If you camp a lot during the summer like I do, a dinner of hot dogs and baked beans becomes boring very quickly. I did a brief stint of gourmet cooking earlier in the season but quickly realized I was spending way too much time prepping meals when I really wanted to be hiking or playing in the river or whatever else we trek out to the middle of nowhere to do. The happy medium for me is to plan recipes that are tasty, easy to prep at home and fast to cook at the campsite.
One of my favorite new recipes is camping pizza. It is not going to win any awards for the best pizza ever, but it is tasty and kids love it. I adapted my gluten free version from this recipe I found online. I mix together the dry ingredients in a sandwich bag and note on the bag the additional ingredients I need to add (water, egg). In a separate bag I store the shredded cheese with the seasoning. In the campsite all that remains is to mix the dough, spread into the pan, top with sauce, cheese and toppings.
The camping pizza needs to cook on the stove for about 10 minutes. It is remarkably tasty for the minimal effort required compared to making a real pizza at home (which takes hours). See the end of the post for the full recipe.
In addition to making pizza, I have a few other favorite recipes that are tasty and easy. I also try to minimize the amount of garbage generated from these meals too because many places we camp do not have trash cans.
1. Black Beans & Rice
- Use instant rice. I always looked down on this as a home chef who likes to make everything from scratch but this stuff is pretty good and so easy to make. Be careful about adding the right amount of water, and add some seasoning (I add salt and garlic powder).
- A can of black beans (I use Goya Black Bean Soup because it is nicely seasoned). When minimizing weight for backpacking, dehydrate the soup so that you don’t have to deal with the can.
2. Brats & Mashed Potatoes
- Use instant potatoes! Like instant rice, I always looked down on this type of potato yet they are tasty and so insanely easy to make. Pre-measure the dried potatoes into a baggie and note on the bag the amounts for additional ingredients (milk, water, butter). I add salt and dried chives to the potatoes and that contributes a nice flavor.
- Bratwurst are a nice change from hot dogs and are easy to cook. I usually freeze them to help keep the cooler cold and quickly defrost before dinner (we have been camping in the Georgia summer so things defrost quickly). Costco carries gluten-free brats.
3. Hash Browns
- I have dehydrated my own, but you can buy dehydrated shredded potatoes in a small carton right near the instant potatoes. You add boiling water right into the carton and let it sit for 10 or so minutes to rehydrate. Dried potatoes are lightweight and small so this is a great item for backpacking. I pan fry them with olive oil and seasoning (garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt)
4. Beef or Turkey Jerky
- You can buy this or make your own using a dehydrator. It is certainly cost effective to make your own and you have control over the seasonings. While it can take a long time to actually dehydrate, it is not really that much work. I was never really a fan of this until I made my own.
Beef jerky, manchego cheese and a full bodied red wine are a wonderful combination.
Gluten Free Camping Pizza
3/4 c gluten free flour (I use Bob’s)
1 t xantham gum
2-3 T tomato sauce (I put this in the smallest tupperware I have)
1/4 c water
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
garlic powder & onion powder
shredded cheese with italian seasoning (I used asiago, parm & provolone and added spices after shredding)
toppings (I used turkey pepperoni)
- At home, mix the flour, xantham gum, soda, powder, salt and spices in a baggie
- At campsite, mix with egg & water
- put oil in bottom of non-stick pan (you really want a non-stick pan for this)
- spread dough evenly across pan. put oil on your fingers and use your hands
- add sauce, cheese and toppings
- cover with foil or a lid and cook on camping stove (on medium low heat) for about 10 minutes. The bottom will burn if the heat is too high so check every 5 minutes to make sure there is no burning. When the dough has risen and cooked, and the cheese it fully melted you should be ready to eat your pizza!
UPDATE: Since I first posted this, I spent some time researching and testing a new way to cook this pizza. If you are not really careful, the crust on this recipe easily burns which is not good. So, if you fill a pot partway with some water, and put the pizza pan on top, you can avoid any burning. It essentially creates a steam bath so be careful about burning yourself on the steam but this new method seems like a better way to avoid burnt crust.
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These fast and easy camping recipes will free you up to visit cool places like this on your camping trip.