Last year’s winter was the kind we haven’t seen since I was really little. I have already been hearing that this winter is going to be even worse. Regardless of how it actually turns out I really want to have a good amount of preparation done in case the roads are bad and we can’t get to the store or if we just don’t want to. This is going to be a three part series with Part One: Planning Your Meals, Part Two: Food Preparation & Storage, Part Three: The Miscellaneous Stuff.
There is no better place to start than getting your plan together. It will make the gathering, storing and using so much easier on you if your plan is complete up front. Also I know that we are only a family of two people but this plan is completely customizable to your families needs.
What you are going to eat and how you are going to store your food is going to be an integral part to your plan. I really like to use freezer meals because the food is already together and you don’t have to worry about missing a specific ingredient. I also have a second refrigerator that I can dedicate specifically to my winter food stock. But no worries scale up or down as needed for your own families.
The first step to my plan is to make a list of freezer friendly meals that we like. It is really important to look and search for meals that you think sound good and that your family will eat. It wont be very effective if you use someone else’s list and they really like ground beef but your family wont eat it then you have a bunch of meals no one will eat.
I chose to find around 25 meals that we would like. This includes some breakfast, lunch and dinner options. To find these recipes I used my cookbooks and the internet to search for inspiration of what others have done and chose the meals that I found appetizing to use. Now that I have my list of meals my goal is to get around 15 prepared, ultimately I would love to have 30 but things don’t always work out and I also plan on getting some fresh meals to mix in during the week and won’t need (hopefully) a solid two weeks worth of food.
I also am currently using Google Drive to store my spreadsheet of information. I decided to use this because I can access the information from anywhere, update or change it as needed without having to erase/cross-out/or print additional pages. I would like to get as much of the information into a binder so that Gunnar or another can also easily access information but while I’m still in the planning stages I’m going to use the spreadsheet feature in Google Drive.
In drive I have several columns to help organize my information they are as follows : Recipes, Type, Location, Number Prepared. The Recipe is just the name of the dish with the type helping me keep track of where it is stored either in the pantry or in the freezer. The location refers to where the recipe is located so that I can find it easy and the number prepared is simply how many I have in stock and what sizes they are. For example, since it is just Gunnar and I most of our meals are in 8×8″ sizes. This is plenty for us to eat and allows us to have either 1 meal when I make it or 2 in our freezer for later.
Once you have your list ready to go get yourself some 3×5 index cards or recipe cards to write out your recipes so that they are all in one spot. This will make grocery shopping and preparing your meals a lot easier. Also take this time to make yourself a list of staples you like to have on hand any kind of snacks, or cooking supplies so that while you are out shopping you can quickly have access to this information and start stocking up if you are low.
Now that you have your food plan ready and organized we will be ready to start talking about your preparation plan and storage in Part Two.