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My husband and I have a culinary agreement when we go camping and that is that we will have at least one salad a day. While this changes somewhat when we are camping out in the backcountry, there is no deviation when it comes to camping at a campground. This is especially true in the summer when fresh vegetables are plentiful, both on the road and in my own backyard.

The other reason I like this dish is the fact that it is simple to get kids involved in the preparation, which makes them want to eat it. If they are too young to cut the vegetables, they can easily be involved in preparing the dressing for the salad.

Keep in mind though, if this dressing is not something your taste buds enjoy, by all means create your own and enjoy.

Campfire Recipe:  Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad with Cheese

Ingredients

Spray or liquid oil

4 Tablespoons olive oil

1 pound of red and/orange bell peppers

1 red onion

1 pound eggplant

½ zucchini

3 cloves of garlic

¾ teaspoon of ground cumin

¾ teaspoon of smoked paprika

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

3 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 romaine lettuce head

4 ounces of soft cheese like goat

Steps

  1. Start a fire to prepare the coals for cooking.
  2. Oil the inside of a 10 inch Dutch oven.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the Dutch oven.
  4. Prepare the vegetables first by washing and then slicing. Peppers will need to be seeded and then cut into 1 inch pieces. Slice the red onion and cut the eggplant into 1 inch pieces. Place these vegetable into the prepared Dutch oven.
  5. Cut the zucchini into 1 inch pieces. Add to Dutch oven.
  6. Mince garlic and add to Dutch oven. Top the ingredients in the Dutch oven with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir and top with lid.
  7. Move the filled Dutch oven to a heat resistant location.
  8. Arrange 10 prepared coals in a circle and top with Dutch oven.
  9. Cover the lid with 24 prepared coals and cook for 35 minutes.
  10. Once the time has passed, gently remove the lid and check the doneness of vegetables.
  11. Drizzle the roasted vegetables with 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
  12. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining olive oil and vinegar.
  13. To this bowl, add the leaves of the romaine and stir to coat.
  14. Divide this lettuce mixture between 4 plates.
  15. Top the lettuce leaves with roasted vegetables.

Divide and crumble the soft cheese between the 4 plates. Serve.

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Growing up, I was introduced to artichokes through a can. I knew where they came from in real-life but never really had them in their natural state because my mother did not know how to fix them and my dad was truly not that thrilled with their neither appearance nor taste. So my artichoke journey continued either packed in water or oil, nothing else until I moved out on my own.

My husband had worked in many different types of restaurants and one he worked at was a “true” Italian establishment. The owner had invited us over for dinner and behold what was on the table but fresh artichokes. No cans, oil or water packed, simply Mother Nature grown, harvested, and prepared with the freshest ingredients. I was in artichoke heaven and felt I had won the culinary lottery.

After dinner, I inquired how he fixed them. Well, a man of few words would rather show than tell you so off to the kitchen to fix another round of artichokes, which I was not complaining about. While that has been many years ago, I never forgot and took his technique and made it my own with a few alterations. Below is my camp fire version of this delectable dish, which by the way has my mouth watering. Oh, I cannot wait until artichoke season.

Camp Fire Recipe:  Dutch Oven Baked Lemon-Garlic Artichokes

Ingredients

Liquid or spray oil

3 to 4 fresh artichokes with stems attached

3 to 4 lemons

6 to 8 cloves of garlic

Bottle of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Aluminum foil

Steps

  1. Prepare the coals by first building a fire.
  2. Prepare the 10 inch Dutch oven by coating the inside with liquid or spray oil. Please note:  this Dutch oven size is for average sized artichokes.
  3. Depending on the number of artichokes, pull out large squares of foil for each artichoke double. Example, if you have three artichokes you will need six squares of foil. Set aside.
  4. Cut ½ inch off the top of each artichoke and slice in half down the length of the vegetable.
  5. Remove the purple leaves in the middle along with hairy fibers.
  6. Peel garlic cloves and slice lemons in half.
  7. Taking one square of foil, place one half of an artichoke on foil and squeeze a half a lemon on the outside and inside of the artichoke. Place one clove of garlic in the center of the artichoke.
  8. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Wrap foil around prepared artichoke half, place in Dutch oven and repeat.
  10. Add the lid and move the filled Dutch oven to a heat resistant surface.
  11. Arrange 10 prepared coals on this surface and top with the 10 inch Dutch oven.
  12. Completely cover the lid with prepared coals.

