The thought of cooking for the kids without a kitchen or indeed an oven can seem a little stressful to say the least. However with a bit of prep, it really doesn’t need to be hard work, and in fact cooking outdoors as a family can be great fun. The trick is to keep things simple and organised, here’s how:
Prep at home
The more you can prep in the comfort of your own home, the easier it will be when you arrive at the campsite. Sides and snacks such as coleslaw and sandwich fillers can all be prepared in advance and stored in airtight containers. You can even prep entire meals so that all you need to do is heat them up. Vegetables can all be peeled and chopped in advance including potatoes which you can boil and reheat, whilst meat/ protein can be portioned so it’s ready to throw in the pan. For breakfast you can also prepare a pre-made pancake mix in a bottle that will just need milk adding to it and a good shake before frying.
Streamline your supplies
Only bring the bare essentials to prevent overcomplicating matters. A large skillet pan is a must have for any camping trips as it is versatile enough to cook most meals. You’ll also need to make sure you’ve got the right utensils, and enough dinnerware for the whole family. Sporks are a great idea for cutting down on luggage and of course reducing post-dinner washing up. Another great tip? always bring tin foil. It’s so easy to cook a whole multitude of foods in foil from fish to burritos to veg, so it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss off the list.
Take frozen meals
Take frozen meals in a cool box that will thaw slowly, providing you with a ready to go meal to heat up later on. Family favourites such as chilli and stew can all be cooked at home, boxed up and frozen ready to take away with you. This means that at the end of a long day, all you need to do is heat up the meal and it’s ready to go, cutting down on time, hassle and washing up.
It’s all about the sweet treats
When we think of cooking on the fire, one of the first things that comes to mind is toasting marshmallows on a stick. Get yourself some marshmallows, biscuits and chocolate and you’ve got yourselves an exciting dessert that the kids will love, a.k.a, a s’more. Banana boats are another great dessert that you and the kids can create on the campfire. Just split a banana, stuff it with toppings and wrap it in foil before heating it on the fire- it’s really delicious and great fun for the kids to choose their own toppings.
Don’t forget cold meals are tasty too
Remember that dinner doesn’t have to involve cooking every night. Salads and wraps make great cold lunches or dinners, particularly in the summer when the weather’s a lot warmer. You can make them in advance, meaning you don’t need to worry about prepping dinner, and it might well be a welcome break from sausages and burgers.
Remember the snacks
Sometimes cooking outdoors can take longer than anticipated and the last thing you want is everyone getting hangry. In order to avoid this, make sure to bring plenty of easy snacks along with you. High energy foods like granola bars are perfect for keeping the kids going in between meals whilst veg and hummus or crisps and dips are great for munching when dinner is taking a little longer than expected.
Simple is best
Roughing it in the great outdoors is part of the fun of camping, so don’t stress about making the perfect meals. You can’t expect to eat like you would at home and so there’s no point trying to. What’s important is spending quality time with the family not producing Michelin starred meals every night!