Tag Archives: #cooking

Recipe of the Week (#100DaysofScouting Day 870…Oops!)


Wow, first post back in a very very long time.  Fittingly, it is about food!

A couple of weekends ago, I went on a campout with Troop 18 (my son’s troop, where I am an Asst. Scoutmaster) to Put-in-Bay.  We all agreed we wanted to spend as much time kayaking, fishing, going into town and bird watching, and as little time as possible cooking.  So Saturday evening’s dinner was about as minimal as you can get, but it packed maximum flavor and the boys and adults all agreed it was just that. darn. good.  The boys dubbed it “Prison Slop.”  Here’s what would pass as a recipe:

Prison Slop

  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 box (6 lb) of instant mashed potato flakes
  • 3 pounds cheese (shredded, cubed, type doesn’t really matter)
  • 3 pillow packs (1.5 lbs) sliced pepperoni
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

(Equipment needed:  One turkey fryer burner with propane tank, one large stock pot with lid, big spoon for mixing and serving.)

Heat the water in the pot until just starting to boil.  Remove from heat and add potato flakes.  Stir until well combined and mashed potatoes are achieved.

Add in the cheese and pepperoni and mix thoroughly, stirring until the cheese is melted.

Serve to hungry campers as-is or with salt & pepper to taste.

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Shiny of the Week, 2/17/11 (#100DaysofScouting, Day 10)


So if you couldn’t tell from previous posts, one of the things I like about camping is the outdoor cooking.  And that includes backpacking.  I’m all for lightweight, believe me, but not at the expense of MAH BELLAH! 🙂

So this week’s shiny of the week is my Jetboil.  I’ve had one for several years now, and it is one of my favorite pieces of gear.  Originally a backpacking buddy got the Jetboil PCS [Personal Cooking System] and I bought an extra cup for it.  But then I got a great deal on the GCS [Group Cooking System] (the version with the 1.5 liter pot) so I picked that up.  I am a huge fan.  It is relatively lighweight, packs down pretty small, and is well designed.  And it boils water LIKE A BOSS!  1 cup of water boiled in under 90 seconds, that’s insane!  And also pretty fuel efficient.  I’ve been able to do a 4-day, 50-mile trek on the AT through part of the Smokies and only used one tank of fuel…actually less than one tank as it lasted a couple more trips after that as well!

Okay sure, it isn’t superlight.  You want to worry about superlight, make your own alcohol stove with a soda can.  I can deal with the extra weight to get the performance I need.

The one thing that it has done is made me rethink how I cook when I’m on the trail.  Cleanup on a jetboil when you’re boiling water is a snap, and if you’re just reheating something it doesn’t take much more work either.  If you’re doing some serious cooking though, just like any backpacking stove it will take longer to clean than just heating.

So I tend to plan my meals based around foods that will only need heating, not cooking, when on the trail.  What’s the difference?  Well, a Lipton Rice & Sauce needs cooked.  But instant mashed potatoes just need heated.  And they’re much easier to clean up.   Some items that get cooked, mostly your soups (like ramen) are pretty easy on the cleanup too, but if you’re getting into sauces that thicken and can stick/burn onto the pot, that’s another story.  As you could guess by my Shiny of the Week for last week, I’m not a fan of cleaning up after meals so anything I can do through planning and preparation to reduce cleaning, I’m all for that!

I’ve used the small folding stoves with the trioxane fuel tabs, and cooking over a campfire, and been able to try out other backpacking stoves over the years.  But I really like the Jetboil best.

Now that Jon is about to cross over to a Troop and start backpacking more on his own, he’s going to need a new stove.  I’m considering giving him my PCS and buying one of the new Jetboil Flash systems…that wouldnt’ be wrong, would it?

So what do you guys use for backcountry cooking?

Recipe of the Week (#100DaysofScouting, Day 9)


So it seems like each Wednesday was the day to post something food related, so I’ll keep with that topic for this week.

At our district’s Klondike Derby each year, the adults from each unit who run the cities participate in a chili cook-off.  There’s a travelling trophy that gets engraved with the winner’s name and that unit holds onto it for the next year and it is handed in, re-engraved and handed out to the next year’s winner.  Neat idea.  Plus in the early January cold it is always nice to be able to get some warm grub at each station!

So last weekend was our district’s first ever Cub Klondike (see my previous post), and I decided at rather the last minute (10:00 PM the night before) that I was going to make chili at my city.  I ran Nome where we did the Good Camp / Bad Camp station (I set up the camp and made five errors that were either poor camping skills or violating Leave No Trace and the boys had to identify each to me for their nuggets), so I was already going to have a kitchen set up, why not cook?  So I threw together a chili which isn’t terribly original but turned out excellent if I do say so myself (and I do, as did several other people at the event who partook in it).  So I figured I’d share the recipe.

(I should note that my “recipe” was basically to take the instructions from the back of the chili seasoning packet and modify it with some extra stuff, so McCormick’s should get some of the credit I suppose.  What can I say, it was 9 hours before the event and I needed to get some sleep, I didn’t have time to come up with my own seasoning mix!  Next time I’ll be more creative, and I’ll be sure to share the results with you too!)

