Backcountry recipes, with fish, or without

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Allison, May 14, 2009.

  1. I'm going to start this off with a very popular breakfast recipe. No fish in this one.

    Biscuits and Gravy
    serves 2

    1 packet Williams Gravy mix
    dried milk according to package directions
    dried or real butter, according to package directions
    water, to rehydrate dried milk, and according to package directions

    dried mushrooms OR dried cooked ground beef OR real bacon bits OR cooked bacon

    2 English muffins

    rehydrate mushrooms or ground beef (15 minutes to overnight)
    mix together gravy mix, milk, water, butter, mushrooms, beef or bacon
    cook as described on package, stirring frequently so it won't stick
    season with pepper

    serve over halved English muffins, toasted if you are able to have a fire


    the best dried milk to use with this is Nido, by Nestle, available at Mexican grocery stores, Big Lots!, and some Asian grocery stores, like HT Market at 100th and Aurora. Milkman or other dried milk works fine too, but the dried whole milk is better.
  2. Allison, I read this and had to go on a biscut and gravy run...comfort food on a gloomy day and I was hungry.

    One that I like for overnight trips and it seems to always make it onto my meal plan:

    One can of chicken in water (can can be used for one of the two who are enjoying the meal)
    One cup of rice
    1/4 cup of dehydrated broccoli (florets preferred over stems)
    2+ tablespoons of ground cheddar (or another preferred cheese)
    1/4 cup of dehydrated mushrooms (caps preferred over stems)
    Seasoning to your taste preference, a bit of cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, ground red pepper or ground black pepper should find its way inside.
    2 cups of water.

    Pretty simple, boil the water and seasoning, add the rice, 10 minutes if it is standard white rice, 15 for brown rice and 1-5 if it is "instant" type rice. If you have prepped this at home then dehydrated it you just rehydrate and warm it.
    2 minutes before the rice is done I add the brocolli, mushrooms and cheese, stir it in well then add the chicken. Serves two, one eats from the cooking pot, the other from the chicken can which is then cleaned for continued use or given some stone shampoo to flatten it for packing out.

    You can shorten the cooking time by using couscous instead of rice, but couscous is a bit messier and I don't like my food attracting four legged friends I prefer it going into my big yap.

    Allison made breakfast, I whipped up a simple lunch, what is for dinner?
  3. All right, we gotta include one with fish.

    Two freshly caught high lakes cutthroat (12+")
    18" pc. aluminum foil
    MS. Dash & Lemon Pepper seasoning
    Backpacking stove/folding cooking rack (where needed)

    Employ excellent fishing skills above 4K ft. to fool a couple cutthroat. (first part of the fun part). Clean fish by removing entrails and heads. Sprinkle inside of body cavity with Lemon Pepper, sprinkle outside of body with MS. Dash. Wrap both fish inside of same pc. of foil and cook 20 min. over open fire or use stove and rack where fires aren't allowed.
    Remove fish packet from heat and let cool five minutes.
    While packet is cooling to the touch, watch the orange glow of sunset bathe the granite peak surrounding Thrill My Ass Off Lake, while a few trout rise for evening insects at the breeze rippled surface. Open foil packet and deeply inhale the sensual aroma of fresh trout, spices, and moutain air (second part of the fun part). Allowing your mind to replay the day... the hike, the first view of the lake, setting up camp, fishing and exploring the water's edge. And now the relaxation your body/mind desires, what a great day this has been. Tomorrow will be even better.
  4. Allison,

    That sounds tasty. How is it for getting a boy or girl off to school? I mean does it have staying power until lunch?

    I'm curious. I thought you are in to ultra-light hiking, and that meal (packing English muffins) seems more like semi-light. It seems like going ultra-light steers a hiker to freeze dried meals where you just add hot water heated on a pop can alcohol stove. I've packed instant oat meal for years as a breakfast that with a couple pieces of dried fruit sticks to my ribs and keeps me going until lunch.

