Backpacking · Prepping · Recipes

The Offgrid Thanksgiving Menu

I have been writing recipes for backpackers/hikers/hunters/preppers for the past 15+ years and doing themes is something I like. A few years ago I published a Thanksgiving menu on TrailCooking. Thing is, it is perfect for any offgrid adventure: camping, cabin stays, or getting out over the long weekend. It’s also great for using up long-term food stores.

Sourdough Stuffing


  • 1 round loaf sourdough bread
  • ¼ cup diced dried onion
  • ¼ cup dried celery flakes (in spice aisle)
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 Tbsp lower sodium vegetable bouillon*
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried rubbed sage
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Directions at home:

Heat the oven to 350°. Cut the bread into small crouton shapes and put on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 50 minutes, checking every 10 minutes, stirring, till crispy dry. Once cooled, use a rolling-pin to break them up even smaller. In a small bowl mix the seasoning blend together until well combined.

Split into 3 quart freezer bags (about 2 cups dry bread each) and 3 Tbsp dry seasoning mix. Note on each bag “Add ½ cup near boiling water and 2 Tbsp oil or melted butter”. In camp, after adding the oil and water seal the bag tightly and shake to distribute. Put in a cozy for 15 minutes.

Each bag serves 2 to 3 and the recipe makes 3 bags worth.

*See below for recipe.

(Alternative) Trashy Stuffing

In a quart freezer bag:

1 package instant stuffing (usually between 6-8 ounce box, Stove Top or similar)

Mark: Add ¼ cup butter and 1½ cups water.

(Alternative) Homemade Stuffing

At home take approximately 6-7 slices of bread and flatten them with your palms on a cutting board.

Take a sharp chef knife and dice up the pieces of bread.

When done you will want about 4 cups of diced bread. The flattening creates a denser crumb.

Put on lined dehydrator trays. It will take about 2 hours at 135°. You want crispy dry.

When dry, split the bread crumbs into 2 quart freezer bags.

In a small chopper, blender or clean coffee grinder combine and whirl:

1 Tbsp low sodium chicken bouillon (or 3 Tbsp homemade*)
1½ tsp dried parsley
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2 Tbsp dried onions
2 Tbsp dried celery
1/8 tsp sugar

Split the seasoning mix into two small bags. Each bag of bread gets a bag of seasoning mix.

Mark the bread bags with:

Add ¾ cup water + 1 Tbsp olive oil.

*See below for recipe.

Mashed Potatoes

In a quart freezer bag:

  • ¾ cup instant mashed potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp dry milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter powder
  • Pinch of salt, if desired

FBC method:

In camp add 1¼ cups near boiling water to the bag. Stir well, getting into the corners. Seal tightly and put in a cozy with the stuffing for 15 minutes.

Serves 2 to 3.

Turkey (or Chicken) Gravy


  • 1 packet organic turkey or chicken gravy mix
  • 7 ounce pouch chicken or 5 to 7 ounce can of turkey

One pot method:

Add the gravy mix to 1 cup water in a small pot, stirring well. Add in the chicken (or drained turkey) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for a few seconds, until nicely thickened. Season to taste with black pepper if desired.

Serve over the mashed potatoes.

Serves 2 to 3.

(Alternative) Turkey Cranberry Gravy

In a pint freezer bag:

1 package Roasted Turkey Gravy mix
¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries


Add a 5 to 7 ounce can of chicken (with any broth) and ¾ cup water.

Green Bean Casserole

In a snack bag pack:

  • ¼ cup crumbled dried mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp dry milk
  • 2 Tbsp dry cream of mushroom soup mix
  • ¼ tsp soy sauce powder or 1 packet soy sauce tucked in
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

In a snack bag:

  • ½ cup french-fried onions

Also take:

  • 1 package freeze-dried green beans (0.42 ounce) (about ¾ cup)

FBC method:

Open the green bean package, and find the desiccant packet, toss. Add in the dry ingredients and 1¼ cups boiling water. Stir well, seal tightly and let sit for 15 minutes. Open up, stir well and add in ¼ cup of the fried onions, stirring in. Top with the remaining onions.

Serves 2 to 3.

The dry items packed:

Savory Broth Powder


  • 1½ cups dried shiitake mushrooms (about 1 ounce)
  • ¼ cup diced air-dried sun-dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dried celery
  • ¼ cup dried celery leaves
  • 2 2/3 cups Large Flake Nutritional Yeast
  • ¼ cup onion powder (not onion salt!)
  • 2 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried rubbed sage
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt


Add the mushrooms through celery leaves into a dry mixing container for a Vitamix 5200 Blender or a similar high-speed blender, process on medium (about 5 on a Vitamix) until powdered. Add in remaining ingredients, process on medium until just mixed, stirring as needed.

Store in an airtight container.

Use 1 Tablespoon broth mix for every cup water.

Makes about 2½ cups.


You can find the mushrooms in big containers for cheap at Costco (in the produce department). With the tomatoes, pick up really dry ones. I use these ones from Frontier.

Cranberry Sauce


  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

At home:

Grind the cranberries with the sugar in a food chopper, or small food processor. Pack in a pint freezer bag.

In camp add ½ cup near boiling water. Seal the bag and put in a cozy for at least 15 minutes. Letting it cool down after rehydrating will help it thicken up.

Serves 2 to 3.

DIY Instant Cranberry Sauce

¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries
¼ tsp dried orange peel (in spice aisle)

At home pulverize the cranberries and orange peel in a mini food chopper or blender till a small chunky paste (it will be sticky). Pack in a pint freezer bag.

On trail add ¼ cup near boiling water. Seal the bag tightly and let sit in a cozy for 15 minutes.
Serves 1.

Cranberry Pear Compote


  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup dried pears, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp dried orange zest (or a True Orange packet)
  • Pinch fine sea salt

At home:

Pack the ingredients in a snack bag or pint freezer bag, depending on cooking method.

 Insulated Mug/Bowl Method:

Add the ingredients to an insulated mug or small bowl, cover with ¼ cup of water. Cover and let hydrate for 20 to 30 minutes. If a bit dry, add in a little more water as needed.

Freezer Bag Method (FBC):

Bring ¼ cup water to a boil, set aside. Place the freezer bag in a cozy, add the water and seal bag. Let hydrate for 20 to 30 minutes. If a bit dry, add in a little more water as needed.

Serves 2.

Pumpkin and Gingersnap Pudding


  • 2/3 cup dry milk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch or favorite thickener, arrowroot works as well
  • 2 Tbsp dried and powdered pumpkin purée (see below)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Big pinch ground nutmeg
  • Big pinch ground ginger
  • Big pinch salt

 Also take:

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 bag crisp gingersnap cookies (any size, more is better..say 7-9 ounces)

At home:

Pack the pudding ingredients in a sandwich bag. Tuck the butter in a small bag.

One Pot Method:

Add the mix and 2 cups cold water to a cooking pot. Using a small whisk, stir while bringing to boil, over a lower flame. When the pudding comes to a boil and is thick, take off the stove and whisk in the butter. Serve warm or let cool, a cold stream or snow bank works well for chilling.

Divide between mugs or bowls – or in a pinch served in pint freezer bags.

Crumble up some of the gingersnaps, dust on top, serve with the rest to dip in the pudding.

Serves 2 to 4, depending on appetite.


Dried pumpkin? Very easy! Spread a can of organic pumpkin purée on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, dehydrate in your oven at lowest temp till bone dry, then powder. Store tightly sealed. Or see here on how to do it in a dehydrator.

Want it even better? Add in some rum at the end, after it comes off the stove.