As an avid camper and backpacker, I'm always looking for easy, cheap and lightweight meals to take with me on my trips. I always had a box or two of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (or Kraft Dinner here in Canada) in my pack/cooler, but it wasn't as easy of a meal as it appears. I had to make sure that I packed butter and milk, not to mention I had to have the equipment to boil water for the pasta. I prefer meals that I can prep at home and just have to throw on a fire or camp stove, so I decided to try to make a Mac & cheese recipe!
Step 1: Ingredients and Supplies
The required Ingredients are:
*Note these measurements are for ONE mac & cheese cup, multiply for each additional cup*
-1/4 Cup dry elbow macaroni
-1 tsp salted/unsalted butter
-2 tbsp shredded cheese blend (add more/less cheese depending on preference)
-3 tbsp milk
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Feel free to add bacon, ham or jalapenos (Optional)
-Mini pot-pie tins
Step 2: Cook Pasta
-Bring a pot of water to a boil and add uncooked elbow macaroni.
-Stir pot until pasta is fully cooked
Step 3: Mix in Cheese, Butter and Milk
-Add all of the cooked pasta to a large bowl
-Mix in the cheese (2 tbsp for every 1/4 cup of pasta)
-Fill the pot-pies with 1/4 cup of the past and cheese mix
-Add the 1 tsp of butter to the middle of the pasta tin and push it into the middle
-Add the 3 tbsp of milk
-Add a pinch of shredded cheese to the top
-Cover each tin with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator/cooler
That is all of the prep work, next step is for when its time to eat!
Step 4: Out of the Pot and Into the Fire
Finally, after a long day of hiking, swimming, biking or even napping... its time for dinner!
-Grab your mac & cheese cup from your cooler and throw it on the fire/camping stove.
-All of the ingredients are cooked, so you just need to heat up the cheese, butter and milk.
-On a camp stove it takes about 10-15 minutes in my experience, on a fire it can really differ. The size of your fire and how far the "grill" is to the flames will affect cooking time, you also have the option to cook the cups right on the embers. My advice it to keep checking to make sure you don't overcook it, be careful not to burn yourself!
-After all of the cheese looks melted, stir the contents well. The stirring process mixes the cheese, butter and milk to create a delicious creamy sauce.
-Add salt and pepper to taste.
If you are not adding breadcrumbs, its time to relax and enjoy your mac & cheese!
Step 5: OPTIONAL STEP... Breadcrumbs!
You have the option to add breadcrumbs. You can use any breadcrumbs that you like, personally I enjoy the crunchy consistency of Panko crumbs.
-After you have mixed your sauce together, add as much breadcrumbs as you desire; I usually use about one tbsp per mac & cheese cup.
-Re-attach the aluminum foil "lid" and place the cup back on the fire/stove, cook for a few minutes to heat and crisp up the breadcrumbs.
-Remove aluminum foil, mix and enjoy!
I have made this recipe several times and everyone who tried it, enjoyed it. It is also one of the easiest recipes to make, you need no culinary experience to make a delicious camping meal.