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Try as I might, I am no good at following prepping lists...


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Because of our financial situtation it is almost impossible for me to follow all of these wonderful prepping list. So I have come up with my own plan.

 

MEALS!!!

 

That is correct I am planning three meals a day for thirty days and each time I shop I am buying stuff for at least one meal. It is the only way I can restock my pantry without going into panic mode and going into debt. So I am on the hunt for plan jane no frills meals. Truth be told I am already in panic mode. Because of 2020 I am so far behind it is not funny and now prices are increasing faster than my bank account can handle so I had to come up with a plan that I could focus on. I am starting an emergency meal binder that has meals plans, ingredients and recipes. In this binder I will also have my "emergency" stock list so I can keep up what I have. As I buy the ingredients I will add the recipe to the binder and updated my stock list. I will then add it to the meal plan. I am hoping to add at least 3 days worth or meals every two weeks. I just have to find a way to store cornmeal. It is had to find corn around here that I would use for human consumption. A pound of dry beans will easily give us two to three meals so I am already on my way. I just bought like 5 pounds of different kinds of dry beans. I must stock lots of black beans and pinto beans. Those can be used for so many things like buritos and tostadas. We use black beans for our molletes. 

 

As I find canning supplies I will cook some stuff like cowboy beans, spaghetti sauce, soups, and just plain dry beans so all we have to do is open a jar and heat and eat. If we are without power we can just open a jar and eat it. I will be canning in pints since is just the two of us. If we have the kids here I can always open more jars.

 

This is just a few of the meals...

 

Breakfast:

oatmeal

cream of wheat

grits

quiche

breakfast hotpockets

fruit pies (aka homemade poptarts)

French toast

 

Lunch:

tostadas

mollets

tuna melts

pasta salad

bean burritos

cheese quesdillas

mac & cheese

 

Dinner:

cowboy beans

chicken & dumplings

chicken & rice with broccoli

red beans and rice

tacos

dry beans and cornbread

breakfast

shepherd pie

 

A lot of these meals and be mixed up like the mac&cheese, I can always add a can of tuna and peas to it instead of serving just plain mac and cheese. Or stir in a can of chili for chili mac. Like I said I am looking for basic meals that are versatile. The goal is to get a stocked pantry and then eat these meals and just rotate stock. Nothing fancy here. 

 

 

I will also stock things like jello, instant pudding and other things to make quick snack foods like cookies or pies. Have to keeps hubs happy you know.

 

I may not get a year of food stocked anytime soon. But I will have stuff to make basic meals instead of 50 cans of veggies and 100 boxes of pasta. 

 

If you have a could plain jane meal please share the recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by mommato3boys
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That is a good start. My garden has helped me to stock up.  I make soups to can and make my own spaghetti sauce and can it. I bought 2 boston butts on sale for 99 cents a while back and made barbeque and canned it. That gave me 11 pints of barbeque for dinners. I will check my recipes to see what I have that would be cheap and easy to make. 

Also I keep cornmeal as well as flour in the freezer. I do have some flour that I have oven canned and it has done well. I have been using some I canned in 2015 and have had no issues with it. I haven't tried oven canning corn meal though. I put the flour in freezer now because of the canning jar shortages.  Saving jars for canning my meats and soups, etc. Also when there is a good sale that might be really cheap, I would add a couple of cans or what ever to what I would normally buy to help build up the pantry. Usually it would only be maybe a couple of dollars over what I would spend on groceries, so not bad and it will help to build pantry up. Slow but it works. I think trying to keep up with the rising prices now is going to be very hard for a lot of us. I used to always keep ahead of inflation, but that is now getting harder and harder to do. 

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There are dozens of ideas for stocking up on the cheap.  One is to buy only what is on sale and buying enough to last a certain length of time which in turn frees up money to buy a quantity of another sale item.  That takes some financial manipulation though and some pretty interesting meal plans until it’s up and running. It works though and I’ve been using it to stay stocked for over fifty years.  
 

Another though is one I use a lot.  I am unable to can now but still do this and freeze them.  Like you Mttb, I meal plan but I plan the week’s meals around what is on sale for the week. .I then plan for making double meals as it’s often cheaper to cook double batches than single. I used to have my pressure canner set up full time along with clean jars, etc.  If the meal was something Can-able  I would put the extra into jars and start it canning before we ate or right after.   By the time the kitchen was cleaned up and dishes were done the canner would be finished. I always made sure when I did dishes there were canning jars ready for the next time.  Sometimes I would only have two or four jars of different things and would can it for whatever ingredient took the longest.  Once into a routine it’s fairly easy.  I still do that now only freeze it.  If you want to can some beans, soak them the night before, cook them when you cook your meal and can them beside the left overs.    It was easier to do that than to find a huge block of time for a massive canning effort.  I still did those of course but for home canned or frozen meals ready to eat this way is great.  If you can in serving sizes eventually you will have a choose your meal options.   
 

