Gourmet Backpacker
May 26, 2010 10:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm going on a 7-day backpacking trip in about a month with three friends and I need your best lightweight meal recipies.

The plan is that we're each going to be cooking two dinners and two breakfasts for the group and I would like mine to be totally fantastic. Recipies can incorporate dehydrated food (I may have access to a deyhydtrator) although I'd like to keep this to a minimum and I shun anything freeze-dried. We're all omnivorous but vegetarian or vegan options are completely welcome as long as they're scrum-didely-umptuous.

We'll have two white gas camping stoves along with two sets of camping pots and pans.

In summary, lightweight and tasty, can you help?
posted by talkingmuffin to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This swiss breakfast recipe is a staple for me when hiking, and at home. It'll fill you up on three tablespoons when dry. I'll have a bowl of that each day and a landjager sausage or two for breakfast each day. My other go to staple is fettuccine alfredo (dry noodles, instant alfredo sauce) with some smoked salmon. You don't need a lot of smoked salmon and most of it comes in aluminum retort pack. Bring a few capres and or parmesan for flair. Instant beans go good with cheese in tortilla shells and a bit of hot sauce, and the next day you can use more landjaeger sausage with cheese in the leftover tortilla shells toasted on a frying pan.

Usually when we go the deal is the dinner has to be 3 courses: soup or appetizer, meal and desert. When people aren't expecting that it you can blow them away with some knorr soup mix, a main dish and desert crepes, which are pretty easy and lightweight with instant eggs. A little syrup, a few packs of jam and or a bit of goat cheese can go a long way to blowing someone's mind.
posted by furtive at 10:47 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bisquick, or some home-made biscuit mix. This can then be used to make everything from "pitas" to "pizza dough". And, of course, actual biscuits. Just add water.

["Biscuits" in this context are American-style biscuits, not sweetened English biscuits (what we'd call "cookies").]
posted by Netzapper at 10:55 PM on May 26, 2010

Olive oil, if you were to have just one perker-upper. Well, it does weigh less than water! It's the one luxury item I always bring, other than the mundane dehydrated stuff.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 10:57 PM on May 26, 2010

Backcountry Thanksgiving. So delicious. I adequately can't describe the feeling of comfort food after a day of hauling pack, but believe me you will not regret this recipe. The only problem is packing out the trash, but pouches/Ziplocs are not too bad and can be reused in a pinch.
posted by dondiego87 at 11:41 PM on May 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

Quesadillas. Bulk out the meal with black bean soup mix (or is that freeze dried?) and spruce it up with real green onions (light, keeps well) and maybe avocado or jalapeƱo. If you're day one or two for dinner, you could take the fresh veggie thing further with some tomatoes (even by day two, real veggies inspired envy on my last trip).

Agreed on the three courses. My favorite first course is hummus.
posted by salvia at 11:46 PM on May 26, 2010

Google "freezer bag cooking" for some interesting ideas.

If you mean that you shun those pre-packed backpacker meals and not freeze-dried foods per se, that opens things up quite a bit. SO and I cook trail food almost entirely from what can be bought at a large grocery store. We like Ms. Grass chicken noodle soup, a "soup starter," to which we add foil-pouched chicken. We always have one meal of Zatarain's red beans and rice or jambalaya with summer sausage. Stove Top Stuffing and pouched chicken is filling, if not good for you. Packaged rice or noodle side dishes can be bulked up with some tuna or chicken in foil. There are lots of newish foiled meats in the canned meats area.

There are lots of good ideas in a well-stocked grocery, and I'll bet that this is even more true for you than for us here in semi-rural Mississippi.
posted by thebrokedown at 2:16 AM on May 27, 2010

Lundberg Parmesan Risotto with dried wild mushrooms (from the natural food store) always brings squeals of delight. Re-hydrate the mushrooms in your pack after lunch if necessary and in white wine if possible. Pack-in a chunk of parmesan and a tiny cheese grater you can also use for zesting lemons or grating chocolate on cocoa.
posted by Pamelayne at 4:20 AM on May 27, 2010

I would do oatmeal with dried fruit, nuts, and cinnamon one morning. Figs and toasted almonds are a nice combination, or dried blueberries and toasted coconut (not actually a nut, of course).

