Earlier this week I posted a link on facebook, a first hand account I’d come across of a man’s experience living through the aftermath immediately following Hurricane Katrina. It was extremely informative and gave me a lot to think about. (And here’s the link.) After sharing this, a comment was shared by a woman who had also been through Katrina in another location, which to me (while different) was still equally as shaking as the first story. All of this has been heavy on my mind this week and I’ve been thinking on what my own reactions and psyche might be like if I ever have to go through a large scale disaster such as they did.
One particular remark stood out to me as I read the first account which I felt was important to share and then I’ve got 9 amazing recipes which will make that 72 hour kit taste a whole lot better than you’ve ever been used to it tasting.
The comment was this man’s answer to a follow-up question regarding the food he’d set aside for an emergency and whether it was sufficient for his needs through the crisis. I’m re-posting this Q & A here (as I did on facebook), but be sure to go over and read the full story when you have a bit of time. Notice here that his reply to this question ends up having nothing to do with the actual quantity of food he had available. Instead it’s entirely about quality and taste. Notice what’s most memorable to him about “what he had on hand” (meaning all of it, not just the MRE’s?) and the connection he makes to how it affected the overall morale of the those involved.
Q: Did your stockpiled food last as long as you expected and what changes to your inventory would you have made?
A: I will write more about this in another post. However, food quantity was not a problem since I had been laying in supplies for my family plus 2 and at any given time I had fewer people than I allowed for in the provisioning plan. The taste quality of the food I had on hand was the real morale killer though. So while we did not starve we did give away a lot of the MREs but kept the canned and dry stuff for our consumption. Also the heat killed your desire to eat and between the taste and the heat we had plenty of food! Safe drinking water was in short supply though!
This is important to think about. Basically what he’s saying (if brought into the context of what we can do today in our preparations) is that the food you’re stockpiling now (if good) has the potential to alleviate not only hunger, but improve the morale, mood and outlook of an already bad situation. Oppositely, if you plan to eat food you’ve never tried and which otherwise you’d never eat, you may not starve but it’ll be like adding another brick to your burdens if you have to eat it. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I read what each of these individuals went through, and imagined myself in their shoes, I couldn’t hardly imagine adding one more burden, one more piece of bad news, to the situation.
Another thing he mentions here is the shortage of clean water. For any of you who don’t already have a water treatment kit with your survival gear, read what he says about all the water he’d brought with him and how it wasn’t nearly enough. A water treatment kit (such as the one currently being given away every week for the next 6 weeks) is exactly the thing you’d want as a back up in your kit for a time like this (see the contest rules).
Where I’m coming from…
Before I begin, let me explain where my mind goes as pertaining to food storage and why I’ve planned and organized my meals (as a whole) the way I have. There are, to me, just two basic scenerios in which I can imagine having to use the food I have stockpiled. They are:
1) Circumstances beyond my control have created a situation in which I’m not able to go to the grocery store for an extended period of time. This could be caused by a number of scenerios, be it a halt in ground transportation, economic, pandemic, etc. In this scenerio I’m dependent on the food I have stored as well as the fuel I have stored. I plan variety into the meals I’ve stored for due to the amount of time I could possibly have to eat these things. My opinion is that if I’m stopped from grocery store shopping for whatever reason (along with everyone else in my neighborhood and city), getting these conveniences up and running again is not going to happen quickly. Without seeming alarmist, it stands to reason, that if such disruption were to occur I’d likely be on my own for a very long time. For this reason I’ve built in what you see here on the blog: lots of options from the ingredients I store and specific recipes I store for. Pantry meals are included for a pre-packed for convenience help, alternate ways to cook which don’t require much (if any) fuel are also an important aspect of being able to use the foods I have stored in this supposed scenerio.
2) An evacuation order or some other localized disaster requires “grab and go” meals where the highest priority is convenience.
Within my convenience meals (aka: Pantry Meals) you’ve seen there are some which aren’t hard to make and are made much easier by packing them but at the same time require more prep work than I’d be wanting if I were in a full alert crisis situation. The recipes I share today are my collection of ultimate convenience meals. They’re the simplest recipes I have, yet still terrific in taste.
First off, how I store them…
The idea of a pantry meal is that it’s a meal made convenient by you. The ingredients (such as spices, etc.) have been pre-measured and everything is stored together “as a meal” whether it be in a box as I’ve done (only because they stack more nicely) or a bag or whichever way you choose.
Because I already have pantry meals built into my overall plan, the meals I keep for my 72 hour kit are the same ones I keep packed for convenience in our everyday life. We know we like them, the ingredients are rotating all the time because we use them and they’re boxed and ready to grab whenever.
I bought my boxes at a ‘Container Store’ in my area but if you don’t have one where you live try looking for them at a box or shipping store. Also, with a quick search online (meaning I haven’t done a lot of checking on this) I found this online vendor (link here). The size shown here is 10 x 6 x 4.
