Hiker’s Chili & Beans for the Appalachian Trail

When I created this recipe, I didn’t have equivalent ingredients for a home-cooked chili with meat, so I simply guessed at portions of ingredients. At first the chili was too sweet, so I cut the sweetness with mustard. By the time this was simmering on the stove, all three of my dogs were salivating, looking up at the stove top, and begging for a VEGETARIAN meal (if you skip the cheese). I shared with them, and they loved it. My son, who swears he is a carnivore, tried it too, and remarked how meat-like it was. He was willing to eat this meal too. So here it is, my chili & bean recipe, so easy to make on the trail, and so hearty and delicious you will not miss meat on the trail.

 

Hiker’s Chili & Beans
1/8 cup Augason Farms Beef Flavored Vegetarian Meat Substitute
1/8 cup Augason Farms Taco Flavored Vegetarian Meat Substitute
¼ cup Harmony House dehydrated pinto beans
1 tsp. Harmony House dehydrated onion
1 tsp. Harmony House dehydrated tomato dices
1 tsp. Harmony House dehydrated red and green bell peppers
2 tbsp. Harmony House tomato powder
1 tbsp. Williams Chili Seasoning
1 tsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. dry ground mustard
¼ tsp. granulated garlic
¼ tsp. blackening spices
¼ tsp. coarse black pepper
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 tbsp. Honeyville cheddar cheese shreds

Combine all ingredients except water and cheddar cheese shreds in a bag and seal with an oxygen absorber. Seal cheese. On the trail, bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Pour over chili ingredients and allow all the dehydrated vegetables to completely rehydrate. (I do this in the morning for a noon meal). When chili is completely rehydrated, place pot over medium heat until heated through. Sprinkle cheese on top.

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Hiker’s Polenta with Tomatoes and Marinara

This meal takes some simmering, and then some cozying, but is worth the extra time to make it. It will fill you up and leave you satisfied. If you want to use vegetable bouillon instead of chicken, you will have a lacto-ovo vegetarian meal on the trail. Here is the Recipe:

Hiker’s Organic Polenta with Marinara
1 cup water
¼ cup Organic Polenta
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
1 tsp. dehydrated tomato dices
1 tsp. powdered butter
Pinch garlic powder
1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
Pinch coarse black pepper

Marinara Sauce:
1 tsp dehydrated onion
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp Harmony House dehydrated bell peppers
6 tbsp. Harmony House tomato powder
Pinch garlic powder

Package polenta, tomato dices, and chicken bouillon, in one bag; powdered butter, garlic and black pepper in another. In a third bag, seal Parmesan cheese. Finally put all sauce ingredients in a small bag and seal. Seal all ingredients with an oxygen absorber.

On the trail: Bring water, tomato dices, and chicken bouillon to a boil. Add polenta, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and stir in powdered butter, garlic powder and black pepper. Simmer 10 minutes and remove pan to a cozy for 10 minutes. While water is boiling, add hot water to Marinara sauce packet and allow vegetables to rehydrate. While polenta is in the cozy, heat the marinara through. When polenta is ready, serve with Marinara and Parmesan cheese.

Hiker’s Savory Mashed Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese

When you have a meal that is rather lean, with not much starch, it is nice to add a starchy vegetable as an accompaniment.  Trying to have an entree and mashed potatoes with gravy is not very likely, so making a stuffed baked potato without the skin to stuff it with, is an option. Here is my hiker’s recipe for un-stuffed mashed potatoes.

Unstuffed Mashed Potatoes with Broccoli & Cheese (1 serving)
1/3 cup Idahoan Original Mashed Potatoes
1 tbsp. Harmony House dehydrated broccoli
1 tbsp. Meyenburg goat milk powder
1/8 tsp. Wyler’s chicken bouillon
½ tsp. powdered butter
1 tbsp. Honeyville Freeze-Dried Cheddar Cheese shreds
1/3 cup or more water*

Combine mashed potatoes, goat milk, chicken bouillon and powdered butter in one packet and seal. Seal a packet with 1 tbsp. broccoli and another with 1 tbsp. cheddar cheese.

