Camp dinners: Simple by design

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When my family goes camping, we like to eat well. No surplus MREs from the dollar store for us! Eating well does not mean dishes with expansive ingredient lists and multi-pot preparation. It does mean good, simple ingredients and careful preparation, both before the trip gets underway and when it's actually mealtime.


Cooking well and efficiently while camping means a well-fed family

Eating this way, with this level of preparedness, is a good lesson in making do with and making the best of a situation. Invariably we forget a seasoning or some other small element. Rarely does it seriously impact the meal. Generally, being able to cook well and efficiently is a great skill to hone. When we camp, we prepare as much as we can in advance, careful about what might need to be kept chilled and thus take up precious cooler space. For fresh vegetables and fruits, we pick up what we can (again, following a careful list) as close to the camping site as possible. What is available and in-season will drive sides and salads. For condiments, spices and such, each must be used for at least two meals. This way we waste less space. Our dinners for our nights in camp are as follows:

Spam fried rice Don't knock it until you have tried it! This is the one instance in which I make a meal element in advance. The cold rice keeps fine in the cooler for a couple of days. Small tin of low-sodium Spam 2 to 3 c cooked rice, white or brown 1 can of mixed vegetables, drained 2 eggs, beaten Soy sauce Canola oil In your frying pan, heat a teaspoon or so of oil. Fry the Spam until it starts to caramelize around the edges slightly. Add the veggies and saute a couple minutes more, until they are heated through. Remove the Spam and veggie mix from the pan. Add the eggs and scramble. Remove the eggs from the pan. Add a touch more oil and add the rice. Fry until it's heated through, adding some soy sauce along the way. Add the veggies and Spam back in and combine well. Serve with additional soy sauce. Quick camp burritos Ground beef Taco seasoning 1 (15- to 16-ounce) can refried beans Salsa Shredded cheddar cheese Tortillas Cook the ground beef with the taco seasoning according to package instructions. Add in the refried beans and heat through. Place the beef-bean mixture in a tortilla, add salsa and cheese and roll up.

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