Sunday, May 31, 2015

Camping. 5/28 (with recipes)

We love camping and fishing. It's one of those things all the kids are into and we don't even have to coax them.

 One of my favorite parts about it is testing my skills; cooking over a fire, having all the right stuff when plans change and being able to improvise when we have forgotten something. 
Cooking is my favorite part and it can be made simple by preparing some ahead of time. 

Breakfast burritos is a staple for us. Easy to make and they store well, quick for breakfast or a snack while fishing, and can be taken apart and served with potatoes to make a whole meal out of just one or two. For us a pound of sausage and a dozen eggs will make 8 8" burritos. Brown sausage and scramble eggs together in a pan.
         Scoop sausage egg mixture into burrito shell and top with a little cheese. Roll up borrito style.

Set up a little assembly line and they go together quickly. Toasting them a little in a skillet help keep them from getting soggy

Allow to cool completely before you pack them up to keep from sealing in steam that would also make them soggy. You can wrap these individually in aluminum foil to be reheated over a fire or just packed into a bag. They're good hot or cold and as long as they are kept in a fridge or on ice in a cooler they keep well for days.

Another great make ahead is marinated pork tenderloin. Sliced to about 3/4 of an inch (or however you like), too thick and I find it harder to judge when their done if I'm cooking in the dark and to thin they tend to overcook or burn.

Seal in a ziplock bag with your favorite marinade (I always add extra oil) and hold in the freezer until your ready to pack you cooler. They'll help keep everything else cold and keep longer. These cook quickly and can be served as a meat with sides or as sandwiches.

Stuffed cheeseburgers are fun. We eat them a lot at home and they make having a great burger while your camping simple. I mix up my favorite meatloaf recipe which basically consists of one egg per pound of meat, a splash of milk, salt and pepper, breadcrumbs and some seasoning depending on what mood I'm in. Take a handful of the burger mix and make an indention then fill with whatever cheese you like. You can get creative and add other toppings to the middle, crumbled bacon mixed into the meat is wonderful or even using taco seasoning and adding some jalapenos. Use a good lean burger for these. It will help them hold together and lessen flare ups. 

Smoosh the meat around the cheese making sure to seal in the cheese or it will ooze out, add more burger if your not sure. 

Using parchment or wax paper between makes them easier to get apart.

Pack into a ziplock bag and store these in freezer with tenderloin. Tada, super moist cheese burgers and you don't even have to pack cheese to take with you. While cooking don't be tempted to smash them or pick at them. They seem a bit crumbly at first but give them time and let them cook, they will come together and be well worth it.

Anything in a foil packet is fun and lightly seasoned potatoes can be a side with the tenderloin or (if we get lucky) fish. Chunk up potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Add salt and pepper, some garlic powder (I've found that fresh garlic tends to scorch against the foil), any herbs you like ( I added rosemary and thyme) and coat well in oil.

Pour onto foil and seal edges to make the packet.Using the heavy duty foil is a good idea, it'll stand up to different fire situations. You can cook these on a great or right on the coals.

The Boy Cave.           

Gma and Gpas' house.

Our home away from home.

This year my mom added a potty/shower tent.

We have multiple cooking options but when they're there I love these kind of fire pits. Burgers and brats for the first night because we got there a little late. 

Our nephew Keelin happened to be up from Texas where he is stationed. He brought his wife and two children and a friend and her two kids out to see us. It turned into a wonderful visit. The kids had fun and since I always cook big anyway there was plenty to go around.

 The fish were biting in the morning so by about 11:00 we enough for a big lunch. I built a fire and threw the potatoes on about 10 and seasoned my cast iron. The bigger fish we skinned and the little fellas just get cleaned and cooked, the skin just gets crisp or nearly disappears. A hot skillet and an inch or two of oil is all you need. Salt and pepper as you eat. You can fillet and coat in cornmeal or chunk up the fillets and make a quick batter of self-rising flour and beer salt and pepper. Sometimes the simplest is the best though....

The cardboard flats that stores have canned goods sitting on are a great camping trick. Uncovered they are great for letting the oil drain off fried foods and covered with foil they are great for serving off of. Another sheet of foil over the top will keep things warm until your ready.

A hand and dish washing station set up at the end of a picnic table or on a tailgate keeps everything handy and ready for the next use. A reused laundry soap jug is perfect as a small tap for hands and a bucket underneath catches the water so your not standing in mud and gives you extra to just rinse your hands or a first wash spot if you get into something really messy. I have another soap jug that is painted black that I forgot. Set in the sun and you can have fairly warm water.
We had a great trip even though it rained on us the second night. We got a warning sprinkle which gave us time to put up anything that shouldn't get wet. Down side, when the sky opened up we found that the boys had not put the tent up quit right and it was only a matter of minutes before the two of us and the three of them were all in our little house. 'Poor' boys were forced to sit in the cab of the truck and play on the phones and stuff while I cooked supper. Our camper turned out to have a little leak too, but a strategically placed placemat and a towel and bucket diverted the issue and now I know exactly where to fix. We have a very small hibachi that works well in these situations for cooking inside, but I cheated this time and used the little toaster over. (my Big Guy calls it my Easy Bake oven) Pork tenderloin was perfect in it. With my tray of sandwiches chips and dip and an umbrella I made rounds and delivered Rained like hell that night so the boys spread out among the truck seats. Next morning was nice but soggy so we had a bit of time for fishing and packing back up. As we drove away it started raining again....perfect timing!