Cook for 50 minutes. At that time, check for doneness. If tender, serve. If you still feel a bit of resistance, cook for another 10 minutes. Enjoy.

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Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest and this is true many times when it comes to camp fire cooking. Yes, there are times that I want something fancier that will make the event or outing feel more special but there are other times I just want a delicious meal that does not have a lot of whistles and bangs to it. This is especially true when I do not want to be tied down to the chore of a lot of clean up after the meal. This simple Peasant Stew fits the bill. It is hardy, healthy, and full of delicious flavor. It does not take hours to fix and the ingredients are easy to find. In the scheme of life who could ask for more but a simple recipe to go with a simple life. 

Campfire Recipe:  Peasant Stew

Ingredients

Spray or liquid oil

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion

4 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons of tomato paste

2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

2 cans 14 ½ ounces of diced tomatoes

2 cans 14 ½ ounces of chickpeas

1 pound of Broccoli Rabe or strong flavored green

Parmesan cheese, optional

Steps

  1. Build the fire to prepare the coals.
  2. Begin the prep work by finely chopping the onion and mincing the garlic.
  3. Place a grilling rack above the fire. Prepare a 12 inch Dutch oven by spraying or wiping with liquid oil. Add the olive oil to the inside and place on grilling rack.
  4. Add prepared onion and garlic to the Dutch oven. Stir until onion is clear.
  5. Add tomato paste and vinegar and continue to cook until the mixture is slightly darkened. Please note not burnt.
  6. Pour tomatoes into Dutch oven.
  7. Drain and rinse chickpeas and put in Dutch oven.
  8. Prepare the broccoli rabe by first cleaning it by simply running water over it or placing it into a colander. Once cleaned and still damp, cut crosswise 1 inch thick. If you are using strong flavored greens, repeat this same process. 
  9. Add broccoli rabe or greens along with 2 cups of water. Top the Dutch oven with its lid.
  10. Remove the grilling rack and place 12 inch Dutch oven directly onto the coals. Top the lid with 22 coals.
  11. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the broccoli rabe or greens are tender.

To serve, offer additional balsamic vinegar along with freshly ground parmesan cheese.

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One of my favorite things to get as a gift is a multi-tool by which I can take out and use on my next camping trip. While these little camping tools are wonderful, there are pros and cons to the idea of one tool containing many parts (tools). Below are the pros and cons of utilizing multi-tools on your next camping trip.

Pros

Ok, to start off the first pro of carrying a multi-tool is the fact that it takes very little space but at the same time serves many purposes. As an example, this generic multi-tool has a knife that has a ruler on it along with a bottle top puller. On the other side of the carrying case, it has a magnesium and flint fire starter. The cord not only provides a means of carrying this tool, it can also be uncoiled and used as a rope. The orange color of this rope also provides a level of safety, even though it is very small but could be seen on a rock or clearing.

While the description of the uses above are just one example of what a multi-tool can provide the just is the fact that you can get a big bang from a small package. Yes, this is very important but there does come a time when the compactness of the tool needs to be compared to its true usefulness.

Cons

The cons of a multi-tool are several. First, many multi-tools are very compact and sometimes the small size really makes the tools or some of the tools useless. I see this many times with knives. There are so many tools on a knife that to get it all in the tools themselves are very small. As an example of my point is the screwdriver that many multi-tool knives have. Yes, I love the fact that I have a screwdriver right there and I do not have to go look for one but the small size can be a challenge to use and get out of the handle.

The other con comes from the fact that some multi-tools are designed so that if one tool breaks the multi-tool itself is useless.  In my above example, if the knife breaks it can be replaces with some sort of cutting tool in the holder and the same goes for the magnesium/flint tool but this is not always the case when you purchase a multi-tool.

In just, before buying a multi-tool check out its functionality compared to its size. Also, as in many other industries when it come to multi-functional equipment, make sure that you can either still use the tool if part of it is broke or you can replace lost or broken tools to make it completely functional again.

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Regardless if you are into primitive camping or simply enjoy going out to a campground in a camper or tent, space is very important. As campers, we have to decide what to take and what to leave behind. One of the simplest techniques that I use is to decide what other uses common items can have at the campsite. As an example, let’s take a look at the humble dental floss.

