We’ve got camping on the brain. The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, and it has us reminiscing about why we love getting up close and personal with nature – hiking through forested trails, fishing dockside before the sun has woken, and of course biting into warm meals cooked over a gently flickering campfire.
It’s funny how food cooked over a campfire somehow tastes so wonderfully different. Maybe it’s that underlying smoky flavor. The comforting warmth of gooey cheese or melty marshmallows. Or perhaps it’s that feeling of being surrounded by loved ones, sharing stories and creating memories.
1. Foil is your friend. It’s lightweight (unlike a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven) and you can use it to cook a host of different foods.
2. Prep as much as you can beforehand to limit camp-side assembly.
3. Interpret all cooking times as approximate; they will vary depending on the temperature of your fire.
4. Know the food storage and trash removal rules for your campsite so you don’t get an unexpected visit from nearby wildlife.
With nature’s playground just a few tantalizing steps away – trails, lakes, wildlife, oh my! – breakfast can be a hurried, jumbled affair. Especially when camping with kids. So consider prepping a morning meal or two at home beforehand.
When it’s breakfast time, just wrap them in a bit of foil and pop them over the fire for a couple of minutes. Or if it’s one of those sweltering summer mornings, enjoy them chilled. They’re just as buttery, flaky and delicious when cool.
A camping staple, you can’t go wrong with toasted sandwiches. Partly because they’re so quick – only about 5 minutes of cooking means more time for things like swimming in shimmering waters or playing sand volleyball under the sun’s golden rays. And partly because nothing can compete with oozing molten cheese. But we’re exploring more than just the classics.
You can cook these over a campfire using foil or sandwich irons (also know as pie irons). Just make sure to line both foil and irons with a little bit of butter so the bread doesn’t stick and to prevent your sandwich from charring. To get that crispy, lightly browned coating, remember to flip halfway through cooking. See more of our favorite campfire sandwiches here.
After a day full of adventuring, a quick yet delicious dinner is just what the camper ordered. Cue the quesadillas. After cooking for just 5 minutes over a fire, the tortillas soak up the smoky essence of smoldering embers and become ribbed with those sought after grill marks. And lets not forget those beloved ribbons of warm, gooey cheese. Ahhhh.
When it comes to choosing ingredients, simplicity is key. You only need a few to make a flavorful quesadilla. Take our Chicken and Habañero Jack Quesadillas, studded with strips of our oven roasted chicken, habañero jack cheese and roasted red peppers. Just three ingredients and you have a dinner that’s equal parts savory and spicy.
When you’re craving something sweet between ghost stories silhouetted by a flickering campfire and flashlights, reach for a fruit crisp. They’re easy to make using just a handful of ingredients, most of which don’t to be refrigerated.
Here are a couple of our favorite combos:
Oats + Flour + Blueberry Pie Filling + Brown Sugar + Whipped
Cream Oats + Flour + Apple Pie Filling + Cinnamon + Caramel Syrup