Frozen Veggie SNAP Meals
A conversation with neighbors at the Jerome Jamboree VW show reminded me that there is a difference between camping and traveling. Sometimes the two intersect, sometimes they’re different. Traveling in a VW camper may mean using RV parks and KOAs for their hookups, laundry, and hot showers, which I’m doing right now. Camping to me means getting away from such things and bringing everything with you, usually in minimal National Forest campgrounds or boondocking. (camping off grid)
This last weekend was a little of both. I went to a VW show held in an old mine in the old mining town of Jerome, AZ. It was basically a huge gravel parking lot with no services. The town of Jerome was only a mile or so away, but once all the VWs arrived, I was boxed in. I would not be able to get out until the event ended, so I had to have everything with me.
In the Westfalia, I have a three way fridge, which means I can run it on propane when I don’t have a hook up. It’s not super cold, but it kept things from spoiling. I supplemented it with an ice chest, which I filled with ice on the way. I picked up two bags of frozen veggies for my meals and put them in the fridge where they would gradually defrost and be ready for cooking at the event. They would also help give the propane fridge a head start in staying cool.
What I made was two variations of Jeff Novick’s SNAP meals, which are perfect for camping in the short term, since they use a combination of frozen, dry, and canned ingredients.
What’s a SNAP Meal?
- S– Simple
- N– Nutritious
- A– Affordable
- P– Plan
In essence, a SNAP meal is 1 lb bag of mixed frozen veggies, 1 can rinsed beans, a handful of frozen leafy greens, a can of diced tomatoes, and the appropriate seasonings. It makes a stew that you then serve over the starch of your choice, like brown rice, or potatoes. Jeff makes them as pasta primavera, Mexican beans and rice, Louisiana beans and rice, or an Indian curry. I bought two bags of veggies to go with canned and dry ingredients already in my pantry. One bag was an Asian stir fry blend, and another was the classic broccoli, cauliflower, carrot blend for pasta. The stir fry worked as veggies (no tomatoes) cooked with fresh ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and soy sauce. The pasta dish was diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning blend, red pepper flakes, Kalamata olives, and capers. I used kidney beans for the stir fry, and garbanzos for the pasta. Each dish took about 15 minutes to prepare and make two meals, dinner and lunch.
For camping, this would be a great dish to make after the fresh veggies you packed had been used up. Frozen veggies can thaw gradually in a cooler and last for several days and then they’ll cook faster. The other ingredients either don’t need to be refrigerated, or are tolerant of higher temperatures. Fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, capers and olives aren’t too picky about temperature, as are a lot of condiments. I put those in the van’s fridge, since its temperature is a little more variable. Frozen veggies can also help keep other food cool, as I used them in my fridge before I could turn on the propane.
Two SNAP Recipes:
Asian Stir Fry Veggies and Rice
1 bag frozen stir fry mix
1 can red beans (azuki, if available, I used kidney
1-2 T minced fresh garlic and ginger, to taste
1-2 T soy sauce
pinch red pepper flakes
cooked rice (I use the Success brand quick cooking brown rice)
Cook the rice and set aside.
While the rice cooks, drain and rinse the beans
Heat up a large enough pot (I used a wok from home)
Cook the veggies with the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes for a few minutes
Add the beans and heat through
When the veggies are as done as you like, add the soy sauce
Serve over the rice
The veggies will not be as crisp as a traditional stir fry because they’ve been frozen, but the dish still works. Likewise, the Success quick rice is not sticky. It’s a compromise, but the ease and speed, especially when camping, makes up for it.
1 bag frozen veggies of choice (like California or Italian blend)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 can beans of choice (like kidney or garbanzo)
2 t Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
1 T capers
2-3 T sliced Kalamata olives
cooked pasta of choice
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook through until veggies are as done as you like. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve over pasta.
This does not make much of a sauce, it is a drier dish due to the volume of veggies and beans compared to tomatoes and liquid. If more sauce is desired, use more tomato sauce, and/or add some more cooking liquid, such as water, wine, or broth. I would have used wine, but I didn’t have any. I had beer. Wrong choice.