As our big blue marble rounds its final bend of the year around the sun, us camping enthusiasts in the Northern Hemisphere are eager to take advantage of the few remaining warm nights. The changing foliage is like a brilliant beacon, beckoning to come enjoy the beauty of the woods. Just one more time before the snow falls. Sure you may be a little reluctant to leave the snug comfort of your sleeping bag in the morning or the warm glow of the fire at night, but a good warm meal can melt that first nippy hour into a crisp fall morning with just a few bites. Here are some hot meals that are easy to make over a campfire and will at least keep your stomach warm (and full!).

Eggs in an Orange Peel

This breakfast making strategy is both warm and fun! All you need is some eggs and an orange. You can make them scrambled, over easy, or over hard depending on your preference and patience. If eggs are the only thing on the menu, this method also spares you from having to wash any after breakfast dishes!

Step 1: The key to cooking an egg in an orange peel is to peel the orange properly. You can make any orange easier to peel by rolling it around under your palm on a hard surface. Do your best peel; at least half of the orange peel off as a one solid piece. Your peel should retain its circular shape and act as a makeshift bowl when done correctly

Step 2: Crack your eggs into the “orange bowl”. Scramble them first if you prefer.

Step 3: Carefully balance your egg filled orange on top of a patch of hot coals.

Step 4: Wait for your eggs to cook. The peel of the orange will blacken but the moisture will keep both the peel and the egg from burning for quite a while .You can use a poker or fork to make sure the insides have cooked through. Be Careful not to tip the orange peel over while poking!

Step 5: Remove your egg from the fire and give it a minute to cool. Enjoy!

Tip: For a fun alternative, you can also use your orange peels to “bake” assorted tasty treats in the wilderness. Just replace the egg with cake or muffin mix and you have an improvised (and orange flavored) oven. Use it as a fun activity to surprise someone who doesn’t think they are getting a Birthday (cup)cake while camping!

Soup

It is hard to think of a food more associated with providing warmth and comfort than hot soup on a cold day. The great thing about planning a soup based meal is that it can be made, stored, and carried in just about any configuration you can dream up. From cup o’ noodles to stewed fresh vegetables, soup quality and prep time can run the gambit.

Simple Camping Soup

  • 1 Broth Packet
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable oil
  • 1 Cup of Dry Noodles
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Stalks of Celery
  • 1-2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 6 Cups of Water

Chop all your ingredients in to bite sized pieces. Add oil and vegetables to your pot and fry for 2 minutes. Add water and broth. Heat until boiling and allow to simmer for a minimum of 5 minutes. The longer you wait, the more the flavors will mix. Serve hot with bread.

Hobo Dinners

Or in plainer terms, cooking with tin foil, hobo dinners are the microwave dinner of campfire cooking (but better for you). Like soup, hobo dinners can be elaborate planned affairs or a convenient method of putting leftovers to good use. They are versatile, cheap, and easy to make.

“Traditional” hobo dinners are a simple affair. Simply chop up one onion, one potato, and one carrot. Tear off a strip of tinfoil and place the desired quantity of ground beef in the foil. Add the vegetables to the foil and wrap the whole thing up so that nothing will spill out. Place the ball of foil and food on hot coals and allow it to cook for 10-15 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. The oil from the beef will help cook the vegetables while the moisture from the vegetables will keep everything from burning too quickly. Be sure to rotate you ball of dinner from time to time.

Variations on something so simple are to be expected. You can spice the dish with anything available. Wild edibles like wild oregano or sassafras make a great addition, as do more typical spices like a pinch of cayenne, garlic, or basil. Potatoes, onions, and carrots are included primarily because they are filling and keep well on long trips but just about any other vegetable can be added as well. Cabbage, squash, and zucchini also have respectable staying power and will add some much appreciated color to your meal. Vegetarians can replace beef with faux meat or tempeh and a dash of vegetable oil.

Let us know of some of your favorite cooking recipes!

Bon appétit!