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7 Easy Dinner Recipes to Make Ahead & Take With You on a Camping Trip

7 Easy Dinner Recipes to Make Ahead & Take With You on a Camping Trip

When you’re on holiday with your family or friends, the last thing anyone wants to do is spend time putting together a big dinner. So you’re either stuck with making sandwiches, other throw-it-together meals, or you end up going out to eat.

But if you’re trying to balance the eating out with the eating in at the campsite in order to make your holiday more economical, then these easy, make-ahead recipes are worth a read. Serving up warm, delicious food at the end of the day will feel good and not cause you hours of prep time when it’s just a simple heat and plate.

All the hard work is already accomplished at home before you even leave on your holiday, so you just warm up whatever yummy dinners you made ahead of time and then kick back and relax. Easy peasy!

1. Lentil Chili

Image source: Today’s Parent

Who doesn’t think of chili as a great option for sitting around your campsite, eating a warm bowl after a long day of sight seeing around Byron Bay? Make this chili (or your favourite recipe) at home before you come, and just grab it out of the cooler the night you’re ready to eat it.


  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes , peeled and finely diced
  • 2 tbsp ground chili powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper , optional
  • 2 x 400 grm cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 x 400 grm can bean medley , drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400 grm can lentils , drained and rinsed


  1. Heat a large pot over medium.
  2. Add oil, then onion and sweet potatoes.
  3. Cook until onions soften and potatoes start to brown, about 5 min.
  4. Stir in chili powder, tomato paste, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt and cayenne.
  5. Add tomatoes and water. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 25 min.
  6. Stir in beans and lentils until warmed through, 2 min.

Recipe source: Today’s Parent

2. Sloppy Joes

Image source: Go Camping Australia

Definitely a crowd pleaser! Here’s another of option of making the main part of the meal at home before you leave and just bringing along the buns, sides and the container of sloppy joes to warm.


  • 900g minced beef
  • 1 large green capsicum
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce (can use ketchup)
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder, or more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard (like Keen’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 tblspns Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8-10 hamburger buns (or buns of your choice)


  1. Start by browning the mince in a large frypan/saucepan/camp oven. Drain off the fat.
  2. Add in the capsicum and onions. Stir, and then add 1/4 water, the 2 sauces – tomato and BBQ, and garlic.
  3. Stir it around to combine. When combined, add the brown sugar (gives a little sweet taste) chili powder, dry mustard, red pepper flakes (optional) and hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Stir to combine once more, and then cover and simmer over medium-low heat, about 20 minutes.
  5. If you find it too runny, leave the lid off to help with reducing the liquid.

Recipe source: Go Camping Australia

3. Chicken and Veggie Kebabs

Image source: Fresh off the grid

This simple meal is easily made up ahead up time by pre-cutting the vegetables and marinating meat at home. That way, the only thing left to do is assemble and throw on the BBQ.



  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 225 grms chicken (boneless, skinless thighs work best) cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 225 grms whole mushrooms (stems removed)
  • 225 grms cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces


  1. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl or ziplock bag.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and thoroughly coat. Cover the bowl or seal the bag and marinate for at least an hour. This step can be done at home ahead of time – just put the sealed bag in your cooler.
  3. Fire up your grill or get your campfire going. Build the kebabs by threading the chicken and vegetables onto your skewers.
  4. Grill the kebabs over medium-high to high heat, turning occasionally so they cook evenly until the chicken is cooked through – about 10 minutes total.

Recipe source: Fresh Off the Grid

4. Campground Paella

Image source: Todays Parent


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion , finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 225-g pkg whole cured chorizo sausage , thinly sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 yellow capsicum, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 x 400 grm can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced pitted green olives (optional).


  1. Heat a large frying pan over medium.
  2. Add oil, then onion. Cook until onion is soft, about 4 min.
  3. Add broth, rice, tomato paste and garlic powder. Stir until rice is coated.
  4. Add sausage, peppers and tomatoes. Boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. Simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed, 25 min. Remove from heat and stir in olives.

For make ahead: Stash chopped onion in a small bag, prepped sausage in another and peppers and tomatoes in a third, which can be tucked inside a larger resealable bag with rice. Place broth, tomato paste and garlic powder in a jar.

Recipe source: Today’s Parent

5. Pulled Pork

Image source: Chowhound

Pulled pork is an excellent make ahead recipe that may even feed you and your crew more than one night during your trip. Bonus!


  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 kg boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce (optional)


  1. Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth.
  2. Combine the sugar, chili powder, measured salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  3. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic.
  4. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
  5. Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board.
  6. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker.
  7. Set the strained liquid aside. If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it.
  8. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat.
  9. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, if using, and mix to combine.
  10. If you’re not using barbecue sauce, use a spoon to skim and discard the fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid, and then add 1/4 cup of the liquid at a time to the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened.
  11. Taste and season with salt as needed.

Recipe source: Chowhound

6. Pumpkin and Chickpea Soup

Image source: Gourmet Traveller

This is an easy recipe to make up ahead of time and store in containers so all you have to do is simply heat it up once you’re at your campsite.


  • 1 kg peeled pumpkin, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 4 red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 250 gm dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
  • 6 golden shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock


  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Combine pumpkin, chillies and oregano in a large roasting pan.
  3. Drizzle with a third of the oil, season to taste, toss to coat and roast, turning occasionally, until pumpkin is very tender and caramelised.
  4. Meanwhile, drain chickpeas and place in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, then simmer uncovered over medium heat until chickpeas are very tender (45-55 minutes).
  5. Drain, reserving 1 litre cooking liquid, and set aside.
  6. Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add shallots and garlic, and sauté over low heat until tender (12-15 minutes).
  7. Add stock and bring to the boil, then add pumpkin and chickpeas, and coarsely crush with a spoon.
  8. Add reserved chickpea liquid to achieve a chunky soup consistency.

Recipe source: Gourmet Traveller

7. Beef Stew

Image source: Six Sister’s Stuff

This easy to throw together meal will be something you can look forward to serving up to you and your mates when you get back to the campsite after your fun day in Byron Bay.


  • 1/2 kg beef stew cubes
  • 4 carrots, slices
  • 4-6 red potatoes, cut into large cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1  cup tomato sauce
  • 225 grm package frozen green peas


  1. Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place beef cubes at the bottom of the crock pot.
  3. Layer carrots, then potatoes, placing bay leaf on top.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients and pour over beef and veggies.
  5. Cover with lid and cook on low 6-10 hours. When cooked, leave to cool.
  6. Put in serving sized plastic containers and throw it in the freezer.
  7. When you bring it along on the camping trip, plan to thaw out while you’re out and about all day.

Recipe source: Six Sisters Stuff

Bring your pre-made meals and camp at Broken Head Holiday Park

You make the food and pack it up, we’ll provide the BBQ and camp kitchen facilities for you to refrigerate, heat or finish cooking whatever delicious camping meals you brought with you to Broken Head Holiday Park. We know you’ll be so busy exploring the surrounding Byron Bay Area that any of these make ahead dinners will help you serve up food to your family and friends quickly (and save money on going out to eat!).

We have excellent campsites as well as other accommodation so whatever kind of camping holiday you’re in the mood for—we are here for you. Book your Byron Bay camping holiday today!

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