The summer of 2003 changed me. I was backpacking constantly, and had burnt out on commercial freeze-dried meals. I was also broke that year (I had moved that year), and I was ready to save money so I could hike more. I had met Kirk the year before, and he brought to our relationship his method of trail cooking. He was doing cold prep meals…in quart freezer bags. I was all on this, and set out to learn as much as I could. I was already doing meals in freezer bags, such as mashed potatoes and instant stuffing with freeze-dried peas (don’t judge….it was a phase). So the two came together, and I started developing trail cooking recipes. In freezer bags. They just didn’t have a name yet.
A year later it would become FBC (see here for FBC 101) and also known as Freezer Bag Cooking. And I was cranking out recipes every week. Every trip became a reason to develop and try out new recipes.
You might notice all these recipes below are rice based. Why so? Well, back in the dark ages of trail cooking, finding base ingredients was still hard. Online shopping was still in its infancy. I was producing recipes you didn’t need a dehydrator for. I wanted to make it so in an average urban area you could walk into a large grocery store or co-op and find what you needed. And get packed for your trip.
Some of the early recipes:
Cranberry Chicken Rice – This was my favorite FBC recipe that I developed for myself. I eat a modified version of it at home, all these years later. It’s savory and sweet. My kind of thing.
Cheesy Rice – This was Ford’s favorite backpacking meal, for years, as a child. I always tucked a bag of it in our food bag. He’d usually let me add in a 3 ounce can of chicken breast.
Veggie Beef Rice – It’s a simple meal. It has meat, carbs and veggies with seasoning. It’s easy on the stomach. And if you buy the base ingredients in bulk, it is pretty affordable over time. And it is an easy recipe to make in big batches, so you can feed a whole family or group in camp. In those days I cooked and dehydrated a lot of ground beef for recipes.
Rice and Beans – You cannot go wrong with this vegetarian staple. It’s filling, easy to make, and c-h-e-a-p. Eat it out of bags or roll it up in tortillas. If feeling spendy, pair it with cheese and salsa….or a fresh avocado you packed in.
Chicken & Peas – The boys and I eat this staple even at home (I use frozen peas at home) once or twice a month for lunch. It’s filling and packed with protein (peas have a lot of protein). And it is really comforting on cold nights or when you need a mild dinner for your stomach (too much sun can do that).
Chicken Gravy Rice – This was a go to recipe for hot trips, for the sodium. Now you can find reduced sodium gravy. But, either way, it is an affordable recipe. And easy to pull together.
Pizza Rice – It’s got all the taste you crave on the trail, just a lot easier. And no trying to “bake” anything on the trail.
Of our 5 trail cookbooks, 2 are dedicated to Freezer Bag Cooking. Which have so many more recipes to check out if you haven’t.