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Fall is nearly here. For those who plan to stretch the camping season well past summer, Cooking Craze is offering a few cooking tips for campers. Camping used to be all about roughing it in the woods and enjoying the tranquility and beauty of nature. Having good food to go along with a person’s wilderness adventure was something of an afterthought. But gone are the days of a can of beans or vegetable soup cooked over a fire being the only source of bland sustenance. Today, enjoying a fine campsite meal is just as thrilling as the rest of the trip – and a gourmet meal in the middle of the woods is simpler to accomplish than you think.

What tools do you need for a gourmet meal in the woods?

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There are only two pieces of cookware needed to make a large variety of fine meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The first is a cast-iron skillet, and the second is a Dutch oven. With these two items, everything from tasty steaks and flavorful omelets to hearty stews and more can be whipped up with ease. The cast-iron skillet will serve well for all meals, but the Dutch oven is also useful for making one large meal that can serve many and last for days, saving campers the trouble of bringing extra dishes and ingredients for multiple meals.

In addition to cookware, a cutting board and a sharp chef’s knife will also make a huge difference in how well a meal can be prepared. It’s not a bad idea to pack a mixing bowl either, depending upon the food that is to be prepared, and of course the availability of space in your camping pack. A pair of insulated gloves is also useful for handling those hot pots.

Lastly, a propane camp stove serves as a much more reliable tool than a campfire.

What food should you bring to the woods?

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A cooler full of food can take up a lot of extra space, and the ice will eventually melt anyway, so it’s best to bring food that doesn’t require a lot of refrigeration (unless camping in a cold area). Meats can be cooked the first night, and then there is no need to worry about keeping the meat cold for the remainder of the trip.

Cooking oil is an essential item. Eggs and hard cheeses can last a few days without refrigeration, and vegetables, chili peppers, tortillas, canned foods, dried pasta and grains such as quinoa are all items that don’t need any at all. Bring along some spice mixes and seasonings, and everything needed for cooking gourmet meals while camping will be readily available.

How do you turn a campfire meal into a gourmet meal?

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Now it’s all about the food prep and the actual cooking. The internet is full of recipes for camping that have been elevated to the next level. You can find recipes for almost everything – from gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese with smoked paprika and bacon to chicken enchiladas with nachos, as well an Italian gourmet upgrade of the campfire staple Hobo Bundles and pan-seared strip steaks with mushrooms. Don’t forget about delicious chilis and amazing Dutch oven stews.

And remember, a little seasoning always goes a long way. Make sure that everything is well-seasoned — seasoning packets often come with recipes printed on the back for a gourmet meal without any additional thought needed.

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