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      Cooking Food good enough to serve at home     

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babaoriley7
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04/21/2008 03:48PM
I'm in the menu planning portion of planning my trip this summer. I'm reaching out to everyone for ideas on how to make some amazing meals. I really appreciate the freeze-dried talk but this isn't looking for that type of preparation.

Our first night will be frozen steaks so that is already planned. I'm looking for other ideas that we could do that would be suitable for dinner at home.

One idea I had is a Carbonara. Basically Eggs and Bacon are the only thing that would could spoil so that might be a good for a second night dinner.

So to get to the point, what is your best meal(or side dishes) that doesn't involve freeze-dried food or packaged flavor packets?

Also we won't have an oven just a burner... but for future reference for people feel free to talk about those options too!

THANKS!

ps: I didn't have much luck with the search function so if this has been discussed prior to this message, my apologies.
 
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04/21/2008 04:18PM
Don't expect every meal to be a gourmet. You can make some great meals up there but there are other factors that enter into the aspect of cooking. You are going to be tired , maybe cold ,could be windy or rainy. We learned a long time ago to keep it simple and fast. Spahgetti with Cache Lake bread is good. Steak is fine. We have found that pan frying pork medallions from a tenderloin are great. Our favorite side dish is hashbrowns from the box. Rehydrate them before cooking , it will be much faster. You can add an onion or onion flakes. Cache Lake has some great products - check those out. If you keep it simple and fast- that's the best way.Simple soups like Mrs. Grass varieties will be appreciated on a cold, wet day. And don't forget fish - there are a variety of ways to make them. And remember - the more fresh stuff you take in the heavier the pack. Good luck with your choices. Izzy
 
bassmaster
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04/21/2008 04:46PM
These are all made with fresh ingredients some times precooked and frozen.
Dinner:
Steaks New York strip or rib-eye. Hopefully no fire ban.
Chicken by George
Spaghetti with sausage in sauce.
Shrimp Scampi
Chicken Fettuccini
Chicken Fajitas (new this year)
Fish of course

Breakfast:
Fresh eggs (always bring a dozen)
Bacon the precooked kind.
Cheese and spam
Hostess mini muffins
Fresh ground coffee

 
prettypaddle
distinguished member(518)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
04/21/2008 05:01PM
For my next trip, I’m thinking of trying a Thai curry with broccoli, cauliflower, and peaches. I’ve made it while car camping, but because of the weight we haven’t made it on a canoe trip yet. If you prep everything before you go camping (cut the broccoli, cauliflower and onion), and you have two stoves/burners it’s not a very time-intensive recipe. If kept relatively cool, I think the veggies would still be usable if you made this on the second or third night.

The recipe:

Bring 6 C water to a boil and add fresh bite-sized pieces of broccoli and cauliflower to the pot (one tree? head? of each is plenty). Boil until tender and broccoli is bright green (5-10 minutes). Remove and set aside to drain but don’t dump the water.

Add instant whole wheat couscous to the boiling broccoli-less water (you may have to add or pour out some water depending on the number of couscous servings you want to make), stir in the couscous, remove from heat, cover and let set.

In a pan, heat 1 T peanut oil (or veggie oil), add 1 medium onion, thinly sliced, and sauté until tender. Reduce heat and add about 1 T green curry paste to pan and stir for about 1 minute (curry will become fragrant). Add 1 can coconut milk (the thin kind) and the cooked broccoli and cauliflower. Boil for about 2 minutes while stirring constantly. Add one can of drained sliced peaches (try not to fight over who gets to drink the peach juice) and serve over couscous.

Curry paste can be found at Asian markets and occasionally in the Asian aisle of a grocery store. I think I remember seeing coconut milk in a carton instead of a can so you could still be BW legal with this recipe… not so sure about the canned peaches tho I guess you could bring in fresh ones. And I know peaches in curry sounds weird, but it’s really tasty.
 
overthehill
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04/21/2008 07:31PM
I like chicken breasts(trimmed and sliced to thin strips). Rinse,pat dry,dump in ziploc. Add soy sauce,garlic powder, black pepper, and sliced BUTTER. Freeze solid. (Will keep a couple days if nested in center of pack with other frozen stuff) When ready to cook, fry up medium/high, when 1/2 done add MILD fresh onion strips as well as sweet red bell pepper. Stir fry a bit and serve with soft totrillas or over rice. If I remember correctly, this is a Fajita recipe that came with an iron skillet purchase. Really good and not much trouble.
 
chadwick
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04/21/2008 08:07PM
fresh fish, fried until golden.
the best BWCA meal out there.
serve with a side of potatoes and onions.
 
kanoes
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04/21/2008 08:14PM
prettypaddle? i think dole, hunts (or someone) makes sliced peaches in those little plastic snack packs....just oozing with syrup. :)
 
bdavid1157
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04/22/2008 04:34AM
For your Carbonara. you said Basically Eggs and Bacon are the only thing that could spoil so that might be a good for a second night dinner.

