Camping Menu Ideas
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Summer is a favorite time for our family to go camping in the mountains. Here are a few of our favorite Camping Menu Ideas when cooking in the wild.
When our girls were young, we would pack up our large canvas tent, sleeping bags, propane cook stove–and other items galore and head for the Rockies.
Now that our family is grown and starting families of their own, our camping days are few. However, we are all dreaming of the day when we will pack up all of our families and caravan to the mountains for a week of camping together. If we ever manage to accomplish that, I will be sure to post about it on this blog!
(Post modified on 7/25/22.)
A Little Camping Story
We usually eat a large breakfast when camping and then munch on snacks for lunch when we do our hiking. One year when we were camping at the Snowy Range Pass in Wyoming, we made friends with our camp host. It had been a very wet summer, and she was camping in a small popup tent. Cold. Wet. Miserable. But Smiling. We invited her to breakfast a few mornings, for which she was very appreciative. She told me that I should write a camping cookbook. Well, maybe. . . .
Camping Menu Ideas: A Hearty Breakfast
While camping, breakfast and supper are our main meals, with snacks in-between, so I always make a large breakfast for everyone. Of course, there is often a rainy-day morning in the mountains when I’m not able to cook outside. On such days, we may just pour boiling water over a packet of instant oatmeal and eat that with some hot cocoa. Here are a few of our favorite breakfast dishes.
Breakfast Burritos with salsa, juice or milk. Make this dish in a large skillet or even in a Camp Dutch Oven. Then warm the flour tortillas on the top of the oven.
Country Pancakes with eggs, bacon, and juice. Sometimes I’ll even add in a side of grits.
Ham and Hash Brown Egg Casserole is a recipe I normally make on weekends at home, but it can be prepared in a Camp Dutch Oven, too. Simply mix up the ingredients as described the morning you cook it. The overnight refrigeration can be skipped. Then pile on the charcoal below and above the Dutch oven. Cook for 40-50 minutes and breakfast is served!
Biscuits and Gravy with juice or milk and maybe a side of hash browns to go with this. Put the biscuits in a camp oven or Dutch oven for perfectly browned biscuits!
or French Toast with sausage links, scrambled eggs, and juice.
Packing our Lunch
For lunch, we’ll pack a few items in our backpacks like applesauce, carrots, jerky, crackers and cheese, granola bars, and anything else that sounds good. Maybe even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And of course, water. Months before our trip, I’ll start drying jerky and fruits. And a week before the trip I’ll make a couple batches of our granola bars in different flavors.
This Trail Mix Energy Blend is one I made later in life when our family went on camping trips, which always included lots of afternoon hiking.
Venison Jerky – This recipe easily compares to what you might buy at specialty shops. It’s very well seasoned and not hard to make.
Chewy Granola Bars – When our daughters were younger, we vacationed nearly every summer in the mountains. One year, I wanted to make most of the food myself. I dried fruits. Made jerky. And worked tirelessly on this granola bar recipe, wanting something that was flavorful, firm, yet chewy, and that would hold together when snacking on it.
While I usually make Addicting Munchies Holiday Snack at Christmas, this cracker mix is also good for long rides in the car (think a trip to Colorado) or even on the trail. The name is accurate as this is very addicting.
Favorite Campground Soups
After a long day of hiking or sight-seeing, I like to return to camp for an easy meal–usually soup served with leftover biscuits, cornbread, or crackers. Unlike Kansas, it’s nice and cool in the mountains, so soup tastes pretty good. Here are a few ideas:
This Country Potato Soup is a perfect choice when you want something warm and creamy. It’s easy to prepare, and so satisfying when you just want a nice bit of comfort food.
Chunky Venison Stew with Savory Southwest Biscuits – We’ve nicknamed it “Mountain Stew” because we always make Chunky Venison Stew when we go camping in the mountains. And we’re hoping to one day take a big family vacation, where we’ll make this stew together. It also works well for Cowboy gatherings. Or any family gathering, for that matter.
A Camp Dutch Oven
If you feel adventurous, you might try cooking a meal or two in a Camp Dutch Oven. It’s a great way to make a one pot meal or even bake bread or a dessert. One year I planned almost all of our camping meals to be made in my Dutch oven. And then the unthinkable happened. Our campground issued a burning ban, and we couldn’t even use it. I was so disappointed, as I had been trying out all kinds of recipes that summer before our trip. Biscuits, cobblers, etc. So, be forewarned. Be sure to check the campground for any burn bans–something we did from that point on. Thankfully, we managed to make our meals on our camp stove that year, but I was still very sad.
Here are a few yummy one pot meals to make on a Dutch Oven.
Chicken Pot Pie is perfect comfort food, and it’s delicious mountain food, too. Tender, flaky crust. Juicy chunks of chicken. Potatoes, carrots, and peas in a succulent gravy. So good. Use a frozen pie crust or make one from scratch. Or even easier, use refrigerator biscuits and place on top of the chicken filling. The Dutch oven will cook the biscuits to a lovely golden brown.
This Cottage Skillet Pie with Stout is a wonderful dish that is rich and savory…and easy to make as a one-pot meal. It’s especially nice when you have leftover mashed potatoes. Make it even easier for a camping trip by using dried instant potatoes. Everything tastes better in the mountains!
Hamburger Hash is a great choice for camping. Easy. Satisfying. Filling. And did I mention easy? Pair it with some bread and butter, a pot of green beans, and maybe a can of peaches with brownies or cookies. Good to go. Supper over.
There’s really nothing fancy about Steak and Beans. It’s quick and simple, and we love it at home or when camping! Pair it with biscuits or cornbread, some applesauce, and a pot of mixed vegetables for a satisfying, simple meal.
Or how about a simple Goulash or even Cheesy Mexican Pasta (which is a fancy sidekick to Goulash. Made from lean ground burger, macaroni, and tomatoes, (and processed cheese if you’re going for the cheesy version.) It’s another great dish to make in a Dutch oven. Easy to put together a very satisfying.
Don’t Forget Dessert
For dessert, we’ll get out the Coleman Oven or use a Dutch oven. And just so you don’t think I’m an over-achiever as a camp cook, here is a little secret: I use canned apple pie filling and also prepare the cookie dough at home and refrigerate it in a large butter container. Then when it’s time for a little snack after supper, we’ll slice off a handful of cookies and place them in the propane oven. Easy-peasy and oh so good!
Homemade Apple Pie – This recipe has been in our family for at least four generations and has won two grand champion ribbons at our county fair.
Joan’s Chocolate Chip Cookies – Joan’s Chocolate Chip Cookies are simply delicious. I like to make the dough for this ahead of time, forming it into two rolls and refrigerating until we’re ready to pack. Then when it’s time to bake, just slice off enough pieces to fit on a small baking pan. There is just something wonderful about freshly baked warm homemade cookies in the mountains. So yummy!
Dutch Oven Desserts
Blueberry Crumble with Oat Flour is a perfect choice to make in a Dutch oven over a camp fire. Make it even easier by using blueberry pie filling and prepare the topping ahead of time, except for the butter. So delicious and everyone will be thrilled when you serve up dishes of this crumble!
If you happen to be traveling during peach season, grab some on the road for this Fresh Peach Cobbler dessert to make when camping. Cobblers are perfect for Dutch oven cooking!
Well, that about does it for now. If I think of any more camping recipes, I will be sure to add them here. Until then, Happy Camping!