Wednesday, November 3, 2021

IF - The Bare Necessities

 We all talk about IF IT all goes south.  Well some people have gone through those moments in their lives over the years and they know about what IF.  You do with what you have.  You make do.  You get creative.

I got to thinking about the pantry possibilities.  I have a great variety of food on hand as well as a full freezer.  IF something happened and my stock got to the bare necessities - could I still do OK?  YES!
You could too - if you have certain items.

I know people are thinking - ugh - beans and rice.  That would get old.  It doesn't have to.  Get creative.
I figure if I have beans and rice, pasta, and maybe potatoes (fresh, dried and powdered) and a couple basic needs like flour, cornmeal, sugar and spices - I can eat well.
Remember beans are protein - a great replacement for meat.

I have dozens of kinds of dried beans and peas.
First thought - soup beans - you can season or just add bits of any meat or jazz up with tomatoes or veggies
I can serve with rice or even potatoes or pasta, cornbread or biscuits
Add salsa or any tomato products
Can strain beans or lentils and make burgers
Frijoles (refried beans)
Baked beans
Add any veggie and make different soups

Serve with beans
Use instead of pasta or potatoes
Fried rice - great used with bits of leftovers
Add salsa and make a Spanish type rice
Add to soups or casseroles to extend
Make rice patties (like potato patties) and fry
Make a pizza crust
Add to quiche

Fried, baked, mashed, fries, hash browns, scalloped, Au Gratin........
Potato cakes - can add bits of meat or other veggies or bits of cheese
Potato soup
Potato salad
Add to soup or casseroles - another great extender
Instant (powdered) potatoes are not everyone's favorite - but they can really be jazzed up.  First they make a great thickener for soups or stews, while adding nutrition.  You can use to top other veggies (& meat if had) to make a Shepherd's Pie.
When making instant think outside the box.  Use sour cream, cheese, ranch dressing, butter, seasonings - whatever that may flavor them up - that you have on hand.
You can make bread with mashed potatoes
Using other potatoes - think of frying alone in bacon grease or with any other veg or bits of meat.  Maybe make smothered fries (chili - cheese - thick stew - whatever)
There are sweet potatoes as well - and that adds a whole other bunch of variety.

Potato soup - you can use fresh, frozen, dehydrated, or instant potatoes.  No milk or cream, use broth, water and boullioun, dry milk, canned milk......
A cheap and filling meal!

Salads of all kinds - hot or cold - add whatever you have
Add to soups and casseroles - another extender
With any and all veggies and tomato sauces/cream sauces or cheese
All pasta is interchangeable - use what you have
I have lots of tomato products - so chili, lasagna (in some form), pasta and sauce, any baked casserole or dish

Flour, sugar, seasoning, cornmeal
I can do a lot with these items.
Cornbread, ho cakes, fry bread, polenta, biscuits, tortillas, gravy, various breads
I think I could probably come up with a 'changed' version of pancakes or waffles. 
If you are blessed to have oatmeal as well, my goodness, the possibilities are endless! 

I am fortunate to have tons of tomato products (all sorts) - many home canned.  I have jams and jellies (home canned) - that could be used as sweeteners or watered down for syrups.  I have home canned relishes and pickles that could be used in may ways - think different salads and flavorings.

IF you have basics - you can survive and survive well.  It is all about be creative and thinking outside the proverbial box.
Make sure you have plenty of basics around and you will not be hungry.

Do you have any OTHER ideas on stretching the basics?  Ideas are welcome and could save someone else from going hungry!!!!!!
WE  GOT  THIS!!!!!!!


  1. I will add, and from personal experience (including this morning), when you find yourself without coffee creamer or half and half and/or the milk has soured, the canned whipped cream will do. The other option is to open the bottle of Baileys. And at 7:30 AM, I think I'll stick with the Redi-Whip. Just make sure it's the kind made with real cream, and not Cool Whip (oil based). I made mac and cheese last night and the milk had gone sour, so I used my half & half and added a little water. The intent was to run to Aldi after dinner, as there are several dairy items I want to get, but I didn't make it.

    1. Good ideas. I have used whipped cream for milk before - tasty. I kind of like the Baileys as well - I always have that on hand!
      I probably would have used the milk in the mac (unless clumpy) - I love mac & cheese made with buttermilk. That is my favorite way to make it.
      Good job in making do!!!!! Have fun shopping.

    2. It was gross! Although dated 11/06, I'd opened it last week and used about a cup (from a quart bottle) and it reeked when I opened it and had started to separate. So it was use half & half or open a can of evaporated.

    3. Well then I don't blame you. Some stores I have found, keep their refrigeration units warmer than others and milk from those places never lasts as long in my opinion. Around here that place is WM. Milk never lasts from there for me.

  2. Following up on Lori's tip, Grandma Grif always kept a small stockpile of canned milk in a bin under her bed. She'd been a missionary in Africa, where fresh, pasteurized milk wasn't always available and got used to canned milk mixed with water for her breakfast cereal. She also kept a small supply of canned meats: tuna, chicken, corned beef, small hams. --Elise

    1. There are a lot of options for milk isn't there? I love it! People have always planned and made do with what they had.
      I keep several canned meats as well - just smart to have on hand if fresh isn't available.
      Good tips.

  3. Our oldest daughter cooks a lot of bean meals and she is a master at making a few cans of beans taste like gourmet. She has shown me what she does but hers are better. Begin by sautéing some onions and some peppers if you have them. When they are beginning to brown add in some minced garlic and some spices. She might add cumin and red pepper flakes. A little Italian seasoning is good in black beans. Cook a bit to bloom the spices and then add your cans of beans and allow to simmer for ten to twenty minutes. You can use these in many ways such as over rice or in a burrito bowl or rolled up in a flour tortilla. Her children have been eating beans since they were babies and they love them.

