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Thread: Backpacking Meal Ideas

  1. #1

    Backpacking Meal Ideas

    After reading a few of the other threads of late, I thought I'd start a thread for meal ideas. I want some good eatin' ideas! What foods keep you going on that near-epic slog?

    A few I like:

    Noodles & butter. spiced with pepper, garlic salt, & italian seasoning. One pot, cheap & good.

    Quesadillas. Durable ingredients- tortillas, cheese, dehydrated refried beans, chicken packet, & chiles. The beans & chiles help add miles.

    Mashed potatoes. Easy & warm. Boil the water, dump in the packet & enjoy.

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  3. #2
    I love campfire burritos but without a cooler they are only good on the first day.

    Tortilla, beans, rice, peppers, red onions, hot sauce, and of course lots of cheese.
    Pre-made at home and wrapped in tin foil, toss on hot coals for about 2min on each side and you're grubbin ... quick, easy, and cheep.

  4. #3
    cheese, pepperoni, tortillas, cold cereal and powdered milk, mashed potatoes and cous-cous are my staples. then lots of snacks, nuts, crushed chips, granola bars, etc...

  5. #4
    Here are my standard dinners for backpacking, but requires a dehydrator:

    1. Tahoe Chicken Curry
    Dehydrate some canned chicken. Dehydrate some frozen peas/carrots.
    Bag some couscous, chicken bouillon, curry, raisins, cashews.
    Rehydrate veggies/chicken at camp. When reconstituted, add the couscous mixture and set.

    2. Tortellini with sauce
    I prefer this dry Bertoli tortellini with spinach and ricotta (I can only have this cheese).
    Dehydrate a chunky jar of pasta sauce into sauce leather
    Cook and dry a half pound of beef. Rehydrate first, then add to sauce leather at camp.

    3. Bean, beef and rice burritos
    Take half a pouch of Mexican or Spanish rice mix.
    Dehydrate rinsed black beans and the other 1/2 pound of beef from above. Rehydrate at camp. Cook rice.

    4. Thai green curry
    Dehydrate some canned chicken. Dehydrate some frozen stir fry veggies.
    Bag some instant rice. Take along a green curry paste pouch and a pouch of dried coconut milk.
    Very easy to put together, but the key are these packets of coconut and curry.

    5. Chicken and Mashed Taters
    Dehydrate some canned chicken. Dehydrate some frozen country veggies (green beans, carrots, corn, peas).
    Bag some instant potatoes, butter flakes, take a gravy pouch.
    Rehydrate chicken/veggies, mix all together.

  6. #5

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Shan View Post
    Here are my standard dinners for backpacking, but requires a dehydrator:

    1. Tahoe Chicken Curry
    Dehydrate some canned chicken. Dehydrate some frozen peas/carrots.
    Bag some couscous, chicken bouillon, curry, raisins, cashews.
    Rehydrate veggies/chicken at camp. When reconstituted, add the couscous mixture and set.

    2. Tortellini with sauce
    I prefer this dry Bertoli tortellini with spinach and ricotta (I can only have this cheese).
    Dehydrate a chunky jar of pasta sauce into sauce leather
    Cook and dry a half pound of beef. Rehydrate first, then add to sauce leather at camp.

    3. Bean, beef and rice burritos
    Take half a pouch of Mexican or Spanish rice mix.
    Dehydrate rinsed black beans and the other 1/2 pound of beef from above. Rehydrate at camp. Cook rice.

    4. Thai green curry
    Dehydrate some canned chicken. Dehydrate some frozen stir fry veggies.
    Bag some instant rice. Take along a green curry paste pouch and a pouch of dried coconut milk.
    Very easy to put together, but the key are these packets of coconut and curry.

    5. Chicken and Mashed Taters
    Dehydrate some canned chicken. Dehydrate some frozen country veggies (green beans, carrots, corn, peas).
    Bag some instant potatoes, butter flakes, take a gravy pouch.
    Rehydrate chicken/veggies, mix all together.
    Dang! That menu looks really good. I see you use your dehydrator. My dehydrator is huge so I only use it for large quantities of apples and such but you have given me some ideas. I am curious as to how to make pasta sauce leather. That sounds interesting.

