Monday, April 6, 2020

PANDEMIC FOOD PREPARATIONS

Thought we'd share what all we got before the shelter in place/quarantine.

I am a big news person, I watch a lot of what's going on in the world.  I told 2nd Man back in January that this virus in China was something we should keep an eye on.  In February I started stocking up just in case it made it here.  I noticed then a reduction in supplies of hand sanitizer, gloves, etc.  Food hadn't yet started to dwindle so I started stocking up.


This is the main pantry.  We've got all sorts of stuff in here.  Yes, you see that correctly, there are some processed food items, don't judge, ha.  In times like these you need comfort food, you need easy and you need shelf stable.  This pantry is deep which we love.  Normally we'd worry things would get lost in the back but this time it helps  That top shelf is filled two rows back.  Several boxes of cereal, crackers, Kraft mac and cheese, stove top stuffing, even some hamburger helper boxes.  Behind all that are several bags of potato chips.  Oh and pop tarts.

Because, well, pop tarts.

The next shelf has the baking supplies, honey, baking soda/powder, cocoa, chocolate chips, extracts etc.

Under that is a shelf with pie fillings, cans of sweetened condensed milk, "cream of" soups, lots of canned beans and some vegetables.  Then we have a lot of jarred sauces...for example alfredo, marinara, sauces for slow cooker meals etc and then a lot of tomato paste, sauce and cans of diced tomatoes.

The shelf under that has more canned tomato products (2nd Man uses those a lot), more beans, canned tuna, chili, manwich, different flavors of soup, cooking oils, vinegars, etc.

The bottom shelf has containers of rice (we have about 15 lbs), brown rice, instant potatoes, several jars of peanut butter, etc.

On the floor are two large baskets and two green storage containers.  The green containers are each filled with ramen noodle packages, a dozen each.  What college student hasn't lived on ramen noodles.  We like them on occasion but of course 2nd Man  always gives them an upgrade. 

The two baskets are used as follows: 


This one is full of pasta.  All shapes and sizes.  Believe it or not, this basket has 16 packages of pasta.  The long ones are on the bottom (spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine) and the rest are just other shapes, penne, rotini, rigatoni, farfalle, etc.  On the floor behind this basket are 3 bags of egg noodles.


The other basket has potatoes and onions.  We have it full (added some more from a last minute trip to the store before the quarantine).



On the counter we have these large jars.  They hold more onions (and it's full) our garlic (full with the last of our farm garlic from last Spring's harvest) and since we have regular potatoes in the basket...


...this one is full with about 15 lbs of sweet potatoes. 


We have another box in a different cabinet that is full of dried beans, lentils and grains.  Here is some of what we have in that box including couscous, pinto beans, kidney beans, 15 bean soup blend, barley/peas/lentil blend...


...and then bags of barley, farro, and red and brown lentils.

Since this is not like a hurricane prep where we might lose power, we decided to stock the freezer and fridge as well so we'd have meat to go with the pantry items and we can make meals. 


We bought 6 chickens (over the course of a few weekends) and roasted them two at a time, let them cool and pulled all the meat off the bones.  I bagged up the meat from each chicken into separate vacuum seal bags.  That way 1 pkg = 1 roasted chicken for any recipe we want to make (casseroles, enchiladas, flautas, pot pies, soup, etc).  2nd Man used the bones to make chicken stock which we also have frozen in the freezer.

Our freezer already has several packages of roasted turkey done in this manner as well.

We also bought some boneless/skinless chicken breasts and vacuum sealed them (uncooked).


Same with beef...we bought 6 lbs of ground beef and vacuum sealed them in 1 lb packages.  Also did six steaks this way (2 per pkg) and some beef chuck roast cut into chunks.


Same with pork...we have four 1 lb packs of ground pork vacuum sealed into packages, pork loins that I got on sale and cut into sections for pork roast dinners, and 4 packages of thick cut pork chops (2 each per pkg) as in the package above.

