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It was in the middle of February just a few weeks ago and I’ve already seen my first robin.  Spring can’t be too far away.  With warm weather approaching, our thoughts turn to outdoor activities.

Family camping is a great activity for parents and children alike.  One of the most important parts of preparing for a family camping trip is the meal selection.  If you love Italian cooking, there are many recipes that can easily be adapted to cooking on a campfire or a portable grill.

The recipes that I am highlighting are prepared with  three different methods of cooking.

1.       Tin foil packets

2.       Cast iron skillet

3.       Dutch oven

Tin Foil Packets

Italian Meatballs in Sauce

Prepare your meatballs just as you would at home.  Here is my recipe.

1 lb. of ground beef
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs
salt, garlic powder and onion powder to taste
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Mix it all together and form balls about the size of a ping pong ball.
Place on a square of heavy duty tin foil and add prepared spaghetti sauce.
Make a packet and fold the edges together, sealing tightly.
Cook on your portable grill or right on the coals.  After 20 minutes, check to see if meatballs are done.

Italian Sausage Meatballs

Prepare the meatballs with Italian sausage or if you prefer, a meatloaf mix which includes beef, veal and turkey.

1 lb. of sausage or meatloaf mix.
1/2 a cabbage
Prepared spaghetti sauce

Prepare your meatballs as you would at home:  egg, bread crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano.
Cut the cabbage into wedges.
Slice the onion

Assemble all on a square of heavy duty aluminum foil, and add sauce to each packet.  Turn up the sides and seal tightly.  Cook on the coals or if you have a portable camping grill, lay the packets on the grill.  Cook until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are no longer hard.

Cast Iron Skillet

Italian Peppers and Sausage 

There’s no reason you can’t have the ever popular Peppers and Sausage on a camping trip.

1 lb. of Italian sausage
1 large green pepper
1 large onion
Olive oil

Cut the sausage into halves or thirds.  Slice the peppers and onions into long slivers.  Put a good swoosh of olive oil in the skillet and add the peppers and onion.  Cook until soft.  Remove from pan and brown the sausage.  Return the peppers and onion to the skillet and cover with tin foil and cook until the sausages are done all the way through.

Potatoes and Zucchini

This is one of my favorite meals.  It is real comfort food.  It can be served at dinner or eaten at breakfast.  I usually do both.

5 potatoes
4 zucchini
1 1/2 large onions
Olive oil

Peel and slice the potatoes very thinly.  Slice the zucchini thinly too.  Slice the onions.  Add olive oil to the skillet and cook onions until they are soft.  Add potatoes and make sure they are coated with olive oil.  After they have cooked awhile, add the zucchini.  Continue cooking until all is cooked through.  It’s good to leave the zucchini a little crispy.  I always make enough to make sure I have leftovers for breakfast.

Dutch Oven

A Dutch oven is a heavy pot with a lid that fits tightly.  It’s wonderful for one pot meals which make for easy cleanup, whether you are in an RV or a family sized tent.

Baked Spaghetti

There’s nothing fancy here, but it sure tastes good!

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Spaghetti sauce

Brown the ground beef in the Dutch oven with the onions and garlic.  Pour off excess fat.  Add spaghetti sauce and break the spaghetti into small pieces or use a smaller pasta like small shells, mini penne or whatever your family likes.  Cook covered for about an hour stirring occasionally.  Then add cheese on top and continue baking  until cheese melts.

Pasta Primavera

Since primavera is Italian for springtime, this dish makes me  think of fresh vegetables.  When you are camping, keep your eye out for roadside produce stands.  They can provide delicious fresh fruits and vegetables for your meals.  This recipe utilizes both the Dutch oven and the skillet.

Thin spaghetti
Olive oil

Cut up the fresh veggies into chunks and chop your herbs.  Cook them in the skillet in olive oil.  Cook the pasta in the Dutch oven.  Drain pasta and return it to the pot.  Add the veggies and stir. Yum!  This is a healthy vegetarian meal.  Since you are using a cooking pot and a skillet to prepare this meal, it’s a help if you have a good grill with room for a pot and a pan, like a Coleman RoadTrip grill.

Now you have six Italian recipes that are easy to prepare at your camp kitchen.  You can eat well and eat Italian even while you’re roughing it!

Author Bio:

Stephanie Trementozzi learned how to cook Italian from her mother-in-law and has never looked back.  She is the publisher of her own website,, where she writes about outdoor activities and reviews outdoor products such as the Coleman Weathermaster 3 room tent and the Nikon Monarch ATB binoculars.