Another camping adventure.
We are getting our camping system down to a system — what to bring, how to set up and take down, cooking and dishes. Most recently, we headed out to a camp ground along the Pacific Crest Trail. Having the PCT there made for great hiking! The weather was clear and we saw lots of mountains. We camped next to a tiny lake. It was quiet, with only a few other camping parties.
Cooking-wise, we tried out the dutch oven mac and cheese. It’s a keeper. We had a little miscommunication about the temperature for the dutch oven (my husband thought I wanted it as hot as for pizza, but alas, I only wanted 375 degrees). Luckily, the recipe calls for opening it and stirring after 30 minutes so were able to salvage our dinner. The burnt crust at the bottom was actually quite good too. I looked at a zillion recipes on the internet and zillion minus two all started with pre-cooked macaroni. Who wants to deal with that on a camping trip — either bringing cooked pasta with or cooking in camp? Not us.
This recipe calls for mixing the raw pasta with a blended mixture of milk, cottage cheese and spices, and then LOTS of grated cheese. I found two similar recipes, one at Smitten Kitchen, which is always a trusted source. The other is here.
Here is my version, scaled down for two people in an 8 inch dutch oven. You will have to figure out the amount of coals to use (sorry) as we used too many.
5.4 ounces dry macaroni
1 1/3 cups whole milk
2/3 cup cottage cheese
A squirt of dijon mustard
About 1/4 t salt
About 1/4 t pepper
Pinch of cayenne
10 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
At home before camping: blend together milk, cottage cheese, mustard and spices. I used an immersion blender in a quart mason jar, starting with the cottage cheese and a small amount of milk and then added the rest when the cottage cheese was already quite blended. Put this mixture in your cooler. Put your grated cheese in a ziploc and put that in your cooler too.
In camp, butter your dutch oven and mix the macaroni, milk mixture and most of the cheese.
Bake about 30 minutes. (As I said above, we used too many coals. The Lodge manual says 11 briquettes on top and 6 on bottom for 375 degrees.). After 30 minutes, open the dutch oven and stir the ingredients. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake another 20-25. Let sit a few minutes before serving.