Tuesday, February 2, 2010

3 Month Plan

When I first started storing food I seemed to have 100 cans of green beans. I heard someone say, "Just pick up a few extra cans of whatever you eat each time you are at the grocery store." For some reason, this translated into 100 cans of green beans. Now 20 years later, I seem to have a better handle on "picking up a few extra things at the grocery store". The key for me was planning. In the book Food Storage for Dummies, they suggest making a meal plan first.

Make a list of meals you eat on a daily basis. Then see if you can use or modify these recipes for storage. If my goal is a 3 month short term supply as the prophet has recommended, I need to plan menus that will store for 3 months. Start off simple. Choose 5-7 recipes, then get 12 times each ingredient and there is your 3 month supply.

For example, we love spaghetti. If we have spaghetti once a week for 12 weeks, we need 12 packages of noodles and 12 bottles/cans/frozen homemade ziplocks of sauce. Easy right!

Remember, we are not after gourmet recipes here. This is to prepare if something should happen where we cannot purchase new food items to for 3 months. (Interesting side note... How long does a pandemic take to work through a city before the disease is no longer transmitted? - 3 months! Wow, our prophet has done it again.) So, if Steve looses his job, or the swine flu hits or some evil dictator drops a chemical bomb in SLC. I won't have to leave my house for 3+ months. What a great feeling!

For our family, we try to eat "food storage meals" (meals that can be made exclusively with stored or frozen ingredients) 3-4 times per week. This keeps my supply rotating and my family used to eating these types of meals. Thank goodness for frozen foods, this can balance out your storage with a large variety of healthy choices. I have worked up to about 25 recipes. (If you had something new each day for 3 months, you would need 84.) Excel has been great in planning here too. I have made a 3 month calendar...

Three Month Food Plan

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Italian Chicken Spaghetti Spam Fried Rice Chicken Noodle Soup Pasta Roma Chicken Broccoli Scones
Stove Top Chicken Mushroom Chicken Tuna Noodles Chicken Enchiladas Mac & Cheese Tacos Waffles
Marsala Chicken Lasagna Chinese Sundaes Chicken & Celery Rice Chili & Chips Stove Top Chicken Pancakes
Fried Chicken Spam Fried Rice Chicken Noodle Soup Pasta Roma Chicken Broccoli Mushroom Chicken Tuna Noodles
Parmesan Chicken Mac & Cheese Tacos Lasagna Chinese Sundaes Marsala Chicken Chili & Chips
Chicken Enchiladas Spaghetti Spam Fried Rice Tacos Parmesan Chicken Pasta Roma Scones
Chicken & Celery Rice Chicken Broccoli Mushroom Chicken Tuna Noodles Spaghetti Spam Fried Rice Waffles
Italian Chicken Chicken Noodle Soup Pasta Roma Chicken Broccoli Mushroom Chicken Tuna Noodles Pancakes
Stove Top Chicken Mac & Cheese Tacos Chicken Enchiladas Lasagna Chinese Sundaes Chili & Chips
Marsala Chicken Spaghetti Spam Fried Rice Chicken Noodle Soup Pasta Roma Chicken Broccoli Scones
Fried Chicken Mushroom Chicken Tuna Noodles Chicken & Celery Rice Mac & Cheese Tacos Waffles
Parmesan Chicken Lasagna Chinese Sundaes Chili & Chips Spaghetti Fried Chicken Pancakes

This shows what we could have for 12 weeks. After you have planned your calendar, you have to list all the ingredients you use in each recipe. (Excel comes in handy for that too.) Then you make sure you have on hand everything you need. You might notice I have SPAM fried rice in my plan. Yes, Spam is a great storage item and quite tasty when fried and hidden in rice with egg and soy sauce. :)

Here is where the COMPARE of our little blog comes in. I will share 3 recipes, then each of you post some. Then we will have some fun new recipes to try and incorporate to our 3 month plan.

Minestrone Soup
Great to keep warm on the stove or in a crock pot for family members who eat at different times. Also freezes well.
1 can stewed tomatoes (I use "Italian" stewed with basil and oregano)
1 can kidney beans
1 cup frozen mixed veggies
1-2 teaspoons minced garlic (we have a giant bottle from Costco in the fridge)
3 cups chicken broth (cans or use water & bouillon cubes)
salt & pepper
optional - 1 cup of pasta (I add this only if we are all eating together because the pasta expands too much.)
optional - meat (Steve loves to add sausage to this recipe, shredded chicken would also work.)

Bring to a boil for 10 min.

Pasta Fresca
Anything with pasta is a great storage meal.
3 cups penne or bowtie pasta
1/2 cup chopped red onion (1/4 cup dry onion if you don't have fresh red)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 can stewed tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
optional - 2 cups fresh spinach

Boil pasta & drain. In large no-stick pan, heat extra virgin olive oil. Add onion and saute 2 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, balsamic, and pasta. Heat through. Add fresh spinach to wilt. Top with Parmesan and serve.

Italian Chicken
Chop and throw on top of a salad or serve with rice.
4-6 frozen chicken breasts
1 pkg. dry Italian dressing mix
garlic powder
Parmesan cheese

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with dressing mix, garlic powder, and Parmesan. Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.

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