Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Food Preps

Spaghetti Dinner

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Adam Campbell:
Recently I picked up and moved a good distance from the city. Due to my teenage daughter moving out for college and not spending a lot of time at my house, along with other reasons I find myself home alone a lot. As a result, I had stopped being “as prepared” in the food department. When I moved I kept any stored foods that were still good but for the most part it has been a fresh start.

I keep hearing about people buying big buckets of beans, rice, and “survival food” — MRE’s and things of that nature. While it’s not a bad idea I have decided to keep it simpler for now.

I have a 6 year old son who is the pickiest eater in the world (it’s a phase). His palette is extremely limited and it is very difficult to get him to try new things. Fortunately he does like a lot of fresh fruit and does not like sugary drinks. He prefers to drink water most of the time.

His favorite thing to eat is spaghetti so I have to cook it at least once a week. I usually make enough sauce to have leftovers throughout the week. And I began to think… Why not just start THERE with the food preps?

KISS principle — Keep It Simple Stupid!

Without really making an effort, when it comes to food preps I’ve focused on that one meal. Something I know I could cook for my son every single day and he would never get bored with it. While I would get VERY sick of eating the same thing every day myself, in the event of having to rely on our food stores I’d definitely appreciate having that on hand.

I’ve decided to keep all the “ingredients” stocked up to the point I can actually use the products before they go bad. I don’t really want to keep any storable food that I am not going to use up during the normal routine of life. While there’s a place for keeping very long term storable food in your preps, I think the possibility of being “snowed in” for a week, or something along those lines is what I am looking at.

Also, when you focus on prepping for one meal, you are still buying “ingredients” that apply to many other things. So because of putting the focus on this one meal my son likes, and only buying the necessary ingredients when they are on sale — I got to the point in about 3 grocery trips where we are stocked enough to make his favorite meal every day for 2 weeks.

We are keeping enough butter in the fridge to last about 3 months. Whenever I use up a package and see it go on sale I’ll stock back up and keep that rotating.

I have been buying ground beef 10lbs at a time when it’s on sale. In fact I bought 10lbs this week for the same price that 3lbs would have been just a week before that. I always put ground beef in my spaghetti sauce so we are well covered in that department.

There is a local company in Altoona that makes the spaghetti sauce base we like and I’d say about once a month the sauce goes on sale for $1 a jar. We would run out of other ingredients before running out of pasta sauce, but I’ll keep a rotating stock of it based on how much I’d generally use over a year. Always buying it on sale.

I am buying whenever it goes on sale, a few boxes at a time — basically  more than I know I’d use before the next time it goes on sale. That store is packed enough to outlast the other ingredients but I’ll stop when I know I am at the point where I have a stockpile worth about what I’d normally go through in a year’s time.

I always like to use up fresh vegetables, peppers, onions, garlic, anything that goes well with pasta sauce when it’s spaghetti dinner night. I have also been picking up enough dried onions, garlic, and other herbs and spices to supplement in case there’s no fresh options available (or I have none in the fridge to use up). I am not keeping any more in stock than I’d normally use up in a year even though they can last a lot longer than that.

Keeping enough salt in the pantry to cover what we’d normally use in a year, which actually isn’t a whole lot. Most of the time it is used to salt the water when making pasta. I hardly ever use it otherwise.

We keep enough canned parmesan cheese to last quite awhile. One can each of parmesan and romano of his favorite brand (another local company makes it) in the fridge — and one can each stored in the pantry (to get replaced whenever a new one is opened and added to the fridge. That’s about the right amount of backup there.

My son loves to have some Grands biscuits with his spaghetti so I’m making sure to keep enough cans in stock (they always go on sale along with coupons to the point you can get them for $.50 cents a can. I’m not keeping any more in stock than we would otherwise use up in a few month’s time. Replacing stock as they go on sale and we’ve used some up.

That pretty much covers all I need to make spaghetti dinner for my son — but when you look at all of the stocks that go into it, you can see how easy it is to grab just a few other random items from the grocery store to make 10 other meals from that.

It also gives us a good base to start from, canned bread dough, butter, frozen meats, pasta, dried herbs and vegetables, cheese, salt, and pasta sauce. I can think of 10 other things to make where I’d need to go to the store and buy just one other item.

I thought this was a good example of how you can start creating a food prep almost from scratch and within a very short time, and without a lot of money or effort build up a store that would get you through any type of situation where you’re locked down at home for 2 weeks.

It could be a snow storm or some other natural disaster, or maybe you lost your job. I know that hangs over my head all of the time due to the nature of my work. I typically don’t ever stay at a company for more than a year. My career is extremely volatile and there has been more than one time where I am “surviving” by eating from my pantry and being extremely frugal about going to the grocery store.

It doesn’t always have to be this Alex Jones “survival food bucket” / “survival seed bank” crap to get started.

And I would HIGHLY recommend starting with what you KNOW you and your family like. I know that if I went down the MRE / “Survival Food Bucket” road that I’d potentially be putting things in my storage that I won’t even WANT to eat when there’s nothing left!

You will survive but it’s so much better when you actually like what you are making.

I think the next “prepare meal” for me might be “biscuits and gravy” — and just see how much bacon I should keep in the freezer along with sausage and finding a way to keep enough milk on hand to make it (even if in a survival situation you end up using powdered milk vs fresh).

Biscuits are already covered. I make the dish about once a month, so from there I can calculate how much I need to keep in stock to keep enough on hand, but not so much it would go bad before I use it up. And I can think of 100+ more reasons to keep an ample supply of bacon on hand (in whatever form it may be (including canned).

What say you?

Do you have any simple meals that you enjoy eating, which you know you might not get sick of (as fast) when TSHTF?

Just in case it ever becomes a SHTF situation, you might try mixing vegetables chopped fine (they can be dehydrated ones too), and mixing them into the meat mixture. A lady I know in Canada puts carrots, celery, onion, sometimes squash, etc into her meat mixture... no one seems to ever know it is there. That way there are other vitamins and minerals in your 'single meal' system.

And Spaghetti noodles save FOREVER. They stand up great in 4 gallon buckets or those tubs that contain Pub Mix from Costco.


Morning Sunshine:
another option is canning bacon

I buy ready made ,in a can, SAUSAGE GRAVY for under a dollar a can it is a low cost ,easy to store and prepare meal when added over bread,biscuit,or rice and I do the same with "no beans" chili.

Hi.  Think this is a great idea.  Spaghetti dinners are one of our core preparedness meals if sheltering in place.  Like Cedar said it's easy to hide anything in spaghetti (and goulash and chili too).  We have buckets of pasta for longer term storage, depending on the size of the food grade bucket we've gotten up to 31 lbs of spaghetti noodles and 8 lbs of macaroni noodles in one bucket.  I found it's easier to lay the bucket on it's side and fill the spaghetti noodles first and then when it's completely filled stand the bucket up and fill it the rest of the way with the macaroni noodles. 

The sauce can be either home made from individual ingredients which is the way we prepare it normally now, but the canned sauces aren't too bad and go on sale for under a dollar a quart pretty frequently.  We have cases of those in storage but mostly it's just for emergencies.  As the last line of defense against starvation, or maybe for charity, we store the dry mix spaghetti flavoring packets that you mix with a can of tomato paste, water, and vegetable oil.   

The canned/grated parmesan cheese is a staple in our pantry too unopened it stores pretty well on the shelf at room temperature.  Just checked the open one in the refrigerator and its "best by" date is Oct 2014 and it tastes fine. 


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