Warm weather means more and more plans are taking shape to get outside for overnight trips, which necessitates some good old camp cooking. Whether you go all out with extravagant plans or prefer to keep things simple, people are often passionate about their favorite campsite meals.
With so many questions on the topic shared across the community, we thought it would be fun to gather some recipes and photos of those dishes all in one place. If the community's previous responses about the best camping coffee setup and the absolute worst backpacking meals give us any clues, you all certainly have some stories about what you eat to fuel your long days outside!
Show us your best camping recipes and photos of those meals out in the wild!
Cowboy Pasta (serves 4)
1. Cook, then drain in a colander:
10 ounces (2 ½ cups) farfalline (tiny bow) pasta.
Return pasta to pot and set aside
2. Sauté until browned in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat:
8 ounces lean ground meat
or use 6 ounces soy ground round, crumbled (add after salsa; no sautéing is needed)
3. Add to skillet and bring to a boil:
28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
15 ounces canned “ranch style” beans
1/3 cup salsa, your choice of heat. Simmer 4 minutes
4. Remove from heat and stir in:
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
5. Add the sauce to the pasta in the pot and blend
6. Dehydrate for 6 hours at 145 degrees
7. To rehydrate, cover with water just above level of food in pot, boil, stir and serve.
This is a copy of Hawk’s Vittles dish of the same name. I first had it one cold rainy evening at Jerry Cabin Shelter on the AT. Long, cold wet hike to get there, only to find the shelter occupied by a couple who clearly didn’t want company, so pitched my tent. The food rehydrated just as the directions said it should, and being tired, cold and wet, tasted wonderful. Hawk Vittles gives generous portions; toward the end, I was groaning to myself “Must….finish last….bites!”
Tried replicating it a few times at home; even with the wrong cheese (used cheddar) and wrong proportions, it was a hit at home.
Then, found a free book, an early version of Backpack Gourmet by Linda Fredrick Yaffee. There inside was this recipe; it’s Mr. Hawks version! And a host of other good stuff.
Happy to announce I've dialed in my latest recipe for backpacking: Cottage Pie! (Shepherd's Pie but with ground beef)
One really important note - because I don't do this that often, I didn't want to spend money on a large bulk order of freeze-dried ground beef. So I cooked up ground beef and then dehydrated it. Dehydrating meat is fine AS LONG AS you take some precautions. So if you want to use this recipe and you're not familiar with proper handling of meat when dehydrating, I'd strongly recommend getting freeze-dried hamburger.
Before the recipe, here's how I dehydrated and packaged the ground beef for use in this recipe:
On to the recipe (finally)!!
Beef - 156 cal
Flour - 30 cal
Beef bouillon - 10 cal
Freeze-Dried Vegetables - 12 cal
Hash browns - 210 cal
Thyme and rosemary - N/A
Salt and pepper - 6 cal
Brown gravy mix - 40 cal
Total - 464 cal
Snow Camping Boot Warmer Oatmeal.
Double line the inside of your “chilled by the winter night” winter boots with gallon size heavy duty zip lock bags.
Once inserted deep into you boots, the zip lock bags need to exceed the height of your boots, and then some.
On the side, add 1 cup of Instant Oatmeal, Walnuts, Raisins & Flaxseed to a backpacking bowl, of which has a lid.
Bring at least 2 cups of water to a boil on your gas stove.
Carefully, pour at least 1 cup of boiling water into each of the double lined heavy duty zip lock bags. Zip the bag seals tightly shut.
Set the boots aside from your active zone, but within easy reach.
Allow a few minutes for your boots to thaw and warm up.
Carefully pull the inner lining bags of hot water out of your boots (without spilling water back inside your boots), leaving the outer layer bags inside your boots, and add the hot water to your awaiting oatmeal mix bowl.
Stir the oatmeal, until throughly mixed and put the lid on the bowl.
Allow the oatmeal mix to hydrate for a minute or so before chowing it down.
With practice, a snow camper can perform this task flawlessly, while still in his/her sleeping bag, eagerly preparing the hearty breakfast meal, just outside the tent door.
Pull out the remaining zip lock bags from your boots, put on a pair of clean dry socks, your warmed boots, wash out your bowl with the fresh fallen snow, and your ready to have a great day, trekking across the snow covered countryside, to your next destination.
A favorite but still in the works since it's so versatile: I've been making at campsite is pizza over the fire with the cast iron.
Grease the cast iron pan well. I cook both sides of the dough before (at least until lightly golden) putting the sauce and toppings on. Cook one side then flip. Top with whatever you like. Cover to melt the cheese sufficiently (if using cheese)
I usually buy the dough but last time I made it at home prior with recipe for "that dough" from Lauren Toyota's Hot for Food: Vegan Comfort Classics (This book also has a great cinnamon bun recipe).
The pizza has come out best when I don't overload it with the toppings. I did this last time and it took much longer. I also think that cooking the mushrooms and spinach separately would have also been time saving.