My husband and I love to camp. The smell of wood burning, sound of birds chirping and the most exciting part, the taste of campfire food!
As soon as the weather warms up, we plan at least one trip out to the woods a year. It’s also a great way to explore the area around your duty station!
ReserveAmerica is a great site to find the local campsites in your area. Most (all of the campsites I’ve visited), use that website to place reservations of the actual campsites too (I’ve camped in New York, Texas and Virginia).
I grew up a city gal and the closest thing to camping I’ve ever experienced was a tent in my backyard. We even brought out an extension cord to watch TV, which is completely cheating!
Now, I’ve found that the great outdoors is a great way for my husband and I to disconnect and enjoy each other’s company, uninterrupted by technology. For the duration of our time in the woods, we cook and prepare meals on the open fire. We wrangle together our mess kit, which includes a couple of travel pots, pans, dinnerware and utensils–as well as our camping gear for a fun and delicious camping adventure.
At first, cooking real food might be a little intimidating. But, with the right preparation beforehand, it can be easy to throw together hot and tasty meals for your family. For example, combine all dry ingredients and spices per recipe in a Ziploc bag. Also, chop and mince all appropriate veggies (like onions) and place them in Ziploc bags as well.
Here are my 5 absolute favorite and simple campfire recipes.
You can’t go wrong with chili! It’s great by itself or you can pour it on top of a hot dog that’s heated by the fire.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb ground turkey (I use beef)
- 3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, undrained
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat; cook onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add turkey and cook, stirring, until meat is brown. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chili powder, oregano, basil and vinegar. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 60 minutes or more, until flavors are well blended.
To adjust the heat, I use oven mitts to move the grill gate close to or away from the fire. That’s the easiest way for me to manipulate the temperature. Or, you can scooch the pot away from the direct flame. It really depends on the type of grill your campsite provides. We typically bring another grill plate with handles, so it’s easy to lift the cooked food off the camp grill.
- 3 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch thick wedges
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon of ancho or regular chili powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mix together the dry ingredients. Then, brush the potatoes all over with olive oil and place over the hot side of the grill and cook until browned and crisp on both sides. Move the potatoes to the cooler side of the grill, cover and continue to grill until cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes longer (test with a fork). Remove the potatoes from the grill to a large bowl and sprinkle with the spice mixture to taste and toss to coat.
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 cups assorted cut-up vegetables (bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and zucchini)
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
To prep at home, arrange chicken and vegetables alternately on 8 skewers. On the hot grill, place the kabobs to cook 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (170°F), turning after 8 minutes and brushing frequently with the 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce. Use the leftover barbecue sauce to serve.
All you need is about a pound of ground beef and 1 or 2 packets of ranch seasoning mix (depending on your taste) to make this recipe. Before you leave, mix together the ranch seasoning and beef. Then, separate the beef into 4 patties and now it’s ready for the fire.
I also use onion soup mix as another flavor variety.
My favorite campfire recipe is PIZZA!
Yes, it’s pretty simple to make on the open fire. I grab a roll of refrigerated pizza dough (or you can make your own) and roll it out onto a cast iron grill or our removable camping grill (so it’s easy to take off the fire), but you put it directly on the grill rack if the dough is thick enough. Make sure the grill is hot before putting the dough on it though.
Pour on about ¼ cup of tomato sauce, as much mozzarella cheese you think is necessary and then your favorite pizza toppings. Cook until dough is done and cheese is melted through.
Don’t forget to include snacks to munch on while hiking. Piece together the perfect trail mix recipe or try out my favorite granola bar recipe too!