Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
Mary Ellen Johnson, F354444, wrote: “When we travel in our motorhome we almost exclusively cook outside over the campfire, portable gas grill, or Coleman stove. It would be great to see some campfire/outdoor recipes.” I’m happy to comply. Those of us who started out in tents and worked our way up through the ranks will never forget the smell of wood smoke and the magic of a campfire.
Gourmet Ham Bombshells
The taste is gourmet but the preparation is pure hobo. If you want to be lazy, just open the foil and dig in with your fork. If not, serve this one-dish meal on plates. The secret is to use fresh asparagus and to heat the “bombshells” without overcooking the asparagus.
1–pound canned ham or equivalent in fully cooked ham steaks
1 pouch fully cooked rice and wild rice mix
4 tablespoons pineapple jam
1 small can baby carrots, well-drained and cut in half
Fresh asparagus tips, approximately four to six per person
Lay out four squares of aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Place a serving of ham on each, topped with a mound of rice, a tablespoon of jam, pieces of carrot, and the asparagus tips. Bring up the corners of the foil and twist to form a handle. Place the packets on the grill and cook for approximately 15 minutes or just until everything is heated through and the asparagus tips are lightly steamed.
Chicken In Silver
4 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
1/2-cup olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in rings
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2-cup red wine or grape juice
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
12 pitted dates
The day before you plan to serve this dish, put the chicken in a large resealable bag with all the ingredients except the dates. Refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally so the flavors distribute well.
When ready to cook, start the grill and lay out four squares of aluminum foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Using tongs, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place them, bone side up, on the foil. Lift out the onion rings and arrange them atop the chicken. Place three pitted dates in each breast cavity. Spoon a little marinade over each chicken breast and discard the bag and remaining marinade. Bring up the sides of the foil and roll down; then fold the sides toward the middle to form a leakproof packet.
Place on a grill set to medium, bone side up, for 10 minutes; turn; grill another 10 minutes; turn; and grill for five more minutes. Open one packet and test the temperature of the chicken with an instant-read thermometer to make sure it is done. This recipe makes four servings. Complete the meal with grilled vegetables, a salad, crusty bread, and creamy rice pudding for dessert.
Wake up a meal of plain grilled chicken, ham, or chops with this zesty condiment. You can whip it up in minutes from items stored on your pantry shelf.
16-ounce can whole cranberry sauce
16-ounce can diced pears with juice
1 large onion, diced
10-ounce jar black cherry preserves
1/4-cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2-teaspoon lemon extract
Put the cranberry sauce in a pan and break it up. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to very low; and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes until the mixture is thickened and the onions tender. Let the chutney cool to room temperature and spoon over hot, grilled pork chops, ham steaks, or chicken pieces.
In this recipe, from The Big Book of Barbecue Sides (see below), author Rick Browne makes brilliant use of an aluminum cooking bag. Have the coals ready for cooking on indirect heat or preheat the gas grill on low.
1 large head cabbage, quartered and cored
1 slice bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2-stick butter, cut into pieces
Salt and pepper
Spray the inside of the aluminum cooking bag with nonstick cooking spray. Place the cabbage, bacon, onion, and butter in the bag and add salt and pepper. Seal the bag and set it on the grill. If you’re using charcoal, place the bag away from the direct heat of the coals. Cook for approximately 20 minutes over gas or 25 to 30 minutes over charcoal, turning periodically.
Sausage Stroganoff Over Baked Potatoes
If bulk sausage isn’t available, buy a pound of links and remove the casings. For faster cooking, microwave the potatoes until they are almost tender, then cook them the rest of the way on the grill, turning several times, to develop crisp skins and barbecue flavor. This skillet meal can be cooked on a grill, a grate, or a camp stove.
6 large Idaho potatoes, scrubbed
1 pound sweet Italian bulk sausage
1 red sweet pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
8-ounce can sliced mushrooms
8-ounce carton sour cream
Prepare the potatoes in the microwave and place them on the grill. In a large skillet fry the sausage, gradually adding the peppers and onion. Pour off any excess fat and continue frying as you stir in the curry powder. Then add the mustard, wine, and mushrooms; cover; and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream. Slit the tops of the potatoes, spread them open, and spoon the sausage mixture over them.
