What are you going to do with all that rice and beans and other prepper foods that you have put back?
This is a question that I think is important to address. A lot of foods all of us have in quantity are pretty plain. The good news is that you can do a lot with some plain foods used creatively and some spices. Good food can drastically improve morale during hard times.
You can actually make some fairly believable copies of dishes you love to eat. It can take some time to get used to cooking with ingredients that are dry or well preserved rather than fresh. You may want to take some recipes and practice them or get creative and invent your own.
Those on limited diets should be thinking about what recipes will suit their needs. Basically anything I have listed below could be done as a low sodium dish or gluten free if you have prepped with low salt foods or gluten free flours and pastas. A lot of these dishes could also be utilized in a diabetic diet.
- 1 Basic Stew
- 2 Breads
- 3 Bread, Meat, and Cheese Loaf
- 4 Tortillas For Beans & Rice & Other South Of The Border Recipes
- 5 Prepper Pizza
- 6 Potatos Au Gratin
- 7 Pasta & Red Sauce
- 8 Chicken & Dumplings
- 9 Cream Of “Whatever You Have” Soup
- 10 Substitutions are great but here are some tips!
Getting creative with what you have
This article is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what can be done with a well stocked stash of prepper foods. Using that train of thought I want to say before we get started that while some of these ideas and recipes have measurements, a lot are just ingredient list and basic instructions for preparing.
This is not rocket science. You can really just thrown some meat, veggies, and spices in a pot and add some water, boil, and eat. What I hope this article does is get you thinking about food combinations that will get you through tough times and makes those that are just starting out with cooking realize that you don’t always have to measure everything down to the tbsp.
I have concentrated on hearty and comfort food dishes that offer a lot of nutrition, are filling, and do not require a million pots and pans and prep dishes to accomplish. A lot of the recipes that I have included can be done in one or two pots at most.
- Dried or canned meat
- Cornstarch or flour for thickening
- Water or broth
Combine in pot and simmer until everything is tender and hydrated. Thicken if desired and add seasonings. Serve over rice or other grain and this dish will go further.
Making bread is not as hard as you might think. Getting used to doing it in a Dutch Oven or solar oven is different but totally doable. I think the solar oven would be much easier to regulate the temperature and prevent burning but if you are cooking on a woodstove or hearth then you can still do it but you will have to pay more attention during cooking times.
Bread may seem like a challenge to new cooks but it is actually not that hard to make. I recommend the book Artisan Bread In 5 minutes a day for those just starting out. In no time at all you will find that you are able to just feel the dough and know it is right
Bread, Meat, and Cheese Loaf
I learned this recipe from my mother in law who actually taught me all the basics of making bread. While I use typical from the store ingredients for it usually, the prepper dried food version can feed a lot of people and satisfy hearty appetites.
This is a very versatile recipe and you could easily substitute the cheese for some other gravy filling or similar.
Any bread recipe will work. You might want to make your dough a little drier than usual if your fillings are very wet. Here is a basic bread recipe but I encourage you to try others or add seasonings to the mix if desired.
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 2-2 ½ tbsp yeast
- 10 ounces liquid
Put dry ingredients in a bowl and sift through. Add liquid and knead for 5-10 minutes. Let dough rest in bowl covered for at least 10 minutes. You can wait a few hours even if you get distracted. Knead again for 5 minutes. At this point you can leave your dough until later or you can shape or roll it out and fill it and let rise for 30 minutes to an hour before baking.
With bread you are dealing with something that is alive until baked. Bread dough can set all day and still be fine so long as there are no insects around. Under colder conditions you may need to add some heat during rise times.
To make the loaf or pocket
Roll out your dough into squares. You can make these loafs individual sized or sized for a whole family to slice and eat. Put fillings in the center and then fold over to make a pocket or shape however you want. Seal with some water. Cut or poke a few small slits. If you are lucky enough to have an egg you can brush it on the outside of the loaf to get a golden brown crisp crust.
Allow to rise for 30-60 minutes and bake. I use an oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and take out the loaf when golden brown. It takes an hour or a little more. It really depends on how big a loaf you have made.
Tortillas For Beans & Rice & Other South Of The Border Recipes
Tortillas are simple to make. All you need is flour, oil, water, and salt. That means all those beans and rice combined with some spices and powdered cheese for sauce can be made into some great Mexican dishes in little time.
Basic Flour Tortillas
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp oil or fat of your choice
- Salt to taste
Combine dry ingredients and oil then add enough water to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead for 5 minutes and let rest for 15 minutes. Roll out to whatever size you want them to be and then fry in a lightly oiled pan on medium heat, flipping once. You can flip more if needed. It can be hard to gauge cooking times well when you are using heat sources like wood fire or a camp stove.
Basic Pizza Crust
- 2 cups white flour (whole wheat can be used but the crust is a bit too heavy for a lot of people)
- 1-2 tbsp yeast, the more you use the faster the rise generally
- Enough water to form a soft dough
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp oil or fat
Knead dough and let rise for a few hrs in a warm place. Near a wood stove or on top of a warm oven works well. Roll out pizza crust or shape in a greased pan. Allow 10-15 minutes then add toppings. You can poke a few small holes or use a dough docker if you prefer a more crispy crust.
Bake until bubbly and slightly browned. I cook my homemade pizza in a gas oven that has been preheated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit normally. With a wood stove or solar oven you will have to keep an eye on it because times will vary a bit depending on a variety of factors.
