Forget Hot Dogs and S’mores — 6 Cheap (but Totally Yummy) Campfire Recipes

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Camping recipes
Camping Pizza Log. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

My first experience camping in a tent involved my rear end meeting a pile of ants.

On a hot July morning in South Carolina, I woke up covered in sweat. I escaped the tent for fresh air. That’s when it happened. As I crouched down, fumbling with something or other, I fell back. Ants! After jumping around, shaking out my clothes and sending squeals through the quiet campground, I settled down.

I only got bitten a few times but decided to cut the trip short. I needed a shower, air conditioning, some anti-itch cream and my queen-size mattress.

I later tried the whole tent thing again and learned to enjoy it. I’ve managed to avoid anthills, and I have a more comfortable sleeping bag.

But I’m still missing one thing when I go camping: good campfire food.

Now, when I venture into the wilderness with my boyfriend, we cook hot dogs over the campfire and roast marshmallows. That’s not an inventive menu at all, and that campfire diet starts hurting my digestive system after a few days.

Without getting too Food Network, I’ve compiled some affordable, simple campfire recipes for our next adventure. And they don’t require any fancy grills or cast-iron pots.

All we’ll need are some basic kitchen and camping staples.

Note: I priced the ingredients for these camping recipes at my local Publix in May 2017, so do note these prices will vary by your preferred store, location and the time of year.

1. Fireside Pizza Log

Where we camp, we usually can’t call up our favorite pizza chain for delivery. However, this pizza log looks almost as easy as that.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 can pizza dough: $2.59
  • 1 can pizza sauce: $1.39
  • 1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese: $4
  • 1 pack pepperoni (or your favorite toppings): $3

Total: $10.98

I bet if we grabbed another can of pizza dough, we could get another pizza from the leftover ingredients. Each pizza will serve 4, putting our price per serving at $2.75.

Preparation takes place before the trip. Roll the dough into a rectangle, cover it in sauce, and top it off with cheese and your favorite toppings.

Then, roll the pizza up, carefully tucking all the edges in. Coat the foil with cooking spray before wrapping it around the pizza roll. Freeze the roll. When you head out for your trip, transfer the pizza roll into a cooler, and let it thaw before cooking.

Leaving it in the foil, place the pizza log directly in your fire pit. Cook each side for about 15 minutes.

2. Easy Bacon and Egg Breakfast

Breakfast is a camping staple, so one weekend my boyfriend and I ambitiously packed bacon and eggs. We borrowed my dad’s portable grill, and grabbed some pots and pans. This was fine, but it required some setup and cleaning.

Here are two hacks we’re going to try next time. All we need are bacon, eggs and skewers.

Here’s the intricate (just kidding) ingredient list:

  • 1 pack bacon: $4.50
  • 6 eggs: $1.50

Total: $6 (with leftovers)

For the bacon, lace it onto your skewer — the same skewer you’d use to roast marshmallows. (Or a stick, if you’re really roughin’ it.) Rest the skewer over your campfire and rotate it about every 5 minutes.

In about 30 minutes, you’ll have some extra-crispy and smoky bacon. Here’s what it should look like.

Pair it with scrambled eggs, which require some cooking spray or butter, a fork, a cookie sheet (optional) and a muffin tin.

Coat each muffin tin well with the spray oil or butter. Crack each egg into the muffin tin, and beat them with a fork. Add whatever your heart desires to the egg mix — mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes… more bacon.

You can also prep the eggs ahead of time by beating them in a bowl, adding veggies or other mix-ins and freezing the whole mixture in an airtight container before putting it in your cooler. If you do it this way, make sure to cook the thawed egg mixture all the way through when it’s time for breakfast.

For an even more portable version, use cupcake liners inside each muffin well — that way, you can skip the cooking spray.

Set the muffin tin over hot coals (not directly on the fire). If the bottoms seem to cook faster than the tops, cover the muffin tin with a cookie sheet or tin foil. Cook until done.

For a better visual of this camping recipe, visit Camping for Foodies.

3. S’more Banana Boats

I know I said no s’mores, but this rendition is inventive enough to include — and a little healthier (kind of).

Here’s what you’ll need per boat:

  • 1 banana: about 30 cents
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows: $1.50
  • 1 bag chocolate chips: $2.69

Total: $4.49

I’m not going to divvy out the marshmallows and chocolate chips because you can pile those on. In total, though, each boat is likely less than 75 cents to make.

Grab your banana and cut it in half lengthwise. Place it on heavy-duty aluminum foil (or just double up the regular stuff).

Stuff that baby with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips before wrapping the foil around it.

To cook, place it over hot coals until the marshmallows and chocolate melt. Feel free to dig in on your primitive aluminum pan, as long as it’s not too hot.

4. Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Nothing warms my insides more than a hot ham and cheese sandwich, and these sweet nuggets will be easy to tote along on our next camping trip.

Here’s what you need to serve up to six:

  • 1 pound deli-sliced ham: $5
  • 12 Hawaiian rolls: $3.99
  • 12 slices Swiss cheese: $3.29
  • ½ cup butter, melted: $2.50
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard: 8 cents
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion: 68 cents
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar: 4 cents

Total: $15.58

Roll out 6 pieces of foil, and place 2 rolls on each. Evenly divide the ham and cheese among the rolls.

Make the go-to ham and cheese condiment by mixing the melted butter, Dijon mustard, dried onion and brown sugar into a bowl. Pour the combination over the tops of the sandwiches.

Fold the foil to cover the sandwiches. You’ll have 6 little packets containing 2 small sandwiches each. Place each packet on top of warm campfire coals to cook. You’ll want to turn them frequently until the cheese is melted and the rolls are toasty. It should take 10-15 minutes.

Find the recipe and mouthwatering photos at Taste and Tell Blog.

5. Piggies Roasted in a Blanket

Again, this is very close to those hot dogs my boyfriend and I always crisp up over the campfire, but the twist on this classic makes me excited to try it. Plus, it’s almost as simple as sticking a hot dog on a stick.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 pack hot dogs: $1.75
  • 1 can crescent rolls: $2.59
  • Favorite condiments: varies

Total: $4.34 plus price of condiments

If you look at the pictures, you’ll figure this one out, but clarity’s sake, I’ll lay out the instructions for you. Slide your hot dog onto the skewer. Unroll your crescent rolls, and wrap 1 precut triangle around each hot dog. Wrap the hot dog loosely in foil, and roast it over the fire just like you would a normal hot dog. Repeat the process for each hot dog.

They should take 15-20 minutes to cook.

Shoutout to Ashley at Frugal Coupon Living for this genius combo.

6. Cinnamon Roll-Up Sticks

Cinnamon rolls on a stick? Yes, please.

At first, I thought this campfire recipe would just call for a canned cinnamon rolls wrapped around a stick, which I bet would work. This recipe is a little more involved but still pretty easy — even for me.

Here are the ingredients you need:

  • 1 package crescent rolls: $2.59
  • ¼ cup sugar: 9 cents
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon: 39 cents
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar: 8 cents

Total: $3.15

Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Open the crescent rolls, wrap each one around a skewer, and coat them in the cinnamon-sugar mix. Cook it over the campfire for about 5 minutes. You’ll want to keep rotating it.

If you want to top these off with glaze, just mix ¼ cup powdered sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of water. If that’s too much for you, you can buy some.

Thanks to Almost Supermom for this gem. We think you are Supermom with this recipe.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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