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Help me plan a menu! I've never done this..
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Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Help me plan a menu! I've never done this.. on 06/23/2008 13:36:20 MDT Print View

Hey everyone:

My girlfriend is taking me on a surprise hiking trip for my brithday that I have no details about. I know that it is from this Saturday thru Monday and that is all...

I told her I would get a menu for us, but usually I just get packaged meals. I'm wondering if you all would like to help me come up with some good food for 3 days and 2 nights.

I think that for breakfast we will each have an oatmeal packet, tea, and some honey.

For lunch I plan on GORP, pringles, peanut butter and some dried fruit.

For dinner, I have no idea! We will have a .9 evernew and snowtrek 900 so we will have plenty of water! I was planning on freezer bag meals, but I'm just lost. Any help for ANY meals would be awesome!

Thanks so much!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Help me plan a menu! I've never done this.. on 06/23/2008 14:16:32 MDT Print View

One thing to think about:
What does she like to eat at home? What do you? Do you like to eat fresh veggies and fruit? Do you like dessert? Candy? Are you meat eaters? Any special diets?

One oatmeal packet may not be enough - bulk it up with diced nuts and freeze dried fruit maybe.

Lunches? Yeah, I understand - I am not much of a sit down lunch person - but is she? Maybe bring tortillas for the PB (add jam or honey). How about shelf stable cheese with crackers? (Laughing Cow stuff is good). Or bagels. Make sure you want heavy gorp with everything else.

Here is where I have changed a lot in the past couple years: I have no qualms about packing in a fresh loaf of bread for dinner, fresh fruit for the first 2 days, maybe a ripe me that weight is ok - I'll eat it! ;-)

For dinners? Think what you like and go from there. I can give you ideas. You could do an Italian inspired meal night one with a some rolls or bread.....night two chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes.

Let me know what you hate food wise ;-)

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Re: Help me plan a menu! I've never done this.. on 06/23/2008 14:39:22 MDT Print View

Hey Sarah,

I was hoping you would respond! :)

I meant to say that she is a vegetarian so our dinners will have to be veggie friendly. Thanks for reminding me about that.

As for breakfast, I think you are right and that it is a good idea to have some nuts and freeze dried fruit with the oatmeal. Either that, or two packets each.

For lunch, even if we bring snacks like I mentioned, we'll probably sit. I need breaks because both of my feet are injured so I enjoy sitting to eat lunch for 15 minutes or so. I was thinking of bringing some of that wax cheese, but laughing cow will certainly be more spreadable on crackers. We love cheese and crackers so maybe we can bring cheese (various falvors), crackers, pb&j, and some tortillas.

As for dinner, we really like everything. We are not picky when it comes to being out on hikes. Remember, we're used to eating SUPER salty mountain house meals, so I figure anything we come up with will be better then that! I'm really just looking for some tasty, lightweight staples that will give us good overnight energy. Maybe food for a romantic dinner will be good for one night though...soo hmm..italian sounds good for that! A veggie pasta dish?

I should probably go check out your website too! I'm afraid of getting sucked in at work though so I plan on doing that when I get home! :)

Thanks a lot for your help!


Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Help me plan a menu! I've never done this.. on 06/23/2008 16:04:03 MDT Print View

Current favorites for what they are worth:


Japanese style almonds (not sure what they are called)
Dried blueberries
Joysticks (organic "hot" jerkey sticks) does not apply due to meat
Probars - Great flavors and packed with organic calories
Big Sur Bars - Super awesome but hard to get your hands on


Try packaged meals outside the standard: ie: Mary Jane Farms makes killer vegan freeze dried meals.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Menu on 06/23/2008 20:00:34 MDT Print View

Hummm ....

I like to take a small summer sausage, cheese, and some trisket crackers in a ziplock plastic container for lunch. Pita pockets and potted meat, or chicken spread, or PB makes a good lunch as well.

For dinners, I've found that pasta roni with angel hair pasta makes one heck of a freezer bag meal. Lipton sides with veggies also makes a great freezer bag meal. Pasta roni comes in a lot of flavors and is 99 cents and about 675 calories per box.

Toss the packaging and put it in a ziplock freezer bag.

I take a bag of armor dried beef to add protein, although you could add pouch chicken or tuna if you'd like (tuna in oil would be really good). Or cut up some pieces of summer sausage and cheese and toss em in.

Take an old $1 acrylic stocking hat and use it as a cozy ... it weighs less than an ounce and takes up almost no room in the bottom of your food bag.

Just make sure you don't wear it .... the bears would mistake your head for a doggie bag!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Veg on 06/23/2008 21:42:22 MDT Print View

She is a veg - no problems there :-) Does she like tofu? Reason why - you can get flavored shelf stable tofu by Norimate and it is pretty good diced up into noodle bowls. Add in some dried mushrooms crumbled up, maybe some torn Nori, dried onions (all these things you can find in most big stores). When I make noodle bowls I grab ramen and toss the "flavor" packet (it is where most of the sodium is). The noodles and homemade sauce with veggies is filling and tasty.

If you can find them locally Just Veggies freeze dried vegetable mix is great to add in to dinners.

I make a faux polenta using instant grits but you can find super quick cooking polenta from Italy that cooks in a minute. Add in sun dried tomatoes diced up, cheese, garlic, pepper, etc....really good!

