What to Cook in an Emergency

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Do you know what to cook when you’re dealing with an emergency? If not, it’s helpful to have a list of meals you can prepare for the family, even if there is no power in the home. Not only can you make a list of the best meals to make when experiencing an emergency, but you can also make sure you stock up on those essential ingredients needed to complete the meals. Most of the ingredients you’ll use in an emergency have a long shelf life or can get put in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. Here is what to cook in an emergency!

While you don’t have to rush out and buy everything at once, it’s a good idea to start stocking your pantry today. You can build a stockpile by catching these items while they’re on sale and using coupons to get everything at a discounted price. It’s the easiest way to stay within your budget while stocking up for emergencies.

What to Cook in an Emergency

What to Cook in an Emergency

Canned Meats and Canned Veggies

Always have plenty of canned meats and vegetables in your pantry for a potential emergency. When the power goes out, that means food in the fridge and freezer will eventually start to spoil. The good thing about canned meats and veggies is that they last a lot longer. While canned meat isn’t the healthiest choice, it’s something that can keep your family fed during a problematic situation.

You can buy canned…

  • ham
  • chicken
  • mini sausages
  • corned beef
  • mixed vegetables
  • string beans
  • and even taco meat
  • chicken cans from Costco are awesome

If you look at the canned food section of your grocery store, you’ll find tons of options. Even if you have picky eaters at home, you shouldn’t have a problem finding something they could eat in an emergency. While it’s possible to eat most canned foods without cooking them, you can heat them over a grill or open fire if you prefer to have them hot. In case you missed this post, Canned Foods I Highly Recommend You Store

Grilled Meats and Fresh or Frozen Vegetables

A grill comes in handy during emergencies. While you might have one for cookouts with family and friends, it’ll get put to good use if you’re without power and unable to cook food any other way. When you have a grill, the options are endless. You can prepare grilled chicken, hot dogs, burgers, and other meats. You can also prepare assorted vegetables on the grill, such as sliced carrots, chopped zucchini, and potatoes.

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Grilling meats and vegetables is a simple, stress-free way to prepare food in an emergency. If you’re without power, but you have a cooler with ice in it to keep food fresh, you can even store leftovers in the cooler with the ice and then reheat them on the grill for a few minutes when you’re feeling hungry.

Foil Pack Meals

Preparing foil pack meals makes sense when dealing with an emergency. If you’ve never had one before, you might not know what a foil pack meal contains. You would grab a large sheet of aluminum foil and add a few different ingredients to it, such as raw ground beef, peas, corn, and diced potatoes. Mark tells me that these were called “tin foil dinners” or “cowboy dinners” when he used to go camping as a boy scout.

After you’ve added your ingredients to the foil, you fold it closed and then cook it over a campfire or grill until the meat is no longer raw. It’s an easy way to make a quick, filling meal in an emergency. You can create custom foil pack meals based on what each family member prefers eating. Heavy-Duty Foil

Canned or Homemade Soup

You can’t go wrong with preparing soup during an emergency. Whether it’s canned soup or something you’ve prepared and put in the freezer, you can reheat it in the microwave or over a fire. You might need to prepare the soup over an outdoor fire if the power is out and you can’t use your stove or microwave. You’d pour the soup into a pot and hold it over the open flame for several minutes until it begins to boil before serving it with crackers. I highly recommend a Butane Stove with extra canisters stored to support your emergency prep efforts.

Canned Fish

If you’re a vegetarian, you might think that you’ll only have the option of eating vegetables when dealing with an emergency. However, you can buy canned fish, such as tuna, salmon, and sardines. You can eat them directly from the can, mix them with mustard or mayo, and even eat the fish on bread to have a filling sandwich.

Pasta with Sauce

It’s always good to have boxes of pasta that you can prepare in an emergency. Pasta is cheap, readily available, and easy to prepare. You can cook pasta by boiling water on the grill or over an open fire, even without having the power on at home. Once you’ve boiled the water, you can add pasta to it, allowing it to cook before draining it and adding the sauce. You can use the canned or jarred sauce with an extended shelf life. If you want to make the meal more filling, you can even add chopped pieces of canned meat to your pasta.

