Localicious: Easy Campsite Cooking


Camping season is underway! If you’re anything like me, making meals from an ice chest and camp stove can be a bit daunting. Below are some simple go-to recipes that are easy to prep ahead and fun to eat outdoors.

art-0601-loca3Oatmeal Energy Bites

These no-bake healthy snacks are easy to bring with you and can keep hungry campers satisfied between meals.


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond* or peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • Optional: dried fruit, seeds, or chopped nuts


Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll out teaspoon-sized balls and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Freeze until set (about one hour). Store in a plastic bag in fridge or freezer until packing them into your camping cooler. Makes about 20-24 energy bites.

*For local nut butter try Maisie Jane’s almond butter available at specialty grocery stores throughout the North State. Maisie Jane is a Chico-based company run by 4th generation farmers with a priority for earth-friendly practices without GMOs.

Taco Bar

With a little bit of preparation, a taco bar is easy to set-up, and tacos can be enjoyed warmed or cold.


  • Ground meat*, seasoned and cooked (for vegetarians, substitute sliced cooked vegetables like bell peppers and zucchini)
  • Chopped onions
  • Shredded cheese
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Tortillas
  • Lettuce
  • Optional: hot sauce and lime
  • Foil


Beforehand cook enough of your favorite seasoned taco meat to serve the number of people joining you. Store the cooked meat, chopped onions, shredded cheese & lettuce in individual plastic containers for easy buffet-style serving. Make or purchase salsa and guacamole. At the campsite, line up all ingredients with the tortillas first, and let everyone build their own tacos. Tacos can be eaten cold or wrapped in foil and placed near the fire 5-10 minutes to warm them up and melt the cheese.

*For local meat try Hat Creek Grown grass-fed ground beef available at Orchard Nutrition in Redding and Chico Natural Foods.


A hot breakfast at the campsite is great to wake up to and pancake batter can be made ahead. Pancakes also provide a great opportunity to include vegetables like zucchini for extra nutrition, while still pulling off a sweet treat.


  • Pancake mix*
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • Coconut or olive oil
  • Fruit
  • Optional: nut butter


Follow pancake mix instructions or use your favorite recipe to make pancake batter. Add in shredded zucchini and cinnamon. Once batter is made, pour it into a ziplock bag and freeze flat. Pack the frozen batter into your camping ice chest. It should thaw overnight in time for the next morning’s breakfast. Cut a hole in one corner of the bag and squeeze to dispense pancakes onto a warm skillet greased with oil. Top cooked pancakes with sliced fruit and nut butter.

*For a local mix try Amazing Foods Organic Gluten-free Pancake Mix. Amazing Foods is a Redding-based company that creates organic baking mixes free of the top 8 most common food allergens. Their mixes can be found at Orchard Nutrition in Redding and Chico Natural Foods. Moores’ Flour Mill makes buttermilk, 10-grain, and buckwheat pancake mixes locally, all available at their Redding store.


These are ideal for cooking on a grill or over a campfire. Cut the meat into small cubes so they cook quickly. Skip meat for vegetarians.


  • 1 large red onion, cut in quarters and peeled apart
  • 1 green or yellow bell pepper, cut into pieces
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into pieces
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 10-20 mushrooms
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 lbs. steak or chicken, cubed
  • 1 cup teriyaki marinade*
  • 16 wooden or metal skewers


Wash veggies and cut into bite-sized pieces. Mix vinegar, oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard together. Place cut veggies in plastic bag with mixed dressing and refrigerate. Cut meat into cube sizes and place in another plastic bag with teriyaki marinade. Marinade at least 1 day before cooking. Option: marinated meat can be frozen to keep it cooler in the ice chest. When ready to grill assemble ingredients on skewers. Grill about 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes until meat is done.

*For local teriyaki marinade swing by Country Organics in Redding and pick up their house-made teriyaki. This is my absolute favorite organic teriyaki sauce, I use it for marinade, stir-fry, and seasoning.


For a twist on traditional s’mores, spread peanut butter on your graham crackers and add a few banana slices. 

Happy Camping!

Erin Bianchi
About Erin Bianchi

Erin Bianchi is a registered dietitian from Northern California. She has a huge passion for local agriculture and fermented foods. Erin owns Cook, a kitchen boutique in Red Bluff, CA, that carries kitchen tools, local foods, beer and wine.

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