Now here is where you can get creative. Dried tomato powder, spices, and oil, can be combined for a red sauce or you can use oil and herbs by themselves.
Dried onions, mushrooms, meat, ect can all be rehydrated and used.
The cheese can be dried cheese or you can mix some cheese powder and water to make a creamy sauce type cheese to add. This is about using what you have!
Potatos Au Gratin
Auguason Farms sells dried potato slices for a good price that are sealed in a bucket. These and some powdered sour cream, yogurt, milk, cheese, etc can be combined to make potatoes au gratin that taste better than the tiny yet pricy boxes you get at the store during good times.
In fact, you may want to start doing it this way now and save yourself some money on a family favorite.
Macaroni & Cheese
This is a classic that keeps the kids happy and you can make variations of it with canned or dried meat that makes it a whole meal. I do this recipe during good times but it is so versatile for prepper foods.
I use dried cheese powder and powdered buttermilk with a little water to make the cheese sauce when using dry ingredients.
Macaroni pasta is cheap to put back. Even at the regular grocery store in my area a 5 lb bag is $7 or so. Dried cheese powder and a dried dairy product of your choice and you have a lot of macaroni and cheese that will make you not want to go back to buying the small boxes with the packet of sauce mix included.
This can save a lot during good times too and takes up less space than all those boxes in a pantry!
Pasta & Red Sauce
Another easy to make classic.
Powdered dried tomato powder seems expensive but it goes a long way when combined with a little bit of your favorite oil or fat and a little meat if you have it. Any pasta you have on hand is good.
Spices should be part of a prepper pantry
A lot of us don’t truly appreciate how much spices can add to our dining experience until we don’t have them. While they don’t have a lot of calories, I think they are important for preppers to put back. A lot of spices can be bought by the pound for a low cost. I cook every day and sometimes it takes a few years to go through a 1 lb of some spices!
Chicken & Dumplings
This is easier than you might think because dumplings are not something that you have to let rise and you can make this dish in one pot.
- Canned Or Dried Veggies
- Spices & Thickener Like A Gravy Packet or Cornstarch
- Canned or Dried Chicken
Make a stew like in the basic stew recipe at the beginning of this post.
Flour, Water, Salt, Fat for Dumplings
- 1 cup of flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp fat or butter if you have it
- Water, broth, or reconstituted milk product
Mix and make a soft dough. Drop into hot chicken and veggies with broth and simmer until bread is cooked. You can also pop it in an oven to brown some on top at the end if you have the ability.
Practice Your Recipes Now
Getting better at cooking with prepper foods is something that might be worth it to practice. Dried foods take some time to get used to cooking with. A lot of people are not used to cooking a lot anymore so getting some time in is a good thing.
This also gives you a chance to try out some recipes on your family during good times so you can get an honest opinion and make any improvements you can. Good food improves morale during hard times and gives everyone something to look forward to.
If there is more than one person that cooks in the family then get them involved too. This is a good opportunity to start teaching kids about cooking or cooking under less than ideal circumstances.
Cream Of “Whatever You Have” Soup
I am going to give the general guidelines for making creamed soups. Cream of potato, mushroom, or chicken is quite easy to do with dried and canned foods. Here is what you need to make a variety of creamed soups.
- Dried Potato Flakes
- Spices ( I like the dried low sodium vegetable broth from Frontier Coop for a base flavor)
- Powdered milk, cream, or other dairy
- Dried Mushrooms
- Dried or Canned Vegetables
- Canned or Dried Chicken
For your base, you will want to use either potato flakes, powdered dairy, or possibly both. Add water to get the consistency you want. If you are adding dried veggies or meats then you may want to simmer them in some water and then add your thicker ingredients like potato flakes.
There is a ton of room for experimentation with this recipe. Dried cheese powder can add some extra calories and flavor if you have it. You can even use this cream base as starter for chicken and dumplings if you want. So if you make too much soup then turn it into something else for your next meal. It is certainly better than wasting it!
Substitutions are great but here are some tips!
While I have given you some information to go on, my ingredients are pretty basic and you can substitute a lot of things if you have something similar but not quite what I said to use. Here are some examples.
Powdered milk, yogurt, and sour cream can be used as substitutes for one another.
Cornstarch or flour can be used as a thickening agent. Just put the dry flour or cornstarch in some cold or tepid water and stir until smooth before adding to dishes.
Cooking fats can be substituted in most cases with the exception being frying. Some oils and fats have a lower smoke point than others. I have never had any luck using olive oil for trying to fry potatoes to a crispy state but grape seed oil, peanut oil, or lard does just fine. Pie crusts made from lard, flour, salt, and a little water are really good. You really don’t need butter to make a flaky crust if you have lard.
Flours are tricky to substitute and get the right texture. The recipes above use unbleached white flour. If you want to add in wheat or other grains then just be aware that the more heavy grains you add, the heavier the texture. This is why when doing pizza crusts or similar, a lot of people will use half white and half wheat at most for their crust. Any more whole wheat and the crust can just seem too heavy.
Gluten free flours are another tricky cooking skill to master. One of our close friends and neighbors eats a gluten free diet so I have learned to cook some things without wheat but when it comes to baking I usually just buy the gluten free baking mixes that you can use just like regular flour. For SHTF, you may want to mix up your own mix and vacuum seal it for easy use.
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