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August 2005

Instant Weekend Menu

Cooking tips and recipes for easy backcountry meals


©Mitch Mandel; food styling: Melissa DeMayo

5-Minute Meal
Garlic Mac & Cheese

¼ pound cheddar or jack cheese, grated
¼ cup powdered milk
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced (or ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
12 ounces macaroni noodles
salt and pepper to taste

At home Combine the cheese, milk, parsley, and garlic in a zipper-lock bag. Pack macaroni separately.

In camp Cook macaroni and drain. Add cheese-milk mixture and mix until the cheese is melted. Serves two. Variations Mix in steamed or boiled broccoli or zucchini (first-night meal); add canned tuna, shrimp, or scallops; add chopped onion; season with rosemary, basil, or a dash of chili powder; add chopped walnuts; or mix blue cheese with jack.

©Mitch Mandel; food styling: Melissa DeMayo

5-Minute Meal
Corn Pancakes

¾ cup corn flour or cornmeal
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup raw (un-toasted) wheat germ
½ cup powdered milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil or butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ cups water
extra oil for cooking

At home Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and transfer to a zipper-lock bag.

In camp Empty contents of bag into a pot or bowl. Stir in oil or butter, honey, and water. Cook pancakes about 2 minutes on each side in a hot, oiled pan. Toppings: honey, or maple or berry syrup. Serves two.

Leftovers? Spread peanut butter on top for a satisfying midday meal.

©Mitch Mandel; food styling: Melissa DeMayo

5-Minute Meal
Noodles With Spicy Peanut Sauce

½ cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
2 tablespoons tamari
4 teaspoons crushed garlic
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
¾ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or 1 tablespoon dried cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces soba noodles or your favorite pasta

At home Mix together all ingredients in bowl except noodles. Pack in a plastic container or bottle (recipe makes 1 ¾ cups sauce). Note: The sauce will keep for 2 days unrefrigerated; the vinegar in the recipe acts as a preservative.

In camp Cook noodles or pasta; drain ½ cup hot water into measuring cup, and scatter the rest. Empty sauce into pot, add hot water, and toss thoroughly. Serves two.

Variations For a subtle change in flavor, substitute dried chives or grated ginger root for cilantro.

©Mitch Mandel; food styling: Melissa DeMayo

5-Minute Meal
Sesame Almond Fudge

1 cup sesame seeds
½ cup almonds
½ cup cashew butter or peanut butter
¼ cup currants or chopped raisins
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water, or more as needed to hold mixture together
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)

At home Grind sesame seeds and almonds with a nut grinder, blender, or food processor. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Pack in a small container and slice into squares.

Variation Pat fudge into small balls and roll in coconut.

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