On the trail: Rehydrate broccoli first by adding water to the bag and allowing it to steep for about 15 minutes. Bring the 1/3 cup water to a boil. Stir in potato packet and remove from heat immediately. Add rehydrated broccoli and stir. Put pot in a cozy for 3 minutes. Remove from cozy and fluff with a fork. Top with cheddar cheese. *You may need up to 1/2 cup of boiling water, so prepare.

Hiker’s Sloppy Joes

Everyone loves Sloppy Joes. The best method for cooking Sloppy Joes at home is a slow-cooking process. It seems the longer they cook, the more sweet and savory they become. Here is a trail recipe that is best cooked soon after leaving a town because it requires that you purchase a bun from a restaurant and get a teaspoon of Worcestershire from them as well. Cracker Barrel does sell a five-ounce bottle of Worcestershire, but every restaurant along the trail will surely have it. Here is the recipe:

Hiker’s Sloppy Joe Recipe

3 tsp. Harmony House chopped onion
2 tsp. Harmony House chopped green pepper
¼ cup Auguson Beef Flavored Vegetarian Meat Substitute
3 packets Heinz® Tomato Ketchup
3 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
Coarse salt and coarse black pepper to taste
Honeyville freeze-dried cheddar cheese

Before leaving town, put all ingredients, except the cheese, into a leak-proof pot and add ½ cup water. Slip the pot inside a cozy and allow the ingredients to rehydrate on the trail. (I put my ingredients into a Ziploc bag and slip the bag inside my Stanley pot)

On the trail: Empty the Ziploc into your cooking pot and bring the mixture up to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for five minutes. Pile mixture on your absconded bun, and sprinkle cheese on top.

Hiker’s Sweet and Sour Shrimp

This recipe is a little on the expensive side. On Amazon, the 3-ounce packages of shrimp are around seven dollars each, making this entree a little pricey; however, when you are stuck in the middle of the 100 mile wilderness, and want something Asian, this recipe might do the trick. Here it is:

Hiker’s Sweet and Sour Shrimp (makes 2 servings)
2 3-ounce packages of dehydrated shrimp
1 cup Minute white rice
2 tbsp. dehydrated onion
2 tbsp. dehydrated peppers
1 ½ cups water (for 2 servings) or more

Sauce:
2 chicken bouillon cubes, unwrapped
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. Ultra Gel
1 tsp. dried ginger
2 tbsp. pomegranate powder
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup water (for 2 servings) or more

½ cup freeze-dried pineapple
1 cup La Choy Rice Noodles
2-pkts. Kikkoman soy sauce

Divide rice, onion, and peppers into two portions. Bag and seal. Grind chicken bouillon in a coffee grinder and mix with all sauce ingredients. Divide sauce ingredients into two packages and seal. Divide freeze-dried pineapple into two portions, and divide the noodles into two portions. In a large bag, add one package of shrimp, one package of sauce mix, one package of freeze-dried pineapple, and 1 package of rice noodles. Tuck in one packet of soy sauce and seal all with an oxygen absorber inside the bag.

On the trail: Bring ¾ cup water to a boil and add one package of shrimp, and one rice/vegetable pouch. Cover and simmer until rice has absorbed all the water. In a separate container, rehydrate pineapple and sauce mix in ½ cup water. When rice has cooked and shrimp are tender, stir the sauce into the rice. Heat through. Quickly stir in 1 package of soy sauce, and top shrimp with rice noodles.

Chicken Tetrazzini for the Appalachian Trail

Finding individual portions of protein is sometimes a challenge when packaging meals for the trail. Amazon has Sweet Sue Premium Chicken Breast in 3-ounce servings. Just perfect for one person. I don’t like to eat a lot of beef, even on the trail, so I have several chicken entrees that are hearty and tasty. Here is the recipe:

