Cooking for a Community

Cooking while on the road isn’t the easiest, especially when cooking for large (10+) number of individuals. The Outside Van team reveled in cooking for guests of the Open Roads Van Fest! The meals consisted of fresh baked pizza, chili, pancakes, and even happy hour beverages like non-alcoholic margaritas.  Here’s a breakdown of everything we ate and how you too can feed a hungry campground.

Lindsey’s Lunchtime Pasta Salad
Makes 10+ Servings

Pasta Salad:
1 lb. uncooked pasta
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese balls, halved
1 lb. salami, diced
3/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
3/4 cup pepperoncini, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Italian Pasta Salad Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1–2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons each dry oregano and dry basil
Black Pepper to taste
Fresh herbs: parsley, basil, or chives.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Allow to cool slightly and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking. Blend up the dressing or shake together in a jar. Toss all ingredients together!

Brian’s Pizza for a Hungry Crowd
Makes 4-6 individual slices
1 ball prepared pizza dough
1 jar pizza sauce
16 ounces sliced pepperoni
12 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat your pizza oven to 600° for about 15 minutes.

Take a round of the pizza dough (fresh-made or store bought) and roll it into a circle, taking care to ensure it’ll fit easily into the pizza oven. Your pizza peel should be a good guide for this. We favor a thin crust to maximize the dough to topping ratio. Use plenty of flour when rolling the dough and put down a healthy dose of cornmeal on the peel before carefully laying the stretched dough on top. The goal is that you want the dough to slide off easily.

Top the pizza with sauce, mozzarella cheese, and your desired toppings. Take care not to press the crust down onto the pan. You still need it to slide off the peel! Carefully slide the crust into the oven. The first try is the only try, so be confident and get it done! Bake for 7-8 minutes at around 600°, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and melted. You will want to turn the pizza halfway through through the cooking time to ensure it is cooking evenly.

Remove and let sit for 2-3 minutes before slicing.

Open Roads Camp Chef pizza cooking

Matt’s Indulgent Rib-Eye
Serves 8 steaks

Eight 1 1/4-pound rib eye steaks
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
8 tablespoons canola oil
16 tablespoons unsalted butter
16 thyme sprigs
12 garlic cloves
6 rosemary sprigs

Generously season each rib eye all over with salt and freshly ground pepper. Let the meat stand at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.

On a clean Camp Chef griddle, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the steaks and cook over high heat until crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the steaks and add the butter, thyme, garlic, and rosemary to the griddle. Cook over high heat, basting the steaks with the melted butter, garlic, and herbs, until the steaks are medium-rare, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the meat across the grain and serve.

rib eye steak corn shrimp

Chris’ First Timer Asparagus
Serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 pound asparagus stalks, trimmed
8 teaspoons butter cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Cooking spray
Lemon wedges for serving

Preheat a grill to medium high heat or an oven to 425*.

Coat four large squares of foil with cooking spray. Divide the asparagus stalks evenly among the squares of foil. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper evenly over the asparagus. Place 2 teaspoons of butter in each foil packet. Fold the foil over the asparagus, sealing completely on all sides.

Grill the asparagus packs for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Open the foil packets carefully, then gently stir to make sure all the asparagus is coated with the butter and seasonings.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Jon’s Chili for a Tired Team
Makes 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
Half of an onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
4 carrots, diced
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3–4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28–ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
2 14–ounce cans beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups beef or chicken broth
Toppings: avocado, cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, red onion, cilantro

In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, fry the bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towel lined plates. Pour off most of the bacon fat but leave 1-2 tablespoons for sautéing.

Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and carrots. Sauté until soft and fragrant. Add the ground beef and spices. Brown until fully cooked. Add the tomato paste. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, broth, and bacon. Cover and let it simmer over low heat for at least 30-45 minutes, but ideally 2+ hours.

Garnish with favorite toppings.

Caity’s NA Margaritas
Makes 1 cocktail

1.5 oz Ritual Zero Proof Tequila
6 oz Top Hat Classic Margarita Mix

Combine tequila, margarita mix and juice from half a lime into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake thoroughly 30-45 seconds. Strain into preferred glass over ice. Garnish with lime wedge or wheel.


Justin’s Good Morning Banana Walnut Pancakes
Makes 6-8 pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk
2 small overripe bananas, mashed
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Mix flour, walnuts, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center.

Whisk almond milk, bananas, melted butter, and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl until smooth. Whisk in egg. Pour the wet mixture into the well of the flour mixture; stir until just combined.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. Drop 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles form and the edges are firm, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. Repeat with remaining batter.

pancakes camp chef

Thomas’ Mimosa By The Pitcher
Makes 8 – 6oz cocktails

1 each, thinly sliced: Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon
1 bottle (750 mL) chilled Prosecco
3 cups chilled Orange Juice

Fill a pitcher with slices of citrus fruits. Pour the bottle of Prosecco over the fruits. Slowly add the orange juice. Fill champagne flutes with the prepared mimosa.