Better camp food--nutritionally and environmentally - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't need 100% whole food/no sugar/ zero packaging etc.  But when I was at a workshop for girl scout leaders, the menu was coca cola chicken, hamburger helper, (a good salad and corn on the cob, nice), and for dessert there was packaged no-bake cheesecake and some packaged oreo concoction (I love oreos, but the dessert adds a whole different level of Crap).  For breakfast we were shown omelets in a bag (thankfully with BPA-free ziplocks meant just for cooking) and we ended up adding 20 bags to the trash after using them for 10 minutes.  AACK!

 

I look through camp recipe books, and the amount of prepackaged ingredients is through the roof!  I am not free of Packaging Sin (I have a box of Via packets ready and waiting for this weekend), but there has to be a way to keep the crap off the menu and that crap's wrapper out of the trash.

 

Your own recipes, or cookbook recommendations would all be welcome!


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#2 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 08:44 AM
 
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My youth-camp memory of 'healthier' or 'more-from-scratch' camping meals:

 

 

tacos or taco salad (cook up ground beef with seasonings and maybe re-heated beans, everything else just needs chopping so everyone chips in with that)

 

eggs, cooked in a hollowed-out orange with bacon laid in it (this is wrapped in foil and cooked in the coals of the fire)

 

grilled cheese (done in cast iron on the fire or wrapped in foil - foil seems pretty intergral with campfire cooking, for me anyway.  You can also find those old-fashioned campfire toast holders and those work okay too).

 

 

For several years, we had a mom involved who had a campfire cooking in a dutch oven cookbook and we made some incredible dishes from that.  Especially desserts - like a chocolate cake (in the dutch oven) and peach cobbler (probably with canned peaches, but otherwise from scratch - I think everything had been pre-measured at home and bagged by her).  We used to have campfire-dessert contests and we'd always win those with her recipes.  

Otherwise, with a cast iron skillet, you can brown/carmelize most fruits over a fire.  And also do things like stick squares of chocolate into a banana still in the peel, and toast the whole thing around a fire.  I also remember just having watermelon or other melons a lot of the time.  

HERE is a pretty comprehensive bunch of info on campfire dutch oven cooking.  I think we also did an upside-down pineapple cake once, and perhaps a coffeecake once for breakfast?  The stuff turns out spectacularly, though, considering other camp-cooked food.

 

At least once, someone broke out a solar oven and there was pizza and chocolate chip cookies.

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#3 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 08:45 AM
 
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is this just for family or for GS camping?

 

for us we use cast iron for everything 

 

for GS (wayyyyyy way back in the day) we use to build a solar oven for rolls (box and tinfoil with clear wrap- super easy) and did lots of foil meals  - if you get an OLD (ebay had tons) of GS books (pre 80's) they have lots of recipes - things on sticks are easy too

 

here are also some - http://pinterest.com/shawnz/campfire-cooking/  personally a cast iron is the only way I would do eggs


 

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#4 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

is this just for family or for GS camping?

 

Both!  

 

I am especially interested in camp cooking for scouting trips (encamporees in cabins, car camping in tents, especially, but not to ignore backpacking, but right now my girls and out troop is quite young).  But as I am getting ready for our own car camping trip, I am definitely thinking of that and upcoming trips.  

 

Usually as a family, the girls eat Whatever.  I usually plan fish tacos first night or salmon.  I bring cooked rice along and make that salmon into stir fried rice next night.  Corn on the cob every night.  This camping trip, one night is with dh and a visit from MIL and SIL.  Next 2 nights are just the girls and I-- pancakes and sausage both nights and Whatever.  So, I am not completely lacking in ideas, but I'd like to get more camp-food savvy, and I'm not liking what I'm seeing (though, I will admit I cleaned up that no-bake cheesecake!)  I'm no purist, for sure, but I have limits, and those limits become glaringly obvious as the number of campers increases--thus the questions about group camping.

 

Off to a good start on this thread--thanks for the quick responses!

 

ETA: the solar oven would be a great way to go.  I know there is a lot of "box cooking" info with girl scouts somewhere, and at least one fun patch for it.

 

Love the pinterest link.  I have got to get on there to keep all this great stuff in one place.

 

And thanks for the dutch oven link.  I need to learn some new skills!


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#5 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 10:12 AM
 
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Do you have to cook over a fire?

When back country or car camping we basically cook over a stove. A big two burner propane for car or a single white fuel for back country.

We eat lots of skillet things- black beans, salsa and eggs. Quesadillas. Sauted veggies. Rice is hard to cook over uneven heat but can be done.

GS is a different story because cooking for 30 is different than cooking for 6 or 7.

Me.  With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.

