March 18, 2008
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“Soups tend to have an enormous amount of sodium,” Alexander says. “So I use fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth. I also buy cheese ravioli with only 4 grams of fat per serving and recommend that folks use all-natural, whole-wheat, low-fat ravioli if their local natural foods store stocks it.”

Makes eight servings

Each (6 to 7 ravioli plus 1 scant cup broth) serving has: 183 calories, 11 grams protein, 27 grams carbs, 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber and 887 mg sodium.

2 (32-oz) boxes (or the equivalent)
of fat-free, lower-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (not low sodium)

2 medium garlic cloves, smashed with
the side of a knife

1 (25-oz) bag of frozen (or the equivalent) cheese ravioli (about 1 inch by 1.5 inches; no more than 4 grams of fat)
8 tsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
8 tsp reduced-fat, grated Parmesan cheese (look for it in a plastic canister or jar, not in the refrigerated section)

Pour the broth into a large pot with a lid, place over high heat. Add garlic and season the broth with pepper. Cover the pot, bring the liquid to a
rolling boil. Using a mesh strainer (with a handle) or a slotted spoon, remove the garlic. Add the ravioli, cook for 5 minutes, or until al dente.
Divide the broth and ravioli evenly among eight serving bowls. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon parsley and 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese over the top of each bowl.
Season with additional pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

“For a super-simple campfire meal, relying on canned vegetarian chili is nothing to be ashamed of,” admits American Dietetic Association spokesperson Dawn Jackson-Blatner, R.D., author of the book “The Flexitarian Diet.” For refueling after a busy day on the trail, reheat chili leftovers from the night before or open a can and bake some potatoes on the fire.

Makes four potatoes

4 potatoes
1 can chili, or leftovers
Green onions, chopped
Shredded 2% cheddar cheese (optional)

Wrap potatoes in foil and bake over campfire coals, turning regularly until softened. Heat chili. Top potatoes with chili, onions and cheese, if desired.

A heavy, cast aluminum skillet is best for long, slow cooking over a camp stove burner. This can also be oven-baked at 350 degrees, or in a Dutch oven buried in coals. Try this in your electric skillet, too.

1 pound bulk Italian sausage
9 (approx.) no-boil lasagna noodles
12-ounce carton ricotta cheese
2 eggs
28-ounce jar your favorite pasta sauce
8-ounce package shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large nonstick skillet, boil a shallow layer of water. Using tongs, dip noodles briefly and set aside in single layers, covered with plastic wrap. Discard water and use skillet to fry the sausage, breaking it up until it’s cooked and crumbly. Remove sausage to another container (such as the skillet lid) and discard any excess fat. Put one-quarter of the sauce in the skillet and top with a layer of noodles. Cut noodles to fit and arrange in spokes, overlapping as little as possible. Put eggs and ricotta cheese in a plastic bag and squeeze to mix well. Cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze the ricotta over the noodles. Discard bag. Top with another layer of noodles, then the crumbled sausage and half the mozzarella. Drizzle with another one-quarter of the sauce and repeat the layering. Spoon remaining sauce evenly on top, add remaining mozzarella and cover skillet.

Set aside for 30 minutes. Cook, covered tightly, over a low fire (use a flame tamer if necessary) for 40 to 60 minutes or until ricotta is “set.” Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes tightly covered. Serve in wedges, using tools that won’t harm the nonstick pan.

Use fresh ground meat, fully cooked ground meat crumbles or meatless soy crumbles.

1 pound ground meat or equivalent
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 medium sweet green pepper,
seeded and diced

2 teaspoons apple pie spice
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-1?4 cups water
1 cup orzo pasta
1 teaspoon dried oregano or mixed Greek seasoning
Small can sliced ripe olives, drained

Sizzle meat or meat substitute in hot oil, gradually adding vegetables and spice. If using fresh meat, cook until it’s no longer pink. Add tomatoes, paste and water and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and seasoning, cover, reduce heat and simmer until orzo is plump and tender. Stir in olives to heat through. Serves four.

3-1/2 cups water
2 chicken-, vegetable- or fish-flavored bouillon cubes
1 pound (approx.) fresh or thawed fish, cut in small bites
2 cups pasta shells
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
Optional: 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, or a few drops of Tabasco sauce
Crushed cheese crackers

Bring water to a boil, stir in bouillon and keep boiling while adding pasta. Keep at a full boil for five minutes, and then stir in fish. Reduce heat and simmer over low fire, stirring occasionally two to four more minutes or until fish is firm and pasta is tender. Turn off heat and stir in undiluted soup until a sauce forms. Add Worcestershire or Tabasco. Sprinkle with crushed crackers. Serves four.

