SFR:One dish meals for camping?

IveofIone

Active Member
#1
During the winter when days are short, the weather nasty and the fire warm, I'll spend hours in the kitchen cooking or baking or just watching my wife do the same while I sip chardonnay and nibble focaccia bread. Nothing takes too long because there is plenty of time and always enough time to do it right.

But when I go on fishing trips despite good intentions I never seem to want to take the time for involved food preperation. Often I eat very little compared to what I eat at home and usually try to keep it as simple as possible. I hate to spend a lot of time prepping an evening meal when I know damn well that the best fishing of the day is from dinner time until dark. So I look for simple dishes that can be prepared quickly so I can get back on the water. Most boxed or packaged meals are truely disgusting and leave a taste in your mouth that Drano cut with Listerine will not get rid of. My aversion to these quickie meals probably dates to 1967 when a generous company donated a case of Beef Strognaoff meals to our climb of Mt. McKinley. The price was right so we ate them but I have never been able to eat anything labeled Beef Stroganoff again.

Now fast forward to 2006 and remarkably I have just discovered Zatarain's products in the supermarket. This is the best stuff I have ever tasted out of the box. Red beans and rice, black beans and rice, Jambalaya, Dirty rice, French Market veges and rice and long grain and wild rice are some of the selections. They can be prepared in about 30 minutes in camp for a hot and heavy side dish or can be embellished with lean hamburger, chicken, sausage or shrimp to make a filling and tasty main dish.

If you are still gagging yourself with Kraft macaroni and cheese or those Lipton packaged mixes give yourself a break and try some of these New Orleans products. My guess is that your one dish dinner fare will improve considerably.

If you are already using these products I would be interested to hear what variations you are using and what different meats you are preparing them with. Here's to better camp food, Ive
 
#2
You should write Zatatain's. They would probably spnsor you with a review like that.

Their stuff is pretty great. I've taken it camping a couple of times.
 
#3
NO KIDDING!!! We camp all the time in the summer, guess who gets to play chef bawling:. Now, most of the time I don't mind taking time to cook good meals, having to feed the kids too and all. But, I'd like something that isn't "junk" yet easier and quicker to make. I use those products at home sometimes, the kids really like the red beans and rice with summer sausage. I lived in New Orleans for 3 years, Zatarain's tastes closest to what we had down south. Now if only they had a way to make bacon and eggs lol

Plus the cleanup is easy for camping...1 pot...1 spoon
 

Jerry Daschofsky

Moderator
Staff member
#4
Hell, I have a great suggestion. Just hire me to be your camp cook (right Freestone :D )

Actually, hamburger helper and other instant meals work great. Go to the freezer section of Freddies and the likes and find "meals in a bag". Bunch of easy dinners. Usually toss the bag in a skillet and away you go.
 
#5
go get yourself a "seal-a-meal". in the week/s leading up to your trip just make extras with your meals and place them in the bags. freeze them up and then they are ready for your trip. since the food is already cooked, all you have to do is place the bag into boiling water until heated.

1 word of caution: boiled eggs prepared as i stated will become rubbery, and gravy sometimes seperates. cheese can seem a bit grainy too- depends on what kind of cheese.
 

Freestone

Not to be confused with freestoneangler
#6
Jerry Daschofsky said:
Hell, I have a great suggestion. Just hire me to be your camp cook (right Freestone :D ) QUOTE]

iagree :thumb:

Short of hiring Jerry, I find doing as much advance prep and/or pre-cooking to be the easiest way to ensure good, but fast and easy meals are served. When I'm alone, my diet is kinda scary. However if I'm cooking for others, I'll often use the Seal-A-Meal or Freezer Baggie method to keep cooking and cleaning up as fast as possible. Even for things like Zatatain's it's way faster to prepare it in advance and simply reheat the food by popping the bag in boiling water (that can then be used for the dishes).

