I’ll start off by saying that these are just a few lunch ideas that I use. These are not my only lunch “recipes” but may give you some extra ideas for your own trail lunches. In general I don’t like to stop for too long a period of time when I’m stopping for lunch. Because of that I try to eat something that doesn’t need to be warmed up or cooked unless it is going to be cold and I know in advance that I will want something to warm me up.
For quick lunches I like to pack homemade flour tortillas or homemade dinner rolls. I keep these at the top of my bag so that they don’t get crushed. Bread products do actually last for awhile on the trail. It just depends on how hot it is going to be. I then pack peanut butter packets, jelly packets and sometimes some honey. The honey is also great to have to sweeten your tea at night or possibly coffee. I squeeze these onto a roll or tortilla shell and I’ve got a sandwich. This way I can also keep hiking well eating if I would like. I bring a small baggy to place the used packets of peanut butter, jelly and honey in so I don’t end up with a mess in my pack. Sometimes I will also bring tuna fish that is in the pouches and mayonnaise packets so that I can make a tuna fish sandwich. Here are the recipes for the tortilla shells and dinner rolls I use.
3 ½ to 3 ¾ cups all-purpose or bread flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 package regular or quick active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
½ cup very warm water (120-130 degrees)
½ cup very warm milk (120-130 degrees)
1 large egg
1) Mix 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, ¼ cup butter, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Add warm water and warm milk and egg. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
2) Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Place dough in large bowl greased with shortening, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
3) Grease rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches, with shortening.
4) Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide dough into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball; place in pan. Brush with butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place about 30 minutes or until double.
5) Heat oven to 375 degrees.
6) Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cool.
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for the counter
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 –inch pieces
4 Tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening or lard, cut into ½-inch pieces
1) Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and shortening, and rub them into the flour mixture with your hands until you have pea-size lumps. Slowly add 1 ½ cups of warm water to the mixture, tossing with your hands as you go. Add an additional 1 tablespoon of water at a time (but don’t use more than 4 additional tablespoons) until you have a slightly sticky dough. Lay a clean, damp dish towel over the bowl. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
2) Flour the counter and divide the dough into 16 balls, each about 3 inches in diameter. Cover the balls with the damp towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Start heating a dry skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. (If you have two skillets, use them both.)
3) Use the rolling pin to roll out your first tortilla to 8 inches in diameter and 1/16 inch thick. Put it in the skillet and cook for 1 minute on each side, or until it is bubbly and starting to brown. Use the spatula to remove the tortilla from the pan. Repeat with the other balls of dough. Serve immediately or store covered, in a warm oven or under a warm, damp cloth until ready to serve.
For a warm meal I take a Ziploc bag and place 1-2 servings of instant potatoes in it. Then I add enough powdered milk to cover the needed milk for the instant potatoes (dependant on how many servings of instant potatoes you use). If you want butter in the potatoes just bring some butter packets to use. Now just add some dehydrated vegetables and some dehydrated meat of your choosing (or maybe TVP if you are vegetarian) and you’re all set. Just add to some hot water and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes and you’ve got a wonderful warm lunch. I also use this for my dinners once in awhile.
Feel free to use these recipes or come up with your own but just know that you are not stuck having to buy trail food from your local sporting goods store. I do use mountain house meals once in awhile but I can’t imagine the cost of eating those strictly well on long hikes and they are generally full of sodium. I like to save money and I rather enjoy putting my own healthier meals together. I hope this post helps encourage you to come up with your own trail meals instead of settling for prepackaged. What meals do you make for lunch well on the trail?