On a cool night around the campfire, there are few things that warm the body and soul better than comfort food. Here's what you need to know in order to make your favorite meals at the campsite.
Comfort food is usually easy to prepare, often only requiring a single pot. Here are the tools you'll need at camp.
- Dutch Oven: This is the camping version of a crock-pot. Put everything in, stick it in the coals and wait for the flavors to meld into one.
- Tin Foil Packets: Put everything in one small packet to create individual meals that will warm your insides.
- Pie Iron: The history of this trusty campfire cooking tool goes all the way back to the early 1900's. Though no one person is credited as the inventor of this item, one thing is sure: it's an excellent cooking tool, perfect for making comfort food staples.
Other standard campsite cooking items are often helpful, such as a pot and cast iron pan.
Most people have their own comfort food favorites, but here are a few universal crowd pleasers.
Lasagna: Tin Foil Style
Warm and cheesy are nearly synonymous with the term "comfort food," which makes lasagna a great meal to have on a cold night at the campsite.
Tools Used: Dutch oven and pot
- Noodles: Par-boiled or raw
- Pasta sauce
- Vegetables: yellow squash, mushrooms, spinach and onions
- Ground meat: turkey or beef
- Minced garlic
1. Add water to your pot, place it over the fire and add in the noodles once the water boils. You can par-boil the noodles at home to save time.
2. Rip a 5-inch square of tin foil, and place a small piece of butter on the bottom. Layer your ingredients as follows: Thin layer of sauce on the bottom, noodle, vegetables, meat, cheese, and a small pinch of minced garlic. Continue for three layers, and end with a noodle on top.
3. Loosely close your packet and put it in a bed of hot coals, but not directly in the fire. The cook time will depend on how hot your coals are. Check back at 10 minutes.
4. Once the meal is a few minutes from finishing, remove your tin foil packets from the fire, pour sauce and cheese on the top and place them on the fire pit grate. This allows the sauce to heat and the cheese to melt.
For an added touch of home, make grilled garlic bread while cooking the lasagna. Coat crostini or bread slices with olive oil and garlic powder, and toast them on the grate. Serve them with your meal in the tin foil packet.
Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
Few things feel more like home than a steaming bowl of creamy tomato soup, with grilled cheese for dipping. Take comfort food to the next level with this simply delicious meal.
Tools Used: Dutch oven and pie iron
- Can of tomato soup
- Bread: Loaf style
1. Pour the can of soup into your Dutch oven. Add a spoonful of butter and 1/2 cup of milk before placing your pot into the coals. Let this slowly heat.
2. Schmear butter on the outsides of your bread, and set the slices in the pie iron. Place slices of cheese on top and close up the pie iron.
3. Hold this over the fire, or place it into the coals, and rotate from side to side. Cooking time varies depending on how hot the coals are. In general, 2 to 3 minutes should be enough time to cook it completely.
4. Pour your soup into a bowl, top with fresh grated cheese and serve with the finished grilled cheese.
Chocolate Strawberry Pie
Move over s'mores and make room for this chocolate and strawberry concoction, the perfect way to top off your comfort food menu.
Tools Used: Pie iron
- Pie crust
- Lemon juice
- Dark chocolate
1. Save time at the campsite and make your filling at home. Place strawberries and water over the heat. One cup of strawberries needs 3/4 cup of water; adjust for more or less. Mash the strawberries, add in a small squirt lemon juice and let the mixture cook down for five minutes. If you make this at home, put it in a sealable container and leave for packing.
2. Roll out your pie crust, and cut two pieces to fit inside the pie iron.
3. Cover the inside of the pie iron with non-stick cooking spray, and place a piece of pie dough on each side.
4. Fill one side with your strawberry mixture and top it with chocolate.
5. Close the pie iron and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Once finished, plate and drizzle with chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries.
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Jessica Sanders is the Associate Online Editor for ReserveAmerica.com. After many years of camping and hiking in the Northeast, she's exploring what the West has to offer and sharing all of her knowledge with you. She's a s'mores master, campsite connoisseur, writer, runner and lover of all things outdoors. Follow her on Google+.