Food question

I am sure this has been covered in many posts, but I am lazy and am not going to search ALL the archives of all the boards.

I have mostly done car camping. My buddy and I are going to ease our way into longer trips this year. I have been on the standard Algonquin trip once. That was all taken care of by the outfitters. My buddy did many of the same trip and many other, but they were under the guidance of his father.

Now we are 30, just enough money, able to get some vacation and still fairly single. We want to get camping more.

We are not at all planning a big two week adventure in the great white north, but we are looking for some field tested very simple and very packable recipes. We enjoy cooking and setting up food, we don’t just want freeze dried, dehydrated, M.R.E.s and Ramen noodles. I am looking for a few good dinners. My WONDERFUL sweet potatoes and rice for lunch, Oat meal for breakfast, now we just want some new dinners. Yes we have the inter net, and books and all that, I am just looking for some testimonials.



P.S. I have no problem at all with packing in a can a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew

Dinty Moore/Hormel

– Last Updated: Dec-02-07 11:38 PM EST –

If you do pack the 'ole Dinty Moore beef stew, check out the vacuum sealed plastic containers (oval dish w/ plastic seal over the top) instead of the cans. You get a slightly larger portion than the average can, the packaging is lighter and you can flatten it out to take up even less space in the trash you pack out. Stretch it out a bit with one of the new single serve Minute Rice bowls (approx. 1 cup serving) in similar packaging. The rice comes in white, brown or chicken flavor (probably not the best with the beef stew though!). I mix it all together in a small pot, put it over my single gas burner backpacking stove for a few minutes to warm it through and then eat it right out of the same pot. For a little more variety, check out the "Compleats" line from Hormel. The packaging is identical to that of the D.M. stew and comes in a dozen or more varieties...tuna casserole, turkey and veggies, spaghetti and even hamburger steak and potatoes. I've tried the dehydrated meals and have never found any I'd eat more than once...they also require you to pack extra water beyond what you plan to drink. The same is true for the more basic off the shelf soup mixes, etc.. MRE's have some of the same advantages as DM or Hormel meals but they are relatively expensive, are sometimes hard to find, don't offer a whole lot of variety and I have been told contain a lot more preservatives than normal that often don't agree with some people's systems. Mostly, that's the way I go for evening meals (above). For the daytime, I go a lot lighter like a tuna salad kit (strip down the packaging to save space and weight), PB and crackers or trail mix. Browse your local market and try out anything you're considering at home before your outing. If you want to make the meals a bit more involved and have the space for bigger pots and extra water, check out some of the soup and pasta mixes from Lipton (and/or the Knorr brand) and supplement them with your own dried spices or canned protein like shrimp, chicken or ham.

Dehydrators are cheap if you don’t have one. If you do, then when you have extra food around, fix up an additional plate or two. Put tin foil on your dehydrator trays, scrape the extras onto the foilded trays, and let em dry a day. Then write the date & name of the dish on a zip lock bag, scrape the dried food into the bag, burp the bag, seal it, and throw it in your camping kit.

When you are out camping, empty the bag into a pot, cover with water, heat and eat.


–What were you going to do with those leftovers? If you were going to save 'em, you need to wrap or transfer to tupperware, i.e., you gotta do something, so just build another serving on your dehydrator tray.

–Camping, it’s quick, fast, tastey, and if you are particular about what you eat, you know what you are eating. Being lazy, I also like that I only have one pan to deal with.

–No need to refrigerate

–Can be prepped far in advance, and the prep time is free since you were cooking anyways. Just make a little extra.

Also, I like the foil wrapped packets of Indian food I buy at Trader Joes. Bengal Lentils is a particular fave. In the field, cook rice, then heat the packet and combine with the rice.