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#6 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 10:14 AM
 
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frankly I HATE camping, I have yet to go that it did not rain (sadly I do have lots of experience at it)

 

we do solar cooking at the beach more often (clear dish, wrapped in a clear plastic bag in a solar cooker) - could be for camping too - homemade beans and franks, they warm up really quick- I pack them frozen in a block (this helps on keeping other things cool on the way) - I cut up the hotdogs a head of time

 

potatoes in foil are easy, the dutch oven is just GREAT!!! as pp said you can do so much that way - a frozen square quart of stew is nice (again a bug huge ice block) by the time it defrosts you can warm it

 

I do a lot of "a head" and freeze things, not things that require prep there - cut up chicken (cooks faster and can be made into kabobs- other meats too this way- zip bag and pre marinade and just pull out)

 

I like a large pan or griddle for pancakes-for GS larger crows (mix ahead and add liquid at the time - a shaker bottle is nice for this)

 

Welsh griddle cakes are easy too (not too sweet but easy and quick) baked bananas, baked apples (again in foil in the coals) 

 

GS we always made (in foil) carrots, ground meat, onions, garlic, spices and potatoes- not that much prep there to do, we did learn how to use real cast iron when I was in scouts, no package things, usually in groups, one did main dish, one did rolls, one did dessert and one did a salad (with wild greens)

 

seafood is also easy - New England clam bake - one big pot

 

eat.gif have fun


 

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#7 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 11:17 AM
 
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This is a little foil intensive but we almost always put fresh washed broccoli spears into a tin foil packet and add some shredded cheddar andheat it up on a grill over the fire.

Another idea is to wrap baking potatoes and sweet potatoes or yams in tin foil and set them at the edge of the campfire for an hour, then have a little buffet of toppings: butter, sour cream, salsa, chopped broccoli, shredded cheese, chives and parsley, brown sugar or cinnamon, etc.

Scrambled eggs with frozen chopped spinach and shredded cheese are prettyeasy and quick to make in cast iron over a campfire or grill. You can pre-mix the dry ingredients for pancakes in a plastic container or jug and add wet ingredients just before making pancakes using a cast iron griddle or fry pan. Add some fresh strawberries or cut up bananas and you have a yummy breakfast. My husband will prechop onions, garlic, peppers and potato and fry them up as breakfast potatoes in a bit of olive oil.

You can also pre-boil and remove the shells from hard-boiled eggs and bring them in a plastic container and eat them as is for breakfast or as snacks. Campfire toast is fun to eat and youcan get cheap toast-apparatus in camping sections of stores like KMart.

We have also created shish kabobs at home before leaving on metal sticks, with chunks of chicken and steak, pearl onions, red onion chunks, bell pepper slices, cherry tomatoes, pineaplle chunks. You can even freeze them before hand and bring them in a container, but try to use them your first or second night camping and keep well chilled. You can also make meat skewers separately from the veggies and have adults in charge of cooking the meat.

Since we have a Coleman grill, we have also boiled pasta and added jarred tomato sauce and a bagged salad, and toasted garlic bread over the fire, when we had a nice big crowd to feed.

Don't forget to end the night with smores though. Surely there is some nutrition on that. wink1.gif
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#8 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you have to cook over a fire?
GS is a different story because cooking for 30 is different than cooking for 6 or 7.  Exactly!  Interested in both.

No.  I am not limiting "camp food" to fire cooking.  Backpacking stoves, Coleman 2-burners, box ovens, rocket stoves-- or, heck, even zero-cooking meals-- all are "on the table" here, so to speak.

 

 


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#9 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Don't forget to end the night with smores though. Surely there is some nutrition on that. wink1.gif

Surely!  I just bought our yearly 10-oz bag of marshmallows.  This year, I vow to use them up before they get stuck in a wad and I pitch them.  (My girls aren't that crazy about them.)


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#10 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 05:32 PM
 
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Surely!  I just bought our yearly 10-oz bag of marshmallows.  This year, I vow to use them up before they get stuck in a wad and I pitch them.  (My girls aren't that crazy about them.)

 

I pull out a dozen for roasting, them make a batch of rice crispy treats for snacks with the rest. :-)


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#11 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I pull out a dozen for roasting, them make a batch of rice crispy treats for snacks with the rest. :-)

Good idea to use them up first!


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#12 of 12 Old 06-27-2013, 06:30 PM
 
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We do this delicious meal in a dutch oven - brown Italian sausage, add green beans, potatoes, mushrooms, water to cover, then simmer for a looong time, and season as needed.  For leftovers, discard the broth and use just the leftover solids. It fries up into a delicious breakfast hash. 

 

Watching this thread with interest, BTW.  I LOVE camp-cooked food!
 

P.S.  It's called Walter Meal.  Long story.

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