We recently went on a camping trip, and it was HOT. Hotter than normal this time of year which was both pleasant and unfortunate. Pleasant because it was nicer than cold, rainy days but unfortunate because we didn’t have AC 😊 The only way to beat the heat was to make homemade ice cream. Yes, you read that correctly. We made ice cream, from scratch, while camping. And it’s actually quite easy.
First, you need to purchase an Ice Cream Ball. The one we have is YayLabs! Soft Shell Ice Cream Ball. You can find it at your local sporting goods store or online by doing a simple Google search. They are reasonably priced and very fun to use.
The ball has 2 sides that twist open. You add heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla to one side, and ice and ice cream salt to the other side. Roll around for 10 minutes, stir the ingredients and scrape down the sides, add additional salt, and roll around for another 10 minutes. Then you are ready to serve, add any toppings, and enjoy!
We made vanilla ice cream and added sprinkles and M&M candies as toppings. We didn’t have a lot of extra cooler space, so we kept it simple. However, you can add chocolate or caramel syrup, other candies, marshmallows, peanuts, whipped cream, etc. You could even add mint extract and mini chocolate chips for a peppermint bonbon flavor. The options are endless when you are customizing your sundae!
The exterior is a soft shell that protects the metal interior while shaking and rolling and prevents your hands from freezing during the process! It is removable so you can easily clean it then snap it back into place. Completed directions for using, washing, and caring for the Ice Cream Ball are included in the package but this is a high-level overview to give you an idea of how simple it is.
We followed the recipe that came with the Ice Cream Ball, and it made about 1 quart of ice cream. The flavor was perfect, it was smooth and creamy, and very refreshing on a hot day. You could also use the Ice Cream Ball at home with kids on a hot summer day or perhaps for dessert after a BBQ. It would be a fun activity to do in the kitchen on a rainy day. It’s worth the investment!
Another meal we enjoyed was campfire Lasagna and Chicken Alfredo. I know this probably sounds complicated and like a lot of work but it’s really not. Both were purchased from the Festival Foods Deli (links are provided below) and are pre-cooked items so we are simply reheating. You want to start by getting hot coals. This will take some time so plan ahead so the fire is blazing well before you want to eat. Once the coals are ready, remove the cover and any other plastic from the containers (only keep the pan). Wrap each in heavy duty aluminum foil and place on the grate. Turn the grate so it’s hovering over the coals and let the heat do its magic.
You will want to check the temperature and make sure both pans are heating through but not burning. I recommend checking every 10 minutes. Give the alfredo a stir every so often or the bottom will start sticking to the pan. Both pans will need to heat for about 20-30 minutes, depending on how hot your coals are. Carefully remove the pans to the picnic table and peel back the foil. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Who would think you could enjoy Lasagna or Chicken Alfredo while camping? We were determined to make it work and have been enjoying this meal for years on an annual camping trip with family. It’s a big hit and provides enough food for everyone. Normally we have cold, rainy days so a hot meal is needed. As mentioned previously, this year was hot and sunny, but we didn’t know that when menu planning, so we had to cook and eat what we had! After all the hiking we needed the carbo load 😊 We made some garlic bread on a griddle and had a side Caesar salad with it. It was a “glamping” meal, but we all loved it.
Here is the link to the Lasagna with Sausage (Family Size).
Here is the link to the Penne Alfredo with Chicken (Family Size).
On a previous camping trip, we enjoyed chicken and steak kabobs purchased from the meat counter at Festival Foods. They were super yummy and quite filling. As you can see from my photos below, we cooked them on a Coleman stove (griddle). It was fine but they kabobs are quite large and almost didn’t fit so it took some time for the meat to be cooked through. I would recommend disassembling the kabobs if you are going to cook the on a griddle. A grill or even over some hot coals would work great!
The kabobs are HUGE! You get large chunks of meat and plenty of thick cut veggies. We ended up sharing the kabobs with a group and it was plenty to go around. A quick and easy meal that was prepped ahead of time and required little effort on our part.
We’ve also made Campfire Pizzas before. If you’ve camped before or tried to have a cookout over a bonfire in your backyard you probably know what I’m referring to. You need something called a Cast Iron Camp Cooker or Camp Cooker. They are usually round or square (the shape doesn’t matter for the recipe) and are reasonably priced. Direction are in the packaging for how to prepare the cooker for 1st time use, clean, and care for the case iron after using. They really are a wonderful tool to have for camping!
You want to get a decent size fire going and let it burn down until you have plenty of HOT coals. It’s OK if you still have some flame but you don’t want a raging fire for cooking. Open the cooker and spray the inside with cooking spray (on both insides). Butter one side of 2 pieces of bread. Place a piece of bread on one side (the flavor of bread is up to you, but we typically use white bread), butter side down. Add toppings. This is where you can get creative. We’ve done basic sausage and pepperoni, but Canadian bacon and pineapple is a great combo, perhaps add some olives or diced pepper, different kinds of cheese, etc. You can customize each pizza and add whatever toppings (or fillings in this case) you like. Add another piece of bread on top (butter side up) and close the cooker. Remove any crust and bread that is hanging over the sides.
Put the cooker directly into the fire. I suggest placing it on top of a piece of wood or on top of the coals without sticking it in the coals (if that makes sense). You don’t want the pizza to burn! Let it cook for 1-2 minutes then flip and cook for another minute on the other side. You can open the cooker part way through to check for doneness or burning and adjust the cook time accordingly or move it to a different spot in the fire pit. You will have to play around with the first pizza to get the cook time down. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact recipe or timing for these but as you can imagine, the side and heat from every fire will vary.
When you think it’s done cooking, remove from the fire and carefully open the cooker. Use a fork or knife to life the pizza out and transfer to a plate. Let cool slightly. Don’t bite in right away or you will burn your mouth! These pizzas are delicious, but they are HOT right out of the fire. Once cooled you can dig in and enjoy!
As you can see, we’ve had some fun meals while camping! All are effortless and easy to prep, or don’t require any prep work at all because you are simply reheating a store-bought item. The food is delicious, warms you through on a chilly weekend, and fills you up from a day full of activities. Even if you aren’t a camper or have no interest in camping, you can try all these recipes with a backyard bonfire pit. So, give them a try and enjoy the outdoors!