Camping may not evoke romantic notions, but cooking on an open fire can. Just picture your friends and family gathered around the fire relaxing, having a drink, telling stories, and enjoying each other’s company. Not to mention the sights, smells, and sounds of the crackling fire and outdoors. Those are truly how memories are made. Here are some tips to help you embrace the romance of cooking over a campfire.
When I think camping, my mind immediately goes to food. Truth is I don’t “camp.” Not like the whole pack it up, pitch a tent, and camp in the great outdoors, NO THANK YOU! The idea of camping I love, but unless I have a glammed out cabin, I prefer hotels.
But, my husband and twins are like, “Hey, let’s take as little as possible, stick it in the car, and go camping.”
They tend to forget about how they are going to eat, though. And that’s where I come in. The food aspect is what I do like about camping and what many people associate with camping – cooking on an open fire.
What’s better than food cooked the way it should be to draw out the real flavors. But, it is a process to cook on an open camp fire and the cooking becomes an event. And, anyone who knows me, knows I love an event. You have to plan the meals, go shopping, prep the food, pack everything you will need, start the fire, tend the fire, and then actually cook. Of course, what I much prefer is the cooking and I send the family to do the shopping.
Open fire cooking is actually a pretty romantic idea. The friends and family gather around the fire relaxing, reflecting on the day, having a drinking, and enjoying each other’s company. Not to mention enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds. Those are truly the things memories are made of. So, if you’re like me and prefer the idea of camping to the actual activity, I’m here to help.
How to Keep the Romance in Campfire Cooking
1. Know your comfort level. If you are like me and not a tent camper, don’t do it. The romance will die and you will not want to even do what you love to do.
2. Make it easy. Plan ahead the meals you want to cook and those you will eat in a cute little nearby town or at the camp ground restaurant. Make a list and make sure you bring everything you need.
3. Make it delicious. Leave the store bought at home and come up with creative and healthy menus. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals to make for the family. I cook my bacon first then move it to the side of the iron skillet and cook the eggs in the bacon grease. I also love to make corn bread, foil muffins, or biscuits with my breakfast.
4. Keep it simple. Use real food that is fresh and flavorful already, so you don’t need a bunch of seasoning. When bringing steaks, use wet age, so that they are moist and maintain their flavor. The enzymes in the wet aging process tenderize the meat and you can bring them frozen and defrost there. Pre-mix your seasonings at home and bring with you in re-useable containers.
5. Shake it up. Try a new recipe or try preparing a family favorite in a new way. I use a lot of my regular recipes for baking and bake in foil. At home you may use olive oil, but stick with butter when camping. It adds flavor, especially on veggies and potatoes, making them pop.
Easy Campfire Recipe
Even if you are not a camper like me, get comfortable and know it means spending time with the family. Stay in a cabin or nearby hotel while the family is in a tent or RV – it’s OK. Just don’t miss out on the romance of cooking over an open fire.
Want to learn more about cooking on an open fire? Follow some of the TravelingMoms this weekend when they go camping. They will be making the cooking easy with Omaha Steaks. And, for additional tips on what to pack, check out Camping 101: What to Pack for a Camping Trip.
After talking all about cooking, I couldn’t leave you without a recipe. It is summer, which means my family is fruit crisp happy! Or sick of fruit crisp…Either way, it is one of my favorite “go to” camping desserts. I prefer to make these in individual foil packets for easy serving and clean up, but if you want, you can also cook in a cast iron skillet over the fire. Either way, right when your dinner comes off the fire, add the crisp so they will be ready shortly after dinner.
Here’s the recipe to make 6 servings. If you make extras, they can be stored in a cooler and served with breakfast alone or with a little yogurt.
Fruit Crisp Recipe
- 6 pieces of foil about 10-12 inches long rubbed with butter in the middle
- 4 cups fruit tossed in 2 tbsp of honey or sugar- you can precut at home and transport in reuseable container
- Crisp mixture- I always mix the dry ingredients at home and transport in a plastic bag
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup each brown sugar and sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 stick of butter
- Place equal amounts of fruit in the middle of each foil sheet or place all in iron skillet.
- Place the stick of butter in with the crisp mixture, zip up the bag and have one of the kids mush on the bag, until the butter is all broken up and combined with the dry ingredients. It ill be crumble like.
- Place equal amounts of crumble on each foil packet on top of the fruit or evenly over the fruit in iron skillet.
- Make a pouch out of each of the packets and squish closed.
- Place on grill over the fire and let cook 40-45 minutes until fruit is bubbly.
- If you want to get fancy- pour heavy cream into a cold ball jar and add a little sugar and let the kids shake it up until it is thick like whipped cream and serve over the crisp.