The Eggs would not have to be refrigerated for a few days. Buy the freshest ones you can and they will be fine on day two. For the bacon go over too the salad dressing isle and buy a package of real bacon pieces. It needs no refrigeration. I use this bacon at home and on trips for mixing in omelets and scrambled eggs.
 
bloomingtonsteve
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04/22/2008 08:35AM
Pre-cooked bacon is awesome and eggs do not require refrigeration. Unless of course it's 90+ degrees.
 
04/22/2008 09:22AM
If you are a meat person, like oth advises, freeze proper size meat portions in a small cooler, hard or soft sided. Freeze the meat in the cooler on top of each other. Keep frozen until start and they will be good for 3-4 days easy. Then go to meatless or foil packets of chicken or tuna with pasta styles. Lots of info on here, use search words.
 
TwoByGreenCanoe
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04/22/2008 12:58PM
I not sure if anyone marinates prior to freezing but we do new york strip steaks in black peppercorn sauce and chicken or turkey breast with italian seasonings in a zip lock bag before freezing.

Zatherans rice, buttered noodles, or instant mashed potatoes for sides.

Chuck
 
wetcanoedog
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04/23/2008 09:47PM
i never understood all the fancy cooking out on the trail..to me
it takes away from the entire reason i go canoe tripping--to get
away from it all--a rice side and chicken followed with a cookie
and a cup of tea is just fine..if i want to have a big "half way"
dinner a week out i'll make a mac and cheese dinner with a MRE
pork riblet--
 
babaoriley7
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04/24/2008 09:01AM
I figured their would be some responses about how it isn't worth carrying the weight, not worth the work involved etc.

I don't plan on eating an amazing meal every day but I enjoy cooking and creating something tasty with limited resources is a bit of a welcome challenge. My hope is that others can see this thread as a source for some unique ideas for preparing food while camping.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. More interesting ideas are always welcome.

I don't have much experience cooking fish aside from frying. If anyone could give a detailed description on how to prepare a baked fish? Do you stuff the fish with anything? What herbs might be worth bringing? Thyme? Sage?
 
bassmaster
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04/24/2008 09:22AM
Fresh dill and lemon slices would be a good fish stuffing.
 
04/24/2008 09:57AM
To bake fish, I cook over the coals of a campfire or on the grate. Place foil shiny-side up. Squirt some margarine on the foil. Then a fish fillet. More margaine with some herbs. They sell commercial fish seasoning. I'll use some of that and/or some lemon pepper. Seal the foil. Place the packet on the coals or grate for 15 minutes. Flip the packet over and cook another 8 - 10 minutes.

Instead of the butter and herbs you can substitute an Italian dressing dry packet mixed with some oil. Serve with some rice side dish, and perhaps a biscuit.

You can also poached fish, Take a frying pan with water, maybe add some of those commercial fish spices. Heat the water to near boiling. Add fish filets. Turn after a couple minutes. When both sides are white and firm they're done. Serve with melted margarine on the side. Yummy!

For spices I like to bring some Mrs Dash (I think that's it). I like the Dried Tomato/Basil/Garlic blend. I also bring some Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper, and Lemon Pepper. Sometimes I'll make a Condiment Kit with packets from fast-food restaurants with things like ketchup, mustard. sugar, soy sauce, and others.

 
04/24/2008 09:58AM
WCD,

Glad you are happy with your MRE, seriously. If it works for you, go for it.

I am there to relax as well, and having the best meal I can make for the group is part of my fun,and for me, relaxing. Eating as gourmet as possible is part of our trips. Having stir fry marinated pork tenderloin on day 4 of a trip with fresh veggies and Thai noodles, topped off with fresh made brownies, libation, man that's living in the booonies, LOL.

Baba, you can stuff the fish with anything you want, will take longer to cook. Heavy duty foil, well greased, add fish/fillets, spices, wrap, put in coals, not too many coals or real hot. Flip, few more minutes, done. Any spice you like will work. I like lemon and lemon pepper. You can also pan fry or poach fish too, with any spice you like.
 
