Recipe: Beef Chili

December 2, 2011 at 10:43 am (Recipes)

This is the chili that I made for Crown Tournament, Fall 2011 in the Barony of Bergental. It is actually really simple to make, as all you need to do is combine all of the following ingredients in a crock pot and allow to simmer on low for 4-8 hours.  I actually cooked this particular batch overnight, and so simmered for about 6 hours, but it would have been done sooner than that, and could easily have continued to cook for another few hours without having been overdone.

**Please note, I tend to add a lot of cumin to my chili… if you would like it less seasoned, cut the cumin amount down to 1.5-2 teaspoons**

2 pounds lean ground beef, browned and drained

1 (46 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes, not drained

1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (15.5 ounce) can of Hunt’s Manwich sauce

1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 medium sized onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 cup ground cumin

1/4 cup chili powder


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How do I create and stick to my budget?

July 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm (Budgeting)

Not sure how much your food will cost for an event?  Looking for tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your budget?  Look below for a few ideas on how to best plan a budget and then how to keep from going over your budget! **This page is still under construction, but please feel free to browse what I already have listed!**

Never Buy Camp Food That You Won’t Eat At Home

To be honest, budgeting for a camp kitchen is really hard.  And there will be times that you realize you are going to go over budget.  There are two ways to deal with that– one is to re-evaluate your food and make menu changes (grilled ham and cheese becomes grilled cheese, dinner no longer needs salad or bread, breakfast can go without the bacon or sausage).  The second is to decide how much you are willing to go over budget, accept it, and defray some of this cost by adding the event leftovers to your usual groceries/food for the following week.  Either choice is perfectly valid in my opinion, and which one you choose depends on your own personal situation, and how much food you already have at home.

Either way, you are going to have leftovers.  And the only thing worse than having a bunch of event leftovers is realizing that all those leftovers are things you added for other people that you don’t really want to be eating now that you’re home.  It sounds simple, but without really trying, you can find yourself in a situation where you had sandwiches on the menu and all the turkey went lightning fast and now you’re carting home a bunch of ham that you don’t care for.  Or the only cereal left from your variety pack is the kind you won’t eat.  Sure, you can send it home with someone, but there are no guarantees that others will want them either, and those little things can really add up.  So if you are planning to be the one eating the leftovers, and most importantly if you are using this as justification for running over budget, make sure you don’t buy anything that you won’t happily eat once the event is over!

Remember to Take Into Account Expenses Once On Site

You may not realize it until you’re trying to keep several coolers worth of food cold, but ice can be really expensive.  And during a really hot camping event, depending on the length of the event, type of coolers and shade you have, and food you are keeping, it can be as much as 20% of your budget.  That is a problem if you’ve already spent your entire budget before you even get there.  So be sure when planning meals and adding snacks to take into account where you are going, what the weather will be, and how much ice you think you will use.  Add a little extra room in that “on site” budget for those things you inevitably forget (there is always something), or that well timed store run that allows you to bring back popsicles on a really hot afternoon.

Overlap Your Ingredients so that you can Use Your Leftovers!

The easiest way I know to help stay on budget is to plan meals that share ingredients.  Even with careful calculations as to portion size and expected numbers, one of the biggest concern for most camp cooks is “Will I have enough food??”, and this method helps ensure that without causing leftovers from every single meal.  By planning a breakfast that uses french toast and a lunch that is sandwiches, you can add a little extra bread to your shopping list and rest easy that if either meal goes over, you can pull from that reserve, but you are not purchasing that little “extra” for both meals.  If you spread these meals out, it also gives you the peace of mind that if something should have gone horribly wrong in your planning and you go through all of that ingredient in just the one meal, you can potentially run to the store and stock up for that second or third meal using the same thing.