Lentils and rice would be a lovely meal - I would find it so satisfying after a day of hiking. It would be especially good if you brought a little olive oil and a couple cloves of garlic, plus dried mushrooms. And salt and pepper, of course - maybe fresh-grind some pepper before you leave and bring it in a little container?
posted by insectosaurus at 5:19 AM on May 27, 2010

1/3 of a cup of popping corn and 2 tbs of oil, a bit of salt and butter as you see fit, or leftover parmesan, and you've got a great warm snack for after your meal, or while waiting for your meal.
posted by furtive at 6:10 AM on May 27, 2010

Best answer: Here are a few favorites!

Thai Peanut Sauce with Rice

3 c. instant rice
12 T. Taste of Thai peanut sauce mix
6 T. coconut cream powder
6 T. coconut milk powder( or can use 12 T. of either one)
One pouch of chicken(7 oz)

Place rice in one zip lock bag and other dry ingredients in a second zip lock bag. In camp bring 4 1/2 cups of water and contents of second bag to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add rice and bring back to a boil again stirring. Cover and let sit 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Open chicken packet and stir into rice, smooshing chicken and serve. This makes about 3 cups of food. Consider doubling the mix if you're hungry hikers like us!

*Note the coconut powders can be hard to find, but all Asian markets (and some big grocery stores have them)

Cheesy Hamburger & Rice

1 cup instant rice
1/3 c. instant milk (Nido brand)
1 package 4 cheese sauce blend (McCormick)
1 package cheese sauce (from mac and cheese package)
1/2 t. Butter Buds
1/2 c. dehydrated hamburger (you can dehydrate your own or order it online)

Combine dry ingredients except hamburger in zip lock bag (freezer bag) In camp, add 2 c. water and hamburger to pot. Bring to a boil and add ziplock contents,stirring. Bring back to boil and take off stove. let sit 5-10 minutes until cooked.

Or put all ingredients except water in freezer bag and in camp add 2 cups boiling water to bag, close and knead to mix and let sit til done. (serves 1-2)

Curried Couscous

1 box parmesan couscous
1/4 t. sugar
1/3 t. curry powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
pinch of tumeric
5 t. coconut cream or coconut milk powder *
2 t. dried onion flakes
3 t. dehydrated peas (make your own or get the Mountain House ones)

1/4 c. cashew pieces
3 oz. can chicken

At home: combine all dried ingredients including parmesan packet from couscous box in a freezer zip lock bag. Keep peas in separate baggie. Keep cashews and chicken separate.

At camp: add 2 cups of water and peas to pot and bring to boil. add dry ingredients, stir and bring back to boil. take off stove, cover and let sit til water is absorbed. top with cashews and chicken.

Or add 2 cups boiling water and peas to zip lock bag. stir well- and let sit til water is absorbed(i boil the water with the peas in it as they take longer to rehydrate). top with cashews and chicken. (1-2 servings)
posted by MorningPerson at 7:17 AM on May 27, 2010

Backpacker has some great recipes.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:11 AM on May 27, 2010

A clove of fresh garlic will perk up almost any non-sweet food, including the recipes above Don't bother with the dried stuff, because fresh garlic cloves weigh hardly anything and are a hundred times better.
posted by Ery at 8:36 AM on May 27, 2010

I have had great success with recipes from Trailcooking.com. In particular, Cheesy Bacon Mashers, Pizza Ramen, and Spicy Black Beans and Rice are good recipes from that site.

Do you have a World Market near you? It's a good source for individual sized, shelf stable cheese, sausage, and other products. Also, a few particular brands are good to know. Fantastic Foods makes a number of "instant" bean mixes and hummus mixes. Laughing Cow cheese and string cheese are both shelf stable.

I agree that freezer bag cooking is really worth it. You need fewer pots/pans, and clean up is easy.
posted by TrarNoir at 11:43 AM on May 27, 2010

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