Although it seemed a good idea in theory, I didn't honestly know how a family vacation fueled by freeze dried meals would go over. In the end, the menu and meal planning got rave reviews from everyone. Not just polite 'rave reviews' but honest-to-goodness "what a great idea" "so glad you did this" type rave reviews.
We just returned from a family vacation in which we had 6 adults and 2 toddlers staying at a beach house for an entire week. Every family vacation no matter where we go or what we are doing has been filled with "what's for lunch?" "When's dinner?" "What are we having for dinner?" "I'm hungry" "What do we have to snack on?" Yada yada yada. I'm not sure my family believed me when I told them this time I was stocking up on freeze dried meals and I would not be cooking.
I know they didn't really believe me because soon after checking into the rental house last Saturday night I was asked by two different people "What's for dinner tonight?" and my response was, "Whatever you make."
I wish I would have taken a picture of the armoire where the food for the week was kept but I didn't think about it. The rental had a large wooden armoire in the kitchen area where I had all the boxes opened up and stored with freeze dried pouches of foods. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were chosen by each individual and made by themselves. Breakfasts were granola with milk and blueberries, apple cinnamon oatmeal, biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs with bacon, scrambled egg skillet with hash browns and peppers and more. Lunch and dinner could be grilled chicken breast with mashed potatoes, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, soup, pasta primavera, chicken and rice, beef stew, or any number of other dishes. AND I DIDN'T COOK, BAKE or CLEAN UP AFTER ANY OF IT.
As a matter of fact, most of us found eating the meals right out of the pouches worked great because it meant no dishes to clean! Just pop the pouch into the trash and get back out on the beach.
So what did I buy?
What fresh foods did I buy to supplement?
Where did I get them?
The first item I researched and purchased was the Mountain House Just in Case 14-Day Kit.
Depending on where you purchase this at, you can spend between $239-$400+ on the EXACT same kit. Because some companies have a higher mark up than others. I found the best price through Amazon and the links below (to my Amazon affiliate) are the exact items I purchased. I literally went into my "orders" history, went directly to the products I bought and then linked to it. The smaller cases of 'favorite' foods ran about $39-52.
I chose this main kit because it has 42 different pouches in all sorts of varieties and includes breakfast, lunch and dinner items. I then bought a case (6 pack) of 3 of our favorite items because I already knew we loved them. Those are the chicken breasts with mashed potatoes, the biscuits and gravy and the lasagna. Lastly, I used some items I already had on hand from our previous camping trips; this included freeze dried green peas, corn, mushrooms, a chocolate chip cookie mix, a few soup mixes and some breakfast and dinner items.
Mountain House Just In Case 14-Day Emergency Food Supply Kit
Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy
Mountain House Chicken Breast with Rib Meat & Mashed Potatoes
Mountain House Just In Case 14-Day Emergency Food Supply
Meet the Mountain House Just In Case 14-Day Emergency Food Supply Kit. Packed with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals backed by a 30 Year Taste Guarantee, this food kit will give you not only a satisfied belly, but also peace of mind should you find yourself in an emergency situation.
Going on a camping or hiking trip? With Mountain House, you don't need an emergency to be able to enjoy our delicious meals. Just add water and your food is ready to eat in less than 10 minutes. Each pouch is lightweight, too., making the perfect backpacking companion while hiking that epic trail you always wanted to experience.
Mountain House Meals Are Perfect For:
- Emergency Preparedness
- Occasional Everyday Use
From the 15 month old all the way up to the 40-something year olds, everyone had foods they loved at every meal. Cooking was EASY.
JUST ADD WATER. Literally.
Most meals take about 1 1/2 - 2 cups water. Seal the package back up, wait 10 minutes and eat.
We used a glass, microwaved the water and meal prep was a snap.
Clean up usually involved throwing the used pouch away.
The meals for the 3 year old and the toddler were placed in dishes and on plates of course.
The peas and corn came in handy not only as side-dishes but added to other meals like the pasta primavera and the broccoli cheddar soups.
Our 'grocery' trip was so SMALL compared to other years.
We were celebrating the birthdays of the 3 year old and a 25 year old that week so our grocery trip included a store bought cake and cupcakes.
Milk, orange juice, salad mix, dressing, condiments, burgers and hot dogs to grill, buns, apples, bananas, some snack crackers, fruit bite snacks, a pan of rice krispie bars and one of cereal bars I had made at home, wrapped in foil and brought with, some bread for toast, butter and a box of cereal. I had some freeze dried coconut milk bites I brought with as well that I already had on hand from camping trips.
We enjoyed freeze dried meals and then a night of grilling - which was a pattern. It was nice to mix it up a bit with the burgers and hot dogs. The very last day there we bought some take-n-bake pizzas from Walmart's deli department.
Almost all the food was used up and what wasn't (2 small boxes worth of random items) was sent home with one of the couples.
This was the first family vacation (ever) that I did not cook, bake or waste valuable time scrubbing, cleaning and doing dishes. I got to actually enjoy the vacation. Every single item made that week was liked, and tasted good. There was never any food item that was made and not finished. Everyone seriously loved every item they tried.