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When most people think “camping,” they don’t necessarily think “crockpot.” Fair enough, but if you’re planning to spend a few nights at a campsite with readily-available electricity, it makes for some pretty easy rice and bean dishes.

For some reason, the husband brought along the crock pot when we went on the Crystal River/Ichetucknee Springs trip. When we drive places, he sometimes packs like we might never return. (After that road trip through the desert in the rented Altima, I have to admit he might be onto something. Aside from the cats being the only thing keeping us from just renting an apartment and starting over in several of the towns we passed, we nearly ended up sleeping off one of the Indian Roads in New Mexico because we got the car stuck.)

We traveled with friends and for some reason, even though these two are regular participants in our Friday night #vegandinnerparty group cooking habit or maybe because of, none of us really talked about what food we were bringing and what we weren’t. Which meant, our nightly dinners turned into a game of figuring out what we could make out of the random things we’d brought.

The first night, we got in rather late so we were looking for “easy.” For meat eaters, this would have been the hot dogs or burgers night, so the vegetarians went a similar route. We had a can of Northern beans we cooked on the camp stove, a bag of Gardein veggie burgers, some rice cheese slices, condiments, and sliced wheat bread. We also had some salsa and chips and some sort of side salad that for the life of me, I cannot recall the exact content of anymore. I want to say it was like a pasta salad rather than a chopped salad, which is possible.

The second night, we broke out the crock pot and evaluated our ingredients.

  • Tofukey Italian Sausages and Field Roast smoked apple sage.
  • A can of tomato soup and a jar of salsa.
  • A bag of Daiya fake cheddar.
  • A can of pinto beans, black beans, and another can of Northern beans.
  • The biggest container of garlic powder I’ve ever seen.
  • Jars of oregano, “salad sprinkle,” and cilantro.
  • A box of Minute brown rice.
  • A small bottle of canola oil.
  • An onion.
  • A tomato.

We ended up cooking half the rice in the crock pot while cutting up the Field Roast sausage and frying it a little on the camp stove with part of the onion. We then added that to the rice along with the can of pinto beans, some of the garlic powder, and a bit of the salsa. Left it on low while we sat around the campfire drinking wine and talking. It was actually quite tasty and filling enough for four people.

The third night, we did the same thing with the Tofurkey and the other half of the rice. This time, we used the can of tomato soup and a little water to cook the rice in, added the black beans, the tomato, more garlic powder, and some of the faux cheddar. We also had a few whole wheat burrito wraps (that I brought to go with the tofu scramble I pre-made) so I ate mine as a wrap. Everyone else just ate it on a plate. Again, more than enough for four people and super-easy.

Plus, the crock pot was easier to clean than the cast iron cookware.

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