I’ve written before about meals to make for your family while camping. I want to add a segment today about hot meals that are easy and quick to make: soups.
To be honest, I have made these soups more when we’ve been at home than when we’ve been staying in our camper. This is mostly because we hadn’t discovered them until last fall, after our camping was finished for the year. But knowing what I know now, I am planning to buy some for the camper and to incorporate them in many of our camping adventures.
I am speaking of the commercially made soup mixes carried in every grocery store. The brand we started buying, chiefly because they were on sale at the time we found them, is the Bear Creek brand. However, I know there are several different brands on the shelves of the grocery store, even in our city of 33,000 people.
The variety is endless. They have Creamy Wild Rice, Cheddar Potato, Chili, Cheddar Broccoli among others. A favorite of our family members is Gumbo. I shared in a previous post my recipe for Shrimp Jambalaya. It has always been a favorite of our son, Ryan; the one meal he would always eat and had to have whenever he was home. We served him Gumbo over Thanksgiving break and he has requested it twice over Christmas break.
Given that he is largely of Irish descent, my husband is especially fond of the Cheddar Potato Soup. Actually, he is partial to ANY potato meal, especially soup. This one just is quicker and easier to prepare than most. And, when you’re camping, who wants to spend the whole day making a satisfying meal.
This soup, when prepared, is hearty, thick, hot and filling. When served with crusty bread it is an entire meal. The best part is that every soup can be made, start to finish, in a mere 10-20 minutes!
One recent Friday, I made the Cheddar Potato soup for lunch. Each package includes the basic instructions for the soup, but also includes ideas for enhancing the meal, which I typically use. Suggestions for the Gumbo include adding New Orleans Andouille Sausage (which we ALWAYS do!) and chicken breast, which we have not done.
To every soup, I add sautéed onion. The directions suggest that you begin by bringing 6-8 cups of water (depending on the mix) to a rolling boil. Before adding the water, I sauté the onion and any meat I will be including in the soup. For Cheddar Potato, a suggested addition is 1 cup of crumbled bacon. I sauté the bacon with the onion and also, due to my husband and son’s love of them, add 4-5 potatoes which cook with the onion and bacon. I just use whatever potatoes I have on hand. Most recently I used medium sized red potatoes because that’s what I had at the house.
Two other suggestions on the back of the package are ½ cup of sour cream and one cup of shredded cheddar cheese. I added these the first time I made the soup, but found they made the soup too thick. I did add the potatoes because I knew that’s what my family would most enjoy.
To make the soup, sauté the onion and bacon until the onion is cooked and bacon crisp; THEN add 8 cups water and bring it to a rolling boil. Once it is boiling, whisk in the soup mix, add salt and pepper to taste and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. It is a hearty potato soup that will become a filling meal and save you more time for enjoying the great outdoors and whatever you enjoy doing while camping. It makes about 8 one-cup servings; plan on serving fewer than 8 if this is your entire meal. Add crusty bread to complete the experience.
Enjoy the various varieties of Bear Creek soups and many other varieties. They provide your family with a hot, hearty meal and save you a great deal of time for enjoying your camping experience! Bon appétit!
For more information about what to feed a hungry camping family, read more camping articles on Woodall’s Camping and RV site.