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Using a Rotating Menu Plan


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    The following method will help determine what and how much to store when planning a large food storage program, whether it be for several weeks, a month or a year. Before starting, however, remember these considerations:

    1. Eating habits
    2. Likes and dislikes
    3. The number of people to be fed
    4. The ages of those to be fed
    5. Food varieties available
    6. Any allergies or food sensitivities
    7. Shelf life of the food to be stored
    8. Balanced nutrition

    Store the kinds of foods that are currently eaten or SLOWLY change eating habits so that what is stored will be eaten. Always keep the motto, “Store what you eat and eat what you store.” In this way, supplies can be rotated regularly.
    To begin a personalized food storage program, locate recipes that include ingredients or substitute ingredients that can be stored in the pantry. (Recipes are easiest to find in cookbooks or booklets based on boxed or canned foods, such as soup, tuna, or gelatin, and in those that concentrate on quick and easy meals, pasta, whole grains, or beans. Package labels also provide many usable recipes.) Then, make sure family members will eat the prepared food. Next, work the recipes into a nutritionally balanced menu plan. Recipes in Pantry Cooking and on this website are categorized for ease in planning. MINIMUM nutritional guidelines are as follows:

    Breakfast - Milk (1 cup)
                       Fruit or juice (1 cup)
                       Bread or cereal (2 ounces)
                       Meat or meat equivalent (1 ounce)

    Lunch -       Milk (1 cup)
                        Fruit or vegetable (1/2 cup)
                        Meat or meat equivalent (2 ounces)
                        Bread, rice or pasta (2 ounces)

    Snack -        Fruit or vegetable (1 cup)

    Dinner -      Milk (1 cup)
                        Fruit (1/2 cup)
                        Vegetable (1/2 cup)
                        Meat or meat equivalent (2 ounces)
                        Bread, rice, or pasta (2 ounces)

    Next, decide how many times each recipe will be used. If the recipe is to be used every week it will be used 52 times a year; once every 2 weeks - 26 times; every 3 weeks - 17 or 18 times; and every 4 weeks - 13 times.
    Now comes the time consuming work, but it is worth it for the ease that results. Take each recipe and menu and break them down by ingredients. Multiply each ingredient by the number of times it will be used. Next, convert to the weights and measures in which the item is purchased so that the quantity sufficient to prepare that menu for the planned length of time will be known.
    Add together all like ingredients from each menu for a grand total of needed supplies.
    Don’t forget snacks, desserts, beverages, etc. if it is desired that the ingredients be available.
    Figure bread, milk, jam, jelly, etc. on a monthly basis rather than by meal because the amount used per meal will vary. Also, as a general rule, store 5 pounds of salt per person per year.
    Obtain a month’s supply at a time so that a balanced diet will always be on hand. (Exception: take advantage of super bargains to get as much as possible up to a year’s supply.)
    When setting up a supply of food this way remember to NEVER plan to use a recipe the family does not like now. Rotate supplies frequently. Don’t limit current meals to the planned recipes but do incorporate the ingredients into other recipes that use fresh foods when they are available.
    Taking a day’s worth of menus out of a three week rotating menu plan for a family of 4, a year’s supply is figured as follows:

    Breakfast - Milk
                       Orange drink
                       Summer Oatmeal*
                       Toast with jam

    Lunch -      Quick Vegetable Soup*
                       Peanut butter and jam sandwich

    Snack -       Popcorn

    Dinner -     Tuna Casserole*
                       Canned peaches
                       French-style green beans
                       Apple Crisp*

*Recipes in Pantry Cooking


    ORANGE DRINK: 1 cup serving x 4 people = 4 cups drink
        4 cups drink x 18 meals = 72 cups drink
        72 cups x quart/4 cups = 18 quarts of orange drink

    SUMMER OATMEAL: 2 cups oats x 18 meals = 36 cups oats
        36 cups x 42 ounces/14 cups = 108 ounces
        108 ounces x pound/16 ounces = 6.75 pounds of oats

        1/2 cup dried apples x 18 meals = 9 cups apples
        9 cups x pound/4 cups = 2.25 pounds dried apples

        1/2 cup apple juice x 18 meals = 9 cups juice
        9 cups x quart/4 cups = 2.25 quarts apple juice

        1/3 cup oat bran x 18 meals = 6 cups
        6 cups x pound/5.66 cups = 1.06 pounds oat bran

        3 tablespoons honey x 18 meals = 54 tablespoons
        54 tablespoons x cup/16 tablespoons = 3.375 cups
        3.375 cups x pound/1.33 cups = 2.5 pounds honey

        1/2 teaspoon cinnamon x 18 meals = 9 teaspoons
        9 teaspoons x 1 tablespoon/3 teaspoons = 3 tablespoons
        3 tablespoons x small can/4 tablespoons = 3/4 small can cinnamon

