People have been cooking outdoors for as long as humans first learned to harness fire. In fact, in terms of human evolution, cooking in a modern indoor kitchen is a relatively new trend only made possible by technological innovations that reasonably eliminate the risk of burning down the house. Still, we often return to our early gastronomic habits when we take the party outdoors and fire up the barbecue.

cinnamon marshmallow
Humans have been sleeping under the stars for a few millennia too. At one time purely out of necessity as hunting parties traversed vast expanses of land. Today, millions of people escape into the wilderness each summer and fall for pleasure. Whether your idea of “roughing it” involves a backpack and a tent or a home-away-from-home on wheels with all of the modern conveniences, a camper must eat.

In addition to some notes on the evolution of camping and food, we’ve put together some foil-proof recipes to make meal times less time-consuming and with less cleanup to make your outdoor adventures more enjoyable.

Rouing it at the Start

Pack Some Seasonings
seasoning salt
seasoning salt, salt blend
Enhances flavor and draws juices out of meats and vegetables.
seasoning salt
jamaican jerk seasoning, spice blend
A bold blend of chipotle and cayenne peppers tempered with garlic, thyme, cinnamon, clove and allspice. Excellent with chicken and grilled vegetables.
italian seasoning
italian seasoning spice blend
This savory blend of basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, marjoram and thyme is fantastic with eggs, potato salads, and grilled vegetables, chicken and beef.
lemon pepper blend
lemon pepper blend, spice blend
Savory dried onion and garlic pair with lemon peel, black pepper and salt. Perfect for fish, shrimp and grilled chicken.
cajun spice blend
cajun spice blend spice blend
Garlic and onion partner with paprika, oregano, rosemary, cumin and cayenne pepper for a bold and flavorful dry rub and seasoning for steak, chicken, shrimp and fish.
ground black peppercorn 24 mesh
black pepper, 24 mesh
More than just a companion to sale, freshly cracked black pepper brings out the flavor of all kinds of foods.

Some Camping RECIPES
Chicken and Black Bean Nachos
chicken & black bean nachos
Easy-to-make ahead nachos in foil packets get dinner on the picnic table in minutes and cleanup couldn’t be easier…because there isn’t any! Make it even more hassle-free by making use of a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Recipe serves six.

3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
⅔ cup red onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
1 cup salsa or pico de gallo
1 ½ teaspoons Cajun Spice Blend
3 cups pepper-Jack cheese
Tortilla chips

Combine the chicken, onion, beans, corn, salsa, Cajun spice blend and one cup of the cheese in a bowl. Tear off six squares of aluminum foil (about 12-inches long). Line one side of each foil square with tortilla chips, leaving a small border at the edge. Spoon one-sixth of the chicken and cheese mixture over the chips on each foil sheet. Distribute remaining cheese over each prepared sheet. Fold foil over each packet to form a packet and crimp the edges to make a seal. Grill over indirect heat for about 8 minutes.

Shrmip Scampi
shrimp scampi
Seafood lovers will love this simple no-fuss meal! Lots of flavor without the mess. Be sure to have plenty of lemon on hand. Recipe serves four.

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons dry white wine
4 cloves garlic, minced (from a jar is fine)
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Pinch Seasoning Salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Combine shrimp, melted butter, wine, garlic, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, red pepper flakes (if using); toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper; toss again. Divide shrimp mixture into four equal portions and place in a single layer in the center of a sheet of foil about 12-inches long. Fold up sides of each foil packet to form a packet and crimp the edges to seal. Grill just until shrimp is cooked through, about 10 minutes (do not overcook!). Garnish with parsley, if desired and serve with additional lemon wedges. Tip: Serve with foil packets of cooked rice warmed up on the grill for a few minutes.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Dinner
jamaican jerk chicken dinner
This dish features tender chicken with a dry rub of Jamaican Jerk seasoning. Serve this zesty and satisfying meal-in-one with fresh cilantro, sliced or mashed avocado, and a dollop of sour cream. Recipes serves four.

4 small chicken breasts or 8 chicken tenders (2 for each person)
2 tablespoons Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole corn, drained (or 1 cup frozen)
½ cup salsa
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

Pat dry chicken with paper towels and place on a plate. Using clean fingers, rub each piece with Jamaican Jerk seasoning so that each is lightly coated. Use tongs to turn each piece to coat the other side. Set chicken aside. Lightly spray four sheets of foil about 12-inches long with cooking spray. Toss the corn and black beans together in a bowl, and place one-fourth of the mixture onto one side of each sheet of foil, leaving a border at the edge. Top each with a chicken breast (or two tenders). Distribute the salsa and shredded cheese between each foil sheet. Fold the foil edges to make a packet and crimp to seal. Cook over hot coals 30 to 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, turning twice. If cooking on a gas grill, turn only once.