    I'm very interested in lightweight meals that are enjoyable to eat. I'm taking notes from you and Mumbles. My basic backpacking dinner is one of those Lipton pasta envelopes from the grocery store - any style, they're all pretty much the same to me - prepared according to directions (add boiling water, butter, or maybe Milkman powder) and then for some protien I add canned chicken that comes in a tuna-sized can. That's not ultra-light, but it makes the meal taste like real food and holds me overnight quite well. Mumbles, you make the seasonings sound like a tasty addition, but I'm not that much of a camp cook, and I figured that the little plastic spice containers sold at REI, etc. just add excess weight and bulk to the pack. I feel a definite tension between keeping the pack weight and bulk down and having camp food that's actually enjoyable to eat. I hope others contribute some good ideas.

  5. Salmo, I often will prep this at home and sometimes I'll put all dry goods (dehydrated veggies, rice, cheese and spices into the same vacuum seal pouch. That makes it a three package meal. One dry, one bottle with the water needed to cook it and one can of chicken (also the smaller sized ones like you mentioned). I have hiked with my overly heavy pack with some ultralighters and they just murdered me on the trail. They ate, but I ate like the fat bastard that I am and that helped melt away the pain of the day trying not to lose sight of them. I love cooking at camp and often my travelling companinos are happy to let me do the cooking and they will contribute something else. Liking to cook and being a good cook are different though, I don't consider myself a good cook but it keeps calories in the tank.

    Scottyflycast, dude, you got me with that one. Some day I'll hike back to Thrill My Ass Off Lake, but last time I took that challenge up I was twenty pounds lighter. I hope that everyone can find their own Thrill My Ass Off Lake in their lifetime and find ample chance to get there for the fishing, steep basalt walls, wildlife and relaxing as can be atmosphere.

    I was at TMAOL one time...and there was an aerial dumping of stockers deposited while I watched in amazement. I was not expecting that.

    Back to food...who's next.
  6. SG,
    You can find tuna and salmon in small foil packets at the grocery store, no refrigeration needed, 3oz. I think. They are great for lunch meat or kickin' up a dinner, excellent protien source. Another habit of mine is to pack my freeze dried meals in ziplock bags (freezer type), saves weight and space. Spices and drink mixes also travel in ziplocks.
    Dried pasta is a good carb and light weight, small rotini or penne, spaghetti noodles broken in half. For bread I'll take small whole wheat dinner rolls, they don't weigh much and are compressable, make great sandwiches.
  7. i dont recommend eating farmed salmon, which i presume is what is in those little salmon cans.
  8. DB,
    I hear what yer sayin'. In the not too distant past, I use to catch my own salmon, smoke em, and take em for a hike. Nowadays with putting two kids thru college my free time is more limited. Therefore I find my prep decisions predicated upon what's on the store shelves and what's in my wallet.
  9. It's good, better with meat.

    I make compromises where quality of life is concerned. Me no like eaty freezedried gruel.

    Seasonings, such as curry, can be your friend.
  10. Howdy, love these backpacking threads! Kind of a lurker but had to post my favorite way of cooking mountain trout and kids love doing it, "indian style". No trout tastes as good! Other then this I am a freeze dried food fan. Thanks for all the cool tips and sites!

  11. what makes that "indian style"........?
  12. Oh good question, guess because that is what I told the kids I was fishing with....
  13. Curry makes my dishes "Indian style".
  14. if you ever have a chance to cook in a steam pit i recommend it! It is a great traditional cooking method.

    Dig a hole big enough to hold alot of food and rocks then gather a bunch of grasses or kelp or ferns and soak them for about an hour so they are saturated. build a fire outside your pit and slowly fill in rocks and let them get hot. once they are all really hot lay a bunch in the bottom of your pit, throw on layer of grass a foot thick, put in your food, and another layer of thick grass. now layer on more rocks quickly, and cover the entire pit with bark or some sort of wood. at this point work fast and cover the entire pit with the dirt you excavated when you dug the pit. seal up the entire pit with dirt and seal any leaks you can see. let it cook for 1 hour for just a couple fish, up to 3 hours or more for a feast.

    Keep in mind that this is not really a low impact method of cooking so if you want to do this do it responsibly and legally. It really can make for some great food cooking fish, potatoes, shrimp, whatever.
  15. We did this on our five day backpacking/fishing trip last year.

    Beer battered grouse.

    Three fresh grouse breasts
    Pancake mix
    Johnny's spice mix
    One can of Fat Tire Amber Ale (yes can)
    Olive oil

    Mix. Batter. Fry. Enjoy!


