Trail Chef: Savory One-Pot Meals–Chili Crunch and Tortellini Stew

Check out these delicious one-pot dishes.

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When I’m trying to decide what to make for supper, I ask myself two important questions: How long is it going to take to cook and how many dishes will I have to do when the meal is over? That’s why, in the frontcountry, I love my crockpot. Unfortunately, I can’t take my favorite cooking appliance backpacking, so I opt for these delicious meals that are easy to prep and easy to clean, but sure to satisfy a hungry (and impatient) hiker. (Stay tuned next week for two more one-pot recipes.)


Makes 3 servings

1 box dry chili mix

2 cans kidney beans

Corn chips 

Cheddar cheese

Hot sauce

At home

For lighter weight, remove beans from cans and dehydrate them (or buy dried beans from sites like Combine dry chili mix and dehydrated kidney beans. Individually pack corn chips, cheddar cheese, and hot sauce.

In camp

Add dry mix and beans to 7 ½ cups water. Stir well. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes or until done. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with cheddar cheese, corn chips, and hot sauce.


Makes 2 servings

2 cups dried tortellini

1 cup thinly sliced dried tomatoes

3 tablespoons dried, chopped green pepper

1/3 cup onion flakes

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

At home

Place all ingredients except Parmesan cheese in a zip-top bag. Pack Parmesan cheese separately.

In camp

Add tortellini mixture to 2 quarts (8 cups) boiling water. Stir until water returns to a boil. Stirring occasionally, cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

**Recipes adapted from More Backcountry Cooking