Hiker’s Chicken Tetrazzini (makes 2 servings)
2 pkgs. Sweet Sue Premium Chicken Breast
½ cup dry Mushroom Gravy Base                                    2 tbsp. Meyenburg Goat Milk
½ cup Parmesan                                                              2 tbsp. powdered butter
¼ cup dehydrated red pepper                                         2 tsp. dried parsley
½ cup dehydrated mushrooms                                        Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tbsp. dried Italian bread crumbs                                   4 ounces spaghetti, broken
3 cups water (for 2 servings)
Mix mushroom gravy mix, goat milk, parmesan, butter, parsley, and salt and pepper. Divide into two servings and seal. Divide spaghetti, peppers and mushrooms into two portions and seal. Divide Italian bread crumbs into 2 packets. In a larger bag, put one package of Sweet Sue Chicken Breast, one mushroom gravy packet, one spaghetti/vegetable packet and one crumb packet and seal with an oxygen absorber. On the trail: Bring 1 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and vegetables. When spaghetti is tender, stir mushroom gravy packet into the spaghetti. Simmer until heated through. Top with Italian Bread Crumbs.

Italian Lasagna for Hikers on the Appalachian Trail

Purchasing ready-made meals for long-distance hiking trips is prohibitive for most people. While some brands taste very good, others are less than desirable. I don’t want to find out which meal I have when I’m 200 miles in and very hungry. From a culinary standpoint, it just makes sense to create your meals at home, and try them first. Most of the recipes I have shared with my audience are my own recipes. Some, I adapt from other cook’s recipes. I will even post recipes and give full credit to other hikers who have done the same. The home-prepared meals are economical, delicious, prepare easily on the trail, and will make your mouth water in anticipation. Seal in fresh ingredients, and take the time to cook them on the trail. The effort is worth it.

While some hikers prefer to precook these meals and then dehydrate them, I don’t. I have tried it too, but you lose the savory aroma of the herbs. You need to add more salt for it to taste good. There is not much nutrition left in spaghetti that has been cooked, and cooked, and cooked again. The textures are unappetizing, and personally, when I first bagged up my cooked spaghetti with sauce that was dehydrated into a round mess, it looked kind of like garbage. My sauce was wonderful, but by the time it was processed, it even tasted like garbage….a dead thing…and was composted for the worms. Even when preparation takes a lot of time, the results are far superior to ready-made or precooked.

Hiker’s Lasagna for the Trail (very large serving or divide into two)
Sauce:
1/8 cup dehydrated ground beef
1/8 cup Honeyville freeze-dried sausage
6 tbsp. tomato powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. Harmony House dehydrated onion
1 tsp. Harmony House dehydrated bell pepper
1 tsp. brown sugar
¼ tsp. coarse salt
¼ tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 ¾ cups or more water

Cheese Filling:
1/8 cup dehydrated cottage cheese
1 tsp. Meyenburg goat milk powder
1 tbsp. Parmesan
1/8 tsp egg replacer
½ tsp parsley flakes or dehydrated spinach flakes
Water for reconstituting

Topping:
1 to 2 tbsp. freeze-dried or dehydrated mozzarella
1 tbsp. Home-made dehydrated garlic bread croutons

Pasta:
2 ounces Mafalda pasta (looks like mini lasagna noodles)

Seal sauce ingredients in a bag with an oxygen absorber. Combine cheese filling well and seal in a separate bag. Seal small bags of the toppings. Finally put the pasta into a larger bag which will hold all the ingredients. Fill this bag with 1 sauce package, 1 cheese filling bag, 1 topping bag (or 2, however many bags you use for them) and seal, preferably with an oxygen absorber.

On the trail, boil pasta first. While boiling pasta, rehydrate cheese filling with just enough water added to the bag to make a creamy, pourable filling. Pour the water from the pasta into another cooking pot and add more water to make 1 ½ cups. Add sauce packet to this water and boil, then simmer until meats and vegetables have rehydrated and sauce is heated through. Mix pasta with cooked sauce. With a spoon, open up spaces in the pasta mix to squeeze the filling into. Do this by snipping a corner of the bag, and simply squirting the filling into the pasta. Sprinkle mozzarella over it all and toss on croutons for your garlic bread. Voila! Hot Italian Supper on the Trail…

**While some people like to pour the starchy water off their pasta, I want to consume that starch for energy on the trail. Reserve the water for the sauce. If you want to drain away those calories, the herb Cleavers makes a very good colander in the wild. If you can find it, just curl it up into a bowl. It will stick together nicely and you can pour your boiling pasta right into it. Cleavers makes a very good tea as well.

