Camping Pt 2 – Chicken Caprese Packets, Parmesan Garlic Orzo and Campfire Cones

Our night for dinner was Saturday and I needed to come up with a menu to rival last years meal.  After searching Pinterest for campfire meals and BBQ recipes I stumbled across a recipe for Chicken Caprese Packets.  Now that I had the main dish I had to come up with some sides.  I looked through some of the pins on my Food To Try board and found the perfect one, a Parmesan Garlic Orzo.  I figured it would be easy to do on a small stove, have lots of flavor and go well with the chicken but not over power the flavor.  To finish it off I decided on grilled veggies and garlic bread.   Also, please note that I don’t have many pictures of the dinner since it was dark and difficult to manage.


before cooking

Chicken Caprese Packets

You can find the recipe here.  At the request of the previous blogger I will not repost the actual recipe.  I did make the addition of salt and peppering the chicken and we cooked ours for about 20 minutes and it was perfect.

For the Parmesan Garlic Orzo we followed the recipe exactly.  We did use light butter and skim milk but you could skinny it up a bit more by using Brummel and Brown and decreasing the amount.  I have to admit I probably added a bit more garlic than what it called for but like I’ve said before I am a garlic fanatic!

Parmesan Garlic Orzo

  • 1 cup Orzo
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 2 tbsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tbsp. Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Parsley

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook orzo in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir garlic in melted butter until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir orzo into garlic mixture and mix in Parmesan cheese, milk, salt, black pepper, and parsley.

I used my grilled veggie trifecta of zucchini, mushrooms and sweet onion.  I cut the zucchini into about half inch slices, halved the mushrooms and then wedged the onions.  My quick marinade for grilled veggies is simply the light zesty Italian salad dressing.  Instead of doing skewers of large pieces we decided to do a grill basket that you place on the grate and then it prevents the veggies from falling through.  Just BBQ to your desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.

We did learn something about doing garlic bread on the grill.  You grill the bread first and THEN you put it in the butter and garlic.  As we didn’t know this we had bought the pre-buttered bread and the butter melted off almost immediately causing the flames to jump.  Luckily one of the other families had an oven in their trailer so they broiled the bread for us.

Even though we already had quite a spread we decided that we had to go that extra step and have a dessert.  One thing that both of us had seen on Pinterest were various versions of Campfire Cones.  The beauty of this dessert is that it’s a build your own so you can make it as sweet, not sweet, healthy or unhealthy as you would like.  The basics of a Campfire Cone is you take a sugar ice cream cone and you fill it with fillings of your choosing.  Then you wrap it in foil and throw it on the bbq or camp fire for about 5 minutes until everything is all warm and melty.  The flexibility of these come with the fillings and all the combinations you can make with them.  These are the fillings that we had outIMG_20131109_212847

  • Banana
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Black Berries
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Peanut Butter Chips
  • Butterscotch Chips
  • Chopped Mixed Nuts
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Mini Fruity Marshmallows
  • Dried Cherries

The turned out amazing!  My favorite combo was banana, PB chips, Raspberries, nuts and some dried cherries.  They were quite toasty coming off the grill and you did need to let them cool for a bit after unwrapping before eating them.  You can use a fork but it was more fun eating them like an ice cream cone!

I think we did a pretty good job with our dinner night.  Everything was amazing and I think that the chicken will be showing up on several people’s menus quite frequently at home.  🙂


Tuna Pasta Salad

The other night I really wanted to make Tuna Spaghetti (I will blog this sooner or later, don’t worry, as it’s a frequent repeat in my menus) but I went to the store and they were OUT of green onions.  Who runs out of green onions?  Anyways, I didn’t feel like stopping at another store so decided to make a tuna pasta salad recipe that I had seen on Pinterest.  I made some changes to make it a bit healthier, cut the recipe in half and made some additions and adjustments.  The result was absolutely fantastic!  Not only was it great for dinner that night but it was even better today for lunch after sitting over night.    Some of the changes I made were the addition of the celery, additional pickles, used low fat mayo and less of it and extra lemon juice (still used a half a lemon even though the recipe was basically cut in half).  I was a bit worried that the dressing may be too lemony and that there would not be enough to get a good coating but it worked rather well.  You can find the original recipe here or here is the recipe for the variation that I made.

