Campsite cooking is probably our favourite thing about camping! We are always trying out recipes that are quick to prepare with minimal ingredients and easy clean up.

Butter chicken is a classic Indian curry that is most often mild but very flavourful and quite hearty. Adjust the amount of ingredients to suit your number of guests. You can make your own butter chicken sauce but the beauty of this dish is that it we used a shelf-stable prepared sauce. There are lots of brands available so you should be able to find one in a well-stocked grocery store or international market.

We used raw chicken that we cubed up at home and kept in a zip-lock bag so it could be dumped into the pan without worry about contamination. You could easily precook the chicken which might be a good idea if you’re using an ice-filled cooler for your fresh items. If you want to make this vegetarian, double the amount of potatoes  or substitute tofu.

Canned potatoes work perfectly because they are par-cooked already. Frozen peas keep very well in a container, even in a cooler, as well. We enjoy roasting our own peppers but jarred ones work great, too. You can use raw bell pepper if you add it early in the preparation so it can sauté and soften. Other vegetables you might try would be onion, zucchini, baby squash, or pre-cooked sweet potato.

 

 

 

 

Roasting bell peppers at your campsite is fun and easy. You can prepare them on a camp stove, portable grill, or over the campfire. Roast extra! They’re great the next day chopped up into hash browns or sliced and served with pitas and hummus for lunch!

 

Shish kabobs are great for cooking over a campfire or portable grill. Small strips or cubes of meat cook quickly, saving time and fuel. You can marinate the meat ahead of time and transport it pre-cut in a zip-lock bag. You can use a variety of meats and veggies as well as marinades. Our faves are beef sirloin, pork loin, chicken breast or thigh, or shrimp. Follow a theme with the marinade by using Italian dressing, Greek dressing, chimichurri, teriyaki, jerk, etc. Bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and pineapple are all good for grilling.

 

 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that veggies typically cook more quickly than meat. The best way to cook them is separately! Put meats and veggies on different skewers so everything cooks to perfection. This is great if you’re feeding meat-eaters as well as vegetarians. You can also use several kinds of meats, like a skewer for beef, one for chicken, and another for shrimp to allow for varying cooking times.

When done, give each person one meat & one veggie skewer. You can also take everything off the skewers and simply serve on a large plate.

 

Beef Skewers with Veggies & Rice (chicken skewers work great, too!)

Check out these great recipes for marinades:

Recipe: Dave’s Korean Marinade

Recipe: CJ Chimichurri Sauce

… Or as it is simply called in our household, The Big Sandwich. We’ve been making The Big Sandwich to take on picnic outings for years but discovered this last summer what a great option it makes for camping! We typically arrive at a new campsite in mid to late afternoon. It’s really nice to have an easy meal planned for that first night, or something to dig out and feed the restless troops while we set up camp. Unwrap The Big Sandwich and cut some wedges off. It’s delicious and filling. If you don’t finish the entire sandwich in one sitting, simply wrap the remainder back up and put it in the cooler for lunch or a snack the next day.

Stuffed Picnic Sandwich

Stuffed Picnic Sandwich

The sandwich is assembled in a large hollowed out loaf layered with pesto, olive spread, cheese slices, deli meats, roasted red peppers, and anything else your family enjoys. It’s prepared a day a head and wrapped up tight in the fridge overnight. This is a key step in the deliciousness of The Big Sandwich! It keeps surprisingly well for up to three days in an RV fridge or ice cooler.

There are a few tips for making the sandwich:

  • Choose a round or oblong loaf with a soft interior but firm enough crust to keep from getting too squishy and scoop it out to within 1/4-1/2 inch of the edges. Save the bread and set aside.
  • Spread a layer of pesto around the inside of the hollowed out loaf and add another spread like hummus or olive tapenade if you like (check out our recipe for homemade tapenade).
  • Thin slices of cheese create a barrier between the pesto and the fillings. Havarti, Provolone, Swiss, and Monterrey Jack are great choices. Anything that you can pick up pre-sliced and won’t crumble.
  • Use three to four meats. Traditionally, they would be all Italian or spicy Italian varieties but a good old submarine sandwich combo of ham, turkey, and bologna works, too.
  • We add a layer of roasted red peppers that have been patted dry (our video shows you how easy it is to make your own roasted bell peppers). Mild green chiles or pepperoncinis are great, too, but steer clear of items that will get mushy over time like fresh tomatoes or avocado.
  • If there is still room after the meats have been used up, tear up some of the reserved bread and toss with a little pesto or olive oil to fill the sandwich to the top. Another layer of cheese is the last thing to go on before replacing the top.
Muffuletta Sandwich

Muffuletta Sandwich

TIP: For food safety, always make sure your fridge or cooler is at a proper temp (0°-4°C/32°-40°F) but tucking an inexpensive fridge thermometer inside.

fridge-temp

When the heat of the summer zaps your energy and the last thing you want to do after a day at the beach or hiking/biking the trails, is stand in front of a stove or campfire cooking dinner, we have the solution.