While Mary Janes meals are the best on the market - they are dehydrated rather than freeze dried in most cases. Not all are vegan but all are vegetarian. The nice thing is they are not salt bombs like Mt. House is. On the other hand the meals are not big either.

An easy and filling meal is to make bean and rice burritos. Get Fantastic Foods dried bean mix, instant rice, tortillas, some cheese, veggies if you want them, etc. I make this nearly every trip I go on at some point. Cheap too!

G Dup
(lococoyo) - F
Re: Help me plan a menu! I've never done this.. on 06/24/2008 02:40:01 MDT Print View

I like to get frozen rice/veggie meals from Trader Joe's. They have a large selection of very tasty fully cooked and hydrated (but frozen) dishes. I just pour each bag onto a tray in the dehydrator and you are ready to go. Usually takes at least 30-40 mins to fully rehydrate and cool down enough to eat. Bring a bottle of oil and squirt some in right before you eat it - makes them taste so good . Sometimes i'll eat these at home if i'm busy and don't have the time to cook. I made pouches to hold the quart sized bags out of reflectix insulation - comes in a huge roll for about $20. It keeps the food well insulated and the pouch stands up on its own.

I try to avoid the meals with mushrooms. I haven't had luck dehydrating them; they turn black and goey. I don't really care for them anyways but it can be done if you're a fan.

Also, fake meat products are great - even if you are a meat loving slaughterfestomaniac. Get ground beef crumblers and fake chicken or beef strips to dehydrate. I also like to chop up baked/marinated tofu into small 1/3" cubes and dehydrate them. They are good plain (chewy) or added to food. You can dehydrate all of these at 135* since they are not real meat products. I usually just turn on the machine and come back in 10 hours or so though if you are impatient you can stir it up midway etc. Sarahs site has alot of good info on this sort of thing.

Angel hair pasta meals are great and easy to dehydrate. Alfredo, tomato sauce, or pesto with some meat thrown in and thats livin'!

I can't eat GORP or hummus etc ad infinitum - traumatized at a young age backpacking haha. Jerky is the way to go for me - all meat all day snacking. Add it to your soups or meals. Never gets old for me.

You can also bring protein bars... you can get them with anywhere from 5g to 30g of protein. You could also bring protein shakes or weight gainer mix. You can end up fitting like 2 weeks of food in a bear can if it is all bars/shake. I usually starve a day or two on the trail before I can manage to eat the vile shih of it but i'm kind of a freak.

Also, stock up on asian noodle dishes - there are alot of tasty ones out there nowadays really cheap and easy last minute food. Just repackage from styrofoam into quart ziplock.

MASHED POTATOES are the shiizzz on the trail. They come in foil pouches with a bunch of flavors and crazy toppings all you do is add water. Definitely bring these - I eat them all the time at home. Idahoan brand but double check you only have to add water.

Find some granola cereal you really like then measure out the amount of it and milk you normally eat for breakfast. Then put it in a ziplock with the reqd amount of instant milk powder plus store bought dehydrated (usually cheaper and always easier) fruit topping of your choice. I like to add sugar at home because the milk isn't so great.

Other good ideas for breakfast: Oatmeal packets w/ toppings of your choice, maybe a little powdered creamer/milk. Dehydrated hobo style potato cubes or flakes (peppers, onions, etc). Dehydrated eggs and bacon. Put lots of paper towels in the dehydrator to catch the massive amounts of bacon grease, then freeze until your trip - you can eat them like chips without any prep on the trail.

Also, when at the grocery store keep an eye out for the ethnic foods section and near the soups. Alot of good mixes in there. Couscous is good. I've noticed alot of dehydrated meals - usually with 'Just add water!' on the label. These are just like expensive backpacking meals only 1/2 to 1/3 the price and usually labeled 6-8 servings (in other words 2 'real' servings).

I'll share a little secret desert I have yet to read about for backpacking. I'm sure some of you have discovered these. They sell these cake mixes that only require you to add water then microwave (or just add hot water and insulate - no need for a portable oven or anything). They come with syrup packets and are VERY delicious. Other sweets are honey, tubes of pb&j, or white/brown cane sugar. I like to have powdered drinks like gatorade as well.

You may want to keep some sort of database or journal of the nutritional content of each food and meal plans for each day. Record your thoughts, how you felt, energy levels, degree of physical exertion that day. When you get back from your trip this information may be useful for next time. Write it down so you can recall when it comes time to pack for another trip a month or a year later.

This is some of what works for me. Your experience will certainly vary, but for me and my girl/friend/s this is the BOMB and as good as it gets for lightweight delicious easy to prepare backcountry food. If anyone has any other man-status foods (when bullshih snacks just don't cut it and you want real meals) then serve them up, I want to hear it!

Here's a few pics from some of the delicious 'backpackers pantry' ready to go the distance, last minute trips, car camping, roadtrips, weekend getaways etc.

Edited by lococoyo on 06/24/2008 02:50:55 MDT.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Help me plan a menu! I've never done this.. on 06/25/2008 08:01:35 MDT Print View


Thank you for all the tips everyone! I will go to my local trader joes tonight to see what they have there. I appreciate all of the great recipe ideas and all of the product recommendations! This is going to be a lot of fun!

Thanks again to everyone who offered their help!