Hard cheeses like cheddar will last a few days on the trail, especially in cooler weather.  This variation on a classic adds taste and nutrition.  No worries with leftovers on this one.


One medium butternut squash
2 packages white cheddar mac and cheese
One medium yellow onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
Seasoned salt
Salt and pepper

Carry separately on the trail
16 oz. cheddar cheese (could use two 2 cup packets of cheese cubes)
1/3 cup butter (a plastic jar, such as a peanut butter jar is a good container to use to carry this)

½ cup Nido milk powder in a sandwich bag
2 individual sized bags of Lays Potato Chip

At home instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Brush half of the squash with olive oil and place it on a rimmed baking sheet cut-side up (save other half for another dish or double the recipe and cook one batch for dinner and one batch to dehydrate) Roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Scrape out the flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork or potato mashes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

While squash is cooking, cook macaroni in large pot of salted boiling water.  When cooked, drain and rinse.  Put the cheese packet in with the other ingredients you’ll bring on the trail.

Small dice onion and sauté in olive oil.  Stir frequently.  Cook until brown in colored (caramelized).  Mix onion, squash and macaroni in the pasta pan and stir until well mixed.  Add seasoned salt and pepper to taste.

Spread mixture onto dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for 8 hours at 135.  Check for dryness and continue dehydrating as needed. Turnover the food on the sheets as needed to increase air flow to moister areas. When completely dehydrated put into 1 gallon freezer bag and label with recipe and date.

Directions at camp:

Put 2 cups boiling water into macaroni/squash mixture and let sit to rehydrate.  When cool enough, knead the bag to thoroughly moisten all the mixture.  Chop the cheese into small cubes and set aside. Crush the potato chips in the bag (they’ll probably already be crushed from their ride in the pack).

When mixture is almost rehydrated, put one cup water, cheese packets, Nido powder, and butter into your large cooking pot on a medium flame, stirring to mix well.  When this is heated through, add the rehydrated macaroni and the cheese cubes and stir well. Add water if mixture is too dry. Lower heat a bit, continue to stir frequently, and heat to warm it through until cheese is mostly melted, but little chunks remain.   Dish mac and cheese into serving bowls and sprinkle crushed potato chips over top.

Serves 6-8

Remember to recycle plastic bag when you get home.


Other recipes to try:


Backpacker’s Goulash

Brunswick Stew for Backpacking Meal (or Dinner)

Campsite Chicken Pot Pie

Individual Tamale Pies

Shepherd’s Pie for the Trail

Taco Pockets

Thanksgiving on the Trail

Trail-worthy Curried Chicken and Mango with Cashews