Buffy
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04/24/2008 11:25AM
I agree with the folks who commented that they don't want to put a lot of effort into cooking in the woods. On the other hand, I like eating things that are tasty enough that I'd also eat them at home--and that aren't loaded with sodium.

So, I have a bunch of recipes I've been using the past several years that have been great hits. Some I found on the Web. Others are adaptations of recipes I've found in sources ranging from Backpacker Magazine to Gourmet Magazine!

So, these recipes aren't a ton of work, although some do involve more than boiling water. But most can be made in one pot--or a pot plus a small pan for mixing a sauce or a skillet for sauteing something. The folks I canoe with agree a little bit of effort is well worth the results.

I'd be happy to share the wealth, so if you're interested, post your e-mail address, and I"ll send them to you.
 
wetcanoedog
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04/24/2008 11:44AM
about the MRE...i cook at home..big meals for guests..dinner for my
wife and i 5 nites out of 7...i even use old classic camp stoves
like Primus to braze mushrooms as part of the "showing off" at
dinner partys--but on the trail i keep it simple--heres a MRE dinner
thats works--a chicken breast browned in peanut oil served with
sun dry tomatos and mushrooms and a Knore rice pack on the side..
i think part of the no hassle meals is that after a day of solo it's
the best i can come up with---

this is a "major" breakfast--a pack of egg mix with minute rice
sun dry tomato and mushrooms--
 
24kGold
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04/24/2008 11:53AM
The first year I went to Quetico, we took all dehydrated packaged food we got from Campmoor. It worked just fine and the taste really wasn't bad.

ON my last couple of trips, I've learned that there are things you can get at the grocery store that are lightweight to pack and give you a lot more variety. We never take ice, so nothing has to be kept cool.

Bear Creek Brand makes several very good soups which will feed 4 hungry guys per pack. Chili, Cheesy potato, Vegetable beef, Lentil, and several others.

Betty Crocker boxes dehydrated potatoes either sliced or hashbrowns. Easy to rehydrate and fry in a skillet with a little butter.

Pastas are always easy and good. Either make a sun-dried pesto sauce which you can buy in a packet that you just mix with a little oil and water, or you can get tomato paste in a tube to make Maranara sauce with. Slice up a peperoni to go in the sauce and it is great.

I bought a burner top oven last year and it makes perfect cornbread, biscuits, muffins from muffin mixes etc. it was only 69 dollars and it works perfectly. Has really expanded my cooking dishes. You can buy a packet of dried white gravy mix with sausage bits at the store, prepare it and pour it over your fresh baked buscuits. With the oven you can even make breads or cheese biscuits from a mix.

Last year I even took along a little fresh produce from my garden and one evening I made Eggplant Parmesan with fresh green beans, tomatoes and bread. We had it the first night because of the produce, and it was a little heavy to haul in, but it was worth it.

Take a few apples, not much weight or bulk, and for breakfast slice them up and fry them in butter, sugar and cinnamon. MMMMMMMM

For me, the meals are part of the experience. When there's nothing to do but paddle, fish, sleep, scratch and eat, eating is a great part, especially if you are taking a group of newbies and want them to have a complete experience they will remember fondly. Some of them may never get to go back.

Just go to the grocery store sometime when you are not rushed. Take a pad and pen and walk the isles looking at everything. Be creative. It's not hard.

 
highplainsdrifter
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04/24/2008 12:14PM

Nice suggestions

My meals look like "hardtack" and water compared to some of this.

Izzy nails it with "keep it simple", and to that end I love the directions that call for 1) boiled water, 2) set aside 10 minutes, and 3) eat

For the most part, there is no such thing as a bad meal in the BWCA
 
sloughman
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04/24/2008 11:02PM
PrettyPaddle:
You can also get powdered coconut milk at Asian markets. I've used this with pretty good success in my Thai Curry Chicken. See the recipe on this link: Thai Meals I also, have a Morrocan Chicken Couscous recipe I found that looks like it can be very portable; more so than this Thai Curry Chicken.
 
prettypaddle
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04/25/2008 04:12PM
sloughman--After I posted that, I looked around at other curry recipes and did see that they make powdered coconut milk. I definitely think that'll go on the menu for the next trip. Looking at the cooking section of this site always makes me so hungry!
 
snakecharmer
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04/25/2008 05:11PM
Our first night menu looked a little different last May under a fire ban.







(24k - that looks REALLY GOOD!)
 
