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30 Second Hot Chocolate When hot chocolate takes 30 seconds to make, you might start drinking a lot more of it. We won’t hold it against you if you buy the packets of Swiss Miss or Carnation, but here’s a good recipe if you’re a diehard do-it-yourselfer. 1/3 cup cocoa 1 1/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons powdered non-dairy creamer _ teaspoon salt (instant coffee) Mix all ingredients and store in a zip lock baggie. To one cup boiling water, add 1/3 cup dry mix (about four to six heaping tablespoons) and stir well. Add a little instant coffee for mocha. Life is good. Tea Explain how to make tea? Preposterous, unless you’re a Brit. Next time you take a chilly fall hike or winter snowshoe, bring along your Jetboil and surprise your friends at lunchtime. You’ll be the hit of the party. Bring water or snow to a fresh boil. Turn off heat, add teabag(s), cover, and let steep for three minutes.
Russian Tea An old Boy Scout favorite. Has little to do with Russia or tea, but it tastes great. 2 cups sugar 1 cup Tang orange powder 1/2 cup instant tea 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. cloves 1 pkg lemonade mix, 1 qt size Mix ingredients together and store in a zip lock bag. Mix 2-3 tablespoons with a cup of hot water. Instant Coffee Ok, so it’s not as good as fresh, but it’s a lot easier to make and clean up after, and you’ll appreciate the fresh stuff when you get home. For an improvement on most instant coffee brands, try Medaglia D’Oro instant espresso. For an approximation of fresh taste, try the coffee singles (coffee in a teabag) from Folger’s or Maxwell House. If this still isn’t your cuppa, check out our Cowboy Coffee recipe. Cowboy Coffee Coffee without the filter. Instant’s easier, but this is nature’s best option for fresh coffee fanatics. If you’re a little patient, cowboy coffee is easy. And don’t believe those stories about egg shells! 2 cups water 4 heaping tablespoons fresh ground coffee Bring the water to a boil. Turn heat to as low a boil as possible. Add coffee and stir well into boiling water. Turn off heat immediately and cover. Every minute, uncover and stir to encourage the grounds to sink. Repeat a few times, then leave it alone for another few minutes. Most of the grounds should have settled and you can pour or sip off the top.
Hot JELL-O Another old Boy Scout favorite. If you get tired of it hot, make it cold and traditional, right in the cooking cup. Follow the directions on the packet, then set the cooking cup in a cold stream or snowbank. For a change from hot chocolate, mix 1-2 tablespoons JELL-O in a cup of hot water for a fruity breakfast drink. Gayle’s Toddy Toddies abound, but a better one we have not tasted. Try this one on your mother-in-law. _ cup water 2 tablespoons honey _ lemon or lime _ stick cinnamon 4 whole cloves 1 _ oz bourbon Throw in everything but the bourbon and gently heat to near boil. At the peak of aromatic splendor, add the whiskey and turn off the heat. Swirl a bit and serve.
Home Made Instant Oatmeal You can buy instant Quaker oatmeal in packets, or make it up yourself. When you’re out for a long time, variety is the spice! 1 cup quick oats 1/3 cup instant dry milk handful wheat bran chopped nuts or sunflower seeds chopped dried fruit 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon sugar to taste (honey or maple syrup) In preparation for a trip, mix all ingredients except the honey and syrup together and divide into three zip lock bags. Get creative with the add-ins; seeds, nuts, and dried fruit are some suggestions. On the trail, bring one cup of water to a boil, turn off heat, and add contents of one bag. Stir and let sit for a couple minutes to thicken. Great with honey or maple syrup dribbled on top.
