Meatball Make-Over: Not just the Oven, the Dutch Oven works too!

View from the campground after the thunderstorm and hail

Good morning!  What a fun Father’s Day weekend! Despite the heat and the hail, we were able to enjoy a nice weekend with the family.  I hope you were able to also.  I was glad that after the early evening hail, we were treated to a beautiful sunset!

I think we wore out the poor husband’s canoe paddling arm this weekend.  The husband and I went for an early morning paddle and saw turtles and geese with goslings on the beach.  Later, he had separate rides with our oldest and youngest.  I think he really enjoyed Father’s Day weekend: canoeing, camping and spending time with the family.

I know he enjoyed Saturday night’s supper-he usually cooks when we camp, but to give him a break, I cooked supper.   I try to plan easy grilled or cooked over the campfire food, like hamburgers, pork chops and hot dogs, but this time I made meatballs in the Dutch oven.  I enjoy cooking with the dutch oven and trying new recipes, but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate-it would be hard to use the dutch oven in  the thunderstorm.

View from the canoe-what a nice family on the beach!

We enjoy meatballs often at home, it is so easy to make them with the vacuum sealed meatloaf mix in the freezer.  I have never tried them in the Dutch oven before now.  Meatballs just don’t seem like ‘camper food’, but they will be on the camper food list from now on- it was very quick and easy.  I tend to think that all dutch oven recipes are an all day event, like stews and roasts; but there are many recipes that are quicker, like this one for meatballs that was done in only about an hour.

There were really only 4 ingredients for Dutch Oven Meatballs:

1 lb pork meatloaf mix  from freezer

1 lb hamburger

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

You also need oil to fry the meatballs and 1-2 cans of water.

Light the charcoal; when it’s ready, put most of the charcoal under the dutch oven to fry the meatballs.   Mix the pork meatloaf mix and hamburger together.  Shape into meatballs.  Brown, in preheated dutch oven, in oil, on all sides.    We were able to get all the browned meatballs in one layer, but I would think stacking them would be fine, maybe just gently stir more often to coat all the meatballs with sauce. 

After they are all browned, carefully drain the oil.

Add the two cans of soup and some water.  I started with 1 1/2 cans of water.  It’s ok if it’s lumpy and not mixed thoroughly, it will mix together as it simmers, just be careful to not break the meatballs when you mix it together.  You may need to add more water, depending on how high it simmers from the heat from the charcoal or you could remove a few charcoal briquettes.

After browning the meatballs, we moved the charcoal so there were 10-15 underneath and 10-15 on top of the lid.

Gently stir the meatballs, so they don’t stick, every 15 minutes.  Also turn the dutch oven and lid 1/4 turn every 15 min.  We did this for a total of 30-45 minutes, or until the meatballs were cooked through and the soups were bubbling.

I was really surprised at how quick it was to cook the meatballs, it was all done in about 1 hour.  Of course the time depends on the number and heat of the coals and the the weather, the wind can especially affect the charcoals heat.

It was an easy camping meal that I served with instant mashed potatoes, bread and butter and fruit.   We have also varied this recipe by substituting  a bottle of BBQ sauce thinned with water for the soups, it is good too.

Usually we grill or cook over the fire when camping, but since it was Father’s Day, I made dutch oven meatballs to give the husband a break from cooking.  I’m so glad I made them.  It turned out to be an easy, quick meal that we will add to our list of favorite camping food.  Of course this means that I can probably help cook when we are camping- but that’s ok, at least I can play in the firepit.

I hope you try our easy, quick camping meal.  Maybe, it will become one of your favorite camping meals too!

Happy Camping (or camp cooking)!

Frugal Campasaurus

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