A huge storm called a derecho hit the Midwest last week, and took out our power. With no electricity for our stove, we were using the outdoor grill morning through night – for five days. It’s almost as if we were camping in our own home.
In that spirit, here are some camping meal ideas for your next adventure – whether it’s by choice or by Mother Nature.
Right on the heels of sharing no cook meals, I got to dive full force into the lifestyle. An “inland hurricane” hit Iowa, leaving destruction and chaos in its path.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
There were winds of over a hundred miles per hour. Pine trees were pulled out from their roots like discarded weeds by the side of the garden. Electric poles were broken in half, as if they were toothpicks.
Houses were smashed. 14 million acres of crops were damaged. Hundreds of thousands were left without power.
Thankfully, our home didn’t suffer any damage, outside of some falling branches in the yard, and broken flowerpots. Others have suffered and are suffering much, much worse. (There are details on ways to help them at the bottom of this post.)
We lost power for five days. And since we are on a well, with no electricity for the pump, we didn’t have running water either.
No workable toilets, unless we poured water into the back of the tank. No showers, unless we poured water onto ourselves from a jug. Our internet was out for 8 days.
In a year that has already been rough, the last week would rank near the bottom.
Because of the pandemic, we’d been buying groceries every two weeks, and really loading up. Suddenly, we were in danger of losing hundreds of dollars in fresh and frozen groceries.
We put some on ice in a cooler. David took some in to his office, where there’s a refrigerator. But for the most part, it was a lost cause, sadly.
For those five days without electricity, we tried to eat as much of it as we could, making sure to eat the most expensive stuff first. We also erred on the side of dishes that didn’t require a lot of rinsing since water was in short supply.
It’s almost as if we were camping. In that spirit, I thought it could be useful to share what we ate while we were without power – in case your power goes out, or even if you just need some vegan camping meal ideas.
Tofu scramble skillets
Multiple mornings for breakfast, we had cast iron breakfast skillets with tofu scramble and veggie sausage.
I sprayed mini cast iron skillets with oil, and then crumbled on tofu. I sprinkled on paprika, cumin, and ancho chili powder, as well as a pinch of salt.
Elsewhere on the skillet, I put chopped vegetables like peppers, onions, and/or Brussels sprouts. Then I finished the skillets out with Beyond Meat breakfast sausages.
(You can get the full recipe for your next brunch cookout here. Or use it for breakfast for dinner!)
The cast iron gave the sausages and tofu a wonderful brown crustiness. David and I both agreed that we’ll be making this one again – even in non-Natural Disaster times.
On the side, we had potatoes in a variety of ways.
A couple of days, I put the “frozen” Trader Joe’s hash brown patties onto a grill basket. (They were a little thawed at that point, but it didn’t seem to matter too much.)
They’re one of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products. I usually make them in the air fryer. But they got surprisingly crisp on the outside with the grill.
On a couple of other occasions, I did mini potatoes in the grill basket with a spritz of oil and pinch of salt. Because of their diminutive size, they don’t take overly long to cook, unlike a full-sized baked potato.
We had them for breakfast one day, and then finished them off another day with Beyond Meat sausages.
I’ve made pizza on the grill before with fresh dough, and that’s really tasty. Although, it always feels risky when you’re putting pliable raw dough onto the grill grates and hoping it won’t fall through.
But this time we made grilled pizza using Trader Joe’s pizza crusts. They come frozen two to a package, and we had one left.
I put slices of Beyond Meat hot Italian sausages, onions, mushrooms, and peppers into a grill basket. Then I popped a pizza crust onto the grill, along with sauce.
Once the sausages were done and the onions were a little sweet, smoky, and blackened, I added them to the crust.
This pizza was incredible! It really tasted like a brick oven pizza.
It’s one of those things that would impress people coming over for a cookout, but takes almost no effort at all.
For one dinner, we had Impossible Burgers on the grill. Trader Joe’s just recently started selling packages of it for $7.99.
Unlike Beyond Meat burgers, Impossible doesn’t have a strong smell at all, which is a plus.
I wrapped mine around a Field Roast frankfurter for a burger dog. David went with a double layer burger. We had them with grilled corn on the cob.
More camping meal ideas
I didn’t get action shots on the days we made the following camping meal ideas. But here are a couple of other things we prepared.
David slathered his tortillas with almond butter and bananas.
You can use a grill basket. Or if you aren’t worried about it going through the grates, you can do it straight on the grill.
Another day, we had a grazing board with non-dairy cheese, crackers, sliced vegetables, and whatever pickled things were in the refrigerator/cooler.
Now that we have electricity, water, and internet again, I’m feeling really grateful for the little things. But many others aren’t so lucky. Check out this resource page for ways you can help.