What are your quick go-to recipes for Breakfast and/or Dinner?

11:59 p.m. on December 19, 2017 (EST)
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I've been doing a ton of car camping recently when I go on fly fishing adventures with the boys, and its almost impossible for us to get a successful dinner or breakfast because of poor planning. We have all the essentials for cooking a good meal (cast iron pots/pans, seasoning, plenty of water, plates, cooler, etc) but cannot think of something easy but good. With breakfast, we usually end up eating sausages on bread or spam. And for breakfast, it's usually some meat and cliff bars.

So to end my rant I would like to ask what you all use for go to camp recipes, preferably nothing too extravagant.  I'm usually willing to spend 30 minutes to an hour prepping. Even if its not a quick recipe I'd still love hear it :^)

12:56 a.m. on December 20, 2017 (EST)
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Breakfast Burritos

Sausage I prefer chorizo,Bell pepper and onion. eggs and salsa on the side,,,You have the cooler and pots and pans this take you like 10 mins to make,,,Tortilas for the bread and some spices while your cooking it...You can add some baked potatoe cut in cubes or diced in it also for some bulk...Man you  have a lot of options


8:09 a.m. on December 20, 2017 (EST)
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When I backpack I usually go with instant oatmeal--hot or cold. Dump a packet of instant coffee into it, and I can be hiking in mere minutes.

But if you've got a frying pan and time...

Fry up bacon. Scramble some eggs and cook them in the bacon grease. Mix in the bacon, green & red peppers, shredded cheese. Wrap it up in a tortilla (or not).

Pancakes. I love pancakes. They are quick and easy. But clean up can be a mess.

Grilled cheese with ham.

8:38 a.m. on December 20, 2017 (EST)
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Jordan Hufford said:

We have all the essentials for cooking a good meal (cast iron pots/pans, seasoning, plenty of water, plates, cooler, etc)

I'm usually willing to spend 30 minutes to an hour prepping.

Then you should be able to make just about anything you can at home. Pancakes and eggs for breakfast, steak or pasta or stir fry with salad and dessert for dinner. The challenge with backcountry meals is when you don't have all the accoutrements and ability to keep food fresh, so you rely on dehydrated.

9:47 a.m. on December 20, 2017 (EST)
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When I have time, pancakes, preferably with blueberries and chopped walnuts.  When I don't have time, a couple of fig bars, a cup of coffee, and hit the trail...

10:17 a.m. on December 20, 2017 (EST)
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in the wilds there are two ways to look at food prep.  One is oatmeal and coffee, maybe some dried fruit. Two is pancakes, eggs and side meat. 

In the winter n desert trips, I have developed a simple food plan that often does not even involve a stove.  Bread, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, raw vegetables. Maybe some condiments like hummus, salsa, dips. 

I like to cook real food some of the time, much like at home.  In the wilds, it is good to streamline the process. I am not opposed to instant mashed potatoes, prepared meat, sald in a bag or lots of other things.  I really like to make a dish like stacked enchiladas in a Dutch Oven once in awhile and use what ever is around. 

12:36 p.m. on December 20, 2017 (EST)
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Jordan when I camp with friends or my brother its a food frenzy lol we plan around the food were going to cook.I also bake bread on those trips using an open fire or fire ring in designated areas...Like I said you have a lot of options to easy to challenging on what you can cook...Backpacking I am simple...Just coffee tea and a bagel or oatmeal or granola...

6:39 p.m. on December 20, 2017 (EST)
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I'll often start with a boil bag item, then add various ingredients to improve the flavor.

Precooked bacon from the grocery store is perfect for the BC.  For breakfast it can be a entrée or ingredient to a scramble or omelet.  BTW- all freeze dried egg entries taste much better when fried in butter on a skillet.  Good ingredients to add to egg dishes: fresh serrano chilies and fresh garlic.  Neither weigh much and both add tons of yummy to food.  Sun dried tomatoes are good and can be used breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Consider rehydrating dried bell pepper and dried onion over night and add to the scramble.  One can also simmer/rehydrate jerky in just enough water to cover, then set over night, to use in a scramble, just like bacon.

