What to Eat when the Power is out

Storms can be fun if you are prepared! I am a true New Englander and I love storms but I hate losing power. I hope that by the time this has reached you that your power is back on and you do not need to know this.  Tuck this aside for the next time   I am hoping this information will be handy when Nemo’s cousin comes around to visit.

There are better options for a power outage than bread and butter, or chips – unless of course this is your excuse to eat chips – then please…do not let me get in your way 😉 You can also use these ideas for less stressful summer camping!

Here are some ideas for preparing food that is delicious, good for you and easy to deal with when you do not have electricity. First some basic ideas:
• Always have some canned food handy like black beans, soup, chick peas, etc.  They last without refrigeration and can be, in an emergency, eaten cold. Don’t forget to find that can opener.
• A great pantry item to keep stocked is peanut butter and jelly.  They do not require refrigeration and can be spread on just about anything.  The peanut butter also provides protein which is very important for keeping energy high and for feeling full longer.
• Tortilla’s last longer than bread and also do not have to be refrigerated. Crackers or “sport bread” are also good options for non-refrigeration.
• There are dairy products such as Parmalat that can be stored out of the refrigerator.  They are full of preservatives but for emergencies it is definitely something to consider – these products have been available in Europe for a very long time but are now recently available in our local grocery stores.
• If possible it is great to have a camp stove.  These are one or two burner stoves which are powered by butane or gas cartridges.  They are fairly inexpensive but remember to never cook with them inside your home.  There are also disposable charcoal grills you can buy.  There are some solar grills coming into the market slowly so keep your eyes open for that.  If you have a fireplace and cast iron cooking implements then you are all set.  A gas grill can also be used if needed.

When Nemo was about to hit we planned a few items to get us through a few days.  We decided to go with a cold dish, a prepared warm dish and some quick plan B items.
• Chicken Couscous salad – this can be eaten cold and has a variety of vegetables in it as well as chickpeas and chicken.  You can make a vegetarian version by omitting the chicken if desired. This dish can be made with any pasta as well or even quinoa.  It holds well for a long period of time and is delicious.
• Chili – we made a large batch of chili, cooled it completely and then poured it into a large freezer Ziploc bag and froze it flat to take up less space in the freezer.  This is a high protein item which can be easily reheated in hot water or in a pot on a grill or cast iron over a fireplace.  Since the meat is already cooked you just need to warm it.  Again this is easy to make a vegetarian version but I would highly suggest brown rice and a protein bean.
• Make ahead some pasta, quinoa, rice or other items which you can keep cool but use to throw together a meal with cheese, canned tuna, cooked sausage and canned veggies.
• Our plan B items included:
o Already cooked bratwurst – this can be heated if you have a way to do so (roasted over a gas grill, fireplace or camp stove) and can also be eaten cold if necessary.
o Can of vegetables – while I am usually a fan of frozen veggies (fresh is best but during a power outage not a great alternative) canned vegetables can go a long way to making healthy meals you can throw together.

Using these tips can get you through several days of no electricity at a small food cost and all the food can be frozen and used later if you are lucky enough not to lose power.

There is, of course, always the option of making a call to your personal chefs to make some meals ahead of time just in case!