Recipe: Mac ‘n Cheese “Thru-Hiker Style”
Macaroni and Cheese is a staple dinner for long distance backpackers. It’s cheap, lightweight, easy to prepare and available virtually everywhere. It’s also pretty bland tasting. Try this recipe next time to add some flavor (and a ton of extra calories) to your “Trail Mac”:
I have to give credit to my friends Sam and Chris for helping create this variation. On the last day of our Colorado Trail thru-hike we were running a bit ahead of schedule and had a bunch of extra food. We decided to throw it all in the pot together, and this is what we ended up with.
Digestion Tip: Because it is so high in fat this meal is best eaten at the end of the day after you are done hiking (as opposed to during the day when you’ll want to consume mostly carbohydrates for energy). It gives new meaning to the phrase: “Sticks to your ribs!”
1 box Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (Thick ‘n Creamy)
1/2 packet Knorr Alfredo Sauce Mix (0.8 ounces)
1 mozzarella string cheese stick (cubed)
3 oz summer sausage (cubed)
1 tbsp olive oil
Lightweight Packing Tip: Remove mac n cheese from box and pack in a quart sized ziplock baggy. Small storage bottles from REI are excellent for packing condiments and spices.
1. Fry summer sausage in 1 tsp of olive oil in bottom of cookpot. Remove and set aside.
2. Bring 2 1/4 cups water to a rolling boil.
3. Add macaroni noodles (without cheese packet) to boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes.
4. Remove from flame, cover with lid and transfer to a pot cozy. Let sit for 15 minutes.
5. Go set up your tent and do other camp chores. A watched pot cozy never cooks
6. When noodles have absorbed most of the water, stir in remaining olive oil, alfredo sauce, powdered cheese packet and cheese cubes. (If there is not enough water left to reconstitute the sauce mix and cheese powder you can add a bit more)
7. Cover again for 1-2 minutes to allow cheese to melt.
8. Add summer sausage and season to taste. Enjoy!
Weight and Nutrition Information:
Serves: 1 hungry thru-hiker (or 2 day-hikers)
Dry Weight: 12.5 ounces
Carbohydrates: 164 grams
Protein: 59 grams
Fat: 52 grams
Calorie to Weight Ratio: 106 calories per ounce
Calorie to Cost Ratio: 295 calories per $1.00
What are some of your favorite quick ‘n easy trail recipes? Post ‘em in the comments below…