Knowing for the past couple of days that the next storm of the century is imminent, I decided to plan.  A little.

Disaster Planning is something I’ve been doing for years.  And years.  Fireman’s son, for one, but then there was Uncle Sam’s Yacht Club… how to feed 5000 sailors at General Quarters.  Or all those hotels where we had to deal with fires, evacuations, storms, and power loss…  How to feed a thousand hotel guests with no electricity.  Or all the years in health care.  Feeding patients and staff – and the general public – in case of earthquake or other disaster – natural or man-made.

Fortunately, there were only a few times in my career where we actually had to implement a disaster plan – and never for long.  I was lucky.  But like the Boy Scout I once was,  I was always prepared.

The common thread in every plan was having supplies immediately accessible.  I couldn’t rely on getting a food delivery 24 hours after an earthquake.  I needed to have food and supplies on-premise, menus and recipes available, and an action plan to prepare it all based on a hundred different variables; no electricity, no running water, gas but no electricity, water but no gas… you get the picture.

And that’s something that’s always in the back of my mind.  In order for disaster planning to work,  it really needs to be second nature.  You just do it.  We have a propane cooktop, so we can cook even if the electricity goes out.  And if the electricity does go out?  Uh…  It’s snowing outside.  It’s cold.  Snow and a couple of ice chests will keep the perishables safe.  We’re set.

One thing we always have in the house is food.  Real food.  Ingredients.  Flour, sugar, yeast, powdered milk.  Coffee.  Canned goods.  A well-stocked freezer with vacuum-packed everything. (I love our FoodSaver!)  Not to mention our legendary Spice Cabinet.  For us, the foundation is there.  We don’t have to run to the grocery store and panic-buy our French Toast fixin’s (milk, bread, and eggs).  We already have them.

I had a hankerin’ for a chicken pot pie tonight but knew it would take too long to make it from scratch after getting home from work today, so I cooked the chicken last night after dinner.  Today, all I had to do was make the crust and filling and bake.

I don’t really have a recipe for the Pot Pie.  It’s just something I make.  But our friend Ann sent her recipe off to us and it’s a pretty close approximation to what I did tonight.  I added unpeeled, cubed potatoes and some celery and omitted the bell pepper.  The broth was from the chicken I cooked last night, but canned or from a carton would work, too.

The crust is pure simplicity in a food processor.

Pie Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Add flour and salt to bowl of processor.  Cut butter into chunks and pulse until crumbly.  Add water and pulse about a dozen times.

At this point, the dough is pretty much all crumbs.  Gather it up and press it into two disks – one larger for the bottom crust and one smaller for the top.

Roll out on floured board.

And here is Ann’s recipe.  It’s pretty classic.

Nursie’s Pot Pie

Nursie said she originally got this from a pie crust box.

  • 1/3 c butter
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1 very small chopped onion (or to taste)
  • 1/2 c chopped green pepper, leave this out if you want to
  • 1 1/2 c broth, chicken for chicken pie, beef for beef pie, and I use veggie broth for pork pie
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 c frozen mixed veggies

Cook the onion and green pepper in the butter for a bit, whisk in the flour and add the liquids, cook until thickened. I season with salt, pepper, herbes de Provence, but you can use what ever sounds good. A little celery seed isn’t a bad addition, and with beef I use garlic and mushrooms instead of the green pepper. Add 2-3 cups chopped leftover roast whatever and the vegetables. Mix well and dump into the pie crust.

Bake in a two crust pie at 425 for 30-40 minutes and enjoy.

No shit, this is delicious. You can use whatever veggies you have around including leftovers. It is a great end of the week and I don’t want to cook sorta dish. But it is good enough for company! Anyone want to come to dinner?

I made enough for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.

I think tomorrow night’s snowbound dinner is going to be Clam Chowder in Bread Bowls.  Depends on whether I can make a small enough bread bowl.

Bring on the snow.

I’m prepared.