Hot Granola If you’re like most people, even the most fancy oatmeal gets old. Switching to granola from time to time may ease the ennui. This one is good hot or cold. 1/2- 1 cup granola 1/4 – 1/2 cup powdered milk Figure out how much granola you like to eat for breakfast and measure out single servings, along with milk, into little zip lock bags. On the trail, heat a cup of water and pour in the mix. Stir and enjoy. Boiled Eggs Sometimes nothing beats an egg. Make up some extras for a trail snack. Bring along a little squeeze tube of margarine or a container of butter for extra flavor, and don’t forget the baggies of salt and pepper! 1 – 6 eggs water butter or margarine salt and pepper Carefully place the eggs in the cooking cup. Add water to cover completely. Turn on heat and bring to a boil. If you want them soft-boiled, turn off heat and let sit for three to five minutes. For hard-boiled, reduce heat to very low boil for five minutes, then turn off and let sit another five. If you douse the eggs with cold water first, they’re easier to peel.
Ramen Noodles No lightweight food guide would be complete without a rousing cheer for these noodles. Ramen is cheap, calorie-packed, fast-cooking, and uncannily satisfying. Even if you don’t make any other hot food, you can feel satisfied that with Jetboil you have the world’s fastest Ramen maker, and that’s more than enough to make us happy. 2 cups water one pkg Ramen noodles
Boil water, turn heat way down, add Ramen noodles and mystery spice packet. Stir. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for five minutes. Jet Soup Now that you’re a Jetboil owner, you’ve got a great excuse for quick hot lunches on the trail. Hot soup is the very definition of instant gratification. There’s plenty to choose from at your grocery store. It’s also remarkable what you can do with a bouillon cube (or Ramen noodles) and one or two fresh ingredients or spices. 1-2 cups water Base: 1-2 chicken, beef, or veggie bouillon cubes OR 1 package of Ramen noodles with flavor packet Add-Ins: chopped onion or scallion cilantro chopped up beef jerky bacon bits parmesan cheese dried mushrooms can of shrimp or clams chopped spam chili powder Italian seasoning Put water, bouillon cube(s), and add-in(s) into cooking cup. Turn on heat, bring to boil, and turn off. Most excellent lunch. Egg Drop Ramen This simple recipe adds richness and flavor to an old favorite. If you’re timid about carrying eggs in your pack, buy a plastic two- or six-egg holder from your outdoor shop, or pack them in a cut-down section of the original carton, wrapped with a rubber band and stored in a zip lock just in case. Eggs keep at room temp for several days. 2 cups water 1 pkg Ramen noodles 1 egg
Boil water, turn heat way down, add Ramen noodles, spice packet, and egg. Stir to create eggy, filamentous wonder. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for five minutes. Jet Soup with Dumplings Fresh bread on the trail is virtually unheard of, but dumplings are an easy and tasty substitute which takes your soup to new levels. 1/2 cup Bisquick 1/4 cup powdered milk 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup water Pre-mix the dry ingredients before your trip in a one quart zip lock bag. On the trail, add cold water to the bag, zip it shut, and knead it until you get a doughy consistency. You might have to add a little more water. Set this aside and make your soup, then turn off the heat. Spoon out penny-sized chunks of dough into the hot soup. Turn on the heat again, and simmer at lowest possible heat for a couple minutes while stirring continuously. Turn off heat and chow down.
