Start the festivities as soon as you roll into camp with this easy appetizer. Serves 4.
- ½ pound Gouda cheese
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 loaf French bread
- 1⁄3 cup dried cranberries (or 4 oz. cranberry sauce)
At home: Store cranberries and Gouda in separate zip-top bags, and put oil in a leakproof container. Store loaf in a large plastic bag, and stow at the top of your pack to avoid squishing.
In camp: Slice Gouda and cut bread into 1-inch slices. Warm a dash of oil over medium heat and toast bread until golden. Flip, add cheese, and cover until melted (2 minutes). Top with cranberries or a dollop of sauce, remove from heat, and serve.
Cut prep and cleanup time by turning the feast’s centerpiece inside out. Serves 4.
- 1 lb. turkey breast, cooked
- 3 sticks celery, diced
- 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 5 Tbsp. butter
- 1 six-oz. package seasoned stuffing mix
- 1⁄3 cup dried cranberries
At home: Cut turkey into ½-inch cubes or shred with a fork. Put in a zip-top bag and freeze.
Before your trip, put frozen turkey bag in the middle of your pack to keep it cool (cook on day one). Pack butter in a leakproof container. Store dried cranberries in one zip-top bag and whole carrot and celery in another. Pack whole onion. Pack stuffing in its original package.
In camp: If turkey is still frozen, let thaw. Meanwhile, chop vegetables. Heat 1 Tbsp. butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add veggies, and sauté for 8 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add turkey. Cook for 2 more minutes, or until turkey is warmed through and onion begins to brown.
Heat 1 ½ cups water and 3 Tbsp. butter in a pan until water boils and butter melts completely. Reduce heat to low and stir in stuffing mix, vegetables, and turkey. Remove from heat, add cranberries, and serve.
Tip: Out for a few days? Instead of turkey, sub in dried, cured turkey sausage.
Some holiday classics are worth schlepping in the real thing. Serves 4.
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 1/3 cup + 1 pinch brown sugar
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- ½ tsp. ginger
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 Tbsp. orange juice
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- ¼ cup walnuts or pecans
- 4 strips bacon, cooked
At home: Store butter and orange juice in leakproof containers. Pack sugar and spices in a zip-top bag. Crumble bacon. Pack it, nuts, and marshmallows in separate baggies. Chop potatoes into ½-inch cubes and pack in a zip-top bag.
In camp: Boil potatoes until soft (10 to 15 minutes). Drain, then mash with a fork in a separate bowl. Set aside a pinch of sugar mixture, then combine remaining sugar, spices, butter, and orange juice in the pot and heat, stirring until smooth (about 5 minutes). Stir in potatoes. Top with marshmallows, nuts, and reserved sugar, then return to medium heat and cover for 2 to 5 minutes. Toast marshmallows, if desired. Top with bacon and serve.
Eggs, shmeggs. This backpacker-friendly drink will have you laughing around the campfire long into the night. Serves 4.
3 ¼ cups milk from powder
2 oz. instant vanilla pudding
2 pinch cinnamon
3 pinches allspice
3 pinches nutmeg
2 oz. bourbon, brandy, or cointreau (optional)
At home: Measure pudding, spices, and powdered milk into a zip-top bag. Pack any alcohol in a plastic bottle or flask.
In camp: Add 3 ¼ cups cold water and powdered ingredients to a medium-size bowl. Stir until smooth, about 1 minute. Add alcohol (adults only) and serve.
With a little ingenuity, you can make your Thanksgiving turkey (or, more likely, Cornish hen) in the backcountry. Get the Recipe