Food and Menu Ideas for Campouts - camping food need not be boring!


The Basics can be found in your Scout Book and in the Cooking Merit Badge pamphlet. There are many recipes and cooking methods covered in other websites; these are just some simple ideas to start with.
  Food Safety: Always wash your hands and utensils with soap and water before handling food or eating it.
Food Allergies need to be considered when choosing meal ideas. Peanut (and other nut) allergies, shellfish allergies (clams, shrimp, lobster, crab) and gluten allergies should be assessed and planned around. Remember that the camper's favorite snack, gorp, always contains nuts, so make your own nut-free version or seek alternatives.
Zip-Lock bags of a good quality name brand (you don't want cheap ones breaking open in your pack) in quart size and larger freezer bag size are the best for storage of ingredients. Also bring a minimum of 4 sturdy plastic shopping bags (pre-checked for holes) and use one doubled bag for storing the ingredients and a second doubled bag to carry-out any trash. This will help insure your pack from any mishaps.
Aluminum foil is lightweight, convenient for cooking and/or pan/dish covers, takes no room to pack, and no cleanup needed. Get the heavy-duty foil, not the cheap stuff. Use a double layer to prevent punctures and burn-through.
Cookware: You'll need your messkit pot to boil water, a plastic cup or mug for hot drinks, and the little skillet for some recipes. Cook on mature coals, not flames, so you don't burn your food.
Water is required for most recipes (in addition to your hydration needs), so make sure you carry plenty, or plan time to safely filter fair amounts from local resources.
Save those little packets of ketchup, mustard, mayo, soy sauce, hot sauce, pepper, and sugar, etc. from your restaurant visits. They take up little room, and greatly enhance your trail meal. You can also make little aluminum foil packets of your favorite dry spices (various salts, peppers, etc.) as they mash flat and take almost no space.
Remember: pack in, pack out, so forget the cans and jars. Repackage bulky foods in serving-size into ziplocks to minimize carry weight both ways. Put your waste in a used ziplock, roll the air out and pack it out in the plastic shopping bag mentioned above.
Breakfast    for when you're tired of instant oatmeal
  Eggs and bacon or sausage stuffed in a pita pocket. Ahead of time at home, scramble a couple of eggs (skillet or microwave), then break up some ready-cooked bacon or precooked breakfast sausage and stuff them together into a pita pocket. Consider adding some thin-sliced homefries mixed in and/or a slice of cheese. Wrap your stuffed pita in a double layer of tinfoil, roll and seal the seams, place in a ziplock and freeze. Reheat in the foil over mature coals or, if you can't wait for the flames to die down, use your mess skillet with the cover dish and move it around. The hot breakfast can warm your hands while you're eating it, and no dishes to clean up afterward. You could also pre-make a couple of scout mcmuffins, and wrap them individually in doubled foil for reheating.
Pancakes require a bit more work and cleanup, but are awesome. bring the powdered mix in a ziplock, add the right amount of water to the bag, seal it and squish it to mix it in the bag. Cut one corner off to easily dispense the mix into your buttered skillet. (Pack a stick of frozen butter in a ziplock and some syrup in another.) After you flip them once you can place some strips of precooked bacon around the edges of the skillet while the pancake finishes (you only have to reheat the bacon, so no mess or grease fire.)
  Many meats are available in forms that don't require refrigeration. Fresh meat can be preserved in vinegar-based marinades and frozen before a weekend hike.
Bacon: Yes Please! Get the precooked kind like Sugardale, and repackage what you need into ziplocks, rolling out the air. It will keep for a weekend, it only requires warming so it's ready in less than a minute, and you can eat it with your eggs or pancakes or cut up into another recipe.
Sausage: Precooked breakfast sausage can be warmed up for breakfast, or sliced up into a lunch/dinner recipe.
Tuna comes in slim foil packets, as does salmon. Keeps without refrigeration and can be used with a varity of rice and pasta "just add tuna" packaged meals.
Chicken: This also comes in foil packs, or you can buy it precooked in a can, squeeze all the water out, and put it in a ziplock. Add a little marinade (perhaps Caribbean Jerk or lemon pepper) and squeeze all the air out before zipping.
Beef Jerky can be a snack, or broken up into small pieces and rehydrated in another recipe that uses water.
Steak: Why deprive yourself after a long hike? Buy some fresh sirlion tips a couple days before, put in a ziplock, splash generously with balsamic vinegar and your favorite BBQ sauce, squeeze out all the air and mush the bag to mix everything thoroughly. Let sit in fridge for several hours before freezing. For cold weather, forget the freezing. Cook in foil, fry in a pan or roast on a forked stick.
Ground burger: Precook some extra-lean fresh-ground beef in a skillet with a dribble of apple cider or balsamic vinegar and spices, or even taco mix. Drain completely and package in a ziplock for a recipe, or set aside for a tin-foil dinner (see below).
Eggs: Dehydrated scrambled eggs for breakfast, powered eggs for recipes. Rehydrate in a pot or ziplock bag.
Snacks and drinks
  You'll need the extra energy between meals. Besides the usual powerbars, also consider: Pre-sliced sharp chedder in a ziplock. Make your own dried fruit mix from the bins at the grocery store. Beef jerky, apples, oranges, pears, and other fruit that can take a little abuse in your pack, bread sticks, etc. Sandwiches sound good in theory, but are usually unrecognizable by mid-day, unless you make a tight tortilla wrap or pita pocket and roll it snug in a ziplock.
Hot drinks are great for breakfast and cold days. Bring packets of hot chocolate, teabags, instant coffee packets, hot cider mix or instant soup packets. Just add hot water.
Tin foil dinners
  The Classic: Use a minimum of a double layer of foil to help prevent punctures and burn-through. Put a couple pats of butter in the middle. Thin slice (1/8"-1/4" thick max) washed potatoes (I use the little three-colored ones), thin slice or shave some fresh carrots, layer some of that ground beef discussed above, a little finely chopped onion, top with another pat of butter, and spice with ground pepper, celery salt, garlic salt, soy sauce, ketchup, etc as you like it. Carefully fold and pinch the first foil layer seams tight, making it fairly flat, then separately fold the second foil seams tight. (This will help prevent flare-ups from the butter or oil leaking into the fire.) Pack in ziplocks and flatten for packing. At dinner, remove the foil pouch from the bag and place on mature coals, not flaming coals, or the food will burn before it can cook. Rotate the packet about halfway through cooking to avoid hot spots.
Try Something Different. Substitute diced ham or chicken with some pre-cooked bacon layered on it for the added fat to help it cook and keep it moist. Try thin-sliced baby zucchini and summer squash with chopped ham (and some bacon), or marinated steak chunks with sliced taters and some baked beans. Mix up your own ideas!
Simple 1-pot dinners
  Can't get easier than packaged "just add chicken or tuna or hambruger" pasta mixes, some hot water and a foil package of tuna, chicken, or some pre-cooked ground beef described above.
Get fancy and make chicken alfredo (pasta, alfredo sauce, diced chicken, chopped brocolli florets, ground pepper).
Dehydrated meals have gotten pretty tasty. Most just have you add hot water to the pouch, mix it up and let it set for a few minutes. Eat it right out of the pouch and no dishes to clean.
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