Peak hurricane season runs from mid-August to mid-November, and once again, Florida is in the cone of uncertainty with a tropical storm bearing down on us. This means that not only do residents have to consider what they need to do to prepare their homes and yards, but the real possibility also exists that power will be out for an extended period of time.
This post includes a collection of easy hurricane food and meal ideas and recipes made with basic food items you probably already have in your pantry and freezer. This accomplishes two things; one, it uses the food you already have in your freezer, which makes space for bags of ice and water, and two, you won’t have food spoiling and going to waste if you have a power outage.
The idea is to cook everything you can ahead of the storm to tide you over for the time you might be sitting in the dark without electricity. Also, if you don’t have a gas stove, everything needs to be cooked ahead or on a grill.
This post also includes tips for safe food storage during a power outage and a list of nonperishable foods you should have on hand!
Hurricane Food Ideas and Recipes:
Because today is all about the business of preparing for a hurricane, I’m not going to spend a lot of time telling you about the virtues of each of these recipes. I know you will be busy preparing and need options, so here goes. All of these dishes can be eaten hot or cold, and you can easily substitute ingredients.
I mean, doesn’t everyone eat cold pizza and pasta for breakfast?
Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
This easy recipe for Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Pecans is a unique and delicious twist on classic homemade chicken salad with a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing and crunchy bits of celery. Chicken salad is a great way to use up leftover chicken or use up chicken you might have in your freezer that needs to be cooked. It can be eaten by itself or made into a sandwich.
Easy Ten Minute Roasted Shrimp
This dish can be eaten hot or cold, and you don’t want shrimp spoiling in your refrigerator. It can also be used to prepare Roasted Shrimp and Orzo Salad, Caesar Salad with Roasted Shrimp, or Shrimp Cobb Salad.
Ten Minute Gazpacho (Cold Spanish Soup)
Gazpacho is a cool, refreshing, and, best of all, healthy soup and very low in calories. It’s also a family favorite, good for lunch or dinner, and one of my “go-to” dishes in the summer. If you have watermelon on hand, you might also like to try my Watermelon Gazpacho.
Butter Pecan Cookies – Just because…
We all need comfort food at times, and if this isn’t the time, I don’t know what is.
The most popular recipe on my blog this week… And no, I’m not talking about the hurricane that is bearing down on us; I’m talking about a delicious and fun drink, the Hurricane Cocktail, which is filled with rum and fruit juices and is very easy to make.
Wild Rice Chicken Salad with Cranberries
Flavorful Wild Rice Chicken Salad with Cranberries is a stunning, make-ahead, cold main dish salad showcasing a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors and textures. With nutty wild rice, tender and juicy roasted chicken, along with dried cranberries, tart granny smith apples, sweet red bell pepper, crisp celery, and buttery pecans, each bite is nothing less than a flavor explosion in your mouth.
Southern Potato Salad
Summer picnics and backyard barbecues wouldn’t be the same without a tasty helping of potato salad, and it’s a great side dish that can be served cold.
Easy Classic Southern Tomato Pie
I know this sounds like an odd choice, but tomato pie is delicious hot or cold, and if you have a supply of late summer tomatoes, this is an excellent way to use them.
Steak Shish Kabobs
This recipe works because it takes meat from your freezer along with fresh veggies you might have on hand and transforms them into a tasty meal that you can grill outside. Feel free to substitute chicken or shrimp or make grilled vegetable kabobs.
Believe it or not, spaghetti pie is just as delicious cold as it is hot. A great way to use up any sausage or ground beef in your freezer.
Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
A healthy snack made with a can of black-eyed peas instead of chickpeas.
Summer Garden Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are a great way to use up all of the veggies in your refrigerator. Healthy and delicious and guaranteed to please even your pickiest eaters.
Tomato and Artichoke Pizza
Another great way to use items already in your pantry and fridge. You can use either canned or frozen artichokes. Feel free to substitute your favorite toppings or what you already have.
Cranberry Cream Cheese Cookies
Cranberry Cookies made with white chocolate and cream cheese are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and everything a cookie should be. Your cookie aficionados will love the crispy edges and the delectable combination of tart cranberries, creamy white chocolate, and crunchy pecans. But, it’s the addition of tangy cream cheese that sets these cranberry cookies apart, and what a great way to use up your cream cheese.
