Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Meal in a Bag
A few weeks ago there was an interesting article in The Standard Examiner about a book describing a fascinating method of food storage. The premise behind the book was that instead of (or in addition to) the long range method of storing wheat and rice, etc., that we should also store the food that we use everyday. The author came up with about 100 meals that she could store 'in a bag'.
Kecia and I decided to order the book and try bagging up some meals. She brought Emma and Leah up to my house on Monday and was going to bring the makings of 2 or 3 meals and I was going to organize the makings of 2 or 3 additional meals.
She called me at 9 am that morning and said that she had everyone bathed and dressed and fed and was starting to pack the car but had decided that she wasn't going to be able to bring the meal stuff - there was just too much to pack just to get the three of them here. I told her fine, I would have some food ready to bag.
This is what our first two bags looked like. The first recipe we took directly out of the book. I had all the different ingredients already in my fruit room It is called "Roast Beef Dinner" and consists two cans of chunked roast beef (I had bought a case of the beef a year or so ago when I had gone to the Ogden Cannery and helped can the stuff!), one can of beef gravy, one package of potato pearls (we pulled all the air out of the bag we sealed it in with my Seal-A-Meal machine - that was really handy), a can of vegetables and one bottle of water. The water was to reconstitute the potato pearls. We then scanned the recipe from the book and stapled it onto the bag
We put an expiration date of 10/11 - one year from now. The recipe also called for powdered milk but that was just to make the instant potatoes with and I used potato pearls. Each meal will feed about six people and costs about $5 - and comes with however much bottled water needed to reconstitute it or boil pasta in.
This is the other main meal - tuna noodle casserole. It has a can of tuna, cream of mushroom soup and evaporated milk. I need to find some packets of dried cheese to put on the top of it. We also decided we need to buy some mini packets of salt and pepper to add to each meal. Since this was a meal of my own imagination, we simply wrote out the instructions on the outside of the bag. Once we use a 'bag' we will refill it - when we get the plastic bags with better handles on it we will attach a CD sleeve to put the instruction in and we won't have to refill the bags with the same meals. We can refill the bottles of water though to replace what was used in the meal preparation.
The third meal we did was a breakfast. We seal-a-mealed quick oatmeal, added ziplock sandwich bags with sugar and cinnamon, added six packets of hot choc mix and you can see the two bottles of water - I need to buy one more bottle of water to add to this meal to give the water necessary to make the oatmeal AND the hot chocolate.
Here are the three bags we put together. We are looking for better bags that can be reused again and again. I put these three in my coat closet by my 72 hour kits so that if there is an emergency I can grab them and run - and eat a lot better than what I have in my 72 hour kit...not only that but have enough each meal to share with others since there is only Ed and I.
One of the most exciting things about this whole thing was that this was stuff I already have in my food storage - I just needed to organize it. This is what was left over from the food I brought up from the fruit room before I decided which recipes I wanted to sack up. I have cans of chicken and a box of Brown Rice. I have a spaghetti dinner with a vegetable. I have cans of whole potatoes... and I have packages of beans and rice which in and of itself is a complete protein...
The book is full of simple ideas that I can make up into meal bags or I can just take some of my own tried and true recipes and organize them also. Now I just need to start moving things around under my stair well to give me some shelves to store these meals in. Then when I can't figure out what to fix for dinner I can just go downstairs and 'grab a meal'!!
Kec and I had a lot of fun putting these meals together and plan on doing more together and separately in the future. I think it would be fun to get together with all my girls and make up some meals. And it could be a really fun Relief Society Activity too.