Something indescribably magical happens to regular, grocery store goods on a camping trip—ask any avid camper and they’ll tell you meals prepared in the outdoors taste infinitely better.
Like, significantly better than when cooked indoors.
I don’t understand it. I cannot explain it. But I know with 100% certainty that this statement is true.
If you’re looking for some quick, easy, and delicious meals to whip up on your next camping trip, we’ve got you covered though, I should point out, these options are for car camping—when you’ll have access to a cooler to keep ingredients properly chilled.
There’s nothing I love more than campfire coffee. You can take a collapsible pour-over coffee maker if you only need a couple of cups or your favorite French press for a larger quantity. But, for me, there’s something quintessentially camp-worthy about using an old-fashioned enamelware camp percolator over a campfire. The coffee seems to taste richer and has a slight smokey taste that is…(chef’s kiss)…perfection.
And, if you’re like me and up before the sun when camping, consider investing in a dependable camp lantern. We love the Internova 1500 Monster LED Camping Lantern. This ruggedly dependable lamp can illuminate your entire campsite, making early-morning or late-night cooking and cleanup a breeze.
Once you’re ready to cook, a “kitchen sink” scramble is my go-to camp breakfast. I fry up some bacon (or, to save time, you can fry bacon in advance and keep it in a baggy in your cooler), remove it once crisp, then add par-boiled diced potato that have been hanging out in the cooler, a little onion, and let it get golden brown in a bit of that bacon fat (swoon).
Once the veggies are browned, I crack a few eggs into the pan and scramble them up then and there (why dirty another bowl?). Once the eggs are set, I throw in a big handful of spinach, kale, or whatever green veggie I’ve brought along. Divvy it up onto plates and top with shredded cheese and/or fresh chopped tomatoes.
Oatmeal is another great camp-friendly option that can be made in one pot. Add a little honey, a few handfuls of fresh berries, and a splash of cream or coconut milk, and you’ll be in whole-grain heaven.
If you’re going to be on the trail during lunch, you’ll want shelf-stable and lightweight options. Consider packing:
- Dried meats, like salami, and crackers
- Hummus and crackers or carrots and celery
- Dried nuts and fruit
- The indomitable peanut butter and jelly sandwich
If you’ll be around camp for lunch, I still like to keep things simple for the mid-day meal. Cooking can become a little tedious if you’re prepping and cleaning three times a day. Campsite lunch meals to consider are:
- Hot dogs roasted over the campfire
- Sandwiches and chips
- Pre-cooked stew or chili that you warm up on the campfire with a little rustic bread for dipping
As the sun goes down, dinner is the perfect meal for a little foil packet cooking. Tear off a rectangular piece of foil and place ingredients on one half of the foil, leaving a border of foil around the edge.
When it comes to ingredients, the sky’s the limit! Sliced sausage, shrimp, salmon, cubed tofu, and diced steak or chicken make excellent protein options. Throw in some thinly sliced veggies—potatoes, carrots, onions, zucchini, or green beans—and shake on your seasoning(s) of choice. I always have Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, steak seasoning, and salt and pepper on hand.
Fold the foil over the ingredients and crimp all edges, folding over 2 – 3 times to create a packet. Lay your packet directly in the outer coals of the fire and start checking them for doneness after 20-25 minutes. Pour your contents into a bowl and enjoy the foil packet magic!
Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some restaurant-caliber meals. Good food doesn’t have to be complicated, so get out around the campfire and whip up something quick, easy, and utterly delicious for your friends and family.
Here’s to marvelous camp meals!