Campers big and small can work up a huge appetite. Chances are they will be clamoring for food long before the slow-cooking Dutch-oven dinner is ready. Take the edge off their appetites with tasty, easy-to-make campfire snacks that require little preparation beyond assembling the ingredients. You can prepare them before you leave home, or let the kids get in on the fun. They will have a great time wrapping bacon, skewering hot dogs and layering nachos.
This barbeque favorite is easily adapted to camping. You may want to split and seed the jalapenos at home where you have access to a sink to wash your hands well of the fiery capsaicin that gives hot peppers their pep. Fill the hollows of jalapeno halves with softened cream cheese. Wrap half a slice of bacon around each one, and secure it with a toothpick. Place the poppers on a grill laid over the campfire, turning them to ensure the bacon is completely cooked.
Hot dogs put a camper’s twist on the traditional shish kebab. Simply skewer slices of hot dogs alternating with onions, pineapple and green peppers, and grill the kebabs over the campfire. Cutting up the hot dogs and vegetables before you leave home will speed the skewering process and get the food to your hungry campers faster.
Rumaki may seem fancy -- bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and chicken livers, marinated and broiled -- but they dress down pretty well for camping purposes. Substitute dried apricots for chicken livers and almonds for water chestnuts. Roll them in strips of bacon that are cooked, but not crispy, secure them with toothpicks, and warm them through in a skillet over the campfire. Pour teriyaki sauce into the skillet and stir to coat all the rumaki.
Use sweet onions for this appetizer. Peel them, quarter them and stick a clove of garlic and a pat of butter between the layers. Wrap them in a couple layers of foil and place them in the campfire for 30 to 40 minutes. When they are ready, add a dash of salt and pepper to enhance the flavor. For the “Mom’s Camp Restaurant” variation, make the onion "bloomin'" style: When quartering the onion, leave the bottom intact, add the garlic and butter and wrap the whole onion in foil. This variation may require more time on the fire.
Nachos are child friendly and one of the easiest camping appetizers to make, requiring no knives, no skewers and no foil. A large skillet is all you need. Have the kids layer the tortilla chips on the bottom and cover them with shredded cheese. Let them add toppers such as chopped onions and sliced olives if they like, then make another layer of chips. Sprinkle more cheese on top to hold the toppings. Heat the skillet on a grill over the fire, and the ooey-gooey nachos will keep the kids satisfied until your campfire dinner is ready.
Based in Arizona, Kira Jaines writes health/fitness and travel articles, volunteers with Learning Ally and travels throughout the Southwest. She has more than 16 years of experience in transcribing and editing medical reports. Jaines holds a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications and journalism from Northern Arizona University.