Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Foodie Friday: Camping Edition!

First and foremost, let me just set the record straight.  There are no calories when camping!  There are also no calories on date weekend, date night, girls night, Saturday mornings, or at Sunday dinner.  With that being said, let me introduce you to Foodie Friday: Camping Edition!

While I do LOVE a nice hotdog or sausage cooked over the open fire that is lightly charred with chopped onion and spicy brown mustard, it is also so fun to change things up a little bit.  One of the most beautiful things about camping is that there is just NO rush.  There is nowhere to be, no DVR to catch up on, no cell phone service and that my friends is glorious.  So why not prepare some gourmet food to go with your gourmet views?

We tried several new things this weekend... most of which were super easy!  The prep work is all done in your home, before you leave for the weekend, while you're surrounded by your modern day kitchen amenities.  When you get to the camp site your main job is to sit back, relax, and smell the delicious food cooking over an open fire.

See information at the end of the post for help with the basics of cooking with a dutch oven and grilling with charcoal.  It's really pretty simple once you get the hang of it :-)

In addition to what you see below, Brian also made a beef stew and paired with his Mom's cast iron cornbread that was so amazing I can't even think of an adjective to do it justice.  He and I shared a large bowl, dumped the cornbread in, and topped it with the stew.  I'm so glad no one else was around to watch us devour it... it was pretty embarrassing.  It was a continuous spoon, bowl, mouth motion barely allowing time to breath.  More on Brian's awesome meal later.  It really does warrant it's own post!



Onion Bombs On The Grill

Sorry veg friends... you may have to pass on this one.  One of my guilty pleasures and all time favorite foods is meatloaf.  This awesome dish is made with large white onions, meatloaf, and topped with a special sauce.  The concept is so easy!

Take a large white onion. Cut it in half removing the center of the onion to create an open ball/hollow area in the center. Prepare a meatloaf with whatever recipe you choose.  Make a large ball of meatloaf and place in the center hole of the onion repositioning the second half of the onion so that it looks whole again.  Wrap twice in foil and throw it in your cooler.  Mix up your sauce and place in quart size ziplock.

When you get to the campsite, simply throw the foil balls onto the grill (direct heat), turning every 10-15 minutes, and cooking for one hour.  Remove foil and you're DONE!  Top with sauce.

The sauce is so easy.  Make a small foil boat and heat only the grill for 2-3 minutes until warm. Pour over onion bombs.  

We served this with asparagus that we tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 tbs lemon juice, and parmesan and romano cheese. We grilled this in a foil boat until tender.

While the photos may not make the onion bombs look super appealing (it's hard to get great food photos in the woods!) trust me when I tell you they are to DIE FOR!  

Onion Bombs
4 large white onions
Meatloaf recipe made with 1lb ground beef

1/4 cup Sweet and Spicy Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbs brown sugar


Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls
(recipe from

This recipe is also made 100% at home, frozen, and then brought to your campsite ready to be cut and placed in the dutch oven.  This makes for an easy, stress free morning that allows you to have coffee and watch the sunrise while breakfast is cooking away!  This is slightly labor intensive at home just as any homemade bread can be... but it is SO worth it!

Cinnamon Rolls
1 pkg active dry yeast
2 tbs honey
1 1/4 cups warm milk
4 tbs melted and cooled butter
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 1/3 cups flour

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
6 tbs softened butter

1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbs honey
1 tbs prepared coffee

1. Prepare your dough.  In stand mixer or bowl comping yeast with 1/4 cup warm water and honey. Stir together. Let sit for approximately five minutes until it starts to bubble. Add milk, melted butter, eggs, and salt. Mix together.  Using a dough hook, slowly add flour one cup at a time mixing on medium low speed until smooth and elastic. This takes about 10 minutes.  Place dough in an oiled mixing bowl, cover with damp towel, and let it rise until the size has doubled. This will take about an hour.

After dough has risen, punch it down to release some of the air, lightly flour your work space, and roll dough into 12" by 24" rectangle.

2. Prepare your filling.  Spread 6 tbs of butter over rolled out dough.  Mix all other filling ingredients and spread equally over dough.