*To freeze spaghetti for future camp meals, cook and drain 2 pounds. While it’s hot, toss it with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Grab with tongs and twirl to create coils to freeze in lightly sprayed cupcake tins, each coil providing one portion. Pop out
of tins and repackage according to family size. Thawed spaghetti keeps in the ice chest for up to three days. Heat with your favorite sauce.

*Freeze fully cooked pasta recipes in boilable bags and reheat in simmering water. If you have a microwave, the new steamer bags are also a good way to heat pasta dishes brought from home.

* When on limited fuel rations, use the smallest pasta shapes possible for quicker cooking.

* Cook 1?3 to 1?2 cup small pasta in a quart of chicken broth, add canned or leftover meat and vegetables and voilà, you have soup.

* Bring a quart of broth to a boil, stir in about 1/2 cup of finely broken spaghetti and boil for five minutes. Stir in a can of kidney beans, ladle into soup bowls and top with shaved Parmesan cheese.

* When boiling pasta for salad, add (washed) eggs in their shell to the same water and they’ll be hard-cooked, for the salad. Remove to a bowl of cold water before draining the pasta.

* Boil a handful of broken spaghetti in a little water in a nonstick skillet. Empty spaghetti into a sieve and quickly melt 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in warm spaghetti and 12 beaten eggs. Cover and cook over low heat until eggs are set. Drizzle with a small can of pizza sauce, cover a few more minutes to heat through and serve for breakfast.

* Cook up to two portions spaghetti in a wide-mouth, quart-size thermos bottle. Pre-heat the bottle with 1 cup boiling water. Discard water or use for another purpose. Quickly add pasta, fill bottle with more boiling water and close tightly. Set aside for 30 minutes to three hours. (Don’t try more than two portions per 1-quart thermos).

* Put a 32-ounce can or jar of spaghetti sauce in a pot with two cups water. Bring to a boil, stir in an 8-ounce box of spaghetti. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until spaghetti is tender. Stir in a 16-ounce package of thawed meatballs. Cover over low heat until good and hot. Serves four.

* Prepare ramen noodles with or without flavor packet. Drain, and serve as a base with pasta sauce.

12-ounce package firm tofu
15-ounce can corn with peppers (e.g. MexiCorn)
15-ounce can fava beans, drained
Small can evaporated milk
1-quart carton vegetable broth
½-teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup dried potato flakes
1 bunch scallions
4 pats butter
Salt, pepper to taste

Cut tofu into small dice. Put milk, corn with its juice, beans, broth and thyme in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and, stirring constantly, slowly add potato flakes until chowder thickens. Stir in tofu to heat through. Season to taste. Slice white and light green parts of scallions. Set out soup bowls and place a pat of butter and a tuft of scallion in each. Ladle on the chowder and serve at once. Makes four to six servings.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Large onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound stew beef, in bite size
2 tablespoons chili powder
3 cups diced autumn vegetables**
2 ½ cups water
1 can Rotel seasoned tomatoes (mild, medium or hot)
2 tablespoons cornmeal
½-cup water
15-ounce can kidney or pinto beans
Salt, pepper to taste

In a saucepan saute onion, garlic in hot oil to brown, then stir in chili powder and raw vegetables to coat. Add 2 ½ cups water and tomatoes, cover and simmer over low heat 30 minutes or until beef and vegetables are tender. Stir ½-cup cold water into cornmeal and drizzle into boiling chili, stirring constantly. When it thickens in about five minutes, add beans to heat through. Season to taste. Serves six.
**Make a colorful variety: parsnip, potato, sweet potato, squash, carrot, zucchini, sweet pepper, etc.

(posted 7-30-09)

1 baguette, thinly sliced
Garlic-flavored olive oil spray
4 big, burger-size portabella mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons butter
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
¼-cup milk
4-ounce package crumbled blue cheese

Arrange the bread slices on four plates, overlapping them to form a bed for the mushrooms. Spray the bread lightly with olive oil and set aside. In a large skillet, fry the mushrooms in butter on both sides until browned and done through. Place one on each bed of French bread. Quickly stir the soup and milk into the pan juices over medium heat. When the sauce is smooth and bubbling, turn off the heat and stir in the blue cheese. Spoon the sauce over the mushrooms and bread. Serves four.

16-ounce can red salmon, well drained
½-cup wheat germ
2 eggs
2 tablespoons diced, dried onion
Pinch salt, freshly ground pepper
Oil for frying
Stir salmon with a fork. Mix in remaining ingredients. Let stand while you heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet. Carefully (to avoid hot oil spatters) spoon six mounds of salmon into skillet. When patties are brown on one side, turn and flatten. Fry until both sides are golden and crusty. Serve at once in buttered buns or chill to make future sandwiches. Good hot or cold, plain, or with barbecue sauce or dilled mayonnaise.

