A Simple & Nice Prepper Dinner

Having driven coast to coast twice in about a week, filling up a Van, Expedition, and sedan (on a trailer) in the middle, and then unloading it all when back at home, I was a bit tired today ;-)

The result was that it was 7 PM and I suddenly realized I’d not made dinner yet. An hour+ behind expected dinner time… OK… what to do? No time to defrost anything. Not a big interest in just opening cans of stuff (and not many ‘meals in a can’ to choose between anyway). But I had a LOT of prep-for-disaster foods on hand…

So I used that to make a very quick, and rather nice, dinner. So good, that I’ve decided to post about it here!


Salmon Fettuccine with Alfredo sauce (topped with olives and optional Parmesan)
Marinated Artichoke hearts.
Dry Canned Carrots, buttered.

Beverage was bottled water, which we often have with dinner.

Making it:

The olives, marinated artichoke hearts, Salmon and Alfredo sauce were all just “open the can or jar”. All from COSTCO about a year ago.

The Fettuccine was regular box of noodles that was on hand in the pantry (along with about 30 pounds of other dry pasta choices ;-)

The carrots were dry-packed and canned by me about 9 months ago. Just put the carrot sticks in a 1 cup jar without added water and process as usual for carrots. These had the lid lifted, a plastic lid put loosely in place to prevent any spitting, and microwaved for 30 seconds. Then a pat of butter on top in the jar and run another 30 seconds. You now have very tasty hot buttered carrot sticks, better than any commercial canned.

The Artichoke hearts are just open, and put a few in a side bowl of about 4 oz size. These are the Kirkland jars of about a quart (33 oz. Net Wt. I suspect including marinade in the weight), sold in packs of 2. When I’ve used all the artichokes, the left over olive oil and spices make a great marinade for chicken.

That’s all it takes to make the 2 sides. Note that in a real “emergency”, I can still run the microwave off of my generator.

The Fettuccine is simmered in a pot for about 14 minutes. In a real emergency, Angle Hair pasta could be used to save fuel as it cooks in 3 to 4 minutes. The noodles are then drained, Alfredo sauce poured on (about an ounce per serving) and that is warmed by the residual heat of the noodles as it sits on the (now turned off) burner. The tin of salmon (a 6 ounce can, like a tuna can – also Kirkland brand; Pink Salmon from COSTCO) is opened, drained, and using a fork is broken into bite sized bits; then stirred into the noodles and sauce. Let stand a moment to warm through.

Then you just plate it all. Dish of artichokes to the plate, carrot sticks from the jar (I used a 1 cup jar, so each person gets 1/2 of that) pulled out with a fork onto the plate. Then a large dollop of the noodles/sauce/salmon goes onto the plate. Top with a few olives from a can, and sprinkle on Parmesan as desired. Serve.

The whole meal for 2 took me about 18 minutes from first “Oh God Dinner is late!” to plated. It was a very filling and very enjoyable dinner for both of us.

The balance of the olives were put in a jar in the fridge. The rest of the Alfredo sauce in the original jar was placed in the fridge too. As was the rest of the Artichokes in their marinade. In a real disaster, the olives and artichokes would keep at room temperature for a while, but the sauce would be used up within the day on a larger batch of pasta ;-) Or you could “re-can” it with a pressure canner.

By making a lot of 1 cup sized batches of dry-pack canned carrots, each jar is a service for 2 folks and there are no left overs to worry about. In a real emergency, if you don’t have any butter, a little olive oil and salt can be used to garnish / flavor enhance.

Dry noodles, of course, keep just about forever as long as they are kept dry.

The “left overs” of the main course were put in a plastic tub in the ‘fridge, but there was only about 1 cup (or maybe less…) left after both of us were quite full. In a real emergency, you would just eat it all and be stuffed ;-0

Depending on your wine inventory, one could pop the cork on some wine instead of using the bottled water… but I was already fatigued enough that a glass or two of wine and I’d not be awake now ;-)

The big takeaway from this meal, for me, was just how good it was. Not at all like what you would get from a commercial “Prep Package” that’s either freeze dried glop or a very starch heavy and cheap dish like beans & rice, or Mac & Cheese.

