You don’t have to rough it when it comes to eating in the great outdoors.

By Vanessa Greaves
April 30, 2021
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Not that there's anything wrong with a good old-fashioned weenie roast under the stars. But with a little ingenuity, you can elevate your campfire cooking from so-so to so great without a whole lot of fuss. Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom, is here to demonstrate five easy camping recipes that feel just a little more special, but are simple to prep using smart make-ahead strategies. Watch the video above to get all of Nicole's tips and tricks, and find every recipe below. Let's go glamping!

1. Monkey Bread Foil Packets

monkey bread foil packets drizzled with butter and maple syrup and served with coffee
Credit: Allrecipes

Turn canned biscuits into cinnamon-spiced pull-apart monkey bread for a fun and easy breakfast all your campers will love. All you need are biscuit dough, ground cinnamon, sugar, butter, and maple syrup. Cut the biscuits into quarters, toss with cinnamon sugar mixture, enclose in individual foil packets, and bake over your campfire for eight to 10 minutes. Top with butter and syrup to serve. Tip: You can save a little room in your camp kitchen by making up the cinnamon sugar mixture ahead of time and storing it in a resealable container.

2. Backpackers' Instant Noodles

cup of backpackers' instant noodles with chopped peanuts and mixed vegetables
Credit: Allrecipes

Instant noodles are a quick, convenient, easy-to-pack, easy-to-carry camping meal. With this recipe, you can customize your own instant noodles and give them a protein-packed, Thai-flavored twist. Enjoy your instant noodles on the go if you're day-hiking, or kicking back at your campsite. Tip: Package up all the ingredients in individual servings ahead of time. Then all you have to do is add boiling water and wait 10 minutes.

3. Beef Shish Kebabs

grilled beef shish kebabs threaded with onions, peppers, and zucchini
Credit: Allrecipes

Food on a stick is a campfire classic, and this recipe takes it to a whole new level. The brilliant move here is to prep everything ahead of time — including meat, vegetables, and marinade — seal individual servings in resealable bags, then freeze the bags flat. Tip: The frozen bags act like extra ice packs to help keep everything cold in your cooler. Come dinner time, thread the ingredients on skewers and grill. Nicole likes to serve these kebabs with foil-wrapped campfire potatoes.

4. Campfire Chicken Pot Pie

close up of campfire chicken pot pie cooked in a cast iron skillet and topped with biscuits
Credit: Allrecipes

Let's face it. It can get a little chilly in the great outdoors, so here's a comfort food favorite to warm you up through and through. For this recipe, you'll want to pack your cast iron skillet (perfect for open-flame campfire cooking) — so yeah, this one's for car-camping rather than backpacking. Convenience products are your friends for this meal: Canned soups don't take up cooler space and they add a lot of flavor without having to pack lots of ingredients, and frozen vegetables can do double duty keeping things cold in the cooler until you're ready to put this easy pot pie together (Nicole used frozen veg rather than the canned called for in the recipe). Canned biscuits cook on top to make a homey lid for the pot pie. Tip: For extra ease, Nicole chopped and cooked the chicken ahead of time.

5. Campfire S'mores in a Cone

close up of s'mores served in an ice cream cone
Credit: Allrecipes

Can you call it camping if you don't have s'mores? But these s'mores have a little detail that makes them s'more fun than ever. You're going to fill ice cream cones with chocolate and marshmallows, wrap them in foil, and pop them on the grill for a speedy 5 minutes until they're all ooey gooey melted and chewy. Kids can have fun making up the packets, while the grownups supervise the grilling. Tip: Add a little peanut butter cup to the cone to melt down with the marshmallows.

You can connect with Nicole as NicoleMcmom on Allrecipes and on Instagram @nicolemcmom.

More tips, tricks, and ideas from Nicole: