A month ago my friends and I went camping in the beautiful Yosemite National Park. It was my first official camping trip minus the cabin so I was a bit nervous we would be eating beans out of a can for 3 days. I designed a weekend menu that had 3 qualifications: easy, fresh, and delicious. Easy and simple enough to execute with minimal tools and appliances, fresh so that we weren’t intaking a crap load of sodium from canned goods and dehydrated goods all weekend, and of course who wouldn’t want to eat something delicious?
Since we are in the midst of summer, it is peak camping season. I thought I’d share some of my tips on how you too can “glamp” and avoid cupped noodles all weekend (even though I have to admit, I crave a cup of ramen every once in a while).
Plan. Before leaving write down the entire weekend’s menu so you can shop for what you will need. I will share with you my menu and feel free to create the same menu or design your own. Write down what tools you’ll need for each meal prep so you don’t leave anything behind like a wine bottle opener. That would be tragic. And although it’s heavy, a cast iron pan with a burner was my saving grace. It’s was perfect for when the grill was completely occupied or cooking things such as eggs.
Prep. The day before leaving pre chop everything that will need chopping – your onions, peppers, etc. and separate them into large gallon Ziploc bags based on dish. Label the bags with the dish and day. Marinate all your proteins and freeze them in the marinate. This will eventually thaw and keep cold in the ice box for a few days if needed. Freeze all your meats (bacon and hot dogs included). I even froze my pesto sauce and butter!
Strategize. I designed a menu that used tougher vegetables like asparagus, corn and potatoes. These hold up well without refrigeration. Pack the food so that Day 1 is on the top and Day 3 is in the bottom of the cooler with the bag of ice. This ensures that Day 3 is always cold. Pack your veggies and meats in two different coolers. That way if your marinade happens to spill out, it won’t contaminate your veggies. I also brought canned food just in case say, a bear got to all our food (which didn’t happen, thank goodness!)
I packed bread and sandwich fillings so everyone can make their own sandwiches before we start to set up camp. There’s nothing like hungry campers trying to figure out how to set up a tent or put together the grill.
charcuterie plate (veggies, cured meats and salami, cheeses)
barbequed chicken wings
chocolate fondue with bananas, strawberries, marshmallows, and graham crackers
bell pepper and onion scramble
sausage and bacon
jams, nut butter, toast, coffee and tea were available while we were cooking for the hungry early risers
Since we were usually hiking or rafting during lunch, I set up a sandwich station after every breakfast so everyone could make their own sandwiches and snacks to pack during excursions. These stations included luncheon meats, sliced bread, sliced cheese, sliced tomatoes, bagged spinach, trail mix, fresh fruit like a banana, oranges, or apples, and chips.
marinated flank steak
bacon wrapped sausages with grilled peppers and onions
cherry tomato and mushroom kabobs
leftover hash – we packed some canned corned beef just incase something happened to our food. So the last morning we made a corned beef hash and a leftover hash from all the sausages, steak, grilled peppers and onions, tomatoes and mushrooms we had the previous night.
jams and toast, coffee or tea
sandwich and snack station
We were celebrating our friend, Monica’s birthday that weekend. I wanted to make her a cake, but without an oven I didn’t see how it was possible. So I made a pancake cake!
marinated Korean-style short ribs
grilled corn on the cob seasoned with butter, salt and pepper
strawberry Bisquick pancake cake
Whether it’s your first camping trip or you are a seasoned camper, I hope these tips inspire you to Glamp it up and say no to Frito chip salads
. Remember: easy, fresh, and delicious!