Things have been a little stressful in good ways and in not so good ways around the Now Things Are Cookin' household the last few weeks, which is why the blog has been quiet lately. My husband and his best friend have known each other literally all their lives. They lived across the street from each other from the time they were babies until they graduated from high school and even roomed together in college. Two weeks ago my husband's best friend's father passed away. Both the family and my husband have been taking it hard.
Two days after the funeral, we took our annual four day/three night (car) camping trip with three other families. We've taken this trip ever since the 8 year old was the 3 year old, It's always a trip we look forward to every year, even after the disaster of a trip four years ago when it was 100 degrees every day and none of our campsites had any shade!
For meals on our big camping trip, each family chooses either a dinner or breakfast they would like to supply. The first dinner of the trip, we each bring our own protein (some of us are vegetarians) to put on the campfire and a side dish to share with the group. For the last breakfast, we make a leftover smorgasbord of goodies. We're all on our own for lunch.
We've had some fantastic meals over the years - chili, vegetable tika masala, gyros, quesadillas, campfire nachos, pasta with vodka cream sauce, pancakes, breakfast casserole, and muffins. All of our meals are cooked over the campfire and using one camping stove. I, in particular, like to precook some of our food, freeze it and finish prep at the campsite. So more elaborate meals can be done while camping. There is no need to resort to hot dogs and hamburgers all the time.
So...without further ado, here's a plan of meals that would be great to make for a car camping trip.
Cast Iron Skillet Breakfast Casserole
You'll have to cover this with aluminum foil and cook this over the campfire. I'd move it away from the flames, but close to some nice hot coals. Based on my last breakfast casserole over the campfire, I'd start checking it at 30 minutes, but don't be surprised if it takes as long as an hour. You could precook the sausage and vegetables at home if desired.
Spiced Pear Cake with Brown Butter Glaze
This was on the menu this year made with apples instead. Make it at home and freeze so it will still be fairly fresh the day you serve it.
Pancakes with Berry Syrup and Bacon
If you have a large griddle or cast iron pan, you can do pancakes over the campfire. Otherwise, you can put them on a griddle cook stove. Bacon cooks wonderfully in a cast iron skillet over the campfire. Cook your berries in a small sauce pan on your camp stove.
Insanely Good Blueberry Muffins
I made a batch of these for our trip to the beach, and they were, indeed, insanely good. They also freeze well, so make up a batch or more before you go. Freeze them to keep them fresher. They can also be converted to gluten free by using gluten free oats and a rice flour blend.
Mock Chicken Salad
Due to the abundance of mayo in this chicken salad, I'd serve this the first day to keep it from spoiling. It's good on lettuce, crusty bread or on it's own with a nice salad.
Sandwiches with Pimento Cheese
Make the pimento cheese at home to bring along. Keep in the coldest part of your cooler in an leak proof container. For added yumminess, toast your sandwich over the fire a minute or two before serving.
Deli Sandwich Skewers
It'd be great fun to set out several choices and let your campers choose what they want to put on their own skewers. Or you could make up a whole batch of them to take to the waterfront for an easy lunch while folks are enjoying the lake or pool.
Here's a great alternative to a hamburger. Make this patties at home and freeze. They will gradually thaw in your cooler, perfect for they second or third day of camping.
Grilled Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders
Whip up the marinade before taking an afternoon hike and come back to put these guys over the fire for a quick and easy supper. Serve with corn on the cob and a cool salad.
Spicy Bean Burritos
Precook your bean mixture at home or use a cast iron skillet over the campfire. Set up a buffet type station so campers can add their own toppings before pulling up a seat to enjoy the sunset.
Slow Cooker 2 Bean Turkey Chili
If your campsite has electrical hook ups, you can bring along your slow cooker and make up a batch of this chili while you enjoy the great outdoors. I wouldn't wander too far from your campsite, lest your neighbors (both 2-legged and 4-legged) get hungry, but it's certainly a good choice for a spring and fall camp out. Alternatively, you could cook this at home and rewarm it over the fire.
Baby Back Barbeque Ribs
If you want to go fancy, par-cook your ribs at home and finish them off on the campfire. You can make the sauce in a pan over a camp stove.
Sides and Desserts
Mexicali Corn and Bacon Relish
I'd probably make this at home and reheat in a skillet over the campfire. That way I didn't have to deal with tequila over an open flame. But hello, what could be more outdoorsy than corn, bacon, and booze?
Garden Vegetable Salad
This is a cool addition to any lunch or dinner. I usually chop and marinate the vegetables just after lunch and place the container in the coldest part of the cooler, so it's ready to finish up while the rest of dinner is on the fire.
My friend Sarah makes the best peach cobbler by burying her cast iron dutch oven in the coals. Takes just a bit of practice, but it's so worth it.
This was list of things to try this year with gluten free ice cream cones. We've also made s'mores tortillas by including all our s'mores fixin's in wheat tortillas, rolling in aluminum foil and placing on the campfire grate just long enough to melt the chocolate and marshmallows. Also fun is to try different flavored marshmallows and different types of cookies. The 8 year old is especially fond of what we call a strawberry lemonade s'more (strawberry marshmallows with lemon cookies).