Emergency Meals to Make with Shelf Stable Ingredients

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No one expects an emergency situation to happen to them. But, discomfort and anxiety can be controlled a little if we plan for one and have some emergency foods stored.

pot of Chicken Noodle Soup with bowls and biscuits

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There are emergency meals and there are emergency meals. The former occurs when your meal plan collapses and you’re not sure what to fix for supper. The latter happens when the power’s out, severe weather is threatening, or you otherwise experience some type of physical catastrophe, a real emergency, that keeps you from business as usual.

Physical circumstances or simply stress levels during a natural disaster dictate ready to eat meals and some pantry-stable foods.

I know. Last year during our power outage, I ate through an entire bag of BBQ potato chips on my own. (They are, by the way, a fantastic pantry-stable food.)

Earlier this week, I showed you our 3-day emergency supply. Foodie that I am, it was actually kind of hard to decide on what foods to stock. I didn’t want to buy things that we wouldn’t use anyway. But, practically, I couldn’t envision doing a whole of cooking during a “real emergency”, either. I must confess, I did examine the Cup O’ Noodles in the grocery store, something I haven’t bought since college!

While ready-to-eat kinda goes against my “real food” grain, I think there are ways to keep shelf-safe staples on hand to help you out in an emergency. Without throwing money at things you would never eat during normal times.

My mom insisted that I have a plan for the food I was storing. So….

bowl of taco soup on plaid napkin

Here are my five Real Life Emergency Meals:

(which could double for any old day emergency meals, too.)

1. Crackers, Nut/Seed Butter, Individual Applesauce and Other Canned Fruit

My kids have sunbutter crackers at least once a week for a snack or lunch. I have no qualms at stocking this as a true emergency meal. It’s easy to prepare; even my four-year old can do it. And it’s a comfort food of sorts. Unsweetened applesauce cups and cans of pineapple chunks can be the side dishes.

2. Taco Soup or Chili

Taco Soup is one of my easiest meals to make. My husband says I can’t call it a soup, though; he says it’s chili. Either way, beans, either canned or dry, are very shelf-stable. The cans would be easier to deal with in an emergency and so that’s what I stocked.

3. Pasta and Red Sauce

Homemade red sauce is my standard. While slow cooked is nice, quick-to-fix is better in an emergency. A few tomato products, some onion flakes, garlic powder and other dried spices and herbs make a quick marinara to serve over noodles.

4. Noodle Soup

I was raised on canned chicken noodle soup. That’s what I bought for our emergency kit. But, I’m guessing that egg noodles cooked in chicken broth would be an easy and more “real food” alternative. Throw in a can of chicken and some spices and you’ve got chicken noodle soup in a flash.

5. Beans and Rice

Ah, our old stand by. We ate beans and rice in some form about three times a week when we were battling down debt. While we love to dress it up with fresh salsa, sour cream, and shredded cheese, the dressed down version is just as filling. Stock extra beans, a bag of rice, and taco sauce for a filling, emergency meal.

Ma Ingalls lived and thrived without refrigeration. Much of the world still does today. While it’s definitely out of my norm, I know that if push came to shove, we’d be okay. And while I’m a little skeptical (and hopeful) that we’ll never need our emergency storage, I’m glad to have a plan — just in case.

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  1. I love the new blog design but I can’t find the URS list. Is it still here somewhere? I like to plan ahead!

    If you’re setting aside all of these self-stable foods, especially cans, don’t forget to set aside a can opener. You should also keep one in your emergency kit.

  3. First time linking up here! Thanks for your recipe swap. I linked up my homemade chicken broth recipe – it’s easy to make in your crockpot and then once the broth is done you can make soup on the stove and throw in whatever you have in your fridge/pantry. I make some every 2 weeks or so and freeze in the 32oz sized yogurt containers to pull out when needed! Enjoy!

  4. What do you do if it is an electrical outage? Do you have a gas stove? I know some people are still able to use the stove top if the electricity is shut off, by using a match to light the burners.

    1. Ours is a gas stove, but we also have a camping stove that used propane. That’s why I stocked those small green cans of fuel in our emergency kit.

  5. How interesting! I was just talking to my husband this week about actually making our stockpile grocery shelves into a real Preparedness Station. I’m going to starting thinking on this right now! Thanks for an interesting post idea!