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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Trail Chef: Weekend Menu--Cheesy Sausage Pasta & Canyon Quesadillas

Make planning easy by using the same basic ingredients for two tasty meals

One simple way to eat better this weekend: Make your food do double duty. Plan for the same basic ingredients to get you through two nights, and you'll have a lighter load, streamlined prep, and, if you've thought things through, two deliciously different dinners.

This winning weekend menu came together in Canyonlands National Park last spring. We had leftovers from Friday's pasta, so we thought: What the hell, why not throw 'em into Saturday's quesadillas? The results were awesome, and I didn't have to schlep extra tomatoes back out of the canyon. Making dinner fixings multitask is one smart move.

Night One: Cheesy Sausage Pasta

Vary ingredient amounts to taste. Serves 2.

1 pouch Knorr-Lipton Four Cheese Bow Tie Italian Sides
1 chunk Gruyere cheese
1 chunk summer sausage
Handful sun-dried tomatoes
Handful dried mushrooms of choice

1. At home, pack the tomatoes and mushrooms in a zip-top bag.
2. In camp, rehydrate the dried ingredients in hot water for 20-30 minutes, or until soft. Drain.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
4. While pasta cooks, dice cheese and chop sausage into bite-size chunks.
5. Add cheese, sausage, tomatoes, and mushrooms to pasta. Stir until cheese melts.

Night Two: Canyon Quesadillas
Serves 2.

2-4 tortillas
1 chunk Gruyere cheese
1 chunk summer sausage
Handful sun-dried tomatoes
Handful dried mushrooms

1. In camp, rehydrate tomatoes and mushrooms, just like last night. Drain.
2. Chop sausage and cook in frying pan until browned. Remove and reserve in a bowl.
3. Slice cheese and place on open-face tortillas. Cook in frying pan until melted.
4. Top with sausage, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Fold tortillas in half and enjoy.

—Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

Image credit: Rob Lee


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Sarah Kirkconnell
Apr 01, 2009

Brian...your friends like any of the vegan "cheeses" out there? (You can find a vegan Parmesan like shaker) Otherwise, unless it is cheese based (ie...mac n' cheese) just leave it out!

As well, nutritional yeast in small amounts gives a warm-nutty-cheese like flavor. Just don't go heavy on it!

Mar 30, 2009

My favorite (and lightweight) trail dinner is chili that I make at home and dehydrate in my oven. I pack the dried chili in a ziploc bag and all that is necessary at the campsite is enough water to rehydrate the dried food and a fire.

Mar 27, 2009

I am introducing a couple of buddies to backpacking this year. Many recipes are heavily cheese based.
Unfortunately my friends have major cheese allergies. Numerous recipes at Backpacker and dehydrated meal producers use cheese. Any cheese substitute ideas?

Mar 27, 2009

"Chunk" works for me.... also "piece", "pinch", "sliver", "glob", "dribble"..etc...etc..etc...

Mar 26, 2009

Now come on. Can't you do better than using "chunk" as a unit of measurment? How about ounce, or at least 2 inch x 2 inch?


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