Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Camping Weekend: The Menu

campfireWe are taking the kids and their grandparents car camping this weekend for two nights. When we started camping, I found it a little challenging figuring out exactly what we needed to bring for food as I didn\'t know what I was capable of cooking at a campsite. We usually just went shopping on the way and ended up filling the car with junk food and hopefully a few things that we could make a meal out of. We survived, but with kids we have to plan things a little better. Also a little planning at home can make things go very smoothly when you are at the site. We always come home with food and sometimes end up going out for a meal while we are there, but we like to plan not to have to do that.

Below is the menu for the weekend, complete with snacks! We will be arriving in the afternoon on the day 1.

Day one:

Dinner: Caesar Salad with Salmon
Croutons made at home
Bacon cooked at home
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Romaine hearts washed
Homemade ceasar salad dresssing prepared at home
Salmon with marinade prepared at home click here for recipe
Cooked over the camp fire in a tin foil bag

Day 2:

Breakfast: Fresh Fruit Yogurt and Granola
Brunch/Lunch (around 10:30 AM): Bacon and Egg on an English Muffin cooked on our coleman grill
Mozarella Cheese
English Muffins

snacking as required during the day!

Early Dinner: Chicken Breast with Potatoes and Yellow Beans
Sliced Potatoes with butter, garlic, onions, spices, salt and pepper cooked in a tin foil bag over the camp fire
Yellow beans cooked in a tin foil bag with salt, pepper, white wine and butter
Flatten Chicken with a olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, oregano, parsley and basil rub. Flatten and rubbed at home. Cooked over the camp fire.

Day Three:

Breakfast: Fresh Fruit, Yogurt and Granola
Lunch: Sandwiches
Cold Meat (summer sausage and roast turkey)
Mozzarella Cheese


Weiners for making spider dogs
Homemade S'mores (I will be doing a post on these when we get back)
Honey Dijon Chips
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate covered almonds
Lots of fruit!

Drinks are up to you, but we prefer hot chocolate in the morning, wine with dinners and beer in the afternoon.

Don't forget you need to cook and prep a lot of these things, for this I like to bring:
Cast Iron pan
2 cutting boards for meat and veggies
1 Chefs knife
1 paring knife
1 sauce pan (for boiling water for coffee and tea)
large metal flipper
Roll of heavy duty, wide tin foil
Place settings for the family and lots of paper towels!
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Recipe: Chicken Fingers

Chicken FingersBack to school season is quickly rushing upon us, although my kids are not of the age yet so we actually enjoy when all those little twerps (I mean sweethearts) head back to school so that we can go camping and take hikes in peace. However I can definitely sympathize with families trying to get back into the swing of fall. Growing up, back to school coincided with hockey tryouts and dance season (for my sister), hence our house was even more chaotic than normal. This makes it even more important to plan meals ahead but also to make something that the family enjoys and is healthy. By making your own chicken fingers, you are able to control the quality and amount of chicken in each piece. I think the beauty of chicken fingers and the reason kids love them so much is that they are excellent for locking in the juices of the chicken and stopping the meat from drying out. I think kids are very smart about what they eat and we can probably learn a lot about our diets based on their likes and dislikes (keeping in mind we need different things at different points in our lives).
The Recipe: Chicken Fingers

3 large chicken breast cut into strips
1 egg beaten
Olive Oil
Chicken Finger Breading IngredientsBreading
(you can make a large batch of the breading and keep it in the freezer for quicker future preps)
1 cup of bread crumbs (I use leftover french loaf but make sure not to put it in a plastic bag as this traps the moisture and causes mold. Store in a paper bag so the bread will completely dry out after about 1-2 weeks and the food processor does the rest)
1/4 cup of Parmesan
2 tsp of sea salt
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
pinch of cayenne (to pop the flavours, not for heat)
20 peppercorns
1 tbsp dried oregano

Mix all ingredients for the breading on a plate (I like to grind my spices in a mortar and pestle first to release the flavours). Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Heat a pan to med-high heat on the stove. Add about 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan. Cooking the Chicken FingersUse a small kitchen brush to paint the first strip of chicken with egg, then cover the chicken with breading mixture on the plate. Take the chicken directly from the plate to the pan on the stove. Repeat until your pan is full. Flip the chicken after about 1-2 minutes once the breading has turned a nice golden colour. Cook for another 1-2 minutes and place in a casserole dish. Continue to add new pieces of chicken to the pan until all the pieces are in the casserole dish. You may need to add more oil during the stove top process. Place the casserole dish in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Don't be afraid to cut a piece of chicken open to ensure it is done to your liking. If no juices are left in the chicken, you have cooked them too long! Serve with your favourite dipping sauce or a quick and dirty BBQ sauce if the fridge is empty.

Breaded Chicken Fingers on Foodista
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Recipe: Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato FriesYou have to serve fries with chicken fingers, but for a little more of an adult treat it is nice to have some baked sweet potato fries. These do not get crispy like deep fried french fries, but the sweetness and the flavour of the sweet potato just melts in your mouth!

The Recipe: Sweet Potato Fries

4 medium sized sweet potatoes cut into fries
1 tbsp of brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of salt

Heat you over to 375 degrees. In a casserole dish combine all the ingredient and gently mix them up. Place in oven for about 10 minutes. Remove and mix up with a spatula to ensure the all the fries are coated. The butter and brown sugar make a beautiful glaze and help them cook more evenly. Place the sweet potatoes back in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and mix up once again. Cook for another 5 minutes. When the fries are done they should be completely tender right through. Enjoy!
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Recipe: Quick and Dirty BBQ Sauce

Perfect for Dipping! Quick & Dirty BBQ SauceSometimes you need a BBQ sauce and quick, this recipe has great flavour, but even better it takes under a minute to make!

1/4 cup of ketchup
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
Hot Sauce to your liking (start with about 5 drops of tabasco)
1 tbsp of brown sugar

Stir and enjoy!
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