Tasty Treats for Great American Backyard Campout
June 12, 2013

The 9th annual Great American Backyard Campout, run by the National Wildlife Federation, will be held on June 22 this year. The program is part of its Be Out There initiative, aimed at getting families outside to connect with nature.

While the event is held both to encourage people to get outdoors as well as to raise funds for the nonprofit’s mission, you don’t have to register if you don’t want to. It is, however, a great cause. Start your own team (just your family is fine) or find one to join online at the NWF website.

The foundation shared some its favorite camp cuisine recipes with us. While I’ve seen variations of some of these, I’ve never tried to make lasagna while camping. It’s now on my shopping list for our next trip!

Gourmet Lasagna
Pour a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of your Dutch oven and add a little water. Then cover with lasagna noodles and a layer of ricotta or cottage cheese and chopped spinach. Add another layer of sauce and repeat the layering until you reach the top of your pot. Top it all off with sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, cover and let bake for 30 minutes.  If you want a meatier dish, add pepperoni or ground beef between the layers.

Pigs in a Sleeping Blanket
For an easy twist on the classic campfire hotdog, take an 11 ounce can of breadstick dough, slice each dough strip in half and wrap each strip around a hotdog leaving a small area uncovered for the face. Roast over the fire until the hotdog and bread are cooked, let cool, then use ketchup and mustard to make fun faces.

Silver Turtles
This hearty option is a simple way to fill your campers’ stomachs. Place a hamburger patty in a piece of aluminum foil and top it with potatoes, carrots, onions, salt, pepper and a slice of butter. Fold the foil tightly around all of it and cook over the coals for 20 minutes (or until cooked thoroughly), then let cool and enjoy. For a side dish, wrap corn on the cob or whole potatoes in foil for delicious grilled corn or baked potatoes. 

Dipped Strawberries
Dip strawberries in Marshmallow Fluff and roast over the fire.

Orange-Chocolate Cake
Hollow out oranges, fill (about half way) with chocolate cake batter, wrap in foil, and bake in hot coals for about 20 minutes.

Singing Apples
Place an apple on a cooking stick and roast over hot coals until the peel starts to split and “sing.”  Carefully remove the peel and roll apple in cinnamon and sugar.

More Camping Tips
Read our “Happy Campers 101” to help get you prepared for your camping trip.

Visit the Department of Recreation and Conservation’s website, which lists all Massachusetts State Park campsites. Advance reservations are available for 29 state forests and park campgrounds. To make a reservation, call 877-422-6762 or visit ReserveAmerica.com.


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Help a neighbor: Whether it’s the season for shoveling snow, raking leaves, or weeding their garden, your kids will get double benefits from being outdoors and building community.

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