Filed under: Comfort at Camp, Food Week 2010, Menu Planning & Cooking, Traveling Tips
Healthier Meals at Camp
In this day of increasing health consciousness and focus on cost cutting, our family is always in search of recipes that will accomplish those ends, while delighting our taste buds at the same time. Ease in cooking is always a plus because we often like to take our favorites “on the road” when we travel and don’t want to spend a lot of time fussing with complicated recipes. Recently I stumbled upon two recipe modifications that our family has come to embrace, that also travel well.
The first of these is a new version of the hamburger. It is relatively quick to make and substitutes brown rice for about half of the ground beef. With the addition of feta cheese and spices, it really is delicious. We surround it with a whole wheat bun for another healthy choice. We have taken to substituting whole wheat dinner rolls for hamburger buns as they are typically softer, tastier and a bit smaller. Top it off with a slice of lettuce and a splash of catsup to really bring out the taste.
- ½ lb. lean ground beef or ground round
- ½ cup brown rice, uncooked
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Put rice in saucepan with a bit of salt, covered with an inch of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat so rice bubbles gently. Cook for 30 minutes, until it is moist but not swimming. Transfer rice to a mixing bowl. One time saving trip on the road is to cook the rice before leaving home provided you will be having these burgers your first or second night out.
Add remaining ingredients to bowl and stir just enough to combine all ingredients but do not overwork. Form the mixture into 4 patties. Either grill or sauté on stove top in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, just until they are golden brown and the meat is just cooked through. Serve immediately.
Our second recipe conversion is a beef stew recipe. We prefer to refer to it as a vegetable stew with a hint of beef as, again, the meat has been “down-sized” for a more heart-healthy recipe. We have loaded the stew with vegetables of all kinds. What you use is really just a matter of taste. Because most of us are Irish, we are heavy on the potatoes. Our bohemian nature also loves rutabagas, so we add those as well. Feel free to substitute whatever you and your family will eat. Terry and I would love to add several varieties of mushrooms to this stew, but our kids will only tolerate one.
- 8 ozs. lean beef, cut into 1 inch chunks (as opposed to the 2 lbs of beef in my old recipe!)
- 8 cups of vegetables, cut up, including onion, celery, mushroom, potato, carrot (we love the bags of baby carrots!), rutabaga or any other vegetable you would like to add.
- 3 cups mushroom or beef stock or water
- ½ cup red wine (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- A pinch of thyme and of rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
Brown the beef in oil in a Dutch oven. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside. Saute vegetables in the Dutch oven until they begin to brown. Add the red wine and cook a bit longer, loosening bits of vegetable from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and beef, along with the spices and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so that stew bubbles gently. Cover and cook undisturbed for 30 minutes. Add more liquid if the mixture seems dry. If you enjoy camping with your crockpot, as one of my colleagues wrote in an earlier post, this recipe can easily be made in that vessel as well.Serve immediately. Stew will keep in the refrigerator for two days.
We hope you enjoy these meals as much as our family has and also feel good about doing something good for your body. This experience has also piqued our interest in reducing high fat ingredients in other recipes we like to make while camping. More about this in the future. Wishing you happy, healthy travels!
For more information about camping meals, check out Woodall’s main site for additional camping information.