I tend to have several pounds of dry noodles of various kinds (shapes) in my emergency prep stores. They keep for years, but I rotate the stock during normal cooking anyway. The canned pink salmon is very much like cans of tuna (that you could also use, but the salmon is a bit nicer). It also keeps nicely for a few years. I typically have a dozen or two cans in the pantry (ditto tuna…). The marinaded artichokes and canned olives keep for years (as long as you don’t eat them all… a constant risk for me) as does the canned Alfredo sauce. A jug of grated Parmesan in the fridge has lasted a couple of years for us. (Big jug, only 2 people, not that many pasta dinners…)

Basically, all of these ingredients store on the shelf nicely for a very long time, yet can be used in regular day to day meals too.

FWIW, that’s the general pattern of how I prepared for emergency cooking. I like real meals of familiar things, that are just made with ingredients that store a long time easily, and can be cooked fast and easily. This meal took boiling one pot of water, and running the microwave oven for 1 minute (and even that could be optional, just heat the carrots in a pan over a camp stove or charcoal BBQ).

In Conclusion

I hope this gives you some ideas about easy & quick “prepper” meals, and gets folks thinking about how much better that meal sounds than “Freeze Dried Glop In A Pouch” camping food.

In a real power outage disaster, we’d be having Salmon Fettuccine Alfredo, topped with olives and grated Parmesan, with marinated artichoke hearts and buttered carrots by candle light… Life can be rough when disaster strikes, but it doesn’t have to be miserable or a hardship ;-)


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in cooking, Emergency Preparation and Risks, Food. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to A Simple & Nice Prepper Dinner

  1. John S Howard Jr says:

    EM… you could do more of this. Easy and not complicated. I dont have any canned salmon, but I will try this soon. Wifey used to make something similar with tuna.

  2. H.R. says:

    I’m set up similarly, E.M. I have lots of ‘ingredients’ that can be combined in any number of ways so you don’t get bored with “Beef-a-roni… again?”

    Great tip on the angel hair pasta. The Mrs. likes thin spaghetti so that’s mostly what I have in stock. I pick up fettuccini, regular spaghetti, and other pastas on sale for storage in the larder. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for angel hair pasta on clearance or may just buy some to have some around.

    Here’s a tip for storing spaghetti. There is a brand of salty crunchy snacks called Utz. Their ‘Pub Mix’ comes in a tall, stout plastic cylinder with a screw lid. It is the perfect height for spaghetti.

    While the S-hasn’t yet-HTF, if you’re entertaining or just a hopeless snacker, look for those containers of snacks. You’ll pay just a bit more for the snacks, but the free spaghetti canister is worth it. They keep your dry pasta rodent and bug-proof and hold about 3(?) pounds of spaghetti. And the snack mix is delicious!

  3. Chris Cantrell says:

    Thanks for the fun read.
    That was a really creative and practical solution for making a quick and tasty meal using emergency prep foods! It’s great to see how different ingredients can be combined to make a delicious and satisfying dinner, even in a time crunch.
    Thanks again,

  4. The True Nolan says:

    @!EM: “The Artichoke hearts are just open, and put a few in a side bowl of about 4 oz size. These are the Kirkland jars of about a quart ”

    Wifey-thing and I are big fans of the Costco artichokes. Great either on a salad or as a side dish. The marinade juice make a good salad dressing as well. We are almost three hours from a Costco, so my big-city brother always calls before he visits to check our status for artichokes and olives!

    Really yummy sounding dinner you whipped up!

    (Speaking of olives… If you have a middle east store nearby, check to see if they have any oil cured olives. Not plump like regular US olives, but little black, almost dried looking, still with the pit — and bitter! But a nice bitter. Makes a good counterpoint as a small side flavor against a standard meal. And depending how they are packaged they often have a long shelf life.)

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @John S.:

    Is it the “simple and easy” meals aspect, or the “stored goods meals” aspect that’s most of interest?

    As a kid who grew up with 2 cooks for parents and in the family restaurant; cooking is in me ;-) But I’m not “chefy”, I’m more of a “short order cook”. That’s what I learned in the restaurant. At home we did some more “regular family meal” style cooking, so things like home made lasagna and “Sunday Roast” (as Mum was from England…).

