I'll be honest, we eat A LOT of PB&J lunches while we're hiking. But I also really like food - cooking it and eating it. And I can be a little obsessive about making sure we’re getting enough vegetables. So after a long day of hiking we try to relax and refuel our bodies with a more well rounded meal. We have had our fair share of trial and error trying to find food that is:
b.) easy to cook with camping supplies,
c.) won’t require us to have a cooler for multiple days
But these are some of our go to recipes that hit the spot after a day on the trails:
*Seasoned couscous and spinach with chicken*
- **Equipment:** Jet boil, can opener/multi tool
- **Ingredients:** 1 box of seasoned couscous, 1 large container canned chicken (or tuna), freeze dried spinach
- **Prep time:** 10 min max
- **Directions:** Heat water to boiling in the jet boil. Stir in the couscous, a handful of freeze dried spinach, and seasoning mix. Take off the heat and let stand for 5 min. Mix in your protein of choice. I prefer canned chicken, but tuna will work as well.
- **Notes:** I buy large containers of freeze dried vegetables off of amazon and then pack a ziploc bag full before we go. If you're a mushroom lover, canned mushrooms go really well mixed in as well.
*Turkey sausages with mashed potatoes and green beans*
- **Equipment:** campfire (or cook stove with a pan large enough for sausages), jetboil
- **Ingredients:** Fully cooked chicken or turkey sausages, instant mashed potatoes, canned vegetables of your choice
- **Prep/cook time:** 20 min
- **Directions:** Heat up the sausages whichever way makes the most sense. You can use a stick or a grate to cook them over the campfire or heat them up in a pan attachment for your cook stove. Boil water for the mashed potatoes and stir. Heat the vegetables in a separate pan or in the embers of the campire.
- **Notes:** Instant mashed potatoes can turn into boiling lava in a jet boil... be CAREFUL and be ready to take the container away from the flame quickly
I find that the french style green beans heat up a little better because they're thinner.
* **Equipment:** Aluminum Foil, Knife, campfire Jetboil (Optional)
* **Ingredients:** Chicken breast, Fresh vegetables (We like red onion, potato, peppers, broccoli), seasoning (optional, but encouraged)
* **Prep/book time:** 20-30 min
* **Directions:** Cut up chicken and vegetables into rough bite size pieces. Cut a ~1ft piece of aluminum foil for each serving of food you expect. Arrange chicken and vegetables on the foil. Top with seasoning if you have it. We find that grill seasonings work the best here since they typically have all of the essentials (salt, pepper, garlic). Fold the aluminum foil into a pocket so that the food is secure. Wrap a second layer of aluminum foil around it to prevent burning. Arrange the silver turtles on the embers of the fire or on a grate. Carefully turn after 5-10 minutes. Remove from fire after an additional 5-10 minutes. Open the packet and check for done-ness
* **Notes:** I like to boil the potatoes in the jet boil for ~5 min before putting them in the foil packs. Otherwise I have a hard time getting them to cook up soft.
This dish also works great for steak fajitas! Especially if you can find a pre-marinated flank steak!
*Other great and quick dinners*
- Easy mac and a can of tuna
- Kielbasa sausage with a can of beans
These are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE! The banana cooks in the embers until it’s soft and sweet like banana pie! Throw some chocolate in there and I would take it over a smore any day! (plus it’s less messy and healthier)
* **Equipment:** aluminum foil, campfire, knife
* **Ingredients:** Bananas, chocolate, miscellaneous fillings (Marshmallows, candy bars, peanut butter)
* **Prep/cook time:** 20 min
* **Directions:** Take a whole banana (peel still on) and slice it lengthwise. You want to slice through the top skin and most of the way through the fruit, but do not slice all of the way to the skin on the other side. You should be able to open it slightly like a hot dog bun when you’re done. Fill it up with your favorite toppings (some ideas below). Wrap it all up in aluminum foil and twist at each end to seal. Place the banana boat on the hot coals of your fire (not directly in the flame). Cook for about 5-10 minutes and then rotate if you can. Cook for another 5-10 minutes. Unwrap, let cool, and enjoy!
* **Notes:** Reuse other food items that you bought in the banana boat. For example, I always put some peanut butter in mine since we have it on hand from sandwiches. Jelly is a good occasional item as well. Leave a long tail/handle when wrapping the bananas in aluminum foil. It will make it easier to turn/move the banana boat while cooking. Let it cool before digging in - the end site will be hot as lava.
*Campfire birthday cake!*
We went to Zion on my birthday this year. We figured out you can cook cake with the jetboil!
* **Equipment:** Jet boil, two pots for a double boiler, aluminum foil
* **Ingredients:** Individual microwavable dessert cake, water
* **Prep time:** 10 mins
* **Directions:** Combine the cake mix and appropriate amount of water per package instructions in a shallow pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Place a larger pot of water to boil over the jetboil heat source. Position the cake pan on top of the boiling water to create a double boiler. Cook for 10 minutes and then check for done-ness. Voila! birthday cake by the campfire!