Don't spend your vacation time over a hot campfire!

Cook-Ahead Campout Meals

by Rachel Paxton


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When you're out in the woods spending some quality time with your family, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time cooking and washing dishes. I've found that the best way to make the most of your campouts is to cook some of your food ahead of time, and to make the cooking you have to do as easy as possible.

You can wrap fish in a double layer of aluminum foil and cook in the coals of your campfire. Potatoes and corn on the cob (still in the husks) can also be wrapped in foil and cooked in the coals. Spread the coals around your packets of foil as evenly as possible so the food will cook evenly. Corn will take 10-15 minutes to cook, and potatoes about a half hour. The fish doesn't take long at all, 15 minutes or less depending on the thickness of the fish. And, don't forget the hotdogs! We always bring along some hotdogs or sausages to roast over the fire on a stick. Watermelon can be brought along and kept cold in a cool shallow creek.

The following recipes are great to prepare ahead and take with you. The chicken you can eat cold and the shredded roast beef you just warm up in a pan or in foil and serve over hamburger buns. The fruit salad keeps well for a couple of days in a cooler. Yum!

Oven-Fried Chicken

  • 3 pound fryer chicken, cut up
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash chicken and pat dry. Melt the butter and shortening together in the oven in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, salt, and pepper. Coat chicken pieces in flour and arrange skin side down in the baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over and cook for another 30 minutes.

Easy Roast Beef

  • 6 lbs. rump or chuck roast
  • 1 (14-oz.) bottle ketchup
  • 3 onions
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 3 tbsp. BBQ sauce
  • 3 tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 3 c. water

Cut onion and celery in large pieces. Dump all ingredients in large roast pan. Bake in oven about 6 hours at 300 degrees. Add more liquid if necessary. When beef if done it should pull apart and shred easily with a fork. (It seems like there is a lot of liquid, but when you pull apart the meat it absorbs most of it). Serve on fresh buns that won't fall apart easily.

Fruit Salad

  • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows (optional)
  • 1 cup coconut (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and refrigerate.

Reviewed July 2017


Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of five. For recipes, cleaning tips, gardening, frugal living, holiday hints, and more, visit her site and sign up for her weekly newsletter at CreativeHomemaking.com.

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