Shelf Stable Meals in Bags

I find myself looking for easy, homemade meals that I can quickly make for my family. While it would be nice to be able to make extravagant meals all the time, with varying schedules and budgets, it just isn’t realistic.

And I hate cooking so there’s that.

Anyways, I like having things on hand that my family uses. I try to keep food, cleaning supplies, medicine and hygiene products that we use often.

Then I realized how much easier life could be if I had all the ingredients for meals in my home on those nights when you need a quick meal.

I like to keep at least 10 meals in a bag in my home. It gives us a variety to choose from and makes things easier on me.

Why have shelf stable meals?

Ok, some of you may be wondering why you would want to have shelf stable ingredients when you can have chicken breasts in the freezer, ground beef waiting to be cooked or even to be able to go to the grocery store and get what you need.

There are a few reasons and we’ve experienced nearly all, or all, of them the past few years.

  1. Shortages (It’s been happening a lot since 2020)
  2. Weather (some states experienced freezing rain that don’t normally get that)
  3. Power outages
  4. Hurricane/Tornados
  5. Supply chain issues
  6. Earthquakes
  7. Loss of income

There are many reasons why you should have some extra food on hand. When you have shelf stable food, neatly in bags that is ready to be prepared, it makes life a whole lot easier.

HOW DO YOU GET STARTED

If you have it in your budget, then go buy everything you need, put them together and then feel at peace knowing that if something comes along or the day gets away from you, you can still have a meal for your family.

If you’re like me, then you need to budget accordingly. You can either purchase an extra meal each week, so it doesn’t overwhelm your grocery budget. Or you can buy a few ingredients each week and slowly build your stock up that way.

Whatever works best for you and your family will be just fine.

WHAT MEALS CAN BE PUT INTO MEALS IN A BAG

This is what I love about this idea. It can really be anything. Just use your creativity a bit. Look over the recipes your family loves and find shelf stable ingredients/substitutes. If something calls for chicken breasts, can you use canned chicken instead?

What happens if the recipe calls for cheese? For me, I keep shredded cheese in my fridge. When it runs out, I buy more. Usually, I have more before we run out. So, when it comes to things like cheese, spices, butter and onions I have them. I keep them in stock. However, you can portion out your spices and put them in a small baggie, so you don’t even have to worry about that either. With things like cheese, you may either have to do without or try to keep it in stock.

If I had to use my meals in a bag for emergencies, I’d be fine doing without cheese if we were out. As much as it makes some meals better, it isn’t a necessary ingredient for the dish.

It all depends on your WHY you are doing meals in a bag.

Meals in a Bag ideas

Here are some of the meals in a bag that I have done:

Taco Soup

Ingredients:

  • Baked Beans (I buy vegetarian. We usually add ground beef to this meal.)
  • Can of corn
  • Can of tomato soup
  • Can of petite diced tomatoes
  • small can of diced olives if you like them
  • Packet of taco seasoning
  • Bag of Fritos
  • Dehydrated onions

Mix everything together and serve with the Fritos chips.

Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients:

  • Can of chicken
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Packet of italian seasoning
  • Favorite Pasta

Mix the seasoning with sauce. Serve over cooked pasta with drained chicken.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Broth
  • Can of chicken
  • Can of Carrots
  • Egg noodles
  • Seasonings (you can portion out your spices and put them in a smaller baggie to add to your bag of food)
  • Dehydrated onion (again, you can portion it out and put it in a small plastic bag.)
  • Saltine crackers (we didn’t have any, and the store was out when I was making these so I’ll add them later.)

Cook all ingredients and serve with crackers.

Shepards Pie

Ingredients:

  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Packet of brown gravy
  • Can of meat
  • Can of sliced carrots
  • Can of peas

Cook mashed potatoes according to package. Make gravy according to package. Combine meat, veggies and gravy. Put in the bottom of a pan and cover with mashed potatoes.

You can bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Creamy Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Instant mashed potatoes (can use rice or pasta)
  • Can of chicken
  • Can of cream of chicken
  • Packet of italian seasoning

Cook potatoes according to package. Combine chicken, soup and seasoning. Serve over mashed potatoes.

Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Pizza crust mix
  • Sauce
  • Can of meat

There is shelf stable pepperoni so you can store ingredients for pepperoni pizza as well. I don’t typically have mozzarella cheese on hand, so for the idea of the meal in a bag, I went with a bbq pizza that I would be fine eating without cheese. Customize things to what your family likes.

Tikka Masala

Ingredients:

  • Rice
  • Can of chicken
  • Tikka Masala sauce
  • Can of coconut milk (they were out so that’s why I have coconut cream instead)

Cook rice. Add the coconut milk to the sauce until it tastes how you like it. Mix in the chicken. Serve over rice.

Spaghetti

Ingredients:

  • Pasta
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Can of meat choice

Pesto Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Can of chicken
  • Pasta
  • Pesto

This is a bit of different dish and not typically what people use pesto for, but it gives a nice flavor to pasta and chicken. Give it a try!

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

  • Pizza crust mix
  • Can of corn
  • Can of sliced carrots
  • Can of peas
  • Cream of chicken
  • Can of chicken

Make the pizza crust. Place one in the bottom of a pan. Combine carrots, corn, peas, chicken and cream of chicken soup. Spoon over pizza crust. Place 2nd crust over the top. Bake until golden brown.

Choose your recipes

Hopefully these have given you lots to think about. Go through your recipes, your dinners you make your family. See what recipes you can convert to having all shelf stable recipes. Regardless of the reason behind wanting shelf stable recipes, you can make your own recipes work.

Thanks for being here!

Thanks so much for being here, in this space with me. This life is so crazy, and many times things feel uncertain. I feel you. You’re not alone in that. We just need to be here to help each other however we can.

Let’s be friends! Find me on Insta! Or I’m just getting started on TikTok. I’d love to have more people to follow.

Why I started using Mylar bags and why you should too.
Shelf Stable Meals in a Bag part 2

12 thoughts on “Shelf Stable Meals in Bags”

  1. Great post! I call these DIP (Dinner Inna Pinch lol) Dinners and I’m excited to try out these new recipes! I usually keep cans of corn, black beans, chicken and enchilada sauce with a package of corn tortillas for enchilada casserole. I also keep cheese on hand but if it were an emergency, the casserole could be made without.

    I want to make 2 of each recipe you listed so I can keep one set for DIPs and the other for emergencies.

    I’m excited to put these together!

  2. Thank you for this creative idea! I’ve been needing SOMETHING to pull together, and leave in separate meal kits so that either 1: my goofy husband has something to quickly make for dinner, as most nights is chaos, and not every night can I come up with a crockpot meal thats done when he’s off.
    2: I have a LOT of medical issues, and sometimes pulling dinner together for the four of us are delicious and kid friendly is definitely difficult sometimes.
    With me working from home, and late 4 nights a week, plus my husband gets home late, there’s often times we wont get dinner on the table until almost 8pm, and kids go to bed at 9-9:30….

    Thank you for this! I SOOO can’t wait to build an arsenol of these, and try them out soon!

    1. I do! I’ll add that to my post. But I do bake it in the oven on 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes to help crisp up the top. It isn’t necessary as everything is already cooked. Also, if you happen to have cheese in your fridge, feel free to sprinkle some cheese on top!

    1. For the chicken pot pie, make the pizza crust according to the package (it’s super easy!!) Press it into a pan (depending on how much you’re making, either an 8X8 pan or a 9X13 pan would work) and bake for about 5-10 minutes (just follow the directions on the pizza dough package). Drain your vegetables and chicken. Combine the vegetables, chicken and cream of chicken. Spoon that over the partially cooked pizza dough. You can also leave some dough out to put on top of the chicken mixture. Bake until golden brown.

      As for the size of the Shephard pie dish, it depends on how much meat and veggies you have. A bread pan would work for what’s pictured. If you double what’s pictured I would do an 8X8.

  3. Hello! Love your recipes. Question: for your shepherds pie recipe, do you drain the meat first? How about the veggies?

    Thanks

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