Do You Suffer From BBD (Boring Boondocker Diet)?
Has Boondocking left you flat when it comes to delicious meals? Let's face it - your cooking facilities are a whole lot less than what Rachel Ray or the Pioneer Woman have at their fingertips for food preparation. And being a down-and-dirty Boondocker, you're probably budget conscious. Steaks are reserved for that special occasion or celebration.
Have you ever met an outdoorsman or camper who doesn’t love to eat and appreciate a tasty meal? Living in or near the great outdoors has a way of spawning hunger pangs.
We’ve got better things to do than spending excessive amounts of time preparing lavish meals. Tracey and I found that simple one-dish meals can be prepared quickly and effortlessly. This frees up time to work at our remote businesses and enjoy recreational activities. We’d like to share some of our favorites.
Disclaimer: We make no claim as to the health benefits and nutritional values of the foods mentioned in this blog. Try these at your own risk.
No toaster? No electric? No problem
You can still have toast with your breakfast eggs with our “eggs in a hole” recipe. A nuts and bolts person like myself sees a hole in the bread with an egg in it. Tracey’s family calls this dish “birds in a nest." A quick Google search of this name disclosed the fact that famous chef, Rachel Ray, uses the same term.
It’s pretty simple. Take a slice of fresh bread and put it on a cutting board. Take a round cookie cutter or anything else that will make a round hole. Be sure to leave enough bread around the edges. Place the cut piece back in the hole and butter one side of the slice. This will keep the slice from sticking when you turn it over.
To cook, we use the griddle side of our camp stove. Olive oil or just plain butter provides the right cooking oil to brown the bread. Place all bread on the griddle, butter-side up. Next, crack the egg into the hole. When you turn the slice with an egg inside, the previously buttered side will brown up nice too. Before flipping the bread, place the hole on the egg and flip. This will keep the egg contained.
Weenies and beanies
Here’s a meal that is simple to prepare using two basic staples - hot dogs and baked beans. It’s also a high-energy dish that is well suited for cold days and loaded with plenty of carbs!
Open a can of beans and pour into a baking dish or pan. For a little extra zip, pour your favorite barbecue sauce over the beans. Next, place the hot dog links on top. We like to add slices of American cheese that melts down into the beans. Place strips of bacon over the cheese and bake for 45 minutes.
Smoked Sausage and Anything
Here in the South, smoked sausage is another food group unto itself. We always keep a pack handy. Fry some up for breakfast instead of bacon. Grill some for lunch on a bun. Combine chunks of smoked sausage with steamed or fried cabbage for a delicious dinner main course.
Egg Roll in a Bowl
This is one of our absolute favorites. The basic ingredients are ground pork or beef and a bag of coleslaw mix. You can keep it simple, season it to create Asian flavors, or add additional veggies like green onions. Here’s a link to a Keto-friendly recipe.
Feel the need to eat something really healthy and nutritious? Grilled veggies are just the ticket. They can be served as a side dish or a main meal. Take a variety of your favorite vegetables and slice or cut them into small pieces. Yellow squash and zucchini are a good base to start with.
Next, experiment and put some creativity into it. The additions that you add to the basics can change the whole flavor of the finished dish. We’ve used onions, peppers (green and red bell), and mushrooms - and continue to look for other ingredients.
Place the cut-up veggies in a sealable one-gallon freezer bag. Add 1 cup of Italian dressing. Put the bag in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours. Before grilling, microwave or steam pot the mix enough to soften the harder vegetables. Place a metal screen over your grill and spread the mix out in a thin layer. Turn and respread the mix until it reaches your desired crispness.
After serving out a portion, try some over-the-top garnishes. Salt and pepper to taste, add a sprinkle of a spice blend, or shake some grated Parmesan cheese on top. Then sit back and enjoy a good healthy meal.
The Ultimate Cooking Tool
Most of these meals can be cooked in a microwave or toaster oven. We do carry a crockpot with us, but the best tool for fast and easy cooking is our Mini Instant Pot. This amazing three-quart device does it all. According to the product description, it is a programmable pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pot, yogurt maker, and warmer.
Since you’re a Boondocker, you are probably conscious about sticking to a budget. When you come to a new area, check out the local-named food stores and supermarkets. We’ve found that local food store chains have some amazingly low prices and sales that will reduce costs. Their prices are often lower than the national big-name stores and their meats are usually better quality.
Stock up when you find good prices on items with a long shelf life. While we prefer fresh vegetables from local farmer markets, we keep a stockpile of canned goods in our RV. We always have something available to serve along with the main course.
Creative cooking can be a very simple matter with the use of spices. Let’s face it - we have meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, and beans as our basic food items that make up our meals. We can combine them in a variety of ways to create new recipes. But with the addition of select seasonings, like spices and herbs, we can enhance the taste to new levels of savory enjoyment.
We have two favorites that we use. One is a combination of pink Himalayan salt, garlic, and pepper. Shaking just a light pass with this blend over meats and vegetables adds just the right amount of zip.
Another favorite is Tiger Sauce. As hot sauces go, it’s fairly well-mannered with a slightly sweet flavor. A few shakes over meats or beans will add some tang to what might otherwise be bland.
Share the Meal
We’d love to hear about favorite meals from other Boondockers. Back in the day, swapping recipes was a favorite pastime of country folk and a way to build community.
Tracey and I are building a “Boondocker’s Recipe Book” and plan on publishing it in the near future. If you send us a recipe and a snapshot of the finished dish, we will give you credit and send you a free copy when the book is completed. Send your information to [email protected] or [email protected].
We’re looking forward to hearing from you!