Also in the freezer we have a LOT of frozen vegetables.  All the bags of corn blend, stir fry blend, broccoli cauliflower blend etc, it's a great way to have  as close to fresh vegetables without them being canned.  A bag makes a great side dish and of course they also make great ingredients in other dishes.


In the refrigerator, we bought meats that we didn't have to seal up right away but would last a longer time without freezing.  We love the packages of sausage that are sold like this.  They are great for roasting in the oven, chopped up into pasta dishes, stir fries, etc.  It's a great meat to have on hand and they come in so many varieties for every taste.  The are also usually good left just like this in the fridge for a couple of months (these all have a best by date of May/June which is why I bought them).  


These thick sliced ham steaks are wonderful too.  Sealed and good for a couple months in the fridge.  We slice them in quarters and can make them last longer.  Good in a skillet with eggs, good on sandwiches, etc.


We wanted to regular creature comforts of breakfast food and so I bought a few packs of breakfast sausage.  In order to keep them longer I cut the packages in half and vacuum sealed them.  The vacuum seal is to help them last longer.  They had a best by date of end of April.  When we reach that date we'll freeze whatever we haven't used.


Got two large packages of thick sliced bacon and cut each in half and same thing, vacuum sealed to last as long as possible.

We also filled the fridge with eggs (4 dozen), a few quarts of milk and related products, lots of cheese (bags of shredded, sliced cheddar for grilled cheese, slice other flavors for sandwiches, some parmesan and similar cheeses), sandwich meat of course, hot dogs, and the usual like condiments, jelly, etc.  


And then lastly we have flour (all purpose and bread) and sugar (regular granulated in the big one as well as things like brown sugar, powdered sugar etc in smaller jars).  These jars will be refilled soon, we have some bags we haven't poured in yet because 2nd Man has been baking bread and using up what we already had.  Found them years ago and love them because they hold about 10 lbs each.

I have not been to the store in over 2 weeks now which is kind of neat.  I think we'll be good for a while longer.  I've been taking pictures of what we've had, I'll start posting them just to share ideas.  We try to eat simply during the week, nothing too elaborate.  Some nights it's cereal and toast and other nights we have a sandwich or quesadillas. Other nights maybe pasta with a simple meat sauce.  On the weekend we try to make a meal that will last a couple of days or can be repurposed into a new dish, or we have something like steak, baked potato and veggies, just to have a "fancy meal", LOL, in the brave new world.

Hope you all are staying safe and eating well in this new normal!

29 comments:

  1. Can I kiss you two now or later on a nice organized pantry and kitchen??!?!?! I too love storing things in baskets. Looks nice,while still being nice and accessible. Nice pantry selection and nothing wrong with some processed items...who wants to cook a feast every night? But POP TARTS!!!!!! I give you kudos for eating them. I could never stomach them. But you two make my inner Joan Crawford very pleased.

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    1. Come on Mistress, you gotta like Pop Tarts! Now I will admit, not a fan of them "untoasted" and we don't like the ones that are covered in frosting. Did you know they only make three flavors that don't have frosting? And they are hard to find. Strawberry, blueberry and cinnamon/sugar. And yep, a feast every night is not the easiest, ha.

      Kisses back at ya...and NO WIRE HANGERS, EVER!!!

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  2. You have a nice selection for meal possibilities.I am with you on watching the news early and adding to the coffers. We have a ton of food and additionally I cook and freeze regularly anyway, so we even have about 30 meals that only have to be thawed and reheated, then served over rice or pasta.
    My aim during this period of isolation is to use some of the odd things I have bought and pushed to the back in the pantry. (Quinoa anyway? I think I have 5 boxes of the stuff)

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    1. Thanks...yep the news told us back in January what could be coming and sure enough here it is. Our freezer isn't big enough for the frozen cooked meals and all the stuff we bought, ha. At the house we had a big upright freezer in the garage, that was SO nice.

