Camping Recipes: Eating Well In The Great Outdoors | CBC Parents (2024)

By Julie Rosendaal, Dinner with Julie

| Jun 26, 2015

Five ways to keep kids and adults fed and happy on family camping trips.

Camping Recipes: Eating Well In The Great Outdoors | CBC Parents (1)

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Just like all family vactions, the key to a successful family camping trip is to plan ahead—and when it comes to keeping the family well-fueled and happy, much depends on dinner.

Summer means lots of cooking and dining al fresco, which can be daunting. However, I find that once we’re living in the great outdoors, half the fun is cooking there too.

Preparing a meal over an open fire has a certain primitive appeal. Plus, there’s a challenge to it that you just don’t get at home. Rigging up foil packets, heating up coals and dangling dough from sticks is what camping food is all about—no once cares if half their potatoes are burnt and the other half crunchy (that’s what ketchup is for!).

When camping, make mealtime a project the whole family can do together. Here are half a dozen ways to keep everyone fed and happy—even when you don’t have a kitchen.

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Gooey Grilled Brie

This may be more for the grown-ups, but a small wheel of brie is perfect for tossing on the grill or wrapping in foil and tucking into the campfire when the coals are hot.

If you like, slice off the top first and add some chutney, caramelized onions or whatever you like to put on a baked brie.

Once the brie is heated through, fish it out, carefully open the foil and go to town with crackers or a torn baguette.

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Camping Skillet Fondue

If you don't have a cast iron skillet, bundle everything up in a double thickness of foil, seal and set over the fire until melted and bubbly.

Carefully open and serve straight from the foil packet, with crusty bread or baguette and apple slices for dipping.

This works with any meltable cheese — or just grab that wheel of brie, top it with anything you like, wrap it in foil and heat until melty.

You Will Need:

  • 1 garlic clove, halved (optional)
  • 1/4-1/2 lb. fontina cheese, rind removed and diced
  • 1/4 lb. meltable cheese, rind removed and diced (optional)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • a good drizzle of good-quality olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

1. If you like, rub the bottom and sides of a small cast iron pan with a cut clove of garlic.

2. Distribute the cubes of cheese evenly in the skillet and scatter with garlic, thyme and rosemary and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a grate over the campfire. Wrap the cast iron pan in foil if you want to protect it or need to put it directly into the fire.

3. Heat until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown. Serve immediately, with crusty bread for dipping.

Serves 4-6.

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Grilled Garlic Cheese Bread

You Will Need:

  • 1 good-quality crusty loaf of bread
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan (optional)

Instructions:

1. Slice the bread about an inch thick.

2. Stir together the soft butter, garlic and half the parmesan. Spread generously on both sides of the bread.

3. Either place the slices back upright into a loaf and wrap in foil (sprinkle the rest of the cheese overtop before you seal it up) or grill the slices on a grill over an open fire. Or impale on a stick and hold over hot coals to toast. Serve alone, or with chili or baked beans.

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Camping Chili Cheese Fries / Poutine

You Will Need:

  • frozen french fries or thinly sliced/wedged potatoes, tossed with oil
  • canned or homemade chili or poutine mix
  • cheese curds or grated cheese

Instructions:

1. Tear off two pieces of foil and mound as many fries as you want to heat in the middle, leaving enough space around the edge to gather the foil into a package.

2. If you're making poutine, mix the gravy mix with water in a small pot and bring to a simmer over the fire, stirring until bubbly and thickened.

3. Pour the chili or poutine gravy over the fries and scatter with cheese.

4. Bring the sides of the foil up and fold over to seal. Do the same on each end — it doesn't need to be pretty.

5. Set over the campfire and cook until heated through and the cheese is melted. If you started with raw potatoes, cook until tender (you might want to cook potatoes until tender before adding the chili and cheese and heating it all through).

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Camping Nachos

You Will Need:

  • tortilla chips
  • cheese
  • nachos toppings: salsa, avocado, green onions, etc.
  • chili (optional)

Instructions:

1. On a double layer of foil, spread out some tortilla chips and sprinkle with cheese.

2. Bundle up and place on the grill or over the fire until the cheese melts.

3. Open and top with salsa, avocado, snipped green onions or whatever you like on your nachos. To make it a meal, add some chili too.

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Julie Van Rosendaal

Read more from Julie here.

Julie Van Rosendaal is the author of six best-selling cookbooks (with a seventh due out this fall), the food editor of Parents Canada magazine and the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio One. She is a recipe developer, TV personality, food stylist and writes about food for local, national and international publications. She is perhaps best known as the voice behind her popular food blog, Dinner with Julie, where she documents real life at home in Calgary with her husband and nine-year-old son. Connect on twitter @dinnerwithjulie.

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