Backpacker's Pantry Santa Fe Chicken
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $11.99
A meal that'll make better friends with your appetite than your tentmate(s). Backpacker's Pantry offers up a spicy combination of chicken, chiles, cheese, corn, and rice in a Mexican sauce flavorful enough on its own to forego any additional seasoning. Although well-seasoned and generally democratic in the proportion of one ingredient to the next, the amount of rice does outweigh the rest the ingredients. Tasty and filling, but not without obvious flaws. As with most (if not all BP meals), factor in additional time for re-hydration.
- Variety of flavors
- Textural variety within each bite
- Pre-seasoned well: no need for additional seasoning
- Spicy! Save this one for the solo trips!
- Large rice-to-inrgedients ratio
- BP bags not as stable as MH freeze-dried bags
I've only eaten MH freeze-dried meals before, and in an effort to be a little more democratic, I decided to give BP a try.
Visually, their packaging is appealing.
Silver foil as shiny as the chrome fender on a just-polished '57 Chevy. Slick. Clean.
In-hand, you can tell it's harder and tighter-packed than MH and more closely resembled the "ProPak" size and packaging MH offers. While this makes most of BP's meals save room in your pack, it also empties out space in your wallet. This meal was $11.99 at the local Dick's Sporting Goods. They were out of MH Stronganoff, and I didn't want to ruin the good and beautiful thing that is MH Chili Mac. Therefore, Santa Fe Rice with Chicken.
Much like MH, the meals from BP are re-sealable (and can double as trash bags for packing things out).
However, I find the BP bags don't stand up as well as MH's bags. I actually prepped this one with the bottom folded together and jammed inbetween two boards on my table. Believe it or not, it had better stability that way.
Water: 2 1/4 cups / 540 mL - to re-hydrate ingredients
Stove & Pot - for boiling water
Spork - for eating
Ingredients: sauce [black beans, chicken (cooked, diced and freeze-dried), cheddar cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, annatto), tomato, onion, super sweet corn, tomato, potato starch, nonfat milk, maltodextrin, green chili pepper, salt, sugar, torula yeast, new mexico chili pepper, garlic, vegetarian soup with imitation chicken flavor (maltodextrin, salt, autolyzed yeast extract, yeast extract, onion powder, turmeric extract (color), sunflower oil), dextrose (from corn), cumin seed, oregano, soy sauce (soy sauce (wheat, soybeans, salt), maltodextrin and salt), cayenne pepper] precooked parboiled long grain brown rice.
Milk, soybean, gluten, wheat, may contain traces of tree nuts.
PREP AND COOKING
I'd actually suggest pre-stirring the contents together before adding water, to avoid some of the components settling toward the bottom and leaving a majority of the rest on top (especially for rice dishes)
In reviews of MH meals prior, I've mentioned - and learned - that it is usually a good idea to add time to the "recommended" rehydration time. More often than not, opening them anytime sooner will leave you with a little more crunch than you'd like. If MH requires extra time? BP requires time and a half. Moreover, since this is a rice dish (which I find lengthier in rehydration times over pasta/noodles), you have to factor in additional time, there, too.
I waited 16 minutes, and still, that left some considerable crunch to the dish. Not enough to stop me from beginning to eat dinner, but enough that - in retrospect - I'd have found myself happier with the food had I waited the extra time.
Wait "13" minutes, open the bag, and here's what it looks like:
Santa Fe-Style...Rice Krispies and Chicken?
All I need to eat this is a spork or spoon: you can eat straight from the bag, and better yet, once you've finished eating, you can pack your trash into the bag and seal it up to keep the scents inside.
As many have mentioned, most sporks are shorter than these bags are deep, and in order to really dig in and get the last bite out of these pouches, you'll have to transfer the food to another container, or tilt the bag on its side and scrape the food toward the front. Opt for a longer spoon or a folding one. It'll make you life that much easier.
If you have a separate garbage bag, I'd suggest cutting a few inches off the top of the bag and turning it into a shallower bowl to eat from. Or buy a longer-length utensil. I've found, as being someone who relies primarily on freeze-dried meals, that spending the money on a utensils upgrade is usually more than worth it.
