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Easy Camping Meals for Family Outings

January 28, 2021 6 min read

Easy Camping Meals for Family

You've packed the car with sunblock, insect repellent, and your inflatable floating recliner chair. You know, the one equipped with a can holder and an umbrella stand? You're ready and set to get in touch with nature and have the best time during your outdoor excursion. But what about fuelling all the fun?

Did you pack the best ingredients for easy and tasty campfire created meals? 

These camping recipes will have the campers around your campfire wanting more.

From savory snacks to mouth-watering main courses and desserts, here are 7 of our favorites:

1. An Unbelievably Hearty Braised Beef Dinner

A hearty braised beef dinner will have your campfire guests in awe of your meal-making abilities.

With a little preparation at home first, this crowd-pleaser is so simple to prepare; it's bound to be one of those easy camping dinners your family will want to have on every trip.

Here's a recipe you should try. It's a super-simple way to create a memorable meal that will go down particularly well on chilly evenings under the stars!

2. Taking Traditions Outside

If you crave a traditional staple, make this Dutch oven pot roast recipe.

Although it requires you to consider timing, temperature, and other tiny details, the attention to detail pays off when you sink your teeth into this meal. 

Swap out your regular potatoes for sweet potatoes, or add porcini mushrooms and red wine to the mix for a non-traditional twist on a traditional favorite. 

3. Bread in the Great Outdoors?

Believe it or not, baking bread is fun, simple and exciting component to add to your easy camping food repertoire. 

It may not sound like it belongs in a category for easy camping meals, but with the help of this straightforward Dutch Oven bread recipe, you’ll fill the campsite with the aroma of freshly baked bread by dinner time.

4. Nacho Average Meal Idea

The classic image of a skillet over an open flame is synonymous with camping. 

This nacho recipe takes that classic campsite image and fills it with some sumptuous South of the border vibes.

Kids especially will love this open-flame take on the popular appetizer.

5. No Campfire is Complete Without This Special Treat

If you guessed s'mores, you were right! We all know that s'mores and campfires go hand in hand.

This gooey, chocolatey sandwich is indeed legendary. Serve the traditional version, or experiment with this unique spin on camping's greatest treat. 

Whether you're 8 years old, 18, or 82, there is nothing more "moreish" than s'mores!

6. Potato, Butter, and Tinfoil

This meal is so simple and easy - your kids can even help make it.

With minimal prep time and very few ingredients, the campfire standard of coal-baked potatoes is an excellent side for any dinner. It's so filling; you could even make a meal of it all on its own!

It's as simple as 1,2,3: 

  1. Use a fork to stab your potato a few times (yes, this can be good to destress!)
  2. Wrap the potato up in tinfoil with a pat of butter.
  3. Place it in the coals as you cook the rest of your meal. It should be super soft and fluffy in around an hour!

If you're keen to experiment, chop up some chives or green onions to cook with your potato. The infusion of flavor will tantalize your tastebuds like never before!

7. Dessert by Starlight Anyone?

Don't put your Dutch oven away just yet. You can wow your star-gazing group with a sweet treat as they search for the big dipper. 

This Dutch oven Peach Cobbler recipe is the perfect way to end the night, along with a few ghost stories.

You may have noticed that many of these recipes are Dutch oven camping recipes. Yes, Dutch ovens aren't merely just for Sunday dinners at home!

With a camping Dutch oven, you can convert simple camping meals into scrumptious spreads around the campfire.

The Cowboy Approach to Campfire Cooking

If prep time, tools, and utensils aren't your thing, you can stick to the trusted campfire meals, too:

  • Marshmallow or hot dog on a stick over a fire.
  • Soak ears of corn in the husk for a few hours and throw them on a grate over a fire for a perfectly grilled ear of corn.
  • Step up your simplified outdoor cooking experience and place a cast iron grill over your fire to grill the perfect burger of chicken breast.
  • Prefer a skillet? Your mornings can be completed with a breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, sausage, and even pancakes.

