Pre-Mixed Recipes for the Trail

Desert Lil's Delicacies - A DUSA Food Feature

In previous issues of this column, I've offered some camping recipes that can easily be used by tailgaters or campers, but require ingredients and/or cooking tools that may be too heavy, elaborate or fresh to pack in for backcountry hikes or kayaking trips.

Often, when on extended backpacking hikes or river runs, every ounce of weight and bit of space counts. Sometimes, even fresh fruits and vegetables are left behind in favor of dried items that are lighter and can be prepared ahead of time.

The following recipes are quick and easy, and lightweight, and can either be prepared on the trail or prepared ahead of time, normally pre-mixing all ingredients except water. In fact, many of the commercially available (add water only) meal packs use the same techniques to create nutritious, tasty, lightweight meals requiring very little space.

So pay up to $10 for pre-packaged commercial trail dinners available in your local camping outlet, or mix your own meals ahead of time at a fraction of the cost. The 4 recipes below shouldn't cost much more than $10 for the lot of 'em.


Before You Split Pea Soup
Serves 2

  • 1 cup split peas
  • 1 Tbs onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 /4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Before leaving home or base camp, pre-mix all ingredients and place in a durable plastic bag or well-sealed container. When ready to cook, add 3 cups water to a small pot, and bring to boil. Add pre-packaged ingredients and boil 30-45 minutes, depending on your elevation. If you're a carnivore and have a couple strips of bacon or jerky along, slice into small pieces and add to the pot. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom. Serve when good and thick.

Tomorrow's Tarragon Tuna Casserole
Serves 2

  • 1/2 lb noodles flat egg noodles (or your choice)
  • 2 Tbsp dried peas (can use split peas)
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 can tuna
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt to taste

Before leaving home or base camp, place noodles in a sealed container, then mix all ingredients -- except tuna -- and place in a durable plastic bag, within the noodle container. When ready to cook, add 3 cups water to a small pot, and bring to boil. Add noodles and boil till tender (10-20 minutes, depending on your elevation and noodle size). Drain most of excess water, and add dry ingredients to pot, stirring well. Add a little more water as necessary. Open and drain tuna, then add to noodle casserole, continuing to stir while heating under low heat 5 more minutes.

Hurried Curried Lentil Stew
Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup dry lentils
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 Tbsp onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper (optional)
  • 1 /4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Before leaving home or base camp, pre-mix all ingredients and place in a durable plastic bag or well-sealed container. When ready to cook, add 3 cups water to a small pot, bring to boil. Add pre-packed ingredients and boil 30-45 minutes, depending on your elevation, and the type of rice you choose. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom. Serve when rice is tender.

Fab Pre-fab Fry Bread
Serves 2

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (white or whole wheat)
  • 1 Tbsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dry onion flakes
  • 1 Tbsp dry rosemary

Before leaving home or base camp, pre-mix all ingredients and place in a durable plastic bag or well-sealed container. When ready to cook, empty contents into a container and add 1/2 cup of water, mixing well with your clean hands. Add more water as needed, until dough forms a cohesive, firm, dry ball. Knead 5 more minutes, then create golf-ball size dough balls. Flatten with bottom of can or pan to about 1/8 inch thick. Fry on hot skillet or griddle 10 minutes per side and serve.


Complete Index of Desert Lil's Delicacies

 

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