If the trip is short, I prefer to just refrigerate meals not to freeze them. Even while winter camping, I've served 5 course Indian, Italian and/or Thai meals this way. For breakfasts, I've precooked and reheated pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs with chives and cheese, home-fried baby red potatoes with peppers and onions...heck, I've even pre-toasted and re-heated English muffins! Bring a small gas BBQ and baggies/containers with pre-marinated meats and veggies to grill. It's fast, always a hit and there's virtually no clean up. If it's a long trip, freeze the meat then add the marinade. By the time it defrosts in the cooler, it will be perfectly marinated.

If you don’t want to do all the advance cooking, simply repackage prepared frozen dinners in boilable bags and pop them back into the freezer until the trip (being mindful of safe food handling/storage procedures). Believe me, after a long day on the water it will taste good. And if you want more flavor, consider adding a few of your own touches to jazz it up before you close up the bag: add sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and kalamata olives to pastas or cilantro, extra cheese and your favorite salsa to Mexican…little touches go a long way to making even frozen dinners seem gourmet at camp!

Tip: If you don’t like the idea of throwing away baggies, wide-opening Platypus bags are great for reheating meals. They can be frozen, dropped in boiling water, cleaned up later and reused countless times. If you want to keep it really easy, prepare an each person’s servings in their own bag and simply eat right out of the bag. Doesn’t get much easier…

Sue, and no I'm not cooking at Dry Falls...I'm bringing Jerry!
 

Jake Smulkowski

Throwing hoppers into baetis falls
#7
Mmm...the Zatarain's stuff is good. The seal-a-meal is a pretty good idea too. I don't know if you can get it over there, but MaryJane's Farm puts together some pretty good instant stuff, too, there is lots of variety and much of the stuff is organic. You can buy it online or at many natural food stores/co-ops.
 
#9
over the years, i also got tired of eating during the best fishing. or eating in the dark which is dangerous if you cook like i do. i started eating a big breakfast, a small snack, and then eating dinner about 3-4 pm during the doldrums. another snack after coming off the water is good enough.
 

chadk

Be the guide...
#10
'seal-a-meal' sounds like a good plan for car\RV overnight trips. But what I usually struggle with is finding good food for backpacking - light weight, easy to cook, and actually tastes good... A few fish caught and cooked over the fire is always nice, but not always possible depending on where you go.
 
#11
Someting I discovered with the Zatarain's Jambalaya is a seafood mix. Grocery stores with a frozen bulk seafood section normally have a bin with a mix of clams, scallops, squid, octopus, etc. About 3/4 of a pound to a box of Jambalaya is good.
 
#13
To kick my Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice up a notch I omit about 1/2 c of the water and replace it with a can of Rotel's diced tomatoes and chilis.
 
#14
Our easy favorite: Cowboy Stew.

I pre-make meatballs - (i ususally freeze them in a zip lock & toss into the cooler before we go). Toss a couple of meatballs, chunked up onions, carrots, potatoes, peppers, whatever, into a tin foil pouch. Add a little liquid....red wine or part of your beer works well....

toss the packet onto some coals - all it takes is one cutting board, one knife and some tin foil!! The kids think its great, and they can help out with the prep work.

-Kristin (Dry Falls: I'm camping by Sue and Jerry!!)
 

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
#15
FlyShopKristin said:
Our easy favorite: Cowboy Stew.

I pre-make meatballs - (i ususally freeze them in a zip lock & toss into the cooler before we go). Toss a couple of meatballs, chunked up onions, carrots, potatoes, peppers, whatever, into a tin foil pouch. Add a little liquid....red wine or part of your beer works well....

toss the packet onto some coals - all it takes is one cutting board, one knife and some tin foil!! The kids think its great, and they can help out with the prep work.

-Kristin (Dry Falls: I'm camping by Sue and Jerry!!)

Very similar to a dish we call "Foils Markham"... It's essentially a 1/2 lb ground beef patty, carrots, potatoes, onions, Jonny's seasoning, and 1/2 a can of cream of mushroom soup... Wrap it in heavy foil, takes like 25 minutes, and is a *HEARTY* meal worthy of man of my appetite!