Hello 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.
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…
In 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.
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.
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