On a recent camping trip, we knew the weather was going to hit high temps and that our site would be very exposed. Our tent trailer doesn’t have air conditioning, and we prefer being outside anyway. Therefore, we planned on a cold supper with a few simple ingredients.

Caprese salad is a traditional Italian first course made with sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella (bocconcini or buffalo mozzarella), fresh basil, drizzled with good olive and sprinkled with salt. We like to add a grind of pepper and drizzle of good balsamic vinegar, as well.

Bring along a baguette for sopping up the juices on the platter. If you want to add extra protein, sliced salami, mild or hot, is a nice addition, although we didn’t really need it and saved most for bagel sandwiches the next day.

We asked our sommelier friend, Christopher Wilton, of The Small Winemakers Collection and Wilton Wine Consulting, for a recommendation to go with the Caprese salad. He suggested any Italian white other than Pinot Grigio.  We chose an inexpensive Soave Classico. It was spot on, light and refreshing.

Caprese Salad

If you have leftover ingredients, make a Caprese Omelet for breakfast the next morning. Delicious!

 

Many of us are familiar with Japanese teriyaki sauces and marinades. Korean versions are similar but sweeter and just as salty and savoury. Both make great use of the umami (the fifth flavour) in soy sauce, A true marinade involves a combination of oil and acid which will penetrate proteins. Each version adds appropriate flavourings.

Most commercial Korean sauces we’ve tried are too sweet and not true marinades, more like glazes or BBQ sauces. This marinade recipe is suited for many cuts of beef, venison, pork, chicken, or even tofu. It’s a little too strong for seafood.

Dave’s Korean Marinade

  • 2/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Mirin rice wine
  • 1-1/2 inch finely grated ginger
  • 4 large finely minced garlic cloves
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Combine ingredients in saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Stir to mix, remove from heat, and allow to cool.

Here are two favourite items we use Korean marinade on…

Korean Short Ribs on the Grill

Korean Short Ribs on the Grill

Korean Short Ribs with Rice and Grilled Veggies & Pineapple

Korean Short Ribs with Rice and Grilled Veggies & Pineapple

Beef Skewers with Veggies & Rice (chicken skewers work great, too!)

Beef Skewers with Veggies & Fried Rice (chicken skewers work great, too!)

Chimichurri is a traditional Argentinian steak sauce which is interesting because it is nothing like the North American idea of steak sauce. Yet, if you top a lovely grilled steak with it, you will understand!

Chimichurri

Chimichurri

The herby flavoured sauce relies mainly on fresh parsley. Many varieties exist throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Some use oregano and others contain a lot of cilantro. We favour the cilantro/parsley combination. If you are one of the folks for whom cilantro tastes like soap (it’s a real affliction) substitute your preferred herb to go along with parsley.

What we like best about chimichurri is that it’s such an amazingly simple but versatile sauce for beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, fish, game, vegetables, and even tofu. Use it straight as a condiment, finishing sauce, basting sauce, or marinade. We’ve also mixed it with melted butter for basting vegetables and seafood. Add a spoonful to plain vinaigrette for an awesome salad dressing. It also makes a unique pizza sauce, bruschetta topping, or addition to a dip.

It blends into many cuisines. We make South American dishes with it as well as Tex-Mex (corn & black bean salad), Mexican (fish tacos), Spanish (potato & chorizo pockets), Italian (pizza & bruschetta base), Greek (souvlaki), and Thai (spicy coconut soup).

CJ Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • hot pepper or pepper flakes, optional

Snip the ends and roots off the herb bunches but keep in mind that you’ll use both the leaves and stems so you don’t have to pick the leaves off. Place the bunches in a large colander or salad spinner. rinse well, and shake or spin to dry.

Place the and garlic in a food processor and pulse until evenly chopped. Add about half a lemon’s worth of juice. Put the top on and drizzle olive oil through the inlet while the processor is running, until the mixture is slightly loose but not runny. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and hot pepper to taste. You may need to add more lemon juice (or white wine vinegar) and olive oil.

