Getting away from the TV screens and video games that can dominate life at home can make camping a rewarding bonding experience for families. And since there’s cabin camping, RV camping and even yurt camping widely available now, tent camping isn’t the only option.
But even if you do decide on old-fashioned tent camping, you’re not limited to granola bars, sandwiches and hot dogs in terms of your camping cuisine. Using what’s provided in almost all camp sites — a dedicated fire ring and a picnic table — you can create a wide variety of tasty meals. Kids, especially, can enjoy trying out these campfire cooking and no-cook food prep methods (just be sure you provide adequate supervision around the fire):
- Breakfast: Ziploc Omelets
Especially in autumn and winter, a hot breakfast is the perfect way to start the morning in camping life. Beat some eggs in a large bowl, and then pour individual servings into quart-sized plastic bags. Each person can add cheese, veggies or sausage as desired. Boil some water over the fire and pop in the sealed bags for a few minutes, and each person will have a personalized omelet. Plus, the washing-up water will already be hot.
- Lunch: Walking Tacos
Since so many camp sites these days offer activities and amenities, you probably don’t want lunch to be a sit-down affair that takes up the whole afternoon. You can combine all the classic taco or taco salad ingredients in individual bags of corn chips, shake and eat right out of the bag.
- Snack: Ice Cream in a Bag
Heading into winter, ice cream might seem like a strange choice. But making this delicious snack is so fun that kids are sure to enjoy it in any season. Simply combine milk, sugar and vanilla in a quart-sized plastic bag and seal it tightly, place that bag into a gallon-size bag, and fill the outer bag with salt and ice. Five to eight minutes of rolling, shaking, massaging and tossing later, the inner bag will contain ice cream. If you think your kids might get rambunctious, consider double-bagging the ice cream mixture before placing in the outer bag.
- Dinner: Tin Foil Stew
This one is a camping classic. Use aluminum foil to create a bowl shape or packet (there’s big controversy among campers regarding the ideal folding method), and then fill with all the normal stew ingredients. Place the foil pouches in hot coals to cook, and in about an hour the beef will be cooked through and the veggies will be tender. Eat straight out of the foil to minimize cleanup.
- Dessert: Monkey Bread
This warm, gooey dessert is the perfect end to a night spent around the campfire. Simply tear off pieces of biscuit dough and shake in a plastic bag filled with cinnamon-sugar until well coated. Then, toss all the pieces into pre-heated Dutch oven. Put the oven in the coals (piling a few coals on top of the lid, as well), and wait about a half hour. Soon, the bread will be puffy and easily pulled apart into bite-sized pieces.
How else can you cook delicious meals in the comfort of simple camp sites? Share your recipe ideas in the comments!