Chow Time – Camping Recipes, Dinner is Served

camping recipes dinnerEveryone loves to eat. Campers are no exception. There is something special about having a good meal outdoors, in the fresh air, surrounded by nature’s beauty. Camp meals can be simple or exotic. I tend to go for the simple. However you like your meals, there are recipes that are sure to inspire the outdoor gourmet in you.

For every meal, you can find camping recipes: dinner, lunch or breakfast. With the internet, it’s easy to find them. In this article, I will give you a few tips on finding them. I will also show you how to save time and money and still be able to eat well on your camping trips.

Plan Ahead

For most of us, camping is a time of fun and relaxation. Whether we are out for a weekend away or an extended vacation, we camp because we enjoy it. Camping can also be a great way for people who are budget conscious to get out and see new things. Camp meals can be inexpensive. They can also be easy to prepare and cleanup.

You don’t want to bust your bank account on a camping trip, nor do you want to spend a great deal of time preparing meals. You can maximize your food budget and minimize your prep and cleanup time by planning ahead.

First, you should set a budget for the entire trip. We’ll talk about camping trip budgeting in another article. Part of that budget needs to be set aside for food. When you are planning what food to buy, keep in mind the following:

  • Your camping refrigerator is most likely smaller than the one in your home. For some folks, you will be using a cooler.
  • Keep in mind that the temperatures in a camping refrigerator can fluctuate much more than in a residential refrigerator. Unless you really know your camper fridge well, stay away from items that spoil quickly.
  • If you are camping in a remote area, you may be far from stores. The stores may not carry the items you want.
  • Think about any meals you may be able to prepare ahead of time. Especially meals you can freeze. You can place the frozen meals in your camper’s fridge and it won’t have to work as hard to keep the other food cold. This really helps if you are using a cooler. You can cut down on the amount of ice you will need for the first day or two.
  • Here’s an idea: If you are having Pancakes. You can make up the batter ahead of time and put it in a zip-lock bag. Be sure to refrigerate.
  • Similarly, if you are having omelets, prepare the egg, milk and other ingredients and put them in a zip-lock bag, one bag per person. To cook the omelete, boil water and place the bags in the boiling water. Easy.
  • Your space in the camper is limited. Plan meals that use many of the same basic ingredients. This will save space and also cut down on expense and waste.

Plan Your Menu

Knowing your menu ahead of time will make meal preparation go much smoother. It’s OK, even fun, to leave a few meals open for a spur of the moment eating decision. If your trip includes side tours or visits to local attractions, grabbing something to eat at the venue may be in order.

You don’t want to begin every meal by staring into the refrigerator wondering what to make next. Doing meals this way will have you constantly running to the store to get that one ingredient that you didn’t bring. This will cost more and take away time from some other fun things.

If you are traveling with family, let everyone share in meal prep and cleanup wherever possible. Assign age appropriate chores for both cooking and cleanup for every meal.

Get Your Recipes

Type “camping recipes” into a Google search bar and it will return over 29 Million hits. You could say the number is practically limitless. There are lots of recipes available and there are recipes to suit people with specific eating needs. For instance, you can find recipes for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free campers.

Many camping clubs and other social organizations geared to campers offer camping cookbooks. Some are for sale. Some are free to download.

If you are getting free recipes from an online site, see if the site allows comments or has an email address. If so, leave a few of your own recipes. Wouldn’t it be a hoot to meet some campers for the first time and discover they are making your chili.

Here’s a Few Recipes for You.

Easy Breakfast Omelet

  • 3 sausage patties (or links)
  • 3 eggs
  • half a potato
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Cook sausage and cut into small pieces, cut the potato into small pieces and cook in sausage drippings. Drain. Add milk to eggs and beat. Add eggs to potatoes. When almost cooked, add sausage and cheese. Ready when cheese is melted. Serves 1.

Mild Mannered Chili

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can large can peeled tomatoes, diced 
  • 1 can Rotelle
  • 6 small cans tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 can chili beans, drained
  • 1 package McCormick Chili Seasoning

Brown hamburger in a skillet. Drain fat. In a large pot, combine all remaining ingredients. Stir in ground beef. Simmer for 1/2 hour. Stir occasionally.

Grilled Fish

  • 1 lb fish fillets
  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 sliced onion
  • salt
  • pepper
  • heavy-duty aluminum foil

Place each piece of fish onto a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. In a saucepan, melt margarine. Add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir well. Pour this mixture over the fish. Sprinkle with paprika and top with onion slices. Fold foil loosely and seal tightly. Grill for 5-7 minutes per side. Fish should flake easily when done.

Don’t Forget Those Special Treats

Bring along a bag of marshmallows for roasting on the campfire. Add some chocolate bars and gram crackers and make s’mores. Maybe you want to pick up a thing of Jiffy Pop and have some fresh, hot popcorn. Whatever you prefer, don’t forget those things that are unique to camping. Things that really make your trip special.

Do you have favorite camp meals? Do you have any recipes you would like to share? How about some things you do that help you save money or time. I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment.

Happy Camping.





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Camper Joe


  1. Forget that I can eat this at home. Lol. I agree with you that you can always stand to save some money when camping. That money can be used for enjoying the area you are camping in. Have you ever been to Wisconsin Dells?

    • Thanks, Ronnie. I have never been to Wisconsin, but I’ll bet it’s beautiful.

  2. Hey I can’t wait to try a few of these recipes. Great pictures the food looks tasty! Thanks for the info.

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