ideas for a week of meals in a wilderness cabin 10 hours away with no nearby grocery stores

I am going to Alaska to stay with a park ranger friend. The nearest convenience store will be over 60 miles away from his cabin. He has basically told me that the only food I will have is the food I bring. Getting there requires a 7 hour train ride plus a 3 hour bus ride. I have a fairly big cooler bag and a little duffle bag for dried goods to bring. There will be a full kitchen but I am unsure how well equipped. I am looking for healthy, flavorful dishes that will not be too much of a hassle to shop for and travel with since we will have limited space and have to check our bags on the train. They will have to feed 3 (including 2 big guys who will be hiking all day) for 6 days. Some ideas I had were cassoulet, maybe some noodle stirfry, pasta salad or pizza/calzones. I was planning to bring some dried herbs, buy things like lemon, garlic, fresh herbs to brighten things up. Snacks like granola bars, apples, dried fruit nuts, etc. I am looking for some fun dishes or ideas of different things to bring that will make my life easier and still eat well since I am on vacation. Perhaps roasting a chicken or pork shoulder and making a stock for later in the week could be good but not sure how well the meat will travel all day in a cooler. Any desserts, too? Thanks!

  • Posted by: linznol
  • September 1, 2011


SKK September 30, 2011
@liznol - how was your trip?
Niknud September 7, 2011
This isn't exactly a meal idea (plenty of those listed above), but this is what I do for fruits and veggies on long camping trips - and please don't laugh too hard. Baby food companies now make these delicious squashy packages of fruits and veggies. They have screw tops and don't need to be refridgerated until after you open them. They're a little pricy, but the're light, portable, and give you a healthy dose of vitamins and other good things that are hard to come by when you have to pack in your own food. Also, they taste really good!
Meatballs&Milkshakes September 2, 2011
I recently went on a trip and didn't have all the kitchen essentials (flour, sugar, etc) so I planned out what I could make with less pantry ingredients. I brought frozen pizza dough that I could use as makeshift freezer packs and it was ready to use by the time I got there. I also brought dry ingredient pre-measured packs for a couple dishes I was planning on making.

It sounds like you're definitely going to be making some pasta. I would suggest a classic Italian recipe for pasta leftovers-- you mix the leftovers in a bowl with as many beaten eggs as it takes to coat your leftovers. Put it all in a frying pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and press down. Once the outside is crisp, flip it over with the help of a plate or second pan and brown the second side. You cut into the flat disc like a pizza and it's crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Also, at the mention of canned tuna I thought of tuna noodle casserole. I make mine with sauteed mushrooms and white wine along with a cheesy white sauce.
BadgerBri September 2, 2011
With all of your eggs, you can make frittatas using any leftover veggies and meats you don't end up using in other recipes- or you can purposefully portion out some to save for the frittatas. Tortilla espanola is another easy dish that just uses eggs, an onion and a few potatoes. Here is one recipe:
SKK September 2, 2011
@boulangere - field trip yes! Necessary for research!
creamtea September 1, 2011
Before we travel, I do a google search for grocery stores in the area. Having just traveled to SF & literally all over California, I found there are TJ's and Whole Foods there, as well as a nice chain of grocery stores called Molly Stones. (Unless you are from there, in which case I'm not telling you anything new!) I too would shop in SF for much of the food; great cheeses! Not to mention breads, though sourdough doesn't last too long, perhaps your first meal could be a hunk of crusty bread and aged cheese, etc.. I also like Sam1148's ideas for smoked salmon; we ate a good deal when we went to Scotland and it's very versatile. You could deep-freeze chicken cutlets before you go (or have the butcher do it)--lighter than bone-in. Dried foods like mushrooms and tomatoes add a burst of flavor to grains and pasta and are light in weight. Oh, and health-food stores now sell individual packets of peanut or other nut butters, also handy for sesame noodles or peanut butter sandwiches. Hope this helps and that you have a wonderful time!
boulangere September 1, 2011
Field trip!
SKK September 1, 2011
@boulangere - let's all go!
boulangere September 1, 2011
If I ever go to Alaska, SKK, you're my go-to. And linznol's trip sound pretty damn idyllic.
SKK September 1, 2011
Anchorage does not have a lot of selection and it is very expensive. I would do my shopping in SF. For meat go to any store and tell them you where you are going and they will pack (hopefully frozen meat) in a cooler with ice packs and tape it all up and make a handle for it. You can check that. Or hand them your cooler bag and tell them to pack it nicely for you. Same with dry goods - have the store help you pack. The things that need to stay frozen will stay frozen and the dry goods will be good as new.
Pictures please!!!!
boulangere September 1, 2011
I can't wait to hear about your trip.
linznol September 1, 2011
Thanks for all the tips. I should clarify that I am going to be flying in from San Fran the night before we head to Denali so most of the shopping is going to have to be done that evening in Anchorage. I probably won't be able to really do too many make ahead meals. And I just got word that it will be a fairly well stocked kitchen just not too much fresh food or meat but a ton of eggs. All these suggestions are great. Thanks!
Sam1148 September 1, 2011
Wow, I was long winded there. But to add. (g). Boboli sells a pizza sauce in little individual packs, I think either 3 packs to the box. Ditch the box for packing. Commonly available at the super market.

