Gorp, Again? Alternate Camp Trail Meals

by Layne Cameron

You can cook an entire Thanksgiving meal during a campout?" I questioned the boastful Scoutmaster. He guaranteed me that he wasn’t joking — he wasn’t sending me to find that proverbial left-handed smoke sifter.

His detailed plan was so convincing that I booked him and other representatives from his troop on a local television show. The dinner he prepared left myself and the show’s host humbled. The gourmet Scoutmaster served turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings from a stack of dutch ovens as tall as a Cub Scout. The bird was tender and the stuffing and vegetables were perfectly spiced.

Hikers would rather not haul a 10-pound dutch oven in their packs — or a 20-pound turkey for that matter. However, by planning menus, repackaging food, packing the right spices, and being creative with aluminum foil, there is no reason to eat another bland trail meal again.

All recipes serve two hikers with the exceptions of Beef Stroganoff Buffet and Deluxe Chicken Dinner.



  Peanut Butter

 1. Core the apple
 2. Mix the peanut butter and raisins together and then stuff the apple with the mixture.

Options: Other stuffings include cottage cheese, chopped ham, turkey, or other fruits. Toppings can include crushed nuts or honey.


Piedmont Pizza

  English muffins
  Tomato sauce
  Mozzarella cheese
  Pizza fixings

 1. Split muffin and cover each half with sauce, cheese, and fixings.
 2. Wrap in foil and cook over coals for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Deluxe Chicken Dinner
(serves 4)

  2 chicken bouillon cubes
  1 cup Minute Rice
  1 box stuffing mix
  1 large can cooked chicken

 1. Boil 2 cups of water and add the bouillon cubes.
 2. Add rice and cover.
 3. Prepare stuffing mix according to directions.
 4. Add chicken to rice and stir.

Options: Add vegetables for variety. Pack stuffing mix and directions in ziptop bag before leaving camp.


Knobstone Trail Soup

  ¼ cup beef or chicken bouillon granules
  2 tsp. parsley flakes
  11/3 cup dried carrots
  11/3 cup dried celery
  ¼ cup dried onions
  1 cup rice
  Dried tomato slices

1. Boil 4 cups water.
2. Add ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender and rice is cooked.

Options: Add fresh broccoli, or substitute rice or macaroni for the rice.


Humble Hobo

  1 small can cooked chicken
  Vegetables of your choice
  1 tsp. oil
  Salt and pepper

 1. Place chicken and vegetables in foil.
 2. Sprinkle on oil and spices.
 3. Seal tightly and cook over coals for 30 minutes, turning often.


Bag O' Eggs

  2 eggs
  1/8 cup milk
  Salt and pepper
  ¼ cup Cheddar cheese
  3 sausage links, precooked
  3 tsp. salsa

 1. Bring medium-sized pot of water to boil.
 2. Break eggs into ziptop bag.
 3. Add milk, salt, and pepper and shake.
 4. Break sausage into ½-inch sections and add to bag.
 5. Submerge bag and cook until eggs are no longer runny. Top cooked eggs with salsa.


Okeechobee Casserole

  1 box macaroni and cheese
  ¾ stick butter
  ¼ cup milk
  1 green pepper
  1 onion
  1 small can tuna
  Salt and pepper

 1. Melt butter in skillet and saute onion and green pepper until tender.
 2. Cook macaroni and cheese according to directions using remaining butter and milk.
 3. Add drained tuna and sauteed onion and green pepper to macaroni and cheese and stir.

Option: Top with shredded Cheddar cheese.


Beef Stroganoff Buffett
(serves 4-6)

  1 lb. round steak, cut into strips
  1 envelope dry onion soup
  1 can cream of mushroom soup
  ½ soup can of water
  Salt and pepper
  1 bag egg noodles
  1 pint sour cream

 1. In a dutch oven, mix together steak, dry onion soup mix, mushroom soup, water, salt and pepper.
 2. Cook for 2 to 2½ hours over hot coals.
 3. Prepare egg noodles according to directions.
 4. Add sour cream to meat mixture when ready to serve.
 5. Serve meat over noodles.



Enchilada Casserole

  2 tsp. chili powder
  2 tsp. minced onion
  2 tsp. sun-dried tomato
  1 small can cooked chicken
  12 oz. bag corn chips
  6 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese

 1. Combine chili powder, dried onions, and sun-dried tomatoes in a plastic bag before leaving camp.
 2. Boil 4 cups of water and add spices and canned meat.
 3. Simmer for 5 minutes.
 4. Add the crumbled corn chips and cheese. Stir until chips are moistened.


Simply Spicy

  1 package macaroni and cheese
  ¼ cup milk
  ¼ cup butter
  1 small can tuna
  1 small can diced chilies

 1. Prepare macaroni and cheese according to directions using milk and butter.
 2. Drain tuna and chilies and stir into macaroni and cheese.

Layne Cameron is a writer and an editor. He is the former assistant director of the Boy Scouts’ Camp Kikthawenund and the author of Mountain Bike Indiana.


Originally published in the 1998 May/June issue of Camping Magazine.