      Funny you mentioned using up stuff. I bought the farro when they were out of other grains we wanted and we tried it and loved it. You might discover something new. Stay safe!

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    2. A few days ago, I was re-organizing my freezer and came across a roast from 2014. I had to look 3 times to make sure of the date. I don’t know how I missed it for so long. It was vacuum sealed, so I thought, what the heck - I cooked it with some onions, carrots, and potatoes. It turned out delicious! You never know when you’ll come across a nice surprise at the back of a pantry or freezer!

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    3. Last summer, found some shredded cooked turkey from 2015 vacuum sealed in the freezer. We tried it and it was fine. I mean as long as the power hasn't gone out and it's vacuum sealed I think the life is way longer than they advertise with those vacuum sealers. I mean I guess in the end the worst that can happen is freezer burn but I don't think it can really go bad. At least that's our story and we're sticking to it, ha.

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  3. we had pasta & meat sauce last night. YAYZ for pop tarts (sorry, maddie). comfort food, like ramen noodles, are necessary right now. wish I had a pantry closet like yours.

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    1. thanks! We had pasta and meat sauce Saturday night. And yes, pop tarts are great comfort, ha, alone with ramen noodles. Now would we want to eat them for weeks? No. But we have a couple dozen and spread out over time, a meal or two a week, well it would last a long time.

      Our house (that we sold) had a great pantry. Our first apartment had one of those kitchen cabinet pantries. It was useless for stocking up. We could not see what was in the bag, it was dark, a tight fit, just didn't work. We lucked out in this apartment because it has an actual closet pantry that works great, especially now!

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    1. Aw, thanks! We hope you are staying safe!!

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  5. it looks like you two won't starve any time soon. i reorganized my pantry to see what i had. i'm down to 50 lbs of flour which makes me nervous!i have enough rice to feed asia. and don't get me started on the dried beans!

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    1. We never have more than about 10lbs at a time but for this we stocked up to about 20. But of course you are a baking machine (I don't know how you do it, ha). But I bet if we had the space 2nd Man would tell me 50 lbs was just fine, ha. "Rice and beans, beans and rice" as the saying goes, always good to have. Stay well.

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  6. I did the same. I tend to pay attention to world news and since we all (my son, husband, and myself) all work retail, we understand about the supply chain and how easily it can be disrupted. If for no other reason, I started stocking up in mid-February. I'm so glad I did because I hadn't even imagined what March was going to bring. I didn't do much frozen stuff because we don't have much freezer space, but I filled my pantry with shelf stable items, including canned meat.

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    1. We must always pay attention don't we? The supply chain is so important to keeping things running and the slightest disruption has ripple effects. This is a disruption the likes of which we've never seen. Freezer is not big at all we just crammed it as full as we could, ha. Shelf stable items are the best in an crisis like this. Also they don't require power if there was a failure like that. Hang in there!! And be safe if you are still working.

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  7. Well done. And good for you for paying attention to the news and taking action when it was warranted! I think even those of us who try to grow a lot of our own food but a number of processed and packaged goods. For long term preparedness it just makes sense. And you are so right about comfort foods. I used my foodsaver attachments and vacuum sealed quart and half-gallon jars of cookies and crackers. :)

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    1. Thanks. Sometimes I read stuff and think maybe, maybe not. This time I just had a feeling there was something imminent about this.

      If we were living at the farm full time, it would be so much garden stuff. But we're not there yet. This is a good real world run to show how bad things can be.

      Comfort foods are important aren't they? There's a reason they call it comfort, ha.

      Great idea about the foodsaver attachments we have that and I didn't think about cookies in jars like that. Thanks!!

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  8. You did a really, really great job on stocking up. That’s a wonderful pantry and y’all have it organized so well. You are so organized and thorough that you could advise FEMA on how to prepare for an emergency.

