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  1. #1
    weirdo
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    Suggestions for SIMPLE "just add water" food?

    After some deliberation, I finally decided to leave my Coleman at home for an upcomming four day camp trip. I`m already a little bit antsy because I haven`t had much time to experiment and really get to know my new alcohol water boiler, but if all else fails at least I`ll have services every 10 to 20 miles (a rarity for routes around these parts), so it will just mean shelling out for a lot of restaurant food and not getting my morning coffee until I`m on the road.

    I`ve seen some great looking one pot recipies on a few backpacking sites and will probably try some out later, but for now I don`t have much more time to prepare and I want to keep experimentation to a minimum. I`m looking at carrying coffee and tea, instant oatmeal, and instant soup packets. Also peanutbutter and crackers in case of stove failure.. Anything else available over the counter with zero prep involved that needs only hot or boiling water to turn into a hot meal? I can make do fairly comfortably with what I already have in mind, but there are probably other obvious "no cook" foods that haven`t occurred to me. Suggestions?

  2. #2
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    a restaurant?

    oh you thought of that.

    MREs, but they are known to cause constipation.

  3. #3
    on by skijor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    I`m looking at carrying coffee and tea, instant oatmeal, and instant soup packets. Also peanutbutter and crackers in case of stove failure.. Anything else available over the counter with zero prep involved that needs only hot or boiling water to turn into a hot meal? I can make do fairly comfortably with what I already have in mind, but there are probably other obvious "no cook" foods that haven`t occurred to me. Suggestions?
    If for no other reason, ziplock some quick oats in one big bag. The individual packs have too much sugar and are less economical. Also ziplock raisins, brown sugar, sunflower seeds, nuts, etc in smaller bags.
    And don't forget your prunes to getcha goin'

  4. #4
    Member Strawbee's Avatar
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    Ramen of course =)!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    I portioned oats into baggies for my tour, as well, and nuts, brown sugar, berries, etc into other baggies. Breakfast was always fantastic. My buddy lived off of spaghetti, spaghetti, and more spaghetti. I don't remember how he transported his sauce, however.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Visit your local grocery store for no-cook options ...

    - fruit
    - raw veggies
    - buns, bread, bagals, english muffins, cookies, pastries, cakes, muffins, etc. etc. etc. Pretty much anything in the bakery department will work and will provide you with a lot of variety.
    - cheese - hard cheese, soft cheese, cottage cheese, processed cheese
    - yogurt
    - ice cream (you'd want to eat that right outside the grocery store)
    - cold meat
    - tinned meat
    - cold cereals of various sorts ... most grocery stores have an entire aisle devoted to this stuff!
    - poptarts
    - granola bars
    - cereal bars
    - dried fruit
    - dried fruit bars
    - crackers
    - canned fruit & veggies (although I'm not so keen on cold canned veggies myself)
    - individual fruit cups
    - individual puddings
    - individual jellos
    - deli foods such as potato salad, macaroni salad, soups, roast chicken


    As long as you've got any sort of grocery store you've got heaps and heaps of no-cook options. You just have to go in and see. Practice with your own local grocery store.

  7. #7
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    Standard backpacking fare:
    Lipton's sides (I guess it's Knorr now)
    Pasta-roni
    Hamburger helper (fine w/o the ground beef. Makes a big meal)
    Macaroni and cheese

    These can all be done easily with an alcohol stove. Just don't drain the water right away and let it cook as the water cools from boiling.

    Canned pasta (chef boyardee, etc), chili, vegetables, and so on are good too if you don't have to carry them far.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    Instant mashed potatoes. Put 1/2 cup in a Ziplock baggie; add bacon bits, grated cheese, a small spoonful of powdered milk and/or a little dab of butter. Add hot water to baggie; smoosh it around to mix it up. (Bonus: handwarmer!). Add salt & pepper. Eat from baggie; you don't even need utensils, you can just cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze it out There are also ready-made instant Mashed Potato cups, but this way is a lot cheaper and customizable... plus you get to eat it by squeezing it into your mouth

    (This recipe courtesy of the Calgary Area Pathfinders "Challenge the Chill" winter camp, 2008 )

    From my sister: Get dry couscous from the bulk food store or a Middle Eastern grocery. Add 1/4 cup couscous to ~3/4 cup boiling water (or package directions). Cover it and let it fluff up for several minutes. (You can do this in a Ziplock baggie too, actually, but it's a bit messier than the mashed taters).

