Tag

Wilderness Cooking

Backcountry Gourmet — Favorite Recipes from Our Field Staff

By Liz Shirley June 26, 2024

Wilderness Cooking

Here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) we like to take backcountry cooking to the next level, and that means teaching students how to prepare gourmet meals while on backcountry expeditions.

Whether it’s starting your day with a hearty breakfast, making a quick lunch wrap on the run, or preparing a veggie-filled dinner at the end of a long day hike, climb, or paddle, this post includes three backcountry recipes that might inspire you for the meals you’ll prepare and enjoy on your next adventure.

Backcountry cooking, making sandwiches on tables next to a river & gorge

Cooking in the backcountry doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor or nutrition. In fact, with a little planning and creativity you can enjoy delicious, nutritious, and satisfying meals that fuel your human-powered outdoor activities. Our field instructors have crafted these recipes to be both easy to prepare and incredibly tasty, ensuring that your time in the backcountry is complemented by great food.

Heard, Chef! When you’re in the wild, having a variety of meals that are quick and simple to prepare can make a big difference in your attitude and overall experience. The three recipes below are designed to maximize flavor while minimizing cooking time and cleanup, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors.

At NCOAE, we believe that good food is an essential part — in fact, a highlight — of any outdoor adventure. Not only does it provide the energy needed for strenuous activities, but it also brings people together, creating memorable experiences around the campfire. So, whether you’re a seasoned outdoor chef or a beginner, give these recipes a try.

Note: The following recipes are meant for groups of 12. Do the math and adjust for the size of the group for whom you’re cooking.

Backcountry Recipe 1 – Breakfast

Breakfast Burritos with Hash Browns

Young man cooking eggs for a back country breakfast

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Scrambled Egg powder or 24 Eggs
  • 4 Cups Hashbrowns (dried)
  • Onion, diced
  • Bell Pepper, diced
  • 12 Tortillas
  • 1 Cup Salsa
  • 2 Cups Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Bacon Bits, optional
  • Ketchup packets, optional
  • Butter / oil

Directions | Instructions | Serves 12

  1. Mix eggs.  
  2. Add spices to taste.  
  3. Heat butter or oil in a skillet, then scramble the eggs.  
  4. Meanwhile, cover dried hashbrowns in a small pot with boiled water.  
  5. Let sit 5 minutes.  
  6. Once rehydrated, season with spices to taste.  
  7. Fry in a skillet with oil.  
  8. Once cooked, remove from skillet.  
  9. Sauté until softened.  
  10. Set out tortillas, eggs, hashbrowns, veggies, cheese, salsa, and any optional ingredients buffet style.  
  11. Build your own breakfast burrito and enjoy! 

Backcountry Recipe 2 – Lunch

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

Ingredients

  • 12 Tortillas
  • 4 pouches Chicken 
  • 12 pkgs Ranch Dressing or Blue Cheese
  • 12 oz Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 ½ Cups Carrots, sliced
  • 6 Cups Lettuce
  • 1 ½ Cups Shredded Cheese
  • Paprika, to taste
  • Garlic Powder, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Hot Sauce, to taste
  • 6 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 Avocados, sliced — optional 
  • Celery sticks — optional

Directions | Instructions | Serves 12

  1. Mix together olive oil, buffalo sauce, paprika, garlic powder and salt in a Ziploc bag. 
  2. Add chicken and allow to sit for 5- 10 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, place tortillas on a dish and spread with a thin layer of blue cheese or ranch dressing. 
  4. Layer with lettuce, carrots, avocado (optional), and cheese.  
  5. Next, arrange chicken down the center of each tortilla. 
  6. Wrap like a burrito. 
  7. Serve with a side of hot sauce, extra dressing, or celery sticks if desired. 

Backcountry Recipe 3 – Dinner

Riverside Stir- Fry

Team preparing onions and peppers for a backcountry dinner

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Rice
  • 2-3 Onions
  • 4 Bell Peppers
  • 4 Cups Squash / Zucchini
  • 4 Cups broccoli
  • 2 Cups carrots
  • 1 bag Snap Peas
  • 1 can Baby Corn
  • 1 Cabbage
  • 1 Can Water Chestnuts, optional
  • 2 Cups Mushrooms, optional
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, minced (or garlic powder)
  • Ginger, minced (or ginger powder), to taste
  • 6 Teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 Cup Soy sauce
  • 1 pkg Tofu, shelf stable
  • 4 pouches chicken
  • Chili sauce, to taste
  • Oil

Directions | Instructions | Serves 12

  1. Cook rice.
  2. Meanwhile slice onion, pepper, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, squash/zucchini, garlic, mushrooms, etc. 
  3. Sauté with olive oil about 5 mins.  
  4. Add soy sauce, brown sugar and other spices. 
  5. Continue sautéing until slightly tender.
  6. Separately sauté tofu and/or chicken. Stir well, cover 5 minutes. 

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About the Author: Elizabeth Shirley, WFR, is the Director of Outdoor Programming & Education at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE).

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NCOAE’s 2024 Camping and Outdoor Adventure Gear Improvement Guide

By Stephen Mullaney January 5, 2024

Outdoor Equipment

From November 1st to the end of the year, you’ll be bombarded with advertising, discounts, and announcements of “shopping holidays.” In the winter months, you’ll find all sorts of sales on camping and backcountry clothing and gear, as retailers clear out their 2023 stock and announce new products for the spring and summer. 

And if you’re looking for the perfect gift for yourself or your loved ones who spend lots of time outdoors, you can find plenty of Shopper’s and Buyer’s Guides to consult for ideas.

This is not any of that.

Collection of outdoor gear, including jackets, medical equipment, and backpacks, for 2024

In this post, we do not steer you toward specific camping or outdoor adventure products or brands. In fact, depending on your situation, our advice may inspire you to shed some gear. The ultimate objective is to accumulate gear that makes your human-powered outdoor experiences more awesome than ever without spending so much money that you can’t afford to go anywhere!

Gear Up with a Leave No Trace Mindset

Leaving no trace in the backcountry doesn’t only apply to the seven principles of Leave No Trace (LNT). It begins with how we buy, use, and consume only what we need when engaging with the outdoors. Buying the latest, greatest outdoor clothing and gear each year runs counter to that philosophy. In addition, if you’re on a limited budget, it reduces the funds you have available to take (more…)

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