I’ve recently received a number of emails asking about food storage and also about ideas for pantry recipes. Whether it’s to save some money, or in case of emergency, many of us (understandably) have food preparedness on our minds these days. So in light of this, I’ve rounded up a list of easy and frugal recipes that rely mainly on pantry ingredients and food storage. My hope is that this list will be helpful not just for emergencies, but for other times when you want to cook from your home food storage. (Because when you have your pantry all stocked, it makes sense to actually cook with ingredients from it on a regular basis.)
But before I get to the recipes, I just want to say a few words about emergency preparedness and pantry food storage. Keep calm and be prepared is my motto. I have always been someone who likes to keep a stocked pantry and freezer because there are many uncertainties in life and you just never know. There are so many reasons to be prepared. Not only pandemics, but also more everyday reasons like unexpected job losses, natural disasters (I’ve lived through several hurricanes), snowstorms, unexpected expenses that take a toll on the finances, or any illness that keeps you housebound for a few days. It’s my belief that having some extra food on hand is never a bad idea. (And please don’t forget to have extra food for your pets!)
So What is a Pantry Recipe?
For my purposes, a pantry recipe is one that relies mainly on dry or canned ingredients from the pantry, plus oils, condiments, storage vegetables like onions and potatoes, and also freezer items such as frozen vegetables and meat. (Although in some situations, you may not have access to your freezer or refrigeration, so have some shelf-stable foods like canned meat on hand for that possibility.) And consider these recipes flexible and substitute ingredients as needed. Be creative and use what you have on hand.
Tips for Cooking from Food Storage:
If you are looking to be able to eat from food storage for an extended length of time, consider these tips:
Use and rotate your pantry stock, and replenish as needed. Don’t wait until the pantry is nearly empty to replenish your food stores, as that defeats the purpose of having food storage and also puts your food supply in jeopardy in case of an emergency.
Have some kind of shelf-stable milk. It can be canned evaporated milk, dry powdered milk, or cartons of shelf-stable milk.
Keep some cheese stashed in the freezer to use in casseroles, on pizza, on eggs, and in your other favorite recipes. You can freeze cheese for several months without losing much in quality.
Keep a supply of flour (all-purpose or gluten-free), and yeast in your pantry. Bread, pizza dough, rolls, and so much more can be made just from flour and yeast.
Dehydrated or freeze-dried food can be very handy. I’m not necessarily talking about the expensive premade meals, but rather an assortment of dried produce like greens, apples, potatoes, celery, dried mushrooms, cabbage, and bell peppers. Dried vegetables can often be substituted for fresh in a recipe. And when fresh vegetables are in short supply dried greens can add a burst of nutrition when added to soups, stews, and even smoothies. You can also buy dehydrated butter, buttermilk powder, cheese, beef crumbles, diced chicken, and other non-produce items to keep in your pantry.
Include frozen and canned vegetables in your food storage. You will see that some of these recipes call for fresh produce, like bell peppers or tomatoes, but you can easily substitute frozen bell peppers or canned tomatoes in these recipes and in many other recipes.
Buy what you and your family like, and what you are accustomed to eating. There isn’t much sense in storing food that no one is ever going to eat. Plus, in an emergency, there is a comfort to be found in eating food that is familiar to us.
In addition to having ingredients to make homemade recipes, store some ready-to-eat foods. I’m talking about foods that don’t need any special preparation and can be eaten straight from the package. Things like canned soups, canned stews, canned meats, and canned pasta. Also jars of peanut butter or sunflower seed butter, granola bars, and even some candy bars or protein bars.
When you are stocking your pantry, please don’t forget the furry, feathered, and even scaly members of your household. Make sure you have enough food and treats stored to keep your pets safe and comfortable.
And if you are just getting started with your pantry storage and wondering where to begin, here is a good list to get you started.
Shredded Beef Enchiladas (You can use store-bought or homemade canned beef to make this a more pantry-friendly meal).
So thank you for stopping by and I hope you find inspiration in this list of pantry recipes. I know it always helps me to remain calm and level-headed when I feel like I am prepared and have a plan in place. Stay safe everyone!
Peace and Love,
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