Easy Camp Chili

This is our go to chili recipe when we are camping.  We mentioned in our Sequoia-Kings Canyon post how simple it is and a good meal for rainy weather.  It is easy to throw together and is super filling.  We used to use a box mix (you can find a post on that here), but we were worried about cross contact with peanuts/tree nuts so we went back to this recipe.  The Boy has pretty sever allergies, so we have to be really careful with food.  There is minimal prep for this meal and you can make it vegetarian.  In the past, we have served it with corn chips, cornbread, cheese, hot dogs, ground beef, sour cream…the list goes on.   It is great for using what you have in your fridge at home!

Chili

Easy Camp Chili

Ingredients
1 can pinto beans (drained)
1 can garbanzo beans (drained)
1 can kidney beans (drained)
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 cup salsa
1 pound of meat (Optional and your choice.  We have used ground turkey, ground beef, and diced hot dogs.  Any will work.)

Additional toppings/sides:  grated cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, corn chips, cornbread, muffins

Directions
1.  If you are using meat, brown the meat in a large pot.
2.  Drain the beans and add them to the cooked meat.  We do this at camp and just pour the liquid into a container for the next garbage run.  If you have a colander, you can rinse the beans but this isn’t necessary.
3.  Add the spices.  I usually pre-measure these at home and store them in a little container for ease.
4.  Add the salsa.  Again, we pre-measure this at home.
5.  Cook until heated through.
6.  Serve!  You can add fun toppings or eat as is.

Hot Bananas (with Chocolate)

One of our favorite desserts when camping is hot bananas.  We love to slice them open and stuff them with mini-marshmallows and dark chocolate chips (we like the Enjoy Life brand).  This is such a great camping treat because they can cook while you are eating dinner.  It is also a great alternative to S’Mores.  And I know this sounds like a completely bizarre recipe.  But give it a try.  It really is good.

MeltedMarshmellowMaddness

Hot Bananas

Ingredients
Bananas (one per person)
Chocolate Chips
Marshmallows (we like the minis for this)
Foil

Directions
1.  Peel the bananas.
2.  Make a slice down the middle of the banana (long way), but do not cut all the way through the banana.
3.  Stuff with mini-marshmallows and chocolate chips.
4.  Wrap in foil.
5.  Place on the barbeque.  Indirect heat is best.
6.  Cook until heated through and the marshmallows are gooey.

MarshmellowMaddness

Cleaning Up Our Cast Iron – Major Camping Fail

We have two cast iron Dutch ovens we use when we are camping. We usually store them at The Mountains but we realized our storage method was subpar. We were storing under our outdoor stove, covered with a tarp. We thought they would be protected from the rain and snow. Umm. Yeah. Not really. They got super rusty.

Cast Iron Rust

Using Southern Living Magazines 11 Cast Iron Commandments and a lot of elbow grease, The Missus cleaned up the smaller if the two in time for Thanksgiving.

Before

Here is how she did it:

1.  Wash the cast iron with soap and water.  We know soap and water are a no-no in cast iron, but we needed to do this do remove some of the dirt and rust.
2.  Using steel stool pads, scrub the pan.  I like the steel wool that comes with the blue soap on the pad (S.O.S brand).  It seems to help remove the rust a bit better than just water.
3.  Rinse.
4.  Scrub the pan with water and coarse salt.
5.  Rinse.
6.  Repeat the above steps until the pan is rust free.  For really tough spots, we used a steel wire brush.  This helped in those really tough spots.

Miracle Brush
7.  Once rust free, coat the entire pan with vegetable oil and bake upside down in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour.
8.  You can repeat step 7 until you feel the pan is seasoned to your liking.  Once it is finished, you want to avoid any soaps when cleaning.

Finished

Sweet Potato Salad

My mom had this recipe and wanted to try it for dinner one night while were at Antelope Lake (you can read about that here).  It was excellent! 

The night before we planned to make the salad, we wrapped the sweet potatoes in foil and cooked them on the BBQ until they were fork tender.  The next day we peeled and diced them before adding them to the salad.

I ended up making it on our playgroup camping trip (you can read about that here), but cooked the potatoes that day.  It was a hit with all the adults – especially our vegetarian friends.

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad

4 large sweet potatoes, baked, peeled, and diced
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup frozen edamame, shelled and thawed (we just used an entire small bag)
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh chives, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine onion, edamame, celery, parsley, and chives in a bowl.  Add diced sweet potatoes. Whisk together lemon juice ,mustard, and olive oil in a bowl. Pour over the potato mixture and gently toss. Serve immediately or chill and serve cold.

*To help with preparation, you can pre-chop your veggies at home before you set off on your trip.