You know me, I like to EASE my way into things and I think the best way to start emergency cooking is to see what you ALREADY have that can be made with shelf stable items in case of emergency. (Keep in mind that I only see this as a FIRST step, we’ll be covering other things like dutch ovens and solar ovens….but let’s just EASE into this! 😉 Now, please keep in mind that the first few days of a natural disaster you will be busily cooking and using the food in your fridge and freezer before it goes bad. But, of course, after your fresh and frozen food as been used up you’ll want to have shelf stable food (meaning the food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated) to eat. As I was thinking about this I realized that a lot of people spend a lot of money on food like this, but if you don’t have the money you can buy shelf stable meals at any grocery store (and when it’s on sale some times it’s as cheap as 88 cents!). Chicken helper is one of the easiest to make from shelf stable items because it even says on the box that you can substitute a can of chicken in place of the fresh chicken. (Which also, if you think about it is a good idea because you’d use less fuel cooking the meal if you don’t need to first cook the chicken.) Obviously, the milk you can use powdered milk but you may be perplexed about what to do about the margarine. This may not be the best thing to try putting beans in. However, I did discover that olive oil (or any oil) works just as well and that you don’t have to use as much oil as it calls for margarine. So not only are these meals great to keep on hand for an “everyday emergency” or when a baby-sitter or husband who doesn’t like to cook needs to cook but also for a natural disaster. I love it!
Here is what I did to make it work:
The recipe originally calls for:
1 lb. uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 T. margarine or butter
1/2 c. hot water
2 c. milk
Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Melt margarine in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until outsides turn white.
Stir in hot water, milk, Sauce Mix and uncooked pasta. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. Remove from heat and uncover (sauce will thicken as it stands)
Here is what I did:
1 12.5 oz. can cooked chicken, undrained (undrained there will be about a 1/2 c. of broth)
1 1/2 t. olive oil
1/2 c. of broth (from the can-why throw it out? It just adds more flavor)
2 c. milk (2 c. water + 1/3 c. powdered milk)
Combine chicken, broth, oil, water, dry milk powder, and sauce mix in skillet (you’ll need to use a whisk to combine everything). Add in uncooked pasta and stir. Heat until boiling, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. Remove from heat and uncover (sauce will thicken as it stands).
*You could also use a can of peas for some color or add in other spices (garlic, lemon pepper, etc.) to flavor it differently.
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