3 wildly simple dinner ideas for your next camping trip

Raise your hand if you're sick of ramen, hot dogs and s'mores for camp outs? Well, maybe not chocolate-and-marshmallow goo, but dried noodles and processed meat we could all use a break from, right?

The problem is that it can be hard coming up with camping cuisine that’s easy to prepare and cook, could potentially feed a group and actually tastes good if you’re going to the effort to cook.

A lot of times dishes that work at home just don't translate to the outdoors.

You deserve real food even if you’re not in a real kitchen. Photo: Dan Edwards/Unsplash.com

Social food site Allrecipes.com is trying to change that with a new curated “camp out” recipe and tips collection from everyday cooks that breaks out meals for backyard sleepovers, car camping and off-the-grid adventures.

Dirty Gourmet blogger Emily Nielson, who helped with some of the initial suggestions, told GrindTV, “We are thrilled to lend our cooking expertise for Allrecipes’ digital Camp Out hub, as it hits our passion point of getting folks to rethink cooking in the great outdoors.”

Here are a few for starters:

Backyard adventure: Dutch oven chilaquiles

chilaquiles
Can you crack an egg and open a bag of chips? Then you got this. Photo: Courtesy of Allrecipes

You don’t really need an actual Dutch oven, just a heavy skillet for these ridiculously easy and tasty “breakfast nachos.”

Ingredients:
2 cups oil for frying
1/4 cup chopped onion
30 (6 inch) corn tortillas, torn into strips
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons of salt
1 (7.75 ounce) can Mexican style hot tomato sauce (or salsa)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:
In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Carefully stir in the onion and tortilla strips. Fry until tortilla strips are crisp and golden brown.

Remove from heat, and drain on paper towels. Drain the skillet, leaving only a thin residue of oil. Over medium heat, return tortillas to the skillet, and stir in the eggs. Season with salt. Cook and stir until eggs are firm.

Mix Mexican style hot tomato sauce and water into the skillet. Reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Top with cheese. Continue cooking until cheese has melted.

Car camping: Summer corn chowder

Grilled corn could only make this summer chowder tastier. Photo: Pexels.com

I’m not sure why soup doesn’t come to mind more often for car camping, because this one-pot dinner is hearty yet light enough for summer.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups vegetable broth
2 large russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 cups corn kernels
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste

Directions:
Heat olive oil and butter in a Dutch oven over low heat. Add onion; cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle flour over onion; cook and stir until onion is coated, about 5 minutes.

Stir vegetable broth and potatoes into the onion mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook partially covered until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add corn, red pepper, green pepper, half-and-half, ground black pepper, and salt. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir until corn is softened, about 8 minutes.

Bonus: Throwing eggs in a greased muffin pan on the campfire is other slick car-camping breakfast idea.

Off the grid: Chocolate energy bars

Let’s face it, when you’re backpacking, you need super-portable, non-melting, non-crumbling multipurpose foods. Make these make-ahead bars will sustain you on the trail or as a well-earned dessert.

Ingredients:
2 cups pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup raw or roasted unsalted almonds
3/4 cup high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Guittard® Cocoa Rouge)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cold espresso, or more as needed (or water)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pinch cayenne pepper

Directions:
Place cashews, almonds, coconut, dates, cocoa, coconut oil, vanilla, cold coffee, cayenne and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off to start.

Process about 1 minute; check to ensure mixture is sticky and moist enough to stick together. Add more coffee if needed.

Continue to process until mixture becomes a chunky mass. Line a baking pan with plastic wrap. Scoop mixture into pan. Press down with a spatula until mixture is even. Place a layer of plastic wrap on the surface and smooth again with your hands. Refrigerate until cold and firm, 2 or 3 hours.

Remove from the pan and unwrap. Cut into bars of your preferred size. Store in a zip top back in the refrigerator.

More camping from from GrindTV

Some of the best ways to get your coffee in the backcountry

How to cook in the backcountry using a Dutch oven

What you need to know when camping at a primitive campsite