    For breakfast
    : add sunflower seeds, brown sugar, dried fruit of your choice (cranberries and apricots are our faves), and top with unsweetened condensed milk or coffee cream. (This is now what I eat before centuries. Tasty, easy to eat and digest, and packs some serious calories, especially if you have as free a hand with the cream as I do...).

    For supper: put in chopped dried sausage or jerky and 1/4 teaspoon of dried onion (or 1 tsp dried onion soup mix) at the same time as the couscous; add some dried veggies too if you like. A bit of hot sauce is a fine addition. The couscous with its additions should be easy to eat with a fork - its texture is similar to rice.

    Couscous is a staple for us now on backpacking trips because it is so versatile, tasty, and (best of all) light to pack!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Do some Googling for "Freezer Bag Cooking" and you will find http://www.trailcooking.com/ among others. The "Cozy" is key to keeping the warmth in while the food "cooks", but a fleece hat inside an upside-down bike helmet would do pretty well.

    Instant mashed potatoes with a swirl of peanut butter may taste good, too.

    Many of the recipes you'll find are a little involved, but with ramen noodles (look at the packages as a source of ingredients instead of the only thing you'll be eating), it's pretty easy to add a variety of other flavors. Pick up a can of tuna to stir in for tuna ramen, etc.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    there's always the freeze-dried backpacker meals, though they are more pricey than do-it-yourself stuff listed above. i just tried them out for the first time on a recent 3-day backpacking trip. not bad eating and super easy. boiling water poured inside, wait 10 min, and eat out of the bag.

  11. #11
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    I could live on dried fruit and jerky. Hard boiled eggs are good for a protein source as well. Dried fruit is excellent since it has lots of fiber. A lot of the trail mixes are good, if you just add a protein source, which can be jerky, tuna in a pouch (there is some tuna sealed in pouches instead of cans).

    Smoked meats were smoked in order to preserve them in times past. It is possible that some are still smoked / cured enough to survive not being refrigerated. Check label and read warnings.

    If you are riding at a time that there is fresh road side stands with fruits, veggies, etc., you are set. Some of them have homemade cheese, etc.

    My idea of touring is to go from one roadside stand to the next...

  12. #12
    Slowpoach
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    Nb. Alcohol stoves are fine for cooking in a frypan; boiling water is, I think, their weakness as it can take a while. I use a Trangia which is heavy but works well.

    Anyway, water-only food: (obviously any sort of fresh food too)
    - Instant couscous. Works really well.
    - Instant polenta also works well
    - Instant rice meals are hard to find but look in Indian or Asian shops
    - Packet noodles
    - Packet soups
    - Freeze-dried meals
    - Freeze-dried veggies. Start with cold water, soak a while, then cook.
    - Red lentils. Add veggies, spices and crispy fried shallots ( Asian shop)
    - Dried mushrooms are a good ingredient

    A Trangia-type stove is pretty flexible, you don't have to limit yourself to just boiling water.

  13. #13
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Ramen noodles and tuna in the pouches. Or canned chicken or ham.

    Black bean and rice mix from Viga (sp?)- takes 20 minutes or so, not "instant". But good. Add chicken or whatever.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by moleman76 View Post
    Do some Googling for "Freezer Bag Cooking" and you will find http://www.trailcooking.com/ among others. The "Cozy" is key to keeping the warmth in while the food "cooks", but a fleece hat inside an upside-down bike helmet would do pretty well.

    Instant mashed potatoes with a swirl of peanut butter may taste good, too.

    Many of the recipes you'll find are a little involved, but with ramen noodles (look at the packages as a source of ingredients instead of the only thing you'll be eating), it's pretty easy to add a variety of other flavors. Pick up a can of tuna to stir in for tuna ramen, etc.
    Seconding this. A lot of the author's rice and lentil dishes are very similar to food we eat all the time at home. Suddenly the idea of camping out was a *lot* less daunting... I can cheerfully eat lentils and rice for lunch and dinner every day. Another staple is rice noodles. They just need a few minute soak in boiling water, and it's easy to dress them up into ramen or pad thai or one of the other bowl of noodles dishes.

  15. #15
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    Dehydrated Refried beans

  16. #16
    weirdo
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    Holy cow- I asked a question and went to bed. When I woke up it was like Santa had brought a whole book of suggestions. Thanks!

