Going on a summer camping trip? No need to lug your hefty Dutch oven to cook a feast in the woods. With a little planning, you can whip up loads of good eats and drinks on an easy-to-carry camp stove. That's the twig-burning BioLite pictured above, at my campsite in Joshua Tree National Park. It's featured in "Go Camping" (a round-up of camp kitchen gear) in the July/August issue of the magazine, and it's up for grabs on our sweepstakes page!
Below, four handy tips for cooking and dining in the great outdoors:
DRESS UP YOUR OATMEAL Skip sugary oatmeal packets, and pack your own DIY mix. Try this: Combine instant rolled oats with trail-friendly goodies like freeze-dried blueberries and chia seeds, then top with hearty shredded coconut, chopped nuts, and/or almond butter. Bring Justin's nut butter packets so you don't have to carry a whole jar.
USE QUICK-COOKING GRAINS The smaller, the better. Couscous and orzo take a lot less time to make with a cook stove than, say, fettuccine. Try this: Mix freshly cooked couscous with your favorite chopped veggies and seasonings. Pick stuff that tastes great raw, such as bell peppers, red onion, and cucumber—prepped at home and stuck in ziplock bags in your cooler. (Who wants to be chopping while camping?) Add chickpeas and/or feta to bulk up the meal.
MAKE SAUCES AHEAD AND FREEZE THEM They'll keep everything else in your cooler extra-cold. Try this: Freeze homemade basil pesto in ice cube trays, then transfer pesto cubes to small freezer bags and store in your cooler. Warm them up over very low heat when you're ready to slather on pasta, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, you name it.
DON'T FORGET THE CHOCOLATE For munching, yes, but also for making warm-you-up hot chocolate post-sunset. Try this: Grate a disc of Mexican chocolate at home, and put shavings in a small Mason jar along with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder, and cardamom. At camp, boil water and melt into a luscious treat.
What are your favorite camping foods? Share in the comments below!