Breakfast, lunch, and dinner always taste 10 times better outdoors. Is it the increase of oxygen? Is it your mind and body waking up? Is it the inspiration from the natural majesties around you? Who knows….it just works! For campers or Nordic walkers who want to get away for a quick 24-hr. camping trip it’s a great idea to prepare and pack food that will keep energy levels high and brains alert without requiring too much preparation and cooking time. Also, remember that a cooler and a camping stove (small or large) are recommended for the preparation of easy and delicious outdoor-inspired menus. Here are a few ideas that will keep your food preparation time fast but will still treat your taste buds right!
Breakfast Quesadillas: Hearty, Energizing and Yummy!
Breakfast quesadillas are a great option for “breaking that overnight fast” because they provide the nutrition necessary for a day in the outdoors (proteins, calcium, various vitamins etc.) and still provide that “hearty” and yet comforting feeling that people crave in the morning hours. Start preparing your quesadillas before leaving on your trip. Shred your choice of cheese and then place it in a ziplock bag. Chop your choice of veggies and bag them separately. If you want bacon and eggs they can certainly add a nice breakfast twist to your regular quesadilla. Bag the bacon and eggs separately as well (in their raw forms leaving the eggs in their original carton if possible) and then place as many tortillas as you will need in a separate zip lock bag. If you are a vegan then add a can of black beans or other desirable legumes to “the mix” along with a can opener and your preferred vegan cheese (also shredded or sliced).
These various plastic bags (as well as the can of black beans, etc.) can be placed in a paper bag along with preferred condiments and/or garnishes (i.e, sour cream, Greek yogurt, guacamole, etc.). Also include juice, coffee, milk, or your choice of a breakfast beverage. On the paper bag, write “Breakfast” for easy identification. Make sure to keep the paper bag in your fridge until right before you leave and then transfer it to the cooler. Since you’ll be eating the quesadillas in the morning all food items should still be cold/fresh in your cooler once you get up and are ready to eat!
On-site Preparation: Remove the bacon (or the beans) from its bag and get it cooking on your camping stove. A few minutes later start your eggs. If you like, add your veggies to the eggs. Butter up a small area of your cooking pan (or use vegan cooking spray instead) and then place one of the tortillas on the buttered portion of the stove. Add a layer of cheese to the tortilla, then the eggs and veggies as well as the bacon (or beans). Another layer of cheese on top of these ingredients and another tortilla will crown your growing pile of quesadilla glory! Lightly butter the top tortilla and wait for the lower layer of cheese to finish melting (on low-to-medium or medium heat is best) and then carefully flip the quesadilla. Once cooked, cut the quesadilla into fourths and serve with sour cream, Greek yogurt, guacamole and/or salsa.
Lunch Noodles: Refreshing, Light, and Flavorful!
If you plan to have an active day you may not always have time to stop for lunch. When this is the case make sure to pack plenty of your favorite camping snacks. Energy bars (with ingredients you can recognize), as well as dried fruits and nuts, are always recommended. For a 24-hr. camping trip hearty fresh fruit such as apples and/or plums can also be enjoyed. Just pull it out of the cooler and into your hiking bag for fresh eating later on.
If you do have time to quickly prepare lunch at your campsite then consider a light noodle salad. Pack udon or soba noodles beforehand. Udon noodles can actually be purchased fresh and kept cold in your cooler or taken dry and cooked on site on your camping stove. Soba noodles will need to be purchased in their dry form. Also pack olive oil spray, sesame oil spray, chopped veggies in a ziplock bag, your favorite Asian-style dressing and raisins (if desired) into another paper bag and label that bag “Lunch.” Keep the bag in your fridge until it too can be transferred to your cooler right before departure.
On-site Preparation: When you’re ready for lunch to unwrap the noodles and begin to cook them as instructed on the package. While preparing the noodles, begin to sauté veggies (with an olive oil spray) that you have chopped prior to arriving on site. After the noodles are cooked to your desired level of softness, toss the noodles in a light sesame oil (may also come in a spray) and add the veggies. To finish off your salad, add your favorite Asian-style dressing and raisins if desired.
Dinner Pizza: Delicious, Warm, and Comforting!
If you’re an avid camper and have been for some time you’ve probably heard of the dutch oven pizza. Don’t worry! You don’t have to cart around a heavy dutch oven to bite into a delicious “oven baked” pizza. Try the following instead:
While still at home, and preferably a few days before your camping trip, purchase your favorite pizza dough (or make it) and then roll it out flat. Spread pizza sauce and your favorite toppings on the dough and begin to roll the dough from one of its longest sides to the other. Slice a few thin lines horizontally across the top of the pizza roll so that steam can be released as the pizza cooks. Also, add your favorite pizza spices to the top of the pizza roll. Cover the pizza in foil and then in a paper bag labeled “Dinner” and then freeze. When you’re ready, place the pizza in your cooler and head for the campsite.
On-site Preparation: When you’re ready to cook the pizza, remove it from the paper bag and place the entire foil-covered “loaf” over a low heat (first for 5 minutes turning frequently) and then for 20-30 minutes over a higher heat (also turning frequently). Make sure that you check the pizza during the last 10 minutes of cooking (often) so that you can make sure it has been cooked the way you like it! You and your fellow campers will love this crowd pleaser!