Scott's Sierra Spaghetti Sauce
(We're not sure how many servings this makes, but keep
in mind that a quart-sized ziploc container of sauce = 2 on-trail servings)
At Home: Brown hamburger and drain fat. Combine following ingredients into a large (6 qt. or greater) pot: hamburger, can (or two) of diced tomatos, can tomato sauce and can tomato paste (rinse tomato paste can out with water and add that, to get every drop of the good stuff). Put the pot (now mostly liquid stuff) on medium heat. Now dice up your onions, mince the garlic, chop the celery (mind the fingers), cut the carrots (and tops) and the bell peppers (whichever colored versions you choose). Transfer all the cuttings into the big pot and reduce the heat to 2/10 or something like that. Stir and add your spices: a goodly amount of oregano, some rosemary, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and sugar (or other sweetener, which takes the tartness out of the spices). For variety, try a dash of cinnamon. Not enough to notice, but enough to make people say, "Hmmm. What's that? Can't quite tell." If you like your spaghetti on the spicy side, consider adding 2-3 tablespoons-worth of [HOT] salsa. Stir all ingredients, reduce heat to simmering and allow to simmer for several hours, stirring occassionally. When done, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Transfer food onto the dehydrator trays (we use Ziploc or Glad 1-Quart containers to measure - one level quart = two servings). Depending on how liquidy your sauce, you may need 3 dehydrator trays (solid plastic fruit leather trays) per quart. If not, you might fit one quart onto two dehydrator trays. Dehydrate until dry and crumbly. (Usually 24-hours or so).
Packing: Label a small (18cm x 13cm) Ziploc freezer bag with the date and meal name - "Scott's Sierra Spaghetti Sauce" (or something like that) Fill the freezer bag with dehydrated sauce (each bag will hold approximately 2 trays of dehydrated food, equivalent to 1 quart of pre-dehydrated meal, or 2 servings). Also package 2 servings of spaghetti into a separate Ziploc bag. (We found that by breaking the spaghetti noodles in two, they fit nicely into a Ziploc bag). ALSO ... after the PCT knowledge ... you might want to consider using Orzo or spaghettini noodles, instead of regular "spaghetti" noodles. Reason: the smaller/thinner noodles cook faster! Don't forget to add a small Ziploc sandwich baggie of grated parmesean cheese too, for that little extra "trail add-on". (We just put ours inside the noodle bag, which meant it was "double-bagged" and further reduces the chance that the parmesean cheese bag will break, spreading parmesean cheese throughout your gear). ;)
In camp: Rehydrate meal by adding water to Scott's Spaghetti Sauce. You'll get a feel for how much water to add, but keep in mind that you can always add more, but you can't take any away! Bring the cold mix to a boil, stirring and keeping it from sticking to the bottom of the thin pot. Add water as necessary. Once it's boiled for a bit and started to soften, turn off the stove and set it aside. (Note: 1 qt. of pre-dehydrated meal makes a smidge less than a quart of reconstituted meal. You may be tempted to add enough water to make a quart. Don't! The meal will be very runny if you do.)
Go about your camp chores and let the HOT spaghetti sauce reconstitute. When the smell gets to you and you can no longer stand it, spark up the stove again, boiling water for the noodles/orzo. Once they're done and the water drained off, put the spaghetti sauce back on the stove to get it hot again. Then, shut off the jet engine of a stove (we used the whisperlite, which anything but a whisper). Combine 1/2 of each - noodles and sauce ... sprinkle with parmesean cheese ... ENJOY!! This is one tasty trail meal (was voted #1 by both Rachel and myself ... closely followed by "Big Bear Beef Stew", "JM Shepherd's Pie" and "Mom's Beef Stroganoff".