Reservations are booked, tent and sleeping bags are packed—all that’s left is to pack the cooler! But as you could imagine, preparing for family meals while in the great outdoors can be quite a challenge.
Easy-to-grab processed foods and snacks like bars and donuts are tempting but won’t suffice when it comes to providing well-balanced meals to keep everyone energized and happy while on the go. At the same time, a full cooler of raw meats and produce can be overwhelming to say the least. Nobody wants to spend hours fireside preparing meals.
With that in mind, we put together a list of easy-prep, easy-cook meals (and treats!) that you and your kids will love sitting down to eat together a long day enjoying the outdoors.
Some require a little kitchen prep ahead of time while others need little more than some quick slicing, a roaring campfire and a sheet of aluminum foil or skewers to cook and enjoy.
Grilled Mini Pizzas
English muffins, pizza sauce and a mix of desired toppings is all your family will need to make these delicious grilled mini pizzas. This is the perfect meal for families with drastically different tastes or for picky eaters—everyone can leave off or add on whatever toppings they desire to make their pizza pie!
Hot Dogs on a Stick
Take a fresh spin from a traditional go-to with this hot dog on a stick recipe. The novelty here is that each person can cook their own meal right over the fire on a skewer—“bun” and all! It’s like the fun of s’mores but for dinner. Pair with ketchup and some fresh veggies on the side and you have a meal that will leave everyone full and happy.
Campfire Spinach Dip
Sneak in some veggies with this spinach dip recipe perfect for mixing up your campfire menu. Rich and cheesy, your kids will love it almost as much as mac and cheese! It’s easy to mix, heat and enjoy with a warm loaf of French bread from the fire.
The clean up on this walking taco meal is hard to beat! Ground beef or turkey cooked in taco seasoning added to an individual bag of chips with added taco ingredients like chopped lettuce and tomatoes is all it takes. The chip bag holds it all together, and everyone controls their serving size and ingredients. You can cook the meat ahead of time in your home kitchen or fireside if you bring a skillet. If you love this, take a look at the BBQ pork version of the same recipe.
These camping quesadillas include veggies, protein, carbohydrates and fats to round out your perfect day outdoors. This is another one that you can cook right in the fire with foil, as long as you’ve grilled the chicken ahead of time (prepare at home or at the campground grill), and is great for easy clean-up!
A little more prep heavy, the flavor on these breakfast burgers is a fan favorite. The recipe includes step-by-step directions on preparing your own savory biscuits (recommended to do prior to leaving for camp) to eat on their own or use for the buns in this breakfast burger—perfect for when those coals are still hot from the night before and everyone is tired of cereal.
While these aren’t a meal in and of themselves, we couldn’t skip out on including this simple-to-make and irresistible-to-devour snack that your kids will love. A basic set of ingredients and almost no prep, this banana boat recipe is a refreshing break from s’mores with a little bit of extra nutrients packed in.
Chicken and Black Bean Nachos
Pre-cook or grab a rotisserie chicken at your local market for one of these great nacho recipes. Packed with flavor and easily warmed up in foil or a Dutch oven, these campfire nachos are the perfect way to feed your whole family without too much stress at the campground.
Cheesy Garlic Fries in Foil
These cheesy garlic fries are addicting and easy to make. Baked in foil (at home or by the campfire), they’re perfect for on-the-go meals outdoors. Simply load up a serving for each family member and set them over the coals to cook. This is the perfect way to keep your family warm, full and happy.
Chicken Foil Packets
Here’s yet another foil meal for campground cooking! These two chicken foil packets offer different flavor spins on the same idea. Whether you go for the sweet and tangy pineapple chicken or the sweet and spicy BBQ chicken foil pack, you’re going to have a meal full of veggies and protein that everyone will love. Raw chicken isn’t the easiest to take on the go, so don’t forget to cut and pack it ahead of time, or fully cook the chicken prior to hitting the road.
Camping Mac n’ Cheese
Finally, there’s nothing like a classic comfort food to make a campground feel a little more like home. Kids never say no to mac n’ cheese, and you’ll be hard pressed to turn down an opportunity to add a meal this satisfying to your menu. Grab an aluminum pie pan and get ready to make this camping version!
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