Trying Out Food

Testing FootOur 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:

  • nourishing
  • 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

2 thoughts on “Trying Out Food

  1. One tip from my experience. Try to avoid carrying open packages or sometimes even what we think are factory sealed. Overnight the ants will sniff out anything and make that area of your pack their new home. Baggies with press seals are needed for sure.

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