Tuna Pasta SaladIMG_20131028_181813

½ lb bow tie pasta

½ cup frozen peas

¼ diced red onion

½ cup kosher dill pickle diced

¼ cup chopped celery

1 5 oz can of tuna

Juice of half a lemon

1/3 cup low fat mayo

½ tbsp. dried dill

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Stir in frozen peas and cook 30 seconds. Drain pasta and peas. If you want room temperature pasta salad, don’t rinse. If you want cold pasta salad, rinse with cold water.

In a small bowl combine the mayo, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper to make the dressing.

In a large bowl combine onion, pickles, celery, tuna, the pasta and peas.  Add dressing and stir until everything is evenly coated. Serve or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

Let’s roll!

This weekend along with the produce extravaganza and apple butter we put a batch of fruit rolls on the dehydrator.  For this I just did a quick trip to Trader Joes (one of my favorite stores) and Sprouts and grabbed whatever fruit looked good.  I ended up with peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and kiwi.  My dehydrator has four trays so we had the option to do four different combos (for general directions on fruit roll how-to you can refer back to the peach blog).  The blackberries I got specifically to test out a Pinterest recipe for Blackberry Mint Lime fruit rolls which used, obviously, mint and lime but for a sweetener they used honey.  For the second roll I decided on the classic combination of strawberry and kiwi.  For this one I used agave as my sweetener.  The strawberries weren’t super sweet so I used about a tbsp. vs the 1/2 tbsp I used in my first batch of fruit rolls.  The last combo was peach and raspberry which ended up being enough to fill the last two trays.  I also used agave as the sweetener in this one and added a little lemon juice to help keep the color of the peaches.  We ran them over night and took them off early morning.  The blackberry mint one was still pretty soft  and super sticky.  It could probably have gone longer but this was most likely because it was quite a bit thicker than the other ones.  The taste was absolutely amazing though and I think the favorite of the batch for my mom and sister.  I was partial to the peach  raspberry.  The only complaint was the seeds and you could probably run your purees through a sieve to remove them but I honestly don’t mind them and probably would opt not to in the future because of the extra dishes involved in doing so.  After the rolls are done I usually cut each round into 4 sections and then roll them in wax paper and twist the ends to keep them fresh and easy to carry.  So keep an eye out for fresh fruit, make up your own combinations and roll on!


Another use for oatmeal

It’s that time of year, and I don’t mean Fall.  I mean bug season.  Now I know everyone suffers from mosquito bites and the like and they are unpleasant for everyone, but for me they can be a huge issue.  Apparently, I am highly allergic to them because instead of your average bite I end up with gigantic, red, itchy and sometimes painful welts that can last weeks before finally disappearing completely.  This year I thought I was getting off easy as I hadn’t had many bites and I even bragged about it at a party on Saturday (normally I am prime fodder for the little blood suckers).  Bragging was apparently my downfall because I woke up Monday morning and glanced in the mirror, then took a longer look in the mirror and low and behold I had about 20 large itchy welts all over my back.  Tonight I decided that I needed something a bit more soothing than the game of human twister and anti-itch cream that I have been playing the last few days so I took a trip to Pinterest.  I decided what is more soothing than an oatmeal bath and since I was in a hurry and limited on supplies I looked for the simplest variation I could find.  I settled on one that was only a combination of oatmeal and coconut oil.  You simply blend the oatmeal and oil in the blendr.  The original page called for 1 cup of oatmeal and 1 tbsp. of coconut oil.  I ended up cutting this in half and here is why.  Did you know that your blender bottom will fit a standard mason jar (this won’t work with the wide-mouth jars)?!?!  Since I only had 8 oz jars available 1 cup just wasn’t going to work so I did half.  Now not only did I not have to use my gigantic blender for a small amount but my oatmeal bath is made and already in its own storage container!  Once it is blended into a fine powder you just add 2 heaping tbsp. to your hot bath and enjoy.  I’m feeling more relaxed and less itchy already and have learned my lesson about bragging.