A peek inside my pantry closet…
How to haul them if we had to evacuate?
I’ve invested in this large carrier bag (by MountainSmith) for the meals. A second bag carries our other supplies and yet another bag carries the family’s change of clothes. See here for more information on the bag itself if you’re interested. I love that it has separate modules which could be carried separately if needed, as well as a larger bag with multiple handles.
So we’ve talked about where they’ll go, now I want to share with you 9 Survival Kit Meal Options that I know you’ll love!!
While ideally, I’d love to have my Wonder Oven with me for cooking, in a “flight” situation I might not be able to take it. For this reason these meals are purely “ingredients + propane stove/ fuel + a pot” type of recipes. The prep work is as simple as it gets — no special steps, no timing, etc.– mostly it’s just “dump, stir and heat”. I’ve eliminated a lot of my usual “favorite” pantry meals here because they either required a Wonder Oven to make or had some kind of actual prep work to do to make them. We want to be able to practically make these meals in our sleep since there’s a good chance we could be going through some type of shock ourselves while trying to get them ready.
So What’cha Eatin’ There In Your Survival Kit?
The good news is you can prepare now to have actually good tasting food planned into your survival kit. Try these recipes, it’s totally possibe, believe you me. And all of a sudden, there’s one less thing to worry about (yay!). Use them up and make up new meals one weekend just twice a year to rotate them within your 72 hour kit, or make up a whole bunch to use whenever you’re too busy to cook, storing them where they’re easy to grab and go if needed.
Beyond being easy, these meals are also favorites — not just for survival but for everyday life — which my family continues to love. Included are two favorites from Jan Jackson’s book “100 Day Pantry” as well as one recipe kindly shared with me by a reader.
Add to these a few “just add water” Mountain House meals (or try this brand, which I had reviewed by a bunch of boy scouts) and you’ll have a solid set of meals for your family’s 72 hour/ survival kit. Also, I reviewed Hormel’s line of Complete meals over in this post, and some of those are very good tasting and very convenient to include in a kit like this. And while we’re talking about it, why not go with 100% bought off the shelf meals? You can definitely do that, but it’s really so easy to pull together a survival meal yourself (for less money and a little bit of variety) that you might really be happier making them from a few simple recipes. You can make very good “more-affordable/ made-with-less-chemicals” 72 hour kit meals. Go for it!
I’ve tried to keep it simple here in the post, my main goal was that I wanted to round up the important information all in one post so you could easily scan the ingredients you’ll need in getting these meals together. Each recipe is linked to it’s post, so if there’s a question, just hop on over to see it.
Submitted to us by a reader Sharon Bies, this soup is delicious and ultimately simple to make!
1 pint (or 1 can) chicken, undrained
1 can (or 1 cup dried beans cooked) Pinto beans
1 can (or 1 cup dried beans cooked) Kidney beans
1 can (or 1 cup dried beans cooked) Black beans
1 can Creamed Corn
1 can diced tomatoes (petite diced with garlic and onion preferred)
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can (2 cups) water
1 tsp. chicken boullion
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. flour
1 package Fajita Seasoning
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup “milk” (1 cup water + 1 TBS powdered milk)
Mix together the powdered milk and water and, if preferred, drain the beans. Combine all ingredients together and simmer.
Stir this mix this together and store in gallon sized storage bags. Nothing says comfort and “life is going to be okay” like hot chocolate.
25 oz (11 cups) Instant Powdered Milk (my favorite brand found here)
42 oz container (9 3/4 cups) Nesquik Chocolate Milk Powder
2.5 oz. (3/4 cup) Heavy Cream Powder
1 lb. (3 3/4 cups) Powdered Sugar
Combine 1/2 cup mix with 1 cup hot water.
This is the easiest thing to make but my kids (well, all of us) love these noodles.
12 oz. box thin spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 TBS rice vinegar
3 TBS pure sesame oil
1/2 tsp. hot chili oil
4 TBS oil*
(*Note: I leave the oil out all the time and it’s still great. Also, in the case of the rice vinegar, sesame oil and hot chili oil, these would be items I’d grab from my pantry to throw in with the meals. I don’t pre-package these things ahead of time, but a note to myself in my evacuation plan reminds me to grab them. One full 5 oz. bottle of sesame oil makes three recipes worth of this recipe.)
Whisk all ingredients (except noodles) together. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
1 cup instant powdered milk
3/4 cup malted milk powder
1/3 cup sugar
2 TBS baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 TBS salt
1/2 cup butter powder (*see note)
1/4 cup + 3 TBS whole egg powder
3/4 cup powdered buttermilk
Measure and sift the ingredients (as needed) and mix well. When ready to cook, whisk 2 1/4 cups mix with 1 cup minus 1 TBS water. Prepare your griddle (over medium low heat) by placing a good sized drop of water on it and heating. Once the water drop boils the griddle is hot enough to cook. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and wipe any excess oil from the pan. Cook by 1/4 cup portions about 2 minutes per side. Serve.