When time permits, I love pancakes!  The Betty Crocker brand instant is excellent.  The key to good cakes is avoid over mixing.  Mix until the batter thickens, yet still has many lumps.  You need a real simmering stove with a large burner (e.g. MRS WindPro) set at a med low temp.  Top with butter and syrup - goes really well with a cup of Joe.  You can take this to the next level by rehydrating a handful of blueberries over night in cold water, then add to the cake batter.  You can use the same water rehydrating the jerky - it'll give a "lumberjack" style smoke and meat flavor to the cakes.  You can also add rehydrated blueberries and a bit of sugar to plain instant oatmeal for an adult appropriate sweetness level in lieu of those super sweetened instants.

But if going for an early start, I'll have hot coffee, pop tarts and cold, precooked bacon.    

Consider BLT sandwiches on hikes where weight is not so critical.  Fry the (precooked) bacon until crisp in a little butter.  The bread is then toasted in the residual grease in the fry pan.  Add sliced tomato (or rehydrated sun dried tomato) some lettuce and onion and ground black pepper.  Simple but really good on the trail. 

My lunches generally include a meat protein (jerky, bacon, dried salami or tuna); bread, bagels, or crackers; a good sharp cheese, and includes a fresh orange on shorter hikes.

I usually go with boil bag dinners, but modify the flavor profiles using various spices and additional ingredients.  For example curry dishes can always use MORE cury, garlic and chilies.  Main entrees are augmented with sides, such as instant mashed potatoes with butter added, topped with an instant (also modified) gravy. There are several grocery store dried veggies one can prep up.  Consider discovering packaged sauces one can use to enhance your meals. 

One recent discovery I really like is instant miso soup.  I embellish it with dried seaweed or kelp (available at ethic grocers or well stocked regular grocers).  The saltiness of the kelp and savory flavor of the miso are really suited to slake back country hunger pangs.

Lastly some general tips:

  • When you put together your spice kit, choose items that are paired to what you intend to cook.  For example Taragon spice is not a good item for fish dishes, but may enhance a beef based dish.  Bring salt, but don't add during cooking as most boil bag items have plenty of salt.  Instead let each camper salt his portion to taste.
  • I always take fresh garlic and fresh chilies - they weigh almost nothing but pack tons of flavor.
  • Bring butter and oils.  This is the most dense source of calories you can carry.  I use the butter for cooking and flavor, and find you can add oil to many boil bag items with little change to the entrée.
  • A large burner, simmer stove greatly expands the opportunities for more interesting meals.  Even if you are just boiling a meal, a simmer stove comes in handy.  I'll boil enough water for all items, plus one cup more.  After water has been added to the bags, I'll place the bags in the pot with the remaining water, cover, and let simmer on a candle flame for twenty minutes, stirring on occasion.  This completely eliminates the crusty chunks of un-hydrated bits of food, and keeps food piping hot between servings.  If one doesn't have a simmer stove consider using a candle to achieve the same outcome.

I could go on and on...



7:04 a.m. on December 21, 2017 (EST)
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I am almost exclusively a backpacker so weight conscious to a certain degree but balance that with sometimes wanting something more to get the day going. A regular item is grits with dehydrated jalapeños and onions premixed...5 minutes and it's ready to go. I throw in precooked bacon or turkey bacon bits as it simmers. Another favorite is bannock cooked in aluminum foil to avoid the mess. Depending on my taste that morning I'll throw in some raisins from my snacks or add cheese and bacon bits again for a great warm bread sandwich. Bannock bread takes about 10 minutes to cook but I love the taste of fresh bread when I've been on the trail a few days.

10:38 a.m. on December 21, 2017 (EST)
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Thanks for the reminder to make some bannock.

10:54 a.m. on December 21, 2017 (EST)
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It's this chilly time of year when it goes back on my regular list of breakfast food - nothing like waking up on a frosty morning and having a steaming hot cup of coffee and warm bannock!  I might be biased though:)

3:17 p.m. on December 23, 2017 (EST)
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My favorite dinner camping dish in an all-in-one dish.  Layer in a pan. Sliced potatoes, onion, peppers (red, orange, yollow are best) and polish sausage. dice all into small pieces for fast cooking. Put over a campfire untill all ingredients are tender.

