We all know that camping with kids is a lot of fun, but sometimes the idea of preparing and cooking over the campfire can make a simple meal seem like an impossible dream. Well, it doesn’t have to be this way.
We've collected our absolute favourite simple kids camping recipes for you to recreate on your adventures. Every recipe here is tried and tested: your kids are sure to love the too!
What you need for cooking while camping
You will need:
A cast iron jaffle maker (one with a large handle and two sides is preferable, but not absolutely necessary)
A cast iron dutch oven
A movable hotplate for the cooking.
Get organised before going away. Have a think about what you would like to cook, and how it will happen. Make peace with Aluminium Foil being your best friend, and don’t skimp on the quality. Cheap Al-foil = food covered in ash. Yuck. And make sure you buy the large roll. You WILL need it!
I try to have at least one hot meal per day, and it is usually the night dinner, but not always. Jaffles are my kids’ favourite lunch food, and they are so quick and fun to make, so why not make it a staple of your outdoor repertoire!
Cooking mainly happens on the coals, not directly over the flame. Dutch ovens can be suspended over flame, or sat on top of coals with more red hot coals sitting on top (to really get the ‘oven’ effect).
Jaffles are cooked on coals, and I usually put the hotplate over coals, too (hence saving my face and hands from getting scorched every time I need to get close to it). Remember that the food will be piping hot when it comes off the fire, and little hands should not be anywhere near the actual cooking.
Just remember that if you are planning on using the fire for dinner, you need to start getting the coals ready a couple of hours before hand. Ok, so now to a few of my fave recipes for the outdoors, especially when kids are involved.
1. Banana Chocs
As previously ‘blogged’ about, one of my fave foods on the campfire are banana chocs.
Leaving the skin on, cut a slit in the banana lengthways, and slightly prise the banana open.
Fill with chocolate buds, marshmallows or anything else sweet you wish, and cover the banana with foil.
Place in hot coals for a couple of minutes, until the chocolate has melted and the banana is cooked.
Open and allow to cool for the kids.
2. Pumpkin, Feta and Rosemary Damper
We all love damper on the fire, but this is a real stunner! My mum and dad usually make this on the campfire when we go away, and it (almost) never fails to impress!
- Peel and chop a pumpkin, and steam it or cook it in water.
- Mash the pumpkin until smooth. Line a dutch oven with baking paper (you can use foil too), and set aside.
- Place 2 cups SR flour and 60g butter into a bowl, and mix to a breadcrumb consistency.
- Add mashed pumpkin, 200g crumbled feta and 1tsp chopped rosemary and stir to combine.
- Make a well in the centre and add ½ cup buttermilk (I often use normal milk).
- Stir and kneed to form a dough.
- Place in the dutch oven, and place on coals with a shovel full of hot coals over the top.
I check on the damper after about 15 minutes, then again after every subsequent 10 mins. Depending on thickness and heat of fire, it should take approximately 35 mins. Drizzle with butter, and enjoy!
3. Italian Chicken Casserole
- In the dutch oven, place 1kg of chicken thighs, a tin of tomatoes, garlic, and vegetables of your choice (I usually use carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and corn).
- Add 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 cup of water.
- Place on the coals of the fire, cover with more coals, and cook until the chicken is cooked through.
I like to serve this with rice or pasta, to make a wonderfully filling dinner. I am also a bit partial to having garlic bread with this, with the bread wrapped in three layers of Al-foil (to keep the ash out!) and sitting in the coals (not too hot though!)
Hot tip: Lasagne can be made in the dutch oven too! Just make sure you use instant lasagna sheets though, as the others can stay a bit tough.
4. Campfire Packets
For a really easy dinner, make campfire packets! Best of all, these can be made before you go away.
- Lay 3 pieces of Al-foil down and place one piece of baking paper on top.
- Next, put whatever food you want in the packet (try to put one vegetable in each packet), such as carrots, baby potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower.
- Add a dollop of butter or garlic, fold over and seal from the ash.
They can be refrigerated until needed, then popped into the coals or, as I prefer, into a dutch oven for cooking.
The sky is the limit as to what you can put inside these little gems, but our family favourite combinations are:
Cheese, pesto, sliced tomato
Baked beans and cheese
Salami, cheese and tomato
Corn, mushrooms, cheese and shredded chicken
Ham, cheese and pineapple
Turkey, cranberry sauce, and brie or camembert (this is my fave!)
6. Baked Apple Surprises
Make these like you would a campfire packet, but this time put in these lovely ingredients:
½ cup oats
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
3 apples (cored and sliced)
Squeeze lemon juice
- To make these, combine oats, flour, sugar and spices.
- Add butter and mix until crumbly.
- Squeeze lemon juice over apples.
- Place apples onto the middle of the prepared foil packet, and top with oat mix.
- Seal really well.
- Place onto the hotplate and cook for about 20 mins. Yum!!!
And for the piece de resistance...
7. Campfire Brownies in an Orange!
- Carefully cut the top of an orange, and spoon out (and eat!) the contents.
- Place a prepared brownie or chocolate cake mix in the centre, put the top back on, cover very tightly with foil, and place in coals for about 35 minutes.
- Make sure they don’t tip over!
They will rise a little over the top, but the orange infused chocolate is amazing!!!
Just remember, that at the end of the day, you can cook almost anything on an open fire. A little imagination and patience will make your meal a success, and it really is a lot of fun! The kids will love it too, so don’t forget the most important food to be cooking on a fire….marshmallows!!!!