Camping season is well underway for many families. I'm not a fan of camping myself but I go with the rest of the family once in a while because they enjoy it. The deal with my family is that I plan all the food for the trip and they get everything else ready. Meals aren't fancy but they're tasty and easy to put together, rain or shine.
To keep meal making easy at the campsite, I plan a main meal for each day we're away and prep and freeze as much as possible for that meal. I usually bring dry pasta, rice, couscous, some canned foods, longer lasting vegetables and fruit and I avoid lettuce! I usually pack some pre-made foods that lasts a few days in the cooler but doesn't need to be frozen like bean salad and bagged coleslaw mixes.
Here are some of the foods I prep ahead and freeze for meals:
- turkey burgers, marinated chicken thighs, bean-based chili, grated cheese, homemade soup, cookies, sliced banana loaf (or some kind of loaf)
The canned foods I usually bring include canned tuna and/or salmon, baked beans and sometimes a canned veg or fruit of some sort.
Dry goods I tend to pack are things like pasta, rice and couscous or some other grain, an oatmeal mix* and a pancake mix*. All of these things just require water to make.
The vegetables and fruit I usually pack are apples, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, squash, carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers, oranges. We often buy more veggies and fruit at a nearby grocery store or stand.
Some miscellaneous items we like to have with us are peanut butter, trail mix, eggs, hot chocolate mix, skim milk powder, dried fruit (dried apricots and dates are the family favourites), sliced almonds, a jar of peanuts, vinaigrette, vegetable oil, butter, chocolate chips and marshmallows.
And, I also pack salt, pepper, condiments, bread, buns etc.
So, here's an example of what we might eat one day based on the foods I've listed:
Breakfast: oatmeal with dates and sliced almonds, oranges and hot chocolate
Lunch: soup, grilled cheese (or just a plain old cheese sandwich with tomato), bean salad, apples, cookies
Supper: grilled chicken, potatoes, salad (made from the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, peppers and vinaigrette) and barbecued bananas with chocolate chips and fruit.
The next day might be
Breakfast: pancakes with bananas and hot chocolate (hot chocolate is a breakfast staple at our campsite)
Lunch: tuna sandwich, baked beans, veggies and dip, loaf,
Supper: turkey burgers with cheese, sliced tomatoes and onion, coleslaw and pasta salad (made from cooked pasta and leftover salad form the day before)
This food plan has worked for me. The more food I have planned and prepped makes my camping days much more enjoyable.
I'd like to know what others do to make tasty, easy meals while camping. Send along some ideas.
*If you'd like the recipes for these make-ahead mixes, let us know and we'll share them with you.