I’ve never tent camped (excluding childhood backyard adventures) until 7 months ago. Since then, we’ve been 8 more times in THE most varied conditions. From the hot, humid, sandy Florida coast to the cold windy (35+mph) Death Valley Desert and everything in between, there have been A LOT of cooking adventures. And at the end of the day, I’ve realized while I love cooking, I hate cooking at the campsite. Forget chopping and food prep if it’s cold and windy. And to sit and wait for something to cook when I’m tired and hangry? It’s straight up painful.
In our travels, cooler space is limited as is the budget. Yet, healthy eating is not something I’ve willing to compromise on. Sure, a brewski and s’more may make the trip, but not the salt/sugar bombs I’ve seen at a lot of other campsites. Also, we don’t have space to carry a bunch of cookware, we barely have room for firewood. That also means we have legit no room for charcoal (so forget the ever popular campsite grilling).
Soooo, the last few camping trips, I’ve experimented with making a sh*t ton of something that can be served in versatile ways and then freezing it. That way, it doesn’t start to unthaw until about the second or third day when you need it. Plus, this takes no time away from hiking – which may be one of the most important factors. 🙂
Even if you don’t plan on camping anytime soon, these guides are perfect freezer meals. Whether you’re camping, new baby planning, or midweek hustling, you’ll have a healthy, hearty meal waiting for you. It’s like the ultimate “healthy kitchen sink” blend – but tastes delicious!
These combinations are super simple and perfect if you don’t have time/resources/mad cooking skills.
Mexican Rice and Beans
Ingredients: 2 cans beans (I like to mix black and pinto usually), 1 onion, 1 red bell pepper, 2-3 cloves garlic (chopped), ½ small frozen bag of corn, 2 cups of cooked brown rice, can of tomatoes (drained) or 2-3 tomatoes (chopped), ½ packet Trader Joe’s taco seasoning (no MSG/crap) or equivalent type seasoning. Saute the onions, red pepper for 4-5 minutes until cooked. Add in chopped garlic, rinsed beans, cooked rice, tomatoes, corn, and seasoning blend. Optional ingredients: fresh or canned jalapenos, cilantro, quinoa in place of rice, lime juice, frozen spinach (get those greens in!), etc. These combo is great on it’s own, wrapped in a tortilla or served on tortilla chips!
Italian Red Split Peas
Ingredients: 16oz bag of red lentils, 1 or 2 16oz canned tomatoes, 1 onion, 3-4 garlic cloves (chopped), 2 vegetable bouillon cubes, red bell pepper (chopped), 16oz bag of frozen chopped spinach, sun dried tomatoes (chopped) Super simple ingredients: saute onion, bell pepper for 2-3 minutes. Add 4 cups of water, red lentils, garlic, bouillon cubes. Cook ~30/45 minutes until lentils are cooked. Add more water if needed. Stir in canned tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, and frozen chopped spinach. Ways to consume: plain – makes for a thick, hearty stew, over pasta/polenta/quinoa/rice/potato. Each starch provides it’s own texture/taste and it can taste different just with a different “base!”
Another favorite camping meal: noodle soup – boil noodles, add herbamare (a fantastic seasoning blend – I use it for EVERYTHING), and frozen veggies blend
Other great freezer meals:
Miso soup – make it concentrated and add more water when unthawed/at time of serving
Chili – any and all chilis!
Soups – I really love freezing bean based soups (split pea, minestrone, black bean, etc) because makes for a heartier meal once ready to eat instead of just a vegetable based soup.
Things that don’t freeze well: pasta and potatoes when on their own. They freeze just fine, but I find the texture to be a bit funny when unthawed.
Use your imagination! That’s what helps me. Maybe you see a fun vegetable or a fun spice/seasoning that you want to incorporate. Make your freezer meal revolve around that. Shop seasonally – is it spring? Add asparagus or Brussel sprouts to your dish. Winter? Hearty squashes are always a win! Just aim to get a source or protein, twice as manyvegetables, and a starch in each “mixed meal” and you’re in business. The options are endless. Curious about something specific? Or tried something simple you want to share? Let me know – I’d love to hear it all!
Love and Hugs – Morgan