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Camping Thanksgiving Recipes


More from Outdoor Living Newsletter November Outdoor Living Newsletter
 
Turkey on camp fire grill
Who says you can't have a Thanksgiving feast while camping?

Thanksgiving is a time for feasting. To be able to put up a Thanksgiving dinner worthy of the word "feast", more often than not we dust off our favorite family recipes and slave away for hours, if not days, in the kitchen so we'd have something grand to feed the family and friends who will share the day with us. A lot of the regular Thanksgiving dinner recipes we know require the use of a kitchen well-equipped with fancy cooking tools.

However, when you're celebrating Thanksgiving at a campground or RV park, it is, of course, necessary to keep things simple. Even if you have a Class A RV with a nice kitchen, what you can whip up for Thanksgiving dinner would be limited by the space you have to work in or the tools you have available.

But just because you're likely to be constrained with what you can prepare for Thanksgiving dinner while camping, it doesn't mean it's impossible for you to cook up the veritable feast that the occasion calls for. Simple does it, and we have eight simple Thanksgiving dinner recipes you can easily prepare on your RV stove or over the campfire.

Classic Turkey Stuffing

If you're going to have turkey for Thanksgiving, it has to have stuffing. Otherwise, you're going to end up serving a bland bird. The classic turkey stuffing doesn't require a lot of tools, though, so you shouldn't have problems making that on your RV stove or over your campfire.

Prep and cooking time: 45 minutes
Good for a 12-14 lbs turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced finely
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (use low-sodium broth or make your own)
  • 14 cups stale bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

Instructions:

  1. 1.  In a large frying pan or skillet, fry the bacon until it is brown and crispy. Remove from the pan without draining the bacon drippings. Crumble into small chunks and set aside.
  2. 2.  Melt the butter into the bacon drippings.
  3. 3.  Once the butter has melted, add the onions, garlic and celery and sauté gently until the vegetables are tender.
  4. 4.  Put half of the bread cubes in the pan and stir until the cubes are coated and the butter and drippings completely absorbed.
  5. 5.  Add the rest of the ingredients except for the chicken broth. Stir until completely combined.
  6. 6.  Gradually stir the chicken broth into the mix until you have achieved the level of moistness you want in your stuffing. Don't put in too much broth, or else the stuffing will be soggy.
  7. 7.  Stuff the stuffing into the turkey and cook it immediately.

Thanksgiving Campfire Turkey

You don't have an oven in your RV but you have a good fire pit at your campsite? No worries, then - just have cheesecloth, aluminum foil and lots of coal and you can have roasted turkey for Thanksgiving.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours (or one hour for every 4 lbs of turkey; adjust accordingly)
Yields 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 12-14 lbs turkey
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Pre-cooked turkey stuffing

Instructions:

  1. 1.  Prepare your fire pit. Dump enough coals to fill the fire pit in your campfire. Make sure the pit is big enough for your bird, with an inch or two of breathing space.
  2. 2.  Clean your turkey.
  3. 3.  In a small bowl, mix rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper thoroughly. Rub this seasoning mix on the turkey.
  4. 4.  Rub the turkey's skin with oil until its outside is completely coated.
  5. 5.  Stuff the bird with your pre-cooked turkey stuffing.
  6. 6.  Wrap the bird in cheesecloth, and then with three or four layers of aluminum foil.
  7. 7.  Line the bottom of your fire pit two inches with coal. Make sure you fill the entire bottom.
  8. 8.  Place the bird atop the coals, then dump the rest of the coals over the turkey until the bird is completely covered.

Spam Thanksgiving Dinner

So let's say you can't cook turkey at your campsite. Do you really have to have turkey for Thanksgiving? If you're not so particular with what you're going to feast on why not have Spam and other conveniently canned goodies cooked over the grill?

Prep and cooking time: 1 hour
Yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 can SPAM Oven Roasted Turkey
  • 1 can cooked ham
  • 1 can turkey gravy
  • 1 can cranberry sauce
  • 1 packaged stuffing
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 3 large yams or sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Corn on the cob

Instructions:

  1. 1.  Prepare your campfire and put a campfire grill over it.
  2. 2.  Cut the potatoes in half and slather the cut sides with butter. Wrap the potatoes in foil and put them on the grill. Cook until tender, turning the foiled packet every two minutes to keep from burning.
  3. 3.  In a bowl, coat the cubed yams or sweet potatoes in sugar. Then wrap them in foil and put them on the grill. Cook until tender, turning the foiled packet every two minutes to keep from burning.
  4. 4.  Shuck the corn and put them on the grill. Cook until slightly charred.
  5. 5.  Cut the spam and the ham into neat slices. Coat these slices in oil and grill them until each side has nice grill marks.
  6. 6.  Prepare the packaged stuffing, cranberry sauce and turkey gravy according to instructions.