10:51 a.m. on January 9, 2018 (EST)
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Most easy to prepare meals made for at home are just as easy to make  "in the field". I use Lipton and Knorr prepackaged meals that only require hot water to make or Top Ramen mixed with canned soups or chili.

Also I take crackers like Chicken in a Biscuit, wheat crackers, or Ritz crackers, and a pepperoni stick or salami and block cheese and slice the meat and cheese to put on the crackers.

Another Top Ramen favorite of mine is to crush a small snack size bag of Salsa Dorito's and add them to the Ramen after its cooked for a southwestern flavor. Or add crushed Cheese Nips or CheeseIts crackers.

I also carry Egg noodles which cook easily and add salt and pepper, chicken or beef flavor Bouillon for taste and again either crushed crackers or Dorito's for more taste.

And when cooking pasta there is no need to simmer them after the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from the fire and let the noodles set in the hot water for about 10 minutes, covered if possible. The heat from boiled water will last a long enough time to cook the pasta. I save on stove fuel by cooking this way. I can make a 16 oz canister of fuel last for 2-4 weeks. 

And if you added to much water to cook pasta, instead of pouring out the extra water add crackers or bread or something else to absorb the extra water. I learned to do this when winter camping when I had to first melt snow or ice to make cooking water. Very wasteful to pour out the  water that took hours perhaps to melt from snow!

11:52 a.m. on February 13, 2018 (EST)
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Vitually anything that you would make at home, you can prepare when car-camping.  Beat some eggs with a little water or milk, sauté onions and whatever vegetables and/or meat you like, dump the beaten eggs into the pan and cook till done.  Try pan-toasting some bread with a little butter in the frying pan followed by jam or a topping of your choice.  Flour tortillas can be rolled up with bacon, eggs, veggies or whatever.  Cinnamon buns can be baked in a cast iron pan with another one inverted on top of it (you will need a low flame, a few coals on top and a heat diffuser underneath).

You can prep your meals at home, put them into labeled plastic bags, and just assemble them in camp.  Great meals can be had, if you plan ahead.

Have a great time!

12:07 p.m. on February 13, 2018 (EST)
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Quick dinner...hmm?

Make pesto at home, cook some pasta in camp, drain off cooking water, spoon in pesto, stir and eat.  Bring a bag of chopped broccoli, cauliflower and other vegetables to dip in favorite salad dressing...eat as finger food.

Charcoal and a Dutch oven will allow you to slow-cook dinner or bake desert while you sit and relax with your favorite beverage.  If you can do it at home, you can make it in camp.

The hassle of camp cooking is the clean-up after the meal.  Pre-cooking things like bacon or other fatty food allows you to dispose of the grease at  home so that you won't have to deal with greasy pans and hungry bears when you are camping.  

Sorry if I got a bit off-topic.

5:17 p.m. on February 16, 2018 (EST)
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For truck camping I like breakfast tacos, eggs, onioins, peppers, salsa and guacamole if we have it on corn tortillas.  Ham and eggs with toast cannot be beat. I love pancakes with real maple syrup. 

One pot meals are easy with cast iron.  I like meat stew with potatoes, onions, carrots and celery.  Beef, bison, elk, venison or antelope are really good. 

I like to make stacked enchiladas, stacked lasagna, chicken verde, spaghtetti with a salad and garlic bread, steak and potatoes and a salad, polenta with vegetable in marinara sauce, tri-tip tacos, fajitas, burritos, stir fry with some meat and lots of vegetables and rice, pizza, you name it. 

11:09 p.m. on February 17, 2018 (EST)
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PPINE: I love your car camping menu.  I also like to add to the mix: grilled steak or BBQ ribs, and Peruvian style roasted chicken.  Cook these items over a bed of coals at the appropriate heat, meanwhile burning freshly introduced wood on the other side of the fire pit.  I try to intentionally make the fresh wood smoke, and cover the meats with a sheet of foil to concentrate the smoke flavor.


