It’s summertime! It is time for camping and campfires. It’s time to figure out how to feed the crowd with little fuss and even less mess.
I needed to figure something out for this past weekend. Our family participated in a living history reenactment : we live in canvas tents and cook over open fires. In the years we have done this, I have learned a trick or two to having a variety of healthy meals, both hot and cold, during these long weekends.
The Easy Way
Sure, you could pack a couple pounds of lunch meat, sliced cheese, and a loaf of bread to put together sandwiches for every meal. You could toss a package of hotdogs into your cooler and hope you’ll find a good stick for cooking. For our type of camping, we’ve even taken a small hibatchi grill and charcoal.
Cooking a “real meal” over a fire can be challenging not in just the cooking itself but packing all the appropriate ingredients, pots and pans, utensils, et cetera. It is possible, but it is a lot of work. You want easy because you want to enjoy the camping experience. And not have to lug around a ton of equipment nor worry about how in the world you’re going to wash your dishes.
I had to come up with something between sandwiches and pork chops with fried potatoes. I needed to make sure we got our variety of food groups as well as a hot meal. Some of the events we do are disgustingly hot while others can be downright cold. So I thought about it.
What I want in a campfire meal:
Easy to make
Easy to clean up
Keeps everyone full and happy
What I came up with:
Individually-wrapped “hot pockets” of yummy goodness
Sarah’s Camp Pies
Having made “meat pies” for St. Patrick’s Day this year, I started rolling with the idea that I could make the dough and stuff whatever I wanted in it before baking it. Then I could wrap each little pie in heavy-duty foil so they could be taken from the plastic baggy and put right on the fire to cook. The more I thought about the hows and whats, the more I realized I would be making the homemade, whole-foods version of Hot Pockets.*
Time and Heat
Roughly 10 minutes to prep, 10 minutes to make the dough, 5 minutes to fill and crimp, then 30 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees
So, like, a total of less than an hour.
2 c flour (organic, of course)|
1/3 c evoo (I guess any oil will do but this is the one I always have on hand)
2/3 c almond milk (because we don’t drink cow’s milk but you can if you want)
2 t baking powder
Optional seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasonings, cumin, and so on
Whatever you want!!
Think about it.
Whatever. You. WANT.
Pizza goodies like sausage, cheese, peppers, and red sauce
Sandwich yummies like turkey, cheese, tomatoes, and mustard
Pot pie fillings like chicken, peas, carrots, and potatoes
Barbeque tasties like pulled pork, bbq sauce, and shredded cabbage
Fold the crust neatly over the fillings, pinching or squishing the edges with a fork
Place on a cookie sheet that is covered in foil or cooking spray or both
Bake for 15 minutes on each side at 425 degrees
Let cool before wrapping in foil. If making an assortment of pies, label them. Place in ziptop baggies and in the fridge to be tossed into the cooler when you’re ready to roll out to the campgrounds.
I made four types of pies: pizza, stew, turkey, and breakfast. The pizza ones had cooked sausage, mozzarella, Italian seasonings, tomato paste, bbq sauce, and sweet peppers. The stew was mashed potatoes, cooked ground beef and onions, peas, carrots, and corn with a little bit of ketchup. The turkey ones were smoked lunchmeat turkey, cheddar slices, broccoli florets, and sweet hot mustard. The breakfast pies had scrambled eggs, diced smoky links, and cheddar. I packed ketchup and bbq sauce in the cooler for good measure, but we only got them out for the breakfast ones.
The pies didn’t get soggy in the cooler, thank God. The crust was perfectly crusty. The pies were good cold or hot. Getting them the right temperature over the fire might prove to be tricky. For us, the “stew pies” cooked evenly sitting to the side of the main coals, but the “pizza pies” got a little black and crispy on the bottoms because I set them directly on top of a burning log. Live and learn!
If you try this hand pie idea, let me know what your fillings were and how your pies fared in your cooler and over your fire.
*I can’t think those two words together without hearing it sung like Jim Gaffigan does in this bit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmHSe_S04CU