One more tip.  Don’t get too hung up on breakfast type meals or preps.  Left overs make a healthy and nutritious meal to start the day.

 

This is a great thread.  One I believe I could glean a lot of ideas from.  Thanks MTTB.  

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Canned chicken is a lifesaver for us.   If you find Masa in the Hispanic food section, that is cornmeal.  

 

I find my family gets tired of the same thing over and over so I try to vary it a bit.    Leftover cooked items mixed with an egg and some type of breading (breadcrumbs, crushed chips, stuffing, flour, rice, oatmeal, crushed pork rinds, almond flour, etc.) and some seasoning makes a great croquette/fritter/patty.   We had chicken croquettes last week and DH loved them.   I made a remoulade sauce to go with it.  DH was sure it was the fanciest thing I'd ever made and it was basically a can of chicken and some mayo.   Fancy names make things more palatable.  

 

Cooked Meat patties  (croquettes)

1 can cooked chicken (*12 oz) or any cooked meat

1 egg

seasoning of choice 

1/4 c breading of choice +extra for outside

Mix all and roll in breading.   Fry in butter or oil in skillet about 3-4m per side.  

Creole: paprika, garlic, crushed dill pickle potato chips

Hawaiian: chopped spam, pineapple, brown sugar, cooked rice

 

Vegetable Nuggets  (spinach nuggets)

3 cans vegetable 

2c breading

1c parmesan

4 eggs

1 stick butter

1/4c minced onion

pepper and spice of choice

Combine all and make nugget sized balls.  Flatten and bake 350F for 20m until firm.  Serve warm with sauce like marinara or ranch.  

I usually use spinach, stuffing mix, and nutmeg but any vegetable will do.  This goes over very well for potlucks and large gatherings.  The kids gobble them down.  The recipe is easy to scale back if needed but I tend to make it when I need a lot.

 

Bean Patties (I usually call it falafel but that is usually chickpeas)

2 cans drained beans or *3c cooked beans

1/2 c cooking liquid or water

1 1/2 c oats or other breading (oats are best)

1 clove garlic if beans are not already seasoned

salt and pepper

Mash beans and mix everything together.  Shape into burger sized patties and bake on greased pan 350F 15m.  Flip and cook another 15m.   

Notes: Seasoned beans work well.  Chickpea is the usual suspect, but I've used leftover red beans and rice, black beans, navy beans, pretty much any.  Seasoned beans are great.  Sometimes I cook them 30m without flipping and they aren't as crispy but they are still very good.  

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I had a hard time cooking for 2 and now am trying to learn to cook for 1.  So I am trying to rethink how I cook. I have a lot of food in house to choose from but now working on meals to put in freezer. I want to start cooking meals that I can put in those trays that has the separation areas to freeze. That way I will have just enough for one person and would be a fast meal. Just thaw and heat up for dinners. I am hoping to have enough pint canning jars for when I make soups, I was canning them in quarts as that was just enough for 2 people, I will need to make more before long and want to do the pints for just me. 

Haven't gone through my recipes yet, but will be soon and will post some of what I have made that can be frozen for small meals, easy to make and won't break the bank as of yet. Will try to get it done tomorrow. Just to tired today to do much of anything. 

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4 hours ago, Littlesister said:

I am hoping to have enough pint canning jars for when I make soups, I was canning them in quarts as that was just enough for 2 people, I will need to make more before long and want to do the pints for just me. 

With the shortage of lids, you might want to rethink canning in pint jars. Yes, a quart jar is a lot of food, but just pull out what you need each day and have a few meals from just one canning jar lid.  :whistling:

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Today I am adding tortilla soup and enchilda soup to the menu. I actually have everything in the kitchen to make these two meals. 

 

 

Euphrasyne, I love your veggie "nugget" recipe. I am going to have to try that for the grandbabies. Grandson is 3 and in the chicken nugget stage...nothing but chicken nuggets, maybe by mixing veggie nuggets in with chicken nuggets we can get veggies down him. 

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So this was actually a 4 day weekend for me. I covered half a day for one that is out with COVID and then the rest of the day I did my job. I did 5 days 10 hours a day. I was one tired puppy Thursday evening, but I had a job interview 2 hours away Friday morning at 10. So we went and spent the night with youngest and family. The job is 30 miles from them which beats the 70 that we are now. I am hoping and praying that I will be offered the job, but haven't given up on my 5 year plan for here where we are. 

