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18 Camping Meals and Snacks, Plus Jenn Buse’s Favorite Campgrounds in South Dakota and Minnesota

childhood Jenn and Grandma Henkel by Peace Pipe Vista sign at Itasca State Park

Born on a Memorial Day in the 1970s, Jenn Buse has celebrated nearly all 49 of her birthdays at campgrounds.

Once she became a mom, she and her husband, Brent, carried on the summer camping tradition with their children, MacKenzie and Landen, and now their significant others.

Jenn and Brent camping
Jenn and Brent Buse

And their fur babies. 

In this week’s podcast episode, Jenn generously shares family-favorite recipes that we can all make for camping, a picnic, or a summer day at home. Whether fireside folk singing, watching the sun set over Lake Poinsett, or cozied up in the camper on a rainy day, Jenn’s recipes are crowd pleasers in her family.

Listen to Funeral Potatoes & Wool Mittens episode 25 wherever you get your favorite podcasts, or listen in the Spotify player below.

family photo

Jenn shares how she came to love Midwest summers as a bassinet camper, a few of her favorite campgrounds in South Dakota and Minnesota, why she knows how Tinder works even though she and Brent just celebrated their twenty-ninth wedding anniversary, the surprising way she grew up eating graham crackers for breakfast, and her approach to simplifying the dreaded unloading process once they return home. 

Camping Breakfast

With breakfast being the most important meal of the day, we begin with omelets in a bag, their famous Buse flapjacks from Brent’s Grandma Leona Buse, graham cracker cereal, and toad in a hole.

Aebleskiver recipe using Bisquick
bowl of milk and crushed graham crackers while camping
Graham cracker cereal

Since she lives in Tyler, Minnesota, which hosts annual Aebleskiver Days, Jenn gave us the recipe she uses with Bisquick.

Aebleskiver recipe using Bisquick

Lunch & Snacks

For lunchtime and snacks, Jenn shares MacKenzie’s Mustard Dip, her mom’s horseradish pickles (from already prepared pickles), and Grandma Beth’s macaroni salad that never misses a camping trip, and Grandma Henkel’s potato salad—which people used to buy by the ice cream pail. (Jenn and Grandma Murlaine Henkel are pictured at the top of the page in front of the Peace Pipe Vista sign at Itasca State Park.)

MacKenzie's Mustard Dip for camping
MacKenzie’s Mustard Dip
Grandma Henkel's potato salad recipe on a handwritten recipe card
Grandma Henkel’s potato salad recipe

We also decided the horseradish pickles would be good on Jenn’s O’BLTs.

jar of horseradish pickles and a little dish with pickles and a pickle fork
Beth’s horseradish pickles

Supper (dinner to some)

Once supper rolls around, we’re firing up the grill to make poor boys/hobo dinners, Jamie’s glazed ham and SPAM pizza burgers. Jenn also shares how they use a turkey fryer to make a shrimp boil for a crowd.

cooked hobo dinner packet in foil with hamburger, carrots and potatoes
Poor boys/hobo dinner foil packets
SPAM pizza burgers recipe

Campfire Treats

Of course, we leave the campfire sweet treats for last, like what they use to switch up their s’mores, how to make pie pockets in a bonfire sandwich cooker, and the funniest story EVER about her dad, popcorn and raccoons. 

chocolate chip cookies, graham crackers and flavored marshmallows for s'mores

The Family That Travels Together…

Since Jenn and Brent live in Minnesota, you can bet they escape the Midwest winters with trips to Arizona and Mexico too.

Lefse Ladies

If you like lefse, be sure to listen all the way to the end because Jenn has a little secret about how to buy it from the Lefse Ladies (if you’re in the area), which she co-owns with her sister-in-law, Amy.   

Camping Deli Wraps

I’ve only camped a few times in my life, but one time was all I needed to make these camping deli wraps.

deli wraps for camping

Links from this Camping Episode

Lefse Ladies

Shear Attraction

Douglas Lodge at Itasca State Park

Aebleskiver Days

Honey Days

Lake Poinsett Recreation Area

Oakwood Lakes State Park

Itasca State Park

Sleepy Eye City Park and Lake

Lake George Blueberry Festival 2023 

SPAM Museum

As I mentioned in the podcast, Jenn sent me this photo from the first time we met—in 1991. I was a little brat. But the couch is a classic.

Sweet wishes,


MacKenzie’s Mustard Dip

Staci at Random Sweets
Sweet and tangy, you'll dive right in with pretzel thins, crackers, meats and cheeses. Also good on chicken and fried sausage.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 174 kcal


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


  • Combine all ingredients. Whisk well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.


Calories: 174kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 0.3gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 137mgPotassium: 8mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 13IUVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword dips, honey mustard, mayonnaise, mustard

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

Beth’s Horseradish Pickles

Staci at Random Sweets
No canning involved here. Simply add a few ingredients to jarred pickles, shake it every day for 4 days and enjoy.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 50
Calories 45 kcal


  • 80 ounce kosher dill pickles
  • 3 tablespoons jarred horseradish
  • cups sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar


  • Drain pickle juice and set juice aside. Cut pickles into slices.
  • In the empty jar, add the horseradish, sugar, and vinegar. Put the lid back on and shake vigorously.
  • Place all the pickle slices back into the jar. Add reserved pickle juice to fill the jar nearly to the top.
  • Place jar in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Shake the jar a few times each day.


Calories: 45kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.003gSodium: 370mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 83IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword dill pickles, horseradish, pickles

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

Beth’s Macaroni Salad

Staci at Random Sweets
We know how to make a good macaroni salad in the Midwest. Adding SPAM? It's what we do.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10


  • 4 cups elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 1 can SPAM
  • ½ bag frozen peas
  • 2 cups cheese, chunked
  • 1 cup whipped salad dressing
  • tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tablespoon celery salt
  • diced celery, optional


  • Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate at least 6 hours. Store covered in refrigerator.
Keyword camping, cheddar cheese, macaroni salad, pasta salad, side salad, SPAM

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

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