Macaroni and Cheese on the Appalachian Trail

In my home, macaroni and cheese is a staple food and is sometimes the entire entree. It is so versatile. Add chicken, vegetables, or ham. Ummm. Top with sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, Parmesan and bake. Ummm. It is the ultimate comfort food. Ultra Gel is a gluten free, non-GMO cornstarch that can be directly added to any liquid, hot or cold, for instant thickness. Ultra Gel holds up to freezing, canning and refrigerating without weeping, thinning, or breaking down. It is used in this recipe because it is added while the liquid is hot so the powdered contents stir right in. You can use bacon on the trail if you buy Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits, but you must use the entire package that day, so start with a breakfast of bacon and Ova Easy Eggs and Mac & Cheese for supper so the bacon does not go rancid. Here is my adapted recipe. The original is from Chef Tess from Honeyville Foods:

Mac and Cheese  2 servings
7 tsp. Honeyville Powdered Cheese                                          2 tsp. Ultra Gel
1 tsp. chicken bouillon                                                              1 tsp Harmony House dehydrated onion
¼ cup Meyenburg Goat Milk                                                     1 cup elbow macaroni
½ tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning                                1 tsp powdered butter
Salt & pepper to taste                                                               ½ cup Honeyville dehydrated

3 cups water (for 2 servings)                                                   Honeyville Cheddar Cheese shreds

Mix powdered cheese, bouillon, milk, seasonings, Ultra Gel and butter. Divide evenly into two servings. Divide macaroni and onion into two portions and seal them into two bags. Divide dehydrated cheddar cheese into two bags. In a sealer bag, add one pkt. Of seasoning, 1 macaroni pkt., and 1 cheddar cheese pkt. On the trail, Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil. Cook macaroni until tender. Add seasoning packet and simmer until heated through. Top with crispy cheddar cheese shreds.

Corn and Potato Chowder for Hikers on the Appalachian Trail

For hikers who don’t eat much meat, this is a good option. It does have chicken bouillon, so it is not vegetarian, but it is hearty and delicious. You can add onion or other vegetables if you like. I like onion in it too. Here is the recipe.

Corn and Potato Chowder (makes 1 serving)
3 tbsp. Harmony House dehydrated potatoes
3 tbsp. Harmony House dehydrated corn
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 tbsp. Meyenburg goat milk powder                                     ¼ tsp Old Bay seasoning
¼ tsp salt, or less                                                                  ¼ tsp pepper
3 tbsp. Pioneer Country Gravy Mix                                        1 ½ cups water or more

Crush chicken bouillon cube and mix well with goat milk and gravy mix. Seal vegetables in one bag, and dry ingredients into another. In a larger bag, add six two-cracker packs of crackers to the soup base and vegetables and seal with an oxygen absorber inside.

On the trail: Bring water to a boil; add vegetables. Lower heat to simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add gravy base, and heat through.

Stick to Your Ribs, Beef Stroganoff for Hikers

At the end of the hiking day, it is nice to have a hot meal that requires very little cooking. Here is a recipe to make ahead for the trail that requires very little fuel, but makes a delicious hot supper:

Hiker’s Beef Stroganoff
½ cup dehydrated ground beef ¼ tsp. black pepper
3 tbsp. McCormick brown gravy mix
1 Wyler’s Beef bouillon cube
1 tbsp. Honeyville dehydrated sour cream
3 tbsp. Harmony House dehydrated mushrooms
1 tsp Harmony House dehydrated green peas
2 ounces noodles
In a coffee grinder, grind bouillon cube. Add ground cube to gravy mix, sour cream, and pepper. In one packet, seal ground beef with dehydrated vegetables. Seal dry gravy mix in a different bag. Put noodles, meat packet and dry packet in a bag and seal with an oxygen absorber.
On the trail, rehydrate meat and vegetables in 1 ½ cups of water. Pour off water into a cooking pot and add ½ cup more water. Cook noodles in water until tender. Add gravy mix and stir until blended. Add meat and heat through.