Make Camp Cooking Easier with Pantry to Plate

Make Camp Cooking Easier with Pantry to Plate

I don’t know about you but I’m always looking for ways to make dinners easier. In our Summer Box we included a Camp Cooking Guide created by Pantry to Plate (formerly Simply Suppers) to help you do just that. We spoke with the owner of Pantry to Plate, Stephanie, to learn more about how her business helps busy families get dinner on the table whether you are at home or at camp.

Tell us about the Services You Provide

I help busy moms bring their families together for dinner more often. Our Pantry to Plate meal guides provide subscribers with a full plan to make eight meals every month. I take all of the great tips, tricks and hacks you have seen and thought “I should do that” and put them in a step-by-step guide so subscribers don’t have to put those puzzle pieces together.

That means subscribers don’t have to search for recipes, try to figure out what dishes go together and figure out the timing to get everything on the table at the same time. You don’t have make grocery lists or do a bunch of meal planning. My recipes are always written as a step-by-step for how to make a full meal, and use healthy shortcuts (real food, not junk) to make it easier to feed your family. I also include fun conversation starters for every meal and ways to get your family involved. And, I promise no meal prep marathons – because who has time for that, anyway?

What made you decide to start this business?

I am truly passionate about families eating together more often. Many research studies have shown that it’s better for every member of the family. This includes academics, behavioral issues, stress management and overall health. Research studies also show that families are eating together less and less. In fact, in the 1960s the average family meal was 90 min, now it’s just 12 min. And for the first time in history, families spend more money on dining out than they do on groceries.

When I talked to moms about why their families don’t eat together more, I heard over and over again that it was basically an issue of having time to plan and time to cook. Moms want fast, delicious recipes, real food, easy to shop for ingredients, and they want to use the different hacks and tips they see on Pinterest or Food Network, but they just don’t have time to put it all together.  Pantry to Plate is here to help families eat together more often by removing those barriers.

We love working with business owners that are also campers. Tell us more about your camping experience.

I grew up an only child with a single dad in the military, and my paternal grandparents raising me as much as my dad did.  He didn’t have a lot of money or time to do more traditional “vacations” with me, so we camped – in a tiny green and yellow pup tent (anyone who camped through the 80’s knows the exact tent I’m talking about!)  We ate MREs (Meals Ready to Eat, thank you Air Force) and hobo packets, swam in lakes and just had fun.

My husband also grew up most of his young life with his mom being single and his grandparents very involved, not having a lot of money, and camped with them as a child.  When we got together, our first vacation ever was camping on Martha’s Vineyard. He bought what I thought was an obscenely expensive and huge tent….little did I know we would camp in that thing for 12 summers!!! We camped in that tent through storms, with friends, and with both of our sons from them being tiny babies through ages 4 and 6. Getting away to camp saved our sanity during the economic crash in 2008-2009 and has brought us closer together as a family. This year we got a camper!  It’s been so much fun and we have a lot more fun planned.

What is your favorite place or campground to visit?

We LOVE the southwest, specifically Sedona, AZ. We got married there and it is our happy place, but we have never camped there!  It’s on the list.  As far as camping goes, we’re figuring that out. Since we have mostly tent camped, we really loved the state parks in Wisconsin (it’s a great system), but now that we have a camper we are checking out private campgrounds, too, and learning what’s a good fit for us.

What item can you not live without when camping?

This is a hard one – I think I could give up almost anything if I’m camping. Maybe the campfire… I can’t go a single day/night without a campfire while we are camping, and we actually scope out fire pits to decide if a site or campground will work for us. This is also a reason why camping in the southwest hasn’t happened yet – pretty restrictive on fires!

What’s your favorite camping meal?

Campfire Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s just so flavorful. It’s amazing. This recipe is included in the Camping Guide that’s in the Summer Camp Kitchen Box.

What’s your best camp cooking tip/hack?

Do all the prep work for your first night’s meal before you arrive so all you have to do is let it cook. Even though we have a camper now, there’s still set-up involved and it’s so much less stressful not to have to worry about when we are going to eat or having time to do prep.  And setting up while hangry is never a good idea!  We have our go-to first night meal, which is pizza logs, and now it’s a tradition that everyone loves.

You can find more information about Pantry to Plate on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. You can also get a preview of what Pantry to Plate has to offer with by downloading their July Pantry to Plate Guide free! We always love to find new meals to make. What’s your favorite go-to camp meal? Share the recipe or a link in the comments.

Meal Planning for Campers

Meal Planning for Campers

Do you struggle to figure out what to cook when you get to the campsite? Or know what you want to make but then find out you are missing an ingredient? Meal planning for your camping trips can solve these problems and make your camp cooking more enjoyable and stress free.

Choose Your Meals

I know I have difficulty in deciding what to make for dinner each night and I have to assume that others have the same struggles. Choosing your meals ahead of time can alleviate that stress. Get a notebook or a meal planning notepad which can be found in the Out of the Box Camping Summer Box and carve out 15 minutes to plan out your meals when at the campground. Pick your go to meals, ask your kids or family members for a meal they would like to have, and fill in the other meals with items you know you will have on hand from the other dinners.

I also like to choose meals where I can reuse some of the ingredients for other meals. For instance, I make hard boiled eggs and use them to make an egg salad. I can also cut them up and add them to a cobb salad or use some to make deviled eggs. I cook bacon and use it to make bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. I can then use the leftover bacon to make BLT’s or turkey clubs for lunch or dinner.

The meal planner notepad found in the Camp Kitchen Box

Grocery Shopping

Once you have your meals listed, you can create a grocery list of what items you will need to make each meal. I look for the items I have on hand at home and move those into the camper and add the items I don’t have onto my grocery list. Having a set list will make your grocery shopping so much quicker and allow you to stay on budget by sticking to the items on your list.

Meal Prep

After you go grocery shopping it’s time to take the ingredients and prep what you can ahead of time to have more time to relax at the campsite. I wash and cut up fruit and vegetables prior to our trip. I also like to portion out snacks so that I don’t over eat on camping trips. I usually prepare salads ahead of time at home too. Some of my favorite recipes:

egg salad can be a great addition to your camping meal plan

Egg salad can be made ahead of time and makes a great lunch option

Camp Cooking

While you are at camp, you can make the the make the main dishes of your meals to go along with your previously prepped items. I like to have my kids help make the meals that they previously picked out for the menu. It’s nice to have an extra hand and the kids love to pitch in. Here;s some things the kids can help with:

  • Measure ingredients (use the collapsible measuring cups from the Out of the Box Camping Summer Box)
  • Stir mixtures
  • Set the table (use the Camp Casual paper plates found in the summer box. Need to re-stock? Use the promo code found in the box!
  • Put out condiments
  • Clean off the table
  • Wash dishes
picnic table place settings for camp cooking

Have the kids help out with dinner by setting the table while you finish other tasks

Meal Plan Schedule

For a weekend trip, I plan out my meals and write my grocery list on Wednesday, shop and meal prep Thursday, and on Friday I pack up the food and we are ready to head to camp Friday once my husband gets home from work Check out our Camp Cooking Pinterest Board for some great meal plan examples.

If you missed out on the Out of the Box Camping Summer Box that included the meal planner notepad, you can still make up your meal plan by using our free downloadable Meal Plan Worksheet. We always love getting new meal ideas, what is your go camping meal you will be adding to the worksheet?