One thing I've discovered I like many of the same foods camping that I like at home. I take foods easy to handle, fast to prepare, and which travel well. For example, French Bread and Bagels travel much better than soft white bread. And, pre-cooked Breakfast sausages or bacon are much easier to handle than raw bacon/sausage. (I like the Jimmy Dean's pre-cooked sausages.) You can pre-cook your ground beef for faster tacos or chili, and you don't have to worry about dealing with the raw meat. Hot Dogs are fast and easy. You can quickly reheat leftover thin crust pizza over low heat in a covered fry pan until cheese melts (grilled cheese, or Cowboy Cornbread too - a few minutes on each side ); so cook ahead and bring your leftovers if you're lazy! Packages of dried Instant Red Beans and rice, pasta are easy. Generally I bring lots of Protein foods and bread, rice, and pasta, etc
....and Don't forget the HOT sauce!
Good things in small packages - you can make a decent pasta sauce with water, spices and a 6 oz can of tomato paste. Also works for Chili. Tortillas and Pita Bread pack very compact. So do Pop-Tarts (pack so they can't be smashed.) Pre-measuring spices in plastic bags saves bringing them all. Finally, leave the boxes at home bring only contents and instructions.
If you bring Canned foods open the top and bottom and smash to pack out easier. Some canned foods like canned chicken chunks or red beans are extremely useful. Use instant rice (Uncle Ben's is good) so you boil water add the rice and you're ready in 5 minutes. Corn Meal, salt and pepper, and Corn Oil enable a quick fish fry. Donuts are nice for the car ride there. I bring my thermos along so early morning Coffee can go in the boat if needed.
Moorning rush - If you would like to spend more time fishing than cooking in the morning, consider pre-cooking some banana/corn muffins, or Cowboy Cornbread before leaving home. Or just bring along some bagels with cream cheese. Then you can get up and make a quick pot of coffee, fill your thermos, grab some breakfast and head out.
Stove - I love my MSR Isobutane stove. Ultra-light, convenient packs very small. The fuel is in shaving cream sized, sealed lightweight cans. Well worth the $55.00 investment. Stoves are nice if you need to simmer, or don't like burned food. For fast Coffee from your aluminum/stainless percolator, it's awesome. Just like cooking at home...
If you were looking for recipes, here's a few.
while all of these aren't specific to camping, most could be used with a little simplification/modification...
Biscuits and Sausage gravy....
let's assume you have Bisquick (rolled and cut into circles with a glass) or Hungry Jack Buttermilk Biscuits made per package directions for the biscuits....
to make the gravy it's quite easy...Brown 1/2 package Breakfast Sausage (Regular or Sage)
chop w spatula while browning so it's crumbled....* note to change proportions it works out about 1 Tbsp flour and enough sausage to make a small patty for each serving..
if there more than a few tablespoons grease you could drain some of it...or if you want it healthier drain all of the grease as much as you can and add a tablespoon of canola oil....after sausage is cooked add 4-5 tablespoons flour to meat in pan and stir into sausage; cover while cooking over -low- heat it should lightly
simmer...if it appears dry... that's ok just keep heat low... .. after 3-4 minutes you can add Salt and black Pepper to taste (i like fresh ground pepper) I taste while i'm cooking... Add some Milk and mash sausage down keep heat low so it simmers...cover this a few minutes... milk is absorbed by the flour and it thickens...then just keep adding milk a little at a time while stirring a lot (barely simmer 5-7 minutes..) until it's the right consistency... while it's really hot it appears just thinner than it will be when served
2 boxes jiffy corn muffin mix; 1 can cream style corn; 3 eggs; 1 Cup milk
brown 1 lb ground beef, drain; combine muffin mix, corn, eggs and milk..
(breakfast sausage works too…or even canned chili)
mix cooked meat with grated cheddar cheese (1 cup ?); hot pepper (to taste) and diced onion.
pour half of batter into pan then sprinkle with meat and cheese mixture;
top with the remaining batter; bake at 350 deg. in preheated oven until done… (about 40 min)
Famous Skillet Breakfast
dice up some potatoes into small pieces, then brown evenly in a small non-stick fry pan using 2 tablespoons of corn oil over medium heat .
Drain excess oil, and return to Low heat. Add some diced onions, salt and pepper, and maybe some green peppers. cook a few minutes until onions are just soft. Thrown in some browned breakfast sausage, or warm brown and serve sausage links cut into pieces.
Add 2 scrambled eggs, and top with shredded cheese. Lower heat to "simmer" level; cover.
Dish is done when eggs are cooked all the way through and cheese is melted. This is some great stuff, especially when topped with a few drops of hot sauce.
Southern Fried Catfish
Salt and pepper fillets, roll in corn meal, fry in HOT (375 deg) Corn Oil until browned, turn, then brown other side. (Garlic salt works too, and I like some Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce on mine) I soak the fillets quickly in milk or saltwater after cleaning.
Pan Fried Catfish with Green Onions
Ingredients 4-5 bacon slices; Two nice fillets; 2-3 sliced green Onions...optional ingredients- finely diced potatoes, scrambled Eggs
Cook bacon in large iron skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from skillet. (you may add a little corn oil/margarine, about 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp)
Season fillets with salt, pepper, garlic powder and maybe some cayenne pepper.
