My camping trip two weekends ago to the mountains north of Santa Barbara was fantastic. It was just what I needed to get out of my little funk. We got there early Saturday afternoon, set up camp, and then took a long sunset walk. We chatted by our toasty campfire and ate tortilla soup, followed by chocolate and toffee cookies that Ro and Katie made for dessert. Sunday morning we slept in and made a lazy breakfast of hash browns on the campfire, with sharp cheddar cheese, spinach, and tomatoes on top.
Even the drive home was great. We stopped in Ventura at an olive oil shop called We Olive. I met a man from Paso Robles who grew and pressed the most delicious olive oil I’ve ever tasted. After olive oil tasting, we decided to skip lunch and just eat dessert—we sat on the tailgate of our truck and ate giant scoops of ice cream from McConnells.
It was a short trip, but it was so worth the effort. Lots of times I come home from weekend trips feeling exhausted and wishing for an extra day. This trip was different—I think because it was so impromptu. There was no campsite to reserve weeks in advance, we didn’t spend a whole day packing, and we just enjoyed the overall process. I came home refreshed, energized and ready for the week.
I got my dutch oven a year ago for Christmas and it’s been with me on every car camping trip since. I’ve made lots of soups and stews in it, but until the last few times I’ve used it, I’ve been a little scared to make things that are more likely to burn. It’s improving with age, though, as I knew it would. Cast iron products always do. Now it’s almost like a nonstick pan, and my fear of burning things in it is just about gone. The hash browns I made turned out perfect. Topping them off with some cheese and veggies made it a complete meal.
Dutch Oven Hash Browns
Prep Time / Cook Time/
Activity GuideCar Camping
- 2-4 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 30-ounce bag frozen hash browns
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
- 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
- 3 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- salt and pepper
- Cutting board
- Dutch oven
- Lid lifter or pot holder
- Get your campfire going and prep it so there is eventually a nice bed of hot coals to place your dutch oven on.
- Place dutch oven hot coals, making sure it is stable and level. You may have to shift some of the coals around, or add a rock under the dutch oven to get it just right.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil, and add the hash browns. Cook the hash browns until golden brown, stirring occasionally. You may need to add another tablespoon or two of oil if they start to stick. Season with salt and pepper.
- Top hash browns with cheddar, spinach and sliced tomatoes, place the lid on the dutch oven, and heat until the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and serve with sliced avocado.