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The Blonde Cucina: Cooking for the Camping Crew

by and on June 20, 2015 2:00 PM

With summer getting started and school being out, I’m sure all of you are making weekend plans to go to camp, to the lake, or America's favorite, the KOA.

Going camping on the weekends is a way of life for some families.

They get to enjoy the great outdoors, spend time together, and enjoy cooking over an open fire.

Planning a camping trip can be very cumbersome to most. This Blonde personally likes camping. You know the kind -- where you are in and RV or the kind where you go a visit someone who is camping, have a meal with them and go home and sleep in the comforts of your bed, have running water and heat.     

I was at the grocery store the other day and a woman who appeared to be in her 60’s had an overflowing cart of food. You could’ve sworn she was buying for the whole month. I overheard her telling the cashier, as I was in line behind her, that that all the food in her cart was solely for an upcoming camping trip: just for the weekend. I was astonished. I said to myself she’s got to learn an easier way to plan her meals and snacks for her camping crew. 

So after I thought for a while, what really stuck out in my head about camping was two things: cooking on an open flame and cooking over sticks. When you really think about it there is a whole bunch of things you can cook on a stick if you have an open mind. So I am going to give you a few recipes for camping where the only real tool you need is a cooking stick. 

However, before we do that let’s review some key things that you should bring when you are camping. No matter what you are planning to cook when you are on a camping trip there are some key food prep components that you should always have with you. First things first -- you will always need a nice big box of matches and some lighter fluid. All of the recipes I’m going to fill you in on will be cooking over an open fire, so you’d be out of luck without a way to start one. Other vital provisions include a medium to large lightweight pot, a fry pan, heavy duty aluminum foil, and a pack of disposable grill grates that can be placed over a fire pit. With these few items, you can cook virtually anything over that open fire pit. Don’t forget a few pair of tongs that can stand up to the heat. Pulling food off an open fire with your bare hands isn’t pleasant.

Now, we’ve got three meals and a snack to discuss, and as I said before it all can be cooked right on a metal skewer, disposable skewers from the store, or a trimmed down stick you found while setting up camp. 

Now I’m not much of a breakfast person, but I’m going to tell you what you can do for breakfast while you’re enjoying the great outdoors.  Breakfast will be yogurt parfaits and Hawaiian kabobs. With this meal you will have your dairy, protein, carbs, and fruit. How nice is that? 

You can pick up any type of yogurt you and your campers like and if you like making your own granola go to town. I’m more of a buy your granola type of girl. There are so many to choose from. Bring along some strawberries and boom you’ve got your parfait. Everyone can make their own, and shhh … we will be using those strawberries later for your late night snack. As for your meal on a stick for breakfast you need four things — skewers, thick sliced ham, honey and pineapple. 


Breakfast Hawaiian Style


  • 1 lb. thick ham slices (you can go to the deli and just make sure to tell them you need it on the thick side)
  • 1 can pineapple chunks
  • Honey for drizzling
  • skewers


You can prep this at home if you’d like.

First, cut the ham lengthwise in thirds. Fold over ham slices until you have a super thick square of ham. Place ham and pineapple on skewers, alternately. Drizzle honey over the whole skewer. Roast over the fire until warmed up.


Late Night Ooey Gooey Fired Strawberries


  • 6 Large strawberries per person
  • Marshmallow Fluff
  • Bottled Chocolate ice cream shell coating
  • skewers


Have 1 strawberry per skewer (just on the very tip of your skewer). Dip strawberry into marshmallow fluff. Warm over the campfire until fluff is golden brown. Drizzle chocolate shell coating on the marshmallow.


Gourmet Sandwich Central


  • Deli sliced turkey (2 slices per 2 inch sandwich segment)
  • Deli sliced baby Swiss (2 slices per 2 inch sandwich segment)
  • Freshly baked baguette you can get from the grocery store (you can get about 5-6 segments per baguette.  Most people like 2-3 segments)
  • Baby dill pickles (2 per sandwich segment)
  • Champagne dill mustard
  • skewers


Cut baguette in 2 inch segments. Split open sections. Spread the inside with Champagne Dill Mustard and fill with sliced turkey and cheddar. Thread a baby dill pickle, a sandwich piece, and then another pickle onto each skewer. Toast over a flame until the cheese melts. Lunch is served.


Fired Caprese Pasta Toss


  • Cherry or grape tomatoes (6 per person)
  • Mini Mozzarella Balls (8 per person)
  • 6 ounces of cooked spaghetti per person (do this at home and transport to the campsite in a gallon ziploc bag; lightly oil as to not stick in the bag)
  • 4 slices of Serrano Ham per person (slice each piece in two so you have 8 per person)
  • Skewers
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bottle of balsamic vinegar


Pull your cold precooked spaghetti out and just let it sit to come to room temp. Wrap ham around mini mozzarella balls. Thread a tomato, a ham-wrapped mozzarella ball and another tomato and so on until you have a skewer of 6 tomatoes and 8 mozzarella balls. Toast over a flame until the tomatoes blister. Split the spaghetti into portions for each of your campers. Unthread tomatoes and mozzarella onto the pasta. Use salt and pepper. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of vinegar onto pasta.

Who knew camping could be gourmet?


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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Ciara Semack is the owner of The Blonde Bistro in Bellefonte. She is the mother of one and a lifelong resident of Centre County. Her column appears every other week in the Gazette. Questions, suggestions and comments can be directed to [email protected]
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