Campfire Mac & Cheese - a MUST for your next camping trip!
I'm super excited about this recipe!! I was prepping for my recent camping trip to Killbear Provincial Park (which is located on Georgian Bay in the Parry Sound Distrct of Ontario) and was perusing Pinterest for some camping recipe inspo! I stumbled upon this great idea from Lauren at www.laurenslatest.com and couldn't wait to try it out! It was the perfect recipe to bring along a spring/early summer camping trip since I knew the cheesy goodness and comfort food feelin' of Mac & Cheese would be perfect for a cool evening.
Y'all know that I normally stick to easy & simple recipes, so I was a little nervous that this recipe might include making a roux (the traditional thickener for Mac & Cheese). I've made a roux before and it definitely is time consuming and takes some muscle. BUT the best part of this recipe is = NO ROUX! YASS!!!!! It's basically just a mix of store bought Alfredo sauce and lots and lots and lots of cheese! I decided on a mix of smoked gouda, old cheddar and mozzarella for my recipe and it turned out delicious! But I'm sure a number of other cheesy combinations would result in a yummy camp-out mac & cheese :)
I also really liked the idea of pre-packaging this dish into mini personal-sized tin pans, because it makes for an easy cook & clean up at the camp site. I tweaked the original recipe so that it filled up 8 personal-sized pans (mostly because that's the number of pans that came in a package from the dollar store lol). Since there was only four of us camping, I saved and froze the remaining 4 pans to enjoy another time!
Check out the recipe below, remember you can substitute the cheese for whatever you fancy! Happy camping!!!!
All the ingredients for a delicious campfire mac & cheese!!
Mix in the alfredo sauce and some pasta water, you need enough sauce to make sure the pasta doesn't dry out!
Brush some cooking oil on all of the mini pans.
MMMmmmm More cheese!! Smoked gouda, old cheddar & mozzarella!
Fill em up!
Top with MORE cheese! haha
Prep for the cooler! Cover with foil that has been sprayed with cooking oil....
Then pack 4 pans into an extra large zip lock bag to protect it from the damp cooler / cooler water.
At the campsite! Cooked on the grill right over the campfire. I love cooking meals like this at camp!
We were also cooking some chicken soup & chicken skewers over the fire!
The delicious and cheesy results! We placed it in paper plates since the pans were super hot and then ate it right by the fire :) The bottom of the mac and cheese (the part closest to the fire) got really crispy and added a yummy crunch which I really enjoyed. Side note: we ended up with an awesome camp site... that's the lake right behind our campfire!
Campfire Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Lauren @ Lauren's Latest
1 454g box of elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded old cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded smoked gouda
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 410ml jar of store-bought alfredo sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of pasta water (reserved after cooking the macaroni noodles)
1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 1-minutes less than the package's cooking instructions. Once cooked to al dente, drain the pasta water making sure to reserve at least 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and quickly rinse the pasta in cold water. Before proceeding, you will need to cool the pasta to at least room temperature (you don't want to melt the shredded cheese at this point, that will happen over the camp fire!)
2. Once the pasta has been cooled, pour the Alfredo sauce into the mac and stir until combined. I added in 1/4 cup of the pasta water to create the consistency I wanted, you need to make sure the pasta is well-coated so it doesn't dry up on the way to camp! Then add in all of the shredded cheese, the salt and the pepper and mix together.
3. Prep for packing! Spray the mini foil pans with cooking spray and brush to ensure the entire surface is covered. Spoon in the mac & cheese mixture to fill the pan and top with more shredded cheese! Then cut out squares of foil, mark them as "Mac and Cheese" with a sharpie one side(optional) and spray with cooking oil on the other (so the cheese topping doesn't stick!) Then seal the pans tightly with the foil. I packaged 4 pans into one extra large zip lock bag to waterproof for the cooler!
4. Cooking on the campfire: Place the pans on a grill over top the campfire. Cook for about 30 minutes (this will depend on how big/hot your fire is...). Make sure to rotate/move the pans around the grill so that the heat is equally distributed, since the fire most likely won't be equally distributed on the grill. Then grab a beer, pull up a camping chair and serve, devour & enjoy by the campfire!
BONUS - Camping Activity for Kids (and Adults too)
Check out these adorable Campfire Coloring Sheets from my Etsy Shop Cardinal Colors for your next camping adventure. These are instant digital downloads, making them a snap to bring to camp! Just print them off on your home computer and they make for an easy activity on the picnic bench or by the campfire.
There's lots more cute coloring pages and even personalized printable digital downloads, check out the CardinalColors Etsy Shop!