Many of us are going to hit the grocery store on the way home this afternoon to buy the winter weather standards: bread and milk.
I went at 7 a.m. to avoid this afternoon’s rush. Beyond milk and bread, I bought ingredients to make a lasagna for dinner tonight and biscuits for breakfast in the morning. As you can see, I’m hopeful we won’t lose power. But I also know we have a full tank of propane and I can reheat dishes or bake biscuits on the grill if necessary. (You can use a gas grill as an oven; read my previous column about baking brownies on the grill. Just make sure you have a full propane tank.)
I wanted to offer a few more suggestions of dishes to make in case we are cooped up for a day or two – with or without power.
If the power does go out, you need items that don’t require you to turn on a stove or oven but can be kept safe in a cooler outside. Think pimento cheese, chicken salad, tuna salad and egg salad. Here are a few versions that we recommend: a classic chicken salad with pecans and celery, Alabama chef Frank Stitt’s pimento cheese and two versions of egg salad, one with tarragon and chives and the other curried.
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If you are being optimistic that power will stay on, you can be more ambitious. Beyond lasagna, I have some great meatballs stashed in the freezer that will get my family through a couple meals: over pasta one night, as meatball subs the next.
We have tons of recipes in this vein on our new website, The Recipe: Classic Spaghetti Sauce, Tyler’s Taproom’s Vegetarian Chili, Mark Bittman’s Shrimp and Tomato Paella, Ina Garten’s Winter Minestrone and my favorite jambalaya, which can easily be made using a rotisserie chicken.
Here is my mother’s go-to recipe for meatballs if you feel so inspired: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 3/4 pound ground beef, 1/4 pound ground pork, 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs, 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup milk, 2 beaten eggs, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Use hands to mix lightly and then shape into 1-inch balls. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Halfway through cooking time, turn meatballs over and rotate pan. Enjoy.
Please tell us your go-to winter weather recipes by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share your wisdom in a future column.
Whatever you decide to cook in preparation for the winter weather, be sure to stay warm, be safe and check on your neighbors.