I'm not the type of guy to sprinkle his food with hot sauce like the Pope blesses folks with holy water, but I do like a little bit of heat. The green chiles used do find a good halfway point between tasting enough to know it's there, and not tasting so much it makes the dish unedible.
I don't mind it when my food looks like a bag of mush, and I prefer dishes with smaller components because I usually then can get a little bit of everything in a single bite. Here y'all can see the rice, chicken, cheese, beans, corn, and peppers in the sauce. The bit of sweet from the corn pairs well with the heat from the green chiles, and there is a pretty fair amount fo everything, provide you stir it well enough to prevent the items from seperating from another.
SATIETY AND ENERGY
Two servings was what they advertised, and two is what I got. I didn't stop to cook myself lunch the day I had this, and had already hiked 7 or so miles, so I came to the dinner table with an appetite. This was just the right amount of food, and if anything, a little too much because of how much rice it contains. Still, though, I prefer rice to noodles when it comes to my starch.
SEASONING AND TIPS
Mexican food is usually a really solid bet when it comes to finding meals that don't require seasoning. As mentioned, if you want a real kick, add some hot sauce or Tabasco, but for the better majority of all y'all, there's enough flavor inside to keep you happy as-is.
Solo backpacking trips.
Or anything, really, as long as it's a solo trip.
This gave me more gas than would wrapping up White Castle Sliders inside a Taco Bell Double XL "Stuft" Burrito. All kidding aside, it is something to be considered, and if you're camping with a partner, you may want to opt for something, well...a little more polite.
Price Paid: $9
Made this on a recent backpacking trip with two fellow hikers and it found no fans.
Of the three of us, I liked it most and found it OK to eat. Another hiker ate half his serving and swore off and the third just took a pass and had more ramen.
My impressions: Rice is good, chicken is tasteless and cooked almost to the point of being jerky, sauce has a funky aftertaste.
I wouldn't buy it again as I think there are plenty of other backpacker meals (ChiliMac and lasagna come to mind),
Price Paid: not sure
As part of our outfitting trip in the BWCA this meal was included. Backpacker's Pantry Santa Fe Chicken With Rice is very tasty. Especially if you enjoy Southwestern or Mexican cuisine.
Our biggest complaint was that no matter how long we let it "cook" in the bag the black beans and rice were still slightly crunchy.
I love these cook in the bag meals. Little mess to clean up and little trash to pack out.
I'd eat it again, but might let it stand longer than the recommended time.
Where to Buy
Here's what other sites are saying:
Backpacker's Pantry Santa Fe Style Chicken consists of rice, beans, green chillies, cheese and chicken. Everything you need after a day of strenuous activity.
This Backpacker's Pantry Sante Fe Style Chicken instant entree has black beans, rice and chicken, and seasoned with corn and green chilies. Just mix contents with boiling water in the pouch provided, let stand, and then serve. Ideal dinner for camping or backpacking. Nutrition facts displayed here and on packaging may differ; information on packaging reflects actual contents. May contain traces of peanuts and/or tree nuts. *Discount will be applied when you check out. Offer not valid for sale-price items ending in $._3 or $._9.
A delicious New Mexican green chili with chicken and cheese served over rice. Cooking Directions: 1) Add 2-/14 cups of boiling water and stir well2) Cover and let sit for 13 minutes3) Stir and serve Ingredients: Sauce [Black Beans, Chicken (cooked, diced and freeze-dried), Cheddar Cheese, Tomato, Onion, Sweet Corn, Potato Starch, Non-fat Milk, Maltodextrin, Green Chili Pepper, Salt, Sugar, Torula Yeast, New Mexico Chili Pepper, Garlic, Vegetarian Soup with Imitation Chicken Flavor, Dextrose (from corn), Cumin Seed, Oregano, Soy Sauce, Cayenne Pepper] Precooked Parboiled Long Grain Brown Rice Item Specifications Unit of Sale Each Weight 212g Serving Size Two 13oz Servings Nutritional Features Allergens: Milk, Soybean, Gluten, Wheat
- Mountains Plus
Backpacker's Pantry Santa Chicken Fe is a delicious New Mexican green chili with chicken and cheese served over rice.