How to Make your own MREs

The other day, I was given a MRE to try by a friend of mine.  Well, it was fine.  I had heard that the military was trying to improve the flavors of the old MREs.  While the food was fine and filling, the cost was unbelievable.  After really looking at the premade MRE, I figured I would give making my own a try. 

To begin the process, I first had to dissect what a MRE actually was.  What the MRE really contained were dishes that could be prepared with water or eaten solely.  It was also packaged in a way that took up very little space.  Ok, now that I had discovered the elements of a MRE, it was time for me to try to make my own.

make.your.own.mreThe first thing I had to get was the container by which my DIY MRE would be stored.  While I would love to vacuum the air out of a plastic bag, I did not have the equipment.  In doing so, I had to rely on the good old fashion, resealable plastic bags.  The problem with this was the fact that there were several different sizes.  Since I planned on only doing one meal per bag, I decided to go with sandwich bags. 

The next step is the best part of this process and that is your food selection.  Oh, I really did not know there were so many single serving options out there.  Having shopped for a family of four, I have to be frank and say wow.   

As I went through the aisles of the grocery store, my goal was to select a protein, some carbohydrates, fruit, dessert, and a drink.  To my surprise, this task really was not that difficult.  I picked up single serving cans of tuna, beans and hotdogs, processed meat, and even peanut butter.  Ramen noodles and single serving of rice and even potatoes filled my carbohydrate requirement.  The remaining ingredients were just as easy to find. 

Once I got all my “dishes” together, I began to create my MRE packets.  While I love to camp, I really hate to have the same thing every day.  In doing so, I really wanted to take the DIY MREs up a notch and that would mean the addition of some dried herbs.  To do this, I simply sealed up the end of a plastic straw.  I then cut it down to a size that I really wanted for my stored herbs.  Next, I would push the open end of the straw down into the herb I want and then seal it up.  Now, I have added a little gourmet touch to my DIY MRE.        

Now, with these little herb packets I can really change things up.  As an example, I created a DIY MRE that contained tuna and rice that could be cooked into a single serving casserole with lemon pepper to taste.  For dessert, I combined a can of apples with a little granola on top and served with a cup of instant vanilla cappuccino.  All of this was stored in my little sandwich bag, which in turn became my trash bag.

While this may seem like a lot of work, it really is fun to do especially with kids.  Now you too can create gourmet MREs that are easy and convenient to use without the outrages cost.