Happy canoe trail dining,


cache lake fry breads
Try the cache lake fry breads. I tried their sweet potato cornbread this summer and it was awesome. I buy the breads and add fresh ingredients to the breads to make them like a meal. For instance I topped the sweet pototoe corn bread with pulled bbq chicken and some shredded cheddar. It was a big meal for 2. I also put sliced apples and cinammon on top of the caramel bread. Or just go to the store, any boxed meal that you can cook on a stove top can be cooked on your camp stove. Get a vacuum sealer and bring fresh veggies, cheese, fruit with to spice up your meals. Also the Cliff Jacobson BW pizza is always a hit. I use pita bread for the crust, some pizza sauce, veggies, meat, and cheese. Fry the bread over a stove add the toppings and cheese, put a few drops of water in the pan and cover. The water steams the cheese. They are filling and super popular. I also do a breakfast pizza with precooked eggs, sausage and cheese. Good luck. Try recipes out at home using your camp stove.

Chicken Helper
First, your comment, “still fairly single” cracked me up. :slight_smile: Careful, the next step is, “practically married”! :slight_smile:

There is a foil pack chicken now – both Tyson and Sue Bee makes it – chunks of cooked chicken breast. Couple a package or two of it with a box of Chicken Helper. Simple and good. One box will feed two hungry guys. Just follow the recipe beginning with the chicken already cooked. You can also use a pot rather than a frypan.

Thanks so much
Those ideas are going into the box of cooking aids.

and as far as the single section, I am getting serious, and he is getting divorced…we make a wild pair when we go out. We tear it up between last who-rhas and new found freedom.


If you are willing to pack in/out cans
Mary Kitchen’s Roast Beef Hash tastes mighty good after a few days of low-fat dried meals. Make sure your frying pan is hot BEFORE you put the hash in it–should be hot enough to sizzle. Press it down and then leave it alone till it smells good. You want to let the hash brown on one side before turning it over to brown the other side.

You could add some vacuum-packed kernal corn for flavor and texture contrast.

get a dehydrator
and a cookbook.

Backcountry Cooking and More Backcountry Cooking from Dorcas Miller will have you dehydrating your at home meals with ease.

The tuna, chicken , clams, shrimp, crab , mussels in foil really are useful.

The rice section of the market will have many side dishes.

Watch the sodium content though… you might think about reading labels. Short term not a big thing but you probably should know if you are eating a double portion of something that with a single portion gives you 57 percent of your daily dose. Thats a bugaboo of freeze dried meals.

More ideas…
For camp bread : Cache Lake is very good, but you can make your own too, and it’s super cheap. There are a handful of recipes on the web, here’s one:

To make it super easy: Put all the dry ingredients into a quart size freezer ziplock. Write on the bag with a sharpie what it is and how much water is needed for it.

If you want garlic bread, add Butter Buds and garlic powder to the dry ingredients. Italian bread? Add Italian seasoning blend & red pepper flakes… lots of options (you can add onion powder, or make cinnamon bread with some cinnamon, sugar, and even dehydrated apple bits). When you’re at camp, add the required amount of water to the bag and knead the bag until it’s incorporated. Use the bag like a funnel – open a little bit of the ziplock to make a dispenser, and squeeze out enough of the dough to cover the bottom of your oiled frying pan. (You can do this with “just add water” pancakes too, just bring a small bottle of syrup and breakfast is ready!)

Easy Dinner:

Buy foil pouch (or canned) chicken/turkey and a box of Stove Top stuffing. At home, open the stuffing, and dump it into a heavy ziplock freezer bag. Add pepper and any other spices you think you’ll like. Write on the bag how much liquid goes into it. At camp, heat up some water to just before it boils, and carefully pour the appropriate amount of water into the ziplock. Let the excess air out, seal it, and knead the bag to mix it. Let it steep 5 or so minutes until it’s cooked. (you can wrap it up in a blanket, etc. to keep the heat in). Mix in the can / pouch of chicken. You can probably do the same thing with the Chicken Helper – eliminate their packaging and use heavy duty ziplocks instead.

If you’re in a canoe and taking a cooler, you can pack a carton of Eggbeaters / egg substitute. Either buy them frozen, or freeze them yourself, and toss them into the cooler. They’ll defrost in a few days and you can cook up eggs for breakfast. Bacon can be frozen and ziplocked too.