    OTHER: Salt


    QUICK VEGETABLE SOUP: 1 (15 ounce) can mixed vegetables x 18
        meals = 18 (15 ounce) cans mixed vegetables

        2-1/4 cups vegetable juice cocktail x 18 meals = 40.5 cups
        40.5 cups x 46 ounces/5.75 cups = 7 (46 ounce) cans vegetable juice

    SANDWICHES: 3 tablespoons peanut butter x 4 people = 12 tablespoons
        12 tablespoons x 18 meals = 216 tablespoons
        216 tablespoons x cup/16 tablespoons = 13.5 cups
        13.5 cups x 8.9 ounces/cup peanut butter = 120.15 ounces
        120.15 ounces x pound/16 ounces = 7.5 pounds peanut butter

    OTHER:     Jam


    POPCORN: 2/3 cup x 18 = 12 cups
        12 cups x pound/3 cups = 4 pounds of popcorn

    OIL: 1/8 cup x 18 = 2.25 cups
        2.25 cups x 8 ounces/cup = 18 ounces of oil

    OTHER:     Salt


    CASSEROLE: 1 (6 ounce) can tuna x 18 meals = 18 (6 ounce) cans tuna

        2 cups macaroni x 18 meals = 36 cups macaroni
        36 cups x pound/4 cups = 9 pounds of macaroni

        1 (10-3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup x 18
            meals = 18 (10-3/4 ounce) cans soup

    PEACHES: 1/2 cup x 4 people = 2 cups
        2 cups x 18 meals = 36 cups
        36 cups x 16 ounce can/2 cups = 18 (16 ounce) cans
        OR 36 cups x 29 ounce can/3-1/2 = about 11 (29 ounce) cans of

    GREEN BEANS: 1/2 cup x 4 people = 2 cups
        2 cups x 18 meals = 36 cups
        36 cups x 14.5 ounce can/1-3/4 cups = 21 (14.5 ounce) cans of

    APPLE CRISP: 2-1/2 cups apples x 18 meals = 45 cups
        45 cups x pint/2 cups = 22.5 pints
        OR 45 cups x 20 ounces/2-1/2 cups = 18 (20 ounce) cans of apples

        3/4 cup quick oats x 18 meals = 13.5 cups
        13.5 cups x 3 ounces/cup = 40.5 ounces
        40.5 ounces x pound/16 ounces = 2.5 pounds oats

        3/4 cup brown sugar x 18 meals = 13.5 cups
        13.5 cups x pound/2.25 cups = 6 pounds of brown sugar

        1/2 cup flour x 18 meals = 9 cups
        9 cups x pound/4 cups = 2.25 pounds of flour

        1 teaspoon cinnamon x 18 meals = 18 teaspoons
        18 teaspoons x tablespoon/3 teaspoons = 6 tablespoons
        6 tablespoons x cup/16 tablespoons = 3/8 cup
        3/8 cup x small can/1/4 cup = 1.5 small cans cinnamon

        1/2 cup shortening x 18 meals = 9 cups
        9 cups x pound/2 cups = 4.5 pounds of shortening

    OTHER:     Milk

    Now it is known that in order to prepare these meals once every three weeks for a year the following are needed:

    18 (15 ounce) cans of mixed vegetables
    18 (20 ounce) cans of sliced apples
    18 (16 ounce) cans of green beans
    18 (16 ounce) cans of peaches
    7 (46 ounce) cans of vegetable juice cocktail
    2.25 quarts apple juice
    18 (10-3/4 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
    36 (10-3/4 ounce) cans condensed vegetable beef soup
    18 (6 ounce) cans of tuna
    2.25 pounds dried apples
    Orange drink powder to make 18 quarts
    4 pounds of popcorn
    7.5 pounds of peanut butter
    9 pounds of macaroni
    6.75 + 2.5 = 9.25 pounds of oats
    1.06 pounds oat bran
    2.25 pounds of white flour
    .75 + 1.5 = 2.25 small cans cinnamon
    18 ounces of vegetable oil
    4.5 pounds of shortening
    6 pounds of brown sugar
    2.5 pounds honey
    White sugar
    Bread ingredients
    Powdered milk

    This method does take time to set up, but it has definite advantages. It is known what a year’s supply of a particular item is. There is no guess work, so there is no overbuying or underbuying. The variety of stored food is nutritionally balanced and, most importantly, the family will eat what is stored. In most cases, this is also a very economical way to feed a family.
    Last of all, keep a current record of your inventory. Then cans won’t have to be counted every time shopping is done and the contents of the pantry will always be known.


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Last modified: 07/15/2013