    BTW, "Mountain Man" Shan, you either need to post more or change your status. It just doesn't seem to fit.
    Life is Good

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Card View Post
    Dang! That menu looks really good. I see you use your dehydrator.
    I'd like dehydrator brand suggestions. I'd like to start using one, but I don't know how to tell a good one from a bad one. Are the inexpensive ones worth buying?

    I was recently introduced to dehydrated yams... and they were delicious. A friend said that he cooks them until nearly done, slices and dehydrates. Excellent snack food for hiking, and around Thanksgiving-time yams are dirt-cheap.

  9. #8
    I guess I need to make more posts to change my status, because I don't know how to get rid of the Man part!

    I just have a really basic dehydrator either Nesco or American Harvest probably $30. It's not digital, just a dial for herbs, veggies/fruits, or meats. Like this. No fancy lid. I got a dehydrator book to look up the drying success of all sorts of fruits and veggies. Like kiwi and mango I had no idea. They are excellent dried, like all natural Jolly Ranchers. I do notice that my dryer takes longer than what the book suggests. I'll have to try sweet potatoes, awesome!

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    It came with 4 stackable trays. I use the fruit leather trays for dehydrating applesauce, pasta sauces, refried beans, any other liquidy stuff. Just spread about 1/4" thick on the tray, peel off when dried yet pliable, and roll it up like a fruit roll up.

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    I also have finer meshed tray inserts for smaller things like rinsed beans and blueberries.

    If you do ground beef, you are supposed to season it quite a bit while cooking. Break it up really small witha spatula. Some say to rinse it quickly to get the fats off, then lay it on a fruit leather tray. Sounds like gravel when it's done, but it does rehydrate (just takes longer). If you do pasta sauce, I'd recommend bagging the sauce separate from the beef gravel since that will take longer to revive.

    I love to try out new dinners so I'll have to scour that website Micah!

  10. #9
    ephemeral excursionist blueeyes's Avatar
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    Shan I want to be you when I grow up.

    I love these threads on backpacking. Keep it coming I need ideas.
    Chere'




  11. #10
    I want that food dehydrator. So sick!

    I usually take a perishable meal in for the first night. You burn a lot of calories with the load bearing, so it is good to replace what you have burned off.

    On the Grand Daddy trip, I wedged reds and yukon golds, threw in some slices of butter, some salt and pepper, and about two teaspoons of oil. Wrap them up in tinfoil, put them in a ziploc bag, which usually ends up being the cuttingboard on a rock, and when you get to camp, throw them right on the fire. Flip and turn them for about 20 min, then check em. Delicious.

    I will usually pack an apple, for cutting wedges and putting them in my oatmeal. Go-gurts are sick too if you have a small cold pack like I do.

    I will get pre-made Indian food you heat in boiling water right in the package. Ready in 5 min, and curry is good in the woods.

    I have packed in Braughts and put them in chili before. Also small sweet potatoes in tin foil right on the fire are tasty too.

    We did corn last summer as well. Nice to soak it in the lake while still on the husk, then cook it in the husk and then when ready, peel, slide some butter on there, and munch. So good.

    I like a bit of fresh food on the trail. Those backpackers meals are full of sodium. I do take those too, but try to mix it up. Fresh food just seems to give you more energy out there.

    This is why I want the food dehydrator. Perfect for setting up food for the trip in.

  12. #11
    Last year I switched to taking freeze dried meals. Very easy and convenient... just add hot water to the bag and wait. But I find that at altitude I loose much of my appetite. Those meals are usually for 2 people and are pretty expensive. My friend always just takes a sandwich. I wanted something a little better after a long hike. But this last time he broke out a pressed Cuban sandwich, turkey and bacon. I looked _really_ good! I ate 3 bites of my meal and sealed it back up. I hungry, just not appetite. So I think I'm going to switch to a really good sandwich. Its a lot of bread (which is good) and I think that will be better for me. I'll still bring my stove for a hot drink though.

    I also just ordered a dehydrator (will arrive on Friday). I usually cook jerky int he oven but the door needs to be left partially open... its a real waste of energy. Also, I really like t snake on dried fruit. Making it myself, I know exactly what is in it. Plus, I live alone and fruit in my fridge _always_ ends up going bad.

  13. #12
    Yay for dehydrators!

