This meal is my favorite. It goes on every single backpacking trip. I never get tired of it. Clients love this recipe. Need more convincing to try it?
- Recommended meal weight: 5.7 oz
- Total calories: 668
- Calories per ounce: 117
It’s rare that someone struggles to finish this meal. But if you have a smaller appetite, use less beans and rice (but keep the ratio). To increase calorie count or caloric density, add more Fritos.
The four main ingredients are essential. The rice, Fritos, and cheese are widely available. The beans are best found online; in a pinch, I have used a seasoned bean dip from the Whole Foods bulk section.
Assuming the beans are plain, the Taco seasoning is critical. Most people skip salt and pepper, but may add red pepper flakes to inject some heat.
For groups, I do the following:
- Each group member is given one 2.5-oz snack bag of beans and rice mixture
- Fritos and cheese are kept together, and divided proportionally in the field
- Meals are individually seasoned with the taco seasoning and group spice kit
When solo, I vary between two approaches. If I plan to have this meal several times on the same trip (or the same leg of a thru-hike), I have a pre-spiced snack bag of beans and rice for each meal, and my supply of Fritos and cheese is kept together but preferably somehow delineated so that I don’t steal tomorrow’s calories for tonight’s dinner, e.g. divide the block of cheese equally but keep it all together. Alternatively, if I plan to have this meal just once, I will use up to three bags (beans/rice, cheese, Fritos) but I’ve also combined everything into one bag before. It works out okay since the ingredients are fairly easy to separate in the field.
For many reasons, I make all of my meals soupy. This simplifies some the cooking:
- Add at least 12 oz of water to my stove pot.
- Pour in beans, rice, taco seasoning, and any other spices at anytime.
- Cook, ideally to a simmer for about 60 seconds, stirring to avoid boil-over.
- Cut cheese into dice-sized pieces and add to meal.
- Add Fritos just before consumption. If added too early, they will soften.
For perfect at-home consistency, use 10 oz (300 ml) of water. To prevent burning, do not add beans, rice, and taco seasoning until water is boiling.
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