A-camping we will go: 5 easy recipes to make in the great outdoors

During our first year as a couple, Dan and I celebrated my birthday with a camping trip. He bought me a Coleman stove. We borrowed a friend’s tent. We took our French press for coffee, packed some eggs, bacon, bread, beef stew and pickleloaf. With the sunlight streaming through the dappled leaves and crisp fall air, we took comfort in the familiar, wrapped up in the adventure of the outdoors and our new life together, sipping on mugs by the morning fire.

It’s never about the distance traveled or the heights climbed. We’ve camped in places as exotic as Big Bend National Park in Texas and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado, but our excursions in the great outdoors have always centered around spending time with each other and unwinding. In fact, many of our favorite places to stay have been beautiful Missouri state parks within a couple hours’ drive of St. Louis.

When camping, time seems to simply slow down; everything tastes better outside and smells cleaner and more intense. Even routine camp chores seem an adventure in the company of buttercups, great purple swallowtails and lightning bugs.

For people who don’t get to cook as much as they would like, vacation, and camping in particular, can be a time to escape and enjoy making simple meals from scratch with family and friends. We developed these recipes as templates to showcase your own favorite seasonal ingredients, prepped at home and cooked over a campfire or nestled in the hot coals. For simplicity’s sake, the recipes call for just a cast-iron skillet and a Dutch oven. Flexibility is the key to cooking outside, and scarcity is the mother of creativity – hopefully with a cold beverage in hand while working under the shade of your favorite oak forest.