    I just dehydrated 10 bananas, a quart of strawberries yesterday, and I plan to do 10 pears tonight. I got a produce co-op order (BountifulBaskets.org), and I cannot possibly eat all this food before it goes bad. Some say to do a pretreatment of sulfite soaking?, but I didn't.

    I noticed that honeydew melon is in that photo. I don't think it dehydrates well according to my book.

    Note: I once made a very hearty beef & veggie stew. I cut everything tiny and cooked it in the crock pot, then I dehydrated it. It did not reconstitute well and I'm not sure why. Maybe individual foods are better than mixed foods?

  14. #13
    I have the same dehydrator but haven't used it near as much as I should. As a bachelor who's usually cooking for just one, I'm beginning to get overwhelmed with the Roma Tomatoes this year so I'll bet it sees more use than it has.

    Between this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Well-Fed-Backp.../dp/0394738047

    And the backpacker.com recipe link given earlier, I find all the recipes I generally need.

    I find the dehydrated meals too expensive but I have a few on hand. It has been a long time since I've done a pack at the last minute overnighter so they just sit. That's why they're there, to save a day's worth of meal planning and shopping when I'm cutting things close.
    seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way...

  15. #14
    Here's a good pesto with dried tomatoes:

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sun-Dri...to/Detail.aspx
    (i've omitted the crushed tomatoes before)

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Shan View Post
    Yay for dehydrators!

    I just dehydrated 10 bananas, a quart of strawberries yesterday, and I plan to do 10 pears tonight. I got a produce co-op order (BountifulBaskets.org), and I cannot possibly eat all this food before it goes bad. Some say to do a pretreatment of sulfite soaking?, but I didn't.

    I noticed that honeydew melon is in that photo. I don't think it dehydrates well according to my book.
    I like the idea of 10 pears, or 10 bananas. I have the 160 liter version of this dehydrator. http://tinyurl.com/23gw4dkCabelas has a bunch of different dehydrators for those who are looking. My dehydrator is quite large but when the apples and pears come on, it makes quick work of a bunch of fruit. It just doesn't work for small specialized stuff.

    As a pretreatment with fruit I use fresh lemon juice mixed with frozen OJ to act both as a preservative and to prevent browning. I also vacum seal my fruit. I need to dehydrate about three times the amount I did last year since it only lasted till December. My kids eat dried apples and pears like candy. Amazing how fast it disappeared last year.
    Life is Good

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Shan View Post
    Here's a good pesto with dried tomatoes:

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sun-Dri...to/Detail.aspx
    (i've omitted the crushed tomatoes before)
    I hate to admit my new found passion for food and cooking but I really like Allrecipes.com. Some may try to trim my man card over this but I, as a man, can defend my card. Any whining and you can eat your top ramen at your camp while I dine on dutch oven goodies, bbq, killer deserts...etc. I will share the smell of my meal only if I get any man crapola.
    Life is Good

  18. #17
    Nothing unmanly about cooking! A man has to eat.

  19. #18
    ephemeral excursionist blueeyes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shan View Post
    Nothing unmanly about cooking! A man has to eat.
    X10

    Man who can cook in my book is more of a man!

    I also second allrecipes.com
    Chere'




  20. #19
    A man who can cook and clean is also self-reliant and therefore not in need of anybody to take care of him.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shan View Post
    Here's a good pesto with dried tomatoes:

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sun-Dri...to/Detail.aspx
    (i've omitted the crushed tomatoes before)

    I have a similar recipe in one of my fave cookbooks that I'm going to try. I went out and counted a couple of days ago, 45 tomatoes on 3 plants, too many to cook, too few for a food fight. The tomatoes are the only thing in my pathetic excuse for a garden that are really doing well this year.

    What is a bachelor supposed to do with 15 pounds of fresh tomatoes? I'm used to getting about 6-8 lbs. Oh well, I'm sure I'll work something out.
    seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way...

  21. #20
    My garden is no where near yours. I have maybe 5 cherry tomatoes among my 7 tomato plants and that's it.

    I would chop and freeze them in zip loc baggies or can them (requires more equipment). Or make some pasta sauce and freeze that?

    Ditto Blueeyes! The ones that can cook and are self reliant are the more desirable ones in my opinion.

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