In Arizona we don't have to deal with emergencies too often...well never since I have lived here. But I was surprised on a trip to NC to see billboards urgeing residents to have emergency supplies on hand. One of these supplies should be food.
At first we stored items that would keep for a long time, but during a time when my husband was looking for work after graduating, we had to live on this food storage and it was not fun eating only tuna, rice, pasta,
oatmeal and wheat for 1 month. Since that experience over 27 years ago, I have tried to keep food we normally eat on hand, in case of emergencies. I still have a hard time with tuna in anything but a sandwich to this day! This is how I have organized it in my home.
We spent one evening as a family and listed all of our favorite dinner meals. I tried to have at least 30 different meals for variety. For breakfast we just planned on cereals, (boxed or like cracked wheat, and oatmeal), and lunches were peanut butter and jam or tuna sandwiches. I have enough flour and wheat on hand to make bread if I really need to.
After coming up with everyones favorite meals, we picked the ones that had ingredients that could be stored on a shelf for at least 2-3 years, and we ended up with a list of about 20 dinner meals. I took this list and broke down how many of each ingrdient we needed for each recipe. I then figured how many weeks worth of meals we wanted or had room to store(we have food under beds, in closets, etc.), and multiplied the list of ingridients by how many weeks we wanted to have stored. If you don't like to cook, there are plenty of healthy soups available that you could just store enough of the ones you like for your emergencies.
This gave me a list of what I needed and I slowly watched the grocery ads and bought the ingredients as the came on sale and as many as the budget would allow. I also learned how to can meat so we have a variety instead of just tuna. It took several months but we eventually built up what we needed.
I try to plan at least 1 "storage" meal a week. This way, all the grocery items get rotated within 2 years and not much is wasted due to spoilage.
I recommend everyone put some food away for emergencies, whether they be natural disasters, loss of employment, or whatever. Here are the recipes for a couple of our storage meals.
Spaghetti, veges, homemade bread (if you want)Spaghetti ingredients
2 pint jars of Spaghetti sauce (my homemade recipe is on a post dated 9/14/09)
Pasta (this stores great in air tight containers but freeze for 2 days after buying it to kill any bugs that are in them from the stores.)
Parmesean cheese- if desired (not the fresh stuff this time)
Some kind of canned or frozen vegetable to go with the meal.
1 16 oz can black beans
1 16 oz can great northern beans
1 jar salsa- divided in half
1 16 oz can of corn- drained
1-1 1/2 lbs chicken (frozen or canned)
Combine both cans of beans, corn and ½ of a jar of salsa in the bottom of a crock pot. Place chicken on top of mixture and cover with remainder of salsa. Cook on high for 3 hours. Shred chicken with a fork, and stir. Serve with tortillas or over rice.
*note-if using canned chicken, you won't need to cook it as long. Rice stores well in air-tight containers but again, freeze for 2 days to kill any bugs that come home in it from the store. If you want to use tortillas, you have 2 options, 1-have a recipe and ingredients for homemade tortillas, or have fresh tortillas stored in your freezer to thaw, cook and eat when having this recipe.
This is a complete meal all by itself!
I will occasionally add other storage meals and recipes to the blog. If you have any recipes that may work, email them to me and I will post them also (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You will feel so secure if you try to be self-reliant. You shouldn't rely on anyone else to take care of your family!