Monday, April 6, 2009

One Every Wednesday

So, I'm kind of on a new food storage 
kick!  Not that we're completely new to food storage. Our family has been pretty good about following the counsel to store food, water, and other necessities for several years.  We use our food storage on a regular basis--basically treat it like an extended pantry.  Instead of running to the store, we run to the basement for a box of brownie mix, some more rice, oats, or a can of tomato paste.  I keep it pretty well stocked replacing used items regularly.  It's all stored in the perfect cool, dark place allowing for longer shelf life.

But lately I'm feeling this urgency to be
 better prepared--like someday we may actually have to LIVE on this stuff.  It's not unlikely that situations could occur in the future proving our food storage more valuable...things like abnormal weather patterns (extreme temperatures, floods, or droughts), natural disasters (most likely tornadoes in our neck of the woods), regional crop failures or infestations, loss of employment (which we experienced AGAIN this past year), extended illness or personal disability (you never know!) transportation or other labor strikes, world economic fluctuations, national turmoil (WAR), or even increased inflation and high food prices.  I'm thinking in today's times of economic uncertainty, this is one thing I can do to bring added peace to my family.  "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."

This is a partial view of our storage shelves.  They are stocked with non-perishable foods, paper goods, and toiletries.  My most recent addition was 16 pounds of chocolate chips (enough to bake cookies twice a month for a year) that I sealed in mason jars with a Foodsaver.  Click here for a cool video about how to do it:  

Here you see about twelve of our 33 cases of long-term storage (#10 cans of wheat, oats, beans, powdered milk, dried fruits and vegetables, macaroni, powdered eggs, powdered butter, etc).  It's not the best set up for rotation, but we don't pull from this stack very often, and for now I'd rather spend my budget on food than on expensive shelving.  Sorry, Shelf Reliance!  

This photo shows three of our five 55-gallon barrels of drinking water.  We plan to increase our water storage by adding two additional water heaters to our home (not to heat, just to store).  That way, the water will be continually rotated.

The question  is, if we had to completely rely on our food storage to survive, what would I make?  Would there be any variety?  What if that necessity lasted for a year or more? What kinds of meals could we create that would be both tasty and nutritious?   I want to have a plan!  This year,  in order to compile our family's list of food storage emergency meals, I set a goal. Once a week I make my family dinner strictly from food storage (nothing fresh, nothing refrigerated, nothing frozen) and once a month, I prepare our dinner without any electricity. ('Cause let's face it, we may not have all the modern conveniences we're used to in a time of disaster.)  

Then a friend told me about Wendy Dewitt's Food Storage Seminar.  This lady has got it goin' on!  I LOVE her system (although I want much more variety) and found her information inspiring. Click below to see the first of nine segments.  These clips are not long and they are NOT BORING!  

Anyway, several of my friends who have heard what I'm doing have requested recipes, so I decided to post them here ONE EVERY WEDNESDAY. Remember, these are not gourmet meals; they are survival meals.  So, adjust your expectations accordingly. 


Sauce:  2 Tbsp. oil; 3 Tbsp. flour; 2 (8-oz) cans tomato sauce; 1 1/2 cups water (including broth from canned meat). 

Filling:  1 (12-oz.) can beef or chicken chunks, drained and broken up; 1-2 (15 oz.) cans any beans, drained; 12 corn tortillas (see recipe below); 1 (8-oz.) bottle processed cheese sauce; 2 Tbsp. dried minced onion; 1/2 tsp. - 2 Tbsp. chili powder; 1/2 tsp. sugar; 1/2 tsp. vinegar; 1/4 tsp. garlic powder; 1 (4-oz.) can diced green chilies, 1 tsp. onion powder.

Directions:  In sauce pan, combine oil and flour until there are no lumps.  Add rest of sauce ingredients and bring to boil while stirring. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cool while making tortillas.

In a bowl combine beef, beans and chilies.  Spread 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of lightly greased 9 x 3-inch baking dish.  Pour some of sauce in to a pie pan.  Quickly dip tortillas in sauce on both sides and fill with meat mixture.  Roll tortillas and place seam side down in pan. Pack enchiladas tightly and cover with remaining sauce.  Dot with processed cheese sauce and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

My Notes:  I made this recipe with black beans and beef.  It turned out pretty good.  The only problem was the cheese "dots" didn't melt; they just sat on top and burned.  Next time, I'd just leave the cheese off or try adding it for the last five minutes only.  

Family Consensus:  THUMBS UP!


Ingredients:  1 cup cornmeal; 1 cup white flour; 3/4 tsp. salt; 1/4 cup shortening; 2/3 cup hot water

Directions:  Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl; roughly cut in shortening.  Stir in water; knead for at least a minute.  Divide dough in to 12 equal pieces.  Heat heavy skillet, wiped with oil.  Roll one dough piece into a 7-inch circle on floured counter.  Cook in hot skillet on medium-high heat about 30 seconds on each side.  If pan is hot enough, little brown spots will appear on each side as tortillas cook. These go fast--so roll tortillas out as you cook them. 

For Corn Chips:  Cut tortillas into quarters and fry in an inch or two of hot oil until crisp.  Drain on a doubled paper towel-lined plate.  Salt and enjoy!

My Notes:  This recipe makes tortillas with a great flavor, but they will not look like commercial tortillas.  I made them for the enchilada recipe above using my electric skillet.  The dough was a little too dry to work with, so I had to add more water.  Otherwise, they were totally fine.

Family Consensus:  THUMBS UP!


  1. wow, that's incredible, you should definitely be the poster person for food storage!!

  2. Those are some good looking shelves full of storage. I definitely need to organize mine better. Impressive Colleen!

  3. Where are your chocolate chips, girlfriend? I want to try the enchilada recipe- sounds yummy. I will let you know how it goes1

  4. Wow!!! Your storage room looks amazing!! It looks like a small grocery store. You are inspiring all of us!

  5. Wow, I am way impressed (and feeling WAY behind!). We don't have any food storage, but you have motivated me to start one. How did you start? Just picking up the stuff that's on sale at the market in bulk?

  6. Yep, I started by stocking up on sales and/or by just buying a FEW extra items each time I went to the store. If you pick up an extra can of peaches every time you shop, before you know it, you have a whole CASE! Try shooting for just a one-months supply at first and do it gradually. It's kinda' fun! :)

  7. ok! I'm on it!
    I think I'll start with bare necesseties first (beans, rice, water), and then maybe graduate to hmmmmm... chocolate chips? (Although, not sure if that's the best idea because I have NO self control when it comes to chocolate!)
    Thanks for this idea! I feel enriched!

  8. And Katherine...don't feel way behind, because when I was your age I had absolutely no emergency storage. Remember, I'm old and I've had a lot of time to acquire/accumulate. You're smart to prioritize! I just happen to think that emergencies call for dessert and mascara. :)

  9. The first picture makes me down right happy. Can't explain it.

  10. Colleen... I thought I remembered food storage posts on your blog! I found them!!! You are so good at food storage and cooking with it. I'm sure you're aware that Shelf REliance has moved to the home party direct-sales market. You have got to be a consultant! You would be so natural at it! That way you could make money and earn free food and that "expensive shelving" you were talking about! ;) Give me a call! I'd love to tell you more about it! Love, Julie (Seamons) Sivley 214-783-0306