Of all the breakfast recipes that I have tried out on my backpacking groups, Cheesy Potatoes is a regular favorite. On the sweet-or-savory scale, it’s decidedly savory, due to a bland potato base that is flavored with cheese, green chilies, and bacon, plus some whole milk for creaminess.
Credit to Amanda for developing this recipe.
- Recommended meal weight: 4.5 oz
- Calories: 500
- Calories/ounce: 110
Because potatoes require so much water (4 oz water per 1 oz of flakes), this breakfast cooks bigger that its calorie count would suggest. For those with smaller appetites, reducing the potatoes by 0.5 oz is recommended. Alternatively, save some of the potatoes for later in the trip when you have a thinner meal and/or you are hungrier.
To increase the caloric density, substitute olive oil or butter for some of the potatoes or the dried milk. To increase pure calorie count, keep the recipe as-is and simply add some fat.
- 2.0 oz || mashed potatoes (instant, unflavored)
- 0.5 oz || cheese powder (cheddar)
- 0.7 oz || whole milk (dried)
- 1.0 oz || bacon crumbles (real or soy)
- 0.3 oz || green chilies (canned)
- Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
A solo hiker can keep all the ingredients in one bag. Note that crumbled bacon and canned green chilies are not shelf-stable, though there are shelf-stable alternatives.
To more easily accommodate dietary restrictions in a group setting, I keep the ingredients more separate:
- Each group member is given one 2-oz bag of potatoes and one 1.2-oz bag of cheese powder and whole milk. Since they were sent the meal menus before the trip, they have had the opportunity to procure substitutes for the cheese and milk if they are lactose intolerant.
- The crumbled bacon and green chilies are distributed in the field. Group members who are vegetarian can easily forgo their portion of the bacon.
For many reasons, I make all of my meals soupy. So my instructions are simple:
- Bring at least 12 oz (350 ml) of water to a boil, or a near boil.
- Add half the bag, stir to a uniform consistency, and then add the rest of the bag. Stir.
- If my alcohol stove is still burning, I may bring the meal back to a simmer to reduce the wait time before eating, but potatoes need not be simmered for a full cook.
If you want perfect at-home consistency, use 10 oz of water.