Taste tests: on the cheap with Big Lots

I mentioned I’m a total tightwad right?  The food section of Big Lots, or your local 99 cent store can provide really great hiker food.  Stuff like cheap fig-newtons, instant soup, instant, cocoa, pudding, and sauce mixes.  I avoid MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, and white flour, myself.  I read the ingredients on labels and then do a quick cost to nutrition mental calculation…

**How I cook quinoa and buckwheat: let it all soak in a closed plastic container, shake it around.  Wait a couple hours.  Bring to boil.  Remove from heat, put in pot cozy.  Wait 10 min.

Cous-cous rehydrates just fine in about 15 min. and doesn’t require cooking.  So if I want it hot I’ll boil the water first, then add the foods, then let it soak.

Today’s Taste test products from Big Lots:

Tortilla Soup $3,  total contents are 2c.

1/4c soup, 1/4 c buckwheat, 1/2c water- soaked for an hour, brought to a boil, let sit 10 min.
VERDICT: Way to strong/salty, but tastes good!  Next time try doubling the water and adding either more buckwheat, or try inst. mashed potatoes?  That Tyson chicken from a foil pouch would be good too, could also all go in a wrap.  SUCCESS!

1/4c soup, 1/4c quinoa, 1/2 c water- soaked for an hour, brought to a boil, let sit 10 min.

VERDICT:  This is a No Go.  Quinoa is a no-go.  It’s hard and did not absorb the water.  Apparently quinoa really needs to cook under heat.

1/8 c soup, 1/6c whole-wheat cous-cous, 1/3c water- NO HEAT
let all soak at least 10 min…. I waited about an hour.
VERDICT: a little too strong.  Pretty boring, flavored cous-cous. Hmm: add some mayo and a tuna packet.  Wow yum!  This doesn’t need veggies or anything else (though that would be bonus) and this portion is perfect for one to wrap up in a tortilla.  SUCCESS, Hello lunch! Great, cheap, repeatable!
With 1 or 2 mayo packets (1TBSP=45 cal, 4g fat), 1 tuna pack(5oz=120cal, 2g fat, 1 Mission wheat tortilla(130 cal, 3 g fat) 1/8c soupmix (50 cal):
Total cal 350  Total fat 9g.

Onion Wonion Dip $1.30

1/6 c wheat cous-cous, 1 TBS dip.  Soaked, ate cold
VERDICT:  Yikes!  WAY too strong– try again once you buy more cous-cous

with Quinoa

with Quinoa spaghetti

with Buckwheat


About wanderingdot

Thru-hiking the PCT 2011, CT 2014, Ice Age Trail 2017 Artist/sculptor, professor, master fabricator
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