So – last weekend…
Last Friday, I mentioned that we were going camping. I have to admit first of all that originally, I didn’t want to go. When my mom had mentioned it, I said no – it’s too hard with a baby and a 2 year old that wants a lot of attention. But then my husband said that he wanted to go, and I caved.
I do love camping. I really do. And I actually started to get excited. Preparing was a beast – we bought our tent back before we had kids, so I had to go and buy a new tent that would fit all of us, as well as grocery shop, get some tennis shoes for Abbi (since all that she had that fits were sandals), and then pack everything up. By the time my husband got home from work, I was already exhausted.
But we perservered and headed up into the mountains. The good thing about living in Utah is that heading up into the mountains really only means driving 40 minutes from home to camp. 🙂 We got there, set up camp in the dark, but were ready for an adventure.
And an adventure is what we had.
Here I was worried that Camden would be the hardest to take care of. But Easton – our 2 year old – ended up being the problem child. The problem being that he had no interest at all in sleeping in a sleeping bag.
My husband spent the first half of the night with him in the car, then he managed to sleep about an hour in the tent before he woke up screaming and then I took him back to the car for the rest of the night. I got about 2 hours of sleep that night. I was not a happy camper.
(haha – at least I have a sense of humor about it now, though, right?)
But I did get to see an amazing sunrise the next morning. And Easton was so good all day the next day, (despite the lack of sleep). We had a great time with family, hanging out, playing games, and even going on a little hike to a waterfall.
But then the next night came. And after sitting in the car with a screaming child for an hour, I decided enough was enough, and we jumped in the car and headed home for a good night’s sleep in our own beds. It was a smart decision. 🙂
The other smart decision? Making homemade chili for Frito Pie.
One of the fun parts of camping with my family is that we each take a meal that we are in charge of, and that way, we only have to worry about preparing food for our own assigned meal. I immediately jumped at the chance to make dinner, because I wanted to use the Dutch oven. I was originally going to make a stew, but in the end settled on making one of our favorite camping meals – Frito Pie.
Normally, this is that super easy camping meal, made with canned chili. But I decided to take it up an notch and make my chili from scratch. And really – it wasn’t that much more difficult. It’s always a little nerve-wracking when you make a new recipe for a crowd, but every last bit of this chili was eaten. I’d say that qualifies this as a winner!
I like to keep things simple when it comes to Frito Pie and top them simply with cheese and onions. And that – to me – is perfect camping food!
- 3 cubes beef bullion
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 large onions, diced
- 2 green bell peppers, diced
- 3 lbs ground beef
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ tablespoon oregano
- ½ tablespoon cumin
- ½ tablespoon paprika
- 2-3 dry bay leaves
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 2 cans (4 oz each) diced green chiles
- 1 large can (29 oz) pinto beans
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco
- salt and pepper, to taste
- shredded cheddar cheese
- diced onions
- In a small bowl, mix together the bullion and vinegar and set aside to let the bullion dissolve.
- Heat a Dutch oven over 12-15 coals. In the Dutch oven, melt the butter. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook until they are starting to soften. Add in the ground beef and cook until browned and cooked through. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, paprika and bay leaves. Cook for a minute or two. Stir in the tomato sauce, green chiles, and pinto beans. Stir in the reserved vinegar mixture. Season with Tabasco and salt and pepper. Cover and top the Dutch oven with 6-8 coals. Simmer for 2-3 hours.
- When ready to serve, place Fritos in a bowl and top with the chili, shredded cheddar and diced onions.
To make things easier for camping, dice the onions and peppers beforehand and store in a large ziptop bag.