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Eat Well, Spend Less: Five Ways With Pasta

pasta meals
source: Cristiano Betta

This month in our Eat Well, Spend Less series, we’re talking about emergency preparedness.

To be honest, I’m not sure our family is prepared at all for a major emergency, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the posts from Jessica, Aimee, Shaina, Katie G, AlyssaKatie K, and Tammy.

That said, I love the idea of taking baby steps toward a bigger goal, and one of the simplest ways you can prepare for an emergency is to simply have a meal plan in case you lose power.

Shelf-stable foods like pasta, lentils and rice are a great place to start, and today I’m going to share five shelf-stable pasta meals to get you started creating your stockpile.

Why pasta?

  • It’s common. Well, for one, it is already the basis for a lot of our meal planning. Everyone in our family enjoys Italian pasta dishes, and we often have it stocked in our pantry anyway. In an emergency, I’m sure we’d eat whatever was served, but foods we’re familiar with are a great place to start!
  • It’s versatile. Although it most often shows up in Italian meals at our house, pasta can be used for more a wide variety of meals, including pasta salads, soups and more. In fact, in a pinch, you could probably mix it with whatever seasonings, sauces and veggies you have on hand to make a decent meal.
  • It’s filling. While nutrition is important, the truth is that my primary focus in an emergency would be on keeping my kids’ bellies full. Whole grain pastas include complex carbohydrates to keep them full and give them energy, and canned sauces, veggies and meats provide additional nutrition.
  • It has a long shelf life. Pasta can be kept on the shelf for years, which means you can safely create a stockpile to last you through a major emergency. Of course, the best way to keep your stockpile current is to rotate items in and out by putting new purchases in the back.

Pasta Five Ways

Here are five shelf-stable pasta meals that you can stock in your pantry for emergencies:

  • Spaghetti: A box of pasta and a jar of sauce is all you need for this classic. Or, add additional veggies & meat for a more hearty meal.
  • Pasta with Pesto: Alternatively, pasta mixed with a jar of pesto is a delicious and flavorful meal. The hardest part of using pesto is going to be the potential waste once you open the jar. I imagine you could improvise and make your own pesto from EVOO, dried basil, minced garlic, and chopped pine nuts or walnuts, but I’ve never tried making it from dried ingredients.
  • Chicken Tortellini Soup: With shelf-stable filled pastas available, you have even more meal possibilities available, and this chicken tortellini soup from Food Storage Made Easy is a good example of that. Honestly, though, you could turn this into regular chicken noodle soup if you needed to!
  • Pasta Salad: This honey mustard pasta salad is a good alternative to Italian pasta dishes, and other than boiling the noodles, it’s easy to throw together. (I know boiling noodles isn’t hard, but it’s certainly harder without electricity!)
  • Pasta & Bean Soup: With just five ingredients, this pasta & bean soup is another quick and easy option so that you have a variety of meals to choose from.

How prepared are you for an emergency? What shelf-stable meals do you keep in your pantry at all times?