Middletownscouter’s Special Valentine’s Day “Hearts on Fire” Chili

  • 2 packages McCormick’s HOT chili seasoning mix
  • 1 package McCormick’s original chili seasoning mix
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 2 8-oz cans Tomato Sauce
  • 2 15-oz cans chili ready diced tomatoes (with onions)
  • 1 15-oz can hot chili beans
  • 1 30-oz can regular chili beans
  • 6 cups water
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • Diced white onion (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Sliced pickled jalapeños (optional)
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Crackers (optional)

(Note: I cooked this recipe over a propane camp stove.  You could also do this over a campfire but be careful to monitor constantly to ensure even heating and no burning.  You also will want to soap the OUTSIDE bottom and sides of your pot so they don’t get permanently carbon scored.)

Season the ground beef with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then brown in a large stock pot.  Once there is no longer any visible pink in your ground beef, drain off the fat and return the pot to your heat source.

Add in the seasoning mix, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and water.  Stir until everything is completely combined. (Note, if you are doing this at camp, it helps to bring a can opener.  Opening six cans of stuff with a pocket knife takes a lot of effort and a lot of time)

Bring chili to a boil, stirring occasionally (making sure to hit the bottom of the pot so nothing sticks and burns on).  Once the chili is boiling turn down the heat (or move to a cooler area of the campfire) and allow to simmer until at the desired thickness / consistency.

Serve to hungry campers as-is or garnished with onion, cheese, jalapeños, sour cream or crackers.  Makes a LOT of chili, at least 12 full meal size servings.

Shiny of the Week – Feb. 11, 2011


(As in “oooooooh, shiny! I must have this!”)

So I’m going to try out an idea to do a post a week on some sort of piece of gear that I really enjoy using while camping or for other Scouting purposes. We’ll see how it goes.

For the first one, since I’ve got the dutch oven thing going on for the last post and a few previous to this, I’m going to make this my first “Shiny of the Week.”

The Coleman Parchment Paper Dutch Oven Liner
Coleman Dutch Oven Liners

These things are the bomb! They make the worst part of dutch oven cooking (clean up) the best part! So worth the cost. I know lots of units will use aluminum foil to line their dutch ovens and that works but whatever you’re cooking (say beans or chili) could get through where the foil overlaps or stirring can destroy the foil and then you get baked on bean residue in your dutch oven (and possibly a little extra aluminum in your diet if you don’t watch out). These liners are so much easier than that. When you’re done you just lift it out and the already clean dutch oven is ready to be oiled and put away. Just like that! I am now a fan.

I’ll even go to the Walmarts to buy them, and I make a point to never shop there normally! So kind of a short post today, but that’s my first “Shiny of the Week.” What do you guys think about the liners, or what method have you found that works well on making dutch oven cleanup easier?

Cobbler in the regular oven, really?


So apparently you can make a cobbler that isn’t in a dutch oven…who knew?

Last night’s dessert started out as “There is a half a #10 can of apple pie filling leftover from the pack meeting. What are we going to do with this?” How about a caramel apple pie? Or, better yet, caramel apple cobbler!

So off to the store we go. Grab a box of Duncan Hines® Moist Deluxe Caramel Cake Mix, a bottle of Smucker’s® Caramel Sundae Syrup, a container of Edy’s® Slow Churned French Vanilla Ice Cream and some butter. We already had cinnamon sugar at the house.

So we started by mixing in a good amount of the caramel syrup into the can of apple pie filling along with some cinnamon sugar, spread that into the bottom of a 13×9 glass baking dish, then covered the top with the cake mix. Poured the 1-1/3 cups of water over the cake mix and spread around about 2/3 of a stick of butter cut into small cubes. Sprinkled more cinnamon sugar over top of the cake mix and butter. Threw it all into the oven at 375 for about 35-40 minutes and it came out great. Topped it off with a scoop of ice cream and some more caramel sauce, it turned out great!

So trying to convert this recipe to work at the campsite (except for maybe the ice cream) and to use a whole #10 can, I’m thinking it would look like this:

Caramel Apple Cobbler
#10 can of apple pie filling
1 20-oz bottle caramel sundae syrup
4 Tablespoons cinnamon sugar, divided
1 box caramel cake mix
1 stick butter, cut into small cubes
1-1/3 cup tap water

Open the #10 can of pie filling, and stir in half the cinnamon sugar and about half of the caramel sauce. Pour into the bottom of a 12″ dutch oven (lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil if desired). Pour evenly over the top the box of cake mix, then drizzle the water onto the cake mix as evenly as possible. Top with the butter and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top.

Cook at 375 degrees (17 coals on top / 11 on bottom) for 35-45 minutes or until desired doneness of the cake, changing out the charcoal as needed to ensure proper heating.

Serve with a drizzle of the remaining caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream (if you can get it to the campsite).

I’m thinking that might have to be one we try out at the winter camp out in January!

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