Smith: Foil, iron skillet expand campfire cooking options | Food and Cooking

I recently took my family on a weekend camping trip, where we experienced the great outdoors. We enjoyed the beautiful nature, the company of family and of course, the food. While we had the typical hot dog and hamburger meals, with two young children, I still got the request of “pizza.” No oven? No problem! There are a lot of meals that can be made over a campfire or grill.

Foil packs are an easy no-mess solution to cooking over a campfire or on a grill. Use aluminum foil to wrap individual servings of nachos by topping tortilla chips with cheese, tomatoes and pre-cooked taco meat, which can be browned prior to the trip. Assemble fajita foil packets, using slices of bell peppers and onions and either seasoned chicken or steak. Once cooked, simply open to scoop into a warm tortilla. Shrimp, chicken and an assortment of veggies may also be good foil pack companions.

A cast iron skillet is another must-have when camping. That pizza my son so desperately wanted can be made in a cast iron skillet and cooked on a grill grate over a campfire. Make things easy by buying refrigerated pizza crust rather than making it from scratch. Also, breakfast foods, including bacon, eggs, pancakes and even a tube of cinnamon rolls can be cooked in a cast-iron skillet over a fire. You don’t need an electric appliance to cook a warm meal, just a willingness to cook in the great outdoors!

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Easy Campfire Pizza

Cooking spray or 1 Tablespoon oil

1 (13.8 oz.) tube refrigerated pizza crust

1 ½ cups shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese

Choice of toppings (peppers, onions, mushrooms, sausage, etc.)

Generously spray a 12-inch cast iron skillet with cooking spray or rub with 1 Tablespoon oil. Start a campfire and let it burn down until the wood is smoldering and without tall flames. Press the dough into the bottom of the skillet. Place the skillet on the campfire grate and cook for about 5 minutes or until bottom of the crust is slightly brown. Pierce with a fork and using tongs, flip the crust over. Spread pizza sauce over cooked side. Top with cheese and choice of toppings. Cover the skillet with aluminum foil and cook for 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Using an oven mitt, remove the skillet from the fire and allow it to cool slightly before serving.

Yield: 1 pizza, 4 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 380 calories, 15 grams fat, 800 milligrams sodium, 44 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 17 grams protein

Smith is nutrition and wellness educator for the University of Illinois Extension, McLean County. Contact her at 309-663-8306. 

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