Thursday, July 5, 2012

Camping Meals 2012

When my extended family goes camping, we typically share our meals family-style, taking turns with making the breakfasts and dinners throughout the long weekend. This way, each family is only responsible for a single meal for the group of 30+ people.

We have always been responsible for our own lunches though. This year, because one of my sons has a recent sensitivity to wheat, I needed to think beyond the usual sandwiches. I decided to try something new and I packed regular meals instead of sandwich makings. This was the best idea I've had in a long time!

A few days before our trip, I made our absolute favorite Chicken and Bacon Stir Fry; let it cool, bagged the entire meal in a gallon size ziploc and then froze it. I also made enough rice for my family to eat with it, let the rice cool and froze it in it's own gallon size ziploc. When I was packing the coolers, I simply placed the frozen meal into the cooler, where it stayed almost frozen until we were ready to eat it. (As an added benefit, my cooler stayed much colder than when we use ice alone.)

When we were ready to warm the meal, I placed the very cold and barely thawed meal into a large skillet and warmed it over low heat on the camp stove, stirring it while it heated. Same procedure for the rice, although I added a bit of water to the rice as it was heating. It tasted absolutely delicious and we all agreed that it was about the best camp meal we could imagine.

Italian Black Bean and Spinach Soup is one of my family favorites as well and it reheats beautifully from frozen. I wait for it to cool completely and then freeze it flat in a gallon size ziploc. Pack the frozen meal and when ready to eat, let it thaw enough to break it up into a soup pot on the camp stove. It reheats perfectly every time. We also took the Chicken White Bean and Green Chile Corn Chowder that I posted last week. Same method for freezing and reheating as well.

Breakfast Potatoes were delicious alongside simple scrambled eggs and they took me almost no time to prep before the trip. I simply roasted them while the oven was on for a different meal and then let them cool. Placed them in a plastic container (to avoid a ziploc being smashed) and then refrigerated until we were packing the coolers. When ready to use them, I simply warmed them in a large skillet with a bit of butter until they were hot and crisped on the edges.

Snack foods are a requirement when sitting around playing table games during the day and into the nights. I prepped a whole lot of vegetables and we packed them in snack size bags. Along with a few containers of our current favorite Chipotle Dip and Classic Ranch Dip, it was a great addition to the chips that we enjoyed as well.

For the past few years, in lieu of preparing a breakfast or dinner for the entire group, my family has voted that I should bring plenty of desserts along to share at night. 6 varieties of cookies and 4 other desserts later, I packed an almost absurd amount of treats for our camping trip. Because of all that baking, I'll be posting a handful of new cookie and bar recipes over the next few days. (Gluten Free and Regular versions will be included for all of them.)

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Dark Chocolate Coconut Blondies


  1. Great idea to do as much at home as possible - we like to do that when we RV as well.

  2. I have done long camping trips and have done this same thing. I think a lot of people think you can only eat freeze-dried foods and stuff out of cans when you camp... lol

  3. Hey Mary - love this idea and will try freezing something ahead of time for our next trip. I'm looking forward to cooler camping days in the fall - it is so hot! Hope you had a terrific 4th!!!

  4. Only you could make camping sound so delicious! I've been making super easy hash lunches inspired by all of yours this week. I don't know if you're home yet, or still camping, but enjoy!

  5. I'd totally go camping with ya'll!

  6. We have the same rules when we go on family vacation, although it seems that some people always get out of their rotation... Enjoy the trip!

  7. Those are some great ideas for camp cooking. My mom is a wiz at camp cooking between her camping stove, dutch ovens, and the fire pit.