Camping Cuisine: A Breakfast Worth Getting Up For

Has it really been a month of silence here on Food if by Land? In my defense, it felt longer than that and my guilt over neglecting you has been mounting.

The good news is that I was busy with very fun and exciting things, like taking fifteen 10-16 year-olds to farm camp and pitching a tent in St. Croix State Park (first time ever!) with E.

And from these adventures comes my peace offering: a breakfast worth getting up for. In fact, it’s one worth lighting a fire and waiting half an hour for (at least, because that’s pretty much what it takes to get that fire going).

The beauty of this meal? It’s easily multiplied (if you’re serving 17 people, say), extremely filling, goes down easy (hello – bacon?), and really only requires three ingredients (if you don’t count salt, pepper, and optional herbs that you’d have packed anyway). It probably isn’t appropriate for backpackers, unless you’re brave enough to travel with raw eggs.

I give you: Hot Salty Love in a Pan, A.K.A. bacon-potato scramble!

It’s an honor I feel a little bad bestowing on anything, but it gets the “Eric Seal of Approval.” Baffling that it is even up for debate whether he would enjoy something as amazing as breakfast potatoes sauteed with bacon and eggs, but questioned it was (by all of us). And he ate it. And at least put on a face of enjoyment, which sometimes is all I hope for. So, you ought to know that if he ate them, you’ll definitely LOVE them.

Although this was our first time out camping, I think I’m already in love with cooking over an open fire. We’ve added fire pit to our list of priority tasks for when we buy a house. I’m pricing cast iron dutch ovens. I’m sending back the propane grill the in-laws sent us with “just in case.”

Fire is mischievous, flitting forward and backward across the pit, daring you to guess where the heat will be. It’s not an oven, nor does it have a temperature control knob — which means it requires a different arsenal of culinary moves. Like food that simply requires heating. You’re going to do your best if you can see and smell when food is done, rather than using a timer or directions like “cook over medium-low.” And really — if you overcook one item, you can cut back on the time for the next one, because it’s all pretty forgiving.

Hot Salty Love in a Pan
Serves: 4 OR 2 at two breakfasts (for packing planning purposes)

Ingredients:
1 package bacon
1 bag refrigerated potatoes, diced with onions (the green bag kind)
8 eggs (or 2 per person per meal)
Salt + pepper
1 tsp herbs if desired (parsley, dill, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Start your fire with a grill over it.
  2. While it’s heating up, roughly chop the bacon into 1″-wide pieces
  3. In a cast iron skillet, cook the bacon until the edges are brown and crispy (but not the whole piece).
  4. Add the potatoes. Stir to coat in the bacon grease (yum!). Stir frequently enough to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan too much, but not so much that they don’t brown.
  5. Now is probably a decent time to add the salt and pepper. But you can add it later, too.
  6. When the potatoes are fork-tender (maybe 6-8 minutes?), crack the eggs over the skillet. Gently stir everything around to scramble it, which will allow the eggs to cook through.
  7. If you want to add fresh herbs, add them before your last couple of scrambling stirs.
  8. Serve with hot, toasty bread (or cinnamon rolls, if you’re really optimistic!).

Oh, what? You want to have delicious, hot, gooey cinnamon rolls at your camp breakfast too? The trick? *Cover your baking pan.* We lost somewhere around the bottom third of our cinnamon rolls because the top never got enough heat. To adjust for that, make sure whatever baking apparatus you choose has a tight-fitting cover (foil, dutch oven lid, whatever) to keep the heat in and distribute it to the tops, while the bottoms get the direct heat from the flames.


This was taken after we figured out that we needed a cover.

But beyond that, my recipe doesn’t get much simpler: crack open a can of Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls (we got the small can that had five rolls, which was perfect for the two of us). Place on a baking pan. Cover. Heat. Top with provided icing. Enjoy. The can travels well (particularly if you’re already lugging a cooler along) and only added a baking pan to our packing list (since we were already bringing the foil.
Tip: I highly recommend lining whatever you bake these on with *greased foil*. Less stick, easy cleanup.

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