    Which means I don’t do things like Hollandaise Sauce or pressed duck… but I can make a hamburger, T-Bone grilled, fried chicken and eggs over easy all come up at the same time ;-) Dad would test a new cook applicant by asking them to make a hamburger w/fries, eggs over easy, and a Club Sandwich and have them all ready to set in the pickup window at the same moment… (Hint: Eggs last, hamburger patty on the grill first, make the Club Sandwich in the middle ;-)

    At any rate, I’m not your typical “foodie”, but I do have a strong interest in food preservation (aka “prepping”) and in Short Order Meals; along with some interest in Traditional Family Meals – I’ve done Thanksgiving dinner for a dozen or so folks with a mix of vegetarian, vegan, carnivore, wheat intolerance, corn allergy, and such; and had it all come up together at the right time. Including home made stuffing in both “wheat” and “gluten free” types. Bit of a challenge can be fun some times ;-0

    So folks:

    State your interest and I’ll try to accommodate.

    1) Prepper Meals
    2) Simple, Fast, Good short order cooking (heat ‘n eat, fried, dump & garnish, etc.)
    3) Family Meals in general (more roasted everyone gets the same thing… less fried to order).
    4) Anything really. Just want to eat and not work at it too hard…

    Oh, and while I can bake bread & cookies, I’m not big on pies, cakes, etc. unless it is frozen pies, bake and go. I’ve made pastries, but it’s a lot of work for not much gain, IMHO. “Baking” and “Short Order Cook” are kind of opposite approaches ;-)

  6. E.M.Smith says:


    A lot of Restaurant Menu Planning is figuring out how many things you can make with the same set of basic ingredients. Like Taco Bell using the same tub of sauced meat for everything “beef”; be it burrito, taco, taco salad, etc. etc.

    The basic meal design pattern I use is the trilogy of: Protein, Starch, Vegetable. To which you can add (or substitute) soup and / or salad. (So an Italian Wedding soup is heavy on starch and you can have it instead of a starch on the plate. Similarly, a big side salad means you don’t need a side vegetable for balance…)

    So that makes the basic “kit of parts”. Pick a protein: Fish, Chicken, Beef, Pork, etc. and a form for it (slab of fish or chicken to fry? Or “tube steak” in boiling water? Or pork ribs on the BBQ?) Add your starch: Noodles (and various sauces), slab of Garlic Bread, bread & butter, butter beans (both a starch and a vegetable), mashed potatoes, etc. Then pick a vegetable to balance it out. Often canned or frozen, sometimes fresh steamed (or even raw). Corn, peas, green beans, even stir fried choy ;-)

    Decide if you want to have a side salad, raw vegetable relish tray, soup, etc. Then start making it. Longest cook time item started first. Cold things and / or very fast cook things last. Plate it and go.

    For stored protein:

    Cans of tuna, salmon, chicken (some home canned), 1 lb canned hams, corned beef. (Honorary mention of cream sauces like Alfredo that are protein rich; also dried legumes / beans)

    For stored starch:

    Noodles, dry legumes (can be starch or vegetable or protein as you count it), canned legumes (like refried beans and canned peas), “instant” mashed potatoes, dried potato sides like Scalloped or Au Gratin potato packages, canned sweet potatoes / yams, etc. Things like canned corn can count as both a starch and a vegetable. Then there’s dry rice… Also flour for breads or things like polenta / grits.

    For stored vegetables:

    Just about any canned, dried, or frozen vegetables. Or fresh if you have them.

    Then it is just “mix and match” ;-)

    And, of course, you can use fresh instead for anything stored.

    Oh, and don’t forget the “sauces, seasonings, condiments, and such” too ;-)

    FWIW, I’ll look for the Pub Mix. I usually store small shapes of pasta in regular canning jars (like a canister). For long forms like Spaghetti or Fettuccine, I have 2 “pasta holders” with a rotating lid that lets you measure the pasta as it slides out the chosen hole… but they don’t seal well. Not air tight. Yet pasta has held in them for a year or two. But I’d rather they closed tighter…


    Glad you liked it!


    Yeah, COSTCO is now about 1/2 hour highway drive away for me. So I’m trying to plan a monthly “gas and groceries” run.

