The Campground Gourmet

The first recipe that we tested from the Campground Gourmet was the Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes.

The true test of a good cookbook is one that I use for both everyday meals and holiday celebrations.  My new cookbook favorite is The Campground Gourmet by Kate Dunbar.  If you think this cookbook is only for campers, think again.  This cookbook is for anyone and can be used both at home and the campground.

I have stayed away from e-books because I thought you needed a Kindle or e-reader to use them.   I also like a paper book that I turn through the actual pages.  I have discovered a new love with this cookbook.  You can load the Kindle App onto any mobile device.  I added it to my iPad Mini, and am hooked.  An e-book is compact and can provide beautiful photographs just like traditional print.  Plus, I can take this to the campground without lugging a big book.  Space is everything is a pop-up camper.

The ingredients for the recipes are easy to find and contain many staple items any home cook would have in the pantry.  What makes the recipes memorable is the techniques and combination of ingredients.  The recipes are ones that truly appeal to our family both at home and on the road.  Kate Dunbar has done an excellent job of making delicious dishes a simple task any cook can achieve.

I tested out several of the recipes from this book over the month of December, and we have loved each one.  For less than $10, this book is a bargain and will inspire you to try new recipes.  The book is divided into sections that cover everything from breakfast to cocktails and everything in between.  It even includes a section on sauces/dressings and rubs/seasonings.  The attention to detail is what has kept me coming back for more.


Our family loves pancakes.  The pumpkin pecan pancakes can feed a crowd and has the perfect balance of spice.  Canned pumpkin is readily available year-round in grocery stores, so this doesn't just have to be a fall recipe.  Since we are a family of three, I froze the leftover pancakes in small batches to have on hand for busy weekday mornings.  However, the amount that this recipe yeilds would make this a perfect meal to share with friends and family at the campground.

I didn't have pecans the morning that I tried this.  So, I substituted hazelnuts.  Served with a side of turkey bacon, we loved this treat!

You can make these full size or silver dollar size.  We like smaller pancakes!

Muffins are another favorite for us at home.  I really like to have them on hand for breakfast and snacks.  The morning muffin recipe contains a box of raisin bran and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a month ready to make up any time.  You can use craisins as an ingredient in the mix for a twist and interesting flavor combination.

These really aren't made to keep, so only bake as many as you need.  If you are planning to make these muffins at the campground, just make your batter at home.  Pack up what you need for your crew.  I have a Coleman Camp Oven and compact muffin pan that will work perfectly for this as a breakfast treat!  I plan to have these on an upcoming camping trip.  Pair this with some Greek Yogurt and fruit for a complete meal!

Morning Muffins are hearty and full of flavor.  You can also add craisins to this recipe for a tangy twist.


At Christmas this year, I tried a couple of the appetizer recipes for company.  The Warm Garlic and Cheese Spread was a huge hit.  This is a prep-ahead recipe that can be mixed and home and cooked at the campground.  You could also cook the cold, prepared mix in small batches if you are making this for a couple.  With three bulbs of roasted garlic and a mixture of cheeses, the spread is flavorful.  I find it pairs well with marinated olives and peppers.  The acidity of the marinated veggies really cuts the creamy texture of the cheese spread.  It also pairs well with spicy foods!

The warm garlic cheese spread cooks up perfectly in an iron skillet.  Serve with crackers, toasted bread, olives and peppers for nice well rounded spread.

I have never been a big chicken wing fan.  I don't like to fry foods and think it is too much trouble.  These wings start out in a brine and end up on the grill and tossed in a unique sweet and spicy sauce.  They are juicy and have just the right amount of heat without being too hot.  These will be at our tailgates in the fall.  Serve with the traditional blue cheese dressing and celery sticks, but you will find that these wings are far from just traditional ones you find at your local dive.

Brined and grilled chicken wings are tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce!


We have done more than one steak night at the campground, but these Columbian Coffee Grilled Steaks will take the typical foil packet meal to the next level.  Start your marinade at home to have your steaks ready to hit the grill when you arrive.  I had every ingredient to make these steaks at home with the exception of the coffee.  I've been looking for an excuse to play with coffee in marinades and desserts.  We served our steaks with baked potatoes and sauteed squash, but you can try out the skillet sweet potatoes from the cookbook to go with these also.

The coffee added to the steak marinade adds another dimension to the flavor of the grilled meat.  It is definitely worth making for special occasions.  


For your final act, try one of the mug cakes featured in the cookbook.  We tried the apple cider mug cakes and loved how easy these are to whip up as a quick after dinner treat.  I found that these were a little sweet for my taste, but our guys loved them.  And the easy factor was a win!

I also really love not having to commit to a huge dessert and leftovers.  The Campground Gourmet features four mug cake recipes - Apple Cider, Smores, Mocha and Funfetti.  With many RV's equipped with a microwave, these would be easily accessible to almost any camper.  But again, make them at home.  Don't wait for the campground to enjoy these!

Apple Cider Mug Cake.  Our mug was a little large for this cake, but it still tasted great!

The Campground Gourmet is really just gourmet - for home and camping.  No matter where you are, food always tastes best shared with family and friends.  Cooking is one of my favorite ways to show people that I love them and care about them.  I enjoy the process of preparing the meals.  Even more, I appreciate sitting around the table, making memories and sharing conversations.

I've enjoyed exploring these recipes and trying them out with family and friends over the last few weeks.  I plan to cook more meals from this cookbook while camping in the new year.  I can see these recipes quickly becoming family and friend favorites that are requested over and over.

Until next time...

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