Who likes to go on vacation? I’m assuming you nodded your head or raised your hand. But do you really want to go on vacation and spend a whole lot of money for a few days away from reality? I don’t! Growing up we went camping ALL the time! It was so much fun for me as a kid because it wasn’t like playing outside at home… It was a whole new world to explore. There was always cool things to look at and it brought us closer together as a family. And want to know the best part?!?! It’s SO cheap! Yes you have to spend money on supplies and sometimes the campsite, but it will totally be worth it! Plus it’s cheaper to go camping then to get a hotel room, find things to do, buy food, etc. My mom was a pro when it came to camping trips, she always prepared AWESOME food ahead of time so it wasn’t like normal camping, it was DELUXE CAMPING! There was plenty of times that people in the campsites next to us, who were eating hot dogs, chips and beans, would look over at us eating meatball subs, or chicken fajitas and you could see on their faces that they wished they belonged to our family. I will never forget our camping trips because they always seemed to make the most memories for us. Like the time it rained the whole weekend and we spent all of it in the tent playing card games, bored games, and coming up with some pretty interesting ways to amuse ourselves. Or the time we were playing in the river and my sister started to get taken away on her raft by the current and I swam as fast as I could to save her. Or when we went on a floating trip and ended up all getting so sunburned that none of us could touch anything for a few days, we looked like a lobster family! Growing up my fondest memories were camping with my family, even if we didn’t do much, it was always fun!
There has always been two things that stuck out in my mind when we went camping, the activities and the FOOD! My mom mostly cooked everything ahead of time so we never had “usual” camping food. My favorite was meatball subs! I know it’s kinda odd to think of camping and meatball subs, but they are the BEST together!
Momma’s Italian Meatball Subs
What you’ll need:
1 LB. Low-fat Ground Beef or Turkey Burger
Italian Seasoning (as much as desired)
Can of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Hoagie Rolls of your choice
Grated Parmesan Cheese
How to make it:
- In a medium bowl mix together ground beef and Italian seasoning together and make into ball shapes, as big or as small as you want, and put into a pot.
- Pour your can of spaghetti sauce over top of the meatballs making sure they are fully covered and simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes, or until there is no pink left in the middle.
- Remove from sauce and let cool for 20-30 minutes.
- Put meatballs in a gallon freezer bag, with enough sauce in the bag to slightly cover the meatballs, and set aside until fully cooled.
- Once cooled place in freezer until you go camping then throw it in the cooler until ready to eat.
- Take your meatballs and place in pot over the fire until fully hot.
- Place meatballs on the hoagie roll and sprinkle with your grated parmesan cheese
I loved it when we went camping and had these wonderful subs. It was so yummy and delicious and really easy/fairly cheap to make. You can also make these at home as well and skip steps 5-7 and no need to let them cool for 20-30 minutes because you’ll be eating the immediately. Another thing my mom used to make was chicken fajitas. With this one you can make anyway you like but if you don’t know how to make them here’s the easy way.
Easy to make Chicken Fajitas
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, divided
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut across into strips
- 1 pack fajita seasoning
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 large onions, slivered
- 3 bell peppers (one each of green, yellow, and red is prettiest, but not essential), slivered
- 12 fajita-size flour tortillas, wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on fire for 1-2 minutes
- Salsa and sour cream for serving (optional)
How to make it:
1.Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken strips and cook, stirring a couple of times, until almost cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Add half of fajita seasoning and water, mix well, and let chicken finish cooking. Transfer chicken to a bowl; set aside.
2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet until hot. Add onions and peppers; cook, without stirring, until tender and some caramelized brown bits begin to show up in pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir; add garlic and remaining fajita seasoning. Let cook about 2 more minutes. Stir vegetables into seasoned chicken. (Or serve the vegetables separately.)
3.Serve the fajita mixture on warm tortillas with salsa and sour cream on the side, if using.
The only thing I recommend is use same methods as for the meatball subs as far as cooling process/freezing process goes. Something else that’s quick to pre-make is tacos… this is super easy to make and if you don’t know how to make taco’s here’s a quick run down… Brown up hamburger, add taco seasoning, let cool, put in freezer bag, freeze, pull out when ready to go and enjoy.
Something else we always did when we went camping, is my mom always brought baby carrots, cut celery sticks, assorted fruits, etc. So whenever us kids were snacky we had something not only yummy but healthy as well to munch on. It was always nice to be able to just grab a veggies bag and a little pre-made ranch cup and have a good snack. And of course another great thing to bring on any type of camping trip is sandwiches. I recommend either spending the extra few bucks on the zippered lunch meats and cheeses and/or put them into Ziploc bags so water from the cooler doesn’t get into the food.
Another thing my mom, did which was so awesome, is eggs in a bag! The thing about eggs in a bag is that there is no limit to the possibilities of yumminess that can be made! So you can put whatever you want in here… Just like an omelette! We put peppers, onion, meats, cheese, mushrooms, ETC. Anything that sounds good for us at the time, or whatever we have from leftovers or specifically for the eggs in a bag. So I could just explain how to make it but I think it looks better like this:
Eggs in a Bag
What you’ll need:
- 2 eggs per person
- 1 freezer ziploc quart bag
- Whatever fillings you want (Meats, cheese, veggies, etc.)
Boil large pot of water. Crack 2 eggs into ziploc bag. Add your ingredients. Close bag, but leave some air in the bag. Mush up your eggs until mixed well. Put bag into boiling water. Boil for 10-12 minutes. Open bag, and release on to plate. Enjoy!
If you are serving more than one person, use a Sharpie Permanent Marker and add each persons name to there respective bags.
Now from experience you NEED to buy the actual Ziploc Bags, not the knock off brand. When we used the knock off brand bags, they melted in the boiling water and it was a big mess. But it was pretty funny and it was another memory that I have that won’t ever forget. As I was looking for other good recipes I found this website, with TONS of yummy recipes!!!!
I understand if sometimes it is hard to go away from the house with little ones but you can ALWAYS do this in your backyard or make a fort inside and build a small fire outside to make it feel more like your camping, just make sure to follow all of your city requirements for fires. It’s always fun to go camping and explore new areas and hike or do small things around town/in nature. I love being outside and enjoying the fresh air, and that’s something that we loved to do growing up. Not only because it’s fun and helps bond as a family, but it also is fairly cheap and nature and family time is free. We can’t always spend a lot on family vacations but it’s not about the price tag… it’s about the treasure of exploration and family. Always remember; just because you are broke, doesn’t mean you can’t live good! 🙂