Camp cooking for kids

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 10:08
ThreadID: 30511 Views:3777 Replies:5 FollowUps:1
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Off to Innamincka and Coongie this April but for the first time outback with children (6 and 3) and wife is having a minor panic about carrying enough food to keep the kids happy without visiting a supermarket every day...

We have travelled a lot out bush before kids but this will be a whole new adventure!

What ideas do you guys (and girls) have for food ideas? We have a fridge but we need "a thousand and one ways with rice and potatoes"

Any thoughts???
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Reply By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 10:40

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 10:40
The little plastic containers of fruit are great.
For potato, try Deb instant Mash. Very good and simple. Take some packets of instant gravy if the kids like that withe the mash.
2 minute noodles are great. Either with a bit of butter or cheese, or make a meal with mushroom, onion, meat etc
The packets if instant rice and pasta are handy. A bit more expensive, but easy to carry and simple to make up.
We carry canned veggies, lots of varieties available. Also canned Tuna, Salmon etc as a good fall back.
With kids, some canned Spaghetti etc is always handy.

We carry breakfast cereals in 'Tupperware' containers.

If you don't have a freezer, freeze you meat (better still cryovac) in meal sized packets. Frozen, will keep a week or so easily. Cryovac about 3 weeks.

When our kids were little (now in 20s), wife used to make up a little 'bag of treats' for each of them, with name on it to prevent fights. Put mini chips, lollies, etc in them. Let the kids 'self manage' consumption to some extent. Worked well.

You will have a ball. And I bet you end up packing and carrying too much food.
AnswerID: 153570

Reply By: Browser - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:46

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 11:46
Hi Michael,

Have you tried the link on ExplorOz for Cookimg

There are lots of good tips and suggested books etc. The cryovac option for meat is well worth considering.


AnswerID: 153589

Reply By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:17

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:17
Innamincka has the Innamincka Trading Post which is supplied each week - give them a call on (08) 86759900.
AnswerID: 153598

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:33

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:33
Hi Michael,

We've travelled with both our kids since they were just months old. 8 week trip to Pilbara and Kimberely last year with 14 month old and 4.5 year old so I have some experience catering for kids. We have a 39L engel which is plenty adequate for our family of 4.

First tip is to take plenty of snack foods for the kids as they will probably have good appetites from all the fresh air and activity. I consider my secret weapon to keep the kids happy on the long stretches in the car is food. I keep a snack bag of food within easy reach and top it up every evening or morning before we move on so there is always plenty of variety with good and not so good foods (which I limit to a couple of serves a day). Contents consists of fruit such as apples, oranges, mandarins etc all of which travel and keep well. Also biscuits, individual packets of tiny teddy's, chips, BBQ shapes, saltana's etc and in zip lock bags things like nutragrain cereal. Also in a small plastic container I usually have pieces of fruit cake or choc or plain madeira cake cut up ready to eat. These can be bought from most supermarkets and keep unopened for weeks. Handy tip is to keep a plastic bag handy for rubbish and a pocket knife for peeling fruit etc. Also a small plastic container for each child into which you can divvy out the food. Cheese sticks are a good healthy staple and I always have a packet in the fridge and spares in the larder. I should stress that we all eat out of the snack bag not just the kids.

As for meals, our kids pretty much eat what we eat. For ease of preparation I tend to prefer one pot meals (maybe two) such as spaghetti bolognaise, stir-frys, beef stew, pasta's, savoury mince, beef storganoff etc and if I can use the camp oven then meals like shepherds pie, roasts, pizza, scones etc. Off course staples such as sausages, chops etc on the BBQ always welcome.

Tell your wife to have a good look around the supermarket. She'll probably be surprised what easy meal options are available and suitable for camping. As mentioned in the post above, deb potato, flavoured rice, flavoured pasta, pour over pasta sauces etc are tasty, easy options. Dried veges such as peas, peas & corn, peas & carrot and beans are excellent for using in one pot meals. Still very edible on their own but not like the fresh/frozen stuff you're used to at home. But a bit of instant gravy or cheese sauce poured over the top and everyones happy. There will be days when you get into camp later than expected or just plain tired etc so pack some quick and easy meals. For example a 3 minute pasta with a pour over pasta sauce and voila - dinner is ready. To bulk it up a bit I sometimes add a bit of bacon/sausage, mushrooms (canned or dried). Also, Edgell (I think) have brought out a range of stir-fry vegies in stay-fresh packets which are usually kept near the canned veges section of the supermarket. I have found these of very good and tasty - Toss with some beef strips, some hokkien noodles and pour in a bit of soy or black bean sauce (or other options available in single serve sachets) and you have a very quick, tasty meal.

Try to keep canned foods to a minimum as they are bulky and heavy whereas dried foods mentioned above are lightweight. However don't overlook canned foods such as tomatoes, baked beans, spaghetti, spam etc. Get your butcher to vacpac all your meat and it'll last for weeks and won't bleed into your fridge.

Breakfast is easy - usual toast, cereal with long life milk and juice. Alternatively, single serve sachets of Tang which make up 1L at a time are good if space/weight is a consideration. Same for powdered milk but my family don't particularly like it so we stick to the UHT stuff. Other good long life items are cream and custard which with a tin of fruit make dessert easy.

For lunch sandwiches of course or dried biscuits when the bread runs out. Also check out some of the roll-up bread varieties which last for 2-3 months. If you can make damper, always a favourite with marg and golden syrup or packet mix scones with jam. I sometimes make bread but it is a 3-4 hour process and need good coals so not always possible. For cold meat buy the vacpac stuff, sliced not shaved as it takes up less space in the fridge. Polony knobs etc are good as well. meats bought these two ways last for many weeks.

For kid drinks I don't usually give the kids cordial at home, prefering juice but when travelling they really need something. Both my kids have there own insulated water bottles x 2 - one in the fridge, one with them. Water taste and quality can vary from place to place so this is where cordial comes in but I only use the 25-40% juice varieties which are very nice. No softdrink for our kids but hubby and I are addicted to diet coke so we keep a few cans in the fridge and just replace them as we take one out so always a coldie on hand. Same applies to hubbies beer and 2L cask wine bladder tossed in the top of the fridge serves two purposes...1) to drink and 2) stops things in the fridge moving around.

Lastly, have a look at the "On The Road" menu above and scroll down to "Food & Water". There are some good tips there about how to store fruit and vege for maximum life. You'll see that there is no need to go short of fresh fruit & vege.

Hope this helps,

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 153603

Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 18:33

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 18:33
Melissa, you've given me a few good ideas here - I'm not fussed on the tinned stuff for weight or taste - so those sachets are great. Next time I get to go to a supermarket (maybe in 10 months) I'll look some out - they should keep well.
FollowupID: 407570

Reply By: Michael O'Reilly - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 18:49

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 18:49
You guys are sensational! (esp you Melissa...)

I won't have to pack the Valium after all...
AnswerID: 153674

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