Sunday, February 1, 2015

Meals from Pouched Side Foods

I'm always looking for low cost and simple meals, like just boil water, heat and eat for bush camping, emergency meals and for Short Term (less than 5 years) everyday pantry Food Storage. I think I've found a good way to fill a backpack, Bug Out Bag, Bug Out Bucket and Home Food Storage with some belly filling and familiar tasting meals, cheap!

We use Knorr's side dishes on a regular basis at home because they are pretty good and quick to make. Now combine the popular and readily available Mylar pouched meats, chicken and fish you have a quick meal if you can boil a couple cups of water! Also you can add any kind of dehydrated veggies or dehydrated meats you like. Get creative.

Knorr's Sides have one of two main ingredients, Pasta or Rice. Both Pasta and Rice have high amounts of carbohydrates which will restore your energy and is filling. They're an ideal combination for trail eating or disaster food. They're compact and light weight for easy backpacking or having a lot of meals in your pantry food storage while taking little shelf space. Another plus is all you need is a knife to open the Mylar pouches. If you pack cans of meat be sure you have a can opener of some type with you. Opening a can with your knife blade can be frustrating and dangerous.

Meal Size Prepared:
About 2+ cups

Best by Dates:
Both the sides and the meats have a stated best by date depending on the type of food of 2 and 3 years!

Knorr's and other brands of sides come in a wide variety.

Here's some of the Knorr sides:
Sides Using Pasta:
Cheezy Bacon Macaroni, Cheezy Alfredo, Alfredo Broccoli, Cheddar Broccoli, Alfredo, Cheezy Cheddar Beef, Chicken Stroganoff, Creamy Chicken, Chicken Broccoli, Butter & Herb, Parmesan Beef, Chicken Stroganoff, Creamy Chicken Parmesan.

Italian Sides:
Tomato Parmesan, Four Cheese Bow Tie, Creamy Garlic Sells and Scampi.
Asian Sides:
Chicken Fried Rice, Teriyaki Rice, Teriyaki Noodles and Thai Sesame Noodles and Classic Chow Mein.
Cajun Sides:
Dirty Rice, Garlic Butter Rice, and Red Beans & Rice.
Fiesta Sides:
Mexican Rice, Taco Rice and Spanish Rice.
Chicken and Rice Sides:
Many choices using rice as the base ingredient.

$1.00 for the sides and $0.95 - $2.00 depending on the serving size for the pouched meats, fish or chicken. I think this is a good alternative to the rather costly Mountain House pouched foods.

How to prepare:
1. I find some of the sides offered today recommend to much water/milk resulting in a thin sauce. (I don't use any milk I just increase the amount of water to make the total liquid volume needed) I always start cooking with 25% LESS of the total liquid than the recipe states. When cooking if the side appears to be to thick you can always add more liquid for the consistency of your liking.

2. The package usually says simmer for 7 minutes and I find this is correct.

3. At the end of the 7 minutes I add the meat, chicken or fish and simmer for one more minute. You don't want add the meats in the beginning because they are already cooked and you will end up with mushy meat, chicken or fish. All you need to do is get it to the same temperature as the simmered side contents.

4. Now enjoy your hot and filling meal.

The samples below were purchased 12-8-14 for reference to the best by dates.

Knorr's Alfredo Side Pouch:

Alfredo Nutrition Facts:

Alfredo Best by Date: 3-10-16

Can of Chunk Chicken:

Chicken Best by Date: 10-03-17

Opened can of Chicken:

Yields 2 cups from the prepared combination:

Other pouched meat and fish choices.
Spam pouch sample:

Spam Best by Date: 7-29-17

Tuna Pouch:

Tuna Best by Date: 2-19-17


  1. We do this, and often add some canned veggies (we can't get frozen veggies in Honduras) when we need to make a quick, one-pot meal! I actually hadn't thought of using them for long-term storage, however. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Trish, glad to hear I'm not the only one using these pouched foods this way!

  2. Warning the spicy Thai sesames is terrible. And I like spicy love the Cajun ones .Thanks for the post nothing like a meal pre done in Mylar single serving bags.Hmmm red beans and rice with fried diced spam do sound good.

    1. This is why I urge people to test all the foods to be used in storage before stocking up on them and finding out when you need them they taste like horse flop!

  3. Mike,

    We have been looking at alternative prepared foods besides mountain house with long term storage for quick bugging out, camping, and emergencies. If you shop accordingly, you will be able to save yourself money packing your own 5 gallon bucket instead of buying one pre-made. I try to find foods which will work with husbands sodium issues.

    1. I find that if I look with an open mind there are a lot of everyday foods that fit well with everyday pantry stocking and most are still good up to 5 years, making 1-5 year pantry stocking familiar and easy. It's much better to eat foods that you're used to than depending totally on a premixed survival type food that the taste is unfamiliar, expensive and adds to the stress of of an event you're dealing with.

  4. Since many of the prepackaged items are dehydrated and not freeze dried, they are exactly the same thing as these side dishes like Knorr makes. Making your storage buckets out of these foods is such a better tasting and cheaper way to go than to use most of the prepackaged food storage meals.

    1. You are correct, make your own buckets while using familiar foods.
      I make a monthly trip to different food stores not to buy anything but to look just for foods that can be used for 1-5 year storage and make notes of them. Then when home review what I've seen, if they look interesting I'll go back and buy just one of each of those items for taste cooking. If I like them then look for the best sales and stock-up.