Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Meal Planning for Camping

All smiles while Dad does the cooking!!
I'm learning that a large part of a good camping trip is good food.  You've got to indulge a little (eatallthehotdogs!!  it's 5:00 somewhere!!) and keep it tasty, but you don't want to run out and a little originality makes it fun too!

For our 4th of July camping trip, we planned to camp for 3 nights but wisely called it quits after 2.  So we ended up bringing a lot of food home, but in this stage of life (i.e., with a small child, he says "I am a big, BIG BOY!") I think 2 nights was more than enough to keep the trip fun and not too exhausting for all of us.

I tried to plan meals that were a little bit fun, but could also keep in a cooler over the course of a few days.  I also wanted to minimize the amount of stuff that we'd be bringing as much as possible.

Before the trip:
I made panini sandwiches on our panini press for dinner the first night at the campsite.   

Truth: Everything is better on the panini press.

No fire or campstove required.  I also made Texas caviar to eat with chips that night, and a pasta salad.  As it turned out, my husband didn't want to eat the pasta salad ("has too many vegetables" - wha??) so we ended up throwing a lot of that away, because, despite my best efforts, I couldn't eat all of it.

I bought Horizon boxed milks and chocolate milks for M to drink on the trip.  These worked really well, although he definitely preferred the chocolate over the vanilla.

We had sausage and pancakes for our first breakfast, and eggs and toast for our second breakfast.  All were cooked on the single pan that we brought.  Rather than slice the sausage up or crumble it, D just cooked as one giant patty.  It looked quite odd, and certainly won't win us any awards for presentation, but we still ate it.  #notpicky.

We also used the Starbucks single serve coffee packets for our morning coffees.  D has a camping percolator somewhere, but we just couldn't find it before we left.
Showing off his superb-hot dog roasting sticks - please excuse all the smoke in the photo!

Lunch on the 4th of July:
Sausages roasted over the campfire!  #Merica =)
Venison steaks!  Never in my life did I think I would be so excited about these!

Venison steaks over the campfire.  We also intended to have potatoes, but these failed because we didn't use enough oil or let them soak long enough beforehand.  #lessonlearned

We also snacked on apples, chips and Hershey bars.  I packed a ton of other snacks that we didn't end up eating (peppers, hummus, fruit cups, apple sauce, etc) so next time I will err on the side of less food rather than more.  We can always just leave early if we run out of food!  What a novel idea. =)  We had one water jug full of water, and in 2 nights we almost depleted it, so we'll definitely need to bring more water the next time we go "rustic camping"!

We only really used our pan and tea kettle for cooking - I brought a big pot too (because our third dinner was supposed to be pesto spaghetti) but that didn't get used.  We used our picnic plates and utensils to minimize our trash since we were packing it all out.
All smiles, with our water jug propped on the truck in the background.
What I'd Do Differently Next Time:
I should remember to pack everything in ziploc bags or rubbermaid in the cooler.  As the ice melted, packaging for a lot of things got kind of soggy, so that was a yucky mess. 

Bring less food.  We had a lot left over.  I also forgot to pack fruit snacks and fruit juice (both of which M loves).  He asked for them several times, but he took it in stride very well (i.e., did not whine, fall apart) when I told him that we didn't have any.

What are your tips for meals/food while camping?  Obviously, I am a novice at this, so I'd love any new suggestions!

We're thinking about camping again soon - what are your favorite camping meals?

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