The Value of a Stocked Pantry

I haven’t been feeling well this week.  At first, I attributed it to a little post-Navy Ball fatigue, then to just being tired, but sometime yesterday I realized that I might be fighting off some sort of sickness.  My house is slowly deteriorating into a wreck, but we have continued to eat well due to our well-stocked pantry and some pre-planning.

I always try to keep some sorts of “emergency meals” in my pantry and/or freezer.  I wrote about my freezer menu long ago, but this week we have been more of a pantry menu.  No one is going to argue that these meals make the most amazing diet, but they are warm, filling and much better than drive-through, carryout, or restaurants.

My current pantry menu consists of the following items:

  • Boxed scalloped potatoes, frozen ham steak, and frozen vegetables.
  • Chicken pot pie, using prepared pie crust, canned or frozen vegetables, and canned soup.
  • Tuna noodle casserole using egg noodles, canned noodles, canned or frozen vegetables and the evil canned soup.
  • Kielbasa or sausage served with boxed rice product and, of course, frozen vegetables.

I usually shy away from the prepared soups for recipes, but the purpose of this menu is to provide your family with meals when the cook isn’t up to cooking.  In this case, I am glad to cheat a little so that my family can eat decently without me touching all their food.  This wouldn’t be a great menu for the heat of summer but it is perfect for the late fall/early winter weather we are currently experiencing here.

I always love to hear other people’s emergency menu ideas.  Please, please share in the comments…

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • ross

    About 2 years ago we got a food saver, A vacuum bag machine. We buy rice, sugar, even tobacco in bulk. and store it away. I think that the machine keeps meet better. The down side is, as the cost of things go up. It’s a shock when you start to replace stuff.

  • Judith Ellyson

    I use my Food Saver to prepare meals ahead of time (spaghetti sauce, chili, taco meat, leftovers, even pre-grilled hamburgers, ribs, and chops). I freeze them immediately, and with vacuum packing they keep for months. When I don’t feel up to cooking, or if I’m gone and my family is on their own, defrosting a package in the microwave and just heating it up is a cinch. It’s just one less thing to worry about, and so much more economical than buying packaged food off the shelf.

  • Voix Velour

    Many of us at some distance from military installations have long realized the wisdom of a well stocked pantry, refrigerator and freezer. And especially when those cold/viruses diminish the “will” to “shop!” Or prepare.

    My monthly excursion to the commissary at Los Angeles Air Force Base works great, the butchers are terrific, the store is usually well stocked, great selections to lay in dairy, produce, and meat selections along with frozen seafood which is a real lifesaver. And of course the rice, bean, and canned items. Not to overlook the “from scratch” economies.

    A range of ethnic varietes work well: Lasagna and Carnitas are favorites around here, along with Portuguese Teresmos [Picnic pork roast cut in chunks and marinated in garlic, salt (lots), paprika, bay leaf, olive oil and wine before browning and simmering in wine with under baked potatoes cut in cubes; cooked spinach tossed with olive oil and garlic is nice, along with sliced tomato with capers. A bit of parsley decor! Spicy Black Beans go well with Mexican and Portugues menus. All frozen in “serving packs.” Servings of Lasagna readily freeze by setting them in the freezer on a plate or slicing board lined with saran wrap until they are well chilled and then into the freezer bags separated by saran.

    This is a gourmet cook who lives to eat …. well! And remain trim!! Healthy!!! Steak, Seafood, Chicken.

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