    If you have a pressure canner it is so easy to can your own meats. I just cube the meat and pack it in the jar and onto the canner it goes. You do not need to add anything at all to the jars. This makes tender and delicious meat and we love having a supply on our shelves for quick meals and emergencies.

    I am always prepared for a coffee emergency! A jar of instant and a container of dry coffee creamer will be your best friend on a clod morning without power!

    1. Your daughter sounds pretty darn smart. Those sound so good. Beans are such a healthy food - and under appreciated. So many uses.
      I do have a pressure canner I have never used! Scares me. I keep thinking about trying to can meat - just haven't tried.

      I am not a coffee drinker - although I do make a morning shake with a Tbsp. of instant coffee in it. SO I do keep that on hand. You know instant not opened is good for years!
      Thanks for more ideas.

    2. I remember well the terror I felt the first few times I ran the canner!

    3. t is a scary thought for me. My brother told me he would come give me a lesson! LOL

  4. All of you who have iBotta-don't miss the Thanksgiving freebies at Walmart! Hubby and I both have the app and picked up 16 free items yesterday.

    1. I don't have that. Good for you - FREE is wonderful!!!!!
      Hope this helps many!!!!!!

    2. You can get the freebies too as a new sign up if you use my referral code and you get a free turkey which I did not get yesterday. Do you want my code? You need a smart phone.

    3. Thanks - but no. No Smart Phone here - just an old flip one.

  5. What a thorough post! I can't think of much else. If I get bogged down, I turn to my extensive herb/spice supply. It can change up flavor so much. can jazz it up with bits of this and that. I leave out the seasoning packet and use my own spices. My mother was a Depression baby so her cooking included many ingredient stretchers. She would sometimes scrub potatoes and peel, saving the peels. She would fry those and season up well...pretty tasty. She would take a jar of home canned tomatoes, add a pat of butter, a bit of sugar and stale bread cubes...heating up. I loved her breaded tomatoes. She would take flour and milk and make a slurry then add to a mixture of warmed up veggies and then thicken...creamed veggies. My friend makes drop dumplings and either adds to sauerkraut or tomatoes. Those are tasty. Just some memories using bits of things...thought I'd share. Plus, it's fun to remember my mother's cooking.

    1. Thank you - you took me back as well.
      Seasonings can change up anything, no matter how bland. Ramen - I always have that on hand.
      Potato skins are a fancy appetizer at some restaurants and cost a fortune - scraps! LOL
      Mom did that with tomatoes too - Dad loved it, me not so much. Yes indeed they let nothing go to waste. Hopefully we never get to that place - but we should never be wasteful. Love the memories and ideas.

  6. I know that as a teen, maybe as a child, I used jelly in my oats and on pancakes. I don't think we were out of sugar or syrup. I probably thought I would use it for a change. But, a little jelly use might save the sugar if a person were running short and wanted to save using sugar.

    1. I still love jelly on pancakes! It sure would stretch sugar usage. Actually it could probably be mixed into sweet breads to add a little sweetness, of course on top of meats as a glaze, as a glaze for veggies......
      Great idea.

  7. I don't cook a great many bean meals but I do make baked beans quite often. I am a bit scared of beans. Probably shouldn't be.

    God bless.

    1. I love beans. Probably a favorite after tomatoes. You can just use them in so many ways. Very easy to make - just takes a while.
      You should give them a try.

  8. Perfect post! These are the kinds of things I’m stocked up on, too. I would probably get tired of them, but I would eat!!

    1. That is kind of how I feel too- but there are so many ways to jazz things up - so hopefully we could keep ourselves not only full but happy!

  9. More excellent ideas! Beans are very versatile. I think I mentioned that we soaked dried beans and then canned them. Have your brother give you a tutorial on using the canner. I hadn't canned in years but it all came back. It is a wonderful way to preserve food. It takes quite a bit of water to cook dry beans and this would eliminate that step. I bought some wagon wheel shaped pasta at Meijer and it is a small pasta that is perfect for soups and chili. I used some of it when I made the last batch of dog food and they boys seem to like it. Love peanut butter, crunchy or smooth on my waffles and pancakes. I keep hemp hearts and ground flax, along with chia seeds for my smoothies and those items are good in pancake and waffle batter. We also use them in oatmeal. Peanut butter powder is another thing we keep on hand. Lana's daughter has just given us all ways to jazz up beans. Thanks! Doesn't have to be plain beans. We went to Danville yesterday to go to the Tractor Supply over there to pick up bedding for the chicken coop and went in the Walmart next to it. It is a really nice store, nice and clean. Found some shelf stable coffee creamers and some other things we had not seen before. There was a new looking Goodwill store but I didn't take time to check it out. My daughter and I had gone to the GW in Avon that morning and picked up a few things. P.S. I'm with you on the breaded tomatoes. I know lots of folks love them but we are all different. Someone can have my portion! ha!

  10. I love beans also, I grew up on pinto beans served with fried potatos and onion. Cornbread on the side. Favorite breakfast then,cornbread crumbled in milk with some sugar. Grew up with a huge garden, mom canned and froze all those yummy things. Had fruit trees also for preserves, jams and jellies. Oh the good old days. What I wouldn't give to sit in the summertime and shell beans and peas. When you go to the farmers market now that is already done. I guess they think people do not want to do that anymore. It is a sad state of affairs I think. I tried to grow my own but only got what we would call a small mess of peas. When I was a kid there would be bushels. It breaks my heart that my son did not get to do the things I did. I keep trying, the grandson likes to watch things grow in the tiny garden I have. I think kids are more likely to eat veggies they grow.