Although I do enjoy cooking, it's really not my favorite way to spend time when I'm camping. Generally speaking, I would much rather be fishing, hunting, hiking, rock hounding, picture taking or just plain taking it easy in the hammock. On the other hand, I really like eating, especially after hiking up and down hills all day. Therefore, I'm just not going to be content with a can of warmed up beef stew. So these are all camping recipes that are fairly easy to do yet seem pretty elaborate to those you are serving and thus will be appreciated.
You may notice that the recipes below do a lot of, shall we say, 'cheating' in that they call for frozen or canned goods. Obviously, fresh is better so if you are willing to endure the extra effort just substitute your fresh blend instead of using the frozen or canned component that is specified in the recipe.
These and other camping recipes are included in my free PDF camping cookbook along with some thoughts and ideas for the camp cooks among us.
refrigerated biscuits or frozen bread (thawed)
2 cups olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup granular sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 small lunch bags
Poke holes in the biscuits. Optionally, for fluffier donuts, set in warm place (sun) for 30 min. to 1 hour, so they can rise a little. Put the granular sugar in one bag and the powdered sugar in the other. Put enough oil in a small frying pan or Dutch oven so the donuts will float. The cooking part is like making hotcakes - it all boils down to getting the temperature right. Dark brown on the outside but doughy on the inside is too hot. Greasy is too cold. Golden brown on the outside, done on the inside is perfect. Start with medium flame to heat the oil. Carefully set a test donut in the hot oil. Use tongs or two forks to very carefully roll donut to other side. (It's usually around a minute a side.) Experiment to find the right temperature. Also you'll probably have to turn the heat down a little as the process progresses. Equip one kid with the bag of granular sugar and another kid with the bag of powdered sugar. As the donuts are done alternate place donuts in each bag (while still hot) and have the kids shake them, then remove. Let cool a little then serve. Grown ups tend to like theirs plain or with a little butter while the kids will love the sugary ones. (I'm a peanut butter and honey kind of guy myself.) Imagine the decadence one could add with canned cake frosting? You can also just get the rolls that have their own frosting (cinnamon, orange etc.) and fry them. Wonder how tough it would be to make a cream puff?)
Foil wrapped trout
Leave the skin and heads (optional) on. Stuff the trout with chopped onions ( some have been know to sneak in a little minced garlic too.) Squeeze a little lemon juice over the onions. Wrap the whole fish with bacon (Alternately you can smear on butter or olive oil instead of using bacon. ) then wrap it in tin foil. Throw it in coals and cover completely with coals. Cooks in about 12 to 15 minutes (somewhat longer for big fish.) When you can hear them sizzling and smell 'em cookin' give them a few more minutes and they will be done.
Remove from coals and foil, peel off the skin, remove bones, serve.
Warm tortilla between lid and splatter screen
Yet another 'feed a lot of campers quick' meal. Works good with chicken , pork or beef but I prefer elk or venison and , of course there are plenty of vegetarian possibilities as well. The basic ingredients are real simple - meat, bell pepper and onions cut into strips. You also need some longhorn or cheddar cheese and sour cream. I use 1 bell pepper and 1 onion per each two pounds of meat. Of course, there is lots of room to spice up the recipe with things like jalapeño peppers, meat marinades and such. And in traditional Mexican fajitas the meat is usually grilled not fried which, of course, is also possible if you prefer. You need 1/2 lb of meat per person if this is all you are fixing. Brown the meat in olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high and throw in the peppers and onions just before the meat is completely done. Cook covered till the veggies are kind of soft. (Usually just a few minutes - don't get too carried away). Then put the splatter screen over your mixture and warm up a tortilla by
sandwiching the tortilla between screen and the lid. Ten to fifteen seconds a side works good. The tortilla should be hot and moist but not soggy. Put the tortilla on a plate and add filler, sprinkle on some cheese and a couple dabs of sour cream. Roll it up in burrito fashion and you got it. It's a pretty simple camping recipe!
Green chili burros
This falls into the category or quick but good which is something every camp cook needs. You can also feed a lot of people with this recipe but quantities shown here are for four to six people.
2-3 lbs stew meat -Figure a half pound of meat per person. Could use beef, pork, chicken, venison elk etc.
1 - 28oz.can green enchilada sauce
1/2 -28oz. can of green chilies
2 - jalapeño peppers (optional)
1 - small onion
8 - flour tortillas
1/2 - longhorn cheese
1 - garlic clove
Brown the meat quickly in a hot Dutch oven coated with a little olive oil. Add diced onion, garlic and jalapeño pepper. Stir frequently and cook till onion garlic and pepper are soft (about 5 minutes). Add enchilada sauce and diced green chilies. Reduce heat and cook 30 minutes - 2 hrs. (The longer you cook, the more tender the meat will be.) Stir every ten to fifteen minutes to keep from sticking.
Warm tortillas on hot grill. (This only takes 15 sec or so on each side.)
Spoon chili on to tortilla and liberally sprinkle on grated longhorn cheese. Roll into tortilla and serve. See Fajitas recipe below for burrito rolling technique.
This is my favorite way to prepare venison or elk. In fact one of the secrets to preparing game, in general, is to use a lot of pepper. There is something about pepper that tends to neutralize any gamey taste.
1/2 pound of meat per person
1 bell pepper
Brown the meat in olive oil ( put in a lot of pepper and a little salt ) and add the chopped up onion and pepper as the meat finishes browning. Cook covered for additional four minutes. (Meat should still be juicy and veggies soft.) This meal works good with a baked potato or rice on the side.
Dutch oven cobbler
Many campers make cobbler by using a cake mix (usually yellow cake mix) as a base then putting canned fruit on top. It's a pretty cheap and dirty technique and that's a good thing in camping recipe circles. You may want to try that if you are looking for something really easy. For my money though, I prefer this recipe as it isn't tough to adjust amounts for varying group sizes and most importantly, taste really good.
A friend of mine named John Hart taught me how to do this cobbler years ago.
Use equal parts (for example 1 cup each ) of:
self rising flour
1/2 cube butter / cup of sugar used
mix and put in appropriate size Dutch oven
cover with canned fruit of choice (apple, pineapple, cherries etc. )
cover top with thin coat of brown sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon
Cook 10 minutes top and bottom, then 20 minutes top only - As with most Dutch oven cooking the real art is using the right amount of heat distributed in the right places. A flat lid Dutch oven with legs is all but mandatory here (and in most other Dutch oven camp cooking) as the top will hold coals and the legs allow for the coals underneath to breathe. As you can see here, most of the cooking is done from the top.
I use a shovel to get coals from the fire for placing the oven on and placing coals on the lid. However, many Dutch oven cooks prefer using charcoal briquettes as the amount of heat becomes easier to predict and thus control. ( For a more esoteric formula for determining oven temperatures visit the Dutch Oven page on our camping terms wiki.) Also Dutch ovens with legs and flat lids can be stacked so you can cook more than one kind of cobbler at time.
For real decadence add cool whip or whip cream to each serving.
Be sure to plan a big hike the next day so you can walk off all those extra calories :o).
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