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Backing packing meals from Big box stores
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Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Backing packing meals from Big box stores on 11/26/2012 19:05:53 MST Print View

Hi Folks,

Have a trip this weekend and just realised I have only 1 Pack IT gourmet meal left and may not have time to prepare something decent to bring along, just in case can anyone recommend any brands of quick cook meals (pasta, rice etc) that could be bought in a big box store such as Walmart, Meijers or Target.



edit: Got great information, Thanks all

Edited by stephenm on 11/27/2012 13:45:13 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
"Backing packing meals from Big box stores" on 11/26/2012 21:14:34 MST Print View

Look at the various boxed dried products in the supermarket, based on rice, instant potatoes, etc. Examples are Tuna helper, Near East mixes, Fantastic Foods mixes. Pick ones that take 10 minutes or less cooking time. Look for foil pouched chicken and tuna or the tiny aluminum cans; weight is about the same, and I believe most have pull tabs so you don't need a can opener. Add the appropriate amount of boiling water and let sit in a cozy for about 5 minutes more than the cooking time. You can do this either in the pot or in a freezer bag, but a cozy is essential!

Pasta doesn't work too well in this type of cooking, but you can always use cous-cous, a form of pasta which rehydrates in a couple of minutes. I admit, spaghetti with cous-cous is a bit strange (you can't slurp the noodles), but it tastes the same! You can get smaller size pasta to work if you mix in your pot, bring food back to a boil, then let the pot sit in a cozy.

Kroger supermarkets generally have organic sections with bulk foods where you can find interesting stuff that works well for backpacking.

Gregory Allen
(Gallen1119) - M

Locale: Golden, CO
In case Thanksgiving wasn't enough... on 11/26/2012 21:25:58 MST Print View

One box of Stovetop stuffing, a package of chicken gravey, and a large handful of dried cranberries goes in a ziploc. Once the water is heating, add a squirt of olive oil, a package of chicken irom a pouch, then two cups of boiling water. 10 minutes in the cozy and a perfect meal for two is ready! Cheap, quick, and warm.

Edited by Gallen1119 on 11/26/2012 21:27:02 MST.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Backing packing meals from Big box stores on 11/26/2012 21:40:18 MST Print View

Fry and freeze some hanmburger, it will last for a day. Add it to instant mashed potatoes. If you have any dried veggies, add those too.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Backing packing meals from Big box stores on 11/26/2012 22:16:34 MST Print View

Depending on your taste and preferences and the stores you have can eat quite well.

Just wander the processed foods aisles and if you eat fish or meat, toss in a pouch of protein.

You might also have plenty of resources at home for making some quick meals.....instant rice and couscous make great bases.

Adrian Kanten
(windsor) - M

Locale: MN
Backpacking meals from big box stores on 11/26/2012 22:30:11 MST Print View

+1 to the stuffing and gravy. Add in some instant mashed potatoes if you are extra hungry.

Fantasic Foods taco filling, add to appropriate amount of hot water and heat in cozy. Add to tortilla shell with cheese and hot sauce. Instant refried beans as well if you don't have a tent mate.

If weight is not a concern the Old El Paso cooked meals are decent. They can be heated over a stove if a little water is added to the pan with the contents of the package and constantly stirred until hot. I have not had any success in heating by placing the package in boiling water, stove runs out of alcohol first and stuff in the middle of the package is still cold.

Then there's the normal bagels with tuna sandwich mix, or Justin's Peanut Butter with honey spread, or salami and cheese. Oatmeal with dried or freeze dried fruit, trail mix, cheese and crackers, etc.

Bear Creek tortilla soup mix with some freeze dried corn, a packet of hot sauce or salsa, dried onion, instant rice, a dash of extra cumin, olive oil, a 3.5 ounce can of chicken, some cheese, and tortilla chips.

Microwave mac and cheese cups, add water and heat in a cozy. Somewhat hit and miss if the noodles fully hydrate. kids like it. Add some freeze dried corn or green peas, ditch the seasoning packet for a sodium free bullion pack, garlic powder, dried onion, black pepper, a dash of paprika, and a 3.5 ounce can of chicken.

Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Knor's side dish on 11/26/2012 23:03:55 MST Print View

I like using Knor's side dishes as main meals. They are high in calories 650 cals per package at 114 cals per oz. They rehydrate really well and quickly. They have great flavors like Mexican rice, Cheddar Broccoli and a new Teriyaki noodle that is good. They also usually only cost about $2 each and I got a 10/$10 deal last week at Safeway. No prep, just rip open, cook and enjoy!