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Peanut Butter

Always have peanut butter in your pantry for a potential emergency. It’s good because it’s an excellent source of protein. Besides providing you with protein, it tastes good, and you can use it to make different foods. You don’t need to add it to anything to enjoy it. You might want to eat it with a spoon. However, you can also add it to bread with jelly, jam, hazelnut spread, or fluff to prepare sweet sandwiches.

You can even spread it on crackers for a quick snack during an emergency. I started buying smaller jars of peanut butter so if I open one, it will not go rancid before I use it up. Therefore, my other jars of peanut butters’ shelf life are good until the expiration date or a bit longer.

What to Cook in an Emergency

Final Word

Knowing what to cook in an emergency is essential. If you’re in a dire situation and don’t have power at home, you’ll need to start a small fire or set up the grill and prepare different meals to keep the family fed. You can’t predict when an emergency will occur, but you can make sure that you’re ready for anything that gets thrown your way. When you’re making the grocery list for the week, add some of these important items to it. You can put the non-perishable foods in the pantry and hold onto them until you truly need them. In an emergency, do you know what to cook? Tell me what you plan to do for meals in an emergency. If you’ve had to deal with meal prep during an emergency, what did you do, and what would you do differently to make things go more smoothly? May God Bless this world, Linda.

17 thoughts on “What to Cook in an Emergency

  • June 4, 2021 at 6:10 am
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    Ahhh the great American Cookout. Power goes down the grills come on. If you use propane and the temps are single digit bring the tank inside to maintain. I like to smoke meats, with my propane smoker, during these as well because being a type A it keeps me busy.

    The foil meals are good just don’t use tomatoes. The acids don’t like foil.

    I’ve got so many alternative cooking methods we don’t see a huge change. My power outage box has a butane grill and an oven topper that just sets on the electric glass top stove in the kitchen.

    Reply
    • June 4, 2021 at 8:28 am
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      HI Matt, whoa, I love the idea of a butane grill and an oven topper for the kitchen stove! That sounds awesome! What brand is it? I never worry when we lose power but I didn’t live through Hurricane Katrina either. I’ve never used a smoker, it sounds awesome! I bought a smoked turkey one year from a restaurant for Thanksgiving one year, it was so good!!! Linda

      Reply
      • June 4, 2021 at 10:40 am
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        The Butane stove is AJ brand. I’ve had it for years. The oven is garage sale with no name. I’ll send pics

        Reply
  • June 4, 2021 at 8:24 am
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    We called the foil dinners, Hobo meals. They are really good and can be done in the oven. I made these for my children when they were young. My mother told me about them. The children loved them. And so did I. Less clean up.

    Reply
  • June 4, 2021 at 9:31 am
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    i have scads of reg rice ,but jus ‘bought 2 big boxes of instant rice ! not as good as regular,but quick & easy ! jus in case ! to go w/ them beans ! will put in food saver bags !
    be careful adding bay leaves if you dont like flavor ,it will make some things taste bay leavey !

    Reply
    • June 4, 2021 at 10:22 am
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      Hi Daphne, rice is rice and a great staple. Just use the instant rice before you use the longer-term rice. Beans and rice are awesome! Linda

      Reply
  • June 4, 2021 at 10:32 am
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    We have quite a few #10 cans of freeze dried meat, diced vegi mixes and diced fruit medleys, all with a 20+ year shelf life. We also have a a few weeks worth of simple emergency food ration bars (Datrex). Then we have a large supply of canned meats (tuna, chicken, Spam) and vegi’s, along with soups. Also a good supply of dried goods such as pasta and beans (We can get 10# bags of pinto beans for dirt cheap here in SE Utah because they are grown and packaged just 50 miles south of here—LUCKY!). We have the weapons and experience to take our own game from the wild (I have butchered many a deer!). Part of the reason we prep like this is for our children and grandchildren that live here because the are (I think) woefully understocked, so we could help them in a real SHTF emergency. We also have a large garden and the jars to put up around 150 pints of tomatoes and pickles (and maybe some salsa) this year. My two cents (BTW, save your pre-1982 pennies – they are worth 3 cents in copper each! And nickels are worth 6 cents in metal value alone. So if you are considering investing in precious metals but can’t afford it, consider copper pennies ans nickels instead. Just go to the bank and buy rolls of nickels! The metal value for five rolls of nickels ($10 face value) is $12. The metal value of a roll of quarters ($10 face value) is $2.40 (see coinflation.com). Think about it…

