Simple Yet Delicious Outdoor Meals

By Lisa LeConte

Multiple days spent camping or hiking means planning your meals.  I’m not talking beef jerky and granola bars.  With a little ingenuity and culinary excitement, your taste buds will praise you while you enjoy the best dinnertime setting of all: the great outdoors. 

Prepare Your “Kitchen”

There are three easy supplies to carry and still have gourmet meals: a foldable grate, a small, lightweight pan, and aluminum foil.  If your campsite does not have a fire pit for cooking, locate some large rocks and make your own contained fire pit.  Make sure the sides are built tall and use your preferred method of starting a fire inside the pit.  Place your grate on top and you’re ready to cook! 

Make sure to prepare your necessary ingredients as much as you can before your trip so you do not have to bring extra tools with you.  Cut onions, chicken, steak, or fruit and place in bags.  Bring a few tablespoons of your favorite seasonings in separate baggies.

Below are five delicious recipes you can try, or use the ideas to spark your own unique meals.  Remember: cooking outdoors is never boring!

1. Campfire Breakfast Burritos

You’ll need a good breakfast to prepare for your day!

  • Get out your pan and place it on your grate.
  • Add a small amount of oil. Cook small chunks of potatoes, onions, and garlic until soft.  Crack one egg per person and cook over minimal heat until you get soft, scrambled eggs.
  • Add your favorite seasonings and green onions to the mix.
  • Add egg mixture to each tortilla.
  • Wrap in foil and put over the grill to warm.
  • If you have it, add some cheese to the tortillas as well.

Foiled Potatoes

This one takes some time but is worth the wait!  If you do not have a way to transport meat on your trip but still want a hearty meal this is for you. 

  • Get out that aluminum foil and load it up!
  • Add potatoes which are sliced or cut into chunks.
  • Throw in diced onions and green or red peppers.
  • Add any seasonings you see fit – salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika.
  • Place another large piece of aluminum foil on top. Make a nice “packet” for the vegetables to roast in. 
  • Grill about 35-45 minutes.
  • Again – cheese makes everything better! Add towards the end, reseal, and cook another 5 minutes to melt.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be used as a delicious side dish to go with other meals.

  • Prepare your roasting packet.
  • Crimini and portabella mushrooms work perfectly.
  • What would make this roasting process even more delicious?
    • a couple of tablespoons butter
    • garlic cloves
    • fresh rosemary
    • shallots
    • red wine – one little travel-sized wine should do it. (Or maybe you hike with a full bottle of wine? No judgement here.)
  • These should only take 10-15 minutes and will be melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Steak, Chicken, or Shrimp Kabobs

Carrying a little extra weight to ensure you can pack fresh meat is well worth it.  Don’t forget the skewers!

  • Plan ahead and marinate your steak, chicken, or shrimp for 1-2 days.
  • Mix it up with some vegetables - tomatoes, peppers, or onions perhaps.
  • Metal skewers work great. If using bamboo, remember to soak them in water first!  Brush your grate with oil or butter before laying your skewers on top. 

Brilliant marinades are essential for this meal.  Try these:

Steak – soy sauce, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, your favorite seasonings, and fresh herbs such as parsley or rosemary

Chicken – olive oil, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper

Shrimp – any Cajun spices, butter, and lemon juice

Desserts

You thought I forgot?  I would never!  There is nothing better than relaxing by the campfire with your roasted sweet treat.  Go beyond the s’mores and try something new!

“Banana Boats” appeal to everyone.  Create a recipe all your own! 

  • With the peel still on, cut the banana the long way down the middle.
  • Stuff with your favorite – mini marshmallows, chocolate, crushed graham crackers, peanut butter cup candies, nuts.
  • Wrap in tin foil and set on your grate over the fire for about 10 minutes.

Cinnamon & Sugar Bites

Cinnamon and sugar make everything delectable and they are easy ingredients to pack.  Throw in some biscuit dough and butter and you can guess where I’m going with this easy dessert. 

Use roasters to cook pieces of dough or let the kids find “nature’s roasters” – a long stick - and wrap the dough around it.  Once puffy and slightly brown, dip the biscuits in melted butter and then in the cinnamon and sugar. 

Apples are a Must

Apples work wonderful in your foil packet.  Their juices melt as they roast and create a gooey, sweet dessert.  Try mixing together: apple chunks, rolled oats, brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, and cinnamon. The perfect autumn treat!  You could even core a whole apple and stuff these ingredients inside.  Place in a pan and cover with tin foil for about 20 minutes for a baked caramel apple. 

I know you cannot wait to pack up and hit the trail.  Start a fire and get cooking!  Being away from your kitchen does not mean boring food.  The adventurous aspect of camping and eating outdoors means using what you have to make something great.  On a recent outdoor adventure, my family and I were able to pick apples from a tree and use the chocolate and marshmallows we had to create a spontaneous dessert.  Creativity and making the most of what you have is what nature is all about!