Add fish to skillet (and potatoes) cover and Cook several minutes over medium heat, stirring potatoes occaisionally. Turn fish over, and add green onions. Cook fish several more minutes on other side (stirring potatoes/green onions)
Transfer fish and onions (and potatoes) to 2 plates. Pour off most of drippings from skillet; add a dash lemon juice (or a little butter); quickly heat then pour over fillets. Top with crumbled bacon..mmmm good!
next, wipe skillet clean. Melt 1 1/2 Tbsp butter/margarine (or add oil) then quickly scramble Eggs and serve
(for neatness at home, fish can be cooked first, then wipe skillet and cook potatoes (several minutes), add onions (few minutes), and egg (last 2 minutes)
this is an amalgamation of a pair of classic trout recipes
Red Beans and Rice
1 Can Red Beans well drained; 1/2 med onion diced
2 green onions 1 clove garlic (or 1/8 tsp garlic powder)
2 Tbsp Parsley 1 rib celery
1/6 cup Ketchup 1 cup water
1/2 tsp Hot Sauce 1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp Thyme 1/2 lb smoked sausage cooked and cut up
a few dashes Cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot..)
saute onions and garlic with sausage until onions just tender… add remaining ingredients except rice and simmer 30 min to 1 hour
this is the gravy mix to serve over 3-4 servings of cooked rice…(instant rice saves time when camping)
you can make vegetarian Red Beans and rice without the sausage and it's still great ! (don't sweat it if you don't have all the vegetables. Whatever you've got works, if you have the beans, spices, and ketchup.)
if you make cooked rice per directions, the last 10 minutes add some dried instant soup base (2 tbsp)and some diced (or dried) onions 1/4 cup raw onions/2 tbsp dried onions and a pinch Oregano (make about 4 servings of rice...) then add a handful of diced tomatoes 5 minutes before serving. if you're using Instant Uncle Ben's rice, add flavors to water at start, and add tomates and rice then stir and cover 5 minutes
goes good with
Tortillas with Chicken, Beef, or bean Filling
add some instant soup base (1 tbsp) to 1 Lb of cooked beef or chicken along with a little diced onion, Cilantro, a dash oregano and 1 tsp Chilli powder...simmer a few minutes until onion is soft (it's chicken soup base for chicken taco filling and beef soup base for beef tacos)
fill some soft Tortillas with this, or put in skillet on totilla then cover with cheese to make Quesedillas. Fast and Simple, and great with a cold brew. Don't forget the hot sauce !
1 Ripe Avacado (mashed up); 1/8 cup Diced Tomatoes (drained..); 1 Tbsp Finely diced Onion
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder; 1/4 tsp dried Oregano ; 1 Tbsp white Vinegar ; 1 Tbsp diced Green Chiles
Salt to Taste (around 1/4 tsp) ; Dash Ground Black Pepper
To keep nice in refrigerator Store with Plastic Wrap on Surface of guacamole to keep air from turning Avacado brown Keeps about 24 hours, best after a few hours…
Mexican Resturant Salsa
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes 1/8 tsp oregano 1 thick onion slice 1 Tbsp vinegar 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper 1/4 tsp Salt fresh cilantro about 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp … (optional)
cook onion slice on both sides in dry skillet over low heat just until onion is cooked and turns translucent…blanch pepper in boiling water about 1 minute; toss cilantro in last 20 seconds… put pepper in ice water to cool and stop cooking..tear of cilantro stems, dice pepper and onion ( I remove most of pepper seeds and center "spine")
Drain tomatoes, put in blender and add all remaining ingredients whirl quickly until tomato broken up
(a small pepper will make this fairly hot but it wont kill anyone… for some burned lips use all of a large one or 2 small ones ..
keeps up to a week in refrigerator
Tip for handling Hot Peppers … freeze these in sandwhich bags for
Several months - whole just like you bought them.
They really wont need to be pre-cooked if they were frozen first.
Easy Italian Beef
3 to 4 Lb Beef roast ; Put about 2 Quarts Water into Stock Pot (enough to cover roast later)
To Water Add - 3-4 Garlic Cloves (cut in halves) ; 1/2 Med Onion; 1 Tsp Salt; 1/2 Tsp Oregano; some Celery Seed ; Pepper (to Taste)
Bring to Boil, add Roast cook at moderate boil 2-3 Hours until Med rare…Remove Roast; Trim Fat; Cool, then Thinly Slice across Grain (for fine slices refrigerate 12 hours then slice)
Save 5 Cups of the Water; dump out the rest of the stuff ; Return saved Water to Stock Pot, then Add
1/8 Tsp Garlic powder 1/2 Tsp Oregano 1/4 Tsp Basil 1/4 Tsp Marjoram 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste 2 Tsp instant Beef Soup Base (or 1 1/2 Bouillion cubes) 1 Tsp instant Chicken Soup Base (or 1/2 bouillion cube) dash Crushed red pepper 1 Bay Leaf dash of Onion Salt
Add Sliced Beef simmer about 1 hour…Optional : add 2 roughly cut up Green Peppers last 20 minutes if desired (I would sort these out at serving so they don't turn to mush later on )
serve on nice italian rolls or french bread can top with slices of mozarella hot giardinera or pepperoncini on the side This could be adjusted for a crock pot by cooking beef about 6 hours initially; then 4 hours after shredding beef … this way beef falls apart more and is very tender
Honey Mustard Sauce
too easy...why buy it
take 3 Tbsp Yellow (or other) Mustard combine with 1 Tbsp Honey and 1/2 Tsp Sugar...thats it.
A few good sources for cooking info…
The Joy of Cooking… my favorite all around cookbook. Gives lots of technical info about how to cook EVERYTHING.
Frugal Gourmet Cooks American… this has lots of good American dishes (Chicago pizza etc)
New York Time American Heritage Cookbook another source of classic American recipes
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