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Cookies Corner: The ‘Insulated Mug Method’?

Over on the Trail Cooking website our readers may have noticed that we have changed a number of recipes to show multiple ways to prepare them in the outdoors. Why have we done this?

The longer I develop recipes for the outdoors, the more ways I have come to embrace to make/prepare them – and our readers like having options – ask and you shall receive!

This is one of the reasons we write here at Trail Cooking – to show that you can eat any way you like and still do it easy 😉 FBC style meals will always be my child but it is fun to be able to embrace other ways as well.

So that ‘insulated mug method’ you might see mentioned in recipes? Easy enough! It is using your lightweight insulated mug to prep meals in. It works best for meals for one in the range of 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups water added.

It will depend of course on what size mug you carry while backpacking – do you take a 12 ounce mug? Or a 18 ounce one? A 12 ounce mug works best with no more than 1 cup water added to dry ingredients. A 18 ounce mug should be 1 1/2 cups or less water added. You will need room for your food to expand!

If super hungry, there is always the Super Grande coffee mugs found at truck stops across the country :p You could fix a meal for a logger in one of those puppies!

You can take any sturdy (yet light) mug that you prefer but you will want a good tight fitting lid. Be it plastic or metal, either is up to you. If you use metal be warned the interior will be cold in winter. Preheating with hot water will be needed to not chill your food.

So why use this method over FBC or ‘one pot meals’? Well, it can be various reasons – maybe you like the idea/concept of FBC recipes but you don’t like plastic bags or you will be out for a long time (thru hiking for example) and want to avoid carrying bags. Versus one pot meals your cleanup will be easier as the food doesn’t have the heat to “cook” onto the side like it can in a pot.

Most FBC (Freezer Bag Cooking) recipes can be done this way, so enjoy! As we have time the recipes on FBC will have both methods listed.

Of course you can also at any time prepare all the recipes on pot style by bringing water to a boil in your favorite pot, adding in the dry ingredients, stirring well and letting sit in a pot cozy for 15 minutes.

In the end it is about having options!

An example from the couscous section:

Italian couscous

In a quart freezer bag:
1/3 cup plain couscous
1/4 cup dried vegetable mix or freeze-dried
1 Tbsp dried diced onion
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt, if desired
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup shelf stable Parmesan cheese

Also take a 3 to 5-ounce can of chicken

FBC method:

Add 1 cup near boiling water and chicken with broth. Stir well, seal tightly and put in a cozy for 10 minutes. Fluff up.

Mug method:
Add the chicken with broth and 1 cup boiling water to the dry ingredients. Stir well, cover tightly and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff up.

Serves 1.