The Week in Preview:

Right up there with learning to pitch a tent, one of the first things backpackers and campers alike figure out is that they need to figure out what they're going to eat.  When you start paying attention to how you'll feed yourself (and your family), you automatically put yourself in a better position to conserve food and money by utilizing leftovers and not buying junk or fluff that is overpriced at the last minute.  Many people have learned for themselves that just in trying to either save money, lose weight or aid in a busy schedule with work and children, planning for a week helps.  And it's step #1 in planning for a three-month or longer pantry supply.  Start with a "week in preview" for yourself, see what works and what doesn't.  The better you pay attention to your own preferences, the better you're going to be at making smarter decisions on how to spend and how to eat.  Here's how we started:

Breakfast plan by the week:
Su  **
M  Pancakes/Waffles + Sausage
T   Oatmeal/Grits/Cornbread+Milk/Cream of Wheat
W  Omlets  + Ham
Th  French Toast + Bacon
F   Biscuits & Gravy + Sausage
Sa  **

And if you're wondering, the "**" marks the fact that if I eat the same thing day-in-day-out, by the end of the week I'll be slow-roasting the cook in a dutch oven.  We want variety and really, people, with proper planning, we may just be able to feel civilized and human in the face of an emergency and that's what this is all about.  There's no need to revert to being an animal if I can have a decent breakfast, is there?  So we factor in the "wild cards" and think ahead about what fun things you'd like to eat and then stock up the supplies!  You'll also notice that I listed oats and grits and cornbread all together.  Variety.  It's basically the same thing, sure, but it's different enough that I can stock up on a few different items to last me months and if I just can't tolerate the thought of oats that day, well, maybe I can grab some grits instead.  These are also my staple foods in the morning.  Yours may differ.

So, let's stretch the plan out to the whole menu.  Below, we have my work-order for next week.  You'll notice a couple of things up front, plenty of chicken and eggs (I do raise the birds, after all) but also, lots of "Wraps" for lunch.  That's because I'm still learning on how best to tweak the menu for us, but we eat small lunches and fall back on wraps and left overs plenty here, so it's a safe bet.  After trying it for a while, we'll adjust our sights as necessary and translate that into our pantry storage.  Also, I eat vegetables at just about every large meal that I prepare and, again, I like variety, so the only two veggies mentioned below are two that I would happily eat by the ton.  I stock up plenty of various veggies -- eggplant, zucchini, carrots, potato, yams, tomato, ONION, corn -- to throw into beds of rice or pasta at a whim.  Anything but green beans...  anything but green beans.  Know your tastes, know what you'd eat willingly vs. needing to face a slow, starving death before you'd consider (green beans) and plan away!

            Breakfast:        **Eggs (with cheese for K.) & bacon, toast/english muffin
            Lunch:             Ham & turkey wrap, lettuce and tomato
            Dinner:            Spaghetti & homemade meat sauce, grilled squash side

            Breakfast:        Pancakes/Waffles & Sausage
            Lunch:             Wraps
            Dinner:            **Stew, Biscuits
            Breakfast:        Biscuits & Sausage gravy, sausage
            Lunch:             Wraps
            Dinner:            Chicken thighs, cornbread
            Breakfast:        Oatmeal/Grits/Cornbread & Milk/Cream of Wheat
            Lunch:             Wraps
            Dinner:            Chicken, rice (with vegetables) and pierogi
            Breakfast:        French Toast & Bacon
            Lunch:             Wraps
            Dinner:            Pork Chops, Mac & Cheese (for K.), Sweet Potato
            Breakfast:        Omelets & Ham
            Lunch:             Wraps
            Dinner:            Pork Roast, rice & sautéed vegetables
            Breakfast:        ** Jesse's Breakfast Power Drink or Breakfast Muesli
            Lunch:             Wraps
            Dinner:            ** Stuffed peppers

The next step: Stock up, store.