Part of HomeBar: Food and Drink Tips to Survive Social Distancing.
Two days ago, Governor Newsom issued a “stay-at-home” order to combat the COVID 19 epidemic here in California. Similar orders have been issued in Illinois, New York and Connecticut and will likely come to other states soon.
These orders have forced all “non-essential” businesses, including dine-in restaurants and bars, to close.
While grocery stores are exempt, their supply chains are squeezed to the limit on many staple foodstuffs. Plus, crowded grocery stores are great places to get infected.
As the outbreak worsens over the next few months, I will try to avoid grocery shopping as much as possible.
To that extent, I have come up with a weekly menus to ensure the food in my pantry lasts for about three months.
I conducted an inventory of my fridge, freezer and pantry last Sunday, after I completed my final round of grocery shopping. I revised the inventory earlier today to account for some deliveries my family received this week. The following food items were in abundant supply:
- 10 (14 oz) Tofu blocks
- 10 (15 oz) cans of Kidney Beans
- 10 (15 oz) cans of Black Beans
- 5 lbs of Chuck Meat
- 3 (14 oz) “meatless” soy meat
- Four packages of deli-style sliced Turkey (9 slices per package)
- Four cartons of (12) eggs
- 5 cans (5 oz), tuna
- 5 cans (5 oz), salmon
- 9 (1 lb) boxes of pasta
- 1 1/2 (2 lb) bags of basmati rice
- 1/2 (10 lb) bag of Botan short-grained rice
- 3 (8 oz) boxes of couscous
- 1 1/2 (1 lb) bags of quinoa
- 17 whole Sweet potatoes (12-13 lbs)
- 12 Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 3 large Russet Potatoes
- 2 packages of tortillas (1 large,1 medium)
- 12 (16 to 24 oz) bags of frozen vegetables
- 17 (15 oz) cans of canned vegetables
- Cereal and Yogurt
- About 10 packages of Cheese: 2 large (32 oz), 1 medium (16 oz) and the rest small (8 oz)
- 2 pasta sauces
- 2 Salsas (about 15 servings each)
- 2.5 cans of coconut milk
- 1 Tikka Masala Sauce
- 1 Soy Sauce
- Baking essentials (e.g. flour, butter, sugar)
- 7 frozen meals
I will be feeding my mother and myself with these staples.
Based on personal experience, my supplies of black beans, kidney beans, meatless meat, and tofu, will each give me 10 main courses.
The pasta supports more than 10 meals (1 box=1.5 to 2 meals, so about 15 to 20 meals), and the rice supports a little less (One 2 pound bag of basmati rice yields about 4 cups or 6 meals give or take. It looks that there is about 1 meal worth in the partially-open basmati bag and three meals worth in the short-grain rice container). The couscous and quinoa (about 5 to 6 meals each) extend the number of side dishes I can cook. The copious potatoes can feature in both side dishes and main courses.
As for vegetables, a 16-ounce bag of frozen peas can currently complement as many as 10 meals, so I might be able to make ’em last me a year.
Accordingly, I can forego shopping/deliveries for 10 weeks by sticking to the following menu.
- Lunch: Open-faced tuna, salmon or turkey/chicken (2 slices) melt sandwich
- Pasta with tomato or cream sauce, and vegetables
- Lunch: Open-faced fish/turkey melt (2 slices) or pan-fried vegetables+”meatless meat” with left-over pasta
- Dinner: Kidney Bean/vegetable stew with quinoa/couscous/rice* or sweet potatoes (Start with former and move on to latter as supplies dwindle)
- Lunch: Black Bean Patties for hump day!
- Dinner: Leftover stew (tends to make more food) with a new side (quinoa, couscous, rice or potato)
- Lunch: Second day of black bean patties.
- Dinner: Vegetable Stew/Curry with either Tofu or Potato (Tikka Masala Sauce/Spices and Coconut Milk or Salsa: make enough for two)
- Lunch: Treat yourself! Toaster oven pizza, frozen meal
- Dinner: Round 2 on Thursday’s dinner
- Lunch: Weekend lunches are kinda TBD. Might push out breakfasts later to reduce consumption (bread slice with peanut butter+cereal+yogurt)
- Dinner: Meatless Meat Quesadillas (1 large tortilla or 2 medium tortillas per person) with rice/potato as side.
- Lunch: See above
- Dinner: Pasta (same options as Monday)
For weekday breakfasts, I’m sticking to yogurt (have about 6 weeks supply right now) and cereal (1 year’s supply).
I haven’t started the menu yet (I had takeout earlier this week, with leftovers lasting a few days). I will likely change up the days on which I cook particular dishes (e.g. black bean patties earlier in the week and deli meat later), based on my work schedule, how I’m feeling, etc. But I intend to primarily revolve among the set of dishes laid out above.
I will keep everyone posted on how it goes.
How are you planning to conserve food throughout the COVID 19 lockdowns?
Share your menu/recipe suggestions below!
*My mother doesn’t eat quinoa, so I would have to make a second side to accompany the main course.