Food, Glorious Food!

We were at this camping trip for over a month which means we’ve tried out quite a few meals. Way back before we left I wrote a post about the possibility of doing this trip on a budget and in there I mentioned some marinades and such that I had prepared. Those were consumed within the first couple weeks and I am happy to report that they were all really good!

This blog post is about sharing a few more ideas of meals we enjoyed and hopefully you’ll find something new to try. You’ll notice the Blackstone Tailgater is featured in almost all our meals that weren’t cooked on a fire. I already mentioned our Blackstone here and shared that this was a splurge we made to make up for the lack of an oven in our camper. I have rave reviews over that purchase! We have thoroughly enjoyed it. Erick was the one who set it up and took it down each stop and though it was a bit much to take out for a rest stop meal (mostly because we’d have to cool it down before packing it back up again), it did go up pretty quick. One of the pins that is designed to hold the legs out when set up did break and he will be contacting Blackstone when we get home to see if they can deal with that. It didn’t stop us from being able to fully enjoy it though. He rigged something up for it in the meantime.

So, here we go! Kebabs! Here and here are the links I got my recipes from.

Chicken:

Cilantro Lime Chicken – Excellent!

Soy Honey Garlic – Excellent!

Beef:

Sweet and Sassy – Good, but probably better on chicken.

Balsamic – Yummers!

I had a couple frozen bags of fajita mix in my tiny little freezer. I originally saw this on Pinterest from Mommysavers as a slow cooker meal prep option and I took the chance that this would work just as well thrown into a pan and cooked up for a meal. It was perfect! And even better that we could do it on the flat top and I didn’t have to wash any skillets.

I did recreate the fajitas along the road after pre-made ones had been eaten. It was an easy thing to grab the veggies and meat from the grocery store along the way and just throw in some seasoning. I used a package of Fajita mix from Old El Paso and it was easy and good. Not quite the same as the ones I made at home, but definitely a good camping option.

Now, I usually make my own tortillas whether they are corn, flour or black bean flour. Call it the mennonite in me that needs to eat homemade goodness and the Guatemalan presence in our home that may or may not have influenced the need for tortillas in our lives. Really he only confirmed what I already knew. Tortillas ARE a necessity and made from scratch makes a big difference. The Old El Paso packages just don’t do it, but I did buy a pack for the ease of use along the road knowing that our first week was going to be too much driving to worry about homemade. We found that grilling the store bought tortillas really helped the taste! Toasting them gave a nice little crunch and anything BBQed just tasted better, right? Check out this post for the recipe for the Black Bean Tortillas I’ve made here.

Unfortunately, we threw away one of our prepared packages of fajita chicken as we headed towards the border. Everything we read was that we can not take meat over into the states. We thought we did enough research on that and I recalled one time when a border agent watched me eat my cold cut sandwich in the car because he wouldn’t let me take it across the border and I refused to waste my food.

A few too many meals  eating out (whole other conversation……)  meant we didn’t have time to consume what was prepared back at home. I wanted to chance it and bring our food – meat and all – till the border, but suggestions all around us was to just throw it and don’t bother bringing extra attention to ourselves when crossing. Well, wouldn’t you know as we got to the border I had a little chat with the agent about whether or not I should have thrown it. He slowly shook his head. He knew I was crying inside. What a waste. Turns out that at this point and time the only thing they take is fresh fruit and veggies. All else seems to be a go. I’ll be chancing it next time, that’s for sure. No more chucking things out before absolutely necessary! And I’ll note here that on the way back in to Canada they didn’t even ask us what we had. Didn’t even look into the trailer!

We’ve enjoyed pie/camp irons on a few occasions. I’ve written at length about those already so check out more on that in this post from New Hampshire.

IMG_5167

You know those specialty food shops that have prepackaged “gourmet” soups and dips and such? Usually I look at those and thing about how overpriced they are, but those are incredibly handy when camping. We used a couple of those for soups. Just add the fresh stuff and you have a great supper! Or lunch. Even better when you have homemade biscuit mix also prepped! Trish had some that she made up to go with this Thai Shrimp Soup.

IMG_5196

I’m going to share Trish’s recipe here, but a quick apology because we don’t know enough about these blogs to have a “Print” button. Maybe someday along the road we’ll figure it all out.

BAKING POWDER BISCUITS  (Prepared for camping trips)

1 ¾ cups All Purpose Flour

2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder

¾ tsp. salt

1/3 cup Shortening

¾  cup Milk

 MAKE AHEAD:

 -Mix flour, baking powder and salt together.

 – Store in a small Ziplock freezer bag (or container of your choice).  We like to use the bags and write the rest of the recipe out on them for easy prep later.

DSC02568

 WHEN READY TO USE:

–          To your dry mix, add any “extras” you’d like (ie – herbs, Italian seasoning, black pepper, grated cheddar cheese, etc.)

–          Mix in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly looking

–          Add enough milk so that the dough leaves the side of the bowl (don’t over do it, or you will be working with a soggy mess!)

–          Roll out on a floured surface until the dough is about ½ inch thick.  (I’ve also just used my hands to form “patties”, works just as well!)

–          Place on ungreased cookie sheet and cook for 10 – 12 min. in 350 degree oven. *

Trish used a pizza stone and made these in their trailer oven.  She made sure to check on them as they cooked, and they turned out perfectly.  I used our Blackstone Grill, of course.  This also worked very well!  Just make sure the temp. is not too hot (or the bottoms will burn before they cook through), and flip them half way through, so the top and bottom both get cooked.

One of my favourite camping meals over the last couple of years has been Black Pepper Breakfast Biscuits. Ideally you want these with amazing farmer sausage patties from southern Manitoba. I’ve mentioned the Mennonite/Guatemalan mix in our home and we love the foods of both those cultures, but the farmer sausage of my own roots is one food that Erick has talked numerous times about wanting to share with his family. If only we could pack it up and take it with us when visiting his family. We made sure to have some when his mom came to visit us last Christmas!

