A silver lining of the pandemic is that more people than ever are getting to explore the great outdoors. Folks have traded big city getaways for local camping and hiking trips. A group of UNH Dietetic Interns, myself included, enjoyed exploring the wonderful art of campsite cooking this past summer. Now that the temperatures have turned and leaves have fallen, it is time we look back on our favorite campsite meals, which can be easily made for winter camping and backyard firepit gatherings as well!
Burritos- Our group made burritos a Friday night tradition of camping. We had a small propane-fueled camp stove where we cooked our own rice and beans with onions and peppers. However, these items could easily be made at home ahead of time, stored in a cooler and reheated on the stove when you are ready to assemble the burrito. Some of the foods we liked to add were fresh tomatoes (which were in season!), cheese, sour cream and hot sauce. We would always end up having a competition to see who could wrap the best burrito. Our secret to making our burritos so tasty was the use of spices and herbs for a burst of flavor and giving them a quick toast on a skillet so the outside of the tortilla was a little crunchy.
Can of Soup- The best thing about a can of soup is that if you take the label off, you can heat it directly on top of the grate, over the fire! You want to make sure that the flame of your campfire isn’t too big, however, so your soup doesn’t burn on the bottom. Stir the soup every once and awhile to help even the temperature. The soup can will be hot after a few minutes so make sure to use an oven mitt to grab the soup off the grate.
Quick and Toasties (Q&Ts)- Camping is all about convenience and speedy clean up and the Q&T definitely embodies that. The Q&T is simply a slice of bread or bagel toasted on a cast iron pan that sits directly on top of the fire or the cooking grate, if your campsite has one. Once toasted, you can add whatever toppings you prefer — butter, avocado, peanut butter, fresh fruit preserves, etc. The only thing to remember with the Q&T is that the cast iron handle will be very hot when you take it off the fire so make sure to pack an oven mitt!
Hot dogs- Hot dogs were our group’s go-to when we were feeling lazy. All you need is a roasting stick! Most of our group members are vegan/vegetarian so we found some delicious plant-based hot dogs to use. The best thing about roasting hot dogs is that you can do it from your camp chair! Leftover condiment packets are useful for camping because then your ketchup and mustard won’t take up precious room in your cooler.
Of course, when we weren’t in the mood to cook or we didn’t have a fire going, there was always the trusted PB&J. Whole wheat bread and peanut butter kept us feeling full and gave us the energy we needed to keep exploring!