Cherry Tomato Pie
Same as the regular tomato pie above. I know this seems like a strange choice, but trust me. It’s delicious cold, and you will love the cherry tomatoes. As with most of these other dishes, feel free to substitute whatever cheese you have on hand. The idea is to use what you have before it spoils.
Easy Make-Ahead Baked Ziti
One of my favorite casseroles. This recipe makes a lot, so unless you have a large family or are feeding folks in your neighborhood, make it in smaller dishes and give extras to friends or other neighbors that haven’t planned as well as you. Also delicious cold.
No-Bake Oatmeal Balls
A fun and healthy energy snack that doesn’t require any baking.
Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
If you have a Boston butt in your freezer, pull it out now and throw it in your crockpot. These sliders are a nice change of pace and are just as good cold as hot. If you have flour or corn tortillas, the pork can also be used as filling for Pulled Pork Tacos.
Best and Easiest Grilled Chicken
If your power is out and you have a grill, this grilled chicken recipe is a great option. It’s delicious hot or cold, and you won’t feel deprived at all.
Spinach and Bacon Quiche
Make-ahead Spinach and Bacon Quiche with Tomatoes is quick and easy to make! Fresh spinach, crisp, smoky bacon, and sliced cherry tomatoes are the superstar ingredients in this savory quiche recipe. Quiches are versatile and can be eaten cold or at room temperature and would be a great way to use up your eggs and milk or cream.
You can pretty much substitute any combination of veggies, protein, or cheese you have on hand, and they can be made without a crust if you don’t have a pie crust. Other quiche recipes you might like include Roasted Tomato Quiche, Canadian Bacon and Brie Quiche, and Ham and Cheese Quiche.
Frequently asked questions:
A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed.
A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours, but only for 24 hours if it is half full!
Be sure to start storing ice in plastic bags now because it will be in short supply. This extra ice, when stored in your freezer, will also help keep your foods frozen longer. Also, before the storm, store plastic bags filled with water and frozen water bottles for extra ice!
Check out this government food safety site, which outlines what foods to save and what to throw out when the power does come back on.
Nonperishable food items that you should stock up on now include dry cereal, canned goods like fruit, vegetables, pasta, soups, etc., nuts, peanut butter, canned tuna, bread, granola and energy bars, apples, etc. For more nonperishable food ideas, check out this grocery list.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends having at least a three-day supply of nonperishable emergency food in your home.
If you have a baby or toddler in the house, check out this post, The Ultimate Hurricane Preparedness Guide for Babies and Toddlers.
Additional hurricane tips
Water and ice are precious commodities after a hurricane. Here are a few tips to ensure you have plenty of both.
- For drinking water, before the storm, fill up all of your pitchers, pans, and other large clean vessels with water and cover them with plastic wrap. You can also fill up quart and gallon-size plastic bags with water and place them in the freezer. The benefits of this are twofold, you will have clean cold water to drink, and the extra ice will help keep the food in your freezer frozen longer.
- Before the storm and 12-24 hours before the possibility of losing power, reduce the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer to the lowest possible settings to get them as cold as possible.
- Also, line your bathtub or large plastic garbage cans with a plastic shower liner or plastic sheet and fill it up with water to use for non-drinking purposes. (Last year, I filled up both of our tubs with water without a liner, and it all leaked out overnight.)
I hope you have found this post helpful. Please share the tips and tricks you learned over the years to make the most of hurricanes and the subsequent power outages!
I’m sorry, I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, but sometimes you need a little levity!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones. I hope you’ll come back soon!
Do you suggest making these meals and freezing them? Then thawing and eating cold? But only enough for a couple of days, which is about how long freezer food will be good for, right? Thanks. I’m on East Central coast of FL and we’re under hurricane warning right now (about 30 hours out). Also, I tried the tip about the bags of water, but my brand new gallon-size ziploc bags all leaked all over my freezer 🙁
Hi Beth, I know this reply is too late for you, and I am so sorry I didn’t get back to you before now. It would be ideal to make and freeze the dishes before the hurricane, but if that isn’t possible, it would still help to cook what you already have in the freezer and then have it available to eat when you don’t have power. I wish you the best and hope you didn’t sustain any damage!
Thank you for your prompt reply! Since freezer food is only good for 2 days after losing power, I decided I’d just cook up & freeze a few starches that we could eat cold with things in our fridge. So I cooked & froze some pasta & potatoes, thinking we could eat filling salads. I have plenty of rice, beans & bread in the freezer already lol. As it turned out, our power stayed on! Feeling thankful. So glad I found your site!