Some of my favorites include:

  • the french toast/sandwich swap listed above
  • french toast and scrambled eggs and toast (they are the *exact* same ingredients)
  • French toast and bacon from breakfast becoming BLTs at lunch
  • Anything with ground beef can be easily interchanged if all you are bringing is the cooked beef and necessary sauces/seasonings (tacos, sloppy joe, beef stronganoff, etc)
  • Pasta can be used for either pasta with sauce/meatballs/etc, or  macaroni and cheese, or pasta salad
  • Ham from dinner can be served with breakfast
  • Eggs for scrambled eggs can be used as hard boiled eggs or deviled eggs or egg salad

Do you have any other ideas?  I’d love to hear them!!!

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Recipe: Brown Sugar Ham in the Crock Pot

June 26, 2011 at 10:29 am (Kitchen Planning, Recipes, Vinland Raids 2011)

I’ve made this ham for Crown Tournament in the fall of 2010 and then again at Vinland Raids.  (Once again thrilled to have electricity available!).  An 8-10lb ham will feed a group of approx 10 people.

Add 1-2 cups of water to bottom of crock pot– there should be about 1/2 inch water in the bottom.

Mix in 1 cup of brown sugar to the water.

Place ham on top of water/brown sugar (flat side down).

Coat ham in 1 cup brown sugar (Pat down around the top and sides of ham)

If possible, place lid on crock pot.  If not possible, cover ham/top of crockpot with aluminum foil.

Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours until the ham reaches 165 degrees.  Let ham rest for 10 mins, then slice for serving.

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Recipe: Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Cranberry (Crock Pot)

June 26, 2011 at 10:23 am (Kitchen Planning, Panteria 2011, Recipes)

This is the pork I prepared at Panteria this year (taking full advantage of the electricity available to us!). This quantity provided plenty of food for 18 people and used a roasting pan, but can easily be scaled down to a smaller group/crock pot.

Core and Slice 5lbs of Granny Smith Apples (any tart apples will work)

Place 1/2 of the apples on the bottom of the roaster.

Add 2 small can of whole cranberry sauce on top of the apples.

Place 3 pork tenderloins (2-3lbs each) on top of cranberry/apple mixture.

Add remaining apples to the top of the pork.

Spread 2-3 more small cans of whole cranberry sauce on top of apples and pork.

Add a small amount of cinnamon if desired.

Heat on low heat (approx 225-275 degress) for 4-6 hours until pork reaches 165 degrees.

Remove pork from roaster and slice for serving.  Remove apple/cranberry mixture and serve as a sauce for the pork.

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What meals can I make if I’m bringing __ ?

May 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm (Meal Planning)

Do you have a few items for a camp kitchen, but not many?  Looking for some new recipes or some ways to simplify your pack list?  Below I’ve compiled some of my ideas for meals that can be easily made with just one or two different camp items.  Please feel free to contribute some of your own ideas!

Page under construction… will be updated soon!

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Camp Meal Planning and Preparation….

May 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm (General Info and Tips, Kitchen Planning)

So in addition to the many other things I enjoy doing, I *love* helping out with meal planning and preparation at events!  I have been lucky enough to help with groups as small as about a half dozen to those closer to 30 people for anywhere from day trip events to weekend events, and I’ve decided to take a small section of my blog and devote it to sharing some of those things that have worked really well for me in camp kitchens (and warn you away from those things that have been disasters…)

This section is still very much a work in progress, but hopefully you will soon find menu examples, sample pack lists, shopping lists, recipes, and tips and tricks on how to pick what food to serve and how to get the most out of your budget.  I have heard that meal prep at events can sometimes be a daunting undertaking, and so hopefully these resources will help with better understanding and planning for camp meals.  If nothing else, hopefully some of my stories will provide a good laugh as you envision what happened and make a mental note of the things not to do!

Like any of my other pages, if there’s something that you’re curious about and you don’t see it here, please comment and ask me.  And if you’re embarking on starting your own camp kitchen or even just helping out in a kitchen and want any advice or more details, let me know– I’ll be happy to offer any help I can!

**Added note:  To keep this section in the easiest to read format, I’ve backdated a lot of the posts about specific events– please refer to the post titles for the event/year rather than looking at the date of the post.**

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