Righto, so you’re on the hunt for some quick and easy camping meals for the kids when you are on the road? I am by no means an expert here and I’m the first to admit that I do get a bit slack on the road and serve up some not so fab meals for the kids.
Mainly it’s just too much white packaged food (pasta/wraps/bread etc) and too little fresh veggies.
It’s one of my main pain points on the road really, the niggling guilt about not getting enough decent fresh food into the kids. Hence this post, I figure while I try and fix something that is a problem for me I might be able to help you out in the process…
The purpose of this post is to share my few go to’s because I keep getting asked that question and I’ve been procrastinating on answering (sorry!)
Also, to do a little of the legwork for you and share some links with you where you will find recipes from people who actually know their stuff 🙂 You can find these at the end of the post.
These are my go to’s, not because they are super healthy but because they are quick, easy, don’t require heaps of utensils and use food that stores for a little longer. I must admit that I only have one saucepan, one frying pan, a wooden spoon and a grater in the van, so if it can’t be cooked with any of those it’s out.
I must also admit to trying to assuage my no vegetable guilt by chucking a whole baby cucumber and sliced red capsicum on the plate next to every savoury meal. Partly because they eat it and partly because it doesn’t have to be cooked.
I tend to take wraps rather than bread as they have a longer expiry date and you can’t squash them. They also take up a lot less space than a loaf of bread.
I chuck anything at all in there but to be honest, it often ends up being peanut butter and banana or any leftovers from the night before.
Savoury pancakes –
This sounds a bit weird I know but it works a treat.
I mix 1 cup of wholemeal flour, 1 cup of milk and one egg and then dump any leftovers we have into it and combine.
Add a little grated cheese if you like and fry it up just like a normal pancake. I’ve used spag bol, fried rice and vegetable stir fry among other things.
Or, chuck a can of peas and corn or mixed veggies in there instead of leftovers so they’re getting a bit of a vegetable hit at least.
Eggs last a while in the cupboard unrefridgerated, my local Woolies actually keep them on the shelf and I use longlife milk if I’m outta the fresh stuff.
Porridge (and then porridge balls) –
One of our breakfast staples is porridge, oats are cheap and last forever and porridge is sticky enough that the kids can eat it on little laps without too much spillage. Plus, they scoff it every time which is very satisfying.
I chuck saltanas and cinnamon in there and any fruit that is on the edge and cook it with a half milk half water mixture.
Any leftovers are rolled into balls once it goes cold and hardens up a bit.
If I’ve got some desiccated coconut I roll the balls in that and pop them in a container in the fridge/esky for snacks throughout the day.
Muesli (with yogurt so they can balance it on their lap without spilling) –
This is another one that works because the kids can sit in camp chairs and eat and not make a huge mess.
I get the untoasted version because the sugar content is a lot better if still a little high, then I just chuck some sultanas in if it needs sweetening.
Passata Sauce and Pasta –
I only just clued onto passata and it’s awesome.
Basically its just like the bolognese sauce you buy in the jars but it’s just tomato, spices and not much else as opposed to the sugar laden pre-made bolognese sauces you get off the shelf in the jar.
I just tip it cold onto hot pasta spirals (easier to eat that spaghetti) and the pasta heats the sauce, the sauce cools the pasta and its warm and ready to go.
Oh, cheese is always a winner with my two so there’s always some of that too.
Eggy Bread –
Whisk an egg in a bowl, chuck a piece of bread in it, let it soak for a minute or two then pop it in a hot fry pan.
When you flip it sprinkle some cheese on the top, cook on low until the cheese melts a bit and voila, eggy bread.
Ravioli (with corn on the cob) –
This is another one pot wonder. The packs of ravioli from the supermarket fridge area last for ages if they are kept chilled. So long in fact that they can’t be that good but anyways, moving right along…
The kids ravioli is small and only take five minutes or so to cook, so I chuck the ravioli and some sweet corn on the cob in the pot of boiling water at the same time and then drain them together when the pasta is done.
