So today, I'm living on a homestead eeking my way towards being self sufficient. Mentally and physically, I'm a lot better off for it. That brings me today's topic, why I still keep a prepper's pantry.
I watched a YouTube video of a large family mom creating a month's worth of freezer meals. She ended up creating 42 freezer meals in about sixteen hours. It was fascinating to watch. Watch for yourself here. All the time I was watching her I kept a watch on how much trash she generated, and how much time and money she wasted. With a garden and precanning ingredients, she could have saved hours of cooking. Granted, she just went shopping and picked what needed while I spent almost six months growing, processing, and prepping my ingredients, but to each their own.
I also make most pastas except for formed shells and macaroni. Grind my own flour. Make my own sausage and butcher carcasses of meat down to the minutest form. But again that me being self reliant, and knowing where my meat comes from. For this endeavor, I went "shopping" in my food store pantry. I used my handy dandy shopping cart to help me carry in all that I needed.
To prove my point and down sizing the recipes for two servings versus twelve, I replicated her menus sort of. I added quite a few whole meat meals and seafood dishes. In Operation Empty the Freezer last summer, found me canning meats, spaghetti sauces, ground beef and turkey. I'll make about 2 cases (24 pints)of chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, vegetable, and pork broth on hand. They are the by products of eating real, whole foods and butchering your own homesteading efforts.
So what did I put in my freezer for a month's worth of meals?
Panned meals (32)
3 beef spaghetti bakes
3 beef lasagnas
2 beef and lamb meatballs with duchess potatoes
3 green chicken enchiladas
3 seafood stuffed pasta shells in a beurre blanc sauce
3 pork chops with stuffing
3 seared lamb chops over Mediterranean couscous
3 beef burritos
3 cheese and spinach ravioli with meat sauce
3 grilled chicken thighs over yellow rice
1 shepherd's pie
2 chicken pot pies
Bagged meals (10)
2 shrimp and smoked turkey sausage jambalaya
2 shrimp lomein
2 grilled chicken and vegetable stir fry with rice
2 marinated London broil with roasted vegetables
1 chicken marsala with rice
1 herb marinade lamb shoulder with peas and duchess potatoes
For a total of 42 meals!
The difference in what was produced... I made my own ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, sour cream, and yogurt from locally sourced pasture fed cow's for milk. All the beef, lamb, and pork which we didn't raise were antibiotic and chemical free. 80% of the seasonings and blends used were done by me. Total time to put it all together was 5 hours after raiding my prepper's pantry. Of course, that doesn't include time and labor to procure and process it all.
I also included desserts (4 total-cheesecake, peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, peach and apple turnovers) and breakfast menus (waffles with sausage, pancakes with bacon, crumpets, and french toast) to my freezer which added another 2 hours. Plus, there's always the fall back of granola, or grits and eggs for breakfast too.
With possibility of surgeries, injuries, blah days, and who knows what days ahead, it's nice to know that these meals are available when Mel or I need them. You never know what life is going to throw at you or when. Keeping a stocked panty pays dividend.
Nothing is impossible.