What was planned as an epic ski trip in the Tobacco Root Mountains of Montana, became an epic winter camping trip with some skiing. The avalanche forecast for the three days predicted a sliding stack of pancakes. Layers upon on layers of weak snow = a recipe for an avalanche, with no maple syrup—our only solace was food.
The approach to our camp area was no easy feat. We slogged uphill with skis TRIPLE their average weight due to inches of wet snow stuck to the bottom and waddled through miles of dirt-covered forest service road. We sure do love the outdoors, huh?
When we made it to camp, I immediately began setting up our kitchen. This entailed digging a pit of snow that (somewhat) resembled a table, bench, and small storage space that would eventually be called our “fridge.”
At the end of the day, you forget all the struggles you come to love and hate when you sit down for that hot meal, cold beer, and a good view. At that point, all you have to do is wait for the water to boil, toss a few ingredients into a bag, and enjoy a 5-star meal. Something about that first bite just clears away all of the frustration with broken buckles and a lack of fitness… you know what I’m talking about!
For dinner that night, we wanted something creative requiring VERY minimal effort on our part. Easy to do with a dehydrated Good To-Go meal, right? One of our favorite meals is the Mushroom Risotto, but we wanted to try something different this time around. See what we did below!
Mushroom Risotto with Asparagus and Bacon
Double-serving, decrease by half for a single-serving
Some food for thought:
- The great thing about having your added ingredients prepped ahead of time, is that you literally have no prep to deal with in the backcountry! Your Good To-Go meal needs only boiling water, and while amazing on its own, becomes a great base for your fresh ingredients!
- All these ingredients travel well in a Ziploc bag or one made of beeswax, if you’d prefer. Reusable Stasher bags or Tupperware-style containers work great, too.
- 1 Good To-Go Mushroom Risotto, double-serving
- 1 bunch raw asparagus, cut into ¾” pieces
- ½ lb bacon, cooked, then sliced into small strips
- Desired amount of your favorite cheese, grated (parmesan, jack, etc)
- Optional - A handful of cherry tomatoes, or fresh basil
- Place ingredients into separate sealed bags or containers before your trip
- Prepare Mushroom Risotto, referring to the steps on the back of the package
- Add asparagus just after pouring boiling water into the pouch - it will cook with the meal!
- Once your meal is rehydrated, stir in the bacon and grated cheese
- Optional - Top with any additional ingredients you’d like!
After a long day, this was precisely the simple, yet hearty dish we needed. We took a flavorful meal and added that crunch with the asparagus and fat using the cheese and bacon. It was more than enough food to provide a full belly and a good night’s sleep!
The previous day's long slog into camp didn’t stop us from getting after it! We scaled up the mountainside, weaving between tight trees until we found enough space to make some turns. It may not have been much, but I recall saying to my partner, “I’m just happy to be out here.”
You remember and talk about two things when you look back at a trip like this. The challenges you overcame and the food you ate. These are what create the adventure. Everything else is a bonus.
Story and photos by: Amy Vallance