5 Tips for Preparing Easy Camping Meals

Camping can be a lot of work.  Camping meals can either add to that work or be easy and fun.  I opt for the later.  A little prep work at home can go a long way.  And it is easier that one may think.  This was one of my worries when we started camping.  I'm a planner, and I wanted to plan good meals. This didn't include endless meals of hot dogs and sandwiches.  I'm convinced my guys would probably be happy with just that, but their glamper mamma of the group would be disappointed.  Our meals have a balance of easy and tasty.  I have five tips for new campers or campers that want to change things up a little from their typical routine.

1.  Foil Packet Dinners
I like to prepare little foil packets dinners the first night we camp.  After setting up, we can toss our foil packets on the grill and just wait for it to cook.  There are lots of great ideas for doing this.  We have tried barbecue chicken, potatoes and veggies.  We have also done steak and potatoes.  It really comes down to what you like.

I recommend coating your foil with cooking spray or olive oil before placing ingredients on top.  Add the ingredients to the bottom layer that need to cook the longest.  Place ingredients that need less cooking time on the top.  Be creative, and be sure to season each layer.  Heavy duty foil helps keep things from breaking open in the cooler.

Foil meal packet options.  This is a favorite for me!
 2.  Bring Mixes in Pre-Made Bags
It is easy to prepare pancake mix for breakfast ahead of time.  Label a ziploc bag with the necessary wet ingredients to add to the dry pancake mix.  Place the dry ingredients into the labeled bag and mix. While camping, it only take adding the wet ingredients into the bowl with the premixed dry ingredients.  Easy!

Pizza is another family favorite of ours.  I have a recipe for a No Knead Pizza Crust.  It is simply flour, salt, yeast, oil and water.  I use white wheat flour or a mixture of white and wheat flour.  Mix all of the dry ingredients together and place in a labeled bag.  The day you want to make pizza, stir together the dry ingredients with oil and water.  Let the dough sit for the next 12 hours.  It can be a little less.  This isn't a hard and fast rule.  

At the end of the day, you are ready to cook.  I make our pizza in cake pans baked inside of our Dutch Oven.  It is amazing!   This dough makes a thick chewy crust that everyone loves.  I do recommend putting some olive oil into the bottom of the cake pan before patting out the crust to top.  It makes it come out a lot easier.

Pizza and pancakes are both two carb options that we love for meals while camping.  They are also super easy to prepare!
3.  Bring Something Frozen for Breakfast
I use a recipe for Brides Biscuits that can be frozen and used later.  It is a yeast dough biscuit that can used for just biscuits but can be turned into so many other things.  I use this dough to make little sausage biscuits or pigs in a blanket with cocktail sausages.  This dough can be used to make cinnamon rolls also.  With three options, I normally split up a batch of dough and make all three.  I can freeze and pull the option of choice out of the freeze to use at home or while camping.

Place your biscuits or variation into a greased cake pan.  Label the foil with cooking temperature and time.  Freeze.  This is a great way to keep your cooler cold while traveling.  The next morning, your dough is thawed and ready to cook.   We cook ours in a Dutch Oven.

These Bride's Biscuits are so versatile.  No matter how they are prepared, they are yummy!  And they freeze!
4.  Incorporate Your Nightly Grill Into Breakfast
From breakfast burritos to steak and eggs, left over grilled items are perfect for a morning breakfast. Preparing one extra foil packet for the grill is a great way to have leftovers for breakfast.  It is my husband's favorite.  You can even use leftover grilled items to make omelettes as well.  When mixing with eggs or other items, your left overs can stretch pretty far and reduce and possibility of food waste.

Steak and eggs for breakfast with left over potatoes and onions is my husband's favorite.
5.  Have a Back Up Plan
I like to pack a few items as a back up.  Soup, bread, peanut butter, jelly and bananas are all great back up items.  We always have cheese.  So, we can always have:
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Peanut butter and banana
  • Grilled cheese 
I have even taken some left over artichoke dip that we brought to snack on and mixed with shredded cheese to make fun grilled cheese sandwiches.  

Hot dogs are another great back up meal.  If you eat these on your trip, great.  If not, they can always go back home to eat later.  I know that I started this post by saying I didn't want to eat hot dogs at every meal.  But, I never said no hot dogs.  Our son loves them!  So, I like to bring them along because it is an easy meal!

Hot dogs with a side of nachos all prepared in the electric skillet are easy for a rainy nights at the camp site!

Soup and sandwiches, or sandwiches with chips or fruit are all great meals on a trip.  I just like to make sure that we have some options so that we have what we need.

I also bring a big bag of fruit to keep in a bowl.  We always have handy snacks and side items for a meal with fruit.  Its an alternative to chips and a good way to stay on track and not just eat junk the whole time.  

You may be wondering if I make everything from scratch and why I don't just make canned biscuits or already prepared pizza crust.  No, I don't make everything from scratch.  But, I do make a lot of things from scratch.  I think it tastes better.  And, in the time it takes to go and purchase all of the pre-made stuff, I can make my own.  I keep our pantry stocked with staple items, and it is easy to put together simple items.  Plus, it is economical.  

However, everyone has to decide what works for their family.  Pick things that you enjoy cooking and are easy.  Pinterest is a great place for ideas.  My Campfire Cooking Board is a place where I have saved both ideas and recipes that I have used.  Also, if you would like a 3 Night Meal Plan based on these tips and ideas, select the link to open a Google Sheet that I have prepared.  It has recipe links, ingredients and instructions on how to use the guide.

Also, if you want to make your shopping and planning list digital why not use Google Keep to do it?   I have created a little video to help people that want to do that.  Using Google Keep to Make Digital Lists for Shopping and Packing

How do you plan for your camping trip meals?  Some families have special meals that they enjoy having at a camp site.  Other times, I know that weather can dictate meals and meal plans.  Feel free to comment and share some of your ideas about camping meals and prep.  I'd love to hear what other campers enjoy doing for meals.  With all of the spring weather, I'm ready for our next trip.  And that means it is time to start prepping again.  Have a happy week!