By Elke Probkevitz

We see storms and hurricanes on the news all the time but we don’t really expect it to affect us where we live. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a small blackout, it’s good to be prepared for whatever the weather conditions may throw our way. Having necessities on hand like water, food staples, batteries, flashlights, and candles can help us withstand a storm when the time comes. Stock up on staples in your pantry and kitchen, and you’ll be prepared whether you see the storm coming or not.
Canned foods. Canned foods, like beans, corn, tuna, and tomato products are a staple in most pantries and one of the best foods to store since they have a long shelf life. More recently, methods for canning aim to can produce at its nutritional peak, so this is a good choice when in a pinch. Canned vegetables can be used in soups and stews along with the water if there isn’t available fresh water.
Foods that fuel. Foods high in calories, protein, and carbs fill you up and give you energy when you’re in a bind. Peanut butter, nuts, protein bars, granola pars, jelly, and trail mixes all last and give you a boost of energy.
Fresh produce. When choosing fresh produce, choose the ones that are the least perishable and store well. Keep them in a cool, dark place so they last as long as possible. Good choices would be potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, apples, and pears.
Grains. Dried grains like pasta, rice, and flours have long shelf lives. If they are stored in a cool, dry place they can last a long time. Dried pasta and rice can be cooked easily and served with jarred marinara sauce. Bread does not last as long but is another good staple that should be used more quickly.
Instant foods. Foods that are dehydrated or instant that need water to be added can also come in handy for a quick meal. Oatmeal, dried soups, and instant rice can all be a good hot meal when water is available for heating.
How to cook. As long as you have fire, you can cook. Gas stoves can be ignited with an outside flame to use for warming and cooking foods. Use your most perishable foods first since you do not know how long you can keep foods from spoiling. After that you can cook fresh produce and non-perishables. Using your grill is always another option, with a small indoor grill or an outdoor grill when it’s safe to be outdoors. If cooking is not an option, use up prepared perishable foods first and then use non-perishables. v
Quick Skillet Potatoes With Olives
½ cup green olives, pitted and chopped
2 lb. small red potatoes or fingerlings, halved
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon, cut into strips with vegetable peeler
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 cups water
¼ cup chopped parsley
Toss olives, potatoes, oil, zest, and cumin in a medium bowl. Season with ¾ tsp.—1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper. Pour into 1 large or 2 medium skillets. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover skillet and leave over medium heat until potatoes are cooked through, 10—12 minutes. Remove lid and let water simmer and evaporate. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook that you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to, or visiting


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