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Camp Gourmet: Three One-Pot Wonders

Yes, creating hearty and delicious meals in a camp kitchen can be easy.

Just for clarification, these are not minimalist meals to be cooked over a Jetboil; they’re made for weekend trips with big groups, bonfires, and loaded-down vehicles. Key to all of them is the right cookware, either a Dutch oven or a skillet. It’s a good idea to do some prep ahead of time; have the onions and veggies pre-chopped in baggies and all your spices pre-bagged as well, so you spend less time at the campsite prepping and more time enjoying being outdoors.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

Here’s a fuel-filled meal that will stick to your bones and tickle your taste buds. This is a recipe that my sister introduced to me because she knew that even I could put it together. It’s great for feeding the masses, and is perfect for vegans. I have literally put all of these ingredients into a Dutch oven, put it on the fire and opened it an hour later to find it perfectly cooked. The recipe below serves 4-6.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • Spices – chili powder > cumin > oregano > salt (proportional amounts; actual quantities up to you)

What to do:

Honestly, you can put this all in a dutchie, cover it up, throw it on a fire, stir it every once in a while and in an hour it will be good to go. Avocado is a great addition on top, and maybe even some sour cream or parsley.


Spicy Maple-Glazed Pork Chops with Dirty Rice

This is my favorite go-to dish at the moment. I have made this recipe at home and at camp, for anything from a dinner party of four to a group of 10+. It’s easy to throw together and will knock the socks off your guests. The only gear you will need is a Dutch oven and spatula; the recipe below will serve four but if you have decently large pork chops, cut them in half and you will have plenty for eight.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 healthy-sized pork chops
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red onion,  thin sliced
  • Garlic (to taste), chopped
  • Tony Chachere’s seasoning (or any Cajun seasoning)
  • Maple syrup – as much as you would put on your pancakes
  • 2 boxes of Uncle Ben’s long grain and wild rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp. butter or oil

What to do:

Grease down the dutchie with some oil of your choice, put it on the burner/fire, and toss in the chops, garlic, bell pepper, and onion. Drizzle maple syrup over it and sprinkle in some Tony’s. If you are using a grill grate over a fire or putting the pot directly on some coals make sure to keep an eye on temperature; you don’t want too high of heat, just enough to brown both sides of the chops and cook the veggies nicely. Once the chops have browned sufficiently throw the rice and the seasoning packets that came with it in the pot with water and butter. Give the dutchie a stir and cover to allow the water to come to a boil. Let it simmer for as long as you can stand it, until the rice is cooked and the water has absorbed, maybe around 30 minutes. You might want to crack the lid to allow some of the steam to escape for the last few moments. Dig in and enjoy.


Breakfast burritos

If you are like me, you eat at least one breakfast burrito every week, a handful on a good week. After all that practice, I can whip up a batch of breakfast burritos in no time flat. This recipe will fuel 6 or so hikers for the morning.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of sausage
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 purple onion, finely chopped
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • One dozen eggs
  • Package of burrito-sized tortillas
  • Toppings to taste – cheese, salsa, hot sauce, parsley, cilantro, avocado

What to do:

Chop up the bell pepper, onion, and garlic and throw them into a cast iron skillet with the sausage. Let that cook over medium heat, stirring and chopping up the sausage while it cooks. If you are looking for a little sweet taste, drizzle some maple syrup over the skillet and let that cook in with the veggies and sausage. Once the sausage is cooked through and veggies are sautéed go ahead and throw the eggs in the skillet. It is better to beat the eggs prior to adding them to the skillet but if you have an assistant, he or she can crack them in the skillet as you beat them. Make sure to keep a good stir going and scrape the bottom of the skillet to keep the eggs fluffy. Remove from heat and start assembling the burrito. You can get as creative as you want with a good breakfast burrito with any of the toppings listed above, or whatever … do it big.


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