If you are on a really tight budget or you want to greatly increase the calories of your stored emergency food for very little money, this instructable is for you. This is really easy and it is cheap. I do this all the time. This works whether most of your stored emergency food is dehydrated or canned food. What is it? Noodles / Pasta.
Step 1: Soup
I decided to quantify how well this works at breakfast this morning. I deviated from my standard non-perishable breakfast food which is oatmeal. I decided to have a can of Progresso rich and hearty steak and roasted russet potatoes. One can contains 260 calories and has a volume of 2 cups. I boiled 1 cup of “shells” which contains about 550 calories. After cooking, the 1 cup of noodles has become 2 cups of noodles. The brand shown, which is the one I used today is not the brand I usually buy. One cup of El Mexicano noodles cost me about 37 cents. So for 37 cents I can double the volume of food and more than tripled the calories. I can extend 50 cans of soup for well under $20.00. What a deal. After draining the shells I added the soup right out of the can to the shells without cooking the soup. If this had been a real emergency situation I would have made a couple of cups of instant coffee with the water that was drained off. I could only eat half for breakfast.
Step 2: Overstuffed Beef Ravioli
Overstuffed Ravioli (a personal favorite) cost significantly less than the can of Progresso soup (about half the cost) and has significantly more calories, Here are the stats:
Servings per can: about 2
Calories per serving: 230 or 460 per can.
Fat per serving: 5 grams
Protein per serving: 10 grams
Carbs per serving: 37 grams
Fiber per serving: 5 grams
No trans fats.
Here are the stats for the El Mexicano Shells:
Servings: about 4
Calories: about 840
Carbs: about 176 grams
Protein: about 24 grams.
If I use the entire bag of shells rather than 2/3 of a bag (1-1/2 cups instead of 1 cup), for less than $1.50 I end up with about 1300 calories and 44 grams of protein. When I eat the ravioli plain, I always end up with a very large amount of sauce left over anyway, so adding shells or macaroni works quite well.
Anticipating possible questions / objections:
Q. Hey sister, what if I don’t like noodles?
A. First of all I’m a dude. So how about rice? You may be able to get away with instant potatoes or oatmeal in some cases. I just really like pasta.
Q. Like you know, Pasta like twice a day is you know like not that good for you and like I am going to be really sick of noodles after a week... Gag me.
A. You will probably be really sick of how you smell after week with no running water also. But fortunately most emergencies don’t last forever. You may want to mix things up a bit like cutting back on the noodles and adding a can of diced up Vienna sausage (50 cents a can). You will probably be going stir crazy with no cell phone or internet so you can have fun with the extra noodles by throwing them one by one across the room to see if your significant other can catch them in their mouth. This also adds distance which cuts down on the perceived smell.
Q. Hola hombre. Why didn’t you say anything about beans? I love beans and I add beans to everything. I even add beans to my rice and beans.
A. You’re right. I should have mentioned beans as an extender. I am so ashamed of myself right now. I am planning on extending with beans of various types but I am going to sprout them first and then cook them with the soup. Dried beans can be very energy intensive to cook. Sprouts can be eaten raw but I am planning to boil mine in the very unlikely event there will be anything harmful growing along with the sprouts. Sprouts take a few days so I will be doing the noodle thing non -stop for a while. Check out this link in regard to really easy sprouting:
Thanks for mentioning beans mien bon amigo.
Q. Dude, is eating so many noodles really good for you?
A. Mamma Mia! I don’t know. I just don’t have a lot of money to spend on prepping. What I am going to need is calories and I don’t want to feel hungry all the time. I take a multi vitamin among other vitamins and herbs every day any way and will continue to do so in a long term emergency. Sprouts also adds some fresh greens to your meal as well as adding more volume and calories.
Q. How am I going to cook if nothing is working?
A. I don't know how you are going to cook. One of my options is cooking with candles. It actually works:
Propane works good too.