    I’ve soured on Walmart after hearing that the Grandkids grew up all edjumacated and somewhat woke, so now the Walton Family Charity is financing things like CRT Training for their local (Arkansas!) school district. So I’m not buying much at Wally World anymore, if I can avoid it. Ol’ Sam must be twisting in his grave… he was very conservative. So it’s about 2 miles away and I’d rather drive 30…

    One of my little pleasures in life is to find various “ethnic” grocery stores and try out different things they sell. It seems there’s far far more kinds of olives in the world than just “black mission” and “pimento” ;-) They used to farm olives near my old home town. Saw an antique oil press at about 8 years old at one of the last surviving farms growing olives… Now likely long gone.

    Found a really nice Persian Tea that way, and some Russian canned sprats that had a deep smokey flavor… I’m going to miss them (unless I can find a Russian Bodega here somewhere….)

  7. Josh from Sedona says:

    To fill your alcohol stove
    Check this out! https://a.co/d/5q1CFpY

  8. H.R. says:

    @E.M. re Utz pub mix and the containers:

    While searching for the image, I noted one of the less suitable images was from Costco. They might sell those in a 2-pack, as Costco is noted for doing.

    I have/had 2 of those. I bought one container for the holidays when ‘the big crowd’ was at our place. The other was for some football gathering, the details of who and why it was a ‘Big Game’ long forgotten.

    By chance, this afternoon I was rummaging around in the pantry and came across my Utz jar… empty. I guess I need to fill it up from my stock of spaghetti still in boxes.

    I’m not sure where that second container got off to. It’s either long gone or down in the basement storing something other than pasta.

    Costco has the most wasteful, non-green packaging that I’ve ever seen. But… BUT!… a lot of things they sell come in stout plastic containers with screw tops that store maybe a half-gallon or so. Great for dry goods. You mentioned reusing their jars and come to think of it, those are pretty good, too. I just don’t buy much of their two LARGE jar packs for just the Mrs. and me. I may have to reconsider.

  9. Robert says:

    Hi EM,

    I think I remember a comment of yours about p.g.sharrow having dropped off the site over Ukraine. I just looked at his site https://pgtruspace.wordpress.com/ and it has not been updated since October 22. I am concerned about his well-being, and thought I should also let you know that his absence may not be related to the Ukraine.

    Thank you for having written and maintained this blog for so long. I have learned so much from it.

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    Yes, it could just be coincidental timing. I know where his home is located, but I’m now on the wrong coast to go look him up.

    Hopefully he just got frustrated with the internet and is taking a break.

    IIRC he had a kind of “by guess and by golly” internet connection that sometimes “had issues”, so it might also be possible that has failed and he just didn’t feel like fixing it fast.

    Yes, I’m grasping at straws and hoping for the best…

    I’ll think on it a while and then maybe send an email ping…

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve used their plastic “Nut” and “Mix” containers for bulk food storage some times.

    They are somewhere near a half gallon size. So you can buy a couple of containers of nuts or snack mix and a big bag of beans or rice. Eat the snacks, wash the containers, then decant the bulk bag into the containers for longer storage / use in parts.

    I prefer 1/2 gallon glass jars, but at about $2 – $3 each, a bit steep… And for many things, the hard plastic is good enough.

    Had to leave about 36 jars of 1/2 gallon size, and a couple of dozen plastic tubs in California… So now thinking about how to replace them, or if I’m going to replace them.

    Emergency food for 2 old folks is a lot less volume than for 2 young adults with 2 growing kids…

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    Golly! That’s a big tub! At present, in Florida, I can still get Methanol at the hardware store. OTOH, having a 5 gallon pail would be a life time supply ;-)

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    That October is a posting, yes? There’s a newer comment from P.G., just under a month ago:

    p.g.sharrow March 19, 2023
    at 10:46 am
    Simon, I know that fun After nearly a month of being snowed in. 4 feet of snow followed by heavy rain, I am also in the middle of Pruning & gardening. The seasons wait for no one. California has 268% of normal snow pack in the mountains and more forecast, but above us,
    We had several periods of the Grid being down for days. Telephone is still out.
    Thank goodness for battery backup and the satellite dish.

    That implies more “dealing with hostile nature in a brutal mountain Record Winter” than any personal issues.

    So we know he was doing OK from October to March (about 6 months), but was just literally “Snowed Under”… His farm and home is a few thousand feet up the Sierra Nevada mountains, down some dirt roads. When it is bad enough to take out the wires, it is likely the roads are a mud quagmire too…

Anything to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.