    I love your counter top containers for potatoes, onions, and garlic. Really handy and keeps them separate. I read today that potatoes and onions should not be stored together. Potatoes cause the onions to over ripen and rot. I checked mine and sure enough, the onions are starting to get bad spots on them. I’m really glad that my shallots are still producing.

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    1. Thanks. I keep us organized. We haven't had a pantry like this since the house a few years back. The first apartment had horrible pantry space. We do well for a small apartment, ha.

      I didn't know that about onions and potatoes! I will remove them forthwith! Thanks and be safe too!!

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    2. Texas Rose beat me to it about the potatoes and onions. Onions produce ethylene gas which makes potatoes rot quicker. Onions and garlic are fine together, but should be kept far from potatoes. Same with apples and pears with potatoes, that's a no-no too because they both produce ethylene as well. And Apples readily absorb smells of other foods so they are better away from onions or anything strong smelling.

      Your pantry is really wonderful! Great job.

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    3. Thanks for this info both of you. I went and took out the onions, they had already caused a couple potatoes close to them to get soft. Moved the onions to a basket in another room by the kitchen. Thank you!!!

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  9. Dang, I forgot about Pop tarts! :) I'm a little envious of your freezer space. Mine is small, but stocked well enough for a while. I started paying a lot of attention to the news in early March and stocked up on a lot of can goods and such. Didn't think TP was going to be such a problem though. I checked on my 87 year old aunt a couple of weeks ago and she told me she had one roll of TP! It took me 3 days to find some for her. Praying mine will last! I have to make a run to the drugstore for meds tomorrow. After that, I am hunkered down until the all clear is given! Take care & stay safe!

    I have the same type of potato, onion, & garlic crocks. Love mine!

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    1. Our freezer may sound big but it's small (a side by side) we just got rid of (and by got rid of I meant ate) all the space taking up stuff like ice cream, etc. Now it's just meat and frozen veggies (I need to take a picture). A lot of these things are flat by nature when I vacuum seal them so they just stack or fit sideways wherever I can get them in there, ha.

      Don't you love those crocks? I bought them for 2nd Man a few years back and they have worked out perfectly.

      Keeping you and your family and indeed the world in our thoughts, we're all in this together, we'll get through it together.

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  10. Careful how many people you tell about your stash of food. If things get really bad, someone could decide to move in and take your stuff.

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    1. Very good point! Being in the apartment we're just one of several hundred in the building so we're safe but someday at the farm, yeah, we'd want to keep our supplies quiet, especially to anyone out there in the area.

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  11. Today I put on my snow boots and ventured into my freezer, I found a pizza! A PIZZA! I just add a little more vegetables and cheese and it perfect. I have more frozen foods than canned. A lot is frozen from the garden last fall. You are very organized, I love that, it gave me that "ahhhh all is right with the world" feeling! Lol

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    1. Snow boots, ha!! A real life pizza? Lucky you!!! Our freezer is too small for a pizza (it's a side by side freezer/ridge). Honestly if we were stocking a bigger freezer for something like this again I'd have to remember now to include pizza! That's a comfort food too ha.

      You are too kind, the pantry, fridge and kitchen area are all well organized...the closets, meh not so much. I guess we have our priorities, ha.

      Please stay safe!!! We're gonna get through this!!! Hugs to you!

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  12. We were prepared and we've been able to fill in what we were missing by careful searching. We may actually have to, at some point, eat things we don't normally eat. My husband asked if we had enough spaghetti to last us. And I said yes, and if we run out of that we also have some rigatoni, linguine and other various shapes. He said "No, I asked if we have enough SPAGHETTI noodles". LOL! Yes, and after that you're eating RIGATONI.

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    1. Ha, that's awesome. Hubby loves his spaghetti huh? LOL we like all pasta shapes. I think you can sub in just about anything with any sauce. I hope you stay safe!!!

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  13. Marvelous! Looks like you are very well stocked for the days ahead.
    You can make your own pizza dough and put in the freezer for future use.

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