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Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Have a favorite trail recipe or technique you'd like to share? Please do! We also like reviews of various trail food products out there. The Backcountry Food Topix forum is the place to discuss all things related to food and nourishment while in the Sierra wilderness (as well as favorite trail head eateries).

Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Postby Barn Animal » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:30 pm

Traditionally for dinner in the backcountry I have either some plain/flavored ramen noodles or store bought freeze dried food like Backpacker's Pantry. However, this year I'm looking to branch out a bit when it comes to dinner and am wondering what you guys make for dinner or how you spice up foods like rice and ramen.

Note: I do not have a dehydrator so dehydrated meals are not an option for me...

Thanks!



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Re: Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:39 pm

packitgourmet.com
trailcooking.com
aforkinthetrail.com
harmonyhousefoods.com
http://goodto-go.com/


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Re: Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Postby rlown » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:46 pm

Barn Animal wrote:Traditionally for dinner in the backcountry I have either some plain/flavored ramen noodles or store bought freeze dried food like Backpacker's Pantry. However, this year I'm looking to branch out a bit when it comes to dinner and am wondering what you guys make for dinner or how you spice up foods like rice and ramen.

Note: I do not have a dehydrator so dehydrated meals are not an option for me...

Thanks!


Two questions:

1) do you fish?
2) do you want to cook your own concocted meal (pasta, rice, Puttanesca, other?) or a quick meal and then crawl in the tent or barn ;)

If you are peckish for a certain recipe, you can use the search function at the top of the page for the food you crave, and you might find something you like that was posted here previously.

Welcome aboard!
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Re: Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Postby Barn Animal » Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:08 am

1) do you fish?

No I do not... Something I want to work on though


2) do you want to cook your own concocted meal (pasta, rice, Puttanesca, other?) or a quick meal and then crawl in the tent or barn?

I definitely am looking for my own concocted meal. Especially anything pasta based and any kind of soup/stew
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Re: Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Postby TahoeJeff » Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:44 am

I'm a big fan of what is known as 'freezer bag cooking'.
Check out this site for an explanation and a ton of good recipes:
http://www.trailcooking.com/
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Re: Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Postby robow8 » Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:05 am

Skurka has some pretty good recipes that can be made freezer bag style. I'm taking the beans and rice one out this weekend. http://andrewskurka.com/section/how-to/ ... l-recipes/

I like to see what sounds good in the commercially made meals and replicate them on my own. I use a lot of stuff from Harmony House.
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Re: Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Postby Jimr » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:13 am

Dehydrating is never out of the question. You don't need to spend an arm and a leg for a dehydrator. You can pick up a Ronco 5 tray dehydrator at Best Buy for $40. I've had one for over 30 years and while I drool for the Excalibur 3500b or 3900b, I have yet to pull the trigger. A cheap dehydrator will do a fine job for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, jerky, fruit leathers, etc. For full meals, you can use the oven on its lowest temp, wedge a wooden spoon in the door to keep it open a couple of inches and run a fan across the top for air circulation.

I haven't bought freeze dried meals since the late 1980's. Well, maybe one or two for the kid. It is unbelievable what ideas you can come up with just strolling through the grocery store these days. Last year, I made a shepherds pie with instant refried beans, reconstituted peas (use whatever veggies you want) on top, foil pouch chicken, then instant mashed potatoes on top of that with parmesan cheese and tortillas. My meals have never been the same from year to year. I just make them up on the fly while perusing the grocery store.

One time, I dehydrated a jar of spaghetti sauce in the oven into a leather, then made chicken cacciatore with foil pouched chicken. I had a gallon zip loc full of various dried veggies. I'd just grab a handful and crunch them up into every cooked meal to add to the mix. Very off the cuff.
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Re: Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Postby cslaght » Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:02 am

Just as a quick recommendation, recipe sharing, advice. Last year I took pasta (shells) with my own flavored butter and seared chucks of spam. It was fantastic. The pasta is easy, just boil at camp. The butter I melted and added a bunch of herbs and spices at home (went a little heavy than I'd normally use) and then froze them. By the time dinner is around, put the "ice cube" of butter on the pasta and it incorporates very well. It won't be frozen by dinner, but this isn't a big deal. The shells with this sauce coupled with simply seared spam cubes was excellent.
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Re: Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Postby rlown » Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:02 pm

another place to look: http://www.backpackingchef.com/best-bac ... cipes.html

I was drawn there by some of the Indian recipes. eg, http://www.backpackingchef.com/indian-dal-recipe.html
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Re: Backpacking Dinner Ideas?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Apr 29, 2016 7:21 am

I cook from scratch and get nearly everything from grocery stores. I go to Whole Foods or Trader Joes to get some specialized freeze dried fruits and vegetables. The basis of dinners are pasta, rice, potatoes, barley, couscous, or other quick cook grains. Angel hair noodles are a favorite because they cook so quickly. If adding fd or dried vegies or meat, cook these with the boiling water. Add the grains after the water boils. Couscous and dried potatoes only need to be brought back to a boil and the set aside. Other grains cook well with about 5 minutes of simmering then set aside for five minutes in a cozy. I make pot cozies out of old foam sleeping pads. I add either butter or olive oil, spices, nuts, raisins, etc. Other toppings include crushed onion rings, sliced flavored almonds (in salad dressing section of supermarket), etc. If you do not fish, the 2.5-3oz. foil packs of tuna or salmon work well to add some flavor. Add packets of sauces the last minute or so of cooking (grains hydrate better in boiling water without the sauce).

Make a spice kit. I usually take about 3-4 small bottles of spices and vary these trip to trip. A clump of real garlic is light weight and goes a long ways. Salt, pepper, Tajin, powdered wasabi, rosemary, allspice, curry, and basil are rotated in my spice kit. You can buy small plastic bottles at REI or I re-use/re-fill the small personal size Tajin plastic bottles. Salt at the very end because you may not need any if other add-in ingredients are already salty. I also take a chunk of parmesan cheese and cut off flakes.

I have cooked from scratch my whole life, so for me, it is easier to do this in the field rather than dehydrate my own meals. To save on fuel, I solar heat my cook water in a platypus sitting on a black stuff sack in the sun. My style of backpacking is up at dawn and end the day around 3-4PM, leaving plenty of time. If your style is to walk until dark, this may not work for you.

If you cook in the field, be sure you have a stove that simmers, and be very diligent about stirring often. It is hard to simmer on a backpack stove in high winds. I always carry one or two meals that are boil and add only, for those times. The Knorr "sides" work well for this.
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