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Bring the Fun Home with These Summer Camp Meals

We may be past our camp days, but when summer rolls around, we still get a little nostalgic. And in our opinion, one of the best ways to satisfy nostalgia is through food. Here, we’ve recreated a few summer camp classics that adults and kids alike will love. Now sit back, close your eyes, and imagine yourself sitting at a campfire…

Pretzel Sloppy Joes with White Cheddar

When was the last time you had a sloppy joe? Probably at camp. These sandwiches have all the finger-licking goodness of the camp classic, but with a few twists to elevate them to grown-up status.

4 pretzel buns
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1.5 pounds ground beef
4 slices white Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup red wine
1 14.5-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar

You’ll need
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Prepare ingredients
Slice pretzel buns open horizontally, if they arrived whole. Peel onion, halve, and cut into small dice. Mince garlic. Pat beef dry with paper towel.

Toast buns
Place buns cut-side down in a large high-sided pan over medium heat. Toast until light golden and warmed through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to serving plates, then top bun bottoms with white Cheddar, dividing evenly. Reserve pan for the next step.

Sauté aromatics
Place pan from buns over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive. When oil is shimmering, add onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes more.

Cook and season beef
Add beef to pan with aromatics, still over medium-high heat. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Cook, breaking up, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to incorporate, 1 minute. Stir in red wine, fire-roasted tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and brown sugar. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce has thickened and liquid is mostly evaporated, 10-15 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.

Assemble and plate sandwiches
Spoon sloppy joe mixture onto bun bottoms, then top with bun tops to close sandwiches. Dig in!

Grilled Chicken and Veggies

A quintessential part of camp? The Cookout. This meal checks all the boxes for grilling perfection: juicy chicken, charred corn, and a tangy vinaigrette. Oh, and fresh mozzarella, because you can never have too much cheese.

Grilled Cheese

With perfectly golden, crisp bread and melty cheese, it’s no wonder that Chef Elana’s classic grilled cheese recipe has stood the test of time. Pair it up with a simple arugula salad (like this one, from our White Bean Crostini recipe) for a little green, and you’re good to go.

White Chocolate–Cherry Trail Mix

We’re not too ashamed to admit it: One of our fondest memories of camp nature hikes is the trail mix. The salty-sweet combo is super addicting and great for keeping hunger at bay between meals. Feel free to swap in your favorite nuts, chocolate candies, and other accompaniments to avoid a picking-out-all-the-chocolate-chips situation.

1 cup roasted salted almonds
1 cup roasted cashews
1 cup mini pretzels
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup white chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir together almonds, cashews, dried cherries, and white chocolate chips to combine. Store in an airtight container or large plastic bag, or separate into individual small bags for pre-portioned goodness.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

What’s better than a freshly-baked cookie, you ask? Try two cookies sandwiching rich, melty ice cream. These hand-held treats were one of our favorite parts of summer camp, but we’re not ashamed to admit we still love them as adults. Customize them to your heart’s content with different ice cream flavors and cookie types—we’ve got an ice cream sandwich for every craving.

Mint-Watermelon Popsicles

This summer sweet treat combines two of our favorites in one: watermelon and popsicles. Keep a batch in the freezer for the next heat wave—you won’t regret it.

Did you know Plated also offers dessert? Try it today!

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