This author is a paid content writer for Idaho Tourism.

Campfire classics like s’mores, pizza, and hobo pie never get old. But when’s the last time you got creative with your camping meal prep? Don’t fear creativity because you think too much work comes with it. These four recipes are easy to prepare, are simple to pack and taste delicious!

Eating breakfast next to the fire on a sunny Idaho morning.
Eating breakfast next to the fire on a sunny Idaho morning. Photo Credit: David Casey

Breakfast: Panhandle Pancakes

Cooking up Panhandle Pancakes on a beautiful Idaho morning.
Cooking up Panhandle Pancakes on a beautiful Idaho morning. Photo Credit: Dannielle Nicholson

These aren’t your mother’s pancakes. These delectable little breakfast bites are a sure crowd pleaser – kids love them, adults love them, and they’re a piece o’ cake to make (see what I did there?).


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch of fine Celtic sea salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar (or honey)
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips


Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. If you’re looking to bring a little more nutrition to this meal for your kids, substitute the chocolate chips with fresh blueberries.

Mix the egg with the buttermilk and add to the flour mixture. Stir until well combined but a few of the lumps in the mixture. Next, add the melted butter and sugar until combined. Once you’ve completely stirred the batter, store it in a freezer bag and place in the refrigerator/cooler for your trip. When you’re ready to prepare your cakes, heat your griddle and use a ¼ cup measuring cup to lay them out and distribute the batter evenly over the fire.

Enjoying a made-from-scratch lunch in Idaho's backcountry.
Enjoying a made-from-scratch lunch in Idaho’s backcountry. Photo Credit: David Casey

Lunch: Mountain Man Mack

I’m extremely proud of this recipe – it has earned me quite the reputation amongst family and friends. Some might even say that it’s the world’s best mac n’ cheese. However, I’ve never officially entered it into a contest. I’ll let you be the judge.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces White Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 ounce Pepper Jack cheese, grated (1/4 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 6 ounces penne pasta (about 3 ¼ cups)


To prepare sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, salt, chili powder, red pepper flakes and garlic powder. Stir until cheese is melted and all ingredients are incorporated. This will take roughly 5 minutes.

Next, cook your pasta, drain and rinse with cold water. Divide it between four mini aluminum pie tins or one big one (which is how I typically do it), sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Pour your noodles in then mix the sauce mixture with the noodles and cover each individual mac and cheese portion with aluminum foil. Store in a large plastic food storage bag in a cooler until ready to cook.

To prepare at the campsite, start a fire and let it burn down to the coals. Place a cooking rack over the coals and place each pie tin on top. Cook 8-10 minutes or until hot. Remove from fire and serve immediately.

Dinner: Grandpa’s Stew

After a long day of hiking, exploring, fishing and playing it’s time to refuel with a hearty meal. This recipe is a family tradition, originally taught to me by my grandpa. It has all the protein, nutrients, and tastiness you could ask for with the added bonus of being easy to prepare.


  • 2 pounds stew meat cut into small, uniform chunks
  • 6 potatoes, cut into small uniform chunks
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup celery cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 package dried beef stew mix
  • 1 package dried beef gravy mix
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Water, as needed


You’ll need a Dutch oven for this recipe. Get your fire going about 20-30 minutes before you want to cook.

First, grab your Dutch oven –  you’ll add the beef and just enough water to cover it. Place the oven over the fire and cook until the beef is tender. Then you simply add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion, and cook until tender. Lastly, add the stew and gravy mixes and combine thoroughly. If necessary, add more water. Simmer until a heavenly aroma fills the campground (about 10 minutes in real time). Remove the Dutch oven from the fire and set on a rock or grate, away from any dry grass, and serve.

Dessert: Apple Bombs

Rotating Apple Bombs on the outer ring of the fire.
Rotating Apple Bombs on the outer ring of the fire. Photo Credit: Dannielle Nicholson

This is a simple and savory dessert that takes only minutes to cook next to a campfire. If your family likes apples and sugar (um… who doesn’t?), this recipe will surely be a home run.


  • Apples (depending on how many will be in attendance)
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Butter


These tasty treats can be made before you take off on your trip. You’ll want to core and slice your apples so that they can still fold up to the apple shape. Mostly, you just don’t want to cut entirely through the apple. I typically use an apple slicer and stop just before the bottom.

Once you’re done cutting the fruit, place the apple in the foil and use the foil to help keep the apple shape. Next, sprinkle the sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon on the insides of the apple and on top of all the apple slices. Finally, cut 1 tablespoon of butter and place it into the center of each apple. Once you’re done, wrap the foil around the apple firmly and store in your cooler.

When you’re ready to prepare this dessert, add the apples to the outside ring of a small fire, turning sides about every 5 minutes.  When it’s ready, pluck it out of the fire, let it cool and enjoy this simple, yet mouth-watering campfire treat!

Don’t forget to share your favorite camping recipes with #VisitIdaho!

Tyler Schnur

Published on August 25, 2016