When I am completely immersed in the natural world, it is then that I feel truly alive.
Mr. B shares the joy I find in leaving the modern world behind and seeking solitude in vast natural spaces. Once the weather turns warm we happily pack our bags and head off into the woods whenever our schedule allows. Over the 4th of July we ventured out to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Meandering down bumpy dirt roads filled with rocks and tire-sucking mud holes without a final destination in mind, we eventually found ourselves stopped alongside a beautiful stream.
There we set up camp on a grassy flat spot, and spent the next several days frolicking in open meadows, fishing for elusive trout, and chasing grasshoppers from sun up to sun down (well only Oscar did that!). It was a private paradise sweetened by solitude and addictively relaxing.
Fortunately our camp site had a small fire ring fashioned by a previous camper, and we were able to expand our camp food repertoire beyond the small backpacking stove. I had packed my trusty cast iron skillet just in case we happened upon a campfire ring. Since we were “boon-docking” we packed in all water and food, meaning refrigeration was non-existent. Therefore, I planned meals that could be made from items which required little if any cold storage. Out of this, campfire nachos were born.
With a lot of fun and a little creativity we managed to build a hot bed of coals and then set up a “structure” of stones to support the skillet. While the fire heated up, I prepped my ingredients and layered the nachos into the cast iron skillet.
Once everything was nestled into the pan, I carefully set the skillet on top of the rocks. After about 15 minutes, the cheese was melted and the edges of the chips were crispy. Using a towel, we carefully transferred the skillet to an upturned log, and then dug in.
The nachos were a welcome change from standard camping food. Since we waited so long for the pan to heat through the bottom layer ended up a little burnt. Next time, I would pack a sheet of foil, and cover the pan to speed up the process of melting the top layer of cheese. However the novelty of nachos in the woods was worth the effort and my cast iron pan held up to the task beautifully.
We returned to civilization refreshed, relaxed, and ready to turn right back around for another adventure.
Campfire Nachos (Printable Recipe)
Serves 2 Hungry People
1 bag Corn Chips
1 14oz can Refried beans
1 6oz can Black olives
1/2lb Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 Onion, diced
1 8oz jar Salsa
1 14oz can sweet corn
1 4oz can diced jalapenos
Build a 1′x1′ bed of hot coals underneath a campfire grate or in the center of stable rocks which will support the base of your cast iron pan.
Place a layer of chips in the bottom of the pan, and top them with half of the: beans, olives, cheese, tomatoes, onion, salsa, corn, and jalapenos. Place a second layer of chips on top of the other ingredients, and then top these chips with the remaining ingredients, finishing with the cheese on top. Cover the top of the pan with a sheet of foil, and carefully place the pan on top of the grate or rocks. Let nachos cook, maintaining the hot coals for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Move the pan to a heatproof location and allow nachos to cool for a few minutes.
Dig in and enjoy!