11:32 p.m. on February 17, 2018 (EST)
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Ed how do you roast and season Peruvian chicken? That sounds really good to add to my camping menu

10:22 a.m. on February 18, 2018 (EST)
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Yeah Ed tell us more about Peruvian style chicken.  

In the West, most of the wood smoke does not taste that good. 

5:17 a.m. on February 20, 2018 (EST)
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Peruvian roasted foul:

To cook about five pounds of Peruvian style roasted chicken, two or three ducks or one 12- 15 pound turkey:

Before your trip prepare the marinade.  You can freeze it if you desire,  but it will keep just fine for several days unrefrigerated due to the vinegar.  The marinade is made from, four-six clubs of garlic, a very big handful of Aji Amarillos or Rocotos (yellow and red Peruvian chilis), two tblsp of smoked paprika, 2 tbsp. ground black pepper and 2tsp. salt.  Throw these items in a blender and chop.  Squeeze in the juice of one lime.  Set the blender to puree speed and slowly add to the mix a 3:1 ratio mix of vinegar and canola or olive oil until  the marinade is about the consistency of syrup.

Pour the marinade into a plastic bag containing chicken parts - or place whole foul in a pan, baste, then cover - and let set one or two hours.  Remove the foul from the marinade and reserve the marinade for basting the roasting meat.

Set up a fire pit as you normally would for roasting chicken.  Use well seasoned wood if you are collecting your wood from the land.  Do not use manzanita or creosote as they will impart bitter flavor notes.  If you are using wood from a commercial source try to obtain oak, hickory or mesquite.  In any case juniper or pine will suffice as long as they are not pitchy.  Use only one side of the pit to cook and use only coals under the meat.  You can refresh the fire by placing fresh wood on the other side of the pit to generate more coals as time passes, but go sparingly as you don't want the flames scorching your meat.  Place the meat over the cooking coals and loosely cover with a sheet of foil.  The foil will trap the smoke around the meat, intensifying the flavor.  Baste as frequently as you desire, keeping in mind a crispy skin and juicy meat is a balance of between heat and the right amount of basting.  I try to set things up so it takes about 45 - 60 minutes for my chicken to roast. 

Peruvian chicken tastes best when accompanied by that ubiquitous table salsa in a bottle they call Salsa Aji.  My wife tells me I cannot share her recipe for salsa aji, but you can try sleuthing for it on the web.



6:31 a.m. on February 20, 2018 (EST)
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Reading that Ed I'm ready to skip breakfast and go straight to dinner. We used to eat at a Peruvian restaurant near our last home, but haven't found one in our new town. Roasted chicken was one of my favorites. Will definitely be searching one out now if possible.

10:43 a.m. on February 20, 2018 (EST)
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Ed thanks for the great recipe. Peruvians have some odd ways of cooking. I like marinated beef heart a lot with a Pisco sour. 

Over the years I have tried cooking with many different types of wood. As a forester I am sensitive to the differences.  Every time I have used juniper or pine it has flavored the meat in a terrible practically inedible way.  Cottonwood or willow is okay but not that great. In the PNW red alder is great for everything. Mostly I cook in cast iron, and only rarely over prepared charcoal or wood chips from commercial sources. I like the fruit woods for chicken. 

10:50 a.m. on February 20, 2018 (EST)
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Ed thanks..I am going to give this a shot this weekend on the Grill with apple chips..I want to get the marinade right on the bird...I found this peppers on amazon in a brine.I should have enough with the 2 jars I ordered and Also yeah I sleuthed for the salsa..Sure its not as good as your wifes but I never had this before..NO international markets near me..SO had to go with the bottles of peppers..

12:00 p.m. on February 20, 2018 (EST)
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I'm with you on the fruit woods Ppine - apple or cherry if available for me. I'll go with the classic oak or hickory since below treeline camps commonly have these available in the southeast.  Totally agree about juniper and pine - fine for my woodburning stove to boil something, but on the rare instance I grill any more in camp I would avoid them.  I like maple on less powerfully flavored meats - chicken and fish, but on stronger flavors (game and steak) its difficult to detect the flavor.