 

Any way I said all of that to say this morning I put a whole chicken in  4qt crockpot on high, I will get four meals out of it.

1. Chicken and dumplings

2. Chicken and rice with broccoli

3. Chicken and dressing

4. Either BBQ chicken baked potatoes or chicken quesadillas - I haven't decided yet.

 

This is also giving me 4 qts of chicken broth. Yep those bones and skin are going back into the crockpot with a carrot, celery and some onion for a nice rich broth.

 

In my 6qt crockpot I started spaghetti. I signed up for the meal train for a new mom at church and am making them spaghetti. It is just as easy to make a big pot as a small pot. So I will have one meal for them. I have offered sauce to the kids, so there is another two meals. That will leave two meals for us. We will have regular spaghetti then we will have stuffed shells. There may even be enough left to make my spaghetti casserole. So that is at least is six meals for the week. I will throw in dry beans for a meal and we will have 7 meals. WHOOT WHOO!!

 

The only thing I had to buy for these 7 meals was onions and a can of cream of celery. I can't believe I was out of fresh onions. Actually I could have gotten buy without fresh onion because I had dried onion and onion powder, which I used in the spaghetti sauce. I am the only one that likes celery in the family so I learned a long time ago in order to get the flavor of celery in my dressing I could use cream of celery soup. It works wonders and helps keep the dressing from drying out. 

 

After doing a detailed inventory yesterday I discovered I could easily put together another 10 or 15 meals by just adding fresh veggies. I not as bad off as I thought. Those 10-15 meals do not include dry beans or things I could make from them like burittos, tostadas, or molletes. So I think I can chill out a LITTLE BIT and focus on adding things to my larder that I can make what I have go futher. I discovered we had 20# of plain unbleached flour. I didn't even know I had 3 of those bags. Because I had no idea of excatly what we had or how much of each item we had I did not realize that we can easily survive a month if not longer. If we have access to water. That is a major whole in my preps. I need to invest in some more water containers and hit the Windmill (filtered water place) and fill them up. We can get 5 gallons for a $1. We easily go through 15 gallons a week not including what we use from the tap. We use the filtered water for coffee, drinking water and cooking water. AND there is just TWO of us in the house. Water storage has moved to #1 on the list of GET YOUR BE-HIND IN GEAR AND GET IT DONE!!!! I hope one day to invest in a Berkey system. That is in the 5 year plan. 

 

I need to bite the bullet and invest in dairy items powder, like eggs, butter, freeze dried cheese we depend on getting those fresh from the store or friends that have chickens. So I am lacking those items. Another short fall is condiments like mustard, ketchup, and pickles. I need to stock up on oil but it has been hard finding oils and shortenings will an expiration date of longer than 6 months. We are at the end of the delivery chain here so we get all the left overs. I would like to start ordering on line but then again I don't trust the expiration dates. Last time I ordered I had to use the items within 6 months because of the expiration dates. I know those dates are "just" suggestions but I don't like to use oil and shortening past the date. 

 

I have started a small notebook for meal preps. As I make a dish and realize DUH this would be a good "prep" meal I write it in down in my notebook. I am writing down easy meals that call for simple and few ingredents. That way as I have extra money I can buy what I need for that meal and add it to the larder. Yes Mother, I too cook large meals and divided them up for lunches and freeze for later meals. I used to do Once A Month Cooking when the boys lived at home. That way ever who got home first could start dinner or I could it in the crockpot before leaving for work. I have just gotten away from that and now I need to put on my big momma panties and get back to doing that so there will be more peace and less stress in this house. It will also help me stick to my grocery budget way better than I am doing now.

 

I feel a little better and am a little less stressed. We are gonna survive this craziness if not I know where I am going and the food left behind can go to the kids or someone that needs it. There will be a lot of "poverty" cooking but you know what...we grew up eating those poverty meals. There is nothing wrong with dry beans and greens and cornbread if we have it. I am trying to think when did I get out of the mindset of cooking simple meals and think we had to have a meat drowned in a rich sauce, two veggies, an appetizer and a dessert as well as a bread at a meal or come home and say I don't feel like cooking lets eat out. I need to get back into the mindset that we need to eat to survive not survive to eat. 

 

Edited by mommato3boys
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Littlesister, I bought some of those divided trays to make meals to freeze too. Before I do I'm gong to check out the freezer aisle at the grocery store to get some ideas for combinations. I also bought some reusable potpie containers from Lehman's to make chicken potpies ala KFC and some shepherd pies to freeze. I've seen some 'bowl' mixtures that look good too, although I've never tried them. Some with gravy and some with rice. Usually breakfast type meals. 

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