We’re talking camp cooking! How we prep, plan and shop for a fun weekend of camping in the great outdoors! Recipes, meal ideas, and real talk with plenty of #protips!


Listen on your favorite podcast player. 

Show notes for episode 24 – Camp Cooking: 

Big Question: Do you prep meals ahead of time or bring raw meat and whole foods to cook at camp? 


Darlene plans ahead – cooks things ahead, essentially reheats food at the campsite. 

Kristi plans ahead – packages things together and cooks at the campsite.

Plan of attack for camp cooking: 


  • Darlene: starts a week ahead. I like to make homemade salads/dips ect. For eating at camp. 
  • Start with seeing what we have in the fridge and eat up before we need to leave 
  • Cook as much ahead of time as possible
  • I don’t like to cook food while camping – I prefer to make meals ahead of time. 
  • I do salads ahead of time and pack them in the fridge
  • Try to be careful with portions – food that sits around in the cooler isn’t that great by the time you get home. 


  • Keep a master list of things that you need to take every time you go camping
  • Brandon does an Excel spreadsheet which started as a joke, he was making fun of me and my love of lists. 
  • Prefers to buy food from the store already prepared – she wants to get out there and make it easy! 
  • Pack a camping set of condiments! Smaller ketchup and mustard that you can grab out of the fridge and use for the season.
  • Needs foods prepared right before she eats it! So Kristi will cook and chop and do all that while camping.


Camping totes 

These are permanently packed and ready to go! Here’s what’s in our totes: 

-foil/plastic wrap/zip locks

-bug spray, sunscreen, purell (this is the ONLY time we will use purell) 

-duct tape

-paper towels

-emergency blankets

-extra flashlight


-First aid stuff


-Bungee cords


-Baby wipes or cloth wipes!

-Dish soap



-Cutting board


-Old dishes/pots/pans and utensils that you might need to make food or eat food

-Camp coffee pot


-Lysol wipes

-Wine/bottle opener

-Sharpies for writing names on cups 🙂 


Meals while we are camping


Darlene likes meals that you can make ahead and just heat up

Kristi does a combination of cooking/prepping ahead and cooking while at the campsite. Some items are prepared ahead of time. Other items are prepared while camping. For example, I’ll cook rice ahead of time to have with tacos. But, I will chop the veggies we eat with the tacos there.

We eat pretty much foods you eat with your hands – burgers, tacos, burritos, hot dogs. But, we do eat side dishes that require forks. Try to bring reusable utensils! 

Kristi packs her food together in bags – so everything you need for a taco dinner is packed together in a grocery bag and then put in the cooler. #protip – turn the grocery bag inside out so the die doesn’t get everywhere!


Camp Cooking: 






Breakfast burritos

Coffee and half and half 



BE WARNED: Campfire cooking takes for everrrrrr. Start earlier than you think you need to. 

Stuffed peppers wrapped in foil

Foil packet dinners: beef/sausage, potatoes, carrots and onion in a foil packet and then seal it. (Do individual packets OR parboil your potatoes)

Joel’s Beer Camp Chicken

Make-ahead potato salad/pasta salad

Grilled veggies: brussels sprouts

Burgers (preformed and cooked or not) with a small container of toppings/condiments

Burritos – already made ahead 




Camping is an excuse to buy junk food

Cheese and Crackers



Trader Joe’s dips 

  • Favs are the pub cheese, kale spinach yogurt dip
  • Salsas
  • Homemade or store-bought hummus
  • Pub cheese! They DO have a plain one. You need to have it with Golden Rounds also at Trader Joes. 

Beer/wine 🙂 – Wine in cans! Wine in tetra packs. Beer in bottles. 

5-gallon water jugs  


La Croix 

Kirkland’s brand of sparkling water

Juice boxes or soda

Gatorade or Nuun Tablets

Coffee (of course!)

Clean up: 

Three bucket system

Or wash under the camp faucet with soap

Kristi likes the camp shower for warm water for dishes


Food for thought: 

Do what you can ahead of time, but if doing too much ahead stresses you out – take some help from the store and just get out there. Camping is all about enjoying nature and reconnecting and what better way to do that then with food! And snacks, lots of snacks. 

Camping with little kids? Probably not? Let us know if you have littles and you take them camping! 

Food inspiration: 


Air fryer: chicken, curly fries 

Baked in the air fryer – peach pie crumble bars 

Caprese salad

Charred romaine? We need to try it! Let us know on Instagram @toughcookiepodcast if you’ve tried grilling romaine or other veggies. 


What’s for dinner: 

Broccoli, chicken, cooking outside 

All the air fried things. 

Sou vide salmon 

Grilled veggies!

Where to find Darlene

Pickle Jar Studios website
Pickle Jar Studios on Instagram
Tough Cookie on Instagram

Where to find Kristi:    

kristi coughlin

Effectual Nutrition website
Effectual Nutrition on Instagram