12:43 a.m. on February 21, 2018 (EST)
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Not sure what I do differently than you folks but everyone who has tried my fire pit roasting liked it, regardless the wood used frequently is a conifer.  As for the Peruvian chilies, they are available on-line if you can't find them locally.  The frozen ones are best, and I prefer the dried peppers over the canned ones.


6:08 a.m. on February 21, 2018 (EST)
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Ed just ordered the dried chillies also..Cant find the frozen using amazon for this...I am using apple cause I live near orchards.But I have hickory and mesquite and oak is what I have to heat my house...I am just looking forward to trying this...My brother had me forward the recipe to him so he could try it...

10:13 a.m. on February 21, 2018 (EST)
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At a far simpler level than Ed's gourmet offering, I can heartily endorse two of Andrew Skurka's recipes:

Thai Peanut Noodles. I make the sauce in 10x batches then freeze in 1 or 2 serving portions. When cooking for two I pour off some of the Ramen water into the sauce and stir to get it to mix better. The optional scallions are a big plus, and I like about 2x the recommended Sriracha. I like both peanuts and raisins for crunch and chewiness, respectively. No reason not to throw in some fresh or rehydrated veggies if you want to get fancy.

Beans and rice with Fritos and cheese: I sometimes used cooked-dried black beans instead of refry flakes, and embellish with fd corn, both of which extend the rehydration time to where it may need reheating. Sun-dried tomatoes are another good extra.

Neither meal is pretty and may not look like much food in the bowl, but they sure fill you up. The links are to the recipe's on Skurka's web site and so freely available, but they can also be found in his Backpacking Food book, which I reviewed a while back. They are well-calibrated to deliver needed calories at low weight, volume (think bear can) and cost; both are a fraction of the cost of fd meals. They are designed as cook-in-the-bowl meals, but I often prepare them in a pot. We have tried some of the other recipes in the book, but Skurka allows as how these two are standouts, and I agree.

3:23 p.m. on February 21, 2018 (EST)
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great thread....


I second the Skurka beans and rice, been doing that for about a year now and also found the portion as listed to be a bit much in one sitting (which was really surprising). 

11:01 p.m. on April 9, 2018 (EDT)
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A lot of good recipes so far.  Since you have some cast iron, I'll add a few that we have done with the scouts and they loved it.

First is a stew - brown some ground meat, add onions, carrots, mushrooms, cubed potatoes, peppers, and as many cans of beans as you like.  Type of beans does not  matter - black, navy, pinto, garbanzo, kidney all work fine.  Simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, season to taste, add some grated cheese of your choice over it when you put some in your bowl.  Mix in frito chips if you want to add some crunch and flavor.  For seasoning you can use plain old salt and pepper, or any spice mixture that strikes your fancy.

One of the scouts' favorite breakfasts requires a dutch oven.  Brown some bulk ground sausage with onions, then mix in some hash browns, cover, and cook until the hash browns are done.  Scramble some eggs, pour over the top, cover again until the eggs are cooked.  Then sprinkle grated cheese over it all, cover until the cheese is melted.  Serve with salsa.  When we do this with a 14" dutch oven, we use about 2lb sausage, a couple packages of hash browns, a dozen eggs, and at least a pound of grated cheddar.  That makes enough for a good number of people.

A fun dessert that the scouts love is scones.  At home I make my own scone dough, but for camping I pick up a bag of frozen bread dough.  By the time we get to camp and get set up, the dough is thawed and has started to rise.  Tear off chunks of the rising dough and fry in deep oil until golden brown (when one side is golden, turn over to cook the other side).  Top with your choice of sweetening agent.  I have used powdered sugar, honey and jam for this, but you could also use applesauce with or without powdered sugar.  Or you can make use of the hollow center that often forms when you fry scones by making an opening and filling with whipped cream.

5:24 p.m. on April 18, 2018 (EDT)
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Breakfast Burritos are a favorite when we camp, but I have tried a Ham and egg roll up. Take your sliced deli ham and stuff with scrambled eggs and cheese and anything else you may like. Just roll the ham just like a flour shell and roast on an open fire to warms and melt the cheese. These can be made ahead and frozen to take anywhere you go. We love the convenience.

October 23, 2019
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