55 Simple Meals You Can Cook With Your Emergency Food

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55 Simple Meals You Can Cook With Your Emergency Food

Oftentimes, when people come to the realization that civilization is going to collapse in their lifetime, they panic. Some people do nothing, like deer in the headlights. Other people do too much, like running to the store and filling their carts with all sorts of foods.

That's why I did back in 2009. I was convinced that the economy was going to collapse and that we were going to live through the second Great Depression. (We still are—I was just off by a couple decades.) So I went to the store and bought all the standard stuff: beans, rice, flour, oats, pasta, sugar, etc.

Unfortunately, I had no idea what to do with it. I didn't know how to store it properly, and even if I had known, I didn't know how to cook with it. Like many modern Americans, most of my meals came from canned or boxed foods that you simply open, heat, and eat. To me, cooking from scratch was something people only did on Little House On The Prairie.

If you're new to cooking from scratch, don't worry. It's not as hard as it sounds. As long as you can follow a recipe, you'll be fine. In this article, I'm going to list a bunch of recipes that you can make using survival foods like beans, rice, flour, and so forth. Ideally, you'll want to either print the recipes or buy a cookbook that relies on shelf-stable ingredients.

If you aren’t someone who does a lot of cooking from scratch, it would be wise to practice now while you can still order a pizza if you mess up the recipe.

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Some people complain that they're too busy to cook from scratch. I understand that. We live in a fast-paced world, and everyone is busy nowadays. You don't have to cook from scratch every single day, but if you're determined, you can find time to make at least one from-scratch recipe per week. It's not a lot, but once you're forced to use your emergency food, you'll know what to do.

Before we get to the recipes, let’s talk substitutions. It may change the taste and overall appearance of a recipe, but you can make it work. This is why you’ll want to have plenty of spices and seasonings in your pantry to help make up for missing fresh ingredients.

  • Eggs can be substituted with applesauce, powdered eggs, or a combination of 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Another great substitute is 3 tablespoons of aquafaba, which you'll probably have a lot of since it's the liquid in canned beans.
  • Milk can be omitted and replaced with almond milk, evaporated milk, or canned coconut milk. In some cases, depending on the recipe, you can use water.
  • Butter is easy to omit. Use applesauce, ghee, olive or vegetable oil, or shortening.

For more ideas, I recommend getting a copy of The Food Substitutions Bible. Now on to the recipes…


7-Can Soup

7 CAN SOUP

12-Bean Soup

12 BEANS

Amish Black Beans

AMISH BLACK BEANS

Applesauce Waffles

APPLESAUCE WAFFLES

Baked Oatmeal

BAKED OATMEAL

Baked Pinole

This is a Native American recipe that was passed along to pioneers.

BAKED PINOLE

Bean and Rice Burritos

You can use canned cheese in place of the shredded cheese, or skip the cheese altogether.

BEAN AND RICE BURRITOS

Black Bean Soup

BLACK BEAN SOUP

Black Beans and Rice

BLACK BEANS AND RICE

Blackberry Pie

Or another freeze-dried fruit could work in this recipe.

BLACKBERRY PIE

Canned Crab Cakes

Can be made without mayo and egg. Use one of the egg substitutes, like the bean juice option.

CANNED CRAB CAKE

Chicken and Bean Stew

Skip the chicken or used canned.

CHICKEN AND BEAN STEW

Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe will require some quick subs, use chicken brother, canned veggies and canned chicken. The dumplings can be made with flour and water or use a milk substitute.

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Using canned chicken in place of fresh. 

CHICKEN CASSEROLE

Chicken Pozole

With canned chicken instead of fresh. 

CHICKEN POZOLE

Chicken Tortilla Soup

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Chickpea Curry with Rice

CHICKPEA-CURRY-WITH-RICE

Chickpea Meatballs

CHICKPEA MEATBALLS

Chow Mein Casserole 

CHOW MEIN

Cornbread

CORNBREAD

Cornflake Tamale Pie

CORNFLAKE TAMALE PIE

Creamy Vegetable Soup

This is a basic recipe you can dress up or down any which way you want. If you really want to make it easy, open a can of cream of chicken and mix in some canned veggies and a little water if necessary.

CREAMY VEGETABLE SOUP

Eggless Cake

Could be dressed up with whatever dried fruit you have in the pantry.

EGGLESS CAKE

Enchilada Pie

ENCHILADA PIE

Four Bean Chili

4 BEAN CHILI

Fried Bread

Use it as bread, stuff it or eat it plain.

