Having spent much of our youth in Utah and our adulthood in Colorado, we here at the Dirty Dish Club are no strangers to a fire ban. As much as we love dutch oven cooking, we realize that at some point during the summer we will likely no longer be allowed to do so while camping. I mentioned on Instagram that this year has been an especially dry, hot year and the fire bans started early and have been more severe – we’re not even allowed to do charcoal in our own backyard at this point. Since heating up a can of pork n’ beans isn’t really our style, we’ve had to get creative to still make camping a culinary delight. Here are some of our favorite things to eat when charcoal and open flames are forbidden.
* Just a quick note on our cooking method before we jump into the food. We use the Coleman Guide Series Powerhouse Double Fuel Stove. We’ve been using the stove for a year now and really like it. One of the benefits of this stove is that the stove has the option of running on unleaded gasoline which is cheaper and sometimes easier to find than specialized fuel for camp stoves. For the record, Coleman has no idea who we are and we didn’t get so much as a discount on our purchase. All of these recipes can be made on any type of camp stove. *
We like to have a hearty breakfast that will fuel us on the trail, but not one that will take a lot of time. Our favorites include the following, often paired with a mug of cocoa or a shelf stable milk.
Breakfast Burritos – We pack a stack of our homemade flour tortillas and fill them with scrambled eggs, sausage or bacon, hashbrowns, and whatever toppings we desire (cheese, salsa, etc)
Mountain Man Skillet – An egg scramble with anything you want in it – hashbrowns, sausage/bacon, cheese, veggies, etc. This really is just a breakfast burrito minus the tortilla.
Overnight Oats – There are tons of recipes out there, we’re partial to our raspberries and cream overnight oats.
Fried Eggs and Toast – Toast was made possible by my brother. Years ago, he gave us this little camping toaster that sits on your stove burner.
We mostly snack for lunch since we’re usually out on a hike during the day. We typically bring salami, crackers, nuts (savory spiced nuts anyone?), granola bars, and a sugary treat for bribing purposes.
Dinner is usually the meal we spend the most time on. We think of it as our luxurious reward at the end of a day of hiking. We want it to be filling, but well rounded.
Stir Fry – Cut up the veggies and meat (or tofu) at home for easy prep. Use instant rice to keep things easy. For a noodle version, we use this recipe with ramen. (Tip, mix the sauce up at home and store in a jar in the cooler until ready to use.)
Pasta Salad – We use this recipe with a few tweaks. Make it at home and pack carefully in the cooler.
Tacos – A favorite with our kids (especially if it’s Tuesday). Can add chips and salsa and/or guac as a side.
Skillet Lasagna – A cheesy, comforting meal. We slightly adapt this recipe.
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup – A super easy meal that’s easy to take on the road.
Skillet Hobo Dinner – This recipe is our twist on tinfoil dinners when campfires aren’t an option. (The picture above subs stew meat for the typical ground beef.)
Backpacking Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip – This works as both a meal or a side depending on how hungry you are.
Not being able to do a dutch oven dessert or roast some mallows, is honestly the hardest part of a fire ban. To comfort ourselves, we usually bring along a supply of cookies (snickerdoodles, oreos, whole wheat chocolate chip, any or all will do) to nibble on as we sit around our lantern and play card games.