Camping Can-Do: Recipes for Your Canned Goods

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Veteran campers understand that a well-stocked RV pantry or grub box should always contain a few canned goods.

Why cans? Many new forms of shelf-stable food are in plastic and cardboard containers, making them an easy target for pests. Cans are rodent-proof, they're sturdy, and when properly prepped—labels removed and lid opened—they can be placed directly in the campfire.

More: Best Foods to Cook Over a Fire

Whether you have other fresh foods on hand or not, you can make a hearty and satisfying meal with canned goods. Here are a few tips for cooking with your canned goods and recipes to get you started.

Canned-Food Cooking Made Delicious

Remember these tips before you roast a can of chili over the fire. From recipe starter ideas to safety tips, this is must-know information.

  • Canned foods can result in sodium overload. Always buy no-salt-added or low sodium canned goods. You can always add more flavor with your own seasonings and spices.
  • Saute fresh chopped onion in a teaspoon of olive oil before heating canned soup or stew. It will look and taste more homemade.
  • Invent your own soups by combining two or more cans together. Start with a can of beans (any kind) and add chunky tomato or pea soup and cream of tomato. Add a dash of sherry to give it a gourmet finish. 
  • Canned ham, or Spam, is great for kebabs. Thread the meat onto a skewer with pineapple chunks and canned or fresh whole mushrooms.
  • Replace fresh ingredients with a canned version of the same item to add variety to the dish or make a meager meal heartier. Choices include corn, peas, eggplant, diced tomatoes and diced peaches.
  • Bring a can of beef stew to life with a splash of dry red wine.
  • Don't forget canned fruit for dessert or to add a touch of sweetness to your savory meals.

More: 8 Grilled Chicken Recipes for the Campsite

Use these five recipes to become a five-star canned-food chef.

Bull Moose Stew

1 10-ounce can of roast beef in gravy
2 cans, 15 ounces each, mixed vegetables, not drained
1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 small can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 small can of diced chilies, drained

Serves 3 to 4
Open the can of roast beef and twist a fork in it to break up the meat. Put it in a medium saucepan and mix well with the mushroom soup. Add everything else over low heat and stir occasionally until everything is well blended and heated through.

More: 5 Camping Meal Ideas for a Large Group