Trees are budding, grass is greening, the white bass are running, and this is the view from our little camping trailer. We had a few perfect days on Beaver Lake in Arkansas this week, as we enjoyed our work in progress trailer makeover. You can see the results atthymelesssageandrandomrants.wordpress.com.
It’s a challenge, sometimes, to plan meals when your main focus is on fishing. There’s nothing better than a skillet of bacon and some potatoes frying on the 40 year old Coleman Camp Stove we are still using. But, that’s probably just not gonna’ happen when the bass are hot. We want to be on the water ASAP, and we might not come in until afternoon, starving ravished and too impatient to wait on food to cook.
A little preparation ahead of time makes life on the water much easier.I’m always looking for new camping tips, and in this post, I’m sharing the things that worked, and didn’t, on this camping trip.
Keeping the breakfast issue in mind, I saw these make ahead breakfast sandwiches here.
I made several of these, using ham instead of bacon…a sort of homemade Egg McMuffin
. I followed directions for wrapping them in a paper towel, freezing them, and taking them directly from the freezer to the microwave; no dishes, no mess. I considered this a FAILURE. The English muffin
heated to toughness while the eggs inside were still cold. This might work better in a different microwave or thawed before cooking, but we just didn’t care for the taste. It was filling, however, and served its purpose well. After that first morning, however, we were good to grab a protein bar and a cup of coffee and go.
Before leaving home, I made a big pot of chili and put half of it in the freezer. The plan was to use it in a variety of ways that would not seem like we were eating leftover chili five days in a row! Frito Pie, of course, was the first on the menu. A staple for our camping trips, this simple recipe calls for a cup of chili, a handful of Fritoes, shredded cheese and sour cream on top. If you have the small, individual sized bags, you can mix the chili and fixins right in the bag and eat it with a spoon.
The second chili menu item I planned was chili mac. I had precooked elbow macaroni, drained it, dumped in a jar of Ragu, and poured the mixture into a gallon sized baggie. When lunch time rolled around, I mixed it with, you guessed it, chili, and topped it with some grated Parmesan cheese. And here’s another camping tip: Save all the little trays from WW and other frozen microwave meals. They are perfect for the camping trailer, and a good way to reuse trash recyclables. I spooned one tray full of chili mac and topped it with another tray to avoid the mess in the microwave. Another SUCCESS. Still, we were tired of chili after that, so I ditched the idea of the baked potato topped with chili and onions and the chili dogs.
Dinner is another subject. Sometimes, we are too tired for the ordeal and others, we enjoy the process. The weather is also a factor. Even though we have a very cute little four burner stove complete with oven, we like to cook outside whenever possible. Kabobs can be quick and quite delightful if prior prep has been done. I had washed and cut up chunks of yellow squash, red peppers, and mushrooms. Into the baggie they went. I parboiled the potato and onion chunks since they take longer to cook on the grill. They, too, went into a bag with chunks of Polish sausage. Each bag was doused with Italian dressing to marinate.
The kabob plan is coming together perfectly…except that we forgot that we had taken the skewers and hot dog roasters out of the trailer. No failure here, though. Have foil will cook. (Most of you are probably too young to get that play on words; Have gun will travel, old TV show…oh, well.) I wrapped it hobo style and threw it on the fire grate. It would have been better had I used heavy duty foil. The trip from the grate to the plate was messy a near disaster, but we rescued plenty before the rest slid into the fire.
I consider this a DO-OVER. It was delicious, but would have been so much prettier on the skewers.
So, the next night, I wanted to try some new with the old. The old is a time tested Boy Scout recipe and my favorite way of making potatoes.A sheet of foil, enough to wrap everything and pinch the ends together, slices of bacon on the bottom, slices of potato and onion on top, salt and pepper. That’s it. A no-fail technique. I like it best when the bacon on bottom gets perfectly charred crisp.
And we wanted to try something new I’d seen on Pinterest. Again, hampered, but not to be thwarted by the lack of roasting sticks, my husband, aka Saint, as in Garage Sale Saint because he is great to take my mom and me to garage sales and load and unload our stash purchase, sharpened a forked stick so we could try this. We slid frozen slightly thawed, precooked link sausages onto the stick and wrapped them with canned biscuits. We roasted them like hot dogs until the biscuit was browned and the sausage was heated through.
We smeared a little butter (I know, I know, but fishing is really hard work and we found some great hiking paths I’ll show you later) and these little bundles were quite tasty. Next time I think I will use crescent rolls. Hint, do not use the thick biscuits as they burn before getting done.Mostly SUCCESS but will be even better with proper sticks and crescent roll DO-OVER.
And finally, an old reliable with some hints and a new “original” recipe. In MO we do tri tips. These cuts of meat may be between a sirloin roast and a brisket, I’m not sure. Some roast it in the oven, but most of us smoke or grill it. It’s a big hunk of meat and takes longer to cook than we usually have when camping, so I asked the butcher to cut it into inch/inch and a half steaks. I rubbed each steak with Pappy’s rubbing spice mixture and put them all into a zip lock bag, adding a splash of Dale’s seasoning (from Wal-Mart) and froze them. The seasoning and marinade infiltrated the meat, enhancing the flavor, tenderizing, and reducing cooking time. I moved these from the freezer to the fridge to thaw a day ahead. We cooked these over charcoal on a little grill we carry with us. Washing, drying, and tearing all salad ingredients ahead of time and placing them in a baggie with a paper towel saves time and precious water at the campsite. A bag of washed and sliced strawberries, a tub of sugar free glaze, and cool whip provided a great dessert. I even pre baked the potato so that I could simply scoop out the inside, add butter, cheese, and sour cream, wrap in foil and throw back on the grill for heating. Voila! Twice-baked potatoes in a matter of minutes.
But now, on to the original recipe. We had a few several Peeps left from Easter. We had angel food cake leftover from the strawberry shortcake. I feel pretty sure certain that these would have been even better with the proper roasting sticks, but, oh my, if they were any better…
Saint popped those little peeps on the stick and roasted the little chicks to a golden brown while I cut the cake into very thin slices. We slid the gooey goodness between two slices of cake. Yum. SUCCESS!
And our efforts were rewarded. We caught a lot of fish. Saint cleaned and cooked these few. Me…I’m a catch and release girl.
And here are some pictures from our hikes. If you are anywhere near Eureka Springs or Rogers, Arkansas, this is a wonderful campground. Dam Site camping on Beaver Lake. Enjoy. And please feel free to add any tips or recipes you use when camping. I’ll have more posts on the continued camper update and organizing tips later. Thanks for stopping by.