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Jonathan Krainak
(Mangathan) - F
Easy dinner suggestions - what would you eat? on 03/22/2010 21:06:13 MDT Print View

So I'm working out my first backpacking trip - a pretty simple 12 mile loop on the Pine Ridge in Western Nebraska.

There will be two of us, and while (thanks to this site) we have narrowed down a lot of the gear we might need, I'm a bit stumped on what to bring for food.

We will be hiking from Friday morning until Sunday at noon. Water will be scarce, so we are each packing a 2L platy hoser and 2 1L platy bags for cooking - a total 4L each.

I'm bringing a caldera heine-pot rig for the both of us.

Weight shouldn't be too much of an issue as we both have our base weight under 10LB, and the trek shouldn't be pretty low-key.

So far breakfast is ez as we both like steel cut oats with raisins and honey. Coffee might be nice.

Lunch will prolly be gorp and cornbread.

Dinner has me a little stumped. Anyone have any great ideas for two dinners for two?

Oh and I was considering a flask of something to keep the insides warm, but that may be a whole new thread.

John Drollette
(tradja) - F

Locale: Central Oregon
dinner on 03/22/2010 22:45:07 MDT Print View

For your first trip, keep it simple and keep it yummy. May I humbly suggest mac-n-cheese with powdered milk and butter buds, or just pony up and get a Mountain House dinner that sounds good.

JASON CUZZETTO
(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
RE:"Easy dinner suggestions - what would you eat?" on 03/22/2010 22:58:36 MDT Print View

So this is a quick overnighter? Sounds great! Get yourself some freeze dried spagetti. I like to bring a summer sausage along to add some fat and flavor to the meal. It tastes good in the spagetti too if you are tired.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Easy dinner suggestions - what would you eat? on 03/22/2010 23:06:19 MDT Print View

"Oh and I was considering a flask of something to keep the insides warm"

A nice single malt in the evening is fabulous. Don't rinse/wash out the cup. Use it for your coffee in the morning. Adds a nice subtle touch to your morning joe.

Dinner - Mary Jane's Chilimac, with some added meat (I like to add chorizo). Fabulous stuff!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Easy dinner suggestions - what would you eat? on 03/23/2010 03:12:05 MDT Print View

Simple would be Mtn House. Actually I like the taste, unlike many others here. Spaghetti and lasagna are my favorites. The Chili Mac is okay too. Don't care for the Mac & Cheese.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: dinner on 03/23/2010 08:09:21 MDT Print View

Just remember that if you DO buy freeze dried meals that while that package might claim it serves 2, they rarely do. Especially if you are both men and taller. And at $5 to 13 each meal....it adds up fast.

I won't tell you to go all gourmet but you'd do better eating mac n' cheese from a box over freeze dried meals personally. And you can stretch them nicely by adding in a 7 ounce pouch of chicken, veggies and herbs/spices. If I am going the mac n cheese route from a box it is worth it to buy the premium brands where the sauce is in a foil pouch (think like Velveeta). No milk or oil needed and it tastes that much better. Add your dried veggies in with the cold water before you bring it to a boil. (And as always...you only need a fraction of the water called for on the box if you keep the pot stirred often).

Or have a dinner that uses instant rice - plenty of those can be made.

Spend an hour here, going through the many posts and you will see a ton of recipes and ideas that have been posted that are not only easy but affordable.

Kevin Tjaden
(ktjaden) - F

Locale: West
A different idea on 03/23/2010 10:21:42 MDT Print View

Since you are only going a couple of nights and a couple ounces here or there isn't going to break you over six miles I would suggest the following assuming a small wood fire is allowed or you can rig a small aluminum pot lid to grill on:

Buy two 4-6 oz. petite steaks
mix a very light marinade (acidic)
Rub a light bit of salt and ground pepper on each side then place each steak in an individual vacuum bag and add 1/2tbsp marinade
vacuum seal and freeze.

The above can be shortened by just buying frozen steaks, but stay away from the bacon wrapped ones. I think Omaha Steaks sells in small quantities.

When you leave on the hike place the frozen steak in the middle of your pack. By the time dinner comes around your steak will be perfectly thawed and ready to cook. I usually use an aluminum pot lid to grill on. You can also grill on a piece of aluminum foil on coals, by placing several aluminum flats across two rocks, or in the worst case by placing a flat rock in the middle of a very small fire.

