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Tasty Recipes to Help You Rotate Your MRE Supplies

MRE Beef & Spaghetti

This article was submitted to us by Vicki Walters, author of the MRExcellence Cookbook — your guide to making ordinary military MRE's extraordinary!

Vicki says, "Thought I'd send the recipe for the meal that appears on the cover of the cookbook. It makes quite a tasty and satisfying meal -- much more interesting than chewing on a Beefsteak pattie from the package don't you think?"

MREs are already cooked and ready to eat, so why the recipe?

MRE's have a much shorter shelf life than that of our Freeze Dried, and/or Low Moisture (Dehydrated) storage foods, and therefore have to be rotated on a more frequent basis. Most of us who depend on the MRE rations to round out our food storage program, do not rotate our storage as often as we should. If ever!! Military MRE's are also very limited in menu choices, leading to "Appetite Fatigue." Just ask any Gulf War Veteran!

MRE RecipesThe purpose of this cookbook is to encourage more frequent inspection and rotation of MRE based food storage programs, provide a way to "spread" the caloric content to more closely match that of our normal daily intake (non-stress), incorporate items from other types of food storage (dehydrated and freeze dried), and, at the same time, totally eliminate the problem of limited variety.

RECIPE: Beef & Spaghetti (4 to 6 servings)
  • 2 MRE Beefsteak patties, cubed
  • 2 (16 oz.) cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti

Cook onion and garlic in a tablespoon of oil until soft. Stir in tomatoes (with juices) and seasonings. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 40 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. As sauce thickens, break up tomatoes with a fork.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions, and drain. Stir cubed beef into sauce, and simmer another 5 minutes, until beef is heated through. To serve, place spaghetti on serving plate, and pour sauce over. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley if desired.

Serve with garlic bread and salad.

-- Vicki Walters

INIKI Au Gratin

This recipe for using rotated emergency supplies was submitted by Bryan Nelson, owner of TheEpicenter.com.

Bryan says, "When I rotated some supplies that I had stored some time after going through Hurricane Iniki in 1992, I came up with a recipe that can easily be modified to use any items you might need to rotate or might just have on hand for a quick and easy dinner."

A Note from Bryan: All of us who store away food eventually need to rotate the supplies and replace them with current dated stock. In my own storage, I have a mix of supplies including MREs (and lots of them), as well as commercially canned goods and dried items from my garden. The canned goods include ready-to-eat items like soup, chili, ravioli, fruits & vegetables, as well as canned meats like tuna, spam, and corn beef. Other items include dried soup mixes, dried vegetables such as tomatoes and bell peppers, and spices of all varieties. Many of the dried goods come from each year's garden and are not only stored for future use, but are used regularly throughout the year.

In 2003, I took an inventory of the detached garage, outside storage containers, and the shed, and I selected items to be rotated out of storage and replaced. Some of the items were as old as December of 1993. Most of the items were from the end of 1994 thru mid 1995. I combined several components into a casserole I call INIKI Au Gratin.

My point in sharing this recipe is to help you think of creative ways to use your supplies before they go to waste at the end of their shelf life. You should think of your supplies not merely as an emergency cache, but as a deposit in your food bank. Anything you purchase for your emergency supplies can be used in your normal diet when the items need to be rotated. A bit of creative thinking will help you come up with tasty menus. The key is to think of ways to combine things you have on hand when you don't have the exact ingredients you would normally use to make dinner.

RECIPE: Iniki Au Gratin
Iniki Au Gratin MRE Recipe Iniki Au Gratin

Here are the ingredients I used in creating INIKI Au Gratin. This menu makes 11 servings of 1/2 cups per serving:

I started with some dried Idahoan brand potatoes Au Gratin. The potatoes Au Gratin comes with dried potatoes and a dried cheese sauce mix. The recipe printed on the box calls for milk.. I had no fresh milk, so I used some MRE whole milk that was 2 years old. I was also out of butter, so I substituted olive oil that was again, several years old.

Look over the list of ingredients, and you will see some surprising items.

  • 1 Bag Idahoan brand Au Gratin Potatoes
  • 1 Packet Au Gratin sauce (comes with potatoes)
  • 3 1/2 cups Boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk (I used 2 cups of MRE milk because of the dried items I added)
  • 4 tablespoons Butter (I substituted olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoons Dried Bell Pepper (optional, if added use 2 cups milk)
  • 2 tablespoons Dried Tomatoes (optional, if added use 2 cups milk)
  • 1 can Corned Beef (12oz)
  • 1 can Pitted Olives

Combine the potatoes, sauce mix, peppers and tomatoes in a 3-4 quart pyrex pan. Stir in boiling water. Add butter or olive oil and add cold milk. Add corn beef, stir in and break into small chunks. Add olives. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

As soon as this dish starts to cook, expect a visit from your neighbors. My neighbor Ann Marie had to stop by to ask what smelled so good. I explained the project and handed her a sample. She was so excited, she asked for the recipe. When I informed her about the age of the ingredients, she was amazed. Remember, all the ingredients were from my emergency cache, and no other items were used!

-- Bryan Nelson

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