With camping season right around the corner, many families are on the hunt for low-cost, fun ways to serve meals around a campfire. These easy recipes are surefire hits—simple enough that children can be involved in all aspects of preparation and cooking, and hearty enough to fill hungry bellies after a day of trailblazing in the great outdoors.
Snacks & Sides: Hot Water Campfire Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
Oil or bacon grease
1 tablespoon Crisco shortening
¾ cup boiling water
Optional: minced onions, honey or syrup to taste
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients first: the cornmeal, the salt and the sugar. Add boiling water and Crisco and stir until the shortening melts. Pour oil or bacon grease carefully into your skillet, just about ½ an inch to cover the bottom, and heat to roughly 375 degrees. Next, use a tablespoon to measure out and form the cornmeal mixture into flattened balls. Fry each cornmeal ball about 5 minutes (turn once) until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with honey or syrup. If you would rather snack on a more savory cornbread, add a tablespoon of finely minced onions to the mix—and omit the honey or syrup. Serves 6-10, depending on the size of your cornbread.
Main Course: Easy Foil Packet Dinner
1 pound cubed boneless, skinless chicken
2 onions, diced
1 can of diced mushrooms
1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
4 cloves of garlic, diced
4 small potatoes, cubed
¼ cup olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt, pepper and spices to taste
Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil and lemon juice into a large, re-sealable plastic bag; then, pour in lemon juice and olive oil and mix well. Evenly divide the mixture among 4 large sheets of aluminum foil. Top each mixture on foil with another sheet of foil, and then wrap both edges tightly to create a packet. If you are not using heavy-duty foil, you will want to double-wrap packets. Cook in the coals of your campfire until chicken is done, or about 40 minutes. Salt, pepper and spice to taste. You can easily add other veggies to the packets for more variety, and hamburger meat is a good chicken substitution. Serves 4.
Dessert: Tin Can Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Clean empty tuna cans, 1 per person
Prepared yellow cake mix*
Canned pineapple rings
*it’s best to prepare the cake mix in advance and keep it in a clean milk jug on ice for convenience.
First, spray the tuna cans with cooking spray and sprinkle the bottom of each can with a thin layer of brown sugar. Place a pineapple ring on top of the brown sugar and a single maraschino cherry in the center of each pineapple ring. Fill each tuna can half full with the prepared cake mix. Cover the cans with aluminum foil and place carefully upon the hot coals (not flames) of your campfire. Cooking time will vary, but cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake emerges clean.