Edited by czechxpress on 11/26/2012 23:04:48 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Thanks all on 11/27/2012 06:16:32 MST Print View

Hi All,

Thanks very much for posting, there is a lot of gret ideas here.

As I have only been living in the US 10 months I am not familar with a lot of the convenice brands as try to cook form fresh as much as possible.



Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
cous cous on 11/27/2012 07:30:47 MST Print View

Cous cous also works well. Cooks quick (or can be eaten cold...just add water). Throw in cheese, sun dried tomato and some protein and you have a great quick and yummy meal.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Backing packing meals from Big box stores on 11/27/2012 09:40:51 MST Print View

What's up with all the processed/packaged stuff?
Just because you're backpacking doesn't mean you have to eat purely processed food, especially if it's only for a weekend.

Why not bring...
a good, hard cheese (I like Parmesan and Jarlsberg)
a loaf of good bread
sausage for the fire for night #1 (if you're having one)
heck, bring half a fresh pizza or giant deli sandwich or burrito for day one...
any fruits
a pack of smoked salmon or fish + cream cheese + bagels
pouches of tuna, mayo packs, salt/pepper and pita bread...

And, of course, beer...

Ben Smith

Locale: Epping Forest
Backing packing meals from Big box stores on 11/27/2012 10:27:52 MST Print View

Totally agree with Willy on this.

Hard cheese is great for a weekend. Chuck it in some bread and you have a delicious lunch/mini meal. The harder cheeses travel really well and often taste even better if you let them sweat in your pack ;)

My two favourites for this are Tomme de Savoie and Comte. Go try them out with some artisan bread, perfect for sat on the side of a mountain :)

Edit: Failing the above, I find that instant noodles are often available in a decent quantity at a very low price. They don't taste like much but provide some important calories and carbs. Andrew Skurka mentioned somewhere that he likes to ditch the flavouring sachet usually included and instead take along some green pesto to flavour it. It's yum. The pesto has loads of good things in like fatty nuts, fatty olive oil and lots of salt. All valuable after a day of working hard.

Edited by bsmith_90 on 11/27/2012 10:34:41 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Backing packing meals from Big box stores on 11/27/2012 11:43:34 MST Print View


I am sorted for day 1 and 2 as was already packing stuff similar to what William says above, its just for the last day I need a quick cook meal.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Backing packing meals from Big box stores on 11/27/2012 13:29:58 MST Print View

I wouldn't consider couscous and instant rices to be "overly" processed foods - you can combine them with quite normal items: sun-dried tomatoes, dried mushrooms, freeze-dried veggies with quite a few additions and have a reasonable meal that isn't overly processed (where say meals like Tuna Helper, Knorr and such ARE heavily processed).
If you have been here 10 months so far, you need to go shopping more often ;-) Hehe

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Re: Backing packing meals from Big box stores on 11/27/2012 13:43:35 MST Print View

Hi Sarah,

Thats good to know Sarah.

I am trying my best to stay away form the processed stuff for evry day life, I don't mind a bit of badness on a hiking trip.

Normally I would have the freezer stocked up with stews and curries soups that I cookup once a month but alas the freezer is nearly empty :-)

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Re: Re: Re: Backing packing meals from Big box stores on 11/27/2012 16:18:42 MST Print View

xnomax has a great list (definitely out of the box thinking)

Stephen -- if you are near Baldwin, head south on M-37 about 6 miles to The Meat Shack. They make the own jerky from a variety of meats, not to mention other meat products.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Last minute grocery store meals on 11/27/2012 17:05:31 MST Print View

+1 to couscous. a few others that haven't been mentioned:
-instant beans (the Fantastic Foods black beans are indeed fantastic) with some minute rice and a tortilla
-instant rice with dried shitake mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and fried rice seasoning
-the Thai Kitchen soup packets (look like ramen packets) are great, especially for cold weather lunches
-Annie's microwavable mac and cheese

don't forget the olive oil or butter...

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
+1 for Thai Kithcen Rice Ramen on 11/27/2012 19:57:52 MST Print View

One of my favorites!

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 11/27/2012 21:32:37 MST Print View


Edited by rOg_w on 06/17/2013 19:38:47 MDT.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
Spaghetti! on 01/01/2013 20:08:55 MST Print View

Angel hair pasta (2.0 to 2.5 oz per person), spices, can of tomato paste (preferably dehydrated but for a weekend a can is fine), dried tomatoes, freeze dried sausage granules (or equivalent), and you are good.