This is one of our top go-to meals for camping. Looking for something easy to eat while camping without really cooking that’s healthy, and doesn’t require a fridge? You need zero special skills, very little equipment, not a lot of prep, and it’s a delicious, filling camping food that will feed up to seven people with no leftovers to store! It is my top recommendation for an easy camping food dinner idea! This post contains affiliate links.
A Go-To Easy Campfire Dinner
We went on our first camping trip when my oldest son was three months old. Looking back … why? That was nuts lol! But as I was focused on transporting the 10,000 things required to take kids anywhere these last few years, we did not get inventive with the food. Like burgers and brats, burgers and brats, and repeat.
But now I feel like I have the bandwidth to go a little higher level. I saw one post that was involved making a homemade bechamel sauce and packing it all ready to go camping. Happy for you if that’s your journey, but I meant like go up one level, not like I’m a hybrid of Julia Child and Laura Ingalls Wilder. I want delicious AND easy.
Enter Boy Scout Stew! I stumbled across this recipe … somewhere. Possibly from my husband who spent a lot of his youth with the actual Boy Scouts making these exact recipes. But this one is totally my jam! Very little needs to be kept cool (and honestly none if you want to make it vegetarian), you can make a ton of substitutions, to fit taste, what you remembered to bring (hehe), etc. There’s not a lot of nuanced watching it cook, so it’s a great intro to cooking over an open fire. Nothing like the pressure of seven hungry people staring you down, knowing the closest restaurant is hours away if you fail! It’s just a hit from every direction!
Boy Scout Stew Easy Dinner Recipe
I will saw I should put “recipe” in quotes because you just choose your cans and go to town. I will say the diced potatoes cans was the biggest win for me as the original recipe called for kind of pre-cooking the potatoes and they took forever and just … no. So those are a must have. Then for the meat, I’ve done shredded rotisserie chicken packed in a Ziploc in the cooler, pre-cooked hamburger in a Ziploc in the cooler, or no meat because I forgot it. All equally delicious!
You do need some sort of open fire cooking pot to make this happen. The one piece of cast iron I would highly recommend is The Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker. The top is a lid or a skillet, the bottom is a large cooking pot, and together they are a dutch oven. I do foil line it for easy cleanup and I know they make liners too! If you want to delve into campfire cooking, I would highly recommend it.
Cooking Over a Fire
So we always just use the fire pit/grill that comes with the campsite so there’s less stuff to haul. Cooking over an open fire is something that takes practice, but not honestly with this recipe, so it’s a great way to get started with campfire cooking for a beginner. I made this one camping trip, felt like a million bucks, and decided to try this paper bag breakfast over the fire the next day and they all caught on fire and burned to a crisp. So you know the level of cooking over a fire skill I’m working with, so please don’t be intimidated!
Start your fire about 30 minutes before you want to start cooking to get it to a consistent heat level. Lower the grill grate so that pot is getting a good amount of heat, but the flames aren’t licking around the edges. Again, you can’t cook this incorrectly, and nothing is going to hurt the Combo Cooker, but in case you want to level up to more complicated recipes in the future, that’s what you’re looking for.
Step by Step
So only really integral things here are remember your campfire cooker, bring something to light the fire (yes, I’ve forgotten this too), and bring a can opener (so far only thing I have not forgotten lol). I always pre-measure the spices and unwrap the bouillion cubes and pop them in a ziploc bag ahead of time just for easiness. Foil line your cooker if that’s your jam, but totally fine if you don’t. Gather your cans and start opening, draining and pouring. I love that this recipe is so veggie heavy because sometimes we don’t do the best job eating healthy while camping and this is an easy veggie-packed win for the kids. Honestly you could even bump up the health factor if you subbed some V-8 for the broth — I’m going to add that to my list for next time and report back!
One pro tip I do have for you with the prep process is to dump everything in but the chicken stock. It’s just a lot to carry and it’s way easier to pop it on the fire, add the stock, and the add your cooker top.
This meat and veggie pile is ready to roll! Head to the fire, add the chicken stock and you’re ready! Cook it for 20-30 minutes or until it’s a good temperature for you, but everything is pre-cooked so it’s really flexible, which is why I really encourage the canned potatoes. This is a win time-wise because it can simmer a little longer if some people lost hiking (true story) or it can be ready ASAP if kids are circling you like hungry sharks (also a true story).
How to serve it
One thing is the pan comes off the fire HOT. So I would highly recommend two mitts — one for the handle and one for the mini handle on the other side. It is very heavy filled with soup and you want to be able to carry it away from your body a bit so not hot broth drips on your toes on the way to the picnic table. I use two of these mitts and also this silicone handle and mini handle assist as well. Also don’t forget your ladle, bowls and spoons!
The Combo Cooker holds three liters of stew, so it fed four adults and three kids with a little extra for seconds. We served it with a package of rolls and butter as an easy camping dinner side just to fill out the offering a bit more. I also don’t like the pressure of leftovers when we’re camping because they’re hard to store and then I feel guilty that I’m a food waster, so this recipe is a win that way as well.
You could easily adapt this for a crowd or larger group too — do a batch and feed the kids first, then just grab your cans and stock again and do a second batch for the adults and feed around 14 (mixed kids and adults) that way (no need to clean the Combo Cooker in between batches). Just double your rolls and butter supplies for your dinner side. I would still pre-package your spices by batches though — seriously this spice combo is right on target and that’s the only thing about the stew I would get just right.
This soup is so delish, I might work it into my fall/winter stovetop rotation. Something about the spice combos is just so comforting and makes it a favorite camping food that I think I could turn into a favorite anytime food! Any adventurous campfire cookers out there? Let me know in the comments!
Campfire Food Made Easy – Boy Scout Stew
- 3 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
- Garlic Salt (season with your heart)
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes (juices too)
- 2 cans Diced Potatoes, drained
- 1 can Corn, drained
- 1 can Peas and Carrots, drained
- Your choice of meat (optional)
- Salt and Pepper (Season with your heart)
- 48 oz box Chicken or Beef Stock
- Add everything into the pot
- Carry it to the fire and then pour the stock
- Add the lid
- Cook 20-30 minutes