Fried rice –
This is one that I keep up my sleeve for when we have been away from the shops for a while and all the fresh stuff is basically gone.
I use a packet of the microwavable basmati rice, a can of peas and corn and some diced bacon (another of those vacuum packed things with a shelf life that is a bit of a worry really).
You can also chuck some canned water chestnuts in and get a bit fancy if you like, it adds a yummy crunch.
Fry up the bacon, chuck the rice and the peas and corn in and add some soy sauce if you have it.
If I’m feeling tricky I push the rice to the outside of the pan and fry an egg in the middle and then mix it through. Usually I’m not feeling tricky though.
Sausages, bread (or wraps) and tomato sauce. That’s hitting every food group right? Always a winner. The definition of an easy camping meal!
This one is for when you’re a week or so in and you are starting to worry about the shelf life of the eggs.
Whisk a bunch of eggs up in a bowl, dice up every vegetable you can get your hands on super small, add some bacon if you have it and some salt and pepper and then pour the egg on top.
Sprinkle with grated cheese and cook on low in the frying pan with a lid on until it’s cooked through.
Serve with tomato sauce. Because we are camping right 😉
Savoury mince –
Fry some mince and onion up, add every vegetable you can find chopped really tiny and fry the bajeesus out of it.
Add a little honey, a splash of soy sauce and you’re done.
I actually add curry powder too but thats an optional extra. I serve it with a bit of grated cheese on top.
This one is handy because if you have any left over you can chuck some passata on it and call it spaghetti bolognese the next day.
Or, put it in a wrap with some lettuce and call it lunch.
Ok, so this is for when things have gone south and you haven’t got it in you to make anything. Or, the kids are driving you nuts in the backseat on the way to the campsite.
Or, you were totally unprepared and have nothing on hand and the kids are getting hangry and you need to sort that out pronto…
I always have a couple of those squeezies that you get in the baby isle in Coles or Woolies. Yep, my kids are 3 and 4 now so totally past this age wise but still think it’s a bit exciting to get one when we are on the road.
Just keep in mind that the fruit ones are full of sugar, I grab the savoury ones to avoid the sugar high and ensuing melt down it usually entails.
My go to is the Rafferty’s Garden Apricot Chicken, while it’s been heat treated to the point where it is probably nutrition neutral, at least it doesn’t have any junk in it.
Here’s the ingredients – “Cooking Water 18% Potato 13% Carrot 11% Rice 9% Apricot 9% Chicken Onion Olive Oil Oregano.”
Sometimes, I do make a few things at home before we leave if I’m organised, which is rarely.
Just the usual spaghetti bolognese, stew, stir fry etc. That gets us through the first few days at least and I am always glad I did it when I do get it together.
I also read somewhere on facebook the other day that someone was pre-making pancakes and taking them which I thought was genius but haven’t tried yet.
There are so many people out there who really can cook and who have been doing it on the road for their families for ages so now I’m going to send you in the direction of the experts for some great ideas, the links below will take you straight to the recipe.
Hit me with your easy camping meals so I can add a link to your recipe to the list!
Pizza in a jaffle iron by CampingWithGus.com
Campfire Nachos by GoCampingAustralia Blog.com
Damper by Snowys.com
Eggs in jail by GoCampingAustraliaBlog.com
Hobo Tin Foil Stew by CampingWithGus.com
Camping Fried Rice by TripAroundOz.com
Dutch Oven Campfire Lasagna by FreshOffTheGrid.com
Campfire Spinach Dip by TwinDragonflyDesigns.com
Portable Omelettes by KidSpot.com.au
Campfire Pizza by DirtyGourmet.com
And something a little different here, it’s a whole weeks worth of recipes from a mum of two who is on the road full time. Read it here at Lost And Loving It.
If you are looking for ways to keep the kids off your case while you attempt some of these recipes check out jobs for the kids when you’re camping for some ideas and, there’s also a list of healthy (ish) snacks that might come in handy too.
Have fun out there!
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