My favorite part of camping, hands down, is the food.
And yes, we know we can make camping food at home on our firepit. But I just get so excited planning out our meals for each camping trip. However, when it comes time to getting the food together, it can be a bit daunting. Unless you are organized and that’s what we’re here for. To help you get organized!
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General Thoughts on Weekend Camping Menu Plans:
When we are making our menu plans for any upcoming camping trip, we always make sure to talk through the below questions. This helps us make a menu plan that will work for the trip we are having.
- What ingredients can pull double-duty? As you will see below, we like to focus on using either a loaf of bread…or a bag of tortillas…creating a theme to our menu. Not only does this save time, but it can also save space while packing your food.
- Can anything be cooked ahead of time and reheated at the campsite? This can help with food safety as well as make your mealtimes more relaxing.
- What kind of cooking area will you have? Is there only a campfire? Or maybe you will only have a grill available? Will there be any place to do dishes? All of these will help guide you towards what recipes you can prepare.
- Are you going to have access to a fridge and freezer? Or are you stuck with a cooler and ice? If you don’t have a fridge/freezer you are going to want to focus more on foods that don’t require refrigeration.
General Tips for Camping Meals:
We are willing to try cooking just about anything over a fire, but we do have some suggestions for ways to make it easier on everyone.
- Whenever possible, prep at home. It is easier and more sanitary to prepare your ingredients and meals at home with running water and countertops.
- Dishes known as “one pot” make quick meals without requiring a lot of thought while at the campsite.
- Practice mise en place with ingredients pre-divided in the correct size amounts before you head out the door. Bonus is that smaller containers typically pack easier in small fridges or coolers.
- Plan your meals to use similar ingredients to make packing simpler.
- Don’t forget to look at next day’s menu to see what needs to thaw overnight.
Tools We Use While Cooking:
- Aluminum Foil: We use heavy duty aluminum foil for all of our foil packet recipes. It only takes one time for your foil to fall apart during the process of cooking to realize the importance of quality foil.
- Camp Stove: There are some recipes we definitely prefer to make on our camp stove and not over the campfire.
- Cast iron skillet OR Dutch oven: Some of our favorite recipes need something deep enough to properly cook.
- Cutting board and knife: Unless you prep all your ingredients at home, you will need a knife and cutting board.
- Heat resistant gloves: If you are going to be working around a fire, at some point you will probably get burned. These gloves can help prevent that.
- Parchment Paper: Some people don’t like to cook over high heat with aluminum. Parchment paper is the way to go here. Line the inside of the foil with the paper and everything cooks the same, just without touching the foil. Bonus-the foil stays clean and can be recycled.
- Pie iron(s): We have two cast iron double pie irons, two cast iron single pie irons, and two aluminum single pie irons. Pie irons also come in a variety of specialized types such as circles, hamburger (round with slots for draining grease), hot dog/bread baker, and (hard to find) waffle versions. Most of our pie irons come from Rome.
- Tawashi brushes: These are our favorite brushes to use when cleaning our cast iron cookware. They make short work of getting items clean without needing to use soap.
How Our Weekend Camping Menus Work:
We typically camp Friday night through Sunday afternoon, so we plan on two dinners, two breakfasts, two lunches, and snacks/sides/desserts. Because we are packing up Sunday after breakfast, lunch that day tends to be eating up the leftovers from the previous meals. If you are camping for longer and need more meals, I recommend looking at this article on how to make a camping meal plan for ideas.
Note about Desserts:
You will see a dessert for every night we go camping and you might wonder at how much sugar we are giving our child, as well as eating ourselves. At home we would never eat dessert every night. But when we are camping? I know we are going to run around having fun and will burn off those calories before bed. If this doesn’t work for your family, please omit them, or come up with an alternative. Some ideas we would suggest would be popcorn or fresh fruit.
Items We Always Bring:
- Box of cereal – it can be eaten dry if we don’t have milk and it makes a nice snack while we wait for our breakfast fire to be ready.
- Bag of chips – sometimes we need something to snack on or eat with a meal and these add a nice crunch.
- Fresh fruit – we prefer ones that hold up well for travel such as apples, grapes, or melon. Choose ones you know your family will eat.
- Raw veggies – think baby carrots, cucumber slices, or bell pepper strips. We enjoy these as a snack or along with lunch.
