The Results of the Cupboard-to-Campfire Challenge:
In my last post, I explained my Cupboard-to-Campfire Challenge, a [potentially] brilliant menu planning strategy for road trips to solve creative cooking block, save money and eliminate food waste.
If you missed it, start here for the full explanation.
As we set out on our trip, I was excited to see what we'd come up with, and a little nervous about how much we'd have to rely on "hunger being the best sauce."
All in all, it turned out pretty well! Mostly healthy with just the right amount of well-deserved celebratory splurges.
A quick note: While we used the Challenge for all our meals, I'm going to focus suppers here. They were the most interesting. :)
Here's what our daily suppers looked like:
- CHICKEN PASTA SOUP WITH SWEET PEAS AND SWEET POTATOES
- Recipe Notes: After a half-day of driving to our destination and then another half-day exploring, hiking, and a little climbing, we were ravenous. We dug into the pre-made canned chicken/pasta/veggie soup. I added a ton of diced sweet potatoes and the frozen peas to help strech it. Not bad for canned soup!
- Extras: MY HUSBAND CLINTON FORGOT TO BRING THE MARSHMALLOWS. So we squirted melted chocoate right out of the package onto our graham crackers. Turns out that's almost as good as s'mores for a whole lot less work. ;)
- SWEET POTATOES, GROUND BEEF, GREEN BEANS
- Notes: The frozen ground beef and green beens had thawed, so it seemed like the best time to make use of them. In one pot, I sauteed onions and garlic, then added the ground beef. Once the beef had browned, I added the green beans just until they were warm. Then I diced and sauteed the sweet potatoes in coconut oil, with only salt and peppper. A very simple but very delicious meal.
- Extras: More marshmallow-less squirty s'mores.
- BROWN RICE, SALMON, BROCCOLI
- Notes: This was our favorite meal! The solid block of frozen chicken broth had now thawed in our camp cooler, so I cooked the rice with broth instead of water. To the cooked rice, we added a can of wild-caught salmon with chili-lime seasoning and the broccoli, and mixed it all up. Boom. Delicious.
- Extras: We might have picked up a Symphony bar from the gas station. It might have been extra large. We might have eaten the whole thing. We also treated ourselves to a few pints of locally crafted beer at the Lilly Pad Hopyard Brewery. If you're ever near Knoxville, TN, check it out. The beer is great and there are so many really cool dogs that know lots of fun tricks for endless entertainment. (And I'm not even a dog person.)
- PESTO PASTA, DRY SALAMI, SWEET POTATOES
- Notes: We were really craving those coconut oil sweet potatoes from Day Two, so I made them again to go with our pesto pasta. Just a few slices of the dry salami, heated up in a skillet before adding to the pasta, was a nice new twist to the homemade pesto (frozen from last summer!). Very simple, very easy, very delicious after yet another day of hiking and climbing.
- Extras: Can you guess? We found a hidden bar of Rainforest-saving dark chocolate I forgot I had packed. Perfect addition to one final round of local brews at the Lilly Pad.
- On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store for some fresh food and lots of snacks for the drive home. Because we knew we'd pretty much cleaned out the cupboards, were able to stock up for the next week without worrying we were going to buy stuff we didn't need!
Would I do it again? Absolutely! If you're camping with a cooler, I definitely recommend taking frozen veggies and meats; our ice lasted the entire week.
I also loved having super simple and easy-to-prepare meals. We ate relatively healthy, definitely didn't go to bed hungry, and had plenty of energy for our adventures the next day.
Focusing on STARCH, PROTIEN and VEGGIE with a few of our favorite spices on hand gave us the tools we needed to make healthy, creative meals in the woods with minimal effort.
Have you tried the Cupboard-to-Campfire Challenge? Let us know how it went in the comments or on FB/IG @redbudsuds #thoughtfullyclean.
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