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Backpacking Recipes

Carl's Backpacking Oatmeal

2 ½ cups quick cooking oatmeal
2/3 cup raisins
1 cup powdered milk
2/3 cup brown sugar (dried if you wish to make it lighter)
½ tsp cinnamon
1/16 tsp nutmeg (optional)
Chopped nuts (optional)
Shredded coconut (optional)
Dried fruit (optional)

Grind the oats in a blender to make them smaller. Don't grind too much or you will just end up with gooey mess when water is added. Mix all ingredients in a zip lock bag.

Servings: 5 hearty servings

Oyster Chowder

I found this recipe online at and first tried in September 1998 at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We have had it numerous times since and it has never failed to satisfy.  Be careful with this meal in bear country!

Combine in plastic zipper bag at home:

1 package (.9 ounces) Knorr mushroom sauce mix (not gravy mix)
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3 tablespoons packaged dry onion soup mix (half of a 1.4-ounce package)
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon bacon-flavored bits (Bac-Os) or home-dried cooked chopped bacon
2 teaspoons Butter Buds (in the spice aisle at the grocery store, Molly McButter etc.)
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Carry separately:

1 can 3/7 oz. petite smoked oysters
Oyster crackers or saltines (optional, not in my opinion)

At camp: In medium pot, boil 3 cups water. Add dry mix and oysters with juice. Stir thoroughly. Cover and return to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Serve with oyster crackers. The downsides of this recipe are that you have to carry to oyster container (metal) and worry about the smell. We have never had any problems but have never served it in bear country. Be sure to clean out the pot too.

Servings: 2 or 3 servings


Kay's "Rock Your Mountain" Cookies

This recipe comes from Kay Gundry who has been on several backpacking trips. She set out to create a cookie that would stand up to the punishment of a backpack, was healthy (for a cookie), and tasty. I think this recipe fits the bill for all three.

1 cup Lighter Bake - Butter/Oil Replacement
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
2 cup rolled oats
2 tsp vanilla
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 cup Craisins

Combine oil, sugars and eggs and beat then set aside. Combine flours, soda, salt, and oats. Combine flours with egg mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cookies cool on pan for about 1 minute, them remove to waxed paper.

Fruit Cobbler

(Backpacker Magazine Feb 1998)

This dessert really hits the spot after a long day on the trail. Careful - it can be addictive. You will need a stove that you can control the temperature on as simmering is required. Cook when you have access to a water source - the pan takes a bit of work to clean. And don't burn it - that is really hard to clean up!

Combine in plastic zipper bag at home:

12 ounces diced dried fruit of your choice (a mixture works well)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pack in a different plastic zipper bag:

1-3/4 cups apple-cinnamon pancake mix (Krusteaz makes a great version)

At camp: Add fruit mixture to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes ot soften fruit. Add about 1/2 cup of water to the pancake mix and knead the bag to create a very stiff dumpling dough. Cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze the dough onto the top of the hot fruit (make sure you have at least 2 inches of liquid in the pot). Cover and continue to simmer until "dumplings" have cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Servings: 4 servings

Garlic and Herb Mashed Potatoes

2 cup potato flakes
1 TBS Butter Buds
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup dry milk
1 packet Garlic and herb Salad dressing mix
1 3/4 cup boiling water

At home:  Mix all dry ingredients and place in a zipper bag.

At camp:  Boil water and add to dry mix (in the zip top bag or a bowl), stir well and enjoy.

Serves: 6

Mountain Mashed Potatoes

1 3/4 cup potato flakes
1/2 cup freeze-dried eggs
___ Bacon Bits
___ sun dried tomatoes
___ dried mushrooms
1 TBS dried milk
1 1/2 cup boiling water
Cheddar cheese

At home:  Mix all dry ingredients and place in a zipper bag.

At camp:  Boil water and add to dry mix (in the zip top bag or a bowl), stir well and let sit for 5 minutes.  Add cheese and enjoy.

Serves: 4 hungry backpackers (need to verify this)

Alfredo Mashers

2/3 cup potato flakes
1 TBS dry milk
1 TBS shlef stable parmesan cheese
1 tsp non-dairy coffee creamer
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp powdered garlic
1/8 tsp grouond black papper
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1 cup water

At home:  Mix all dry ingredients and place in a zipper bag.

At camp:  Boil water and add to dry mix (in the zip top bag or a bowl), stir well and let set for 5 minutes

Serves: 2 (need to verify this)

Italian Salmon Alfredo

This dish was first prepared on a trip to the Grand Canyon.  I didn't think much of it as I started eating it but really enjoyed it by the time I finished it.  One of the other backpackers just loved it.

8 ounces small pasta
1/4 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
1 packet dry alfredo sauce mix
1 6-7 ounce foil packet salmon
1/4 cup dry milk

At home:  Combine pasta and tomatoes in a zipper bag.

At camp:  Bring 4 cups water to a boil in your pot. Add in the pasta and tomatoes.  Boil gently till done.  When done, turn off the heat and drain off the water reserving about 1 1/2 cups water.  Add in the dry Alfredo mix and the dry milk.  Stir in well.  Add in the salmon, stirring in well.  Heat over low heat, if desired.  If desired, sprinkly in some no-salt seasoning or black pepper.

Serves: 2 big appetites or 3 smaller ones

Backcountry Tortilla

This recipe comes from my backpacking buddy, John Gundry.  Be careful and don't use too much honey - it will make a real mess - and this is experience speaking.  Makes a great snack or meal.

1 TBS or so - Peanut or Almond butter
1 Whole Wheat Tortilla
Granola - enough to cover the tortilla
Wheat Germ / Bran
Raisens, diced

At home:  Spread a thin layer of peanut or almond butter on the tortilla.  Lightly sprinkle some granola and wheat germ/bran over the butter.  Add the raisens and a small amount of honey.  Role the tortilla and wrap in plastic wrap and place in a zip top bag. 
At camp:  Enjoy.

Dried Ground Beef

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs

Mix well.  Break into small pieces in frying pan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until lightly browned and fully cooked.

Squeeze out fat with paper towels and place on parchment paper on dehydrator.

Dry at 145 degrees for 6 hours or until dry and hard. (It took me only about 3 hours).

Jazzed Spuds

1/2 cup dehydrated mashed potatoes
1/2 cup dried ground beef
1 TBL Sour Cream powder
1 Tsp onion powder
1 TBL dried Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp each salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a quart size zip top bag. In camp: add water to the desired consistency (about a 1/2 cup). Let stand for about 10 minutes for beef to rehydrate.

Serves: 1

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