When heading out for a weekend of adventure, it's easy to make some side dishes ahead of time and serve them for lunches and dinners without needing to dirty multiple pots and pans during your stay. For us, we started with a tent so all cooking was done outdoors on a portable stove or grill/firepit. Now, with the slide-in camper, there is a little two burner stove I enjoy using for making macaroni and cheese as a hot side. Still, in the hot Florida weather, chilled sides are fun and makes everything so much easier. Here are a few of the favorites from the Tillerys.
Tuna Pasta Salad:
This is our families favorite of the three. It's filling yet savory and easy to enjoy with our Koegel's hot dogs each first night yet just as tasty with the country style ribs we enjoy making. Please note, these recipes aren't exact in measurements or time to prepare or cook. It's just a simple outline for you to customize to your liking.
1 box of elbow pasta
1-1.5 cups Mayo (enough to coat all pasta,I prefer Hellmann's)
2 cans tuna
1 can sweet peas
1 cup diced block cheddar cheese (white or yellow/sharp goes well)
Cook pasta al dente, drain and set aside.
Dice up the cheddar, we like lots but not too much that its over powering.
Stain tuna cans and peas.
Once pasta is cooled add the tuna, peas and cheese.
Add mayo and mix, sprinkle in garlic salt to taste.
Be sure all pasta is well coated.
Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Makes plenty to enjoy and share.
2. Tortellini Antipasti
We often bring a mayo based and a vinaigrette based side salad for our river roaming and cabin camping adventures. It is important to have options and both are delicious with warm or cold main features yet also yummy enough to be enjoyed on their own when you just need a couple of bites of something to hold you over. Remember, there is always lots of things you can do while on these adventures so extra cooking and cleaning don't have to be things you must do when you plan ahead.
1 bag of frozen cheese filled tortellinis
1 cup Northern Italian Dressing (Ken's)
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cup cubed pepperoni or hard salami
Chopped green onion
Shaved parmesan cheese
Cook tortellinis per directions removing one minute before recommended.
Strain and put in a mixing bowl.
Add grape tomatoes (using this side there is no need to chop which helps them last longer in the dish)
Add your meat.
Pour dressing in (may want more, up to you) and mix.
Next, mix in small amounts of the chopped green onion and shaved parmesan.
Once happy with ratios, pour into your to-go container and add small amount of green onion and parm to the top for presentation.
Chill and enjoy.
3. Loaded Potato Salad
This dish is a bit rich, but wow is it tasty! If you love cheese, bacon and ranch; this is for you.
Several small red potatoes (dice ahead of time for faster cooking)
Bacon (thick cut is best for this dish but any will do and amount depends on your liking) *I use 6 pieces of thick with 8 potatoes
Block Cheddar Cheese (yellow looks best with this salad)
Ranch Dressing Powder
Boil potatoes until tender but no mushy.
Strain and cool.
Cook bacon (oven works well for this but pan fried or microwave works too)
Chop cheddar into nice, bite-sized chunks.
Put potatoes, cooked bacon pieces, cheddar chunks into mixing bowl.
Add mayo and sour cream, start with a tale spoon of each and add more to it all as you mix to determine your favored ratio.
Once all is coated generously add ranch dressing powder and mix some more.
Top with chopped green onion and chill to enjoy later.