These recipes are based on foods that will cook by an “add boiling water and let sit” method. They generally contain a starchy base, a seasoning base, and some sort of meat. The key is to use a starch base that is instant or quick-cook. The ingredients are dumped into a plastic microwave steamer bag, covered with boiling water, stirred and allowed to sit a few minutes. You can easily be creative and make up your own recipes using the “3 bases” method. These recipes are high in calories, fat, and salt, which, while not that good for you ordinarily, makes for good backpacking fare

Suggested Bases:

Starchy

  • Ramen noodles (of course)
  • 5 minute couscous
  • Minute Rice

Seasoning

  • “Recipe” mixes e.g., Knorr Vegetable (didn’t these used to be called “soup” mixes?)
  • Chili seasoning packet (Chili-O)
  • Spaghetti seasoning packets

Meat

  • Vacuum bagged meats, e.g. Chicken, Tuna, Salmon
  • Summer sausage/beef stick
  • Pepperoni
  • Dried Beef
  • These don’t need refrigeration if left in the sealed package.

Other (optional stuff)

  • Freeze dried veggies e.g., peas or mushrooms
  • Nuts (lots of “good fat” energy and trace minerals, but be mindful of food allergies in your crew)

The Steamer Bags

I like the Glad brand microwave steaming bags in the Large (3-4 serving) size because they have pleated bottoms and hold two good-sized portions.

Other Tips

Some at-home prep will minimize trash and trouble in the back-country. Some dry ingredients can be added to the bag ahead of time, but because they have tiny steam vent holes in them, powdered ingredients tend to leak out. For the same reason, the bags need to remain upright while cooking, so the liquid doesn’t leak (that’s why the pleats are nice). If the weather is cold, wrapping a piece of clothing around the bag while it is “cooking” helps hold in the heat. Definitely pre-measure any bulk ingredients such as couscous or Minute Rice. Each meal should be packed separately in a gallon zip top bag, and labeling with a Sharpie is nice. The recipes can be cut out and put in the bag. Multiple portions of the same recipe can be put in the same bag, and the bag is handy for neatly packing out the trash after the meal. The best part…NO KP!!

 

Chicken and Noodles

Serves 2

  • 2 packs Ramen Noodles-Chicken flavor
  • 1 pack Knorr Vegetable Recipe Mix
  • 1 7 oz. foil pack chicken

Dump everything in the steamer bag (including flavor packet from Ramen). Add boiling water to cover, plus a little, stir a little and let sit 5-10 minutes until noodles are tender. Stir and serve.

 

Chicken and Rice

This seems to be everyone’s favorite.
Serves 2

  • 1-1/2 cup (uncooked) Minute Rice
  • 1 pack Knorr Vegetable Recipe Mix
  • 1 7 oz. foil pack chicken
  • 1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds (optional but highly recommended).

Dump everything in the steamer bag. Add boiling water to cover, plus a little (the rice will take up a good bit), stir a little, and let sit 5-10 minutes until rice is tender. Stir and serve.

 

Black Bean Chili Couscous

Serves 2

  • 2/3 cup 5 minute couscous (Near East brand works well)
  • ½ cup instant black beans (I use Fantastic World Foods brand)
  • ½ pack chili seasoning (e.g., Chili-O)
  • ½ of a 6 ounce summer sausage, cubed

Dump everything in the steamer bag. Add boiling water to cover, plus a little (the couscous will take up a good bit), stir a little, and let sit 5-10 minutes until couscous is tender and water is adsorbed. Stir and serve. One sausage and one pack of seasoning can be split between two batches

 

Spaghetti

Serves 2

  • 2 packs Ramen Noodles, Beef flavor
  • ½ packet Spaghetti seasoning mix
  • Sliced pepperoni—you can get a pack that has 2 individual packages of ~ 3 ounces each—these are convenient for making up meal packs, but otherwise get whatever you can find.
  • 1 Tomato bouillon cube—these can be harder to find; try Hispanic groceries or Big Lots, or leave it out.

Dump everything in the steamer bag. Add boiling water to cover, plus a little, stir a little, and let sit 5-10 minutes until noodles are tender. Stir and serve.  One pack of pepperoni and one pack of seasoning can be split between two batches.

 

Thanksgiving Dinner

Serves 2

  • 1 Box Stove Top Dressing packs – Chicken flavor
  • 1 7 oz. foil pack chicken
  • 1 Pack Dried Cranberries
  • ½ Pack slivered almonds

Dump everything in the steamer bag. Add boiling water to cover, plus a little, stir a little and let sit 5-10 minutes. Stir and serve.


 

Recipes courtesy of Troop 97, Trinity United Methodist Church, Homewood, Alabama

 
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