Scrape out into a container, cover, and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

These are some of the dishes we’ve used chimichurri on…

South American Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza: Naan bread, chimichurri, smashed avocado, sliced tomato, sunny side up eggs, and chipotle hot sauce

Canned Potatoes and Chorizo with Chimichurri, Fresh Cilantro, and Grilled Lime

Brunch or Lunch Pockets: Canned Potatoes and Chorizo with Chimichurri, Fresh Cilantro, and Grilled Lime served up in Pita Pockets

Greek Dinner: Pork Souvlaki with Sautéed Onion & Bell Peppers, Tzatziki served in Pita Bread

Souvlaki Dinner: Chimichurri Marinated Pork Strips with Sautéed Onion & Bell Peppers, Tzatziki served in Pita Bread

Surf & Turf Grill: Grilled Steak Topped with Chimichurri, Grilled Lobster Tails and Corn-on-the-Cob Basted with Chimichurri Butter

Surf & Turf Grill: Grilled Steak Topped with Chimichurri, Grilled Lobster Tails and Corn-on-the-Cob Basted with Chimichurri Butter

 

 

 

Korean Short Ribs

Korean style short ribs are perfect for camping because the traditionally thin cut cooks quickly over the grill or campfire. These ribs are cut thinly across the bones rather than along the length of the bone. They are quite rich, so a little goes a long way. Look for Korean short ribs at an Asian market or specialty butcher. Sometimes they are frozen.

Most of the commercial Korean sauces we’ve tried are too sweet and not true marinades, more like glazes or BBQ sauces. This marinade recipe is suited for many cuts of beef, venison, pork, chicken, or even tofu. It’s a little too strong for seafood.

Dave’s Korean Marinade

  • 2/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Mirin rice wine
  • 1-1/2 inch finely grated ginger
  • 4 large finely minced garlic cloves
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Combine ingredients in saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Stir to mix, remove from heat, and allow to cool.

Korean Short Ribs with Vegetables & Pineapple

  • 1 – 2 sections of short ribs per person (about 5 bones across each)
  • 1/4 red bell pepper per person, sliced into strips
  • 1 cup broccoli florets per person
  • 3 sliced pineapple rings per person, fresh or canned
  • salt & pepper
  • rice, optional
  • vegetable oil for the grill

Place meat in the marinade in a shallow dish or zip-lock bag. Marinate overnight in the fridge.

Korean Short Ribs on the Grill

Korean Short Ribs on the Grill

Set up your grill for medium-high heat. Wipe your grill with vegetable oil. Remove meat from the marinade, wiping off the excess. Place on the grill and cook approximately 2 mins per side, careful to watch for flare ups.

Meanwhile, cook the rice in a pan or reheat pre-cooked rice. Grill the vegetables turning frequently to develop a little char. Grill the pineapple slices just until you see light grill marks. (Our daughter is not a fan of grilled fruit, so you can also leave the pineapple fresh).

Korean Short Ribs with Rice and Grilled Veggies & Pineapple

Korean Short Ribs with Rice and Grilled Veggies & Pineapple

Serve everything up and enjoy! It’s OK to eat the ribs with your fingers because they are, after all, RIBS!

Here is a vegetarian option for a camping meal that will satisfy even the hungriest carnivore. You can add grilled meat if you want to stretch this out. If adding meat, grill thinly sliced Greek pesto marinated steak, pork loin, lamp, or chicken.

 

Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 sweet or red onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off
  • 1 portobello mushroom, stem end trimmed (leave whole)
  • Greek pesto (recipe below)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup hummus
  • 1/4 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1- 2 pitas per person, regular preferred over pocket bread
  • oil for grilling

Greek pesto

  • 2 cloves garlic, peele
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, leaves and stems
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

Pesto:

In a food processor, add garlic, parmesan, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, and vinegar. Pulse, scraping the sides occasionally, until uniformly chopped. Drizzle in olive oil through the spout while the processor is running. Add just enough to bind the ingredients loosely. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and continue to blend. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Add more lemon juice and olive oil to taste. Transfer into a container and keep covered in the fridge up to a week. You can make this ahead and freeze it, as well.

Grilled Veg Pitas

Grilled Veg Pitas (1)
Grill:

Heat a sauté pan over medium flame on a campfire, grill, or camp stove. Remove from heat and place the pitas in the pan; cover with a lid to allow them to warm and soften off the heat.

Brush oil on a medium-high campfire grate, grill, griddle, or grill pan. poon half the pesto into a cup and thin with oil to make a good basting consistency. Grill bell pepper, onion, asparagus, and mushroom, basting with pesto as they cook. Place lemon on the grill, cut side down. Turn vegetables and continue basting until they have a little char.  Set aside on a plate as they become done. Slice the portobello mushroom after grilling. Squeeze half of the grilled lemon over the vegetables.

Grilled Veg Pitas (2)

Build the pitas:

Spread pita with hummus and pesto. Layer with grilled veggies and chopped cucumber. Squeeze grilled lemon over veggies. Top with crumbled cheese. Fold pita in half and enjoy!

Grilled Veg Pitas (3)

Eggplant, zucchini summer squash, and beets would be good, too. Vegetables that you can slice into long strips before or after grilling work best in the pitas. We tried green onion (scallions) and found them too stringy.