Add 1/2 liter platy of merlot, sit back and enjoy the sunset.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: dinner on 03/23/2010 10:48:21 MDT Print View

Sarah,

Agree, I eat a 2 person meal myself after a long day.

I am sure you can quote the nutritional benefits of alternative meals. But for me, on short trips the MH meals are just too simple to pass up, and I don't mind the extra cost for this convenience.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Easy dinner suggestions - what would you eat? on 03/23/2010 11:23:35 MDT Print View

Well, since we're talking a single overnighter and you're going to want to enjoy this trip, I wouldn't try to go gormet your first night out.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with going with a freeze dried meal for your first go round. Mountain House is a pretty safe brand. Personally, I rather enjoy their spagetti or their beef stew.

Alternatively, think about what you'd eat at home that you might be able to take. A lot of box meals only need boiling. For a single overnighter, you can even freeze burgers and keep them wrapped up and cook them that night.

If you do get a 2 person freeze dried meal for two people, bring some side dishes like Idahoan instant potatoes - just add hot water and it'll even out the meal nicely.

Chips and salsa, campfire popped popcorn and simple stuff that you can share really encourages the comradery as well.

Once you're more seasoned and get tired of store bought, check out Freezer Bag Cooking for some great ideas to mix it up and really customize your experience to your pallet.

Oh, also keep in mind that after exertion, your body tends to crave salty and sweet things. Chocolate and salted peanuts (GORP) that type of thing might be all that you can stomach if you really overdo it.

James Landro
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Easy dinner suggestions - what would you eat? on 03/23/2010 12:04:54 MDT Print View

Falafel or Hummus is always a good bet, but I really enjoy bringing some actual meat like sausages or cooking steaks right on the coals.

Baking a cake dutch oven style is very rewarding. And you can't go wrong with chocolate pudding.

Angela Zukowski
(AngelaZ) - F

Locale: New England
dinner suggestions on 03/23/2010 12:41:30 MDT Print View

Hummus makes for a great lunch. Mozzarella sticks are great, too.

For such a short trip packing in fresh herbs is really great. I like garlic with basil or rosemary. You can do foil packs of salmon or chicken and put them in couscous (world's easiest trail pasta) or angel hair pasta, & add fresh herbs and some olive oil. Heck, for this length trip you could pack in some chunks of fresh (cooked) chicken to add. I bring cherry tomatoes pretty often too.

A quick and dirty dinner is mac & cheese with a tuna packet in it. Or miso soup with a side of pita bread.

I love coffee or tea in the AM when backpacking.

Also a good bar of chocolate for dessert!

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Chorizo burritos on 03/23/2010 14:07:28 MDT Print View

Cook up some ground beef with chorizo. let it cool. wrap it up in flour tortillas with bell peppers and cheese. spray oil on aluminum foil and wrap the burritos (freeze them if they'll be eaten after day 2). In camp, throw the burritos onto the rocks around the campfire and turn them often until warm. Arriba Mexico!

Edited by Lopez on 03/23/2010 14:40:51 MDT.

Jonathan Krainak
(Mangathan) - F
Really great ideas on 03/24/2010 07:47:54 MDT Print View

... thanks a lot. I think I'll try a bagged entree one night and mix something up in my kitchen for the next. I really just wanted to avoid picking out a bag of something that turned out to be horrible.

Michael Cockrell
(CAL-EE-FOR-NIA) - F

Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
Re:Make your own! on 03/24/2010 12:12:51 MDT Print View

I use either a mug, or "boil-N-Bag" bags from my local Raley's Market.

For the food: Instant rice, instant refried beans (found ing the mexican asle), dried mushrooms (from the Oriental asle), dried fruits, nuts, coconut shreds (from health food store-unsweetened), dried red chili peppers, and some various spices.

Mix in bag dry at home, hot water in camp-steep for 10-15 minutes, then eat.

I use chopsticks. Able to reach into bag and get all the tasty food. Snow Peak even makes a backpack set of sticks, they come apart to make a small unit for in-cup storage.

Sometimes I throw in dried sardines, and mix-n-match other dried items from my local asian markets. Unbelievable what you'll find at these asian markets. Much better than the heavy salted, over kcal foods in the marketed "off-the-shelf" vendors.

Check also the Trail Cooking site for some other FUN options for making your own meals.

Once you start making up your own meals, you'll just laugh when you see the packaged meals at such high cost!