I like to make camping as easy as possible. One of the ways I have done that is by investing in a Jet Boil.
Okay, full disclosure. I did not invest in the Jet Boil. Kenon bought it way back when we were dirt poor college kids. At the time I absolutely did not understand the need. As the years go by, I grew more and more fond of our Jet Boil. It has enabled me to be the world’s laziest camper while still eating delicious, warm food.
On today’s episode of “Easy Camping Meals” let’s talk about the Mac & Cheese Variation. The Jet Boil comes in very handy when making Mac & Cheese on the road or at a campsite.
When I get to a campsite, it is usually after a long day of driving, hiking, or playing. The last thing I want to do is make an elaborate meal. Oftentimes, it is also getting dark, I’m getting tired, and I do not have a lot of energy to spend cleaning up dishes after cooking. This is where inspiration for the Mac & Cheese Variation came in. I have been able to make this recipe on the lid of my cooler while camping in dispersed camping at a sandy beach. It is super flexible and super easy.
First things first, decide how you are going to cook the Mac & Cheese. A boiling pot over a gas camping stove works great. I like to use the Jet Boil FluxRing Camping Cooking Pot because it fits on the smallest of flat surfaces. In order to use the Jet Boil I do have to be a little bit more careful to watch the boiling water, since it is set precariously on top of the gas.
A lot of times I forget to bring extra milk or butter so I switched to getting the creamy cheese macaroni mixes so that I do not have to pack extra ingredients.
Now here’s the fun part. You can add in pretty much whatever is left in your cooler or Go-Box. Try throwing some veggies, like broccoli or carrots, into the boiling water.
For some protein options, canned chicken or tuna is definitely the easiest. These keep really well during a road trip and are super cheap. They do not have to be cooked so they can be mixed in last minute with the Mac & Cheese. Another easy option is pre-cooked hot dogs, brats, or chicken sausage. Pre-cooked beans are another healthy, easy to flavor, possibility that keep well on a road trip.
Kenon and I usually also have some hamburger with us, which makes for a protein-packed dinner. To do hamburger, though, you will need some kind of camping stove. Hamburger is also really fun to flavor. I HATE cleaning up that hamburger mess, though, especially when we are lacking on a dishes station or a water source. Our camping pan is not the best when it comes to non-stick so clean up can be super time consuming. My solution is to wrap the pan in tinfoil before I begin cooking. Just toss the tinfoil when the meat is finished cooking and clean up is done.
Mac & Cheese comes in so many varieties of flavors and varying health options: protein-packed, gluten-free, veggie noodles, organic, and the list goes on. The other thing I love about Mac & Cheese is that it will keep in our Go-Box for a couple of months without spoiling. It is a great back up meal plan toward the end of the trip when things in the cooler are either eaten up or starting to spoil.