Food Prepping for your Menu: How many days are you prepping for before you have to rotate the recipe?

Donna_in_OK

Contributing Member
I've been doing so very serious stocking up on a few essentials over the past year. Essentials, well that is what one must determine for oneself. My husband asked me the other day when opening the pantry if I had an actual meal plan. I scratched my head for a bit, and realized that based on the current preps on hand, I didn't have say a 30 day recipe rotation plan. I get tired of food, so would not be one to eat mashed potatoes day after day. Heck, I admit, I do NOT like leftovers, even though that means I must do some cooking every day to prepare meals. I cannot do food fatigue. Hubby is like if it keeps me alive, I can eat it.

So, the past couple of weeks, we have been trying different recipes that can be made from our preps on hand and trying to build a 'go to' cook book to get quick ideas to make with what is on hand. Do you and yours do something like this? If so -- what types of recipes do you do?

As an example, instead of a meatloaf, I made meat balls, with fettuccine pasta with garlic cheese sauce with broccoli. I can say that the great value fettuccine pasta seems to be lacking a bit of flavor.

Might be time to learn to make my own pasta. Got good recipes for pasta?
 

moldy

Veteran Member
We garden a lot, so in my case, I"m trying to use up what is starting to go bad. Pad thai made with spaghetti squash will probably be seen soon, as well as spaghetti squash with meat sauce and garlic bread. I think the next dessert will be pumpkin pie. I'm not fond of leftovers for days on end, but it seems I am still struggling with cooking for 2 instead of 4 or 6. Left overs it is, unless I can freeze dry them or remake them somehow. Thankfully, DH will eat just about whatever I put in front of him.
 

philkar

Contributing Member
I have used 2-2week menus for years and have eaten out of preps for about 25 years. I initially used the rotating menus for convenience but can't manage without them. I too struggle for cooking for 2 when I cooked for many in years past!
 

JF&P

Veteran Member
I've taken a different approach to prepping...I'm a terrible cook so I order food from UberEats and other delivery services....in between I make simple Sandwiches.

However, if TSHTF I have a spare bedroom half filled with Freeze Dried Foods....and If its just me, I could survive for more than a year on just Mountain House...I have a fresh water creek flowing through my property and lots of wood for my stove to heat the water. I pray that things will never get that bad or that I croak and go home to Jesus before life degrades to that level.
 
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hiwall

Veteran Member
A long time back my wife asked me how I could eat the same foods so often.
I said if I like something today, why wouldn't I still like it tomorrow or the next day?
We do stock quite a variety though only foods we do eat now.
 

Walrus

Veteran Member
This is a serious subject but I believe menu fatigue is largely the product of a prosperous society with overflowing supermarket shelves and the ability to have an incredible amount of choices while selecting cuisines from around the world.

I also believe it's a failure of mindset to think that these choices are - if our hunches about the future are anywhere near correct - going to be there at some time to come, whether it's sooner or later. I vividly remember something Ol' Remus wrote in his woodpile report monologue dismissing menu fatigue: "When people are hungry enough, they'll crawl over 100 yards of broken glass to get something to eat". (probably not his exact words - pardon the Walrus paraphrase, please)

My point is: Don't worry about it, ladies. If people aren't hungry enough to eat what's on the table, let them go out in the pasture and graze with the goats. They - and you - won't be so picky the next time there's any food to be had.

Some years ago I did a menu analysis to see if I could determine a reasonable menu for several sizes of potential groups at a retreat, using a baseline of 2500 calories a day with 2 meals/day being served. After determining that, I took a look at what would be daily, monthly and annual food requirements to have for the group (my base plan was for 24 people), including various sources of protein from cattle, pigs, chickens (both eggs and meat) and rabbits and how many it would take of each critter to sustain protein requirements for everyone and herd sizes, allowing for predation, sickness, barter, etc.

The results which rolled out of my spreadsheet were pretty shocking but the study really changed the approach I'd previously held regarding food supplies, annual amounts required and resource sustainment. If you've never taken a look at that, I think menu fatigue is one of the things which will quickly drop off the radar screen.
 

Grounded Idealist

Hope Always
Paraphrasing Walrus: This is not Burger King. You cannot have it your way. Or, “You ask what’s for dinner? Whatever I’m cooking.”

Both phrases were used in my household when I was raising children. The words food and fatigue were never used in the same sentence.

However, my thoughts about menu planning has more to do with being sure that I am as efficient as possible with the foods that I choose for long term storage. One food group out of balance or key ingredient missing throws off the whole idea of being ‘prepped.’
 

nomifyle

Has No Life - Lives on TB
What a great thread, I have a problem on a day to day basis of what to cook. I will eat many things that DH would starve before he'd eat it. I'm going to look at all the links.

We eat one or two meals a day. DH needs more calories than I do because he does physical labor every day, me not if I can get out of it.