3 1/2 cups macaroni noodles
Seasoning bag #1
3/4 cup nutritional yeast (*see note)
Seasoning bag #2
3 TBS cornstarch (or potato starch)
2 TBS powdered milk
1 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1 1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. turmeric
pinch cayenne pepper
Add-in’s to the recipe:
2 1/4 cups water (*in an emergency situation of conserving water, 2 1/2 cups could be used to cook the pasta in and 2 1/4 cups of the drained water can be used for the sauce)
1 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS tahini
Put the pasta on to boil, as per packaged directions. While it’s cooking, sift seasoning bag #2 using a fine meshed metal colander. Add nutritional yeast to the sifted dry ingredients. When the noodles have cooked, drain and return the noodles to the pot, reserving a portion of the cooking water if desired to make the sauce. Mix the lemon juice and tahini into the water. Next, add the dry ingredients in and add all to the drained pasta, cooking until thickened.
(Note: Sifting can be eliminated here if needed. Just do the best you can to crumble any lumps of seasoning bag #2 you may see. Also, same as with an above recipe, I’d grab the lemon juice and tahini from the cupboard if I had to leave with the meals in hand.)
(shared here with permission, compliments of “100 Day Pantry” by Jan Jackson)
1 (16 oz.) box farfalle pasta
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 (10 – 15 -oz.) can chicken
1 (4 oz.) can mushrooms
1 can diced Italian style tomatoes (*2 cans if you like it more saucy)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 TBS dried parsley
Combine chicken broth with the drained water from the mushrooms, chicken and tomatoes and heat to boiling. Add the pasta and simmer, covered, until pasta is cooked (7-10 min). Add canned items, stir to combine. Add parmesan cheese and spice bag, stir all together and serve.
1-2 TBS olive oil
2/3 cup freeze dried onion
1/3 cup water
1 (2.8 oz) jar Hormel Real Bacon Pieces
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 (7 oz.) boxes Cheese-filled Tortellini
2-4 TBS Balsamic Vinegar (to taste)*
Rehydrate onions with water. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain pasta and add olive oil, onions and bacon. Reserve 2 TBS parmesan cheese (set aside) and add remaining cheese to pasta. Add vinegar, toss all together, and serve (sprinkling reserved parmesan on top).
(*Note: Make yourself a note to grab the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on your way out if planning this for a 72 hour kit.)
1 (10 oz.) can tomato soup
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 (14 oz.) cans vegetable broth
1 cup corkscrew pasta
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1 TBS. sugar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients except Parmesan. Simmer until pasta is done. Sprinkle Parmesan on soup before serving.
Another great idea for a breakfast option. This recipe takes a bit of time to make but it’s really amazing for it’s taste. Once you have a couple batches done it’s “just add water” and you’ve got an instant “anywhere” breakfast ready!
3 1/2 cups freeze dried fruit of choice
7 cups coarsley ground quick rolled oats
1 recipe bavarian cream sugar
1/4 cup spiced vanilla sugar
3/4 cup sour cream powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Bavarian Cream Sugar
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. LorAnn Princess Cake and Cookie Emulsion
1/2 tsp. Bavarian Cream flavored LorAnn oil
Spiced Vanilla Sugar
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract or vanilla powder
1 TBS cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Mix together the ingredients for the Bavarian Cream Sugar. Separately, mix together the ingredients for the Vanilla Spice Sugar. Allow both sugars to dry completely, 2-3 hours. (*A dehydrator set on low, if you have one, will speed this step up.)
Meanwhile, roughly grind the oats with either a food processor or (by hand) using a grinder. Measure out 7 cups of ground oats and place in a large mixing bowl. Chop the freeze dried fruit (if needed) to add to the mixing bowl. Add the salt and sour cream powder. Once the sugar is completely dry, use a potato masher or other utensil to blend each sugar until it’s spoonable. Add the entire recipe of Bavarian Cream Sugar and 1/4 cup of the Vanilla Spice Sugar to the mixing bowl and stir all ingredients well. Transfer to a storage container.
When ready to use, measure 1 cup boiling water added to 1 cup oatmeal mix for one adult serving. Use a smaller 1:1 service for kids, depending on appetite. Allow to sit for 3 minutes and serve.
Plus two more for the road…
This one’s as simple as buying a can, but truly I’ve never met a shelf stable scrambled egg mix as good as Honeyville’s Ova Easy Egg Crystals!
9 recipes worth of “Hamburger Helper” meets food storage ready and waiting for you! These meals aren’t quite as “instant” as the other recipes in this post but they’re still very convenient and deserve a mention. You’ll find everything you need by visiting the link.