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The Menu: Be an Ultralight Gourmet

No, it's not an oxymoron. You, too, can say buh-bye to endless energy bars and instant rice glop--and eat like royalty for less than two pounds a day.

Beef Stroganoff
Serves one: 5.5 oz.
Combine in a quart-size zipperlock:
1 package beef flavored Ramen (including seasoning packet)
1/4 cup dehydrated ground beef
1/4 cup mixed dehydrated veggies
1 teaspoon paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
Individual packet of cream cheese (equal to about a tablespoon; grab one at your favorite bagel shop)
Salt and pepper to taste

In Camp
Add about 1 1/2 cups boiling water to baggie. Squish it around and let it rest in a cozy for 10 minutes or so, until the burger is tender. Stir in cream cheese.

Spicy Curry Noodle Bowl
Serves one: 6 oz.
Combine in a quart size zipperlock:
1 serving of Asian cellophane noodles (They typically come in large bricks. Break off a 3- by 6-inch chunk.)
1/4 cup dehydrated meat of your choice (burger or chicken)
1/4 cup dehydrated mixed veggies
1 tablespoon curry
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons coconut cream powder
2 tablespoons dry milk
Dash of cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful of cashews

In Camp
Add about 1 1/2 cups boiling water to baggie. Squish it around and let it rest in a cozy for 10 minutes, or until everything is tender. Top with cashews.

American Chop Suey
Serves one: 4.5 oz.
Make a double batch of this at home. Have it for dinner with your family then dehydrate half for your next few backpacking trips.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper (any color)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/4 pound elbow noodles
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: cubed cheese, any kind

At Home
Heat oil and gently sauté the onion and pepper until onion is translucent. Add the meat and brown thoroughly, breaking it up as you go with a wooden spoon. Drain off accumulated fat. Add the spices, then tomatoes, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta till al dente and drain. Let the sauce cool, then spread it on the dehydrator trays. (If you don’t have tray liners, cut wax paper to fit the shape of your trays.) Spread the cooled macaroni on separate trays, making sure it doesn’t stick together (rinsing with cool water first helps). Dehydrate both components until they’re brittle (about 6 hours or overnight). When done, combine 1 cup macaroni and 1 cup sauce in a 1-quart zipperlock.

In Camp
Add about 2 cups boiling water to the bag, squish it around and let it rest in a cozy for about 10 minutes, or until everything is tender. Top with cubed cheese.

And the winner is…
Our online call for entries yielded some yummy results. The true champion? Karla Coreil of Port Allen, Louisiana, who came up with a lunch idea that has all the right ingredients: it’s easy, fast, light–and big on flavor and nutrition.

Mom’s Carlsbad Spread

  • 16-oz. canned diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 cups garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (1 can)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 to 3 large lemons)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or use 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 roasted sweet peppers

At Home
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Spread the mixture on dehydrator trays and dry for about 8 hours or until crumbly. Divide mixture into four zipperlocks and break down the pieces as much as you can by squeezing the bag (this will speed along the rehydrating process).

In Camp
Add equal parts water (cold is fine) to each bag, stir, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve on pita, tortillas, or bagels. Makes 4 servings.

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