I know it is isn’t for everyone, but I am one of those people who actually enjoys camping. Now, sure my family and I aren’t hard core ‘roughing it’ people, but we do use tents, and sleep on the ground and cook our meals on the campfire. I guess you would call us “car campers.” It is always fun to take the kids to the lake or hiking in the mountains and spend the evenings around the fire roasting marshmallows and telling stories. Everything seems like such an adventure.
But one of the toughest parts about camping is figure out what to eat and keeping everything safe when you are without refrigeration. Once you get past the basic “weenies on a stick” and “burgers over the grill” it can get more tricky. Especially if you are staying at a campsite without any running water. Canned foods are the perfect solution for campfire meals. Cans offer a large variety of convenient, nutritious, inexpensive, and readily available choices, all year round. They are portable and self-contained, which makes them a great addition to the camp box.
This recipe for Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup (which was passed on to me by dear friend Kathe, orginally from Del Monte) is also a perfect example of how you can create a homemade meal over a campfire, without the need for any preparation or even running water! You LITERALLY open 7 cans and heat. It is that easy.
Campfire Italian Garden Vegetable Soup:
(If you are controlling sodium in your diet, all of these ingredients are also available in low sodium versions)
See!?! I told you it was super easy!
To “fancy” it up (when I am making it at home) I added a little grated parmesan cheese to the top. It is really good! And because all the vegetables are familiar, I don’t get any complaints from the kids. Even the baby enjoys it!
BUT WAIT! There's more...
Canned foods aren't only for camping! We use a lot of canned food at home for the same reasons I stated above. They are long lasting, come in a large variety, and inexpensive and readily available. Buying cans is a great way to stock the pantry (or “Cantry”) to always have something on hand.
Remember when I lived on $20 a week for a month? One of reasons that was possible was because of my huge stockpile of cans:
Even when you have your first few meals planned out every week, by Thursday or Friday you can find yourself running out of steam. Instead of calling for take-out, the next easiest thing is to turn to your Cantry and whip up something that is actually homemade, but is also fast and easy.
If you are thinking to yourself "yeah.. but how exciting can a meal of canned food really be?" I am going to help change your mind, and it is directly related to another passion of mine: REALITY TV. If you need inspiration on how to make canned foods work in your mean plan, you need to tune into the Cooking Channel, or more specifically, their new 30-minute special:I totally watched Kelsey back when she was on Next Food Network Star (I told you reality TV was my passion) and now she stars on an Emmy nominated show, has written a cookbook, has her own specials.. the whole nine yards! Crazy! (And to think.. "I knew her when...")
In this TV special she is sharing her canned food recipes and tips for stocking her “Cantry.” It should be fun to watch. "Cans Make The Meal" airs at the following times on the Cooking Channel:
February 14, 2015 10:00 AM EST
February 15, 2015 10:00 AM EST
February 22, 2015 10:00 AM EST
February 28, 2015 10:00AM EST