Outdoor cooking...what great memories this recipe topic brought to me. I did quite a bit of camping as a kid and I loved everything about it. My father was in the Coast Guard and each new place he was stationed my Mom saw as an opportunity to explore the great outdoors. This meant dragging their 3 children along as they went hiking through redwood forests, sand dunes, mountains, sometimes even flooded out swamps. I'm almost positive I was the only child that never once complained. I can feel Mom rolling her eyes now...
As soon as new families in new town became new friends the camping gear was packed up. Mom was a master camper and always had fellow campers in awe of her gourmet creations. No fancy gear was needed or ever present. A simple gas burner, a tarp held up with rope and a few trees to keep the rain away, and her trusted cast iron skillet. While other families were chowing down on hotdogs and hamburgers every night Mom was whipping up healthy, fresh, and delicious full blown meals for us.
Camping food took a gourmet turn when Missy was in charge. She was amazing and as an adult looking back, the woman was working her tail to the bone! Mom's dedication to keeping her family healthy and well fed, even when it wasn't easy, is my inspiration for this campfire recipe, no actual campfire needed - of course as you can cook this just as easily in the kitchen. My first attempt at easy Gourmet Camp Food resulted in this amazing Balsamic White Bean and Vegetable Tian. While I'm making things a lot easier on myself by eliminating almost ALL cleanup afterwards, I'm not scrimping on the taste or nutrition one bit! The foil packets and lack of meat are the number one time savers here. No meat juice/cross contamination to worry about, no pans or serving plates to clean up afterwards, and the vegetables cook up quickly and with little to no effort once you get them on the fire.
Do use a double layer of aluminum foil as well as parchment paper to make the cooking packets. When the heat from the fire does NOT burn through your cooking packet you will thank me. You're welcome...
Do not try to cook your food directly in the flames. Simply throwing the packets into the middle of a campfire will not get the job done. Let your fire burn until hot coals are available. Move some coals to the side and cook on those.
Do use the "optional Parmesan cheese" in this recipe. Cheese is wonderful, you know you want it, enough said.
I hope this Gourmet Camping Recipe inspires you to bring the healthy back into camping. A night of hotdogs is great, s ‘mores every night is super, but eating healthy while camping is far from impossible. My Mom inspired me and now hopefully I'll inspire a few of you! I guess this apple didn't fall far from its tree. Love you Mom!