For the past two weeks, I've been doing lots and lots of meal prep. For those of you who don't know, for thru hikes less than 1000 miles I prefer to do all of our meals as mail drops instead of resupplies. In doing a trail like the Mountains to Sea Trail, we are giving up the convenience of being able to easily get into town, especially for the first several hundred miles. We will be mostly parallel to the Blue Ridge Parkway and it makes it much easier for us if we do drops instead. Our first mail drop will consist of a post office less than a quarter mile from the Parkway and our second will be at a hotel that sits right on the Parkway. Having mail drops right on the trail is so much easier than trying to hitch off a scenic byway and get back up to it - especially on a trail that doesn't see so many thru hikers!
While I was going through my favorite recipes for this trip, I decided to use a few of our old favorites, as well as test out some new recipes. I also decided to attempt and create one of my favorite dinners - chicken piccata. I know Backpacker's Pantry offers this as an option, but at $11.00 per meal (and it's definitely not a two-serving meal at only 350 calories per serving!) this is not only cost prohibitive, it's also bulky in their big packaging. I decided to see if I could recreate this meal at home with dehydrated products and I am super excited with the results! Being able to have one of your favorite meals on the trail is a great way to end your day. The recipe for you to recreate is below.
Sprinkles' Chicken Piccata
1 cup of dried pasta of your choice (I recommend small pasta, like farfalle)
1/4 cup freeze dried chicken (or dehydrated canned chicken)
1 tablespoon of dried capers* (see below for instructions)
2 teaspoons butter powder
1/4 teaspoon (or one packet) True Lemon powder
At Home: Take the 1 cup of dried pasta and the 1/4 cup of chicken and combine in a sandwich-sized Ziplock bag. Combine the capers, butter powder, and lemon powder in a separate snack-sized Ziplock bag. Place the smaller bag inside the larger bag and seal.
On Trail: Remove the small Ziplock containing the "sauce" powders and capers and set aside. Dump the pasta and chicken into your cook pot and cover with water by a 1/2 inch. Cook on a low flame, stirring to make sure the pasta doesn't stick to the pot. When your pasta is done, you shouldn't have a ton of extra water in your pot - just starchy water barely covering the pasta and chicken. Add the powder and capers from the smaller bag directly to the pot and turn off the heat. Let it sit for a few minutes to rehydrate the capers and enjoy directly from the pot.
*To make dehydrated capers, drain capers from their brine and place on a fruit leather sheet or piece of parchment paper on your dehydrator tray. Dry at 135 degrees for approximately 4-6 hours (depending on the humidity), until they are leathery, but dry. If you don't own a dehydrator, you can always place them on a baking sheet and put your oven on the lowest possible setting with the door cracked open for 2-4 hours.
What is your favorite meal at home? Would you ever attempt to recreate it on trail?