Blanched Greens Salad with Lemon and Honey Dressing

The turkey may be the star of your Thanksgiving show, but the side dishes give your feast more depth and character. And every feast must have a salad among the side dishes to balance it out and give it a nutritious punch. This blanched greens salad is just the thing for this purpose.

Prep and cooking time: 15 minutes
Yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups kale leaves, without the stem
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 orange
  • Salt for boiling water

Instructions:

  1. 1.  Boil slightly salted water in a pot.
  2. 2.  While waiting for the water to boil, whisk together the lemon juice and the honey in a bowl.
  3. 3.  Once the water begins boiling, blanch the veggies in the water for no more than one minute. Drain well.
  4. 4.  Put your blanched veggies in the bowl with the lemon juice and honey.
  5. 5.  Zest the orange over the veggies.
  6. 6.  Toss all the ingredients together and serve.

Campfire Roasted Yams and Apples

It is common to find a dish of roasted yams and apples among the dishes served during Thanksgiving dinner. After all, yams and apples would be in season. This usually requires the use of an oven, but who says you can't have roasted yams and apples when you've got a good campfire?

Prep and cook time: 1 1/2 hours
Yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yam
  • 1 large apple, cored and cubed
  • 1 tbsp pecans or walnuts, chopped roughly
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • A pinch of ground cloves or allspice

Instructions:

  1. 1.  Dump coals in your campfire.
  2. 2.  Wrap the yam in foil and cook in the campfire for an hour or until tender. Set aside and allow to cool. Peel the yam and cut into cubes once cooled.
  3. 3.  In a sauce pan, mix the sugar, cornstarch and the cloves or allspice. Once combined, gradually add the orange juice.
  4. 4.  Add the rest of the ingredients in the pan and cook for 20 minutes or until the apples are tender.

Dutch Oven Apple Crisps

If you have a dutch oven, you can have sweet apples crisped with oats and smelling heavenly with cinnamon.

Prep and cooking time: 1 hour
Yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups apple slices
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. 1.  In a bowl, mix the sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon until fully combined.
  2. 2.  Add the butter into the mixture.
  3. 3.  Put your apple slices in your dutch oven.
  4. 4.  Spread the mixture evenly over the apple slices.
  5. 5.  Cook over the campfire for 45 minutes or until the apple slices are tender.

Campfire Pumpkin Pie

Many Thanksgiving dinner tables are not complete without pumpkin pie. If you want to have pumpkin pie while camping out for Thanksgiving, there's no reason why you can't. You just need a pie iron or dutch oven and you have to do your prep before you set out for your camping trip.

Prep time (at home): 2 hours
Prep time (at campsite): 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes (if using pie iron); 25 minutes (if using dutch oven)
Yields 8 servings

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into smaller cubes

Ingredients for the filling

  • 2 cups pumpkin, pureed
  • 1 1/2 cups light cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves or allspice

Instructions for prep time at home:

  1. 1.  Prepare your pie crust according to your favorite pie crust recipe or use a recipe like Martha Stewart's. Keep your pie crust in the freezer and pack it in your cooler when you go on your camping trip.
  2. 2.  You can also puree your pumpkin beforehand using these methods, keep it in the freezer, and then pack it in your cooler when you leave for your camping trip. You can also puree your pumpkin at the campsite.

Instructions for cooking at the campsite:

  1. 1.  Puree your pumpkin if you haven't done it at home. Clean the outside of the pumpkin, cut it in half, and remove its seeds and stringy insides. Steam or boil your pumpkin until the flesh is soft, then set aside to cool. Once cooled, scoop the flesh out of your pumpkin and then mash the flesh by hand using a fork.
  2. 2.  Prepare your pie crust. If you're using a pie iron, cut your pie crust into two squares that can fit the pie iron and grease your pie crust with butter. Use these squares to line your pie iron. If you're using a dutch oven, grease the bottom and sides of the dutch oven with butter and then place the bottom pie crust inside.
  3. 3.  Mix all the ingredients for the filling thoroughly in a bowl. Once completely combined, pour the mixture into the bottom pie crust.
  4. 4.  Cover the filling with the top crust of the pie. Glaze the top crust lightly with egg whites.
  5. 5.  Place the pie iron or dutch oven on your campfire and cover the lid with coals. The pie should be ready in 15 minutes in the pie iron or 25 minutes in the dutch oven.

Campfire Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls can be a decadent treat. Now, cinnamon rolls baked over the campfire - that's something truly special. And we've all got to have special things to eat for a camping Thanksgiving dinner.

Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes
Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large oranges
  • 4 cans Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing

Instructions:

  1. 1.  Cut the oranges in half and scoop out the flesh. You only need the orange shells.
  2. 2.  Fill each orange half-shell with the cinnamon roll.
  3. 3.  Place the filled half-shells on a baking pan and cover with foil.
  4. 4.  Place the baking pan on the campfire or grill and bake for 20 minutes or until the rolls rise.
  5. 5.  Allow the rolls to cool and then top with the icing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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