Camping Meals made easy!

We recently went on a 17 night camping trip. Along the way I shared some snapshots of our camping meals and quite a few of you expressed interest in them so I thought I’d gather them in 1 spot here. I’d love to add to this list with some of your favorites. The main thing when camping is planning ahead. With some advance prep, we hardly bought any groceries for our 1st week on the road. You will see that we are pretty carnivorous, most of it organic, not all. But on the road it’s even more difficult to find organic meat so bringing it with us is a great start.


At home: I put the Instant Pot to work. I pre-cooked a couple chicken breasts and a pack of legs I had in the freezer, 1 pork tenderloin (this is 1 meat I haven’t found organic), and pre-broiled brats. I re-froze all the meat once cooked.  I clean out my fridge of any leftovers and bring them with, I grabbed some red sauce from the freezer with lasagna intentions, as well as the bounties from the garden: Cukes, zukes, broccoli… With all this prep done, it was super easy to just re-heat everything.

I pre-baked 8 potatoes, fresh from my in-laws garden, cut 1/2 of them up into hashbrown size pieces, kept 4 whole to reheat as baked potatoes. We had these with BBQ chicken and salad 1 night, it was very yummy, and soooooo easy! Pre-kids, I remember sitting around a campfire for  a couple hours turning potatoes waiting for them to be edible. With a family to feed, I don’t have that time to spare. Pre-cooking them is sooooo nice!

Packing the cooler: The meat goes at the bottom of the cooler in Ziploc bags (camping is pretty much the only time I use Ziplocs, glass gets super heavy quick) covered in ice, with the rest of the food above it. I pack small, plastic tubs with condiments & veggies, etc, those go inside my huge cooler, surrounded with ice. Beverages get packed around the outside of the tubs, making sure they’re cold when they get packed helps them act as ice packs, and keeps your ice longer. I hate it when stuff gets water-logged, so having stuff in a tub surrounded by ice keeps the stuff dry, but cold! Our menu revolves around what thaws 1st, that’s what we cook.


So, here are some meals we had this trip…

Breakfast: scrambles galore! Potatoes, meat (brats, bacon, hotdogs), eggs, tortilla. I use the lid of the dutch oven for warming tortillas. But a nice thing about having electricity at some camp sites was we were able to use our toaster to make bagels, toast, and we even warm tortillas by putting both sides down and laying the tortilla on top! That really adds to the ease of breakfast. We really don’t do cereal at all, but granola, yogurt & berries, oatmeal are our other go-to breakfast food. I also brought a dozen homemade waffles from home which were part of several meals. If we did a scramble it was a brunch kinda’ thing so we’d be good to go most of the day with some light snacking hours later, then we’d be good until dinner. If we did a light breakfast then we’d have a decent lunch & a lighter dinner.



Below: chicken, zucchini, baked potato, salad (yes, from a bag). 1st time I attempted to reheat the chicken straight on the grill, but the meat was so tender from the IP a lot of it fell through the grates. 2nd time I did it in a foil pack. I don’t love cooking in foil, but at times it has its place, especially over a campfire. I have completely done away with the bagged salad mixes when I’m home, but away from home, I cannot deny how perfect they are (other than the plastic!). My vejibag review, for at home:



I wanted to try some new things this time, pizza and lasagna were on my list.

LASAGNA: I’ve been wanting to try it in the dutch oven for awhile. At home I never boil the noodles, but I knew over the fire it was going to cook extremely quick so I did boil the noodles this time. I snapped them in 1/2 and cooked them over the 1 burner propane. I cannot stress enough how much I love & use the dutch oven. My best friend gave it to me 15 or so year ago, she had 2. It’s a Griswold, and truly, I do think if you could only have 1 pot/skillet, this would be it, it’s so versatile! I checked the lasagna after 15min and it was done, actually a bit charred around the edges so I think 10 min would’ve been perfect. Food cooks very quickly surrounded by coals!




Pizza: I think this would be best in the dutch oven like the lasagna, with coals on top. At home I make my crust from scratch, but on the road I purchased some pre-made crusts. I’ve also used flat bread (in Belize). As I feared, the bottom cooked too quickly, while the top did not, using the 1 burner gas. I kinda’ scorched the bottom of mine (the experimental one), but it was still edible and definitely not terrible. For my Hubby & Son’s, I cooked it much slower. I turned the 1 burner on and off quite a bit. I got the pan up to temp & turned the heat off, knowing cast iron keeps its heat.


