Our family loves vacation – doesn’t everyone? Whether it’s a skiing vacation, trip to the beach, or camping, we all just enjoy spending uninterrupted quality time together. That being said, we aren’t really “hotel” people. We are more “rent a cabin or house” people. I love this for many reason. First, you usually get to spread out more, and the adults can have adult time after the kids go to bed. Also, you can limit the amount of food you eat out. While I love eating out, I can quickly get tired of it. I would prefer to eat the majority of my breakfasts and lunches at home, then splurge on dinners (and desserts!) out.
So when we do go on vacation, I generally bring the majority of our food with us when we leave. I HATE grocery shopping on vacation! What I’ve also started doing is prepping a lot of the food ahead of time. While it’s no secret that I love to cook, it’s not something I really want to be doing on vacation. I would rather be relaxing or playing with the kids. I’ve actually gotten quite efficient with my meal/food prepping, so I wanted to share the process (and end result!) of our last camping trip.
Anytime I food prep, I devise a plan. I want to be super efficient with my time, so I try and have multiple things happening at the same time (ie: rice cooking while I’m chopping veggies). Since I was prepping 3 days worth of meals, I created a list of the order I needed to do everything so that I didn’t spend all day in the kitchen. Plus, I didn’t want to keep turning the oven on and off. I know this seems super crazy, but believe me, it worked like a charm!
First up – loaded oatmeal raisin cookies! I did the majority of the food prep on Thursday after school (we left Friday afternoon) so the kids wanted to get in on the action. Although I think their motive had more to do with licking the beaters than actually helping…
While these were baking, I started work on my breakfast sandwiches. These turned out SO GREAT, and I was able to share the leftovers with my sister and brother-in-law who just had their second baby. Full recipe coming soon! I cracked 20 eggs into 2 Pyrex dishes – and was able to pop them in the oven as soon as the cookies came out.
Next up – drop biscuits. These actually only have 3 ingredients (Kodiak Cake mix, milk, and butter) so they take no time at all. And they are SUPER delicious, especially straight out of the oven. These went into the oven as soon as I pulled the eggs out. The cookies, eggs, and biscuits all cooked at the same temperature, which made things easy.
Once the biscuits were in the oven I got to work on my corn muffins. Again, these were ready to go in the oven right as I was pulling the biscuits out. I just needed to raise the temperature of the oven to 425. We ate these on Sunday night on the side of piping hot bowls of chili.
While the corn muffins were cooking, I laid out 2 packages of bacon on 2 baking sheets (my recipe for the BEST bacon found here). While I was waiting for the corn muffins to finish baking I started cleaning up the kitchen a bit. I should have taken a picture of that – holy cow did I make a mess! When Nathan got home from the gym he said it looked like a bomb had gone off. And I’m usually a pretty neat baker (I’m sure this surprises nobody)…
Once I pulled the corn muffins out, the bacon went right in. By this time I was getting a little tired of the kitchen, but I had my eye on the prize. Next up – chili! I started by browning 1lb ground beef. While this was cooking I started adding the rest of the ingredients to my container (beans, diced tomatoes, beef broth, onion, and spices). Once the beef was done I simply added that, and closed the container up to be reheated at camp. No picture of this, but here is what a batch of my favorite chocolate chili looks like simmering away in the crockpot.
After the chili was done, the eggs and bacon were cool enough to assemble the breakfast sandwiches. This was a bit tedious, but the end result was 16 breakfast sandwiches that just had to be warmed up on the fire.
At this point I was DONE. I finished cleaning up the kitchen and headed to the couch to relax a bit. The next morning, however, I was right back to it. Time to assemble my yogurt parfaits! This took no time at all, and was super delicious at camp. Only thing I will change next time is to do less yogurt and more granola. And I might do a layer of granola in the middle (although this might make the granola soggy).
Once these were done, I got started on the burritos (chicken, black beans, and cheese). I made one for each of us, and made sure to label them on the outside of the foil. These were Friday night’s dinner, and they were really good. Heated up on the fire gave them just enough crispy char, and we ate chips and guac on the side.
Once these were done, I started on my scout stew foil packs. Ground beef, potatoes, onion, carrots, and corn covered in Lipton soup mix (the key ingredient in my opinion). Again, we made one for each of us and labeled them. Nathan’s was huge! We ate these on Saturday night with the drop biscuits on the side.
Here is the scene with everything laid out. Looks insane, right?
After that I made my chicken salad, which we ate for lunches at camp. It was just grilled and shredded chicken, diced celery, walnuts, craisins, mayo, and a little onion powder. It tasted really good and was a great alternative to lunch meat and pb&j sandwiches.
And with that, it was time to pack the cooler and head out! I don’t usually prep this much food for a normal vacation where we have access to a full kitchen and refrigerator, but with camping it was so nice to not have to worry about cooking at camp. And because most things were wrapped and cooked in foil, the dishes were a minimum as well. Nathan was super excited about that! I’ll dedicate another post to how these meals turned out during our trip.