Our 3 day shakedown ride starts in 6 days, and the cross country ride starts in a little more than 3 weeks. Wow! At some point I need to decide what sort of food to take with me: on both trips. Sometimes we will be eating at restaurants and convenience stores, but many times we will be eating ‘on the road.’
We will be passing through towns on a somewhat regular basis, so I am anticipating the need to carry only enough food for 3-4 days at a time, thus saving weight. The bad news is trying to figure out what to carry with me. I tried to identify some basic requirements for the meals:
- sufficient calories
- light weight
- easy to fix
- require minimum cooking time (breakfast & dinner)
- quick to eat (lunch & snacks)
- minimal preservation
- somewhat balanced nutrition
- cost effective
I figured breakfast will generally comprise oatmeal with powdered milk & raisins, hot tea or instant coffee, and perhaps some fresh fruit. Snacks will involve granola bars, candy bars, and trail mix. Lunch will be something like peanut butter & jelly & bagels, fresh fruit, fig newton bars, and sandwich ‘stuff’ picked up along the way. I plan on taking some Mrs. Dash seasoning along with salt/pepper and bacon bits. Prepackaged cookies can always serve as a desert.
Ah, that leaves the dinner meal itself. What fits the bill for a dinner meal when camping out? So far, I have tried out several meal ideas and received ideas from other people.
- Idahoan brand instant potatoes taste pretty good, take about 5 minutes to fix, are lightweight, and can easily be repackaged for smaller sizes. The negative is that they are not a full meal, and something else must be fixed with them.
- Zatarin’s Jambalaya rice meals fit the bill, however, it takes about 25 minutes to fix and burns excess cooking gas. Vienna Sausage’s cut up add an a little extra taste; not as good as andouille sausage, but decent. I thought about adding canned shrimp, but they were too expensive.
- Zatarin’s Long Grain & Wild rice meals are another option; it has the same pros and cons as the jambalaya rice. Adding a tin of chicken to the rice would add something to the meal. Also, adding some broccoli or peas or corn could improve things. I haven’t tried this, yet, but plan on doing it before I leave.
- Kraft Macaroni & Cheese with a tin of tuna fish mixed in seems to make a decent tuna fish casserole. Using instant milk instead of real milk works okay. Most boxes also call for margarine, but leaving it out didn’t seem to make a difference. Adding few veggies could boost the taste a little.
- Noodles, spaghetti sauce, and cut up Vienna sausages made a decent ‘Italian’ mixture. Certainly not the real thing, but close enough. Noodles seem to work better than spaghetti because of the small cooking pot I am taking.
- Hormel makes a line of meals called ‘Compleats.’ They are designed for microwave heating, but I think they will heat up just fine in a pot. Again, I haven’t tried them, but plan on trying them out.
Most of the ‘boxed’ meals are designed to serve 4-6 people. I plan on repackaging them into several smaller portions. There are some other things that I am looking at, and once on the road my taste buds will surely change.
At least I now have some food ideas to kick start the trip with. After the upcoming three day weekend I will see what my meal planning has missed.