Going around Tik Tok and Facebook Reels is a method on how to make Mac & Cheese so simply, and yet so much more creamier than you have ever had out of a blue box. So of course I had to duplicate it. But for backcountry.
And it was so simple. And so, so creamy. Kids will love it, and yes, even food snobs would love it. They’d probably still complain, but there’d be none left. Like leaving a bucket of fried chicken out at a potluck. None’s ever left.
Instead of using many cups of water, a larger pot (usually you need a 2 Liter to make boxed mac & cheese), and watching for boil overs, you can cook it all in one, similar to how Lipton Pasta Dishes and Hamburger Helper is cooked. For this, you can use a 1.3 to 1.5 Liter pot.
With my trail-friendly version you don’t need to pack milk, butter or even oil. Let the wonders of freeze-dried dairy products easily bought online do the hard work.
We added in chicken to boost the protein content.
Packed and ready to go.
Creamy Mac & Cheese
Pack in a quart freezer or sandwich bag:
- 1 7.25-ounce box mac & cheese
- ¼ cup freeze-dried cheddar cheese*
- 1 Tbsp full fat dry milk
- 1 Tbsp butter powder
- 1 tsp granulated onion powder
- 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
- 2.6 ounce pouch (or 4.5 ounce can) chicken breast
Add 2¼ cups water and all the ingredients into a pot.
Bring to a boil, stirring often. Once it boils, cook for 8 minutes, stirring often, esepcially at the start.
Lower the heat to maintain a simmer.
Take of the stove, stir well again, and serve.
While I don’t normally call for non stick pots, this one pot method recipe will fair best if you use one, for easy cleanup. Wipe out the pot with paper towels, to remove cheese residue first. Then wash.
Use whatever brand of mac and cheese you prefer (or is on sale), but try to stay to the ounce size. Some shapes have smaller boxes (shells and twists for example). This would give a smaller serving size.
For the cheddar cheese added, you can use freeze-dried so it is shelf stable, or you could take 2 cheese stick size sticks of cheddar cheese (sold in the cheese aisle in stores, just like mozzarella is). It will carry for a day or two, as long as it isn’t super hot out. It gets limp, but is edible. Just dice it up and add it in with the other ingredients. You could freeze the cheese and carry it in the middle of your pack and it’ll stay cold all day.
Here’s how we freeze-dry cheese.
We used pouched chicken, if you can’t source it, use a 4.5 ounce can chicken, that has a pop top for easy opening. You can add in the broth in the can to the meal.
2.6 ounce pouch chicken, doesn’t need draining. We sourced ours at Safeway, and I have seen at some Walmart stores.
1 base box of the blue mac n’ cheese could get you going…..