    Reply
    • June 4, 2021 at 3:26 pm
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      Hi Tom, oh my gosh, this is amazing, thanks for the tip on rolls of coins! I love it! The deer, oh my gosh, Utah is known for hunters! Just think about all the skills you have, I LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing this! My daughters were raised to be prepared but some are better at it than some. I do not have family nearby so they will have to be able to take care of themselves. If they lived closer we would be a “village”, but that’s not going to happen. Your family is lucky to have you, Linda

      Reply
  • June 5, 2021 at 6:56 pm
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    The best stove top oven is made by Coleman. It requires flame to bake therefore electric stoves will not work.The thermometer is accurate but you have to watch it constantly to keep an even baking temperature.We make JIFFY buttermilk drop biscuits when the power goes out.

    Reply
    • June 5, 2021 at 7:38 pm
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      Hi Chuck, I like the brand Coleman, I don’t think you can go wrong with that brand. I switched out my electric stove for a gas stove for this very reason. I love Jiffy products!! Great tip on the thermometer, thank you! Linda

      Reply
  • June 5, 2021 at 11:42 pm
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    Love this post!!! When I saw your picture tons of ideas came into my head!! The picture will help the article stick!!! Thanks! Wonderful ideas in the comments!!
    GREAT ARTICLE!!

    Reply
    • June 6, 2021 at 6:59 am
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      Hi LaRene, thank you so much, my friend! I’m a visual person so I spread stuff out to make us all think what we can whip up for any meal. It’s good to hear from you, Love you, Linda

      Reply
  • June 7, 2021 at 9:47 am
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    Linda, you’ve managed to pen another great article to save and while all of the above foods are useful in an emergency I recommend you cook all perishables first. That pretty much means anything that will go bad without refrigeration, esp., meats. You’ve read my book so you know I have about a dozen ways to cook meals in dire times. My Sun Oven has racks I can use to make jerky out of meat that would otherwise go bad. My oversized propane grill can also be used as a smoker and if I had to I could build a cover over our fire pit and use it as a smoker–the drawback being there’s no cottonwood around here to burn, just mesquite. We also have MRE’s with self-heaters.

    And at this time of year there’s always the garden. Just dug about 7 pounds of potatoes (from just 4 plants), and my pole beans are now in full production and my extremely picky wife absolutely loves the flavor of those French Climbing Beans.

    Our biggest problem, if the power grid failed, would be lack of water.

    Reply
    • June 7, 2021 at 10:08 am
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      Hi Ray, thank you for your kind words. I have never smoked meat, but I have tasted it! It’s fabulous! Look at your harvest!! I love it digging for potatoes! They taste so much better than store-bought! I need to order some of those French Climbing beans seeds! I usually buy bush beans because I don’t have a good trellis. It feels so good to be prepared in so many ways, Ray! Way to go! We all help each other! Linda

      Reply
      • June 8, 2021 at 11:13 am
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        Linda, one word of warning about the French Climbing beans. They are NOT stringless. I tend to pick them when they are less than 5″ long and when they are that young the strings are pretty tender, but I still de-string them anyhow as Jane doesn’t like anything stringy. If you let them get even 8″ long they start getting tough, so it’s best to pick them smaller.

        l am planting more bush beans (Provider) this week.

        Reply
        • June 8, 2021 at 12:52 pm
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          Hi Ray, you are such an awesome husband to your wife. You pick the strings off, that is true love. I love hearing this! I like young green beans so that should work for me. They are so easy to grow. Life is so good when we have a garden. Linda

          Reply

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