Asparagus Omelet (1)

An omelet makes a great outdoor camping breakfast, especially if you have some veggies to add. While this may not be suited for backpackers, just about everyone else can prepare this tasty stuffed omelet. If you have leftover grilled vegetables from the previous dinner, that’s even easier! If not, we suggest grilling your vegetables first so that they are ready to go when your omelet is just about done.

Vegetables: Red or sweet onion, bell pepper, portobello mushroom, spring green onion, asparagus, zucchini summer squash, and mild chiles are all good candidates. Toss with a little oil and pinch of salt before cooking. You can grill vegetables in various ways, over campfire with a grate, on a charcoal grill, on a portable propane grill, with a grill basket or cast iron grill/griddle, or even in a sauté pan. Some vegetables are best sliced and others can be left whole, or grilled whole and sliced after cooking. Keep veggies warm on a plate with a lid on top, or with foil.
Firepit Grill (1)

 

Grill Basket

 

Grilled Veg

 

 

 

 

Cheese: For additional creaminess add cheese, crumbled, sliced, or grated. Best options are goat cheese, gouda, or havarti, plain or flavoured, to suit your taste.

Seasonings: A sprig of fresh herb is nice too, or simply some dried seasonings like Italian blend or ground chipotle.

Meat: If you want to add meat, smoked salmon or trout is nice. Diced ham, bacon, pancetta, or smoked chorizo are good options, but less is more, we have found! We like ours simple and delicious.

Eggs: Allow 2 eggs per person. A four-egg omelet fits a medium sauté pan and feeds two people quite well. You can use egg whites or egg substitute, but we prefer whole eggs.

  • eggs, beaten thoroughly (dash of milk, cream, or water, optional)
  • goat cheese, crumbled
  • asparagus, grilled
  • sprig of dill, minced

Pre-heat a medium sauté pan over low heat with a dash of oil. Add beaten eggs and swirl around the pan before setting back on the heat. With a spatula, gently push the egg mixture from the inside towards the outside, allowing the uncooked egg to run into the centre. Lift the pan off the heat to regulate temperature if it’s cooking too quickly. When the egg has started to set firmly on top, flip the omelet using the spatula. If you’re not too confident about flipping the omelet, you can invert a large plate over the pan and flip the omelet onto the plate, then slide it back into the pan. Turn the heat off and allow the residual heat to finish cooking the eggs. Add the cheese around the centre to soften. Then add the veggies on one half (and meat, if using). Add herbs and season to taste. Gently fold omelet over in half and slide onto the large plate. Cut and serve.

If you’re making more than one omelet, put a lid or foil over the plate and it will keep warm long enough to make another.

Asparagus OmeletAsparagus Omelet (1)

 

This dish comes together in the time it takes to boil the pasta, making it perfect for camping. Omit the chiles if you don’t like it spicy and try substituting sundried tomatoes. The dish also works well with shrimp. We make it at home a lot, too.

Scale the dish to the number of servings you need. One regular can of clams is enough for 2 – 3 servings.

  • linguine for 2 – 3 servings
  • oil or butter to sauté with
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (shallot works well, too)
  • half of a regular sized onion, chopped (save the other half for breakfast hash)
  • 1 – 2  red chiles of your choice, stemmed, seeded, and minced (you can use red pepper flakes if fresh chiles are not available, and add some sundried tomatoes to brighten up the dish)
  • ¾ cup white wine (substitute stock or water)
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1 can clams with their liquid
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • grated parmesan

For ease of prep, you can pre-chop the garlic, onion, chile, and parsley at home and keep in plastic containers in your cooler. While these seem like a lot of steps, it’s really a dump-pour-simmer-repeat kind of production that comes together quickly.

Spicy Clam Pasta

Bring water to a boil, add salt, and cook the pasta until al dente. TIP: always boil water with the lid on for heat efficiency.

Spicy Clam Pasta (1)

Meanwhile, heat oil or butter in a large sauté pan over a medium-high flame. Sauté garlic and onion until the onion begins to soften.

Spicy Clam Pasta (2)

Add the chile and sauté a minute more.

Spicy Clam Pasta (3)

Add the wine, lemon juice & zest, and liquid from the canned clams (reserve the clams in the can). Reduce the liquid by about half.

Spicy Clam Pasta (4)

Turn the heat down to medium. Add the clams and simmer until it reaches a saucy consistency.

Spicy Clam Pasta (5)

Stir in the parsley and some grated parmesan.

Scoop out a coffee cup full of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add to the sauté pan, tossing it with the sauce. If it’s not saucy enough, add some of the pasta water and more lemon juice to taste. Serve with a little more parmesan over top!

Spicy Clam Pasta (6)