    FWIW, I know that MREs/Morehouse stuff exactly fits what I asked about- I should have added that I`m not willing to pay that much. Also, It was one of those websites on freezerbag cooking that planted the alcohol stove idea in my mind. I plan to try some in the futre, but for now I`m just looking for single ingredient kinds of stuff. My stove isn`t a Trangia- it`s a super basic homebrew that does a great job of boiling water (at home with nice weather and no wind). I have no simmer provision on this model and still have some doubts as to how well it`ll work in less than perfect conditions.

    Lentils- I love lentils, but when we cook them at home we always boil them for ten minutes or so- Are there instant varieties, or by presoaking or something, do they cook without simmering?
    Couscous and polenta- never tried these, but I`ll get some today and see if I like them.
    Other suggestions noted but I don`t have questions about them, thank you very much.

  17. #17
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    You could also do Zatarain's boxed meals. There are lots of options, and they are all tasty. Each one serves 3 or 4, so after a long day of riding, cooking up half a box is probably about right. If I remember correctly, the recipe calls for hot water and a little oil, but I think the oil is only to keep it from sticking too much, so you can omit it if you are cooking in a plastic bag or if you don't mind scrubbing the pot a little more and want to save the weight.
    Last edited by onnestabe; 04-13-09 at 09:49 AM.

  18. #18
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onnestabe View Post
    You could also do Zatarain's boxed meals.
    +1. They rock! If your system doesn't like spicy food though, beware.

    I particularly like the pasta version of Jambalaya.

    -R

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
    +1. They rock! If your system doesn't like spicy food though, beware.

    I particularly like the pasta version of Jambalaya.

    -R
    I lived off it in college. Just get a big microwaveable bowl, throw it in there with some sliced smoked sausage, and you've got food for a couple days after 5 minutes of prep.

  20. #20
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    My old backpacking meals looked like this.

    Lipton (Knorr) noodles and sauce, they call for milk and butter, but you don't need it, i used to dump some powered milk in them.

    Stovetop stuffing, again you don't NEED the butter

    Powdered gravy mix (optional)

    Dehydrated corn, peas, mushrooms (I used to make my own, frozen corn/peas are easy to dehydrate as are fresh mushrooms)

    Dinner went like this, bring pot of water to boil, more than i needed for the noodles and sauce. Once water was boiling mix up my 'Bondo" which what we called it, much like the car body filler it was named for it "helped fill in the holes" in our appetite while the noodles cooked. This was instant potatoes , stove top, gravy mix and maybe some veggies in a bowl, add water and stir, very filling.

    Eat that while preparing the Noodles and sauce.

    Another good bet is instant pudding made with milk powder, make it in a ziploc or your cook pot and set it in a stream or lake to chill (weighted so it doesn't float away) this works in Michigan when you are always by the water. I've lived for up to two weeks on this before and there is enough flavors so you don't get bored, there are also rice dishes similar to the noodle ones.
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  21. #21
    Senior Moment Member jagraham's Avatar
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    Favorite meals:

    1. Foil pouch chicken, Stove Top stuffing, Idahoan Mashed Baby Reds, Knoor Chicken Gravy. Wish they made single serving size cranberry sauce.

    2. Spinach Tortellini, Knoor Pesto Sauce, Nido Milk powder, Parm. cheese (optional)

    3. Breakfast Couscous - couscous, brown sugar, milk powder, almonds, cinnamon

    4. Breakfast burritos - dehydrated refried beans, dehydrated salsa (or pkg'd. taco sauce), fresh cheddar. Sometimes I carry fresh eggs that I scramble in a freezer bag and place in boiling water, sometimes I add Mountain House freeze-dried eggs (reconstituted of course).

    5. Bacon omlet - dehydrated plum tomatos and mushrooms, shelf-stable bacon, fresh eggs cooked in a freezer bag.

    I'm with Mr. Jim - mushrooms (and plum tomatos) are easy to dehydrate and nice to toss into food.

    6. Instant Vanilla pudding, Nido powdered milk, instant rice, cinnamon

    Judy

  22. #22
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    cracked wheat takes about 15minutes of cooking but you could pre-soak it.

  23. #23
    Hooked on Touring
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    PB&J samwiches.
    And a bottle of water.
    Oreos for dessert.

  24. #24
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    I carry dehydrated water... just add water and there it is!

    Couscous is my favorite staple food. It has the advantages of rice and pasta and none of the inconvenience.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cave View Post
    A Trangia-type stove is pretty flexible, you don't have to limit yourself to just boiling water.
    +1

    If you know how to cook, you can cook a huge range of delicious things with a Trangia.

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