Inexpensive side dishes and box meals can form the bases for DELUXE campsite meals. But don't limit these meals ONLY to the campsite...
Prepared packets for side dishes, just add meat meals, soups, and pastas come in a mind-boggling range of flavors and varieties. You can find literally DOZENS of choices at your local grocery and Dollar Store.
We place a high value on convenience, and the sheer variety of these meal "starters" is evidence that most people can't spare the time to prepare complicated recipes from scratch. Some of these prepackaged foods can stand alone like soup and Mac and Cheese - but just barely. Most are intended as side dishes, like the many varieties of flavored rice, couscous, and noodles. Others, like Hamburger Helper, include everything but the meat to prepare a meal.
But none of these "flavored" packaged meals or side dishes CAN'T be improved with the addition of REAL meat and vegetables. Mac and Cheese becomes a quality meal with the addition of some grilled chicken and broccoli. Hamburger Helper can be prepared in camp with seasoned, freeze-dried ground beef, then "awakened" with some green onions or peppers. Combine a gravy mix with some sausage crumbles and red peppers or jalapenos and serve over biscuits, toast, or mashed potatoes. Even the barest Ramen noodles turns into a tasty and satisfying meal when you mix in instant potatoes and meat.
For example, there are SCORES of videos with fast recipes for the "Ramen Bomb" that combines the flavored noodles, potatoes, and meat. This version uses diced jerky as the meat - but a much more satisfying meal combines freeze-dried grilled chicken!
These recipes present endless possibilities. When you combine multiple flavors of rice, potato, or pasta sides with a dozen meat choices, then add a few of your favorite vegetables you end up with HUNDREDS of menu options. Likewise, many meat and vegetable combinations can be prepared as soups or stews. You can serve the food over rice, potatoes, or noodles. Then you can add bread, rolls, or biscuits, tortillas, or taco shells.
We all have our favorite meats, vegetables, flavors, and combinations. I keep a supply of freeze-dried hamburger, chicken, sausage, and pulled pork in my home pantry and camper kitchen. We always have freeze-dried green beans, black beans, sweet corn, broccoli, peas, peppers, and onions on hand. NO peeling, washing, trimming, slicing, or dicing required. NO shopping. NO food waste. At home or on the road, I can grab a packet of instant potatoes, a rice side dish, or pasta and have a meal ready in 15 minutes! The same recipe can be served with another endless array of spices, taco seasoning, mustard, barbecue flavors, and more.
In this video, Bailey describes eight cheap Dollar Store foods that can be jazzed up with added meat, vegetables, spices, or sauces:
Prepared side dishes and box meals can be much more nutritious and enjoyable with the addition of a healthy portion of freeze-dried meat and vegetables. Mix and match, flavor to suit your tastes. As a last resort, even prepackaged "camping meals" can be greatly improved with MORE meat and veggies!
Check out the HUGE variety of freeze-dried foods from Thrive by following this link. CLICK HERE. Then also check out this related article to learn how to buy freeze-dried foods at wholesale prices and save 27% to 37% or more!