Long gone are the days when freeze-dried meals for hiking and backpacking were limited in variety and choice. With the advent of modern technology and innovation, outdoor enthusiasts now have a plethora of options to choose from. However, there is one classic that still holds a special place in the hearts of many – Mountain House Beef Stroganoff.
Picture this, you’re embarking on your first backpacking trip to the Olympic Coast. Carrying shiny packages of freeze-dried meals, you anticipate a delicious and satisfying dining experience. Amongst the assortment of meals is the iconic Beef Stroganoff from Mountain House. As you open the package, nostalgia fills the air, reminding you of the early days of backpacking.
But let’s be honest, the old version of Mountain House Beef Stroganoff wasn’t exactly a culinary masterpiece. The texture was a bit off, with soft pasta and slightly crunchy meat. It left much to be desired. However, being out in the wilderness, you made do with what you had, and over the years, you discovered hacks to enhance the rehydration process of freeze-dried meals.
Fast forward to the present, it’s been almost two decades since you last had freeze-dried Beef Stroganoff. In that time, you’ve experimented with various homemade recipes, perfecting your own version of this classic dish. But now, it’s time to revisit the past and compare the old vs. the new.
Mountain House: The Old-School Version
The Mountain House Beef Stroganoff of yesteryear was packed in a 2-serving bag, weighing 5¼ ounces when packed. It was presented in a classic style that required a long-handled spoon to eat. To prepare it, you needed 13 ounces of boiling water and a 10-minute wait.
Each serving contained 560 calories, 24 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat, and a whopping 1570 mg of sodium. The ingredients included beef, corn starch, high oleic sunflower oil, sour cream, onion, mushrooms, and various other seasonings.
Peak Refuel: The Younger Competition
Enter Peak Refuel, the new kid on the block. Their Beef Stroganoff came in a 2-serving bag, weighing 6 ounces when packed. It retailed for a slightly higher price compared to Mountain House. To prepare it, you needed 6 ounces of boiling water and a 10-minute wait.
Each package contained a generous 810 calories, 41 grams of protein, 46 grams of fat, and 950 mg of sodium. The ingredients included sour cream, heavy cream, mushrooms, flour, onion, garlic, salt, beef bouillon, paprika, black pepper, instant rotini, and fully cooked seasoned diced beef.
After a thorough taste test, it’s clear that Peak Refuel emerges as the winner. Not only does it offer a tastier and more flavorful experience, but it also boasts better nutritional value. With lower sodium, higher calorie and protein counts, and a more satisfying texture, Peak Refuel takes the crown.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to embark on a culinary journey, why not try making your own Beef Stroganoff? Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:
FBC Beef Stroganoff Recipe
- 4 ounces cooked and dehydrated pasta
- 1 tablespoon diced dried onion
- 1 tablespoon crumbled dried mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon dehydrated ground beef or beef TVP (textured vegetable protein)
- 2 teaspoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium beef bouillon powder
- A couple of grinds of black pepper
- 1-ounce tub or foil packet of cream cheese
- In a quart-sized freezer bag, combine the cooked and dehydrated pasta, diced dried onion, dried mushrooms, and dehydrated ground beef or beef TVP.
- In a leak-proof bottle, mix the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon powder, and black pepper.
- Also, pack a small tub or foil packet of cream cheese.
- When ready to eat, add 1½ cups of boiling water to the pasta bag, seal tightly, and place it in a cozy for 15 minutes.
- Carefully drain off most of the remaining water, leaving about a tablespoon behind (this adds flavor).
- Add the cream cheese and sauce blend to the bag, and stir until well combined.
- Alternatively, you can follow the one-pot method by bringing 1½ cups of water to a boil, adding the pasta bag contents, covering tightly, removing from the heat, and letting it sit for 10 minutes. Drain and proceed as above.
This recipe serves one and offers customization options like using ramen noodles instead of pasta or adding more ground beef for those with bigger appetites. Experiment with different ingredients to make it your own.
Whether you choose Mountain House, Peak Refuel, or decide to whip up your own Beef Stroganoff, there’s no denying the satisfaction of enjoying a hot and delicious meal in the great outdoors. So, go ahead, embrace the adventure, and savor every flavorful bite.