Ok, I have to say I always have dental floss with me not because of its many uses but because I cannot stand to have anything in my teeth so……I make the space for this item. But as humble as dental floss is, it is also very useful without taking up much space. First, believe it or not dental floss is very strong. This is why many people use it as a thread for clothing. It is more durable for attaching buttons to clothes compared to common thread. It can also be used to sew up tears in sleeping bags, tents, and even in a pinch can be used as an emergency shoelace.

If you are using waxed dental floss, believe it or not you can use it to start a fire. The wax on the floss will act as a mild accelerant by which to give the tinder time to catch fire. To maximize the benefit of the waxed floss, tie bundles of tinder together with the floss and then light.

Another unknown use of dental floss is as an “emergency knife.” The sturdiness of this simple string is enough to cut through most meat and fruit. While this is not as efficient as a knife, it does work as a replacement if you have lost your knife.

Finally, if you need a stronger rope than you feel a single strand of dental floss can handle, you can make a rope out of this simple supply in one of two ways. The first one is to simply cut several pieces the same length. Arrange all the pieces so that they are all even and then tie one end together. Place this tied end under a rock, secure to a nail or have someone hold while you continue with the process Now divide the bunch into three sections. At this point, you simply begin to braid the dental floss like hair.

The second way starts off the same when it comes to cutting lengths and tying off. Once it is tied, divide the strands into to two sections. At this point, twist the strands or groups together going in one direction. In either technique, if you find that you need longer rope, just add more strands to the sections before you get to the end. The braiding or twisting will work the new strands into the rope.

The key to both techniques is to make sure that the strands are held tight while the rope is being made.

Once the length is reached, tie the end tight. Now your dental floss rope is ready to use.

While there are many other uses for dental floss, the few listed demonstrate the importance of packing dental floss for your next camping trip.

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Who does not like a dump cake? Well, I have to say I do. Ok, now I have said it and the reason I love dump cakes is three-fold. First, they are easy. Second, they are so flexible and three, they are delicious with little work. But, I must warn you though once you make one you will want to make one every time you camp or in my case anytime I want something sweet.

Camp Fire Recipe:  Caramel Sauce Apple Cinnamon Dump Cake

Ingredients

Spray and liquid oil

2 (21 ounce) cans apple pie filling

15.25 ounce or 1 pound box of yellow cake mix

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

14 ounce jar of caramel ice cream sauce

Steps

  1. Prepare the coals by building a fire.
  2. Lightly grease a 12-inch Dutch oven with spray oil or wipe the inside with a paper towel soaked in cooking oil.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the apple pie filling and cinnamon. Stir.
  4. Pour the apple pie filling/cinnamon into the prepared 12-inch Dutch oven.
  5. Take the caramel ice cream sauce and draw lines going up and down. Turn the Dutch oven and repeat. At this point, it should look like a checkered pattern. Do not use all the caramel sauce in this step. You should keep ¼ of the jar.
  6. Sprinkle the yellow cake mix on top of the caramel ice cream sauce.
  7. Cut the butter into thin slices and place on the cake mix.
  8. Place the lid on and move the 12-inch Dutch oven to a heat resistant surface.
  9. Arrange 12 prepared coals in a circle on the heat resistant surface and put the Dutch oven on top.
  10. On the lid, place 18 prepared coals around the edge of the lid and eight in the center.
  11. Cook for 55 minutes.
  12. After this time has passed, carefully remove the lid and check the doneness of the cake by poking knife through the center of the cake. If it comes out clean then it is done. If not done, place the lid back on and cook for another 10 minutes.
  13. Once done, knock off coals from the lid and remove the Dutch oven from the circle of coals.

To serve, you can top with just the remaining caramel sauce and/or caramel sauce.

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One of my daughter’s favorite dishes is the Jiffy Corn Pudding. My mother taught her how to make this and from that point on it was her favorite. But having said that she also loves and mean loves bacon. What a wonderful combination for my daughter-corn pudding and bacon. So in honor of my daughter and her love for corn pudding, I have created a recipe that mixes both.

Plus, if you happen to have bacon leftover from breakfast this is a wonderful dish by which to finish up that little bit but……..I never have bacon leftover so I always have to cook fresh and keep my daughter out of it somehow.

