We are tent camping twice this summer. Once is for 3 nights, the other for 7. We have a Coleman stove, griddle as well as a BBQ.
I've been looking for meals that you can make at home and simply heat and eat during the week. The meals I've come across so far are kind of meals to eat later that same day by bringing a warm crock pot or something.
I'd like something that you could make at home and possibly freeze and stick in a cooler and eat 3 days later or so. Can anyone point me in the right direction or give ideas? Thanks!
For our trips, I make things like spaghetti and beef stew at home and freeze it in ziploc bags, one serving per bag. Lasagna is another good one, but it doesn't take too well to bags or camp stove reheating. Essentially, anything you can cook and freeze will do ok. Definitely a good change from sandwiches and burgers. I also freeze meat such as pork tenderloin to be defrosted as our trip progresses.
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The problem is keeping a frozen meal frozen in a cooler.
It is hard to beat canned goods. Bacon and beans is a delight. Canned spaghetti is good, and canned stew on a cool night is wonderful.
I make a good soup from canned chicken and canned mixed vegetables with some macaroni elbows. I fill the chicken can with water. It makes up about 8 generous servings and is an easy "reheat" the next day.
There is also Lorretta brand macaroni and cheese. It requires no added milk or butter as the cheese mixture is a thick liquid in a sealed foil bag. I get mine at the dollar store.
I also make up a pancake mix--using powdered milk so all I have to do is add water, oil and stir.
While you are at the dollar store check out the packages of rice--and of things such as scalloped potatoes.
We usually buy the pancake mix that just needs water so that's already on the list. I'm sure burgers, dogs, steak and chicken will also be on the list too. lol
I plan on at least 2 coolers. One for our meals, one for our drinks. No contamination and the meals cooler can stay closed pretty much all the time. Any meals that you can freeze and reheat in something like tin foil? Pretty much like everyone gets a ball of tin foil that has their entire meal in it?
For three or four days, the sky is the limit. Anything you make (or buy) in a casserole dish will work, like stews or lasagna.
For seven or more nights, shelf life in your cooler might be a concern. For longer periods I make a couple of meals from scratch at the campsite with planned leftovers. For example, frozen chicken breasts will keep in a cooler for three or four days with no problem. But I intentionally cook up enough for two meals. The cooked leftovers, in turn, are now good for another four or five days, or 9 or 10 days total. Whereas raw chicken kept in a cooler for 9 or 10 days would be suspect.
While not a meal in itself, I also like those individual ham steaks in sealed bags as a quick cook/grilled item with an extremely long shelf life in your cooler.
I don't know how big your cooler is, but I camp for 2 or 3 weeks at a stretch. So cooler space and routine ice replacement is a consideration. I find I get more convenience out of making making meals with intentional leftovers.
I do the same thing with beef as I do with chicken. When the ground beef in my cooler starts to get that "look", I make up a pasta dish that is good for 3 meals spread out over the next week.
I usually put chicken breasts and pork tenderloin in big ziplock bags with their marinade and freeze them. Just thaw out and cook on the grill at the campground.
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One of things I will do on the first night is fire up the grill for the first nights dinner. I also go ahead and cook 2-3 days worth of different meats (chicken/sausages/pork) while I am at it. Then it is just a matter of re-heating. When I run out, it's time to fire up the grill again.
I always take along prepared meals in Ziploc bags. Things like tomato and meat sauce, sausage and beans, sliced roast beef in gravy. Use a cookie sheet, squeeze all the air from the Ziploc bag, lay the filled bag flat to freeze and the meals stack like books - flat or upright.
Use "dry ice" and the meals will stay frozen in a closed cooler for a long time.
I usually also make a container of tuna salad for quick sandwiches, cole slaw, brocoli salad, a veggie tray and boiled eggs. All will stay cold enough with ice below and above.