It doesn’t matter where you are one thing you will always need to do is eat. We need to keep our bodies stocked with carbs, fats, and protein to fuel our adventures. When camping this can be just calories but you don’t have to be limited to boring food.
We have spent a lot of time in the woods trying different recipes to make camp cooking easy and tasty. Not all of our experiments have turned out well but the ones that did become part of our ongoing menu plan.
Whether you are car camping with a double burner stove, backpacking with an ultralight burner, or cooking over a campfire, you can still make great tasting food that will be filling and give you the energy for another adventure tomorrow.
Cooking is just one part of your camping system. Make sure you aren’t missing anything during you next camping trip in the wild.
Camp Stove Meals
When we are talking about using a camp stove it refers to a two-burner which is often fueled by propane such as the classic Coleman stoves. This type of cooking is ideal when you are car camping as you have the room to bring a larger stove, extra pots and a cooler with fresh ingredients.
If you are in a hot tent you can also use a wood-fed tent stove. These are used to heat the tent and cook on. The top is flat and most options have enough room to fit two pots. You could use them outside a tent at a regular site as well but make sure they are set up on a rock or other fire resistant material in case any embers fall out when you have it open. If you haven’t seen tent stoves then check out the best tent stoves to educate yourself and see if they might be right for you.
The advantage of cooking with a double burner camp stove is being able to have two pots running at the same time. This means you can either have multiple dishes or prepare two ingredients like boiling pasta and making the sauce.
Even if you are trying to watch your carbs during normal life having pasta while camping is perfectly fine as you will need the energy to recharge from a full day of activities. Go on a big hike, bike ride or paddling session and you will have earned this delicious treat.
Ingredients ( Serves 4)
1 Pound of ground beef
1 Red Onion
1 Green Pepper
2 Cups of Fresh Spinach
1 Large Carrot
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 pound box of dry pasta
Salt, Pepper and Italian Seasoning
2 Liter Pot
Cutting Board and Knife
- Dice onions, green pepper, spinach and carrot.
- Brown ground beef in skillet
- Add vegetables to skillet and cover until carrots are soft enough to pierce with fork.
- Add tomato paste and diced tomatoes to skillet
- Add salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste
- Boil water in separate pot for pasta. When water is boiling add pasta and cook for 8 minutes.
- Serve pasta and cover with the meat sauce.
Autumn Stew and Pan Bread
This dish is especially good on a cool fall evening or at a winter camp.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 Pound of Stewing Beef cut into small cubes
4 Large Potatoes
1 Large Red Onion
2 Large Carrots
2 Beef Stock Cubes
2 Cups of Water
Non Stick Cooking Spray
1/4 Pound Butter
2 Cups of Bisquick Biscuit Mix
1 Can of 7 UP
Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper, and Sage Seasoning
Cooking Gear Needed
2 Liter Pot
Cast Iron Skillet with lid
Cutting board and knife ( Alternatively you can prepare items at home and put in zip lock bags in your cooler)
- Dice the vegetable into small pieces for easy cooking
- Spray 2 Liter pot with non stick cooking spray and brown stewing beef.
- Add 2 cups of water to pot and beef stock cubes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add spices to your taste.
- Add in diced vegetables and cover. Add 2 teaspoons of bisquick mix to stew as a thickener. Cook for 30 minutes mixing occasionally.
- Mix Bisquick mix with 7 UP. Add the soda a little at a time until the mix is moist but not sticky. You can mix in a zip lock bag to reduce the clean up you have to do afterward.
- Lightly butter the cast iron skillet and then place the dough in pan evenly. Put on the lid and cook on the stove on medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes and then flip the biscuit with the spatula. Once the biscuits are golden brown on both sides use the remaining butter on the top of the hot biscuits.
Serve the stew in bowls and break off biscuits for dipping.
Ultralight Backpacking Meals
When backpacking the goal is to get a lot of calories in a low amount of weight. This usually means dehydrated foods that just need water added. While this can be the classic backpackers freeze dried meal you just add boiling water to the bag, you can also create your own from items you find at the supermarket.
Here are a few of our favorite backpackers meals that are light weight, calorie rich and taste very good.
Backpacker’s Pad Thai
Ramen noodles are a common backpackers food but can be a little boring on their own. By adding the fat and protein from the jerky and peanut butter you now have a tasty meal that will help fuel and rebuild you for another day on the trail.
Serves 2 normal people or 1 super hungry hiker
2 Ramen Noodle Packages
3 oz Beef Jerky or dehydrated chicken
1 scoop of peanut butter
Boil 2 ½ cups of water
Add Ramen noodles and seasoning. Break up the noodles if you have a small pot.
Add the dried meat and peanut butter.
Mix and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes before eating.
You can serve it up or just eat out of the pot to save on dishes to clean.
Forest Sheppard’s Pie
Maybe not just like mom used to make but still very good and filling.
1 package of Idahoan Instant Mashed Potatoes (Garlic is a favorite)
4 oz of your favorite beef jerky
3 oz of dried pies (You can find them at the Bulk Barn)
- Presoak the peas for 30 minutes in your cooking pot with 2 ½ cups of water.
- Place the pot on your stove and bring the water to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the instant mashed potatoes and beef jerky.
- Stir until the potatoes are fully hydrated.
- Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
Serve or eat right out of the pot to save on dishes.
Cooking With Fire
Nothing is more human than cooking food over a campfire. This is how our ancestors lived and it is fun to get back to it. While we might not be cooking wooly mammoth steaks we can still get a feel for what is was like to use fire to make our food.
Bannock Bread with Walnuts and Raisins
This bread eats like a meal.
2 Cups Bisquick Biscuit Mix
½ Cup Raisins
½ Cup Walnuts
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
Cut 4-6 green sticks the size of your pinky from maple or hickory trees. You can also use metal marshmallow roasting rods.
- Wash your hands as you will be handling the mixed dough.
- Premix all ingredients in a 1 gallon zip lock bag.
- Add water and mix in the bag until the dough is thoroughly mixed but not sticky. Only mix a little water at a time.
- Take a handfull dough and press it around the stick like a corndog.
- Roast the dough over the heat of the coals rotating regularly. Cook until golden brown.
- Let cool for a couple minutes and eat right from the stick.
This is a favorite when you want a hearty meal with minimal clean up.
4 hamburger patties
2 Large Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes
1 Large Red Onion
1 Cup of Instant Rice
¼ pound of butter
Salt and pepper
Roll of Heavy Duty Tin Foil
Cutting Board and Knife
- Stoke the fire and build up a bed of coals. If your firepit is large enough you can keep the fire going on one side and drag coals over to keep the heat on as needed.
- Cut up all the vegetables into small pieces.
- On 16” long piece of tin foil place one hamberger patty cut in half. Add ¼ of the vegetables, butter, and rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Fold up the tin foil into a slight bowl shape and add 3 tablespoons of water. Finish wrapping the food in the foil to seal in the moisture. Then wrap with a second layer to completely seal the food.
- Place the foil packets on the hot coals. Cook for 30 minutes. Flip the packets every 5 minutes using tongs or a pair of sticks.
- Once cooked remove from the fire and let cool for a few minutes. Peel the foil open and eat directly out of the package.
Camp cooking can be fast and easy while stilling tasting great. These 6 easy recipes will work with most types of camping and they are pretty good at home.
Don’t be afraid to try making your own camp food. With some experimentation you can create your own masterpiece dishes that are easy to make while camping.