Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Planning the Camping Menu

In a little over a week, we'll be packing up to go camping over fall break. This year we are going to a state park about an hour south of us. When I say camping, I mean tent camping. No fancy shmancy camper for us, though we drool over them every chance we get! Some day I think I'd really like to have a trailer, but that's at the bottom of our priority list.

One of the first things I do as I begin "think" camping, is plan the menu. That way I can get the shopping done way ahead and just concentrate on cooking and packing the day or two before we leave. This year we have three dinners to plan. We like to have something hot for dinner at this time of year. Experience tells us that the end of October can be pretty chilly in the evenings. (UNDERSTATEMENT of the year!)

So, for dinners, we're planning to have Beef stew one night, Potato soup another, and a chicken casserole for the third. Since we go with several other families, we can divide the meal responsibilities up. I'm going to be making beef stew and potato soup. These will be easy to make ahead of time (freeze even) and then just heat up in the crock pot at the camp site. We've done chili this way too! Easy and delicious! That's the key when you are camping with the family. You want great meals that will be easy to prepare as well as clean up.

By the way, if you have a great stew recipe, I'd love to see it! I have the stew meat in the freezer, but I've never made beef stew from scratch before.

For lunches, we'll be doing the standard cold cuts, hot dogs and Italian sausages. I've had several requests for pepperoni bread, so I guess I'll be making four or five loaves of that! My boys would be happy if that was all we took!

Breakfasts will include hot and cold cereal for the kids since they rarely want to wait for cooking. But for the adults, we'll do Eggs, sausage and potatoes--and plenty of coffee and tea!!!

That's it for the actual meals. But of course, we'll need to pack plenty of snacks. Hiking around the woods makes for some extra hungry boys, and I can't keep them feed as it is. So, I'll be baking lots of Chocolate Chip cookies and pumpkin bread to fill in the gaps.

For drinks, we take plenty of bottled water in a cooler, but I'll also take a jug to make some tea and lemonade. We like the Crystal Lite tins of peach tea, and the boys love any kind of lemonade. I can't forget a variety of tea bags for my husband. He is a tea lover, especially in the evenings around the campfire. For me, I love a good cup of coffee with some pumpkin spice creamer. Aren't the creamers they've come out with wonderful?? What a treat!

So far, this is my menu plan. I'm sure I'll be adding to it as the time gets closer, but I wanted to post what I have so far, and see if anyone has a favorite recipe for beef stew they'd be willing to share with us.

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