* For safety’s sake when cooking poultry, use an instant-read thermometer to assure doneness.
* Make “city chicken” with your favorite meatloaf recipe, using ground chicken. Form handfuls of the mixture firmly around one end of each popsicle stick, leaving handles. Fry or grill until chicken tests done.
* For easy turning when grilling large quantities of drumsticks thread them on two large, metal skewers or place them in grill baskets.
* Sugar burns quickly. When grilling, don’t add sweet barbecue sauce until drumsticks are nearly done.
* Microwave or parboil drumsticks ahead of time at home until done and keep cold. In camp pat dry, dip in batter and deep-fry in hot oil until golden and crusty.
* Leftover grilled drumsticks? Wrap each in a blanket of crescent roll or pie crust dough except for the handle end. Bake at 350 degrees until golden. Serve with salsa.
* Line a cupcake pan with cupcake papers and spritz with nonstick spray. Make chicken dressing according to package directions. Stand a pre-cooked, skinless drumstick in each cupcake hold and pack with dressing until full. Bake until heated through. Peel off papers and eat.
* Using a fork, mash together 1 packet onion soup mix and a 16-ounce can of whole cranberry sauce and 1/4-cup water. Heat gently to soften onions. Spoon over fried, poached or grilled drumsticks.
* Use chicken wing “drummettes” to make any drumstick recipe in miniature.
* Poach drumsticks, turning occasionally, in undiluted chicken gumbo soup until done through. Spoon over rice.
* Chicken bones are irresistible to pets and wild animals but they can be deadly because the bones splinter easily. Dispose of them in tamper-proof garbage cans. Don’t burn them in the campfire.

Make burgers using 1 part ground pork to 2 parts ground beef, spice with salt, pepper, and a pinch of ground red pepper (optional). Mix thoroughly before forming patties. The taste will be a tad sweeter than all-beef burgers with a hint of spiciness. Cook on grill over hot coals for approx. 12 minutes turning regularly, or until burgers test medium well. Use buns and condiments of your choosing. All of the prep can be done at home; the burgers will keep on ice for up to two days.
For 9 third-pound burgers:
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red chili powder

Marinade boneless, skinless chicken breasts prior to grilling (overnight if possible) with a lime-juice/hickory BBQ sauce mixture, then brush on a little extra marinade mixture while grilling, too. However, the sugars in the sauce will burn, so go light on the marinade once chicken is on the grill. Grill over medium to low coals for approx. 25 minutes turning regularly, or until they test done. The result is a tangy, tart, smoky chicken flavor. This recipe feeds four. All of the prep can be done at home; the chicken will keep on ice for up to two days.
Four large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Tangy Hick Sauce:
Juice from one large lime
12 ounces hickory BBQ sauce
Stir lime juice and BBQ sauce together in small mixing bowl, then pour over chicken and let marinade for at least a few hours prior to grilling.

Buy ears of fresh corn. Remove and save husks. Remove all corn silk. Wash ears of corn. Wrap up the ear of corn, two large pats (1/4 stick) of butter and a light dusting (1/2 teaspoon each) of seasoned salt, inside the saved husks, and then wrap all in foil, and place on grill over medium to low coals to cook. The husks help to keep the corn from burning and keep it moist. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning regularly. All prep can be done at home; wrapped ears will keep on ice for a few days.
Four ears of corn with husks and silk still on
Four 12-inch squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil
1/4-pound butter (one stick)
2 teaspoons seasoned salt

S’more’s (Graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey chocolate bars). Instead of the old sticky gooey method with foil or a stick that makes such a mess, use one of Rome Industries’ (www.romeindustries.com) S’more Makers (looks like a flat fish fry basket) over your campfire to make S’mores. You don’t burn your fingers and you don’t burn the marshmallows. You get a perfectly melted and warm S’more!

Jungle Juice
10- to 16-ounce jar apple jelly
4 to 6 cups water
1/4-teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sweetener to taste
Stirring well over medium heat, melt the jelly in four cups of hot water until smooth and clear. Stir in spices. Taste, then add more water and/or honey, sugar or sugar substitute to taste. Serve as a hot beverage with or without a tot of rum.


* Whole grain cereals can be placed in a wide-mouth, stainless thermos the night before with the required amount of boiling water. By morning you’ll have hot, fully cooked cereal. Don’t “cook” in glass-lined thermos bottles, though, because they can break when you’re stirring or spooning out the food.
* Dissolve your favorite gelatin dessert in three cups hot water and serve as a beverage, plain or mixed with hot tea.
* Bouillon cubes weigh mere ounces and make an instant broth for drinking or cooking.
* Freeze-dried meals and individual ingredients are available from camping and outdoor supply stores and online from sources including: /thereadystore.com/, /mountainhouse.com/ and /adventurefoods.com/. Dehydrated organic foods and other specialties are available from /naturesflavors.com/ and /honeyvillegrain.com./

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