Appetizer Camping Recipes

Unwind after a long hike chilé fondue, French bread bruchetta, or an Asian peanut dip
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Unwind after a long hike chilé fondue, French bread bruchetta, or an Asian peanut dip

Cheesy Leek and Bacon Mashed Potatoes

2 tbsp butter

2 leeks, diced

1 cup water

1/4 cup powered milk

1 cup instant mashed potato

1/4 cup bacon bits

1 cup grated white cheddar cheese

salt and pepper

At camp: Melt one tablespoon butter in a saucepan and sauté leeks until tender and translucent. Remove to a plate and wipe out saucepan. Heat remaining butter, water, and milk, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in potato flakes. Let stand one minute. Stir in leeks, bacon, and grated cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4

Asian Peanut Dip

If you can boil water, you can make this quick-cooking version of your favorite protein-packed Chinese sauce.

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup extra chunky peanut butter

2 teaspoons soy sauce (2 packets from a takeout place)

2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped garlic (1 clove)

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 scallion, sliced into thin rings (white and greens)

salt to taste

oil for cooking

In camp: Bring water to a boil in a small pan. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Stir in soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, crushed pepper, scallion, and salt as desired. Return to heat and continue stirring for 1 to 2 minutes until mixture is thickened. Serve at once with rice crackers, baby carrots, or celery sticks. Serves 4.

Campfire Calas

These savory New Orleans-style breakfast fritters are the perfect snack to start a frosty morning.

1 pouch precooked rice, 8.8 oz. (try Rice-A-Roni Express or Uncle Ben's Ready Rice)

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (plain or smoked), finely chopped

2 tablespoons dried eggs

2 tablespoons chopped dried chives

1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic)

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil for frying

At home: Combine flour, tomatoes, dried eggs, chives, garlic, onion powder, salt, and baking powder in a zipper-lock bag. Shake to blend.

In camp: Knead rice pouch to separate grains, then empty its contents into a bowl and blend in the dry-ingredients mix. Gradually add water while beating. Coat bottom of a frying pan with olive oil; place over high heat. Working in batches, drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil, flattening each slightly. Cook 1 to 11/2 minutes, until bottoms are golden and crispy. Flip and cook about 1 minute (add more oil as needed). Makes about 16 fritters (for 3 to 4 people).

Sweet 'n' Hot Green Chile Fondue

Grab your breadsticks and dip in: This bubbling cheese sauce will disappear fast.

1 jar (5 oz.) Kraft Old English cheddar cheese spread, or 5 ounces shredded cheese
1/2 cup water

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies

2 tablespoons Celestial Seasonings Harvest Apple Spice Natural Cider Mix

2 tablespoons powdered milk

2 tablespoons onion powder

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon spiced rum (optional)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

At home: Blend cider mix, powdered milk, onion powder, cornstarch, and cayenne pepper and seal in a zipper-lock bag. If you're using shredded cheese, freeze the bag.

In camp: Drain chilies and place in a cup or small bowl. Add dry ingredients, stir, and set aside. In a small pan, bring water to a boil and add the cheese. Stir until melted. Add green chile mixture and continue stirring until thick and hot, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in rum, if desired. Serve with crusty bread, bagels, pita, or breadsticks, and slices of fresh, tart apples. Serves 4.

Stuffed Fruit Rumaki

This easier-than-it-looks Japanese-style cocktail-party favorite will knock their wool socks off.

1 package (12 slices) cooked, vacuum-sealed bacon

12 salted smoked almonds

12 dried apricots and/or dried plums (prunes)

2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

12-16 toothpicks

At home: Cut a slit and tuck an almond inside each piece of fruit. Seal in a zipper-lock bag.

In camp: Roll a slice of bacon around each piece of fruit and secure with a toothpick. Heat a frying pan to medium-high, add bacon-wrapped fruit, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, turning pieces to warm both sides. Pour teriyaki sauce into pan and stir thoroughly until each piece is coated. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Makes 12 to 16 pieces, enough for 2 to 4 hikers.

Note: For easier turning, shish-kebab 4 or 5 rolls on a single skewer.

French Bread Bruschetta

Pile garlic and tomatoes on toast to create the ideal appetizer for a balmy night.
2 dry pints (16 oz.) cherry tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 pinches freshly ground black pepper

12-15 fresh basil leaves

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

5 cloves garlic

6 slices French bread, about 1 inch thick

At home: Pack produce in paper bags and shield it by placing it in a cookpot.

In camp: Peel garlic. In bowl, mash one clove into the olive oil, then halve the other 4 cloves lengthwise and add. Cut tomatoes into halves or quarters, and basil leaves widthwise into thin strips; add to garlic/oil mixture, along with salt and pepper. Toss lightly; set aside for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. To serve, grill bread slices over campfire, or toast in a frying pan. When they're crusty and hot, extract the halved garlic cloves from the bowl and quickly rub their cut sides on the bread for flavor. Generously pile bruschetta on top and eat. Serves 3.