Jet Beans and Franks Ok, so it’s not exactly lightweight but hey, you can’t beat hotdogs and beans for car camping and short trips. We love this American favorite a la Jetboil. 12 oz. can baked beans 1 - 6 hotdogs Open and pour a can of beans in the cooking cup. Stick in up to six hotdogs vertically, like buried phone poles. Start Jetboil and turn down to the lowest possible heat. Cover loosely and let the mixture heat for about five minutes to evenly heat the dogs and beans. Pull the dogs out and serve on a bun. Alternate recipe for speedier results: cut up the dogs into the beans, turn heat a tiny bit higher and stir continuously until warm. Cluck Cluck Couscous Couscous is made of pre-cooked semolina wheat and rehydrates almost instantly, making it one of the very best bases for lightweight eating. You can find it in the bulk food or imported foods section of the supermarket. 2 cups water
chicken bouillon cube 1 cup couscous 4 oz. can chicken Add water and bouillon cube to the cooking cup. Bring to a boil. Add couscous and turn off burner. Cover and wait about five minutes for couscous to absorb water. Add chicken and mix it into the couscous. Oink Oink Couscous We can’t get enough of couscous. This recipe uses double-concentrated tomato paste, which is sold in tubes (we tested Amore – 4.5 ounces of luscious sweetness). You might have to look in the imports section of your supermarket if you can’t find it with the canned tomato paste. The Armour canned ham we tested with this recipe surpassed our expectations. 2 cups water chicken bouillon cube 2 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste 1 cup couscous 5 oz. can of ham Add water, bouillon, and tomato paste to cooking cup. Bring to boil, stir to mix and turn off heat. Add couscous, cover, and let stand for five minutes. Add ham and mix it in. Tuna Alfredo Packaged soups and pastas from Knorr and Lipton have been backpacker mainstays for years. Throwing in meat and powdered milk adds depth and flavor. Starkist sells tuna in a Mylar foil pouch which we like because there’s no can to carry, and it makes a superlight drinking cup when you’re done. Canned turkey, spam, chicken, clams, or shrimp are all fine substitutes for tuna. If you’re a vegetarian or minimalist, skip the meat and add a little fresh parmesan cheese, olive oil, or nuts. 2 cups water (1/4 cup powered milk) 5 oz. pkg Knorr Pasta with Alfredo Sauce 4 oz. can of tuna Bring water to a boil. Turn way down and add powdered milk and Alfredo Pasta mix. Simmer on super-low until cooked, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Turn off heat, add tuna, and stir. For variety, try salmon, sardines, or clams.
Rice and Chicken Instant rice (e.g. Uncle Ben’s or Kraft Minute Rice) is an excellent starch base because of its low weight and zero cooking time. Chicken is a natural complement, but packaged turkey, chipped beef, and fish work well too. Experiment with variations on this theme. 1 cup water 1 cup instant rice 2 tablespoons onion flakes 1 can boned chicken 1/2 teaspoon sage chicken bouillon cube (dry mushrooms) Pour water and bouillon cube in cooking cup. Stir to dissolve cube. Turn on heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Turn down to low simmer once boiling and let cook for five minutes. Gordon’s Rice and Avocado Burritos This one is great for car camping. A delicious departure from bean-based burritos. 1 cup water 1 cup instant rice (e.g. Kraft or Uncle Ben’s) 1 avocado flour tortillas hot sauce (Taco Bell packets are easy) cheddar cheese salt and pepper Bring water to boil, turn off heat, and add rice. Let stand for five minutes until rehydrated. Slice some cheese onto a tortilla, add a couple spoonfuls of rice to melt it, and cut in some avocado. Top with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Roll it up and chow down Gordon style. Refried Beans and Rice Burritos This one is a calorie monster that will stick to your ribs for hours. Rice and beans combine for a complete protein. These refried beans are surprisingly good. 2 cups water
1 cup instant rice (e.g. Uncle Ben’s or Kraft Minute) 1/2 of 7 oz. pkg. instant refried beans (e.g. Fantastic Foods) (flour tortillas) hot sauce (Taco Bell packets are convenient) Bring water to boil, turn off heat, and add rice and instant beans. Stir and let sit for a five minutes until water is absorbed. Spread mixture on a tortilla and top with sauce. For weight savings, omit the tortillas and eat from the cup. Rice and beans can be made separately if desired. Puttanesca Puttanesca is an Italian assemblage of funky and intense flavors, which is why we like it so much. Bring olives in a baggie to avoid the weight of a full can. Fresh garlic is best, but garlic paste is convenient. Amore sells garlic paste in a tube. Or just use garlic powder to save weight. 2 cups water 3/4 cup pasta shells or wheels 3 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste 2 oz. can of anchovies with capers 1/4 cup chopped black olives or paste 2 cloves of chopped garlic (olive oil) (parmesan cheese) Bring water to a boil, turn down to lowest simmer, and add pasta. Allow pasta to cook (7-10 minutes, depending on the variety). Turn off heat, snap cover on tightly, and drain the water. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. For extra richness, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Top with parmesan cheese.