9 Great-Tasting Ultimately Convenient Survival Meals

20 Mar

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.
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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).

h2o-resq-kit_3

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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.

Ground Beef Stroganoff (1)

A peek inside my pantry closet…

food storage home (6)

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.72 hour kit bag

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?

cheerios

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.

72 hour kit meals

1.  Creamy Chicken Taco Soup

Creamy Taco Soup (1)

Submitted to us by a reader Sharon Bies, this soup is delicious and ultimately simple to make!

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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)

Instructions:

Mix together the powdered milk and water and, if preferred, drain the beans.  Combine all ingredients together and simmer.

2.  Homemade “Instant” Hot Cocoa Mix

Homemade Instant Hot Cocoa Mix (1)

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

Instructions:

Combine 1/2 cup mix with 1 cup hot water.

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3.  Simple Sesame Noodles

Simple Sesame Noodles (2)

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.)

Instructions:

Whisk all ingredients (except noodles) together.  Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.  Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.

**

4.  Perfect “Just Add Water” Pancake Mix

Perfect Pancake Mix (6)

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

Instructions:

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.

**

5.  Guilt-Free Macaroni and Cheese

Clean Macaroni & Cheese (10)

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

Instructions:

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.)

**

6.  Italian Chicken

(shared here with permission, compliments of “100 Day Pantry” by Jan Jackson)

FS -- Italian Chicken 012

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

Instructions:

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.

**

7.  Balsamic Tortellini

FS -- Balsamic Tortellini 012

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)*

Instructions:

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.)

8.  Basil Tomato Soup

FS -- Basil Tomato Soup 007

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

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients except Parmesan.  Simmer until pasta is done.  Sprinkle Parmesan on soup before serving.

9.  Homemade Fruit and Cream Instant Oatmeal

Homemade Instant Oatmeal (13)

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

***

Instructions:

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…

Pantry Made Scrambled Eggs

Ova Easy Eggs (6)Ova Easy Eggs (3)

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 Hamburger Helper Copy Cats made w/ Food Storage

Homemade Hamburger Helper (20)

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.

Now, go re-make your 72 hour kit with meals you’ll enjoy eating!

 

17 Responses to “9 Great-Tasting Ultimately Convenient Survival Meals”

  1. Barbara Cortopassi March 20, 2014 at 5:09 am #

    Megan, I really enjoyed the gentleman’s article. You have inspired me to get together some pantry meals. I have a few in Mylar bags, but these look good. One of the things I thought interesting about his article was the safety aspect in regards to others possibly coming to take your stuff. That is one thing I would not be prepared to deal with. Thanks for always keeping me thinking ahead.

    • Megan March 20, 2014 at 8:21 am #

      So glad! Me too. I was grateful to have had both of those experiences volunteered to be able to read. There were many things I hadn’t really considered, but mostly I was struck that (knowing myself) the emotions in possibly seeing the things that surround a situation like that would be a much bigger deal than I’d previously thought.

  2. Janel Ludlow March 20, 2014 at 8:00 am #

    This post is very inspirational! We go through our 72 hour kits twice a year and use and replenish. This time I am going to use some of these ideas! Thank you Megan!

    • Megan March 20, 2014 at 8:29 am #

      Thanks Janel! I’m so glad!

  3. Paula March 20, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    I had thought that I had a good start on preparing and storing my food storage but after entering your contest and truly beginning to cook with only food storage I have realized that there are things I need to add and delete. I have been keeping a running tab of all recipes and rated them as to how the family(5) liked and ate them. I must say it only took a couple of weeks before I noticed how much I was missing fresh fruit and veggies! I took the time last night to read this article and it was very enlightening in several aspects. While I hope that I never see such a disaster it is articles like this that can educate me and help me survive better prepared. Thanks to the author and you for passing it on. Question: For storing your 72 hr. kits are they one meal or several to a box? I am thinking that I would like to store several or a days worth of meals in each. Do you seal the spices or just Ziploc them to add? I am so glad I found your blog and have enjoyed following your articles and am looking forward to what is to come.

    • Megan March 20, 2014 at 10:21 am #

      Thank you, Paula!! I’m so glad you found me too! You’ve been an inspiration for the way you’ve taken control and jumped in like you have.

      For the meals in the boxes, they’re one meal per box. They’re labeled with the recipe’s name and (for me) I just keep them in my pantry to grab as I would a box of Pasta Roni. And yes, the spices are just in ziplocs, no need to do anything fancy with them so long as the meals are rotated regularly.

  4. Arlene Butler March 20, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    I love this idea and the recipes look good. I am going to make the taco soup, tomato soup, pancake mix and Italian chicken. I have been collecting recipes to put in “bags” or jars and appreciate this post!

    • Megan March 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

      Thanks, Arlene. :)

  5. Brittney March 20, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    Hi, I’m entering your contest and commenting on the last week’s winners recipes. I’ve got four little girls who love crackers, so we are going to try out the Ritz Crackers recipe. So excited!

    • Paula March 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

      Welcome Brittney, so glad you are entering the contest. Looking forward to seeing all you do. I also have 3 kiddos and they have been brave sports in trying all the new recipes I have made. Try the homemade Ricotta cheese too, it’s great with the ritz crackers!

  6. Brittney March 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    I’m also planning to make the Creamy Chicken Taco Soup, the Italian Chicken, the Tomato Basil Soup, and a food storage pancake recipe for this week.

    • Megan March 20, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

      That’s great, welcome! I’m excited to have you join!

  7. Amanda March 20, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    I found for some reason on some of my pantry meals, I needed a slightly larger box once I added my water to the boxes (Italian Chicken Pasta for instance, wouldn’t fit in a small box!) but my 4th dimensionally thinking husband set it all up like it would be in the box and measured it, and ordered me another set of boxes (I am the only person I know that has boxes of boxes in her garage), to accommodate the bigger meals. This has actually added a third layer to our food storage, and I am so grateful for the pantry meals, because now in between my 3 month supply and my long term supply there is a “middle man” so to speak of great, quick non-mre meals that I now have the full capacity to cook. The challenge has been AMAZING for our family, they love seeing what mom is cooking and getting us going, and wondering how many points mom got for that meal! HaHa! My husband is glad to see me 1)using my food storage (2) learning the alternate/outside methods of cooking, (3) and seeing that it really is edible and enjoyable to eat. While I used food storage at least 3 times a week before, this has taken me to a whole new level. But I am going to be honest, I am glad garden time is going to be coming on the heels of the end of the challenge, because we will be ready for the fresh veggies!

    • Megan March 21, 2014 at 11:44 am #

      Thanks so much, Amanda for sharing your experience. It’s so great to hear the strides you’ve made and the confidence you’ve gained! — it’s wonderful!! And we may be needing your husband to be our poster child for the other husbands out there :) Man, he grinds wheat and figures out your containers for you?!

      • Amanda March 22, 2014 at 9:07 am #

        Yea, He is AMAZING. I feel pretty blessed that I stole him away!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Are You Prepping/Preparing? It wouldn’t Hurt If You Did | lovelyseasonscomeandgo - March 27, 2014

    […] 9 Great-Tasting Ultimately Convenient Survival Meals […]

  2. Emergency Essentials Preparedness for Families - September 30, 2014

    […] My Food Storage Cookbook – 9 Great Tasting Ultimately Convenient Survival Meals […]

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