Summer Camping Menu Planning

We’re packing up for a trip to Hope Valley in Tahoe (click here for a peek at our camp kitchen), and as we were planning our menus it occurred to me that y’all might enjoy seeing what’s on our list. Planning meals for a camping trip is a lot like planning meals for a busy week … only with a heck of a lot less refrigerator space. I have to give big props to my husband for taking the lead this year. Thanks, honey!

For breakfasts, we’ll keep it simple with oatmeal, granola and cereal with nuts and fruit. Lunches will be strategic amalgamations and re-vamps of our dinners. And dinners themselves need to be as close to one pot (or grill) as possible. So here’s the plan:

Molasses-Cranberry-Granola* SUNDAY NIGHT — I’m making Sticky-Spicy Thai Eggplant before we leave with the bunches of Asian eggplant we have hanging in the garden. We’ll heat that up Sunday night with some quinoa I have leftover in the fridge. Dessert will be fresh plums from the farmers market.

* MONDAY LUNCH — I’ve got a big batch of this “Melted” Squash on the stove right now, and it will play a couple of different roles on our trip. For Monday lunch, I’m going to cook up an omelet with half the squash as a filling and a bit of feta cheese (the rest of which will be used Monday night in the Greek salad).

* MONDAY DINNER — Souvlaki has somehow become a camping standard for us. Christopher has cubes of pork marinating in olive oil, garlic and oregano, all ready to go onto skewers and over the campfire Monday night. He’s making a garlicky Tzatziki and I’m making Melizansalata Eggplant Dip, both of which will only get better over time. We’re also bringing up the makings for a Greek salad from our garden. Dessert … s’mores.

south-melizansalata* TUESDAY LUNCH — Leftovers from Monday dinner–marinated Greek salad, Tzatziki and chopped pork–will go into pitas for an easy lunch.

* TUESDAY DINNER — The rest of that Squash will get tossed with pasta tonight (we’ll make extra pasta for Wednesday lunch), and any leftover feta.

* WEDNESDAY LUNCH — Christopher is making a nice, chunky tomato sauce that he’ll freeze (one of our strategies for keeping the cooler cool). We’ll toss it with the leftover pasta on Wednesday for lunch.

* WEDNESDAY DINNER — The last night is our classic “cookout night.” Hot dogs, sausages and baked beans. I’ve got a big batch of beans frozen, along with the hot dogs and sausages, that we’ll let thaw Wednesday. Dessert … definitely s’mores again.

baked-beansYou might notice an “arc” to these menus. First, the perishable dishes are used right away. Second, “marinated” stuff–dishes that gain flavor as they sit–gets used mid-trip. Third, frozen items help keep the cooler chill, and then are defrosted and used at the end of the trip.

I’ll be checking in with pics on Facebook if I can get service. Otherwise, I’ll post pics of our sweet kitchen setup (wait until you see our “dish rack”) next week.

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