FARMINGTON — We all know that what you eat affects how you perform.
That's especially true when in the backcountry, whether hiking, skiing, rafting or any other calorie-burning activity.
Replacing those calories in a tasty way -- while keeping the ingredients light to carry and the meal simple to cook -- can be difficult. So we asked local experts to share recipes that they use both for themselves and with their students.
Thanksgiving and Asian feasts
Josh Kling is the owner and lead guide for Kling Mountain Guides in Durango, Colo. He guides rock and alpine climbing, as well as backcountry skiing.
Kling also teaches climbing and mountaineering classes at San Juan College and Fort Lewis College. He helps coordinate the Flight For Life Avalanche Deployment team in the San Juan Mountains and is a technical team member, training instructor and winter response team coordinator with La Plata County Search and Rescue in Colorado.
Here are his go-to meals:
This 20-minute meal is warm and hearty, complete with all the fixings, even dessert. Kling serves it as a reward to students in his mountaineering classes after they summit peaks. It requires several pots and pans, so it's better served to a bigger group, with more hands to do dishes.
Kling suggests portioning out 1.5 servings of each ingredient to each person. If, for example, there are 10 people in a group, you will need 15 servings. The number of servings is usually found on the nutrition facts panel of the packaging.
· Dehydrated mashed potatoes
· Chicken in a bag (found in the tuna isle), replaces turkey
· Dehydrated stuffing
· Craisins, for cranberry sauce
· No-bake cheesecake. This may require extra ingredients, depending on the brand. Kling uses dehydrated powder milk and squeeze butter. Mix and place in pot or plastic container. Put covered pot in snow to congeal ingredients or secure sealed container in cold river.
1. Rehydrate the ingredients as specified.
2. Have people serve themselves. They can either eat in courses or pile it on.
This recipe combines backpacking staples to make a dish you'll think came from a Chinese restaurant.
"I was extremely skeptical when I heard this recipe," Kling said. "I tried it with my group on Mount Rainier this summer. Not only did my group love it, we had folks from the group camping next to us come over and ask for some."
· 1 bag of beef Ramen noodles per person
· Diced vegetables. Kling suggests peppers, onions, julienned carrots or cabbage
· Large bag of diced teriyaki beef jerky
· Optional: red pepper flakes, dehydrated ginger and garlic
1. Before heading into the field, dice the vegetables and jerky and pack into plastic bags or containers.
2. Once in the backcountry, boil a pot of water with enough for the Ramen noodles.
3. Put the jerky in the boiling water. Boil it until the jerky is tender. Once the jerky is tender, cook the noodles.
4. Depending on how crispy you want the vegetables, add them while cooking the noodles or at the end.
Easy enchiladas and cookies
JD and Emily Tanner have traveled extensively throughout the United States as Leave No Trace traveling trainers, during which they camped on average 200 to 250 nights a year. Both are FalconGuides authors and have written eleven books together.
JD is the recreation director at San Juan College and Emily instructs physical education and outdoor recreation courses at the college.
Super Easy New Mexico Style Backcountry Enchiladas
Created by Emily Tanner, this one-pot dish makes for easy clean-up and allows you to bring a little Southwest with you wherever you go.
· 8 corn tortillas
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 4 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese
· 2 packages white chicken in a pouch
· 1 pouch Frontera Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
1. You will use one pot for this recipe. Make sure your pot is larger in diameter than your tortillas.
2. Shred cheese and set aside.
3. Add olive oil to the pot and lightly fry each tortilla. Set aside.
4. Mix chicken, 4 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce and 4 tablespoons of water in the pot. Bring to a boil. Let boil for one minute, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer three to four minutes.
5. Assemble the enchilada on the serving plate by laying down one tortilla and topping it with 1/4 of the chicken mixture. Top with another tortilla.
6. Heat the rest of the sauce to boil and top each enchilada stack with the sauce. Immediately sprinkle the cheese on top of each enchilada so that it melts.
No Bake Cookies
These versatile cookies can be eaten as a snack or dessert.
"A perfect recipe to use at the end of a long backpacking or hiking day. Quick calories to refuel without a lot of work," said JD Tanner.
· 1 cup of oatmeal (regular oats are better than instant)
· 6 tablespoons of margarine
· 6 tablespoons of brown sugar
· 3 tablespoons of cocoa mix
· 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
· 1/2 tablespoon of water
1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Form the dough into bite-sized balls to eat right away or let sit in a cool place for treats later in the evening.
•There are many backcountry cooking blogs, and you can usually tell quickly if the person's taste is similar to yours.
•“Lipsmackin' Backpackin: Lightweight Trail-tested Recipes for Backcountry Trips” by Tim and Christine Conners is packed with recipes, and the nutrition and weight information about the ingredients needed. They offer a vegetarian version as well.
•“NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) Cookery” by Claudia Pearson is in its sixth edition and is probably in every outdoor professional's library. NOLS also offers a spiral-bound field edition, and “Backcountry Cooking: Creative Menu Planning for Smaller Trips.”