Every summer we plan a few ‘extended weekend’ camping trips- usually leaving on a Wednesday (super early) and coming home on Sunday.  Five days, four nights…it’s wonderful!

But having to plan 4 dinners, 4 lunches and 4 breakfasts can be a bit much sometimes, especially if we’re camping someplace where there’s not a convenient store nearby (not to be confused with a convenience store- hee hee.)

Let me step back a sec.  We’ve been camping trailering for about 11 years now.  We’re on our third trailer (if you count the one we borrowed from my grandparents as our first trailer- we did use it several times). Trailer #2 worked perfect when we only had 2 kiddos.  Buuuut, you really couldn’t cook inside it.  If you were standing in the “kitchen” nobody could get to the bathroom.  And if the bed was pulled out (from the sofa) there was no standing in the kitchen.  Just not a functinoal trailer for a family of 4, er 3, actually 2.  So we started doing all our cooking outside- set up camp tables, propane BBQ’s, propane camp stoves- it worked.

Kiddo #3 + having a big dog + more camping trips made getting a bigger trailer a necessity.  So we did!  A little overkill at 34′ long, but we love it!

It has a big pop-out living/dining/kitchen area which would make cooking a snap….

I have enough room that I can even set up a small plastic table for more ‘counter’ space:

Off topic…..but related…..I just ran across this picture.  THIS is why we wanted such a big trailer- so we’d have a place for all the kids to hang out on the really crummy weather days (cuz we camp year round).  Yup- here’s SIX kids lounging on the hide-a-bed watching a movie- and there’s still room for more kids (or adults) at the dining table.  Or in the back bedroom playing games.

Back to the main point of this story….

….I don’t like to cook in the trailer.   Everyone else is outside having fun, I want to be out there with them!  (Or if they’re all in the trailer having fun I don’t want to be inside with all that choas trying to cook a meal!  Ha!)

A couple years ago we picked up one of these from Costco:

(in a singing voice….think Julie Andrews “laaaaaaaa” and sing the word HEAVEN” instead!)

Best thing ever!  Pancakes, bacon, sandwiches, eggs, burgers- it alllllll cooks on there mighty fine. And we have the BBQ accessory which also works like a charm.

Anyway- that is how I do all my cooking now (when we’re camping at least).

Back to menu planning….

Back in the my old days….it was guaranteed we’d have steak and potatoes one night. Burgers or dogs another night. And for years I made a batch of Garlic Lime Chicken along with precooking a family size dish of white rice for an easy “reheat in the microwave” dinner. There! That’s three dinners!

Here’s a couple tricks I’ve learned along the way.  Keep in mind, not all of this will work for you tent campers out there.  But I do know some tent campers who bring their microwave with them- so maybe it WILL work!

Breakfast Sandwiches.  This one is super easy.  Being the Betty Crocker that I am, I make them from scratch.  I scramble an egg in a biscuit cutter on the stove so it retains a nice round patty shape, and I put that on a toasted english muffin along with a sausage patty and a slice of cheese and I wrap each one individually in parchment paper….and freeze them.  We eat these on the last day (quick breakfast, zero clean-up).  Just take them out to thaw the day before- and either microwave or pop them in the oven to reheat.  Our family loves them!

Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes. Kids don’t get tired of pancakes! Add blueberries, add apples, add chocolate chips, add nothing!

Breakfast scramble. Yum~ here’s our new favorite. Heat the griddle and add some butter/oil. Cut a few potatoes into 1″ or smaller cubes and saute. Cover to heat through- turning occasionally. On the other side of the griddle cook some sausage or bacon. When the potatoes are about done, saute some onions and peppers and mix in with the potatoes. Mix in the sausage/crumbled bacon. Make a well in the middle and scramble some eggs. When those are done mix it all together. Yum. Did I already say that? And it’s easy to reheat and eat the leftovers (if you have a microwave and if there are any leftovers).

Muffins and Scones.  I like to have something to snack on before breakfast (because cooking breakfast is a big ordeal when you are camping and don’t have the convenience of a big home kitchen, and we don’t normally get around to making breakfast until around 10am). Last trip I made a variety of scones the day before.  Again with the Betty Crocker thing…I like to make these things from scratch.  I shudder at what’s in those individual packs…or even the Costco muffins!  So I like to make my own.   They tasted grrrrreeeaaaat (Tony the Tiger voice there!).  But by about day 2 or 3 they were starting to have a less than desirable texture, even though they were kept in an air-tight container.  So I did a little internet research.  It said that when you make large batches of muffins in advance, it’s best to put them all in the freezer.  Only take out as many as you’ll need for that particular day, and about 45 minutes before you plan to eat it.  Know what- we tried that….and it worked!

Grilled sandwiches.  Sure we all know how to make a cheese sandwich, or even a grilled cheese sandwich.  But a grilled sandwich cooked on a seasoned cast iron griddle while camping- mmmm… melt in your mouth deliciousness.  And to mix it up a bit I add a thick stack of lettuce after it’s cooked for a crisp cool change of pace.  Yum!

Grilled asparagus.  Yup.  I said it.  Grilled asparagus is so delicious- especially when it comes from a seasoned cast iron skillet!

Caprese.  Sliced fresh tomatoes, a slice of fresh mozzarella, topped with a basil leaf and a sprinkling of olive oil and black pepper- delish!  And good for you, too!

Taco Night (or Burrito or Fajita- whatever).  Precook the meat at home (or on the griddle), season, slice and serve alongside your favorite taco toppings!  Always a must when we’re camping with others.

Fried Chicken.  And no, I’m not talking about stopping at KFC on your way.  I actually bring my electric skillet and some Crisco (uck) and fry chicken at the campsite for our first dinner.  I roll the chicken in flour and seasonings in the morning before we leave- bag it- let that all soak up real good so it’s nice and floury gooey, then when we get there we fry it up- outsideso our trailer (or house back home) don’t stink up.  (I get funny looks when we do this from passers by.  I think they’re just jealous.)

So there you have it- a little bit on how we camp.  You are welcome to join us any time!