24kGold
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04/26/2008 01:26PM
Snakecharmer. Did you pack ice for the shrimp and Asperagus? It looks really good. To me, that's the way to eat if you feel like it's worth it to lug the little extra weight and fresh food containers. I guess it depends on how much portaging you are going to have to do. We usually just only portage 2 or 3 times to get where we are going and base camp. Makes it easier to bring different things for meals if you are base camping rather than making a loop. If I were loop traveling, I would definately only bring less bulky and lighter food.

Terry
 
Buffy
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04/26/2008 03:16PM
Here's an easy chicken curry recipe that uses only standard grocery-store fare. It's one of our favorites.

Beth’s Chicken Curry
For four

3 c. water (add more as needed)
1-1/2 oz. freeze-dried carrots or peas
1 T. dried minced onion
1 pkg. Knorr cream of leek soup
1 t. chicken bouillon
4 t. curry powder (adjust to taste)
½ t. dry mustard
1/8 t. sage
one or two 7-ounce pouch(es) cooked chicken
2 cups instant brown rice

Directions
1. Bring water to boil. Add carrots/peas, onion, and soup mixes. Let sit ten minutes.
2. Add spices and return to boil
3. Add rice, simmer about 5 minutes.
4. Add chicken and heat through.

Serve with condiments, such as cashews or slivered almonds, raisins, other chopped dried fruit, chutney, and so forth.


 
snakecharmer
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04/26/2008 03:30PM
24K - No ice, but some food items are packed frozen solid. Anything needing to be kept cold gets zip-locked and packed in a soft-sided cooler along with the frozen items. Depending on the temps, fresh food meals get eaten as needed. If you bring shrimp - be sure to pull the fantails off at home. They get pretty gamey after a week. A lesson learned the hard way.
 
Tight Loops
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05/05/2008 10:33PM
 
Mad_Angler
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07/02/2008 09:56PM
bump

any new additions??
 
babaoriley7
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07/07/2008 02:10PM
A pretty decent option I discovered: BBQ chicken quesadillas. Two tortillas per person, shred/slice cheese (medium cheddar, colby, jack etc)cut up one pack of bbq chicken packets (or regular chix packets add your own bbq sauce). Mix that together and, lay on a tortilla and heat in a skillet. Flip when golden. eat. Surprisingly filling too.

Couple of things you could do to kick it up would be to bring in some fresh cilantro. I put a 1/2 handful in a paper towel then in a ziploc. Weighed next to nothing and was a good fresh flavor addition. You could also add red onion if you want to carry it in.
 
bumabu
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07/07/2008 05:22PM
 
kanoes
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07/07/2008 05:31PM
cheesy chipmonk? actually, the bottom of the filling looks like "alien" coming out. lol
 
winn70
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07/12/2008 08:23AM
Where do you order the MRE's? Any preferred companies?
 
Guurn
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07/14/2008 08:02AM
We never eat light meals in the BWCA. This year our dinners went as follows.

Surf and Turf- Substituted really large shrimp (almost Prawn sized) for the lobster. Since this was the first day meal refrigeration wasn't a big issue.

Kabobs- Again we used good steaks for the meat- Peppers and mushrooms aren't heavy and you really only need one onion, everyone enjoys cooking their own over a fire. If it is raining you could just fry it all up.

Chicken Fettuccini - I used refrigerated noodles since they cook up faster. The chicken was the foil pack kind that you don't need to refrigerate, and I also used frozen peas.

Green curry Chicken -again with the foil packs. One of the other adults surprised us with this one. She packed in carrots and potatoes along with canned coconut milk. Kinda crazy and alot of weight, but it was probably her last trip with us so I think she was going the extra mile (she is moving to California). I can't wait to try the powdered coconut milk. Sounds great.

For lunches we usually just had an assortment of cheeses and salamis on crackers. They were the frozen stuff that kept everything cold.

Breakfast was Eggs and hash browns the first day. We found some dehydrated hash browns that came in a little carton. They were really good. After that it was pancakes. Honestly I don't really like cooking pancakes up there since everyone spends most of their time wanting for their one to get done. I have to come up with something better next year.
 
bumabu
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07/16/2008 01:45AM
Guurn: Shelf stable bacon/cheese muffins for breakfast!!!
 
obadiah
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07/16/2008 05:30PM
fish, fish, more fish!
 
Snipit
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07/16/2008 08:32PM
guurn---

where did you find "dehydrated hash browns"?
 
Guurn
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07/17/2008 09:42AM
Costco the brand name was Golden Grill
 
mndawn
 
08/14/2008 08:34PM
Please send along your recipes. We are heading to the BWCA next week.
dawn@dadahasa.com
Thanks!
 
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