Prep Monday—Recipes

Thought I’d put together a few simple recipes for outdoor cooking, you know, in case you have to go off-grid or if you just decide to pack up for a weekend of camping.

I’m even going to give you two versions of each, so you can choose quick and easy or completely homemade, depending on your preference and/or limitations of space, time, and skill.

Let’s start with breakfast:

Skillet Breakfast


O’Brien potatoes

Cheddar cheese


Naturally, this is going to taste better if you use cast iron, but you can use any cookware, on the fire or on a propane stove.

Fry the bacon and remove from pan to drain. Dump in the bag of potatoes, add a little salt and a lot of pepper; while these cook, beat the eggs and add a little water—water will make the eggs fluffier than milk. When the potatoes are cooked and crispy, add the eggs and crumbled bacon and cook until eggs are done. Top with cheese.

Version 2: you can chop the potatoes, onions, and peppers yourself, at the campsite or before you leave home. Unless you butcher your own hogs and gather your own eggs, that’s about the limit on the homemade part!

Of course, you can serve toast or biscuits or whatever with this too, but it’s pretty filling by itself. If you’re making toast over the fire, you can of course toast it over coals on a stick, but you can also just slap a slice of bread on a cast iron griddle, flipping once.

My World Famous Chili

Chili beans, 2 cans

Salsa, half a jar or so

Tomato sauce, 1 16 oz can


Garlic, 2-3 cloves

Ground beef, 1 #

Chili powder



Black pepper

Beer, one can or bottle

Throw the chopped onion, minced garlic, ground beef, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and minced jalapenos in a Dutch over. Cook until beef is done. Add chili beans, salsa, beer, tomato sauce, and maybe a little water. Cook for an hour.

Yes, it can be very hot—seasoning-wise. You can adjust as needed.

For the more homemade version, simply use your own canned tomato sauce and salsa, the onions, garlic, cumin, and jalapenos that you grew in the garden, and your home-grown kidney beans that have been well-soaked overnight. You might want to add more spice if you use those, as the commercial ones are pre-seasoned.

More power to you if you butcher your own beef and grind it, and if you also make your own beer, please send me the recipe and the steps needed!




Prep Monday—How Much is Too Much?

Is there such a thing as over-prepping? Yes, particularly when it comes to food.

I finally got my supply closet a bit more organized and was a little surprised to discover 12 bottles of ketchup. Twelve.

Now, when there were three of us or even five of us, I think we went through a bottle maybe once a month. Since we’re down to just two, I’m estimating that bottle would last two months.

Which means I have two years’ worth of ketchup, an item that I can make myself if the tomato crop is good. And I’m not even sure how it happened, but I’m guessing it’s for the same reason that we have two jars of Miracle Whip in there too:

My husband doesn’t look in the cabinets or closet before he goes shopping.

To be fair, he used to call me like ten times—okay, five. Seriously. During a shopping trip my phone would ring off the hook. So to speak. And the reason he was going, and not me, was because I had a lot of things to do already. So he’d call.

I broke him of that habit, but the trade-off is that we have extra stuff that he might think of at the store and just grab “in case.”

I think, though, I have a solution:

I hung a whiteboard in the supply closet to make a list of things needed. Take a picture before you go, and voila, you have the list to pick up any sale items. Plus, of course, the regular grocery list.

IF SHTF happened any time soon, we’d be ready. And ketchup is a vegetable, right?

Just kidding. But we’re nearly fully stocked for a good six months—for two-three people. And this is how it should be.

The other side of prepping is this:

For example, I have a couple packages of store-bought cookies in that supply closet. Now, of course they need to be rotated like everything else, but they’re “emergency” cookies. My husband and I have very different ideas of that word. “Emergency.”

I’m all for cutting back and toughing it out—even with food. I cook a little less; not less often, I’m talking about portion size. It’s something we’re trying to get back to, particularly since as one ages, one needs fewer calories. Yes, I take the workload into consideration. But the typical diet in the US consists of overinflated portions, restaurants and at home alike.

So if I feel like having a Chips Ahoy cookie, and I know where they are, I might or might not take a stroll and grab that package. But only if I happen to being going that way anyhow—I’ll wait and maybe remember to get it.

See, when SHTF, you’re not going to be able to run to the store just for a cookie, and you might really NEED that damn cookie. The heck with your appetite or calorie intake, your emotional health is important too. And cookies make a lot of things better.

And this is the other side of prepping: your mental and emotional preps. Get used to doing without or doing with less now, and if it happens, you won’t be caught by surprise. It’ll be just another day as far as your habits and health are concerned.

But you can always make oven fries to use up all that ketchup:

Oven Fries

Scrub potatoes

Slice to your preference

Toss with olive oil

Season with whatever you like: garlic, onion powder, pepper, anything in your spice rack/cabinet.

Bake at 425 for about half an hour or so, stirring once or twice, until as crisp as you like.