Successfully making easy meals for camping requires efficiency, innovative thinking and smart packing; use these ten camping tips for easy meals and enjoy the delicious results while being safe and sanitary. There's nothing worse than being unprepared in the wild. Packing a few simple useful cooking and camping materials, ingredients and condiments makes easy meals in the great outdoors a snap. Here are ten excellent camping tips for easy meals.
- Pack Aluminum Foil. Aluminum foil makes the camp cook's life a dream. Wrap food in aluminum foil with a few spices and a meal is born. Aluminum foil makes all food easy to cook because it can be placed directly in the coals, above the flame on a rack or set nearby to keep it warm. Create make-shift pots and pans in a pinch by shaping aluminum foil to suit the job.
- Pack basic utensils & pans. Designate camping dishes. Set aside several old pots and pans, plastic (melamine) plates, cups, a cutting board and knife, forks, spoons and knives. Bring them in a storage bin that can double as a dish-washing station or air-tight storage unit. Think through what you use cooking at home, and bring the modest equivalent. Having the correct utensils for cooking and serving means easy camping meals.
- Season and cook with soy sauce, garlic and oil. Soy sauce, rather than salt, adds moisture to over-the-fire or on-the-coal cooking. Adding moisture steams food which expedites the cooking process and imparts flavor throughout the ingredients.
- Cook potatoes and vegetables. Cut potatoes, carrots, peppers, onions, broccoli, and other favorite vegetables into equal sized pieces, around one inch in size. Make bowl shaped foil packages and add potatoes and veggies, along with spices. Cover and enclose everything into three to four layers of foil. This technique protects food and enables multiple cooking zones. If there is plenty of time, place packets on rack over coals, turning periodically to slow-cook. In a rush, place packets directly into coals, turning often to prevent scalding or burning. Potatoes make the meal filling while the vegetables pack it with vitamins, both of which a camper requires.
- Use Paper Towels for cooking and cleaning. Don't waste them, but use paper towels for wiping down pots, pans and utensils while cooking. Keep camp surfaces clean and organized. Easy camping meals go hand in hand with easy clean-up.
- Prepare fire and gather plenty of wood in advance. A fire made ahead of time offers a wider range of temperatures to control cooking. Plenty of firewood on hand ensures easy meal preparation with no interruptions. Don't wait until dark to start the fire or gather the wood to keep the fire going.
- Keep water nearby. Water keeps surfaces clean, controls fire and helps in all easy camping meal preparation and clean-up. Drink plenty of water while cooking, as working over a hot fire causes dehydration.
- Provide and consume beer. Drink and serve a few cold ones to keep hungry campers at bay. Remember, camping is supposed to be fun. Beer can also be referred to as the "fire extinguisher." Pace consumption of beer or any alcohol, remembering safety when cooking over hot coals and fire.
- Spread out and use trash bags. Cover the picnic table with a large garbage bag to make clean-up as easy as the meal itself. Keep two garbage bags ready to discard recycling and trash accordingly. Garbage bags can also keep campers dry in the rain. Be sure to remove all trash from camp site as required locally or by The National Park Service.
- Have old towels on hand. Old towels come in handy. Dry clean dishes or wrap dirty dishes in them. Use them to protect hands from hot surfaces.
Don't forget to drink a few beers and enjoy the wilderness, beach or where ever you choose to pitch a tent, build a fire and cook up a meal in the great outdoors!