Campfire Recipe:  Bacon Cheddar Corn Pudding

Ingredients

Spray or liquid oil

2 eggs

15 ounce can of cream style corn

11 ounce can of whole-kernel corn with red and green peppers

8.5 ounce package of corn muffin mix

½ cup of ranch salad dressing

8 ounce block of sharp cheddar cheese

4 green onions

4 slices of cooked bacon

Steps

  1. Build fire to prepare coals.
  2. Grease a 10-inch Dutch oven with spray oil or rub the inside of the Dutch oven with a paper towel covered in cooking oil.
  3. Crack eggs in a bowl and beat.
  4. Add cream style corn to the eggs.
  5. Drain whole-kernel corn/peppers and add to egg mixture.
  6. Empty corn muffin mix into egg mixture along with ranch salad dressing.
  7. Grate the 8 ounce block of cheese.
  8. Add ½ cup of shredded cheese to egg mixture and stir.
  9. Once all the ingredients with the eggs are mixed, pour into greased 10-inch Dutch oven.
  10. Put lid on the Dutch oven and move to a heat resistant surface.
  11. Arrange 10 coals in a circle on the heat resistant surface. Place the prepared Dutch oven on this circle.
  12. Place 14 prepared coals around the edge of the lid and 6 in the center.
  13. Cook for 35 minutes.
  14. After this time has passed, gently remove the lid and check the doneness of the corn pudding by poking it with a knife in the center. If it comes out clean, move on to the next step. If not, place the lid back on carefully and cook for another 10 minutes.
  15. Once the corn pudding is firm, sprinkle the surface with the remaining shredded cheese. Crumble the bacon and add to shredded cheese. Chop the green onions and sprinkle on top of the bacon.
  16. Gently place the lid back on and cook for another 10 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Serve.

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When I was growing up, I knew something special was going on when my mom would fix Cornish Game hens at camp or home. As an adult, I decided that while this meat is a bit more expensive than chicken I would fix it a couple of times of year. But, as luck would have it, when you find a recipe that you love you want to have it more often and this is what happened with this recipe. I got this idea from a sweet and sour chicken recipe my mom used to prepare. While I enjoyed it on chicken, today I simply save it for Cornish Game hens. I also make a bit more of the sauce that is placed on the hens before baking. No, I do not add all that sauce to the hens instead I save the extra to brush on, as a dipping sauce and/or to mix with rice.

Campfire Recipe:  Easy Orange-Glazed Cornish Game Hens

Ingredients

Liquid or spray oil

1 to 2 large white onions

2 to 4 Cornish Game Hens, fresh or if frozen thawed

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

½ cup of thawed frozen orange juice concentrate

¼ cup of ketchup

¼ cup of honey

Steps

  1. Prepare the coals for use by building a fire.
  2. Grease the inside of a 10-inch Dutch oven with liquid or spray oil.
  3. If using two Cornish Game hens, thickly slice one large white onion and place in the bottom of a greased 10-inch Dutch oven. On the other hand, if using four Cornish Game hens then use two large white onions thickly cut.
  4. Continuing with just two Cornish Game hens, remove the giblets and split the hens in half following the backbone.
  5. Season with salt and ground black pepper.
  6. Place the split hens in the 10-inch Dutch oven.
  7. Combine orange juice concentrate, ketchup, and honey in a small bowl.
  8. Spoon mixture over split Cornish Game hens so that they are completely covered.
  9. Place lid on 10-inch Dutch oven and move to a heat resistant surface.
  10. Place 18 prepared coals in a circle and top with Dutch oven.
  11. Add 20 prepared coals to the lid and cook for 45 minutes.
  12. After this time has passed, refresh the coals by knocking off the coals from the lid and replacing with 18 prepared coals.
  13. Cook for another 30 minutes.

Once this time period has passed, it is time to serve but always check the doneness of the meat prior to serving. When cooking outside there are several variables in the environment that can steal away heat from you Dutch oven, which can require that the dish be cooked longer.

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Yes, I know that vegetable dishes are not everyone’s favorite dish, whether one is camping or not. But I have found that this dish is a favorite if to the pickiest camper. There are many reasons why this recipe is a camping staple for me. One, it is easy. Two, it is flexible and what I mean by that is I am not limited by the vegetable or nuts. This flexibility allows me to use some of the bits I may have in the camp kitchen without sacrificing taste or the dish looking like an assortment of leftovers. Finally, the last reason this recipe is always on the camping menu is the fact that I can make it and place it on the coals to cook without any more attention. This allows me to move on to the other dishes in the meal that may require more attention.

