Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Camping & Dena's Homefries

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I mentioned a while ago that hubby, the dog, and I went car-camping out in the gorgeousness that is the outdoors of Oregon. I'm finally just now getting around to writing about it!

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Because our beloved doggy is very old, very weak, and very sick, we decided to try it just for one night to see how he was able to handle it -- he'd never been camping before! He loved it and was a total trooper.

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So.... I had to plan meals and food only for a one-nighter, which was nice. We had bought ourselves a brand new big cooler that purports to keep the contents cold for up to 5 days (!!!), so I was able to factor that into my planning.

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My main goal with our camping food was to keep it as simple as possible. The food wasn't the focus of the trip, anyway, and, like I learned with the ballpark food, I knew the surrounding environment and peaceful atmosphere would add all the right flavorings to make it taste really darn good. Seriously: why does food taste so much better when you're camping?

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So here's what I planned, with simplicity and ease as my two main goals:


  • Day of Arrival Lunchtime: Turkey & Swiss Sandwiches with Root Veggie Chips

  • Dinner: Whole Wheat Pasta with Jarred Tomato Sauce and Pan-fried Vegetarian Italian Sausage

  • Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Dena's Famous Homefries (recipe below)

  • Day of Departure Lunchtime: Same as yesterday, but just as good!


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Some notes: I bought good, crusty bread that I sliced myself for the sandwiches -- not only does this bring the sandwiches up a notch, but you can also have some slices for dinner to go with your pasta, or for breakfast. Potentially you could toast them over your campfire on a stick.

I kept the sandwiches really simple and just brought mustard, onion, and tomato for them -- I forwent the lettuce so as to avoid soggy, wilty lettuce from the cooler. That totally worked for us, but of course do whatever works for you.

I used whole wheat macaroni for our pasta so that it was small and would cook in the small saucepan I wanted to bring. I did NOT want to lug around a giant pasta pot!

And yes, I used -- gasp! -- jarred tomato sauce. I was keeping it super simple, remember? I actually used Trader Joe's Rustico sauce, and it was surprisingly good! It's no homemade sauce, but it far exceeded our expectations. It was actually tasty, and not just camping-food-eating-outdoors-tasty. Two thumbs up from both me and hubby, who is...let's just say he's particular about his pasta sauce and I've never seen a jarred sauce that was up to par for him.

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Dena's Homefries


  • As many yukon gold potatoes as you'll need. For the two of us, it was about 6. We like a lotta homefries. Yum.

  • Half a red onion, chopped into medium-sized pieces

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • EVOO (that's extra virgin olive oil for you non-Rachael Ray folks)

  • Plenty of salt and pepper to taste


Before you leave, par-boil your potatoes so they're halfway done. Cool them down, then pack in the cooler with all your other perishables.

After you wake up in the morning and have stretched and looked out on the river as soon as you step out of your tent, start water boiling for coffee and begin slicing your par-boiled potatoes into thin slices.

Chop your onion and your garlic. Set your cast-iron skillet on the stove or fire to pre-heat. Once it's at about medium-high, drizzle ~ 1.5 tbsp of your EVOO and let it heat til it shimmers. Add your onion and garlic and let it get fragrant. Then add the potatoes and cover. Let them cook for a while, check on them every so often, and stir every so often too, to make sure they're all getting equal time on the skillet bottom. You want them to get a little crispy brownness to them, but not so much that they're burnt.

Keep an eye on them and test them with a fork...you'll know when they're done. Once the potatoes are done, serve them up with plenty of salt and pepper alongside scrambled eggs and bread if you like. Eat by the McKenzie River in the sunshine. Life is good.

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1 comment:

  1. this was great and beautiful--in addition to the food + fotos, it made me very happy to see sailor relaxing by the river...

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