Grilled Pizza Boats
grilled pizza boats
Pizza on the grill? Yes! And who doesn’t love pizza? This fun recipe is always a hit with adults and kids alike. Choose your favorite toppings. Jarred pizza sauce makes putting this meal together fast and super easy. Recipe serves 4.

1 large loaf Italian bread, split half lengthwise
1 (15-ounce) jar pizza sauce
Assorted toppings of choice (sliced pepperoni, sliced olives, chopped onions and peppers, etc.)
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Scoop out the bread a bit from each bread half to make a “boat.” (Sautee scooped-out bread in butter when it dries out to make a crumb coating or topping for another meal.) Spread pizza sauce onto each half, followed by your selection of toppings. Sprinkle each half with Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes, if using. Distribute the cheese between both halves. Wrap each bread boat loosely in foil and place on the grill for 10-12 minutes. Let cool before slicing into wedges. Each half serves two people.

French Toast in the Forest
french toast in the forest
Wake up your campers with the aroma of sweet French Toast wafting through the fresh morning air! For best results, use a quality loaf of white bread from the bakery. You could also use slices of French bread or raisin bread. Serves 4 to 6, depending on the bread used.

¼ cup butter, softened
5 large eggs
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1 loaf bread, sliced
1 cup sliced strawberries, for serving
¼ cup powdered sugar, for garnish
Maple syrup, for serving

Grease a sheet of foil large enough to cradle the loaf on the bottom with butter. Place a second sheet underneath and pull it up to hug the loaf. Mix the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon. vanilla, and salt together with a whisk in a large measuring cup or bowl with a pour spout. Pour mixture evenly over an in-between bread slices. Cover the top of the loaf with foil. Place on a rack over the fire or on the top rack of the grill. You want indirect heat here or the loaf may burn. Let the loaf “bake” for 35-40 minutes. Let cool a bit before opening the foil. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve with sliced strawberries and maple syrup, if you wish.

Cheesy Asparagus Spears
cheesy asparagus spears
Asparagus cooked over indirect heat results in tender but still crisp spears. And cheese! Recipe makes four servings.

1 pound asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, mince
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella
½ cup grated parmesan

Place four sheets of aluminum foil on a flat surface (each large enough to hold ¼ of the asparagus). Combine asparagus, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Distribute asparagus evenly between the foil sheets. Sprinkle each with the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Fold foil to make a packet and seal the edges. Cook on top rack of grill for 20 minutes. Let packets cool for a few minutes before opening.

Bacon Ranch Potatoes
bacon ranch potatoes
This side of potato "coins" roasted in a sauce of ranch dressing and melted cheese is almost a meal in itself. You can use regular baking potatoes (unpeeled), but Yukon gold yields a creamier texture. Be generous with the cooking spray to prevent sticking. Recipe serves four.

1 pound potatoes, scrubbed and sliced
½ cup ranch dressing
4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
¼ cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Tear off four sheets of foil large enough to ¼ of the potatoes; spray each with non-stick cooking spray. Combine potato slices, dressing, bacon pieces, cheese, Italian Seasoning and salt and pepper; toss to mix. Fold over foil to form a packet and seal. Place packets on grill and cook 15 minutes. Turn packets over and cook another 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Berry Good Campfire Crisp
berry good campfire crisp
This sweet treat is incredible served with whipped cream for breakfast, with vanilla ice cream for an after dinner dessert, or as-is for a late night snack. Use fresh raspberries or blueberries, or a combination of berries. Recipes serves four.

3 cups fresh berries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup brown sugar, divided
2 cups rolled oats
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
⅓ chopped pecans walnuts (optional)
¼ cup butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

Tear off four sheets of foil and generously spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine berries, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon brown sugar; set aside. In another bowl, combine oats, flour, walnuts if using), cubed butter, remaining brown sugar, cinnamon and salt; mix with a fork until mixture is crumbly. Distribute half of the berry mixture between each sheet of foil. Do the same with half the crumb topping. Repeat with another layer of berries and crumb topping. Fold over foil packets and seal. Grill for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly.

Campfire Popcorn
campfire popcorn
Popcorn takes on a smoky flavor when cooked on an open fire. Be sure to wrap it well and give it a shake now and then. Once there’s a lull in the popping sound, pull the packet off of the fire. Note: It may seem like a lot of oil goes into this, but it really is necessary to promote popping and to prevent scorching. Recipe makes about 3 cups.

2 tablespoons popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
pinch of sea salt

Tear off a sheet of foil 18-20 inches in length. Place the oil in the center of foil, followed by the popcorn kernels on top. Sprinkle with salt. Fold the foil up and crimp at the edges and two or three times at the top to form a handle (be sure to leave enough room for the kernels to pop). Hold the packet over the fire with long-handled tongs (alternatively, poke a skewer through the top band of foil) and give it a gentle shake now and then. As soon the popping stops, remove the packet from the fire. Let cool a few minutes before opening -- it will be hot!

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