Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cooking for a large group while camping!

This past week I had the pleasure to attend girls camp with my stake here in Alexandria, Va. One of the challenges I faced was being the camp cook for my level of girls which included: YCL's, leaders and guests. That included menu planning for about 25+- for 3 Breakfasts, 2 Dinners and 1 Dessert. What a TASK! Now that I have done it, I figured I could share the info with anyone who ever has to cook for a large group outside.

My Menu...
Breakfast 1- Dutch oven cinnamon Rolls, Oatmeal, Orange juice

I first lined my dutch oven with Coleman parchment paper Dutch oven liners, found at Wal-mart...but don't bother calling and asking Waly-mart if they have them because they will say no :)
Then I bought the pre-made cinnamon rolls where you peel off the tube and they go POP! I lined 3 dutch ovens with the rolls had my coals already prepared and put all three ovens in the fire ring with 1/3 of my coals on the bottom and the rest on the top. That way the coals don't burn the bottom of the rolls and the rise really quite nicely! In about 30 minutes we removed the ovens and put the parchment paper on cookie sheets and drizzled with the goodness. These were a HUGE hit. Before the rolls I served up some oatmeal and did it buffet style. I had a big camping stove then just set everything on the table where the girls could add: raisins, craisins, white or brown sugar and milk. So good.

Breakfast 2-Eggs in a bag

These turned out awesome. For so many people I only had two pots of water going but 3 or 4 would have been easier! Again I set up an assembly line buffet style and let the girls have whatever they wanted in their eggs. You begin with a good zip lock bag. sandwich bag. Then crack two eggs and they could add: bell peppers, mushrooms and onions. I omitted cheese from this step because it takes the eggies longer to cook with the cheese.

The girls labeled them with sharpies and into the pot they went. Again a big hit! Cheese and ketchup were added after and we had so many happy campers!

Breakfast 3-Sausage and biscuits

This was by far the most fun and easiest breakfast (for me). I built a nice big fire and had roasting sticks that the girls put their pre-made sausages on and warmed over the fire. They then went and wrapped a biscuit (another peel from the can...POP kind) and put these roasters over the fire. When they were done we all had fresh fruit and rolled our goodies in syrup.

Dinner 1-Munsterella dutch oven Chicken

This recipe is the BEST when you're camping because it tastes so gourmet but its so easy! I bought two bags of pre-battered chicken from Costco and pre-baked them before camp. At camp I lined 3 dutch ovens with the paper and proceeded to layer Munster cheese (1/2 lb per oven same with mozzarella), mozzarella cheese, chicken and mushrooms in 2 of the 3 ovens (the third I just omitted the mushrooms). I then added some chicken broth (about 2 cups), salt and pepper to make sure I got some tasty sauce for when I put the chicken over whole wheat noodles.
Meanwhile, on the burners we cooked the (3 boxes) noodles and cooked up a whole bag of frozen broccoli. This meal was so perfect!

Dinner 2-Tinfoil dinners

I think tin-foil dinners are pretty easy to make but here are a few things I did. I started my HUge fire about 2 hours before dinner to ensure some intense heat and great coals. I also like to wet a paper towel and put it in between layers of foil. This just helps prevent burning on the sides. We also sprayed down the foil that the food went on with pam before we put anything on them. For this we had 10 lbs of ground beef which we thawed and pre placed them in baggies so everyone got about 1/3 of a pound (best idea ever because it was so much cleaner then a bunch of dirty hands!). We also did red-potatoes because they are softer and cook faster then russet or golden po's. We all Costco stuff for this but only because it was way cheaper that way. We used red potatoes, mushrooms (1 carton), Red bell peppers (one bag, 6 peppers), carrots (not from costco (good gracious!), about 4 onions, 2 family size mushroom soups, salt, pepper, lawrys seasoning salt and Mrs. Dash. The thing about tin-foil dinners is that you need massive amounts of spices to make it any good so we did get them all at Costco.

Dessert 1-Banana boats...

If you have never done these before...DO. They are fun and easy. I set up 3 bowls of each of the following and put them down 2 picnic tables for the girls...semi-sweet chocolate chips, caramel chips, mini-marshmallows and coconut. Then each girl got a banana (we needed about 4 bunches from Costco) and a knife. We then cut out the centers and filled the boats with goodies, wrapped them in tin-foil and threw those babies the the fire. in about 10-15 minutes dessert was served.

All of this took serious thinking and planning so if you ever need my shopping list or any other tips for these just let me know!!

I am pretty much writing this down in case I ever have to do this again. Good thing I had done a serious amount of camp cooking before!!

I also had prepared to do ice cream in a bag but we ran out of time. Its fun and easy and there is no cooking involved.