Summer Camp Favourites: Hearty & Simple Black Bean Casserole

A Camp Recipe to Please the Masses

photo credit:   CC NC SA

photo credit:  CC NC SA

Here’s a recipe to feed 100 people, so you’ll need to find 99 friends or campers if you want to experience this flavor fiesta. It freezes well, so if you can’t muster up a crowd there’s no need to miss out on the party. Unless you have almost no freezer space because you sometimes hoard over-ripe bananas (...guilty); in that case, you should stick with the crowd option and consider some muffin recipes.

This vegetarian casserole is a favorite of mine for a few reasons. First – it's delicious. I hear this is an important factor in good recipes. Second – it’s outrageously quick and easy to put together. It's also flavorful, crispy around the edges, and a great use of cornmeal. I like to think cornmeal is an indicator that whatever you're making will be delicious. Oh, and it's cheesy – that’s a good sign, too. 

The downside is that I hate the word 'casserole'. It makes me think of gloopy, grey fat-free mushroom soup mix and dishes that are way too hard to scrub clean. Don't get me wrong - I don't actually hate casserole, not even mushroom-soup filled casseroles. I just hate the idea of a casserole. The only reason I ever ventured to make this myself was because it doesn't include mushroom soup, frozen peas, or cornflakes. (It does contain frozen corn though...)

Anyway, now that you know about my banana problem and word association issues, I present the finest black bean casserole recipe I have ever made. Which is one.

Black Bean Casserole


1 C olive oil

16C onions, diced

14C yellow cornmeal

20C skim Milk

15C black beans, rinsed and drained

15C canned or frozen corn, drained

15C stewed tomatoes

16C shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Don sombrero and spray sixteen 8’’x8’’ baking pans.
  2. In several large bowls, combine all ingredients except cheese. Mix well and pour into prepared pans.
  3. Top with cheddar cheese, and bake uncovered at 350F for 45 - 60 minutes, until firm and crisp around the edges.

This recipe is from the 3 Week Summer Camp Menu put together by CamphackerTV, which you can find here.

3 Week Summer Camp Menu - On Sale Now

Welcome to my camp menu guide! 

Camp Menu for Sale

Camp Menu for Sale

Purchase the menu now

Having filled every role in the kitchen, I have had the opportunity to observe what makes a great dish washing team, a valuable helper, and a strong kitchen manager. I hope that this menu helps ease some of the great responsibility that you have so bravely accepted. Below are a few simple insights that developed during my years in the kitchen, particularly as kitchen manager. I hope they inspire you to take this opportunity as more than fulfilling the necessities of nutrition.

My Camp Kitchen Philosophy 

The kitchen should be a place for learning - For you, the kitchen staff, and the campers. Encourage staff to take on recipes they haven’t before. Schedule a time for campers to help cook!

The kitchen should be colourful - Colourful food is healthy food, and colourful people make the hot, hectic space bearable. People should leave every meal feeling recharged and content. There should not only be enough food, there should be nutritious, balanced, and varied food.

The kitchen is an integral part of every camp - a happy kitchen is a happy camp. Remember that just because you may not work with the campers regularly, you have a huge impact on the way camp runs. Choose to make that impact noteworthy.

Camp Kitchen Staff's Responsibility 

CampHacker's Meghan Morrison

CampHacker's Meghan Morrison

Running a kitchen is a daunting, stressful, and often overwhelming task. With this is mind, remember that it is our responsibility as Spoon Weilders and Taste Testers to also be Laugh Laughers and Sneak Snackers. We must provide healthy, satisfying food that appeals to as many people as we can. We can not always cater to individual desires or aversions, be we can cater to ideals of variety, care, and home cooking.

The menus and recipes in this cookbook have been developed with love and care, and a healthy dose of trial and error. I have provided recipes I used for many things that are available pre-made, but I am sure you will find more satisfaction with homemade recipes and a remarkable decrease in spending. The savings you will have from making things from scratch helps make buying fruits and vegetables more manageable, and you might even have some left over to splurge on special occasions.

Good luck, happy cooking, 

Meghan ‘Fhyllja’ Morrison 

(CampHacker & Cairn Family of Camps Kitchen Manager 2010-2011)

Purchase the 3 Week Summer Camp Menu

Getting Things Done At Summer camp

 Control Your Camp To Do List

Running a summer camp is a stressful business. In this presentation, summer camp consultant Travis Allison works through ways to "kick the arse of email, hand stress it's hat and out-muscle your To-Do list".  This is very practical seminar that is available for you to download to use in your training (click on the Slideshare link).

Because Travis doesn't use a One-Slide-Many-Bullet-Points presentation style you may not get everything that this presentation has to offer just by looking at the slides.

If you are interested in Travis giving this presentation to your summer camp or private school organization, please fill out the Request a Speaker form.

Getting Things Done at Summer Camp - 2011/2012