IMG_4260
Look! It all fits on there at the same time! Just add at different times to finish all together.

For these biscuits I use this recipe I found on Pinterest. Again, you need to be patient when cooking the biscuits over the fire or the flat top. They need low heat so they cook through to the middle before they burn on the outside. It’s much easier on the Blackstone. We’ve never been skilled enough at cooking over the fire to be burnt-biscuit free, but we HAVE pulled it off. Anything cooked over a fire….. Delicious. Serve these with a sausage patty and a fried egg. Then add whatever else you may like. Hot sauce, cheese (if you didn’t already put shredded cheese in the biscuits or just want more!) sliced tomatoes, etc. So yummy!

IMG_0124

Ok, this one might not be so common. Lentils and hot dogs! My oldest really, and I mean really, dislikes tomato. She sits there and gags the whole way through any tomato meals while I sit there with a mixture of amusement and annoyance. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from preparing meals with tomato. Lo and behold, she absolutely raved over this one! Strange girl asked me to make this again!

It’s another easy recipe/meal. One can of crushed tomatoes (the bigger cans), some hot dogs cut up and lentils! Add some salt and pepper or chicken stock for flavour. And if you want to make it “gourmet” cut the hot dogs on a diagonal…… That’s fancy, right? And the world wonders why I’m not a Master Chef. Cook it up till the lentils are no longer crunchy.

There are many different travel friendly pancake mixes out there that are just “Add water” and they make camping pancakes super easy. For the last 4-5 years our church has served a pancake breakfast for our town’s Winter Carnival. I’ve been the pancake girl each year which means I’ve adapted one of my favourite Buttermilk Pancake recipes into something I can prepare for 150-200 people. For camping I’ve further adapted this recipe to be camping friendly.

IMG_7157

Dry Pancake Mix:

4 cups flour

3 rounded Tbsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

6 Tbsp sugar

4 Tbsp powdered milk

I put this all in a ziplock bag and for camping there’s no measuring. Just dump some dry mix in a bowl and add water till you have the consistency you like. Throw in an egg or two and, if you prefer, add a bit of butter and maybe some cinnamon. One morning I threw in some blueberries and we even bought some whipped cream canisters that none of our kids had seen before. The joys of discovering canned whipped cream!! I’ll highly recommend the coconut version. Pure coconutty goodness!

In Chicago we had one hot, muggy day where we had no desire to try and cook anything. So we opted for a nachos kind of supper. I did turn on the flat top long enough to warm up some refried beans with chopped onion and then I toasted up some tortillas that Erick found in an authentic Mexican tienda in New Jersey. That with some fresh salsa (tomato, white onion, cilantro and salt) and random topping made for a pretty quick and easy supper. Trish had some chicken she quickly cooked up and pulled out random toppings of her own. That yummy little buffet stayed out for snacking all the way till the guys got home from their baseball game.

Another gooder is “Taco in a Bag”. We know of this from fundraisers back home. The hardest part is finding Doritos bags that aren’t too big! I’ve tried just buying a big bag of Doritos and preparing this in bowls for my family. Apparently it doesn’t taste as good. It must be served in the bag.

Instructions for this are pretty simple. Fry some hamburger with taco seasoning of your choice. Obviously the envelope kind is easy. Cut the side of the taco bag open. Throw in your favourite toppings and EAT!

Who doesn’t LOVE bacon?! And wrapped around a jalapeño with some cream cheese inside? I mean, come on!! I prefer the herb and garlic flavoured cream cheese. And when you splurge for the the thick bacon you get extra bacon-y goodness. Leave the seeds in the odd one for some Russian Roulette Popper-Style.

I love bacon. A friend shared this recipe for a salad once. She knows me well.

980

I’ve pulled out these few meals and snacks because they were all ones that I will keep in mind for future trips. Hot dogs were scattered liberally throughout our meals during the weeks on the road. Always easy whether you BBQ them, roast them or fry them. Easy Peasy, Ketchup Squeazy. Those along with hamburgers, steaks and spaghetti were all things that are pretty normal for most people, I’m sure. I’ll spare you discussion about each bite we took for 5 weeks and leave you with a couple pics instead.

DSC01015
Train them young!

DSC01117

fullsizeoutput_64c0
Hot dogs were quite common on travel days when arriving at campgrounds at suppertime.
IMG_5166
Of course, sandwiches are always super handy!
img_5628-e1504367505925.jpg
Leftover pizza. We lucked out when the gas station had a microwave!
fullsizeoutput_6497
Of course, baked potatoes!

I hope you got at least one or two ideas from this. I know each time we head out we’ll probably try something new, but at least I have a good selection of things that I know work and are easy to do. With a little prep we had a lot of meals that were quickly put together. I do wish my freezer was a bit bigger! I’d prep every meal if I had room. It was so handy.

Lastly before I leave, for those interested, here is just a bit more review about the Blackstone. We did choose to use it for the majority of our cooking. It was much preferred to heating up the trailer with the inside stove top. It cooked up porridge, mac and cheese, boxed scalloped potatoes (I hesitate sharing that we ate those!!) and popcorn.

IMG_4044
Porridge on the go!
IMG_5267.JPG
My little popcorn helper

The one area that it didn’t quite work out was for anything that needed simmering. The heat would not turn low enough for that so if it was really important for something to simmer, which the Thai soup was, I actually settled myself in a chair beside the cooktop and just turned it on and off and on and off the whole time to create a fake simmering effect! Most food is quite forgiving so it worked.

If you have any other great camping meal idea, please share! Buen Provecho!

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s