Pork Chop Luau
4 lean, meaty pork chops
Salt (to taste)
Lemon pepper (to taste)
1 cup instant rice, uncooked
4 slices pineapple
4 pitted prunes
1 can fruit-flavored soda (orange, strawberry, pineapple)
Spray four squares of aluminum foil and place a pork chop on each. Sprinkle with salt and lemon pepper. Place 1/4-cup instant rice on each chop; top with a ring of pineapple; and place a prune in the center of each pineapple ring. Bring up the sides of the foil to form shallow cups and pour 1/4-cup of the soda on each. Then complete the leakproof wrap. Place the packets on a well-started grill set at medium, meat side down, for 10 minutes; turn and cook for another 10 minutes; turn and cook for 10 minutes more. Open one packet and test for doneness. Complete the menu with coleslaw, breadsticks, and s’mores.
Root Beer BBQ Beans
This recipe, also from The Big Book of Barbecue Sides, offers an unusual way to make baked beans. Author Rick Browne promises that the celery, removed before serving, helps minimize the unwanted effects of the beans.
5 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
36-ounce can baked beans
1 cup root beer (regular, not diet)
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1/2-teaspoon dry mustard
1/4-teaspoon garlic salt
1/4-teaspoon lemon pepper
2 to 3 ribs celery
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon and onions until the bacon is brown and crisp and the onions have started to brown and become transparent. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture is slightly thickened, which should take approximately 20 minutes. Remove the celery and serve. This recipe makes four to six servings.
Cookie Custard Dessert
It may take a little practice, but this is a luscious pudding to make in a covered skillet over the grill while you eat the main course. It’s also a good way to use up stale cookies. Each time you make this dessert it’s different, depending on what cookies you have on hand. You might add raisins, cinnamon, and other flavorings, depending on what kinds of cookies you use.
Approximately 2 cups crumbled cookies
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1/3-cup raisins (optional)
1/2-teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Put the cookies in a plastic bag and squeeze to crumble them coarsely. Add more if necessary until it appears that you have approximately 2 cups of crumbs in the bag. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Dump the cookie crumbles into the liquid and mix. Spray a cold, nonstick skillet well and add the cookie mixture. Place a large sheet of heavy-duty foil on the grill set to medium; place the covered skillet in the middle of the foil; and bring up the sides to envelop the skillet. Cook the dessert, undisturbed, for 30 minutes before checking to see whether the custard has set. Spoon the custard into dessert dishes. Note: using foil helps create a more even heat and it also protects the skillet from soot.
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2-cup instant rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 large green bell peppers, seeded and sliced into rings
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (optional)
In a large plastic resealable bag, knead together the beef, rice, and soy sauce. Form the beef mixture into four large patties. Lay out four large squares of foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Place a beef patty on each piece of foil and pile high with the pepper rings and a little ginger. Bring up the sides of the foil to form leakproof packets and place, beef side down, over a grill preheated to high. Cook for 10 minutes; turn over; and cook 10 minutes more. Test for doneness. The meat should be cooked to your liking and the peppers should be crisp-tender. Serve on buns or over rice.
Books for cooks
The Gourmet Potluck: Show-Stopping Recipes for the Buffet Table ($18.95, Ten Speed Press), by Beth Hensperger, is a useful guide when you’re making a 12-serving dish for a campground potluck. Illustrated with luscious photos, the book gives cooks courage to tackle impressive dishes. One of its best features is that it tells readers how to get the dish to the potluck and what serving utensils to take along. Try the author’s recipe for Green Chile and Rice Casserole. It’s a filling, affordable dish people will remember.
The Big Book of Barbecue Sides ($16.95, Collectors Press), by Rick Browne, is an interesting guide for side dishes to serve outdoors. Many of the recipes are cooked in an oven or on a burner, so the cook who wants to do everything on the grill or campfire will have to make some adjustments. Nevertheless, the author, host of the PBS television show “Barbecue America,” presents some fabulous ideas in this book.