Thanksgiving dinner can be tough to pull off, especially if you’re in the middle of the wilderness without all your kitchen utensils and appliances. But it doesn’t have to be stressful! Use these seven Thanksgiving-dinner-while-camping tips to keep you from going hungry this year.
1) Choose your recipes wisely
Pick recipes that are quick and easy to prepare. Start by boiling a pot of water and throwing in a box of your favorite instant mashed potatoes. Add a can of cream of chicken soup, then whisk in milk until it reaches the desired consistency. Mix in butter, salt, and pepper as needed. For another dish, pack instant stuffing into microwavable cups or muffin tins and pop them into the microwave for 2-3 minutes per cup/muffin tin. You can also make these on top of the stove if you have a camp stove handy.
2) Pre-cook as much as possible
It’s best to pre-cook as much as possible before you head out to the campsite. The night before, start by roasting your turkey (or buy a rotisserie chicken and roast it). You can even bake your sweet potatoes ahead of time and put them in the cooler with some marshmallows.
If you want to make pies, make one pie crust dough ahead of time and store it in the freezer. On Thanksgiving Day, all you’ll have to do is mix up your filling and put the pie crust on top!
3) Invest in a good cooler
One of the most important things you will need is a good cooler. You want to make sure that the cooler you purchase is big enough to hold all of your food and ice. A standard size cooler will work, but if you are cooking a lot, then it would be better to invest in something bigger. A larger cooler will hold more food and ice, and they are easier to transport as well.
Another thing you want to consider is how long the power outage may last; if it is going to be long, then you should also invest in an extra bag of ice so that your food does not spoil from being unrefrigerated for too long. If possible, have someone else bring some on their way over so that this does not become an issue.
4) Don’t forget the spices
It is important to make sure you have all the spices and seasonings necessary for a delicious and well-seasoned meal. If you’re cooking a turkey, make sure you have salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary and sage. If you’re going to be serving a side dish like green bean casserole or cranberry sauce, be sure to pack the onion powder or garlic powder that those recipes call for. Most importantly, don’t forget the aluminum foil! You will need it to help keep your food hot until it is ready to eat.
5) Use a portable stove
The first and most important thing to think about is the stove. You’ll need a portable stove with a powerful burner, as well as a pot or pan that will fit on the burner. You’ll also need other cooking implements like tongs, spoons and spatulas – everything you would use in your regular kitchen.
6) Make use of foil
Foil is the perfect tool to use while camping. It’s light, inexpensive, and you can use it in a variety of ways. Below are some tips on how to cook your Thanksgiving dinner while camping with foil.
-Foil makes a great disposable roasting pan–just line it with foil and add vegetables or other ingredients as desired.
-Use an empty can as a roasting rack for cooking things like potatoes (fill the bottom of the can with water).
-Foil packets make a great one-dish meal–fill them with rice, corn, mixed vegetables, or beans and seasonings of choice and seal tightly to steam everything together.
7) Use campfire coals to keep food warm
If you’re cooking your meal on the campfire, there are some creative ways to keep food warm. You can wrap it in foil and place it in a fireproof pot with coals inside. Or, you can place the foil-wrapped food on top of hot coals with a pan underneath to catch any drips. If using an oven is an option, you could use that instead of starting a fire if you have enough people to share the labor.