsite, they can be tossed onto campfire coals or cooked on a grill.

Below is a basic recipe for Pocket Stew that serves 4 people. Every pocket stew will be a little different depending on the ingredients you use – that is part of the fun of this meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef formed into patties.
  • 1 large portabella mushroom or 12-16 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1-2 carrots, sliced
  • ¼ pound of green beans
  • choice of seasonings
  • 1-Tb. oil

 Supplies:

  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  • Tongs or heat-resistant gloves

Using the heavy-duty aluminum foil make a 12”x14” piece of foil for each pocket. Place the foil with the reflective side facing up and lightly oil the center. Place the meat in the center of the rectangle of foil. Add seasonings. Top with vegetables.

Bring the long side up over the food and fold them together. Repeat the fold. Make a double fold on each end of the pocket. Refrigerate until ready to pack the cooler.

At camp, place the pockets onto a bed of hot coals. Tongs or heat-resistant gloves are helpful. Cook for 10 minutes and flip over for 6-10 minutes more. Remove and allow them to cool for a couple of minutes. Open carefully, hot steam will escape.

Clean up is easy, just fold up the foil.

Some of my earliest and best camping trips have always involved Pocket Stew. I hope this meal gives you your own great camping memories.

Quick Campground Fajitas

Quick Campground Fajitas

After a full day of camping with the family a quick, good tasting, stick-to-your-ribs meal is always appreciated. Campground fajitas are easy to make, nutritious and take about 20 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:
• 1 pound of protein (use your favorite)
• 1 Large Onion
• 1 Bell Pepper
• Small Jar of Salsa
• Cheese of Choice
• 1 Avocado
• 2 Medium Zucchinis
• 1 Small Packet of Tortillas
• 1 Lime

Equipment:
• Cutting Board
• Cutting Knife
• Aluminum Foil
• Camp Stove
• Skillet (we prefer an iron skillet)

This meal comes together very fast. Have other family members help with the preparation: cutting onions, peppers, zucchini, avocado and preparing the table with plates, utensils etc.

Cut protein and veggies into uniform strips.

Place the sliced onion and the bell pepper in a hot skillet. Cook until the onions have almost reached the desired texture and carmelization. Add the zucchini strips and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in a re-useable pie tin (shown) or other container that can be covered.

Add the protein to the hot skillet and cook until it reaches your desired level of being done.

The tortillas can be wrapped in aluminum foil and heated (on a stove or over the campfire). If a camp stove is easier, place the tortilla packet in a skillet. The skillet can be placed on the stove over a low heat. Turn the foil packet over every few minutes to ensure the tortillas do not burn.

This meal is a bare-bones fajitas recipe for car camping and should be adjusted to personal taste. The veggies we used travel well and can be stored for several days without refrigeration. The meat we used was frozen prior to the trip to help it stay cold and defrost in a cooler. The leftover salsa and tortillas were used with other meals.

This meal is easy to make, yummy and nutritious. Best of all, it the economical and fed four hungry adults for about $4.00 per person.

Eat Like a King with Campfire Kabobs

Eat Like a King with Campfire Kabobs

Eat like a king on your next family camping trip with campfire kabobs. These tasty morsels are easy to prepare, healthy, and extremely flavorful.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of meat (use your favorite tender cut of meat, poultry or fish)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 12 button mushrooms
  • ½ pound of green beans
  • Choice of seasonings

Equipment:

  • Skewers as needed (if using wood skewers, soak in water first)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cutting knife
  • Cutting board
  • Campfire or charcoal

Cut the meat into several chunks 1 to 2 inches thick. We cut and lightly seasoned the meat with olive oil and thyme the evening before our trip. This was placed in a re-sealable container and set in the refrigerator until the next day. The next morning we packed the meat in a well-iced ice-chest and made sure the other ingredients were also well chilled.

Work on the green beans. This will allow them to cook while the kabobs are being assembled. Make an aluminum foil pocket. Place the green beans inside with some olive oil with some slices of onion for flavoring. Crimp the pocket together and place on the grate over of the coals. Turn every few minutes over the coals as needed. The packet might need a full 25 minutes to cook. The packet can be placed directly on the coals if they need to cook faster.

Next, prepare the kabobs. Cut the veggies into chunks about the same size as the button mushrooms. Use any order you wish but we generally order the kabobs with meat, onion, mushroom, peppers and zucchinis. The sturdy zucchinis and peppers make good end pieces. Four of our kabobs had an assortment of meat and veggies, the fifth kabob was mostly meat.

At dinnertime the coals from the fire were spread over a one-foot square base. The kabobs were placed on a grate about 8 inches above the coals. These were slow cooked over the heat (no flame) for about 15 minutes. We used a small grate that lays over the larger grate found on many fire pits. This helps with cleaning and to keep food from falling into the fire.

The kabobs and green beans fed 3 adults and 1 child very well and even supplied some leftovers. The total cost for the entire meal was about $12 (or $3.00 per person). This kabob dinner was affordable, delicious and practical. Best of all it was enjoyed outdoors with family.