What I Stocked Up On, in case of Lockdown or Quarantine (with recipes)

I know this doesn't fit with a "faith" blog, but go with me here.  Everything's wonky anyway.  (The memes are from here.)

This is some of what I stocked up on (with a few recipes at the end) as the Coronavirus panic took hold of our country.  I made sure to only buy what I knew we would use up by the expiration dates, and I spread it out over several shopping trips.  I'm not stocking up out of concern that we'll be on lockdown or quarantined.  (We're homeschooling homebodies anyway, so as long we don't get the virus, we'll be fine.  Which is good, because - surprise! - we just got put on lockdown.)  I'm stocking up more out of concern that this will have economic repercussions, affecting the country's future food supply.  Maybe not huge repercussions, but ones that will make us realize how much we took for granted before.  (My bedroom looks more like a fall-out shelter, full of food and supplies.)  

My focus is on basic, simple ingredients, not processed foods, so that I can make a variety of meals with the same basic items.  I also focused on easily-stored, hearty foods that will last well without refrigeration and that have enough substance, protein, and nutrients to sustain us for awhile, if need be.  (As you can tell, the government seems to be easing us in to stricter and stricter rules, even if it's easing us in at lightning speed.  I doubt it will be just a couple-week lockdown.)  But if we needed to, we could get by on rice and beans for a long time, regardless of how much my kids hate beans.  "You gotta do what you gotta do," I'd tell them.  "Many people don't have the chance to eat beans until they cry.  Do you realize how blessed you are?  So stop complaining and eat your beans!"


Anyway, here is what I stocked up on, followed by some simple recipes: 

Pasta and big Costco boxes of mac-and-cheese (only because it was on sale)

Canned tomato paste (A MUST-HAVE!  We use it to make our own pasta/pizza sauce, and I use it for chili and taco soup.  And it's so much easier to store than big jars of premade sauce.)

Dried and canned beans, some lentils

Canned and frozen corn, green beans

Bottled water (If we don't drink it, it'll be used in my fish tanks when I change their water.)

Chicken broth

Rice (I prefer brown, but it spoils quicker than white, so I bought white rice.  Rice is so versatile, as a dinner side-dish, in soups, with chili ladled on top, or for rice pudding for breakfast or dessert.  If I need to, I can use it for homemade rice milk, which I used to do and the kids loved.  Also, I have a grinder, so I can grind it into flour for baking.)

Canned and dried fruit, applesauce, raisins, dried cranberries

Nuts of various kinds (I'm thinking "high protein" here)

Peanut butter, almond butter, jelly  (If we had to, we'd eat peanut butter by the spoonful.  And here's a tip: If your kids hate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches like mine do, simply make tiny little sandwiches on Saltine crackers.  They taste so much better for some reason.  Add sliced apple pieces on the side, and you've got a simple meal kids love!  And anyone remember the line from Friends, about how Joey's mom used to drop him off at the theater with a spoon and jar of jelly?  My husband and I refer to this line a lot.  And now maybe someday, my kids can tell their families about how their mom used to sit them down in front of the TV during lockdown with a spoon and a jar of jelly.  "You're so pretty.")

Granola Bars  

Flour (Actually, I buy wheat berries to grind my own flour.)

Yeast, olive oil, coconut oil, butter

Oats: steel-cut oatmeal and whole oat groats for grinding into oat flour

Boxed cereal

Salt, peppercorns, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon (essential spices in my house)

Tortilla chips (Another Must-Have.  We use them for quick meals like taco nachos, cheese nachos, taco soup, with salsa, crumbled on chili, with chili-cheese-bean dip, with BBQ chicken.  Dang, I should have picked up some canned chili.)

Other chips and crackers

Salsa, BBQ sauce, ketchup (A must-have-at-all-times item when you've got kids.  Ketchup covers a multitude of food sins.)

Cheese (It all sold out one week at Walmart.)

Eggs (As much as I could fit in my fridge) 

Frozen chicken breasts and frozen raw burgers

Canned cooked chicken  (I'm not sure for what yet, but there's lots of options.)

Some sliced turkey (Lunchmeats were sold out one week too.)

Hot dogs to freeze

Molasses, honey, maple syrup, chocolate chips, and organic sugar (I got my extra bags of organic sugar right before they sold out.)

Some bread (A few extra loaves to keep in the fridge.  But I've made our own before so I can start doing that again.)

Carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, apples, bananas (to eat fresh and to freeze for banana bread).  I also keep extra lemons in the freezer so I can make lemon-honey tea for whenever anyone gets sick.

