I love the mountain house turkey dinner meal. I always joke that I would eat it at home. The breakfast skillet one is real good too. Any others that you find yourself using again and again?
any that you hate?
LOL! So true about the MH biscuits/gravy & chicken/dumplings, I had to chuckle!
I'm lazy and did MH for years and years (lasagna is great! but concrete on your spoon...and...need a long spoon to keep food off you knuckles)
Then I was shamed around the campfire by all my energetic friends dehydrating their own food and vacuum bagging it. My wife makes great chili, which I would dehydrate with TLC, but it just never tasted the same at camp.
Did I mention laziness? So I'm back to MH.
I love the flour tortillas for lunch, also with peanut butter, but also alternate packets of squeeze cheddar cheese which, imo, is fantastic!
I rebag my MH meals into a freezer ziplock and just pour in boiling water; In my mind it's lighter, more compactable. (no cleaning required) I also carry a few extra ziplocks, in case I'm not hungry enough, in order to split the meal for later use.
For breakfast, Quaker oats oatmeal packets, in a freezer ziplock, with walnuts and raisins added. Coffee is the starbucks packets. 2 per day.
I also throw in a daily candy bar, some cheese sticks, large ziplock of M&Ms w/peanuts, sometimes a large bag of mixed nuts or cashews, maybe some 'combo's (smash resistant), I need a salty snack ever so often. (now I'm getting hungry) I don't eat this crap at home. I try to pack about 2000 cal/day but almost never make it...or need it.
I usually stick to Mountain House, spaghetti, lasagna, and pasta primavera. The stroganoff is weird tasking and the mac and cheese is too salty to taste. I usually stick with Mountain House as they are freeze dried and not dehydrated. I've tried a few other brands and keep coming back to MH, though they seem to have reduced the amount of food in a bag from 2.5 servings to 2 servings. Half of a 2.5 serving bag was about right for me.
I can't eat the freeze-dried meals from MH and other companies because of the high sodium content. They taste great but that much salt just isn't good for me. They need to have the sodium to help maintain shelf life.
I've been experimenting with making my own meals. I have to dehydrate instead of freeze-dry because my budget doesn't allow me to get freeze dryer (yet... LOL) But in addition to watching out for sodium levels, preparing my own foods allows me to swap out ingredients as needed. For example, in the Pad Thai Quinoa recipe I posted a while back, I replaced the more traditional rice noodles with dehydrated quinoa. They have about the same amount of calories but rice noodles have no nutritional value.
I love fruit bars but the ones I like to eat are really expensive, so I've found that raw almonds, Medjool dates, and my choice of dried fruit(s) and spices opens up a world of great snack bars for being on trail (I just did a Chili Apricot Fruit Bar for my overnight last week).
@Dad_Aint_Hip have you considered making your own meals but using freeze dried meat? That's what I do. I buy the chicken dices, ground beef, and sausage mostly. These are the things that I find don't rehydrate well if dehydrated, but are awesome when they're freeze dried. By making my own meals I can control what's in them, so I can keep the salt down and keep out the veggies that I don't like (peas!). I also buy freeze dried sweet corn because it rehydrates really well too, plus is good to just nibble on straight from the bag.
I have, in fact @SILHiker . I won't dehydrate meats (except for jerky) because of food safety concerns so freeze-dried meats would be a great purchase.
I currently have a bag of powdered eggs that I am playing with. The challenge isn't getting them to cook up like fresh eggs but being able to do that with a single pot of pan when out on trail. I can mix the eggs in with whatever primary ingredient I am cooking with (polenta or masa, rice or quinoa or farro) and you can taste the eggs but you won't get the pieces of scrambled eggs. So I am now just playing around with being able to cook them in a pot, move them into a container (Ziploca maybe) until I cook the rest of the meal and then add them back in.
My egg solution is to use OvaEasy eggs and butter powder in a freezer bag. When I get ready to make scrambled eggs, I add water to the bag, then put the bag in nearly boiling water in my pot, stirring every couple of minutes until the eggs are cooked. 21 gr of OvaEasy makes two eggs, or 32 gr = 3 eggs. I add 7 grams of butter powder per egg. I use just under two oz of water per egg/butter combo, so for 2 eggs it's just under 4 oz, and for 3 eggs I use about 5 1/2 oz.
I sometimes add 1/4 cup of freeze dried sausage and an extra 2 oz of water to make a heartier breakfast.
You could cook your eggs like this and then add to the rice, polenta or whatever.
Rehydrate Hash Browns, add dried veggies & chopped sausage jerky as desired, generous on the boiling water. Add sea salt, spices,
After rehydration, mix in OvaEasy.
Make seconds - rare to say with dried eggs.
Pre-packaged emergency meals are convenient, but if I use them too often I get sick of the same ones over and over again. Regular grocery stores are actually full of stuff that works just fine for backpacking. Some of the instant food at grocery stores even has recipes on the back that can be easily modified (i.e. dried tomatoes instead of fresh, powdered milk, and so on).
Powdered Milk (look for Nido in the Mexican food aisle)
CousCous (Moroccan style)
Peanut butter in a plastic jar
Mylar bag of wine
Instant oatmeal or granola
Starbucks Via coffee
Lipton cup of soup
Knorr Pasta sides or soup mix
Hungry Jack hash browns
Idahoan mashed potatoes
Peperoni or other dry sausage
Cucumbers, snap peas (for the first couple of days)
Near East Pilaf/rice/quinoa mixes
Tasty Bites Indian meals
You can use this stuff to construct basically edible meals. For instance,
Breakfast-- Granola with dried fruit and nuts in Nido, Via coffee with more Nido
Lunch -- Crackers, tuna pouch, dried seaweed snacks, granola bar
Dinner-- Near East pilaf with dried mushrooms, Walker's shortbread, mint or ginger tea
Idahoan mashed potatoes