Ziplock also has a 'vac pack' thingy...that's 5 bucks. Like a little bicycle pump with their special bags.Good for packing things like ham, meats or cheeses.
SKK September 1, 2011
I love this question! You are so lucky! Surely these hikers can fish, if not hunt, so they can provide you with some goodies. And surely there are ripe berries that can be picked for dessert, as well as wild greens.

I have made this recipe and then froze it in large zip lock bags or seal-a-meals And it helped keep the cooler cold when I wrapped the bags in newspaper. Worked out beautifully.

Take a frozen chicken or 2 also wrapped in newspaper. And beef steaks cause they lay so nice and flat. And pre-made hamburger patties.

If you have time and access to a dehydrator you can dehydrate fruit and tomatoes. I will send you recipes if you have the time. Simple and easy to carry. Fresh fruit will weigh a lot.

Make pesto ahead of time and freeze it for chicken and pasta.

Also take pre-made pasta sauce, also frozen, so you don't have added weight of cans or bottles.

For dessert, s-mores! Packaged brownies made with water. Fruits rehydrated.

Can't wait to see all the innovative answers from food52's.

linzarella September 1, 2011
I've done a lot of cooking for backpacking trips, and coming from that perspective, this particular challenge gives you a lot of room to eat really well. One intriguing idea I've learned from some committed backpacking gourmands is to prepare whole meals beforehand, and dehydrate them. You can make soups and stews and even pasta dishes this way. Of course, you have to invest in a dehydrator, but if you go on wilderness trips a lot, it might come in handy.

Another thought is to research what kind of wild herbs, greens, and fruits grow in the area you're visiting, and do some foraging. You can probably concoct some decent meals with canned goods, grains, and the other things you're planning on bringing, but if it were me, fresh raw vegetables are what I would miss the most, and it would be really nice to get to investigate some of the local foods.
Sam1148 September 1, 2011
I bring 'true lemon''s a crystallized lemon powder in little packets. Light weight and taste pretty good---good for mixing with water for hydration and making salad dressing or seasoning meats. There's a store locator on the site:

Don't forget a little camp bottle of vinegar and another of oil.

If you're in'll probably find tourist type smoked salmon and trout in shelf stable vac packs.
I've used that with pasta. Cook the pasta and drain and oil it. (bring little campbottles of olive oil--the kind with the 'fold down top' or screw on. Let it cool and toss with sundried tomatoes, capers, a touch of red onion if you have it, Some green bits...parsley.
Slice up the fish and plate on the pasta and top with horseradish, mayo/sour cream, dressing.

The 'microwave ready' bacon. Doesn't need refrigeration and its lightweight.
"uncle beans 90 second rice" is good too..but the wild rice flavor is really bad, the spanish rice flavor is spot on. But if you have water the "Viggo" Spanish rice dried mix would be lighter.

Ham would be good too. It can go hours without cold for transport. And a packet of split pea or bean soup mix would make a nice meal.

Check the bulk section of a health food store. Sometimes they'll have powdered egg, and powdered cheese. (think kraft dinner). And some powdered milk.

Things you'll forget for cabin camping. Flour. Sugar. Salt. Coffee and tea bags.
Bring some yeast and make 'no kneed bread' if you have cookware and a oven.
That will also make pizza. Just bring some pepperoni and cheeses, spices, Make the dough the night before. Rehydrate some dried onions and mushrooms. (from the health food store).
The health food store will also have vegan taco filling, dried with TVP.
And black bean mix dried and hummus dried--just take them out of the boxes for transport and cut off the directions and put in ziplocks. They may even have powdered sourcream mix for baked potatoes, or dressings.

Tortilla wraps are multifunctional and don't need 'fridge.
I also bring one of those 'disposable' pepper grinders in the spice section at the supermarket.

Take a trip to the best health food store near you and see what they have and ask the staff. Lots of stuff there is dried and pantry items--and bonus if they have bulk spice section. Much cheaper stuff than 'camp food' packs from the sporting good store.

creamtea September 1, 2011
We have similar but not identical travel issues, as we are kosher and there are not always restaurants available. This last trip: Trader Joe's sells a lovely packet of couscous mixed with dried peas, corn, and various grains. I boiled it according to pkg. directions and added at the end trader Joe's (delicious) sun dried tomatoes (sold in packages, no oil, sliced--very lightweight) and sliced scallions and extra virg. olive oil; kids loved it. I always bring a couple of packages of white tuna (in the bags, not cans), a few cans of chick peas (I make a salad w/fresh lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, fresh ground pepper). Will you have access to fresh fish that you can get there? In my smallish cooler I have a very thin flexible plastic cutting board, wooden spoon, doll-sized grater, small knife, peeler, flat pasta drainer (that you hold against the side of the pot), collapsible bowl; and 1-cup metal measuring cup (though now there are collapsible cups too). Also, Sunset Magazine last month published an article about efficient ways to pack a cooler for camping, pre-marinating meats in resealable bags, etc.
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