Sister’s Birthday Camping Trip

Campfire view

My little sister turned 27 last weekend and for her birthday she wanted to go camping. So, we packed up a couple of cars and went to our favorite lakeside campsite for a couple of nights. Naturally, I was on food duty. So, this post has recipes and descriptions of all of the campfire food I made over the weekend trip.

Greek Chicken and Tomato Kabobs

Chicken and tomato kabobs are one of my go-to camping foods, especially for the first night at the campsite. You cube the chicken and vegetables and marinate them before you leave. That way, all you have to do when you get the camp set up is start the fire and skewer the chicken and vegetables. It’s a delicious and unexpected way to start a camping trip.

Chicken and tomatoes marinated before being skewered.

During a college camping trip, one of the vegetables I put on my kabobs was tomatoes. I’ve been in love with grilled tomatoes ever since. Now, your instinct when putting your chicken and vegetables on the skewers might be to alternate chicken and vegetables like you see in quite a few pictures. Please fight this urge. The chicken and tomatoes cook at different times. So, if you put them on the same skewer, the chicken will still be raw when the tomatoes are ready and the tomatoes will be burnt and have fallen off the skewer into the fire by the time the chicken is done. Put them on separate skewers. If you don’t believe me, here is a link to a news article citing professional chefs.

For this trip, I marinated the chicken and tomatoes, both of which came in my Imperfect Foods box, in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a Greek seasoning blend I got from a spice vendor at the local farmers market. So, not the most helpful recipe because I don’t know what all is in the Greek blend, but I hope this gives you marinade ideas. You can use whatever spice blends suits your fancy. Ras el Hanout would be good if you want a moroccan vibe, or mustard and herbs to take it a French route. I’ve also used Italian dressing before. Just marinade the chicken and vegetables before you leave for your camping trip and they’re ready to skewer and throw on the fire when you’re ready for dinner. I served these skewers with pita bread, a garlic aioli, and goat cheese.

Chicken and tomato skewers on the grill.

Full Birthday Breakfast on the Campfire

Camping birthday breakfast

For my sister’s birthday we went all out with a big breakfast: bacon, eggs two ways, potatoes, toast, and coffee. To keep from dirtying too many dishes, I make most of the breakfast in stages using a cast iron skillet. Start with the bacon. The bacon should give you plenty of fat to make the potatoes or hashbrowns and eggs.

bacon in a cast iron on the campfire

When the bacon is done, add your potatoes. I had baby potatoes from Imperfect Foods. They were small enough that I sliced them in half. You could also chop potatoes into bite sized pieces with onions and peppers for a style of hashbrowns or shred russet potatoes for hashbrowns.

potatoes on the picnic table before cooking on the fire

After the potatoes are done, it’s time to do the eggs. I prefer scrambled eggs, but my sister likes her eggs over easy. So, I did use a second skillet to make the two types of eggs. Feel free to jazz up the scrambled eggs however you like. For example, I topped mine with goat cheese.

scrambled eggs and eggs being cooked over easy. Both on the campfire.
I forgot to drain some of the remaining grease before adding the eggs. If there is a lot of grease then remove a few spoonfuls before adding the eggs.

To make the toast, you can either place it on the grill grate over the fire, or use marshmallow roasting skewers like we did. And of course we had to have coffee. I packed a french press specifically for that reason. Leftover grilled cherry tomatoes from dinner the night before rounded out the full breakfast.

toasting bread over the campfire using marshmallow roasting tongs.

Campfire Chili

campfire chili with all of the fixings laid out

Most of my chili recipes are really simple, this one included. It’s just a riff on the normal chili recipe I got from my dad using what I had in the pantry and refrigerator. I didn’t really want to buy anything special for this recipe. One beautiful thing about this chili, is that the campfire smoke ends up being a magical unexpected and unintended ingredient. You can especially taste the smokiness the fire added when you eat it as leftovers when you get home from the trip.

Also, don’t forget to pack your favorite chili garnishes. My favorite are tortilla chips, cheese, ketchup, and hot sauce. I’m going to defend my use of ketchup really quick because I recently caught some hate over it. People say “just add more tomatoes”. And while ketchup does have tomatoes, it also has vinegar and sugar that just tomatoes don’t have. So, ketchup: sweet and tangy tomatoes.

Campfire Chili

Beef chili cooked over a campfire.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people


  • Cast iron dutch oven or other heavy firesafe pot.


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 pkg chili seasoning
  • 1 can beans
  • 1 can tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or tomato juice)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Favorite Garnishes


  • Heat the cast iron dutch oven over the fire and heat the oil in the bottom of the pan.
  • Saute the onion and garlic. When the onion is softened slightly, add the ground beef and cook until it is nearly browned.
  • When the beef is nearly done, add the seasoning packet. Cook for about 1 more minute so that the spices can bloom slightly. Then dumb the canned ingredients into the pot, the cup of salsa, and the chicken broth (or tomato juice).
  • Simmer for about 5-10 minutes until all of the ingredients have married together. Serve with your favorite garnishes.


Like all chilis, this recipe is particularly delicious the next day or when you get home from your camping trip and reheat it.
Keyword Chili

Other Food

Our mom sent us with some of her homemade chex mix for the weekend. We ended up snacking on the entire gallon-sized bag all weekend.

Our grandma set us with some of her Cowboy Cookies (basically supped up oatmeal cookies).

There were s’mores with gourmet chocolates and Reece’s peanut butter cups.

I had planned to make hamburgers and brats one day for lunch, but the wind was so bad (over 20mph), that we hunkered down in the tent, played cards, and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the treats mom and grandma sent.

picnic basket on the picnic table
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