Popcorn - for popping or grinding into flour for cornbread

I have a big container of Barley I never used, but now could be a good time to learn how to use it

Coconut and rice "milks" (Shelf-stable so they last a long time.  We use it in cooking or cereal.)

Juice, coffee, tea

Some toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, napkins, tissues, feminine products (I had no idea those would sell out, but they did, and so I was lucky to find a few stray packages left on the shelf), toothpaste, soaps, big bag of baking soda and big bottle of vinegar in case we need to make our own cleaners, water filters for our faucet, etc.

Elderberry syrup to take daily

Essential oil chest rub and coughs drops with essential oils, if we get sick

Lavender and Tea Tree Oil, and a few extra diffusers that I run every day and night

And over-the-counter meds, in case of fever (FYI: Experts recommend NOT using ibuprofen if you get Coronavirus.  It makes it worse apparently.  I wish I grabbed another thermometer.  Those are sold out all over the place.)

Some of My Simple Recipes  (I don't measure.  I eyeball it.  A bit of this, a spoonful of that.  And these are rough directions, so adjust as you need to.  Some people can't stand to go off-the-cuff, to not have specific directions.  But learn to trust yourself.  You can do it.  You'll be fine.  And remember that I cook for a family of 6.  Cut recipes in half if you don't need to cook as much.):

Easy Pasta/Pizza Sauce (The only sauce my boys will eat happily.  I use it on pasta or in lasagna):  For my family of 6, I put these in a pot:  3 cans of tomato paste, enough water to thin it to slightly thinner than I want to serve it (some water will boil off as it cooks), a hefty sprinkle of onion powder and garlic powder, a small amount of salt, sugar, and pepper (start with less, add more as you go if you need to), and a bit of dried oregano.  
And then just simmer on low for awhile till flavors blend and it thickens up a bit.  At the very end, add a splash of olive oil.  (For lasagna noodles that cook while you bake, not the pre-boil ones, make sure the sauce is thin enough that there's extra water for the noodles to absorb so they cook right.  And this recipe also makes a good homemade pizza sauce too.  For pizza sauce, add only a little bit of water to make a thicker, moist, spreadable paste.  And you don't have to cook it first because it will heat when you bake the pizza.)

Easiest Chili:  Brown a pound or two of ground meat.  Add cooked meat to a pot of watered-down tomato paste (2-3 cans).  Add your favorite chili seasoning (I use 2 packets of Lawry's Chili Spices & Seasoning Mix for my big pot of chili for a family of 6), some chopped carrots, chopped onion and garlic (optional), and a can or two of black beans (drained and rinsed).  Let it simmer a little while till it's hot and flavors are blended (at least an hour).  Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.  Or cornbread on the side.

Our favorite Chili-Cheese-Bean Dip:  For a 9x13 inch pan, I spread 2 packages of cream cheese on the bottom, top with 2 cans of Trader Joe's beef chili, and top with shredded cheddar cheese.  Cook at 350 degrees till hot and cheese is melted, about 45 minutes.  Cover lightly with foil if it starts to burn on top.  Serve with tortilla chips.

BBQ Cheesy Chicken:  Simple cook and shred some chicken breasts, add enough BBQ sauce to make it like a Sloppy Joe, heat well.  Dish it out to plates, top with shredded cheddar cheese, and eat by using tortilla chips to scoop bites.  Or you can serve the BBQ chicken and cheese between bread, as a sandwich, or rolled in flour tortillas.

Hot Dog and Potato Egg Bake:  Boil bite-sized-cut russet potatoes (enough to fill a 9x13 pan about halfway high) till almost cooked, about 20 minutes.  Cool slightly and spread in 9x13 pan.  Add chopped hot dogs (I prefer to chop and bake them a little first to toast them and get some grease out), chopped onions (optional), and a pound of frozen chopped broccoli (thawed first).  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder (or add the spices to the upcoming egg mixture instead of now).  Mix in a good amount of shredded cheddar cheese.  Blend a couple spoonfuls sour cream into a few eggs (add spices now, if you prefer).  Pour on top of it all and blend well.  Top with a little more shredded cheddar.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, till 165 degrees inside and the eggs are thoroughly cooked.  (Loosely cover with foil for last 15 minutes if it's browning too much.)

