My southern Grandma’s veggie chili is my all time favorite. It’s got tons of healthy stuff in it: zucchini, squash, peppers, tomatoes and beans.
Chili is perfect fall camping food, especially when there’s a chill in the air.
Maybe that’s why they call it ‘chili.’ Or maybe not.
I made a batch of chili and dehydrated half of it for our recent camping trip on the Wisconsin River. Dehydrating is a great way to go, but if you’re planning on car camping you can freeze the chili instead. It freezes well and it’ll keep your cooler cold until you’re ready to thaw it.
To make dehydrated chili, start by cooking up a batch of chili at home. Then leave it in your dehydrator overnight.
At camp start by covering the dehydrated chili with water. Let it soak for about 15 minutes. Lay in the sand, recline in a camp chair, etc.
Then heat it over a stove or fire. So easy!
Dehydrated Veggie Chili
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
2/3 cup salsa
2 teaspoons chili powder
pinch of crushed red pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 large red bell pepper cut into 1/2″ chunks
1 large zucchini cut into 1/2″ chunks
1 medium yellow squash cut into 1/2″ chunks
- Sauté onion. Add tomatoes, salsa, chili powder, crushed red pepper and salt. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes
- Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 50 – 60 minutes.
- Let chili cool slightly and then spread over solid ‘fruit roll’ dehydrator trays. I dehydrated half of a batch of chili, but if you have enough trays you could dehydrate a full batch of chili. Set dehydrator to 135 degrees. Once chili is dry (about 8 hours), put it in an air-tight container or zip top bag.
- Cover chili with water and let sit 15 minutes, or until it’s nearly rehydrated.
- Heat and serve.
This past weekend we camped with Billy’s grandma and her husband at Thomson Causeway in Thomson, Illinois. They are members of an RV club called the DuPage Drifters. It was my first taste of RV camping. Now I’m keeping my eye out for vintage campers…just in case.
If you live in Illinois, you probably recognize Thomson for it’s prison, which was built but never occupied due to lack of budget. Thompson Causeway is a US Army Corps of Engineers campground located on the Mississippi River, 2.5 miles west of Chicago. It’s really set up for RV’s more than tent camping, mostly grass dotted with trees. The campground is located on the widest point of the Mississippi.
We visited Lock & Dam #13, which is about 20 minutes south of the campground. It was cool to see how it opened and closed to let boats through. If you’re camping at Thomson Causeway and see a Barge pass in the distance, you can hop in you car and drive down to the Lock & Dam to see it pass through. I was surprised to see pelicans on the Mississippi River. The American White Pelicans that we saw on the Mississippi are related to the Brown Pelicans that live by the ocean.
We also saw lots of frogs.
On Saturday night, the DuPage Drifters had a Luau. Billy’s grandma made Blue Hawaiians, which were a big hit. Everyone dressed in Hawaiian shirts and leis. It was a lot of fun. I look forward to camping with them again.
Before we left on Sunday, we checked out the Windmill in Fulton. It was built in Holland, then shipped piece by piece to Fulton.
Thomson Causeway Recreation Area:
Need a fresh recipe for backpacking or camping? Try this Dehydrated Broccoli Noodle Salad.On our recent camping trip on the Wisconsin River, I made this Broccoli Noodle Salad and it was amazing. I thought it might have just tasted great because we were starving, so I made it again for a party last week. Still delicious. This Broccoli Noodle Salad is ideal for backpacking as well.
I dehydrated the broccoli and green onions. That way I didn’t have to worry about them spoiling. If you’re going car camping, you may want to skip the dehydrator and just make the salad ahead of time at home. It’s the kind of salad that tastes better if it sits for a day in your fridge or cooler.
A few hours before you want to eat, add water to the dehydrated vegetables.
This is the fun part. Crunch up the ramen noodles while they are still in their bag. Get out that pent-up aggression!
Ok. Calm down. You’re on vacation. Add the ramen seasoning packet to the dressing. Add the ramen noodles to the vegetables, along with the dressing, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Stir together and enjoy!
Dehydrated Asian Broccoli Noodle Slaw
Adapted from Allrecipes
- 12 ounce package broccoli coleslaw mix (I used Trader Joe’s organic)
- 3 ounce package Top Ramen Oriental Flavored Ramen Noodles (other ramen noodles may not be vegan)
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
- 1/2 cup unsalted raw sunflower kernels
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- For even dehydrating, slice the green part of the green onions and finely chop the white part. Spread out green onion and broccoli slaw on separate trays of the dehydrator. Set dehydrator to 135 degrees. Once vegetables are dry (about 4 hours), put them in an air-tight container or zip top bag.
- To make dressing, combine sugar, oil and apple cider vinegar. Store dressing in a leakproof container.
- Put peanuts and sunflower seeds in a separate container or zip top bag.
- A few hours before serving, add enough water to dehydrated green onions and broccoli slaw to cover.
- Once the vegetables are rehydrated, pour off the excess water.
- Take the bag of ramen noodles and crunch it up. Add ramen noodles to the vegetables. Add ramen flavoring packet to the dressing. Shake or stir the dressing.
- Add peanuts, sunflower seeds and dressing to vegetable noodle mixture. Shake or stir to combine.