I don’t remember getting to choose what foods I would and would not eat, when I was a kid so I’m not sure how I turned into such a pushover when it comes to what my kids will eat. Our oldest is a easy enough – she’ll happily down anything from my spicy curry to a bowl of clam chowder. The other two are a different story, however! This means that when we are camping, we need to plan meals with everyone in mind, because we cannot bring a lot of different foods.
Tacos are a great for lunch or dinner, when camping, because they are easy to hold and each one is full of meat and veggies. The downside is that those crispy shells have to be packed with care, or you will end up with a pile of crispy chips – and it’s much harder to get kids to eat taco salad, than tacos!
Grilled chicken or hamburger
These ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and packed in individual bags. Leftover ingredients can be used for omelets or egg scrambles, the next morning. The easiest way to serve tacos at the campsite is to setup a taco bar on the picnic table and let everyone build their own.
All kids seem to like pizza and calzone is an easy way to serve a pizza meal at the campsite, since you can flip it over to grill both sides. The ingredients for a calzone also pack very well, making this a great meal for even long camping trips.
Pizza dough (or bread dough, like Boboli®)
Pasta sauce or tomato sauce
Feel free to include, or exclude, as many ingredients as you wish – like an omelet, you can use just about any leftover vegetable on a calzone. The only challenge to making a calzone, when camping, is rolling out the dough. We pack a silicone cutting board, which works well for this – just place the dough in the center and use your hands, inside a resealable bag, to press the dough out. Add your ingredients on one half of the dough, then fold the other half over the top and seal the edges together. Use a griddle over the campfire, or your camp stove, to cook each side.
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how long generally do the calzones take to cook the dough through? Is it easier to bake them a bit?
What a great discussion! You all made me hungry and want to go camping right now.
One of my favorite campfire meals is what my friends called the hobo dinner.
Dice up potatoes, bell peppers, onion, and whatever you like… add oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and any other spice you like.
Wrap up everything in aluminum foil, make it sturdy, like 2-4 layers, depending upon the thickness of the foil.
Then simply put into a nice mature campfire with some glowing coals.
Flip the foil package every 5 minutes.
Check at 15 minutes, depending upon the size of the potato chunks, it may be done.
I like some grilled sausage along with this and maybe some grilled corn… grilled in the husk.
Thanks for the other great ideas everyone!
That sounds great, Jessica! Of course, anything with sausage gets bonus points, from me 🙂
Thanks for all of these great ideas, I am planning a short trip right now, and taking some of these ideas with me!
Thank you, Andrea!
Excellent ideas! I find that breakfast and dinner are usually bigger meals; for lunch we just snack and browse.
It’s better to plan MEALS for a camping trip, rather than just taking ingredients and hoping inspiration strike. That’s why I actually post a camping-friendly recipe on my blog every Friday. You can never have too many meal ideas!
That’s a great idea, Kim – I’ll have to start checking out your Friday recipes!
Great tips again Roy!
I’m going to try the calzone soon. It looks delicious!
I once cooked a frozen pizza open an open fire. I put a few sheets of aluminum foil down, then the pizza and then made a “cover” out of aluminum foil too. It took a while but it was still pretty good.
Thanks for the recipes Roy!
Thanks, Jason – I bet that was one of the best pizzas ever 🙂
That Calzone is a great idea!! I wonder how long it takes to cook the dough in a pan. Will have to do a test run at home.
I have recently learned of your website and am SO excited. We are avid long distance backpackers and our son is finally old enough to come along with is. The Colorado Trail is next summer and we are already prepping.
Food is always a major area of contention. I like mine tasty and filled with veggies; his dad likes snickers and pop tarts 🙂
My weakness on the trail are those Sweet & Salty peanut bars – I love those things!
My kids also like Bag-O-Eggs. Scramble some eggs (or take some of the egg white products available, they are already ‘scrambled’ and store great in a cooler, won’t break like eggs!) and pour them into a resealable baggie. Add whatever omelet ingredients you like, then drop the baggie into boiling water. After a few minutes, take it out, and you’ve got yourself an omelet. The kids love making them, and there is little cleanup needed. Especially if you have prepped your ingredients ahead of time. Simply throw the baggies and egg-white carton in the trash, and you’re done! Lets you get going on a hike or fishing quickly!
That’s definitely an easy way to do eggs, Marc – plus you can throw just about anything in there, to jazz them up a bit.
Oooh I never thought about doing EITHER of those while camping. I always stick with the basic grilled chicken, steak or hot dogs. Thanks for the inspiration to expand our camping menu!
Thanks, Melissa – I see a taco bar in your future 🙂
Mmmm! Those tacos look very good! I’ll have to give those a try.
Your taco bar is guaranteed to be a big hit at the campsite!
We do a lot of large group campouts and I agree that a taco bar is always a HUGE hit! Tortillas are easier to transport w/no need to worry about crushing the shells too. A lot of people say it’s their favorite because they get a lot more items as toppings than they would normally do at home.
Another great meal you can prep ahead of time is spaghetti…and what kid doesn’t love that!
Spaghetti is a big hit, Holly – I love to grill up some sausage and garlic bread – yum!
I was just making a menu plan for a week in Glacier NP at the end of the month. For dinners we are having: quesadillas (cheese and veggies), mac/cheese with broccoli and canned salmon (I like one pot meals), tortellini with pesto, and black bean soup (pre-made and frozen to serve as ice in the cooler).
I like to do a lot of prep ahead of time if I can. And freezing things means less ice (and more room) in the cooler.
We do quesadillas and tortellini a lot, Mel. The good think about quesadillas is that it is easy to spice them up for the adults, with grilled onions and peppers. Tortellini is usually our evening meal the day we arrive, since it’s so quick to make.
Two good suggestions.
If you have a dutch oven, pizza is also a good, easy choice – similar to calzones.
Most kids also do well with basic chicken. I’ve never tried Chicken Nuggets in a dutch oven or griddle, but imagine you could make that work… 🙂
My son is a chicken nugget freak, Brian 🙂 I haven’t tried the dutch oven pizza – I think that uses a Bisquick crust? I’d have to make 3 of them – I don’t think a 10-inch pizza would go very far, in our family!