Bread Pan Cooking for Convenience

AnolonHello and welcome to the blog today.  Jesse and I are two peas in a pod… We both seem to think about food and sleeping more than anything else!  This post is about cooking easy-to-transport food in advance of camping trips.

The Alonon mini loaf pan you see on the left was a recent lucky find at a local Goodwill thrift store.  This pan was new  – it still had the bar code on it – but is difficult to find online.  I immediately saw some camping applications for “cook ahead” food.  Made out of very heavy materials, this $4.88 find was a true bargain.  It’s provided plenty of fun already.

Black raspberry bread with cream cheese

Is nothing sacred? Yep, Jesse had to try some.

The first experiment was to make some mini loaves of bread for camping.  A friend in Cedar Rapids recently let me come over and gather a gallon of black raspberries over a two day period.  Recently I’ve been enjoying raspberry ice cream, black raspberry pancakes, and then this creation – black raspberry and orange sweet bread.

Making it was super easy.  The Target store had some clearance priced Krusteaz fat free muffin mixes for just $1.95.  One was cranberry-orange.  It was perfect because the Krusteaz mix even had more dietary fiber in it than regular white bread.  The dry mix contained orange peel – a terrific complement to berries.  The enclosed cranberries were in a can on the side; I saved them for later use in Jello or whatever…  Waste not, want not and all that…

Cranberry Orange MixIn lieu of part of the water, I used a LOT of whole black raspberries (they have the added benefit of contributing more healthy fiber, too!). Between two layers of batter, I slipped a couple ounces of cream cheese.  After baking and cooling, the tops of the loaves were glazed (not shown here) with a tangy blend of fresh lemon juice, black raspberry juice, and powdered sugar.  I froze six loaves for later use on camping and fishing trips.  Jesse was a big fan of the unglazed bread.  The moist, fruity, citrus flavored bread turned out exquisite – and without any fat (other than the cream cheese).

The next project was to make some mini loaves of breakfast strata.

Mini Stratas

Upside down plate? I don’t have any real plates in the home base… If possible both sides of the paper plates are used. It’s about living simple and cheaply.   🙂

Recently Sis had gifted a box of Red Lobster brand mix for cheddar-garlic biscuits.  After a fish fry the other night, I took the leftover biscuits and crumbled them into a freezer bag filled with 8 eggs, 1/2 can of cream of chicken soup, diced ham, onions, peppers, and cheddar cheese.  The mixture soaked all night, allowing the flavors to blend.  In the morning I baked portions (2/3 full) in the [sprayed] mini loaf pans at 350 degrees until done.  The concotion made wonderful breakfast casseroles.  These would be nice to throw in the cooler in the van and later zap ’em with the microwave while in the boonies.  Even cold they tasted well.

The delicious little stratas would also be yummy with some salsa and/or sour cream … and maybe crumbled and eaten in a flour tortilla.  I am hoping to try another version soon – with Mexican chorizo sausage.

1_Chicken Meatloaves

Chicken meatloaves for “make ’em now, zap ’em later” camping meals.

Here is the third loaf pan experiment… meatloaf!  These little meatloaves were made with some discounted (about to expire) ground chicken, onion, bell peppers, breadcrumbs, sauteed mushrooms, eggs, taco cheese and a few spices.  Instead of using a mixing bowl, the mixture was “mushed” together in a freezer bag.  Using plenty of breadcrumbs, the raw meatloaf was made to be fairly stiff (it softened later as the veggies cooked down) and then wrapped with bacon.  Jesse kept pacing by the oven and ate most of the bacon from one of the loaves after it cooled.  He sniffed the jalapeno (fresh from the vine at the home base) on the plate but didn’t want any part of it!

The next project is to make giant ice cubes in the mini loaf pans.  One cube would be large enough to occupy a good sized tumbler and keep iced tea or soda (Diet Coke, of course) cold for a long time.  I intend to keep a bunch of the little ice blocks in the deep freeze for later use.

That’s it for now.  As always, thanks for visiting!  Take care!  Happy camping and safe travels!

Brad and Jesse James
Jones County, Iowa

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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11 Responses to Bread Pan Cooking for Convenience

  1. shadowmoss says:

    The casino gifted me a counter top grill thing-y that is about 7″ round and heats both the top element and the bottom. The well is about 3″ deep. I used bisquick and powdered eggs with sausage and onions and powdered milk with enough water mixed in to make a thick batter. I got something similar to what you show. It will be better with fresh ingredients, but I don’t cook often enough to always have milk and eggs and such on hand. I was thinking they will travel well along with being something I can take into work.

    I enjoy your cooking descriptions.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks for the note. That counter top grill sounds really useful! The idea of having powdered eggs and powdered milk adds a lot of flexibility. Your dish sounds delicious! I also use Bisquick for a lot of things. It’s awesome for thickening up a batter, especially when you want to make something rise a little bit… Cooking is a lot of fun and it’s all the more enjoyable when you eat the goodies outdoors. 🙂

      Brad

  2. my_vantasy says:

    I have an eight slot baking tray like yours. When I got it, I was thinking banana nut bread, corn bread, and blueberry or chocolate chip muffins. So far all I’ve baked is meatloaf. I love your ideas! Sounds like I need to dig that pan out and create some new favorites. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks for the note! You just inspired me to try a new one… We have fresh sweetcorn in season now… Cornbread loaves with peppers and onions sound great. 😀

  3. Brad H says:

    Test comment with Captcha turned off…

  4. Pleinguy says:

    Such a great find! It’s so hard to find pans for small portions. I like your bake ahead for later plans.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thank you, Sir! The cornbread and raspberry bread came in handy on the fishing trip this week… After a hike up a 450 foot bluff, not having to cook as much food was a nice thing. 🙂

      Take care!

  5. Jo says:

    What a great find. I never find any thing for cookin worth buying at the Good Will.
    But you made some great dishes with your little loaf pans. You always come up with some very creative ideas. Going to try some these lastest recipes. Thanks

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks for the note Jo. It’s always fun to try new dishes. I sure enjoyed the cornbread on the fishing trip this week… There will be a post tomorrow (or late tonight) with some pictures and new food. Take care! — VT

  6. Carla says:

    I should never have started reading this post since I was feeling hungry. And now I’m starving for something very flavorful and home cooked. I don’t really cook at all, but your ability to combine things you have to make something new inspires me.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks for the note and encouragement. It’s fun cooking. You can’t beat homemade. 😀 You also have the advantage of being able to adjust things to your own liking vs. going to the restaurant and hoping the food is acceptable.