Okay, I feel like within the last week or two we’ve covered a lot of ground really fast. It might be starting to feel a little whirlwind-ish at this point. Ya? So I’m going to take it down a notch and let us breathe for a second. *breathe. in. out.* Ah. Much better. Okay, jumping back in! Just kidding. 🙂 Today will be an easy one. We’re finally getting to the “doing” part of our food storage plan. Not that we weren’t doing stuff before, but it was more philosophical, in our head type stuff (although hopefully your goals and plan are written down somewhere!). So now we start putting things into action… we get to Implement The Plan! This is where it gets fun. (I have a warped sense of fun… I know.) 😉
Today let’s look at the first short-term goal on our plan (well, my plan anyway). Let’s see… it was collecting ‘everyday recipes’ to make those ‘everyday meals’.
For this, I like to break my meals down by category. I’ll get some breakfast recipes, lunch, dinner, and let’s not forget snacks and desserts (for pete’s sake! DON’T forget the desserts!!).
Now, in each category, I’m just going to start listing some of my family’s favorite everyday meals.
Breakfast: we like cereal most days, pancakes quite often, waffles, occasionally oatmeal, occasionally french toast… and geez, I think that about covers it!
Lunch: Hmm… I hate lunch. I never know what to fix. Peanut butter sandwich? Anyone anyone? Ya, that’s what it usually ends up being (my poor, deprived daughters!) What else? Grilled cheese sandwiches, mac & cheese, leftovers, ramen, (wow… this is starting to sound like ‘confessions of the nutritionally deficient mother’… hey, I throw some carrots and apples in there too!). Perhaps I should stop there for now.
On to Dinner: We have a plethora of favorites here. Spaghetti; Chicken Broccoli Casserole; Beef Stroganoff; Chicken Penne Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo; Quesadillas; a nice big salad; Chicken Enchiladas; Beef Enchiladas; Broccoli Beef; many Asian-themed meals; Chili Baked Potatoes; Soup on a nice cold night; and on and on.
When you get a chance, go ahead and write down as many of your family’s favorites that you can think of. (I like to do this while I’m maybe sitting and watching the kids play, or zoning out in front of the tv. I’m a multi-tasker like that. ;))
Now what we need to do is look at the recipes for each of the meals on our list. Which of them can be made using only shelf stable ingredients or ingredients stored in the freezer? If they can be made with completely shelf stable ingredients, I put a little (SS) next to the title. If they can be made from a combination of shelf stable and freezer stored foods, I put a little (E) next to the title (‘E’ for ‘Electricity Needed’). If it requires ingredients that do not meet one of these two categories, it gets crossed off. (There goes my nice big salads along with the baked potato bar.) NOT that it means I can no longer make these meals!! Heavens sakes! I’ll explain how these recipes can still fit in later.
Helpful Tips To Consider: Think outside the box. Some recipes that appear to not be food storage friendly can be easily tweaked and be perfectly suited to your food storage. Another thing to consider is that by adding certain ingredients to your pantry, you can also increase your food storage menu options (i.e. having things like powdered milk and powdered eggs means I can make a lot more recipes completely shelf stable.)
So now that we know what we’re looking for, our challenge is to gather 7 breakfast, 7 lunch, and 20 dinner food storage friendly, family favorite recipes, with at least half of them in each category being completely shelf stable recipes. (I’ll explain the reasoning for the numbers next week when we get started on the next step of the plan and you can change them then if you’d like. In the meantime, just go with it. :))
And since this is a goal, I’m going to give myself a deadline to get this accomplished by. I think I’ll give myself two weeks. Not that I can’t sit and write down a bunch of menu ideas in just an hour or so, but I want to give myself time to try out and test several recipes before I just add them to my list. I want to make sure my list is fully comprised of ‘family approved’ meals before I go purchasing tons of ingredients to make them for a whole year! (I know… I’m smart. I went to college. :))
You can download and print this page to help organize your process:
Food Storage Menu List
Alrighty then. Start flipping through those cookbooks and recipe cards and we’ll check this list in two weeks! Good luck.