What can we say? Just like everyone else, we are living with the uncertainty of what the next few months will be like. Spring is here! Normally (what is normal?) we would be busy planning—planning gardens, camping vacations, golf outings, fishing trips, hiking trips etc. etc. etc. This spring we are staying in place to stay healthy. Because making these changes this year gives us future years of camping, hiking and all of the other wonderful activities that we Minnesotans enjoy so much.
Remembrance of last springs camping trip…..
Spring 2019 our first camping trip of the year was at Savanna Portage State Park. Why this park? No reason actually, just drove by it one day in 2019 and looked at the DNR web site maps about the park. It looked like a lot of nice trails and decent campground. We are always looking for new places to explore and Minnesota has a wonderful state park and recreational system. We have camped at many of them and have not been disappointed.
Savanna Portage State Park is located near McGregor, MN. It is a large park—over 15000 acres. We visited early in the spring so the park was relatively quiet. There were only a couple of other campsites occupied. There were a lot of trees down—must have been from a severe storm a couple of years before we visited. However the facilities were all in good shape.
Savanna Portage has wonderful hiking trails. We hiked the Continental Divide Trail on Saturday. This is a 5.3 mile loop that is an uphill hike to a lookout area. At that point water on the east side runs to the Lake Superior and to the west water runs to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The trail back is downhill through forested areas and grass lands. It’s a nice hike and the scenery was outstanding.
On Sunday we explored the Loon Lake area. This is a small lake within the park that has a swimming beach, picnic area, playground and fishing pier. We hiked around the lake—there was a lot of water on the trails but we managed to get all the way around the lake and see some wildlife also.
Now for the important information—meals!!
We love cooking on the campfire—in fact most of our meals are prepared over the fire.
Friday night after camp set up and Karl’s cribbing time (Karl is a perfectionist at leveling everything!) we had a relatively easy supper. We cooked blackened Mahi Mahi in a cast iron pan and had sweet corn on the side. We husk the corn and wrap it in aluminum foil—like a packet. We twist one end of the foil packet closed then we add a couple of tablespoons of water to the package and twist the other end closed. The corn is placed on the grill over the open fire. It takes a while to cook but you get the nice campfire flavor and the water helps steam the corn. We usually cover the corn for a while with an old metal bucket we have used for ages. This helps hold the heat on the corn.
After our hike on Saturday, we prepared one of our best ever evening meals. Saturday morning we had cut chicken breasts into cubes and marinated the chicken. The marinade consisted of plain Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, oregano, thyme, lots of garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. The chicken marinated all afternoon. We also cut up red and yellow bell peppers and red onions. We then threaded the chicken on skewers alternating with peppers and onions. The skewers were placed on the grilling grate for cooking. Grill until chicken is cooked through. The yogurt marinade adds a ton of flavor and helps keep the chicken moist during cooking. We put our cooked chicken/peppers/onions on pitas and topped this with feta cheese.
Spring! One of the best things about spring is fresh asparagus. It is so scrumptious either cooked or eaten raw. We also prepared with Caprese Asparagus to go with our Chicken. Fresh asparagus is placed on one side of foil or a baking sheet. On the other side place cherry tomatoes halved. Drizzle all with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on the asparagus and grill until the asparagus is tender. Then place the tomatoes on the cheesy asparagus and drizzle a balsamic reduction over all. Top with Fresh basil. Absolutely DELISH!!
Well, that was an extremely big meal—more than we could possibly eat, even after out long hike during the day. What would we do with all of the leftovers?
Breakfast! Sunday morning we scrambled eggs and added leftovers (chicken/peppers/onions/asparagus and tomatoes) to that mixture. Topped with a little mozzarella and we had a tasty breakfast dish. Time for another hike to wear off the calories.
Cooking and camping are two of our passions. We know that being outside enjoying the beautiful outdoors makes us hungry. There is no reason why we can’t enjoy our love of cooking while we are camping. Managing the fire and prepping ahead of time are two of the tools we use to create some unique and delicious meals. Don’t be afraid to try any dish you would make at home in your kitchen over the campfire. Be adventurous and try new technics. As we continue with our blog we will share with you other state parks we have camped at and our best meals—breakfasts, pizzas, Dutch oven cooking, and campfire preparations to name a few.
Enjoy the recipes and stay healthy!