bring ramen noodles,
just in case.
Just in case
a) your kids decide to be picky
b) Your kids don't want to be picky but the people that are supposed to do dinner won't be done with dinner until way past your kids' bedtime
c) You don't like what the other people in your camping party made.
Luckily I only had problems with option (b), and it only happened once.
We had our family reunion at Yosemite this year with 18 kids, 20 adults, limited refrigeration, and 7 days worth of meals. Guess what? It worked! No joke, it was total smooth sailing as far as feeding that amount of people are concerned.
Here is what we did:
Group meals- Each family signed up to do a meal for the whole group. That meant that on your meal day you had to have all the ingredients but could recruit help from other families to assemble the dish. We ended up having 6 shared dinners and 1 shared lunch.
Individual meals- Each family was responsible for their own breakfast and lunch. However, we did end up sharing a lot and also bringing way more than we could eat. Maybe in the future we'll just do group meals for every meal.
Snacks- This is the fun part, specially for the kids. We did a lot of driving, a lot of walking, and a lot of just sitting. Snacks helped keep us occupied and energized. My brother-in-law does this great thing which he calls "hiking treats". When we did long hikes with the kids he would go in front and leave a handful of M&Ms on a rock, or somewhere along the trail, for the kids to find. This really motivated the kids to keep hiking. When they found the treats they were only allowed to have one so the incentive was definitely there to keep moving in order to find more M&Ms.
Beverage- We had potable water near our campsite which is very handy when needing to refill metal water bottles and big plastic bottles. Juice boxes is, of course, a hit and easy to transport.
Milk- For milk you can buy boxed milk which does not need to be refrigerated before opening. Costco sells Parmalat milk in bulk. I also brought rice milk and other people brought boxed smoothies.
Dessert- We did the classic s'mores but my absolute favorite were the cobblers cooked on the camp fire.
Camp Menu Ideas (basically what we ate)
- Tin-foil dinners with veggies and precooked chicken: easy for each person to assemble and takes between 15-20min to cook.
- Shish kabobs: there was an all veggie option and an all chicken option. It's pretty labor intensive to prepare but pretty quick to cook once it's in the fire. Also make sure you cut and freeze the chicken pre-camping.
- Tacos and quesadillas: you need a camping stove for this one if you want to make ground beef. Also a bit labor intensive to prepare but so delicious. Everyone appreciated the fresh salsa and cheese.
- Ravioli/mac-n-cheese and salad: Costco sells the big packages of frozen raviolis which keep well for a couple of days before thawing out completely.
- Taco soup: I made an improvised version my taco soup recipe. I omitted the meat and just stuck with cans of beans that were already seasoned. I added salsa and canned corn and some fresh chopped avocados and called it good. This is a very easy meal to make. Not as delicious as the other warm meals but filling and quick.
- Curry and rice: I have no idea how to make curry but so appreciated the curry that my sister-in-law made with her husband.
- Pulled pork burritos: Kaity, one of my sister-in-laws, took a big frozen block of already made pulled pork and threw that in her cooler. It helped keep the rest of her food cool and because it was frozen it was able to keep for 6 days. Here is an easy pulled pork recipe.
I am happy to report that no one got sick from any of the meals.