A 3 to 4 pound chunk of dry ice in the bottom of the cooler, with regular ice over the top of it, will keep everything extremely cold. You need to use regular ice over the top of the dry, otherwise your food will all freeze.

Also, there are some “gourmet” soup, stew, and chili mixes that you can find on the grocery shelves. Bear Creek is pretty good. You simply add a can of tomato paste and some water to make a good hearty chili. Pretty easy and straight forward.

Have fun!

Chicken & Dressing
I like the Chicken and Dressing suggestion…good idea!

The length of your trip will define
you meal potential.

The length of your trip will define
you meal potential.

Next time: Don’t post that you are too lazy to do some research then ask us to do the work for you.

Just a thought.

few things that worked in the BWCA
Do not buy the outdoor-store overpriced packaged de-hy food! Go to the local supermarket.

  1. Foil packed chicken/salmon/tuna with pine-nut and herb couscous (add sun-dried tomato for extra flavor). Takes only the time to boil water and 5 minutes beyond that.

  2. Barilla Pasta now makes a dried cheese tortellini in a couple varieties. Takes 11 minutes after the water boils. We used a dried pesto or a dried alfredo sauce. Again add sun-dried tomato/chix/tuna/salmon.

  3. If you do your own de-hy, brown hamburger then rinse with boiling water. De-hy and use with standard Hamburg-helper. Or get creative and make a chili (you can de-hy tomato paste) adn the seasonings are all dry. Serve with instant mashed potato. If you want beans they take a long time to soak-hydrate.

  4. Zatarain’s dirty rice mix. Add some form of dry sausage (salami, peperoni, summer sausage) we used home-made venison summer sausage.

    All of the above suggestions are proven over a number of years and you can find most everything in the grocery store. Pay attention to the prep directions, we tend to go with add water only but have used some things needing milk (powdered) and olive oil.

    Hope this helps.


I have some great meals
but I am to lazy to type em.

Thanks so much
These were mostly the answers I was looking for and I loved the unexpected ones! These will go to good use while we work on remembering/working on our basic skills.

Thanks again to EVERYONE!


Here’s a good & simple one.
A friend of mine makes.

Make Kraft Shells and cheese per the directions.

Drain and add a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes with green chiles.

Add a pack or can of Chicken.

Simmer to heated thru.

Good Luck


pan bread
I concur with you on the pan bread home version.It’s too cheap and easy to make,so why buy those overpriced mixes.I make white and multi-grain kinds.General recipe is(ratio here)1C flour:1t baking powder:1/2t salt:1T sugar.If you want to use whole grains,don’t use less than half white flour.I’ve used spelt,barley,oat,buckwheat,cornmeal and whole wheat flours with good results.I usually put it into a gallon ziplock and take out what I need,then add water til firm dough consistency is achieved.Fry in lard or oil and enjoy

Mac and Cheese
I ate Mac and Cheese for a week once. It’ll work. Search the archives.

some people eat to live
and some people canoe to eat…bleagh a week of mac and cheese. Isnt even on my menu…got salmon pesto with peas and almonds and beef stroganoff and tortellini with artichokes and other good stuff.

all deydrated by moi based on stuff you can buy in supermarkets. The fish is in foil, Hamburger helper is the basis of the stroganoff aided by dehydrated portebello mushrooms and green beans.

Cashew chicken is another good recipe.

There are alot of backcountry cookbooks out there with recipes that use home dehydrated ingredients along with stuff that can be found in the market.

Dorcas Miller Backcountry Cooking vol 1 and 2.

The Lemon Breakfast bars are a killer. They might not even make it to the put in.

Salad, Dinner’s 1st course
Bring a head of cabbage. Yes it’s a bit heavy & bulky too so not practical for trips w/ numerous portages, but we find it adds the crunch & mouth appeal so lacking from many back country dinners. It’ll stand up for a week or more on trips in even the hotest areas like Everglades or Utah’s Green/Colorado rivers where we’ve welcomed it along. Add a sweet onion (another great keeper) & your favorite dressing & enjoy !