FRIED BREAD

Hawaiian Sesame Chicken

HAWAIIAN SESAME CHICKEN

Oatmeal Bread

OATMEAL BREAD

Oatmeal Energy Snacks

There are many variations of this recipe you can use depending on what’s in your storage.

OATMEAL ENERGY SNACKS

One-pan Taco Pasta

Can be made with canned meat of your choice or no meat at all.

ONE PAN TACO PASTA

One Pot Beans and Rice with Corn and Salsa

BEANS AND RICE WITH CORN

One Pot Spaghetti

You can skip the fresh veggies and used canned tomatoes.

SPAGHETTI

Pantry Jambalaya

PANTRY JAMBALAYA

Pantry Pasta

You can use dehydrated onions for flavor. 

PANTRY PASTA

Pantry Pasta with Romesco Sauce

ROMESCO SAUCE

Pea Soup

PEA SOUP

Pinto Bean Dip

You can eat this with fresh tortillas for a quick meal. 

DIPS

Pizza Dough

Make a pizza with whatever ingredients you have on hand—you don’t always need cheese. Barbecue sauce with canned chicken is an option. 

PIZZA DOUGH

Pumpkin Soup

PUMPKIN SOUP

Red Beans and Rice

RED BEANS AND RICE

Salmon Loaf

SALMON LOAF

Salmon Patties

SALMON PATTIES

Sausage and Lentil Soup

Canned sausage is the trick here. You can substitute for another canned meat if you would like. 

SAUSAGE AND LENTIL SOUP

Spam Fried Rice

Easy enough to omit the eggs. 

SPAM FRIED RICE

Spam Hash

SPAM HASH

Spanish Rice

SPANISH RICE

Spinach Tortellini Soup

Use canned spinach and dried tortellini.

SPINACH TORTELLINI

Taco Beef Soup

TACO SOUP

Taco Soup

Omit the ground beef and use canned chicken. 

TACO SOUP

Tomato Sauce

This can be used for pizza, spaghetti or in any of your other recipes. 

TOMATO SAUCE

Tortillas

This is a quick and easy tortilla recipe you can use.

FLOUR TORTILLAS STACKED

Tuna Casserole

Shredded cheese is optional.

TUNA CASSEROLE

Tuna Pasta Salad

Just skip the fresh tomatoes.

TUNA PASTA SALAD

Tuxedo Soup

TUXEDO SOUP

Vegetable Soup

VEGETABLE SOUP

These are just a sampling of the many meals you can throw together using very basic ingredients. It’s all about getting creative. You can make a five-bean soup or twelve. It’s up to you and what your family will enjoy. You want to aim for protein-rich meals as much as you can.

Having protein powder on your shelf can help beef up some of your recipes, especially desserts, while packing in nutrition without taking a lot of room in your pantry. Experiment now and be ready for anything.

While you are experimenting with recipes, you’ll want to learn some alternative methods to cook these meals. If you’re living out of your emergency food stores, there’s a good chance you’re doing it without power. One benefit to using canned meats and food is the fact they really just need heating. This will save you time as well as energy expended to cook.

Here are some ideas about ways you can cook without power.

  • Solar ovens are great for cooking in the summer. You can make one with a cardboard box and some aluminum foil. If you have a pane of glass, you can watch the process without opening your box and letting out the heat. This method will cook breads, casseroles and heat up soups and stews. It’s not going to do much for cooking rice or beans.
  • A fire is probably the most used method. Have a tripod with some cast iron pots and pans ready to use. This allows you to cook like you would on your kitchen stove. A pot of beans over a fire is good old-fashioned cowboy style.
  • A camp stove is another easy option. Because of the fuel needed, this is great for heating and frying, but it would be wasteful to use it to try and cook beans that require long cook times.
  • A Dutch oven is an absolute must-have. It can be used to bake biscuits and breads as well as cooking beans, meats and whatever else.
  • If you have a woodstove for heating, you can heat up canned food on top of it. You can use cast-iron pans or be careful and keep a close eye on your typical kitchen pots and pans.

You’ll also want to be prepared to cook and bake without the handy appliances you have in the kitchen right now. The following are some tools you might find in your grandmother’s kitchen. You’ll want them in your kitchen—just in case.

As always, practice now. Don’t wait to learn how to cook without power after the grid has already gone down. You're liable to mess up, and you can’t afford to waste food because it didn’t cook thoroughly or got burnt. And of course, always have a backup method in case your first method fails.

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