We can’t just sit inside all day. If we get too pale we’ll get burnt by sunlight through the window. A favorite way of mine to get out and about is to go camping! Truth be told, I don’t actually get the chance to do it that often, but my girl scout troop and I recently went on our first camping trip, so I’m hoping that we’ll go again soon (and I do realize how sad it is that it was our first trip).
Besides the plain awesomeness of camping, camp food is great. Even if you’re only camping in your backyard, you just can’t beat food cooked over an open fire (or maybe one with a grate). So just for anyone interested, I’ll share the menu from my last camping trip (when I heard what we were having I declared that “I would go just for the food!”). Be warned! just about everything will be hot at first. Not like wince-and-clench-your-teeth hot, but more like holy-shoot-did-lightning-just-strike-my-fingers hot.
Supper: Hamburger Tin Foil Dinners
What you will need (all vegetable/fruit toppings are optional):
-A campfire (marshmallow embers style, not a roaring fire)
-A roll of tin foil
-Raw ground beef/hamburger meat (whatever you want to call it)
-Cubed carrots (raw)
-Cubed potatoes (raw)
-Chopped up bell peppers (red, green, yellow, orange; whatever color floats your boat!)
-Chopped apple slices (I use Granny Smith apple slices, which are then cut into thirds)
-Salt and pepper
-A1 steak sauce
What to do:
First, grab a sheet of tin foil. It should be about as long as it is wide. Place however much hamburger meat you want on it; I tend to use about a cup, because I put on tons of toppings. Then just start choosing what veggies you want. The apple slices were an experiment, left over from roasting apples (coming up). They turned out kind of mushy and not really to my taste, but you might like them! You can of course add different toppings, or take away some. After you have added toppings to your liking, sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Now comes the important part: adding the liquid. Because of the cooking method, if you don’t add liquid, everything will get burnt. So put in a dash of steak sauce or water – or both. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe a teaspoon or so (note: you don’t need to actually measure anything while making tin foil dinners – or pretty much any camp food I’m going to show you. Just guesstimate!). I personally added the last dregs of the steak sauce – maybe 1/4 of a teaspoon – and then poured some water from my water bottle over the rest of my food. After you get the liquid on, simply wrap it up. Make sure you get the tin foil completely around the food, you don’t want it getting burnt! After it’s firmly wrapped up, take a serving spoon or tongs or something and insert it into the fire in a nice little nook. The fire should still have some tongues of flame around, not completely embers (this is doubly good because you can roast food at the same time). Leave it in the fire for 15-20 minutes; as long as the meat is cooked and not red when you take it out you’re good.
Snacks: Roast ALL the food!
Roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over a fire is your classic scout scene. But those aren’t the only things delicious when roasted! My troop and I collectively roasted just about everything we brought that we could stick on a marshmallow-roasting steak thing. Here’s what we came up with (note: nothing we roasted was harmful when eaten raw, it’s just a matter of how cooked you like things. Though sometimes it’s sort of important; half-cooked apples are a lot better than half-cooked potatoes):
-Apples (see above). Granny Smith apple slices are nothing short of delicious when roasted. You can roast them until they get fairly burnt (the skin is going to get burnt very quickly, ignore that, I’m talking about the fruit itself), so all the juice is gone and it’s almost like very hot freeze-dried apples, or take them out when they are merely browned.
-Potatoes. Make sure these are thin slices, not chunks like for tin foil dinners, because you don’t want to spend all day waiting for them to cook all the way through. Thin potato slices roasted are remarkably yummy, and taste very similar to store-bought french fries. Make sure to add lots of salt (and maybe some pepper) before sticking it by the embers; it stays on a lot better that way.
-Orange slices. I personally didn’t try this, but a friend did and said it was very messy, but good.
-King’s Hawaiian rolls (which are amazing any way you eat them). It’s very fun to toast these by sweeping them over the flames!
-Brownie Bites. Once again these are awesome anyway, sticking them in the embers makes them warm and melty and downright irresistible.
-Marshmallows (duh). I have a method to getting the chocolate to melt too; I stick the chocolate through the middle of the marshmallow (though if you keep the marshmallow in for too long the chocolate sticking off the ends will melt off!)
-Croissants. They are so good just lightly toasted like the rolls!
-Sausages (pre-cooked ones). Whatever brand our troop leader bought were amazing. Not even joking.
I feel like I’m forgetting something big, but I just can not think of it right now. Ah well, I’ll have to ask my friend (: Maybe she has a better memory. But experiment! That’s how we figured out that the above list tasted so supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. (Oh, and we also had popcorn over the fire with my friend’s popcorn maker! It beats Jiffy Pop in every respect.)
Desert: Banana Boats and more tin foil
Well unfortunately we didn’t actually get the chance to try banana boats, because we didn’t have bananas, so I’m not 100% sure how they work, but I have a basic idea.
Take a banana still in its peel. Cut a slit lengthwise in it, I’m guessing through the top part of the peel and the banana itself but leaving the bottom of the peel intact. Then fill the slit with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Then wrap the banana in aluminum foil and cook it in the same manner as the tin foil dinners, though for a much shorter amount of time (more like 3-5 minutes).
But that’s not the only tin foil desert. S’mores are nice, but we were craving something more interesting (especially as the majority of us have been hanging out at my friend’s house a lot having campfire cookouts in her back yard), we tried something different.
First, take three or four full-sized marshmallows. Lay them on a piece of tin foil (it should be smaller than the piece used for dinner). Add some chocolate, an orange slice, and two apple slices (or whatever else you want). Wrap it up – extra carefully so no marshmallow bubbles out – and stick it in the fire for 3-4 minutes. Then unwrap and enjoy the sticky goodness!
Breakfast: Stuff I’ve already mentioned
For breakfast we had croissants, pre-cooked sausages, and more brownie bites and Hawaiian rolls over the fire.
Why it’s good to have a camp stove too
Shameful as it is, we also had some food we didn’t cook over the fire. We had canned corn to add to our tin foil dinners once they were cooked, because the fire wasn’t high enough to use the grate. We also made tea and hot chocolate in the morning, though it took long enough. The camp stove tipped over, so we had to go and get another bucket of water from the faucet down the path. Ugh, work. But the taste of mini marshmallows and those little clumps of still-dry hot chocolate powder in the drink at first was well worth it 🙂
I hope you got some use out of this post (though I’m sorry if it made you hungry)! I’ll get back to writing about writing next time 😉