    Trail Fajitas:

    Two foil packages of chicken
    Shredded cheese
    One green pepper
    One red or yellow pepper
    One package of fajita spice mix
    Half an onion


    We paired that with some Zatarain's jambalaya with diced summer sausage added.

  16. Along with recipes, let's discuss cooking gear and utensils. I see Ray carried at least two frying pans and cook pots and who knows what else. I stopped carrying my REI folding handle aluminum teflon fry pan 15 years ago to save weight and bulk. I carry the pocket rocket stove or Jetboil, one ti cookpot, a plastic mug, a plastic dish that began life as a microwave frozen dinner container, and a spork. Allison, you wrote that you make some concessions to quality of life and going ultra-light. Care to share what your backpacking "kitchen" consists of?

    Clearly, the amount of kitchen gear you pack is going to determine how elaborate one's meal recipes can be. I want to learn how to have the best chow with the least weight and bulk in my pack.

  17. For cooking gear I use a GSI soloist which is an integrated pot/cup/handle/lid/sipcup. It only really works for single person meals but it all stores in a washbin style case and stores my whisperlite inside it. Makes for a very compact system saving me valuable pack space. Its pretty light but you can go lighter. Sometimes I will bring a fry pan as well. For a utensil I have a titanium spork and my knife and a set of chopsticks.

    You greatly increase the amount of cookwear you can bring if you go in a group and have each perosn carry a specific item and then cook as a group. I also use those roll up tubes with a clip on the end for carrying things like peanut butter or honey, and for spices (salt/pepper) or hot sauce i get the little packages from fast food resurants. Taco Hell has some good hot sauce.

    I know alot of people carry french presses and such for coffee, but i prefer to just take a paper filter.

    As far as cleaning goes my solosit case is a nice mini sink. I heat some water and add a little bit of Dr. Broners soap and then use my fingers/micro towel to clean things, makes for a simple system.

    In the past I have also taken tin foil and a light grill for cooking with a fire.
  18. Best chow with the least weight seems to be either pre packaged dehydrated meals or home made dehydrated meals.

    The trip I referenced above is an annual trip and we've done the extremes, from ultra heavy to ultralight. There's usually five of us on the trip, so we've started to get a lot more gormet when it comes to food. We also don't do more than four miles per day because any more than that really cuts into the fishing time. Our daily routine is to hike 150 yards, drop the pack, fish; hike 150 yards, drop the pack, fish; repeat. Dinner is a group affair and last year's menu went like this:

    Dinner 1: Seafood Alfredo (premade and vacuum sealed)
    Dinner 2: Kraft Deluxe Mac and Cheese with Stagg Chili
    Dinner 3: Fajitas and Jambalaya
    Dinner 4: Backpacker's Pantry Lasagne

    We save the lightest meal for last. Everyone packs a share of the kitchen. We ususally end up with 6 pots/pans and 4 stoves split between the five of us. The packs weigh around 45 lbs including alcohol.

    Now for my ultralight trips, I've got my 40 liter pack down to about 20 lbs for a five day trip. I go all dehydrated for that type of trip.
  19. You bet Salmo. I have 2 titanium pots, I'll bring both if I'm cooking for more than myself or more than one night usually. The stove is a canister stove (MSR Pocket Rocket), though this year I'm buying a remote-canister stove, the MSR Wind Pro, because I'm finding the remote canister types burn all of the fuel in the bottle, and they do it without complaining. BTW for car camping I'm pretty much all the way with a Jetboil Helios versus my old Coleman 2-burner. The Helios is too heavy for my taste for BP, but kills for car camping.

    I also bring my folding titanium spork (no I am not kidding) and a small nylon spatula thing like this:
    a titanium cup with folding handles, and a Cool Whip container for a bowl. My pots *just* nest together, and I can put the CW container(s) in that, and the stove inside that, and seal up the whole Magilla with a rubber band. Other optional add-ins, foil for cooking fish, a frying pan, and my Ortik Heat-it. I don't think the Heat-it is on the market yet. I usually bring some sort of a windscreen too, you just have to be careful not to let the canister get too warm. I do my coffee in a small plastic Melitta cone if I'm brewing real coffee.
  20. native american, fillets on sticks getting roasted next to the fire, my favorite meal comes from a dehydrated meal packet, i know its sat but i can't cook to save my life. i like yalls recipes though!

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