Food Finds · Trail Cooking

Commercial Meal Review: Chicken Risotto

Reviewing this commercial meal from Backpacker’s Pantry got me to thinking of making my own version of the meal – that recipe is coming soon to TrailCooking. The reason is this meal carries the dreaded “contains a bioengineered food ingredient”. It most likely comes in the form of corn, possibly in the corn starch in the ingredient list. GMO ingredients often hide in corn or soy typically. The modified corn starch used in commercial meals isn’t the issue (modified just means it is processed more and doesn’t fall apart under heat), but rather the corn that was used to make it. It’s a 3rd party ingredient that so many foods use now.

It’s a hill a lot of people don’t wish to cross. Part of me is glad these companies are being open about their use (sometimes there isn’t any other options in commercial food), but that is why I want to play with the recipe and see what I can make for our readers that tastes great – and is GMO free.

I walk a fine line in our home. We grow a lot of our food, and process it for the cold months. I avoid buying most crap food – but I won’t lie, I’ll then eat Spam without blinking. And yes, I will review meals that contain GMO ingredients. Because I write for all of you, not just weirdos like me. It’s been the law in the USA since Jan 1st, 2022 that companies using bioengineered food must disclose it, but the USDA only enforces it if a complaint happens. So older meals may well contain it, but you won’t know. As I mentioned above, the worst offenders pop up in corn products, soy oil and soy lecithin, and canola oil. Cheap oils are some of the worst offenders.

Rant over and let’s get to the (mostly) fair review of our commercial today.

The Review:

Backpacker’s Pantry Chicken Risotto is a 2 person meal. It weighs in at 5.2 ounces dry weight and is in a tall mylar bag.

Amount of dry to the bag. It is about 1¼ cups dry ingredients. The larger white-ish chunks are the chicken.

The dry ingredients more visible. The darker bits appear to be the mushrooms, the reddish ones the tomatoes, and the white bigger chunks are chicken.

It retails for $12.99, putting it in the middle of the price range for outdoor meals. Not cheap, but not bougie.

At 290 calories per serving, 15 grams of protein, 45 grams carbs, 5 grams fat, and 670 mg sodium.

The meal calls for 1¾ cups boiling water ,and a 15 minute wait time for rehydration.

This is how much the bag makes once rehydrated. It isn’t a big meal. I would find most men with a hearty appetite would eat the entire bag. It would only be 2 servings if you are sharing with a younger child.

It had a smooth texture, creamy if you will. It’s not heavy on the chicken or the vegetables (you can see the tomatoes but not much else). The flavor is pleasant, but it’s not bold. Not terribly salty. You don’t pick up on the cheese at all, at least to me.

It’s middle of the road. Neither bad nor great. If one wanted a meal easy enough on the stomach this would work. It’s simple to make, and it’s gluten-free as well.

Just treat it as a large 1 person meal though.

FTC Disclaimer: We purchased the product reviewed. All thoughts are ours.


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