What’s keeping you from getting outside this weekend? Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s a crazy schedule, or maybe the thought of packing and preparing for a weekend in the woods is just too daunting. If that’s the case, then you’ve come to the right place! I can’t pack your bags for you, but I can help you get your camp meals together quick, so you can be sitting round a campfire before you know it.
This simple car camping meal plan includes everything you need for meals from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. I’ve included a shopping list and detailed instructions so you can be packed and ready to go by Friday afternoon. The best part? These camping recipes are EASY! You will need to do a little bit of prep work at home, but when you get to camp, you’ll spend more time relaxing than slaving over your camp stove. I promise! As a bonus, these camp meals are easy enough for kids to make.
The Perfect Car Camping Menu for a Family of Four
These meals are wholesome and easy to prepare, taking advantage of foods that are available at grocery stores across the country.
The Weekend Car-Camping Grocery List
This assumes that you have salt and pepper, but you probably have a bunch of these items in your pantry or fridge.
The Weekend Camping Menu: Staples
- 1 jar of natural peanut butter
- Rice vinegar
- Soy sauce or tamari
- Sesame oil
- Garlic powder
- Crushed red pepper
- Small jar of honey
- 1 pound of spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine
- Chocolate chips
- Mini marshmallows
- White flour (2 cups)
- Buckwheat flour (1 cup)
- Almond flour (1 cup)
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Dried milk powder (1 cup)
- Small bottle of maple syrup
- 1 Package of corn tortillas
- 1 can of black beans
- Olive oil
- 1 jar of salsa
- 1 jar of white beans
- Whole fennel (the spice)
- 2 cups oats
- Raisins (1/2 cup)
- Brown sugar (½ cup)
- 4 foil packs of drained tuna
- 1 loaf of sandwich bread
- Roll of aluminum foil
The Weekend Camping List: Produce and Perishables
- 2 limes
- A couple of heads of broccoli
- 4 oranges
- A bunch of bananas (at least 4)
- 1 red onion
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 potatoes
- 1 bunch kale
- 4 apples
- Block of cheddar or other hard cheese
Shopping List for Totally Tropical Trail Mix (as an alternative, you can buy prepackaged trail mix)
- 1 cup roasted almonds
- 1 cup roasted and salted pistachios (without the shell)
- 1 cup roasted and salted macadamia nuts
- 1 cup chopped dried pineapple
- 1 cup chopped dried mango
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut
- ⅓ cup cacao nibs
Shopping List for Super-Seed Granola Bars (as an alternative, you can buy prepackaged granola bars)
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 2 Tbs. flax seeds
- 2 Tbs. chia seeds
- 2 Tbs. sesame seeds
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup pitted dates
- ½ cup honey
- ⅓ cup coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
- ¼ cup almond butter
What to Prepare Before You Leave Home
Spicy Peanut Sauce for Camping or Backpacking
This recipe is for a family of four. You can easily cut it our double it to fit your needs.
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 8 Tbs. rice vinegar
- Juice of two limes
- 4 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. dried garlic
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
Mix all ingredients together and store in a plastic ziplock bag or container with lid.
Easy Camping Pancake Mix
This mix will feed four for breakfast, plus make biscuits for Sunday’s dinner.
- 2 cups white flour
- 1 cup buckwheat flour,
- 1 cup almond flour
- ½ cup of dried milk powder
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- a pinch of salt
Store in a ziplock bag, and don’t forget to pack maple syrup.
The Best Camping Oatmeal
This mix feeds four easily and includes dried milk powder so you only have to add water at camp.
- 2 cups oats (regular or quick)
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup dried milk powder
Combine all ingredients in a plastic bag.
Totally Tropical Trail Mix
This is my kids’ favorite trail mix recipe. Find it here, or buy your favorite trail mix for high-energy snacking.
Super-Seed Granola Bars
These granola bars took years to perfect, but they’re really awesome. Gluten free, dairy free, nut free. If you’re short on time, buy your favorite packaged granola bars instead.
Easy Camping Recipes for Your Perfect Weekend
Pack your groceries and the meals you’ve already prepared into a plastic tub or cooler. Nothing is too perishable, so a cooler isn’t really necessary, unless it promises to be a scorcher.
Friday Night Peanut Noodles
- Bring a pot of water to boil on your camp stove. Add a pound of pasta and cook until done. Pour ⅓ cup of pasta-cooking water into your peanut sauce and mix to combine. Drain the rest of the water into a cat hole away from camp. Add sauce to noodles and cover.
- Saute broccoli in a frying pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. If you want to do fewer dishes, add the broccoli to the boiling water with your pasta.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
Friday Night Banana Boats
- Make a long slit in each banana. Leave the skins on.
- Sprinkle mini marshmallows and chocolate chips into the slit.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon
- Wrap tightly in foil and place over a campfire until they are thoroughly mush.
Saturday Morning Pancakes
- In a bowl mix 2 ½ cups of pancake mix with two tablespoons of oil and enough water to make a fairly runny batter.
- Pour batter into hot, oiled frying pan.
- Serve with maple syrup
Saturday Lunch – Black Bean Salad
- In a bowl, mix 1 can of black beans, chopped red onion, and a few tablespoons of salsa to taste. Add 1 tablespoon each of rice vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Serve with corn tortillas
Saturday Night White Bean Soup
- Add oil to a saucepan and heat over your camp stove. Saute chopped yellow onion.
- When the onion is soft, add 2 chopped potatoes, and one chopped celery stick.
- Cook for a few minutes, then add a teaspoon of fennel seeds.
- Add 4-6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- When the potatoes are almost cooked through, add chopped kale.
- When the kale is cooked through, add a can of undrained white beans.
- Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Saturday Night Biscuits
These are essentially really thick pancakes.
- Use whatever pancake mix you have left and mix it in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of oil and enough water to make a thick dough.
- Add spoonfuls of batter to a hot, oiled pan. Cover the biscuits so that they cook thoroughly.
- Flip after a few minutes and cook on the other side. Serve with your soup. Yum!
Sunday Morning Oatmeal
You can make your oatmeal while you’re half asleep. It’s so easy. Pour oatmeal mix into a pot. Add enough water to cover by about an inch. Cook over medium low eat until most of the water is absorbed.
Sunday Lunch – Tuna Sandwiches
You probably don’t need me to tell you how to do this, but I will anyway:
- Mix your 4 packages of tuna fish with a cup of chopped celery, plus some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If you have a mayo addict, you can add that to your shopping list, but keep it in the cooler. One of my kids won’t eat tuna without mayo.
- Serve on bread with sliced cheese
That’s it – an easy weekend meal plan that will take you from home to the woods and back again. You can find a printable version of the shopping list and recipes here.
If figuring out what to cook is keeping you from that weekend camping trip, I hope this meal plan will help. With just a bit of advanced planning, you can be packed and out the door in no time at all. After all, camping season is just around the corner!
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