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Gourmet Food for Happy Campers | June 10, 2009

Last week we talked about giving your next camping trip a nutrition make over. Taking that idea one step further, how about making your next camping trip a gourmet’s delight? One of the reasons that I like “condo camping” is that I have access to equipment to turn out delicious summer meals. But recently, I’ve discovered some secrets to healthy, nutritious feasts in the great outdoors.

An all time favorite for many are grilled vegetables. Try grilling mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, squash, peppers, corn, tomatoes and onions. For more flavor, try marinating then for about 30 minutes in any of the following spices; lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and fresh or dried herbs such as rosemary, basil or oregano. Grill skewers work well for keeping vegetables from falling through the rack, but you can also wrap them in aluminum foil and place on the grill. The foil method keeps them a little moist and juicy. There are also grilling baskets that work well. Usually veggies are done in a few minutes, but potatoes and mushrooms can take up to a half hour.

For an extra special treat—kid approved-- try grilling pizza. Grilling pizzas results in a crispy crust with a delicious smoky flavor and they can be very healthy, especially if made with whole wheat dough. It’s a fun camping event because everyone can make their own. Just put all of the toppings out on the table and let kids create. The only words of caution are to go easy on the cheese and sauce because there is no upper heat source and too much liquid can make for a soggy pizza. Check this website for step by step instructions http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/grilled-pizza/1059.html.

Top your meal off with another gourmet technique -- Dutch Oven Cooking. If you have a Dutch oven, try a Dutch oven dessert; desserts can be part of any well balanced meal, especially if offered with fruit. Dump Cake is a camper’s favorite and you’ll become fast friends with fellow campers because your campsite will smell so good.

Dump Cake Recipe (feeds 6-8)
Fellow campers will want to become fast friends when they walk past your campsite and get a whiff of this dessert. Here’s what you need: 1 large can sliced peaches; 1 small can crushed pineapple; 1 box yellow cake mix; cinnamon and butter or margarine. Dump the peaches and pineapple and juice into a 12-inch Dutch oven, and mix. Dump the cake mix evenly on top of the fruit. Optional: spread 4 pats of butter or margarine and sprinkle cinnamon all over the top of the cake mix. Using 16 coals on top and 12 coals under the Dutch oven, cook for about 40 minutes or until brown. Be sure to occasionally rotate the Dutch oven and the lid so as to avoid any scorching from possible hot spots.

For many campers, the outdoor experience is about food, so turn your next camping trip into a gourmet nutrition extravaganza!