3.  Once dough is rolled out and filling is spread evenly begin rolling the dough towards you.  You want to roll it from the longer side so that you have a roll that is 24" long. Pinch ends.  Cut into two pieces.  Lightly oil a gallon size ziplock, toss it (carefully!) into the ziplock and put into the freezer until the morning you leave.  It needs to be frozen for at least 6 hours and can be stored for up to 1 month.

4. Mix icing ingredients in small bowl and pour into a ziplock.  Make sure you use coffee that has been prepared and not grounds.

Ready to camp??
Simply get your logs out of the ziplock, slice into 1.5" to 2" rolls.  Grease dutch oven with peanut oil (remember to get the sides). Arrange cinnamon rolls so they're touching.  Let them stand for about 30 minutes in the sun to warm up a bit.  Bake in dutch oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  

Pour icing on top and enjoy!


Breakfast Burritos

These are also made 100% at home and simply tossed on the grill!  

1 lb chorizo sausae
6 hot/medium hot peppers
1 large white onion
2 cloves garlic
6 large eggs
2 cups of cheese (I used Mexican blend)
1 pkg medium tortilla shells

Sautee chorizo sausage separate from onions, peppers, and garlic.  Prepare scrambled eggs as 
you normally would.  Fill tortillas with a layer of scrambled egg, chorizo, peppers, onions, and cheese.  Fold and wrap in saran wrap individually.  Place 3-4 in a ziplock and freeze the night before you leave.

The morning of simply get them out of the cooler and throw them on the grill using INDIRECT heat.  See photo below for our first attempt when we tried using direct heat... epic failure!!  Grill slowly until golden brown and warm to touch.  

Top with salsa and sour cream.

Indirect heat using direct heat just to brown at end.
Direct heat disaster!


TennTucky Cobbler
(recipe from

1 cup sugar
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups fresh or frozen berries
1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 cup sugar (for topping)

This cobbler is so easy and so delicious!! 

Lightly oil dutch oven.  You can even premix all of your ingredients at home (leave out the berries and cinnamon). Pour batter into dutch oven, sprinkle berries on top of batter, top with sugar and cinnamon.  Brian prefers tart deserts and isn't big on sugar so he recommended leaving the sugar off the top!  The beauty is that you can use any fruit that you choose.  We used a mixture of blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

There are no photos of our fabulous cobbler because we literally made it under a tarp, at 10:00pm, in the pouring rain!  

I'm a firm believer in knowing the how and why of what you're doing before doing it.  Below are the very basics of dutch oven cooking and grilling with charcoal.

Basics Of Dutch Oven Cooking
I did quite a bit of research on this cooking method before we left for fear that we would be in the middle of the woods with burnt food... and I don't do well when I'm hungry :)

Dutch ovens are meant to cook food with even heat distribution with relatively low heat.  Make sure for camping that you get a dutch oven with legs and an inset lid.  Also, make sure it is well seasoned! Having a well seasoned piece of cast iron can make or break you success!  There are tons of methods and articles on how to do this.  Take the time and make sure you do it!  
Here are the need-to-know basics.

1. The oven works by putting coals below the dutch oven and also on the lid.

2.  There is a formula to use to calculate how many coals to use.  For 350 degrees use this easy +2/-2 formula.
Find the diameter of your dutch oven (There is a number printed on the lid... ours is 10")
Coals on top is diameter +2 (12 for us)
Coals on bottom is diameter -2 (8 for us)

3.  Arrange the coals below the dutch oven in a circle so that there is no heat directly below the cooking surface. This helps avoid burning the bottom of your food.

4. Arrange to coals on the lid in a circle and also with coals in the middle. 2/3 around the perimeter and 1/3 in the center.  We lined 8 coals around the edge and 4 in the middle.

5. To increase by 100 degrees add 4 coals to the top and one to the bottom.

Basics Of Grilling With Charcoal
1. Weber makes small briquettes to start charcoal. Use them!  Place one under your charcoal chimney.

2. Fill chimney with charcoal and light briquettes with long lighter.

3. Let charcoal heat and burn until the charcoal on top is white with red embers.

4. Pour into grill.

5. Decide on direct vs. indirect cooking
Direct cooking means all charcoal is evenly dispersed throughout the grill and your food is being cooked directly above the charcoal.
Indirect is when the charcoal heats the food indirectly by being placed on one side of the grill while the food is on the other.


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