Low Cost Freezer Bag Meals
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Jeff Gerke
(mtnrunner) - M

Locale: Utah
Low Cost Freezer Bag Meals on 06/13/2012 07:56:46 MDT Print View

I'm quickly realizing that buying meals for backpacking gets expensive fast. I really like Outdoor Herbivore but the cost really adds up for multi day trips. I started looking into making my own meals. I only do freezer bag cooking or no cook meals. Trailcooking.com has some good recipes but with most recipes I would need to dehydrate my own food. Hence I would have to invest in a dehydrator. Also, buying freeze dried or dehydrated ingredients online is almost as expensive as just buying the meals already made. Now to get to my question. Do you guys have any recipes that use ingredients I could find at my local super market? Is there any way to make low cost freezer bag meals? I'm trying to cut costs but doesn't seem like there is any easy way. So far the only cheap recipe I have is beans and rice.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Low Cost Freezer Bag Meals on 06/13/2012 08:16:18 MDT Print View

At the upper right is a Search Box.

Type: freezer bag meals
Press the Enter key

Read, then Iterate on key words found in the results.

Don Abernathey
(OldGuysRule) - F

Locale: PNW
I bought a Nesco dehydrator for $30 on 06/13/2012 08:22:55 MDT Print View

There's a nice lady on this board that sells a pretty good recipe book for freezer bag cooking. I own the book and it is a great source of ideas. I'm sure somebody will post a link to her site as I don't have it handy.

Couscous, instant potatoes, minute rice, mac & cheese and various Chinese noodles are items you can buy at Winco that work great for FB cooking. Sarah's book then gives you ideas about stuff you can pick up at Walmart and Trader Joes to make the meals more interesting.

I recently picked up a dehydrator and made goulash and lentil stew for the trail. Very easy, keeps well, and rehydrates without issue.

Here's a video on the goulash you might find helpful - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvpIctMXUIM

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Low Cost Freezer Bag Meals on 06/13/2012 08:35:04 MDT Print View

Jeff, the recipes in my book are simpler than what is on our website (Trailcooking). The website recipes were things I developed after the book and often were more fanciful. Having said that...I can clue you in to simple choices if I know what you like - give me some ideas, I can give you links :-)
PS: The best thing a person can do is build a "hiker's pantry" where you have lots of choices - rice, couscous, precooked and dried pasta, cooked and dried veggies, fruits, beans, powders, flavorings and so on!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Low Cost Freezer Bag Meals on 06/13/2012 08:41:04 MDT Print View

Also, on the cost of ingredients? Here are some options:
http://www.harmonyhousefoods.com/Deluxe-Sampler-30-ZIP-Pouches_p_1853.html
Harmony is a great store - and do free shipping with orders over $99 and often send out discount codes. The bigger you buy, the more you save. Their items last a a long time and you don't need a lot - 1 to 2 Tbsp per meal of any item goes far.

Ever see the fancy bulk bins at Whole Foods and similar? This is the source:
http://www.frontiercoop.com/products/foods.php
They also offer free shipping. Yes, you have to buy a lb usually but trust me, the stuff they sell is good. They sell hard to find NATURAL cheese sauce powder, dried cheese, cream of soups and a whole lot more. I prefer their sun-dried tomatoes and carrots over Harmony. They have an email list and often send out 20% coupons......

While outfitting a pantry seems expensive if you get out a lot it will save money in the long run - especially if you have been buying $7 to 13 a package freeze-dried meals!!!!!

Jeff Gerke
(mtnrunner) - M

Locale: Utah
Thanks on 06/13/2012 09:28:33 MDT Print View

Thanks for the great info Sarah. As far as what I like to eat. I'm looking for recipes that are fairly simple, cheap, filling and healthy. If they meet that criteria I'm happy. Most backpacking meals like Mountain House are made from pretty unhealthy ingredients. I think it is time I ordered your book, sounds like a good one.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Thanks on 06/13/2012 11:08:20 MDT Print View

And if in a recipe it calls for say something "unhealthy" you can always tweak it. For example when I use gravy mixes I buy organic, instant brown rice over white rice, multi-grain pasta instead of white...so you can make meals exactly how YOU want them :-)

Nathan V
(Junk) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lake State
Re: Re: Low Cost Freezer Bag Meals on 06/13/2012 17:58:12 MDT Print View

The trail food section on Erik the Black's blog has some good ideas that I use :

http://blackwoodspress.com/blog/topics/trail-food/

Also I just tried this super simple recipe from Stick's blog and thought it was great.

http://sticksblog.com/2012/05/06/meal-time-fastpack-pad-thai-w-spiced-olive-oil/

Samuel Kau
(Skau)

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Low Cost Freezer Bag Meals on 06/13/2012 18:30:24 MDT Print View

Nathan, what is the recipe for Mike's Spiced Olive Oil?

