With the growing list of local schools, colleges, and businesses that are closing, I figure I have about five to seven days to prepare for a full house. For us, I’m not so worried about getting sick, because everybody here is mostly young and healthy.
I’m mostly worried about feeding a house of boys/men for seven days, if I can’t go to the supermarket every day. My locusts eat large quantities of food.
I usually go to the supermarket every day, because there are about five supermarkets five minutes from my house. And because I’m not that organized. So, I never have that much in the pantry or freezer, but stocking up seems like a good idea right now. Steve and I did a big shop over the weekend and did some organization. Here’s what we did:
- I cleaned out the old stuff first. Anything in the freezer that was over six months old went in the garbage. Are you labeling your freezer bags with dates? You should. After six months, meat isn’t tasty anymore.
- I stocked up on root vegetables — potatoes, carrots, celery, onions. They can last for a while and are main ingredients in almost every recipe. Everything else is frozen. I am big fan of Whole Food brand frozen vegetables.
- I bought big family sized meat — pork chops, chicken breasts, sausages. And then divided them up into meal sized amounts, labeled them in freezer bags, and then frozen them. I froze one big beef roast for a stew.
- Also in the freezer — coffee beans and ice cream and frozen burritos for Jonah.
- The pantry is divided up by types of food. That way I can see what I need. The top shelf is for breakfast (cereal, oatmeal, granola) and snacks (peanuts, chips, granola bars, crackers, dried fruit).
- The second shelf if canned goods (beans, tomatoes, artichokes, sauces, chicken broth)
- Third shelf is for carbs — In addition to the potatoes in the fridge, I have pasta, couscous, more beans, farro. I also keep the baking supplies there.
- The bottom shelf is for oils/vinegars and fresh bread.
- Pantry organization tools include IKEA bins and OXO storage containers.
- If you’re going to do a lot of cooking without going to the supermarket, don’t forget to buy all the stuff that you’ll want to make those frozen pork chops and soups flavorful. That means garlic, jars of salsa, various pre-made sauces, dijon mustard, dried spices, ginger, jalapeños, capers, artichokes, chicken bouillon, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salad dressing. If you have room for one herb go for rosemary, because it lasts for a while. Consider getting some pancetta or pork or ham and freezing it in smaller bags.
- Good lord, I almost forgot booze. Yes, you need lots of wine and beer, because it’s good for cooking and for cozy nights at home.
- If you don’t cook, then fill the freezer with pre-made dinners. It might be a good time to learn to cook, but you probably won’t.
Have fun hunkering down! (And pray for the oldies.)
- Ground beef doesn’t freeze well, if you want to use it to make burgers later. It doesn’t clump together very well for burgers, but it’s fine for tacos and chili. My recipe for chili calls for 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of beef, so I’m freezing mine in bags in those amounts.
- Don’t forget tea and coffee and little treats.
- Don’t forget toiletries.
- Think through your recipes ahead of time, so you have everything that you need.