Easy Cheesy Potato Soup: In a big pot, add 8 cups chicken broth, 4 cups water, several pounds of cut-up russet potatoes depending how thick you want it (I do about 4-5 lbs potatoes, the broth level should be about an inch or two higher than the potato level), salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  (You could add chopped onions and garlic too.)  Cover and cook on a med-low boil until potatoes are soft.  Mash them right in the pot with a potato masher.  Then add a pound of chopped frozen broccoli (thawed first).  Low boil until broccoli is soft, about 30 minutes at least.  When done, turn off heat, add a bunch of shredded cheddar cheese (a few cups), a stick of butter, and some dried parsley.  Stir well till cheese is blended and butter is melted.  Serve hot.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas: Cook and shred a couple chicken breasts, add a cup or two of whatever salsa you like and a couple handfuls shredded cheddar cheese.  Blend well.  Spread a couple spoonfuls of this mixture on the edge of a flour tortilla, roll up, place in 9-13-inch baking dish.  Repeat with more flour tortillas until mixture is used up.  (Each chicken breast will make about 3 enchiladas, depending on how big the chicken was and how much you fill them.)  Top with some more salsa and cheddar cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, till hot.  Lightly cover with foil if it gets too brown.  Serve hot, topped with sour cream.

Taco Nachos:  Make taco meat by browning some ground beef or turkey, and add the taco seasoning you like.  I only like Lawry's taco seasoning.  Every other one is gross.  (If you prefer beans, you could make taco beans instead of meat.)  Cook it down a bit till it's dry enough to not make the chips soggy.  Spread some tortilla chips out on a pan, sprinkle taco meat on top, top with shredded cheddar cheese, and bake about 5 minutes at 350 degrees till the cheese is melted.  Serve as is, or topped with diced tomatoes, diced avocados, and sour cream.  (Or roll the taco meat or beans up in flour tortillas with whatever other toppings you like, and serve as soft-shell tacos instead.  And for just "cheese nachos," simply sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on tortilla chips, heat till melted.  That's it.)

Super Simple Chicken Soup: To a large pot, add 8 cups chicken broth, 4 cups of water, diced carrots (2-3), chopped celery, a diced onion, several chopped garlic cloves, cubed chicken (2-3 chicken breasts), and salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder (all spices to taste).  Cook at a low boil or simmer till chicken is done and carrots are soft (a couple hours is good).  When soup is done, turn off, add a stick of butter and some dried parsley.  Serve hot with buttered bread or rolls.  

If you want chicken rice soup, add about 3/4 cup or so uncooked rice to the soup for the last 45 minutes of cooking.  If you want chicken noodle, add a few handfuls uncooked NO YOKE Egg Noodles during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Chicken Taco Tortilla Soup:  In a big pot, add 2 cans tomato paste, enough water to thin like a soup (about 8-10 cups), 2-3 large diced carrots, chopped onion and garlic, 1-2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed), 2-3 chopped chicken breasts, an optional can of corn (drained), and 2 (maybe 3) packets of your favorite taco seasoning (I only like Lawry's).  Boil till chicken is done and carrots are tender.  Serve in bowls, topped with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and crushed tortilla chips.  I love this soup!  In fact, I think I'll make it today.       

Rice Pudding (for tomorrow's breakfast):  Cook the amount of rice you want till it's almost fully cooked.  Into the almost-cooked rice, add some sugar (to taste), enough milk (I use rice milk) to make it soaked and soggy-looking, and a couple eggs.  Blend it quickly before eggs start cooking (or you can blend the eggs into the milk before adding).  Stir as it continues cooking for about 5-10 more minutes, till it's bubbly, thickened, and 165 degrees inside so the eggs are thoroughly cooked.  Turn off the heat, add some butter and cinnamon, stir well.  Cool it down quickly and put it in the fridge for breakfast the next day.  

This is what I do when I make rice for dinner.  I make extra to turn whatever we don't eat for dinner into pudding for breakfast the next day.  When you serve it for breakfast, drizzle with a little maple syrup first.  (You could make it in the morning and eat it hot if you prefer.  But we like it cold.  I keep rice leftovers for no more than two days.  I heard old, leftover rice can grow nasty germs.)

Simplest Essential Oil Blend for Diffuser, for fighting germs: Add 3 drops Lavender essential oil and 3 drops Tea Tree Oil to your diffuser.  I do this every night in all our bedrooms and in the living room during the day.  (If you feel sick, pour a little carrier oil - I use olive oil - into your hand, add a drop each of Lavender and Tea Tree oil, and rub on your feet or chest or behind your knees.  Or just use 2 drops of either one of those.)

Some simple recipes to get you started.  May God be with us all!

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