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A New Take On Camp Cooking A New Take On Camp Cooking
Due to time constraints while four-wheeling, breakfast and lunch are sometimes rushed and shortchanged. The result can be a growling stomach before the next... A New Take On Camp Cooking

Due to time constraints while four-wheeling, breakfast and lunch are sometimes rushed and shortchanged. The result can be a growling stomach before the next meal. That doesn’t have to be.

It is possible to prepare tasty and fulfilling meals that don’t require a lot of effort. I know. I don’t like wasting valuable time preparing meals. Instead, I look for recipes and methods that put a tasty and fulfilling meal in front of me quickly.

The following ideas will take your camping meals to the next level but not cost valuable time preparing.

Omelet in a bag an easy and fulfilling breakfast

We’ve been told for decades that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet, some people are so intent on getting started, they rush through breakfast.

One solution? Omelet in a bag. Yes, you read that right.

The meal is easy to prepare and cooks in just over 10 minutes. Unlike a traditional bacon-and-egg breakfast, this one doesn’t entail long cooking times and messy pans.

Chop up all the ingredients before leaving home. Along with the eggs, pack a pot for cooking and several quart-sized Ziploc (or similar) freezer bags.

Start by heating the water. Bring it to a rolling boil.

Meantime, crack two or three eggs, and pour them into the freezer bag. Seal the bag, and squeeze it with your fingers until the eggs are completely mixed together.

Add any chopped ingredients like onions, mushrooms, peppers, and cheese, but make sure the bag is no more than one-third full. (Above that, the omelet will take much longer to cook.) With a spoon or other utensil, mix all ingredients together. Gently squeeze out the air, and seal the bag tight.

Once the water is boiling, set in the omelet bag(s). Cover the pot. At sea level, the omelet will cook completely in about 13 minutes. (Add a few minutes if you’re at elevation.)

Once cooked, carefully remove and open the bag. The omelet will roll out onto your plate. Season as desired and enjoy the delicacy. Round and fluffy, the omelet resembles a burrito. But they are good. Trust me!

Camp cook can prepare several omelets at one time

Cooking for a group is substantially the same but does incorporate a couple extra steps.

First, set out all the ingredients on a table, in separate bowls. Make sure to have a good assortment, as tastes vary. Popular ingredients include chopped ham, chopped olives, green peppers, grated Cheddar cheese, even hash brown potatoes. Salt and pepper, too.

Set out the freezer bags, with each one showing the name of the person requesting an omelet.

Next, crack two or three eggs into each bag. Guests mash the eggs as mentioned above and add the ingredients they want. Remind them that the pouch should not be more than one-third full. Really hungry guests should request a second bag.

Larger pots can hold up to five or six freezer bags. Seal and put all the bags in the pot, and cover. After cooking, give each person their bag and let them have the joy of sliding a perfect omelet out onto their plate.

If you’re not at sea level, you have to adjust the cooking time. During one trip, at around 1,500 feet, I had a rolling boil at about 200 degrees. Cooking time was a little bit longer.

There is very little clean up, but you already have hot water to wash dishes.

Another advantage is you are free to pack up camp while the omelets cook.

Tasty, nutritious lunch with “living lettuce” salad

Salads are the unsung heroes of meals. Done up right, they’re packed with nutrients and fiber – and are a hit with the taste buds.

In lieu of iceberg lettuce – which, you have to admit, is a little boring – grab a package of “living butter lettuce.” It sounds like something out of a horror movie, but it’s quite normal.

Living lettuce is hydroponically grown lettuce that’s packaged with the root ball intact. Producers claim this keeps the leaves tender, flavorful and nutritious.

Pull off two or more leaves and add chicken salad, salad dressing, or other ingredients you like. The result is a lettuce-wrapped sandwich. Grab ahold of the bundled salad, and dive in. The root ball not is edible. Better to leave that behind. And, no, Because Butter lettuce is grown hydroponically, it cannot be replanted in soil.

Whip up a sandwich for lunch

Lunchtime while four-wheeling tends to be a relatively brief period. Thirty minutes is common, sometimes less. Drivers like to spend as much time on the move as possible. They’re hungry and want something right away.

Sub sandwiches are convenient lunch meals. Buy one or two while on the way to the trail head. They’ll keep for a several days in your onboard refrigerator.

Some folks prefer to make their own sandwiches. I recommend doing so in the morning. You can take the time to craft an exquisite sandwich or roll-up.

You also could whip up a sandwich during lunch time. Keep the ingredients to a minimum and in an accessible location in your vehicle.

For a quick bite, I grab a hamburger bun, some salami or sliced ham, and spread on mustard or mayo. Then I top it with a slice of onion and lettuce. A hearty meal in just a minute or two. (I pack only hamburger buns. I’ve found them to be an all-purpose bread which holds up better in the vehicle.)

Chicken wings (precooked variety) and leftover pizza, time-honored standbys for snacking, also make for a quick meal. They’ll keep for several days in the portable refrigerator. Either can be eaten cold, and both are tasty and satisfying.

There’s no need to scrimp on breakfast or lunch. Next time you’re out four-wheeling – or camping in general – try my suggestions above. You don’t have to be an accomplished cook to take your meals to a new level.


Tom Severin

Tom Severin is an International 4-Wheel Drive Trainers Association© certified professional 4WD Trainer and a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), and President, Badlands Off Road Adventures.