Single Serving Food Ideas That Save Time

Instead of filling those hungry gaps between meals with packaged foods such as potato chips and chocolate bars, why not make simple sustaining snacks?

  • A single serving jar that contains yogurt, granola, nuts, and seeds is not only a great breakfast idea; it also doubles up as a quick light meal or an energizing snack!
  • Banana bread packs a punch of flavor, sweetness, and much-needed calories for early morning campers. Made ahead of time, it’s easy to pack and carry as a quick snack food - toast it on a campfire toasting grate, or add a protein-packed nut butter for extra calories as you wait for your coffee to brew.

The Three Ps: Plan, Prepare, and Pack

Plan

With these meal ideas, you'll need to plan out your prep time back at home. If you know how many days you'll be away and what you'd like to cook, it takes the pressure out of the prep time: 

  • Draw up a daily schedule for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Plan each meal individually and make sure you have all the ingredients needed.

Prepare

Prepare your ingredients, so everything is ready to be cooked or assembled at the campsite. Chop up your veggies, measure out spices and sauces into individual portions, and put ingredients together meal by meal. 

Pack

Just like planning and preparing, packing is an essential aspect of making easy meals for camping. Using containers with already-chopped vegetables or cuts of meats can save time and keep accurate recipe portions. If space is limited, swap plastic bags for containers.

When using a cooler to keep meat and vegetables from spoiling, always allow room for the cooler packs or bags of ice. You can pack your dry ingredients in grocery bags or boxes. Labeling bags or boxes can save time when searching for ingredients for specific dishes.

With perfect planning, preparation, and packing, what could go wrong? Well, if you're an experienced camper, you'll know that fire bans can sometimes mess with your plans.

Fire Bans and Cooking Alternatives

One of the most common threats to campfire cookouts is fire bans. Fire bans can occur during hot and dry seasons in many parks and wilderness areas. This will determine whether you will be cooking on an open fire or a gas or propane cook stove.

Although fire bans can change your cooking adventure, many store-bought cookstoves offer an ideal alternative to open fire. Nothing is quite like an open fire, but with controlled temperatures and pop-up windshields, cookstoves provide an easily transportable and convenient outdoor cooking method.

Must-Bring Items For Your Easy Camping Meals

Learning about cooking on a campfire without any modern conveniences can be a great family adventure, but it can get tricky!

  • Refrigeration is one of the biggest factors to consider when keeping foods cold and safe. A store-bought cooler full of ice will suffice, and many parks supply ice for a minimal fee.
  • Dishes, pots, and cutlery are also necessary items to plan when prepping and cooking your campfire meals. Bringing the entire home kitchen set of cookware isn't required, but ensuring you have enough tools and utensils is key to making your meal with ease. 
  • Matches, newspaper, kindling, and cut wood are essential to creating the perfect fire. These are by far the most important items to bring along for cooking while camping! Without these items, you won't have a fire, and no fire means no meal.

You can keep matches in waterproof containers or resealable bags.

Also, keep newspaper, kindling, and firewood inside your tent or trailer or on a tarp sheltered from the elements. Even if your firewood becomes slightly damp, you can dry it out around an already established fire. 

Don't Forget the Snacks!

Besides your recipe ingredients, snack foods are a perfect way to fuel a hungry wilderness-exploring family between meals.

Chopped vegetables are an ideal snack idea that can also double as additional ingredients to add to one of your main Dutch oven meals.  

Easy Camping Meals Done Right

The idea of struggling to make a meal over a fire is a thing of the past. With just basic planning and simple ingredients, you can have delicious snacks and meals in the heart of nature. 

You can prepare most of these quick camping meals before you get to the campsite.

Alternatively, you can throw them together while the fire crackles away.

Whether you’re cooking easy camping meals for the family or easy camping meals for large groups, these recipes are sure to be a hit.


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