God is great all the time

Judy
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
If I'm getting tired of a food (seldom happens -- I'm an 'eats to live' person rather than a 'lives to eat' person) all I have to do is think of Laura Ingalls Wilder's family in the Long Winter, when they were down to nothing but seed grain left (and mighty little of that) by the time the trains managed to get through the snow drifts with food. Or the people in prison camps who ate a vegetable broth -- light on vegetables -- for years on end. Makes me thankful for what we have.

Kathleen
 

AlaskaSue

North to the Future
I hope to help my son and his family get set up with a meal plan next time I fly the 5000 miles it takes to visit them. They prep and always have; but with 3 small children and DIL (who is a fantastic and creative cook) working long hours, it's usually up to DS to get things ready for the fam to eat.

As for me, I can eat the same thing forever - I really don't care. Maybe because I was so close to actual starvation more than once as a kid - I don't really know. I even like plain oatmeal ;) - but I do cook it differently than most - and it's yummy. I have enough food put back for 'a while'; mainly I want to be able to keep adding to it thru gardens including lots of herbs, foraging, hunting, fishing and eventually trapping. I even managed to let things go to seed and save them - and some of my potatoes - to see how that goes this year.
 

raven

Has No Life - Lives on TB
they are children not "Hells Kitchen Connoisseurs".
they will eat what they are given or go to bed hungry.
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There are thousands of signs available on the interwebs that will attest to this principal
(which is my way of getting of the hook for sounding mean)

Humans did not survive the last 10 thousand years with mexican food for breakfast, Italian food for lunch, and chinese food for dinner.

(that applies to you too)
 

bethshaya

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I think the mindset changes. If you go to an SHTF situation where you need to use your preps. The last thing you are going to worry about is if you have 14 full-course meals. You will be sparring what you have because you don't know if that one year supply is going to need to last you two years. When you are starving, ANY food is food. You don't care at that point what it is. People eat leather, leaves, and rats in North Korea. So having mashed potatoes three nights in a row will be a blessing.

But, that said, we started prepping by using what we eat as a starting point. Not full course meals or some internet print out of foreign dishes I don't know how to make, but foods we already eat daily. I usually cook a few steady go to's each week, and then add a different meal or two each week on a regular basis for variety.

So I prepped for those "staple" meals. Tacos, chicken tika masala, rice and beans, pasta dishes, soups, and chili. I add loaves of bread, muffins, cream of wheat, and oatmeal for breakfast. I figure, we likely would be on a two meal a day rotation as we already don't usually eat three meals a day. I can chicken and ground beef and garden veggies. Bought cans of chili and chicken stock, canned some stock as well. I stocked up on dry beans, jarred sauces in a variety of types like alfredo, creamed soups, marinara, Indian curry flavors, bbq and freeze-dried ingredients. I planned for snacks as well (Candy, cookies, energy bars etc). Because we eat these meals regularly, we rotate the preps.
 
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connie

Veteran Member
I seem to get food fatigue when seasons change. We just have winter or summer. Usually I find if I cook a lot of pinto beans that helps. Weird, I know..
 

SouthernBreeze

Veteran Member
I think the mindset changes. If you go to an SHTF situation where you need to use your preps. The last thing you are going to worry about is if you have 14 full-course meals. You will be sparring what you have because you don't know if that one year supply is going to need to last you two years. When you are starving, ANY food is food. You don't care at that point what it is. People eat leather, leaves, and rats in North Korea. So having mashed potatoes three nights in a row will be a blessing.

But, that said, we started prepping by using what we eat as a starting point. Not full course meals or some internet print out of foreign dishes I don't know how to make, but foods we already eat daily. I usually cook a few steady go to's each week, and then add a different meal or two each week on a regular basis for variety.

So I prepped for those "staple" meals. Tacos, chicken tika masala, rice and beans, pasta dishes, soups, and chili. I add loaves of bread, muffins, cream of wheat, and oatmeal for breakfast. I figure, we likely would be on a two meal a day rotation as we already don't usually eat three meals a day. I can chicken and ground beef and garden veggies. Bought cans of chili and chicken stock, canned some stock as well. I stocked up on dry beans, jarred sauces in a variety of types like alfredo, creamed soups, marinara, Indian curry flavors, bbq and freeze-dried ingredients. I planned for snacks as well (Candy, cookies, energy bars etc). Because we eat these meals regularly, we rotate the prep
I could have written your post for myself.

I cook a lot of one skillet or one pot meals on a regular basis. For storage, I just keep adding the ingredients to continue to make those dishes. I also like to experiment by mixing things up. Instead of using rice in a particular dish, I use some type of pasta instead. I also use different meats to add variety. Different sauces, gravies, or spices. As long as I can keep adding my basic food items, I can make variety go a long way. We eat fresh out of the garden which keeps us from eating solely out of the pantry during garden season.
 

raven

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Pease Porridge Hot, Pease Porridge Cold, Pease Porridge in the pot nine days old.

