in Camping / by Roofnest Team

3 Easy Camp Meals That Are Healthy and Yummy

When people ask us what we love about a Roofnest rooftop tent, the list is quite long. But much of what we do add to the list can be boiled down to ease, comfort and convenience. Yes, we are inherently lazy and seek out the best experiences with the least amount of effort. A Roofnest takes mere moments to set up and tear down, and despite that minimal effort you get a robust and spacious camping experience, complete with squishy mattress and weatherproof durability.

Small effort, big reward.

When it comes to campsite cooking, these same principles apply. We want the best camping meals with as little effort as possible. AND, without  sacrificing flavor!

Over the years we have compiled a series of meals we call “Dinner Bags, ” which require little more than:

  • a roll of tinfoil
  • some canned and dry goods
  • a few spices

Oh, and a preferably a campfire, although a stove will suffice.

Here is how to cook our three favorite Dinner Bag camping meals. While they sound simple, we promise these will change your camping life.

1. South Of The Border Succotash

Every one of these meals is going to start the same basic way: Grab a large square of tin foil, lay it flat, and cover it in cooking spray. Yes, butter tastes better, but PAM won’t melt in the truck. 

In the center of your newly oiled slab of tinfoil, open and dump out:

  • One can (drained) sliced, cooked white potatoes
  • One can (drained) black beans
  • One can (drained) Mexicorn (or your choice of less poorly named can of sweet corn with peppers)

Once you have all the canned veg on the foil, hit it with some salt and pepper. We love using an all-season mix instead like Tony Chachere’s to add some extra flavor and spice. 

Now, fold the tinfoil up to cover the mixture, and make sure all the seams are folded. At the end you should have what looks like a little tinfoil brick or bag full of food.

Now you just need to throw the bag on top of the fire and let it roast up for 10 to 15 minutes. Look for the bag to inflate slightly and listen for sizzling of the oil. If the bag starts to inflate a lot and you’re worried about the structural integrity of your tinfoil, you can poke a couple small holes in the top to release some of the pressure. 

After your preferred cooking time, pull the Dinner Bag off the fire and let it rest for a few minutes. When cooled slightly, just open your tinfoil pocket of magic and dig in. 

If you did it correctly, the potatoes on the bottom should have crisped up slightly where they were against the foil, and the black beans would have started to burst, mixing with the corn and peppers.  

Now, let’s try it again, but with an Asian flare. 

2. Fireside Pineapple Curry Rice

Yes, we are about to create the fastest and laziest asian curry rice on planet Earth. And it’s more delicious than you can imagine. 

Grab your foil slab, hit it with the oil. This time instead of leaving it flat, prefold the edges to make a bowl. We need to keep some fluid in the foil before we fold it together to make our cooking sack/brick. 

Instead of using a bunch of canned veggies, we will add one bag of pre-cooked minute rice to the center of the foil. Make sure you squeeze the packet to break up the rice before you put it on the foil. 

Next up, we are going to add one can of chopped pineapple, juice and all. This is why we pre-folded the foil edges. 

Finally, season with salt, pepper, and a healthy dose of yellow curry powder. 

Now, carefully wrap and seal the edges of the tinfoil. Try to keep all the pineapple juice in the foil, as that is what makes this dish work so well. 

Once you have successfully wrapped your Dinner Bag, it’s time to cook. This time we want to set the bag near the fire, or on a cooking grate above the fire if you have one. If you put this directly on the fire, all your rice is going to burn and it’s going to taste awful. That’s why we call it “fireside” and not “fire-roasted” curry rice.

Once you have your cooking position sorted, go ahead and poke a few vent holes in the top with a knife or fork. The extra fluid from the pineapple juice means a lot more steam is going to build up. We are going to let this curry concoction sit for longer, about 25 minutes. This gives the pineapple juice time to soak into the rice, and it will cook down into a thicker sauce. 

When the cook is done, pull it off the fire, open it up, and give the whole thing a good stir. I like to add a little more black pepper and curry powder at this point to give it a little more kick. 

If everything works out, you should have a lovely bag of curry rice covered in a tangy and sticky sauce that is out of this world. And it only took three minutes of prep time. 

3. The Gluten-Free Pasty

Our final variation on the Dinner Bag meal takes the most effort, but it adds protein to the mix to make it much heartier. This one is great on those colder camp nights. 

We call this one the “gluten-free pasty,” because it’s a cheater version of a cornish pasty filling, just wrapped in foil instead of pastry. It can also be a weird play on Bangers and Mash if that is more your thing.

First, chop up half an onion.

Next, cut half of a small summer sausage into cubes of your preferred size.

Once your sausage and onion are cut up we once again rely on our trusty tinfoil. 

Same as before, large tinfoil square, covered in spray oil. In the center of the foil add a drained can of sliced white potatoes (same as we used in the succotash recipe). On top of the potatoes add the onion and the sausage. 

For seasoning, salt and pepper works, but something like Tony Chachere’s really shines here.  

Finally, wrap it all up, throw it right on the fire, and come back in 15 minutes or so. 

While you’re waiting on the food to cook, you can go ahead and clean the knife and whatever random object you used as a cutting board. Same as the other Dinner Bags, pull it from the fire, let it cool for a minute, and then dig in and enjoy. 

Now Get Out There and Cook!

There you have it: three variations on the same basic cooking idea. Each one takes just a few minutes to get ready, and they all taste incredible.

We love these easy camping meals because they require nothing that needs refrigeration, so I can keep all the ingredients with me for a week or two in the backcountry and never have to worry about coolers or ice. With the tinfoil sack, we also cut down on waste water because there’s no need to wash bowls or plates. 

Just like a Roofnest rooftop tent, these meals are about easy setup, easy cleanup, and maximum enjoyment. We hope you enjoy them.

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