3 Courses Worth of Recipes Using Nothing But Foil and a Fire
Your Quintessential Heat Source For These Recipes - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue
When embarking on a camping trip, planning out your meals can often take a back seat to planning the activities you want to participate in while out in nature. Sometimes when it comes to what you’ll eat, it’s tough to figure out things that are both easy to cook over a fire and easy to travel with - especially when backpacking or thru-hiking! It can be overwhelming to think about in terms of cookware and easy refrigeration while still keeping a tasty menu.
Imagine how impressed your campground will be when they see you with a low-maintenance 3 course dinner starting with roasted asparagus, followed by potatoes and veggies and finished off with a personal pineapple upside down cake? The best part about it all? The only cookware you'll need for these is a roll of aluminum foil - and your heat source is the classic campfire you already have up and running! Accessories like a grilling rack certainly make things more convenient, but can be left at home if you need to keep your pack weight to a minimum.
This is an easy recipe to prepare either at your campsite itself, or at home in advance of your trip. If you’re prepping ahead of time, store the foil packet in a ziplock bag, as oil may leak from the packet. Store it in your cooler or refrigerated bag. By prepping everything ahead of time, all you’ll have to do is wrap up your asparagus in some tin foil and begin roasting! However, if you'd prefer to prep at your site, you can easily do so provided you've got a knife, a good surface to cut everything up on, and a roll of foil in your pack! Just make sure to clean your knife off immediately afterwards, as the juices from the veggies can cause stickiness and/or rust the blade.
Salt/Pepper/Seasonings of choice
Lemon Slices (optional)
Wash your asparagus, then cut off about an inch from the bottom to avoid the stem, which can be tough and unpleasant on the palate.
Spread the asparagus out on a long piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and season generously with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you may have in your kit (for example, I never leave home without garlic powder). If you want lemon, add the lemon slices now. Roll the foil up so the asparagus is sealed in as best as possible.
You’ll need enough tin foil to lay down all stems of asparagus in a single layer with a few inches on either side. From there, pinch the edges together to make a small pouch. Don’t get too intricate here, it needs to be easily accessible to unpack so you can check on the tenderness so you can decide when to remove this from the fire. The longer it is cooking over the fire, the softer the asparagus will get. It depends on how hot your fire is and your personal preference for how long you choose to cook it, but about 6-10 minutes should do the job.
For those of us who like things a little crispier - after the asparagus has steamed through, unseal your packet, drain it off, and place the foil on a rock near the flames with the asparagus points facing inward. Let them get a little bit blackened by the fire for excellent texture prior to removing and serving!
Potatoes and Veggies
This is another recipe that can be prepared in advance with a cutting board, knife, and mixing bowl readily available in your kitchen, or made on-site with your knife, tin foil, and whatever you may have available to you at your campsite. This particular recipe is 100% vegan - but if you’d like, it’s very easy to grill up some sausages over the fire, cut them up, and include them in your foil packet with the other ingredients as well.
Yukon Gold/Yellow Potatoes
Seasonings of choice
For your potatoes, you’ll want to start off by making sure they’re clean - same goes for the carrots and onions as well. Once you begin to prep, your meal, thinly slice your potatoes - the thinner they are, the faster they’ll cook. You’ll also want to slice your onions into fairly thin slices too - no one wants giant onion chunks! For the carrots, you’ll want them to be cut into small coins. By having these ingredients sliced thin, it will make the cooking process much easier, and will make it easier to ensure everything is cooked evenly.
Once everything is cut, you’ll want to add it all to a large mixing bowl (or tossed within your foil packet!) and coat it evenly with olive oil. Once everything is evenly coated, you can add any desired seasonings.
For cooking, you’ll need a good amount of tin foil- about 2 feet per meal made. When you lay down the foil, you’ll want to lay out a thin layer of potatoes and vegetables. Begin to fold the corners of the tin foil flat and towards the center. When folding this meal pack, you’ll want it to be as seamless as possible so that when cooking, leaks will be minimal - it helps to roll the ends.
Cook for about 20 minutes on each side, but cook time may vary depending on the sizes of your sliced food - not to mention the fire itself!
Personal Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
You always have to save the best for last, right? This pineapple upside down cake will be a sweet and simple way to finish off your meal. The shortcake shells may take some searching at the stores before your trip, but the final product is most certainly worth it! Also noteworthy for the ingredients - the measurements listed below are for one personal cake, meaning if you’d like to make more than one at a time, you’ll need to multiply these measurements by however many you’d like to make. In general, fruit roasted over a fire brings out some unique and incredible flavors, and adding some shortcake to this mix ties everything together perfectly.
1 Maraschino Cherry
1 Pineapple Slice
1.5 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter (or substitute)
First, you’ll start with laying down your tin foil. Next, you’ll want to evenly sprinkle the brown sugar on the foil, followed by the tablespoon of butter or butter substitute.
Set down the pineapple ring, and put the maraschino cherry in the hollowed part of the pineapple.
Take your shortcake shell and place that so the flat side is facing up.
Once all ingredients have been included, wrap the tin foil around the dessert and ensure the pack is sealed. Heat this over the fire for about 10-15 minutes, then allow a small amount of time to cool before touching the tin foil. Once you unwrap the cake from the foil, flip the cake so the fruit faces up and enjoy!
Jamie Rees is a Las Vegas native currently pursuing a Journalism degree at UNLV. Jamie is a former intern with Pathloom, and we want to thank her for all of her amazing contributions to the Pathloom blog over the past few months!
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