Jeff Gerke
(mtnrunner) - M

Locale: Utah
Thanks again on 06/14/2012 08:42:50 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone, great ideas.

Don - Your goulosh looks good. I may have to invest in a dehydrator someday.

Nathan - Thanks for the links, good stuff. I will be trying the Pad Thai recipe for sure.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Thanks again on 06/14/2012 14:43:08 MDT Print View

A cheapie Nesco off Amazon for $40 to 60 is money well spent (even better if you can score a like-new at a yard sale for say $5!!). They work well and you can have precooked/dried pasta, dried olives, artichokes, beans - things that can be hard to find commercially.

Nathan V
(Junk) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lake State
Re: Re: Re: Re: Low Cost Freezer Bag Meals on 06/14/2012 17:38:01 MDT Print View

Samuel, I don't have the recipe, I think it's in Mike's book. I just did the Pad Thai recipe without it.

Carl Zimmerman
(CarlZ993) - MLife
Spiced Olive Oil on 06/15/2012 16:03:34 MDT Print View

From Mike's book:
4 C olive oil
1/2 C garlic cloves
1/4 C basil powder
1/4 C oregano Powder
1 Tsp mild red paprika
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture is nice and smooth.

Chad Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
Fast Pack Pad Thai on 06/15/2012 22:08:33 MDT Print View

Nathan, thanks for sharing the link. I have come to really like this recipe, but I found out that I can only take so much of the oil... I am not sure if I just had too much with 1 oz per serving, or if I should have refrigerated the oil after making it. I dunno... I have never refrigerated oil before...

Anyway, so, in place of the oil, I now add in 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds. This lowered the total calories by about 50. When I add all the ingredients in the bag and weigh it, the total weight comes to 8.4 oz, and the combined calories are 1,100, which makes this about 130 calories per oz. This is not the best cal/oz ratio, but I really enjoy it...and it fills me up.

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643)

Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Fast Pack Pad Thai on 06/15/2012 22:17:16 MDT Print View

Can you get some take-out phad thai and dehydrate it in a home dehydrator and then just add boiling water on the trail? Anybody try it? I'm wondering if the fat content might be too high on restaurant bought phad thai to dehydrate well.

Don Abernathey
(OldGuysRule) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Fast Pack Pad Thai on 06/17/2012 09:53:59 MDT Print View

Not a bad idea - I like Pad Thai. My guess is that it would rehydrate just fine. However, I suspect the noodles would be broken up. I'll have to try that and some of my other favorite take out.

Eddy Walker
(Ewker)

Locale: southeast
Re: Spiced Olive Oil on 06/18/2012 07:28:55 MDT Print View

[QUOTE]From Mike's book:
4 C olive oil
1/2 C garlic cloves
1/4 C basil powder
1/4 C oregano Powder
1 Tsp mild red paprika
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture is nice and smooth.[/QUOTE]




what is the name of Mike's book?

Jeff Gerke
(mtnrunner) - M

Locale: Utah
Mikes Book on 06/19/2012 13:13:47 MDT Print View

Eddy - Here is a link to Mike's book on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Ultralight-Backpackin-Tips-Inexpensive-Lightweight/dp/0762763841/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1314629714&sr=1-1

I noticed the Knorr veggies have MSG. That is a no go for me.

Eddy Walker
(Ewker)

Locale: southeast
Re: Mikes Book on 06/19/2012 13:39:41 MDT Print View

thanks Jeff

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Spiced Olive Oil on 06/19/2012 13:54:20 MDT Print View

> 4 C olive oil
> 1/2 C garlic cloves

I'm always a little edgy about putting something in oil for a long time. The oil creates an anaerobic (without oxygen) environment and that can allow trace amounts of anaerobic bacteria to thrive (food, no poisonous oxygen, not aerobic bacteria to eat them). That's why botulism is an issue in poorly sterilized canned goods.

I'm more worried when it is done with things out of soil that haven't been cooked or otherwise sterilized (e.g. garlic). There are a ton of different soil microbes and some of them pitch-hit. Consider that the classic botulism-scare food recall is for canned mushrooms.

I'd be fine doing this recipe and using it within the week. But then I'd toss the unused oil. And the home-made, various-spices-in-oil bottle that sits for years on the counter? Not for consumption (by me).

My day job: doing biological remediation in contaminated soils.
My wife's day job: internal medicine physican.

We try to not to "take our work home" with us.