Camping and boating cooking success

Enjoy a 'gourmet meal' while enjoying the great outdoors; learn how to add a touch of class to a wilderness meal.

smore 311 (photo credit:
smore 311
(photo credit:
"Sometimes 'gourmet' isn't defined by imported spices and fancy sauces," says Janet Groene, author of 25 books including Cooking Aboard Your RV and Creating Comfort Afloat.
"To campers and boaters, gourmet dining means a campfire scented with applewood or fresh-caught walleye cooked over a stern-mounted grill.
How can you put a touch of class on a wilderness meal without wasting fuel, water or any other precious resource?"
Janet's Tips for Cooking Success
Make your own convenience foods such as Portage Pilaf. At home, seal in a plastic bag: 2 cups instant rice, 1 tablespoon dried onion, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1/3 cup dried cherries and 1/3 cup slivered almonds. To prepare, bring 2-1/4 cups water to a boil, stir in rice mix, cover and let stand 10 to 15 minutes until rice softens. Stir and serve. Makes 4 portions.
Be Flexible
Camp and galley stoves differ and cook times can vary according to the thickness of the pot, size of the burner and how much wind is blowing.
Need a dozen or so hard-boiled eggs but have no running water to aid peeling? Break eggs into a roasting bag and lower into simmering water until solid. Peel off the bag and chop eggs.
Everyone loves meal "bombs" because each can be made to order according to personal tastes or dietary restrictions. Lay out a generous square of foil and place a half slice of bacon on it. Put a salted, peppered hamburger patty on bacon. Top with a 1/4-inch slice of onion and a slice of seeded green pepper. Bring up 4 corners slightly to form a dish. Put 1/2 cup cooked rice on the onion, add 1/3 cup diced tomatoes with their juice and twist foil corners to form a handle. Grill 20 to 30 minutes over well-started coals. Untwist foil (steam will be hot) and eat out of the foil.
Make your own ice by filling clean containers 3/4 full of water. Freeze. There's no melty mess in the ice chest, and you'll also have clean icewater to drink. Even after it melts completely, you still have clean water to put to some good use.
Wash and dry lettuce and other salad greens at home and seal in a plastic bag with a paper towel and plenty of air. The towel absorbs moisture and keeps greens crisp. The air cushions the salad so it doesn't get crushed in the icebox. In camp remove paper towels, add salad dressing, seal to shake and serve with tongs.
Need a sieve or strainer in camp? Use an ice pick to make holes in a disposable foil pan.
Make speedy potato salad with diced, canned potatoes. The secret is to drain, rinse, and drain again. Then add hard-cooked egg, celery, mayo or whatever you like.
Inexpensive ramen noodles make a quick, easy base under stir-fry dishes. Cook them in a little water with the flavoring pack and serve with tongs. Add remaining broth to the stir-fry and thicken to form a sauce.
Janet's Famous Griddle-Cooked Pita Bread
When you run out of yeast bread, this is a way to have that doughy, toothsome taste and texture without an oven. This goes fastest if you have a griddle that fits over two camp stove burners, but you can also use individual, 6-inch skillets to make one pita at a time.
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet yeast
3 ½ cups warm water
A balloon whisk mixes best but a wooden spoon will do. Choose a big bowl because batter will rise and bubble. Mix dry ingredients well and stir in warm water to make a smooth batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at "room" temperature 90 minutes. Heat griddle over medium-low flame and spray with nonstick. Using a half-cup measure, pour batter on griddle and spread so it's about 6 inches around. Cook until both sides are golden brown and centers are dry and puffy.
Janet's Ice-on-Fire Pickles
Pick up a gallon of pickles at a mass market store and transform them into a fiery treat for your next camp-out. If your family doesn't like hot stuff, omit the hot sauce and you'll still have a wonderful sweet-and-sour pickle.
1 gallon dill pickles (or two, 64-ounce jars)
Small bottle of your favorite hot sauce
4 cups sugar
6 cloves garlic
Drain pickles and put sugar, hot sauce and peeled garlic in the jar. Refrigerate, turning gently now and then, until sugar dissolves. New juice will form and pickles are ready after a few days. Keep cold.
Janet's S'More Paninis
For this knock-out dessert, you'll need two skillets the same size. Line 1 skillet with nonstick foil, such as Release. Place two round roaster waffles on the foil. Top each with half a chocolate bar and 3 marshmallows. Top with two more toaster waffles and lay more foil over them. Put weight on waffles by pressing the second skillet over the foil. Cook over very low fire, using a flame spreader if necessary, until chocolate and marshmallows melt. Cut each "s'more" in half. Serves 4.
These recipes and more can be found on the author's website: Camp and RV Cook
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