Monday, February 22, 2016

Q is for Quick Backpacking/Picnic Meals

It's almost backpacking season, so it's time to start doing some planning, to include meal prep.  Gone are my days of settling for Slim Jims, crackers and Pop Tarts for breakfast and lunch.  We do still opt for quick meals for breakfast and lunch, but we now significantly boost the quality.  I've provided some of our favorites below.  Note that these can also be used for picnicking as well if you don't like stopping at restaurants while traveling or if you just like to mix it up a bit.  Unfortunately, I don't have very many pictures for this post, so you'll need to use your imagination a bit.


Oatmeal:  Pick up some some instant oatmeal packets.  I recommend two packets per person for backpacking since you burn calories much more quickly on the trail.  If you want to bulk it up with extra protein or even more calories, you can also add some dry milk powder (amount varies based on preference but no more than the dry equivalent of what you would normally put in at home).  Prep it ahead of time by adding all of the above to a quart-size ziplock bag.  Then, on the trail, add boiling water to desired consistency (more soupy vs more congealed) and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Bacon-Cheese Grits:  Instant grits packets, Butter Buds, dry cheese powder (the equivalent of 1/3 cup of real shredded cheese), and Real Bacon Bits (not the fake bacon-flavored bits) to taste.  Combine all ingredients in a quart-size ziplock bag ahead of time, then add boiling water on the trail to desired consistency.  Credit to The Scout's Backpacking Cookbook for the inspiration. 

Yosemite Yogurt Drops:  Simply dehydrate small splotches of your favorite flavor yogurt (quarter-size drops are perfect size) until completely dry and leathery, then package into a small, snack-size ziplock bag.  I also refer to these as yogurt jerky because by the time you get around to eating them, many of the drops will have stuck together, leaving you to eat it more like jerky.  Credit to The Scout's Backpacking Cookbook. (see picture at bottom)

Niagara Falls Bars:  Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats, whole wheat flour, sesame seeds, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, salt, dry non-fat milk powder, vegetable oil, honey, and vanilla extract.  These require about an hour's worth of prep/cooking time at home, but there is no prep required when eating these on the trail.  They have the consistency of granola bars, but they have a lot more calories.  They also taste great!  These have gotten rave reviews from my entire family and nearly everyone that has had them.  Credit to The Scout's Backpacking Cookbook


Peanut Butter and Honey Rollups:  Peanut butter (or Sunbutter if someone has a peanut allergy), honey, and a tortilla.  Combine the peanut butter and honey into a small ziplock bag but carry the tortilla separately.  Be sure the ziplock bag is completely secured, then put the tortilla into a quart-size freezer bag along with the peanut butter-honey ziplock for traveling.  Credit to The Scout's Backpacking Cookbook

Pizza Rollups:  Two tortillas per person, a pizza sauce packet per 2-3 people, 1-2 string cheese sticks per person, and a personal-sized portion of your favorite pizza toppings (pepperoni, precooked sausage, real bacon bits, etc.).  Recommend combining the toppings into their own ziplock bag, along with the string cheese packet(s).  On the trail, add all ingredients to your tortilla and roll it up into a pizza wrap.  Credit to The Scout's Backpacking Cookbook for the inspiration. 

Sausage, Cheese, and Crackers:  Okay, so I said I don't do Slim Jims and crackers anymore, but occasionally, we do still have this similar yet tastier option.  Take a mini sleeve of Ritz crackers (see picture below), a small, sealed log of summer sausage to share among 2-3 people, and cheese squares to share among 2-3 people.  Combine or eat individually as you prefer out on the trail.

These recipes are all very tasty and very quick to prepare out on the trail.  If you're ready to move past junk food-type lunches or just want to add some more options, or if you're looking for some good picnic lunches, give these suggestions a try.  I think you and your crew will be quite pleased.

Crackers for Sausage, Cheese, & Crackers in the middle (my partner was provding the sausage and cheese squares), Oatmeal beside it, and Yogurt Drops on the far left.

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