Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Camping Menu and Pasta Sacue

This past weekend Alex and I joined our friends on the annual trip to new lake hogan near valley springs California. While most of our time is spent out on the boat or in the water we do manage to take a break here and there for food, fun and relaxation. So of course i needed to plan a menu because though there are a few challenges to cooking outdoors, i can never go without a menu plan (OCD Much?).
So for those of you who enjoy camping i thought i would share a few of the things i brought and a little bit on how they worked out.

First off the Menu:
For 1-3 Days, with access to a propane camping stove

Apple Cider Muffins
Scrambled Eggs
Coffee (with french press)

Turkey and Provolone Sandwiches on Focaccia Bread

Sweet potato and Spinach Gnocchi with simple pasta sauce (pre-made and frozen, also i doubled the recipe)
Dilly Cucumber Salad

Homemade Oreo's
Peppermint Patties

Now for my personal notes. As far as travel-ability all of these food items were fairly easy, placed in Tupperware or plastic bags they stayed fresh and kept their form for the most part. For the sandwiches i packed the ingredients separately (everything focaccia, provolone, red onion slices, mustard, mayo, lettuce) and assembled them at the campsite. Though the sandwiches we're good i found the bread a little dry, i will have to try making this style bread again, perhaps a different recipe, any suggestions?

The dinner was very good and the Gnocchi and sauce we're thawed almost completely by dinner time but i would definitely recommend taking them out of the cooler about an hour before dinner to let them heat up a bit. I had a bit of trouble getting them up to a temp. i preferred.but overall it was a good camping meal.

Dessert, or for us sweet lovers, snacks we're delicious. I felt the oreo's we're a bit cakey for my liking and i will continue to tweak the recipe til i am pleased, however as i have fulfilled my 100 list requirement of making them i will follow with a posting on them soon, feel free to make changes to the recipe as you like, i would love to hear updates from you on any improvements you make to the recipe. The peppermint patties we're delightful, came out exactly the way i wanted, big and minty!! Another 100 list fulfillment. posting to come.

My top two tips that i found most helpful is plan and prep ahead, think of anything you will need there make a kitchen gear list as well as a food list to organize it; make as many of the meals ahead of time when you can and plan out the meals as best you can, this will help keep everything from feeling so chaotic.Hope this helps any of you out there who enjoy camping but aren't sure what to cook or feel there are limited option. Perhaps next time i will make a menu for campers with only a grill or fire to use. please feel free to share any questions, thoughts or suggestions of your own on this topic...I'm sure others would benefit as well as myself from any advice or questions you might have!

one of my favorite parts of this camping menu was the dinner and of the main dish was the sauce. I'm not a huge fan of tomato sauce, never have been. You see to me it's always been something that came in a bottle and i just couldn't quite get behind it, i always preferred, and still do, eating my pasta with butter, and Parmesan. About a couple weeks ago i was at a loss for what to cook and i didn't feel like thawing anything that day, so i decided to give this simple pasta sauce a try. What a treat! it will definitely be my go to sauce from now on...no more bottled sauce for me!! yay! 

Simple Pasta Sauce
Adapted from Annie's Eats via Smitten Kitchen, Originally from Essentials of Italian Cooking

1 (28oz) Can of Whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 Whole Onion, halved and peeled 
5 Tbs Butter
1-2 pinches of salt
1-2 Cloves of Garlic (i added because my hubby is a garlic fiend)

If adding Garlic add with butter first to get some of the flavor of the garlic out, otherwise add all ingredients at once and bring to a boil over medium heat. After boiling reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 45 minutes, occasionally pressing and mashing the whole tomatoes against the sides with a wooden spoon. make as smooth or as chunky as you like. Serve with pasta of any kind or freeze for a later date. Enjoy!! 

Some links to recipes for the other dishes listed:
Everything Focaccia at The Curvy Carrot
Apple Cider Muffins at A Cozy Kitchen

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