PEASE PORRIDGE​
3 c. diced split peas
Water
1 ham bone or pork knuckle
1 onion, chopped
1 turnip, scraped and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery with leaves, diced
2 sprigs summer savory or thyme
2 sprigs marjoram
1 tbsp. sea kelp, or salt to taste
Water to cover

Rinse and pick over peas. Cover with water and leave to soak overnight. Next morning, drain, add remaining ingredients, and bring to boil. Cover pot, turn down heat, and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When peas are tender, remove ham bone or knuckle, cut meat from bone, and return to pot. Take out herb sprigs. Puree if desired, reheat, and serve in individual bowls, each topped with a small pat of butter. Serves 8.
 

packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.
We garden a lot, so in my case, I"m trying to use up what is starting to go bad. Pad thai made with spaghetti squash will probably be seen soon, as well as spaghetti squash with meat sauce and garlic bread. I think the next dessert will be pumpkin pie. I'm not fond of leftovers for days on end, but it seems I am still struggling with cooking for 2 instead of 4 or 6. Left overs it is, unless I can freeze dry them or remake them somehow. Thankfully, DH will eat just about whatever I put in front of him.
It's just the two of us here, no kids, and yes sometimes it feels like we're eating leftovers for days on end.

Recipe for the pad thai with spaghetti squash please!
 

mrrk1562

Veteran Member
First off .I repackage things like bulk chicken parts and such to the smallest meal size ..I also make things that can be changed by adding something else
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
We mostly do one-dish meals (often salad in the summer, thick stew of some kind in winter -- it might be mostly split peas or lentils or pinto beans, but have veggies and a little meat added in). I do try to vary the taste, but we eat what we have. If I'm hurting, it will be whatever is easiest to fix. If I'm feeling pretty good, I will get a little fancier.

Kathleen
 

SouthernBreeze

Veteran Member
I also collect cook books. I look for those that have recipes that are quick and easy, and only require basic ingredients. If you have 1 lb of ground beef, beef bullion cubes, cheddar cheese, elbow macaroni, and salsa, you can have a dish ready in about 30 mins. Most people already have those ingredients in their pantry/freezer.

Two of my favorite cookbooks are, "Incredibly Easy Minute Rice Recipes" (I use regular white rice, and make the adjustments needed), and "Campbell's Quick And Easy Recipes".
 
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Old Gray Mare

Has No Life - Lives on TB
You can start with the same basic ingredients and end up with many totally different tasting meals by just varying the spices used and how it's prepared.

Using shelve safe ingredients for the most part here.

Start with cooked beans or lentils (pinto beans optional) add garlic (powdered if that's all you have), mild fat and mash or zip in a blender or food processor and you've a side of refried beans.

Chile: Take cooked beans or lentils (pinto beans optional) add, hot pepper flakes, garlic and onion powder, some tomato sauce or diluted tomato paste, chili spice mix and textured vegetable protein. Heat and mix to desired consistency and adjust flavor.

Burrito: wrap the above chile in a burrito shell. Add lettuce and chopped onion if available.

Start with cooked beans or lentils (chickpeas optional) add garlic (powdered if that's all you have), ground cumin, mild fat, lemon juice and tahini (if you have it) mash or zip in a blender or food processor and you've humus or sandwich spread.

Take beans or lentils add curry spice, a can of mixed veggies, a can of coconut milk or reconstituted powdered milk, use cornstarch or dried potato flakes to thicken. Cook and serve curry over rice.

Take beans or lentils, a can of mixed veggies, a can of diced tomatoes some dried macaroni, a bullion cube, Italian seasoning and end up with a decent soup.

Ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, a little water thickened with cornstarch over heat can give just about any mix of vegetables and protein an Asian flavor. Serve over rice or pasta.
 
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summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
First off .I repackage things like bulk chicken parts and such to the smallest meal size ..I also make things that can be changed by adding something else
If you have the freezer room, consider freezing your chicken pieces on cookie sheets (I line them with those flexible plastic sheets they sell as cutting cupboards in the dollar stores). Don't let them touch (at least not much- you'll tear the meat trying to pry them apart).

Let them freeze just until solid (6-24 hours, depending on how much you're doing and your freezer size and temp) then immediately put the pieces in heavy zip Lock bags.

This is how we process birds for our customers... we did 250 birds this year (pastured Cornish X) and each customer who ordered 25 birds got 5 bags of boneless breasts, 5 of leg quarters, 2 of wings, and 2 quart bags of breast filets. You can take as much- or as little- from a bag at one time, so you won't end up cooking 6 leg quarters for 4 people, because a bag of 3 (all frozen together in a lump) wasn't quite enough...

I do the same thing with all vegetables I freeze. It's great being able to scoop 1/2 cup of peas from a big bag...

Summerthyme
 
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