Sample Weekend Camping Menu Plan #1:
While this is how we did it, feel free to rearrange the meals or swap out recipes you don’t like for ones that you do. It includes Steak (which becomes Pie Iron Philly Cheesesteaks the next night) and a S’mores Dip. To prepare these recipes you will need pie irons, heavy duty foil, and a cast iron skillet. Recipes are hyperlinked below when available.
- Pie Iron Breakfast Sandwiches – this was one of our first recipes and one of the classics. It takes egg, cheese, and precooked bacon with regular sandwich bread to make a nice hot breakfast before you face the day.
- Stuffed French Toast – I have fond memories of cream cheese and fruit stuffed French toast from this little diner in Santa Monica, CA I used to frequent in my college days. This pie iron version is my tribute to them.
- Hot Ham & Cheese Melts – we love to make these in two sizes: on hamburger buns for a more substantial meal and on slider buns for a quick snack. They also taste great hot, cold, or room temperature.
- PB&J Sandwiches – these can be eaten traditionally or if you want to try them heated, throw them in the pie iron and cook away!
- Steak in the Pie Iron – we started cooking steak in the pie iron when we weren’t confident about our grill one trip. This has turned into a tradition for the night before our Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches dinner.
- Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches – this is one of the classic pie iron recipes and can be done in bread or tortillas. We prefer bread for this version.
- Salad – we like to bring along some green salad for the first night of the trip. It makes us feel like we are being healthy.
- Cheesy Tots – these are a fun way to dress up some tator tots for our meal. If we don’t have tator tots, we will do the same thing with French fries.
- S’mores Sandwiches – all the tasty parts of s’mores with less of the mess? Not really, it is just another fun way to enjoy s’mores without burning your marshmallows.
- S’mores Dip – this is not less mess but it is a great way to make s’mores in bulk so they can be enjoyed even by those too young to make their own.
Weekend Camping Menu #1
|Friday||Steak in the Pie Iron |
|Saturday||Pie Iron |
|Hot Ham & |
|Philly Cheesesteak |
|Sunday||Stuffed French |
Items to Prep Ahead:
The Hot Ham & Cheese Melts are perfect to make in bulk and keep in the freezer until it is time to warm them.
Sample Weekend Camping Menu Plan #2:
Again, this is how we plan our menu but always feel free to rearrange the meals or swap out recipes you don’t like for ones that you do. This menu features foods made with tortillas such as tacos and breakfast burritos. To prepare these recipes you will need pie irons, heavy duty foil, and a cast iron skillet. Recipes are hyperlinked below when available.
- Skillet Chilaquiles – oh this one makes us drool! We first enjoyed chilaquiles at Disneyland during a character breakfast and quickly figured out how to make them at home, and then at the campsite!
- Freezer Breakfast Burritos – our original version is meat-free, we also have a sausage and potato version. Both are made in advance and heated up when we are ready to eat.
- Cast Iron Camping Nachos – this is our favorite way to clean out the refrigerator before we head off on a camping weekend. You would be surprised at what works well together when you melt it up with some cheese and chips.
- PB&J Tortilla Wraps – a simple classic for a reason. Add banana slices if you have some handy. The potassium helps with leg cramps.
- Tasty Tacos in the Pie Iron – sometimes we debate using all the taco meat at dinner or saving some for the lunchtime nachos. Your choice definitely!
- Foil Packet Steak Fajitas – another one we like to keep in our freezer for emergencies. If we aren’t camping, they cook up on the grill or in the oven just as well.
- Salsa – salsa counts as a vegetable, right? And it works with both dinners, both breakfasts, and one of our lunches.
- Fruit – we always bring fruit along although it varies depending on the season and what we are enjoying at the time. I like to bring something that will work in our desserts if possible.
- Campfire Cones – another favorite dessert that lends itself to wild creativity. Bring along an assortment of goodies and let everyone choose for themselves what to include.
- Dessert Quesadillas – this one was invented out of desperation one trip where we had extra tortillas, and my sweet tooth hit. It was a success and made it into regular rotation.
Weekend Camping Menu #2
|Friday||Tasty Tacos in the Pie Iron||Campfire Cones|
|Saturday||Skillet Chilaquiles||Cast Iron Camping Nachos||Foil Packet Steak Fajitas||Dessert Quesadillas|
|Sunday||Freezer Breakfast Burritos||PB&J Tortilla Wraps|
Items to Prep Ahead:
We hope these sample weekend camping menus are useful for your next trip. If you need a menu for a longer camping trip, check out our food category. Then, tag us on Instagram @campinganswer and show us your meals. After all, #icampforthefood.