What kid doesn't love to go camping? Part of the magic of camping with kids can be helping them cook their own food. While I often resort to the easy hot dog over the fire, kid-friendly campfire cooking can be delicious and adventurous. Here are several tried and true recipes that my family loves.
Campfire Cooking: Dinners
Cooking with Pie Irons
Pie irons are small, square irons that sit in coals and can perfectly toast sandwiches, cook eggs, or bake fruit pies. Pie irons can be found at sporting good stores or online: Rome Industries 1705 Pie Iron Sandwich Cooker
- Make your favorite hot sandwich between two slices of bread. (Try to find a loaf of bread that fits easily in the pie iron.)
- Butter the outside of both slices of bread.
- Place butter side out in pie iron and securely close it.
- Put the pie iron in hot coals for about 1 minute on each side.
- Check frequently since the heat of coals can vary. When sandwich is done, open hot pie iron carefully and remove sandwich.
- When placing subsequent sandwiches in the hot pie irons, avoid burns by using gloves or hot pads.
- Once the pie irons are hot, the sandwiches will cook faster so you may need shorter cooking times.
Foil dinners are great for kids because you can pick and choose which ingredients you put inside. Most foil dinners consist of a meat and some type of vegetables.
Two tricks to foil dinners will make the difference between dry, burned food and tender, tasty dinners. The first trick is using heavy-duty aluminum foil and double wrapping your foil dinner. The second trick is butter. Put butter in with the meat and vegetables to keep it from burning.
To make a foil dinner, place a large sheet of heavy-duty foil on the table. Add a pat of butter, an uncooked hamburger patty or a chicken breast, and diced vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, peppers, etc.). Don’t forget salt and pepper. Wrap the foil up like a packet, making sure to seal all the edges so juices do not run out. Spread a second sheet of foil out and wrap the packet a second time.
Place the packet in hot coals and bake for one hour, turning once to help the food cook evenly. Serve foil dinners with ketchup.
Campfire Cooking: Breakfasts
Muffins in Orange Shells
Muffins in orange shells are labor intensive, but the wow factor is pretty high for kids. You need six oranges and one just-add-water muffin mix. Slice the top off each orange and scrape the fruit out of the orange without breaking the rind. (I cut around the fruit with a knife and then just scoop out the little part I can't cut out.) Fill the oranges ⅔ full with muffin mix, wrap the bottom of the orange in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and set gently in coals. Use gloves or tongs to avoid burns. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
Omelette in a Bag
This recipe uses a camp stove so it is not technically campfire cooking. Place a large pot of water on a camp stove and bring it to a boil.While the water is heating, with Sharpie write each person’s name on a quart-size freezer bag. Break two eggs into the bag and add your favorite omelette ingredients (cheese, bacon, ham, onions, peppers, tomatoes, olives, etc.)
Gently squeeze the air out of the bag (don’t skip this step or the bag will burst open while cooking) and use your fingers to mash the ingredients together. When the water is boiling, add the bags to the pot of water and boil for 10 minutes (until the eggs are solid). Remove from bag, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy.
Campfire Cooking: Desserts
S’mores are always a favorite with kids, but these unique desserts are a fun change from the traditional campfire s’more.
Pie Iron Desserts
Pie iron turnovers are a popular alternative to the traditional s’mores. Follow the instructions for pie iron sandwiches above but fill the bread with canned fruit pie filling instead. Bring frosting to spread on top of the hot turnover for a decadent camping dessert. My favorite is cherry, but my kids love apple.
This fun dessert will wow kids. I like to serve it because they get a banana before going off to bed (even if it is covered with chocolate and marshmallows).
Gently slice an unpeeled banana from the stem to the bottom, cutting through the top layer of peel and the whole banana but without slicing the bottom peel. Gently pry open the banana and fill with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap banana boat loosely in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place in hot coals for about 5-7 minutes. Do not wrap the foil too tightly or the marshmallows will stick. Eat the banana boat right out of the peel with a spoon.
With a paring knife, cut the stem and core out of an apple without slicing the apple. Place a large marshmallow in the opening at the bottom of the apple. Fill the apple with Red Hots candies then stuff a second marshmallow in the top. Wrap the apple in heavy-duty foil and place in hot coals for 10-15 minutes. Bake until apple is tender. If you cannot find Red Hots, you can substitute brown sugar and cinnamon.
Did this yummy food make you want to go camping? Read 4 Tent Camping Tips for Beginners to make sure you've packed the right gear. Check out Katie's favorite camping spot in Shenandoah National Park for more camping inspiration.