Do you have plans for your family in the event that you are displaced or lose power for a lengthy period of time? Unfortunately, no matter where you live there is a danger for lengthy power outages or natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, severe drought and more. . .
Years ago when my other half and I were first married we experienced a rather nasty severe ice storm that knocked our power out for more than two full weeks up in New England. Luckily we had a gas stove and I was able to put together meals, since there was several feet of snow on the ground, we were able to keep most of our freezer contents from going to waste.
During the disaster we experienced, we did a bit of “grilling” during the storm, but there was several inches of ice on everything and digging it all out was quite an effort. For our current area we prep for potential hurricanes, tornadoes, and/or earthquakes as we have all three to contend with.
Each has it’s own unique issues- like you obviously can’t grill when the wind is blowing 80 miles an hour, but the food situation is always the same.. . . Trying to keep easy to prepare meals on hand is a pain, but necessary, regardless of where you live.
- Soup Mix in a Jar– these are easily reconstituted with just clean water.
- Dried Beef Jerky– good protein, tasty and lasts well
- Vacuum Sealed Side-Dish Mixes– again, only a single pot and fresh water is needed to prepare.
Ways to Cook:
Following that harrowing experience with the ice storm and being without power for a couple weeks, we purchased a single burner portable propane stove. It’s safe to use inside, easy to store and inexpensive.
- Single Burner Propane Stove
- Mini BBQ Grills (outside)
- Wood Fires (outside)
- Electric Skillet– if you know you’re going to a hotel- this is a more frugal way of preparing meals for your family. However, it’s not overly useful if the power is out!
- Slow-cooker/Crockpot- again, only useful if you have power, but much easier for families displaced from their home and staying in a hotel.
- 12 volt coffee pot – this is a great way to heat water quickly using very little energy
- 12-Volt Slow Cooker– this plugs directly into the lighter/power socket in your vehicle and has a 6 foot cord
Regarding water, we always keep a few gallons of fresh water on hand for emergencies, and if a storm is coming and we anticipate power outages, we fill the bathtub with water (for flushing the john, washing, cleaning, etc).
Here are a couple easy, relatively inexpensive recipes that use canned food items you can keep on hand:
Tuscan Chicken and Veggies
1 can (13 ounces) chicken, drained and shredded
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) zucchini in tomato sauce
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons dried onion
1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Parmesan cheese (*optional, but so good!)
Dump everything into a single pot and heat through. If you happen to have Parmesan cheese, it’s really great on top! Serves 4.
3 Bean Mexicali Salad
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup picante sauce
2 tablespoons dried onion
1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole corn, drained
1 tsp Dried cilantro
This one is great if you don’t have any way to cook. Just mix everything together and serve! If you live in an area that is cold (or you’re in the middle of a blizzard), stick the cans outside for a few minutes before preparing. It tastes even better chilled.
Chocolate Covered Cherry Grits
1 cup quick grits
4 cup water
4 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbs sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Tart dried cherries, dried cranberries, and/or chopped dried apricots, to taste
Lightly salt the water and cook the grits as thick as you like, add the cocoa, sugar, vanilla & dried berries. If you have it, serve with milk, this dish serves 4 and is a great “comfort” food.
Do you have a few easy recipes on hand for evacuations, hurricanes, tornadoes, cooking without power, cooking in the dark, not having access to running water, etc??