Campfire Recipe:  Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Carrots with Nuts

Ingredients

Spray or liquid oil

1 ½ pounds of fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts or carrots cut at an angle in thick slices

½ cup of nuts

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

Ground salt and pepper

Steps

  1. Build a fire to prepare the coals.
  2. Spray with oil or rub the inside of a 10-inch Dutch oven with liquid oil.
  3. If the Brussels sprouts are fresh, trim. If using carrots, make sure they have been cut into thick slices. Place in 10-inch Dutch oven.
  4. Take your choice of nuts and chop as you would like. While some people tend to go with a fine cut, I find this hard to pick up with the vegetable so I tend to go with a larger chop. Once cut to your liking, place in Dutch oven.
  5. Add two tablespoons of olive oil.
  6. Finely chop the two cloves of garlic and place in 10-inch Dutch oven.
  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your taste. Mix the contents of the Dutch oven and place lid on.
  8. Move the filled 10-inch Dutch oven to a heat resistant surface.
  9. Arrange 10 prepared coals in a circle on the heat resistant surface and place Dutch oven on top of this ring.
  10. On the lid, place 20 prepared coals.
  11. Cook this vegetable dish for 30 minutes.
  12. Once the time period is up, knock off the coals from the lid and remove the Dutch oven from the circle of coals.

When serving this dish, you may notice that the vegetables ore a bit crispy but tender. If this style of vegetable is not to your liking, place the Dutch oven back on the coals and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.

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If you have a camper in your party that has a sweet tooth then this dish is a must. It allows you to easily make sweet rolls without a lot of trouble and only you will know how easy this recipe really is but…..do not limit yourself to this recipe. Nuts, other spices, fresh fruit and/or dried fruit can simply be added to the recipe to truly make it your own. So experiment and who knows you may decide to call this recipe “YOUR NAME” sticky buns.

Campfire Recipe:  Basic Breakfast Sticky Buns

Ingredients

Liquid or spray oil

1 stick of butter

1 cup of packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 loaf of thawed frozen bread dough

Steps

  1. Take the stick of butter out to soften.
  2. Build the camp fire to prepare the coals.
  3. Oil a 12-inch Dutch oven with either spray or liquid oil.
  4. Cut parchment paper to fit inside the 12-inch Dutch oven and place on top of the greased surface.
  5. Place a grilling rack on top of the camp fire.
  6. Cut six tablespoons of butter from the stick and place in a small Dutch oven or fire-proof saucepan.
  7. Melt the butter on the grilling rack.
  8. Pour the melted butter on top of the parchment paper.
  9. Turn the 12-inch Dutch oven so that the melted butter is spread out in the bottom of the pan.
  10. In a small bowl, combine the packed brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  11. On a floured surface or sheet of parchment paper, roll out the thawed dough so that it forms a 12-inch-by-12 inch square.
  12. Cut the remaining butter and spread on the dough.
  13. Sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg mixture on the rolled out dough.
  14. Roll the dough up tight and seal the seams.
  15. Cut into one-inch slices. Place the slices in the prepared 12-inch Dutch oven.
  16. Once all the dough has been sliced, cover the 12-inch Dutch oven with a towel and top with lid.
  17. Allow to sit until the dough is double in size. The time for this can range from one to two hours depending on the outdoor environment.
  18. After the dough has risen, moved the 12-inch Dutch oven to a heat resistant surface. Arrange 12 prepared coals in a circle and place the Dutch oven on top.
  19. Arrange 18 prepared coals on the edge of the lid.
  20. Organize eight around the center of the lid.
  21. Cook for 22 minutes.
  22. Once the time is up, knock off the prepared coals and remove the Dutch oven from the circle of coals.
  23. Allow to cool for a minute or two.

At this point, you can either place a plate on the Dutch oven and flip it or you can lift up the sticky buns by grabbing hold of the parchment paper and placing on a plate. If you decide to do the latter, make sure that you flip the dough so that the parchment paper is on top. This will allow the caramel sauce to be on top of the sticky buns plus it makes cleanup of the Dutch oven easier.

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