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.
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.