My Son’s pizza. At home when we do pizza night, one of the things the kids love most is they get to make their own with the toppings they like. Same for on the road, the process of creating their own is the fun part! He loved it. In fact, that night before bed he wrote me a note about how great the pizza was!


We’ve also done pizza using bread in the cast iron pudgy pie makers, it turns out really well.  We have a double (, and you can do all types of sandwiches like hot ham/cheese, and even desserts using pie filling, even smores ingredients, yummmm!


We eat tacos a lot. Basically we always have shells on hand, and many leftovers get wrapped up into a taco. On this trip, we had carnitas from the pulled pork a couple of times, and Hubby & I ate a lot of fish tacos (some pics below). The kids like their fish plain, and will eat some salad on the side.


I have not had instant potatoes in my adult life, but I threw this dinner together super quick one night: steak, instant potatoes, jarred gravy. It was well into our trip and we’d eaten up everything from home and hadn’t had meat in a few meals. I only eat steak a couple times/year, and it has to be over a grill or fire, it’s the only way I’ll eat it. We were starving, and this certainly hit the spot!


Dessert: Blurry, but I think you can still figure it out. My Son begged me to buy organic Nutella, he had it at a friend’s house. But then he didn’t really know what to do with it. It sat on our shelves untouched for a few months. I saw it while packing & decided to throw it in the camping bin. We ran out of the usual chocolate bars for smores & I pulled this out to try. SO. GOOD! I think there is definitely room to get more creative on smores!


Doughnuts: I’m really not a fan of them normally but when they’re fresh & warm with a cup of coffee, mmmmmm! We made these as a Sunday morning treat and since we could only each eat a couple we shared the rest with our camping neighbors who were pretty pleased with the surprise treats! Just little dough balls from canned biscuits, tossed in powdered sugar and cinnamon, and some of them we cut in 1/2 and slathered in a layer of strawberry jelly my Mama made. Yummmmy!



Of course there are different ways to cook your food while camping. Our pop-up does have a 3 burner gas stove we can attach. We’ve only done it once. For one thing you don’t really want that heat inside the camper. The windows and screens all seem highly flammable, and I don’t want to risk melting them. We can attach that stove to the outside of our camper and that is something I plan to explore on the next trip. For us, these are our most used cooking methods:

1 burner gas. It heats up so quickly! We used this for so many things, we went through 2 tanks of gas. From our breakfast scramble, heating up oil for a fish fry, morning water for tea & coffee, it’s just super convenient & quick.



In my opinion, a tri-pod is a must. Sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to find a grate, this one was rusted into place, I couldn’t get it to budge to cook on. I love that you can raise & lower, perfect for steaks and meat in general, super handy & packs down into a small bag.20190820_184949



Just like building the perfect 1st aid kit, over the years I’ve learned what I need in my kitchen kit. I got these glass jars from Amazon ( cinnamon, all-purpose seasoning from Redmond, Magic Dust from a BBQ place I went to in Nashville that we fell in love with, chili powder for tacos, etc, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Of course I also bring my own raw sugar in a pint glass jar, and grind my own coffee to bring. And over the years I’ve gathered a nice assortment of utensils dedicated to the camping tote.


Many, many meals were out of the back of our van, the cooler never left the van. We’d set off for a day trip & I made sure we had all the essentials with us to cook a meal on the road with the 1 burner, or make sandwiches, etc. 38454422_10156553249284297_8414423738451230720_n

BBQ pork sandwiches & salad at a random park in the middle of the day. These are my favorite meals:


Doing dishes is 1 of the most time consuming chores while camping, but it’s still not terrible. We do have a tiny sink in our camper, we’ve not used it yet. So I boil water and wash in 1 tub, rinse in clean water in the next, then let dry. We do use our reusable trays/plates quite a bit, but also use paper plates pretty regularly. We always need paper & cardboard for starting fires. 20190812_200219

Not food related, but just like when traveling internationally, we bring a carbon monoxide detector with us. This $20 gadget can save your life, please do not camp/travel without one:


Whenever I feel like I’m “roughing it”, I’m thankful for reminders that I’m nowhere close to doing that. Northern WI, where we were, was home to several Native American tribes, and there are historical markers all over the place, we try to read as many as we can. I really appreciate the reminders from days gone by, to put into perspective how dang good we have it, even if living off the grid with no electricity or services. I still feel spoiled rotten with all we do have.



I hope you enjoyed reading my notes, I’ll add to it over time, and would love to add to it with some of your favorite camping tips, tricks, and meals!


Some 2020 meals, from our 40 night extended trip, which you can read about here:


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Reflections on my extended camping trip | Eco-friendly baby/family products MADE in USA

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