What to Eat During a Power Outage

I’m thankful that a three day power outage is all we had to deal with from Hurricane Irene.  It could have been worse, and it was worse for many other people.  But power outages are never easy.  We are dependent electricity for many things, but especially for cooling and cooking food.

So, I thought I would give you my tips based on my limited experience last week, in case you need ideas in the future.


1.  Think ahead. We don’t have a generator so I was dependent on coolers and ice to keep food cold. Before the storm I removed anything from my chest freezer that I thought I would want to have and put it in my refrigerator freezer.  The chest freezer stayed closed the entire time.

I had gluten-free bread and muffins in the refrigerator freezer for gluten-free son and me to eat.  I pulled them out as we needed them.  Even after a few days, they were still cool.

Hot Dogs on the Grill2.  Use gas or propane.  We don’t have a gas stove, but we do have a gas grill with a side burner.  I seldom use that burner under normal conditions, but it was a huge help when we had no power.  Anything I could heat on the stove, could be heated and cooked on that burner.  I used it to poach eggs, cook pasta, and heat baked beans.

The grill can be used to grill meat, of course, it can also be used like an oven.  I baked corn bread and bacon in it the first night.

Remember to use your gas grill outside or at least in a well ventilated area.  Once the storm had passed, cooking outside wasn’t a problem.

If you don’t have a gas grill, you might consider purchasing a camp stove for such times.  Of course, a charcoal grill will work too.

3.  Eat what needs to be used from the refrigerator.  I had a package of sausage and bacon in the frig as well as lunch meat, hot dogs, and cheese. The sausage was cooked on the side burner and the bacon was baked on a cookie sheet on the grill.  The corn bread was baked first and went well with the sausage and bacon.

Lunch meat and cheese were put on grilled cheese sandwiches which were done in a small skillet on the side burner for lunches.

Hot dogs were grilled for dinner one night and served with canned baked beans.

Fresh fruit and vegetables were used for almost every meal.  In this picture, I had a salad for lunch with goat cheese (which I eat occasionally to get my cheese fix) and sunflower seeds.


4.  Eat what needs to be used from the freezer.  The week before I had made a large crock pot full of spaghetti sauce with sausage.  Half of it I froze in a zip lock bag.  By the third day without power, it had thawed.  I was keeping it cold with ice.  I cooked pasta on the side burner, then heated the sauce.  We had salad with it.

5.  Rely on your pantry.  I had Busch’s baked beans in my pantry that went well with the hot dogs.  I also had some gluten-free soups that could be heated for lunch.  I didn’t need to use canned fruit, but that would always be an option.

Amazon afffiliate link to Udi's muffins6.  Have some gluten-free goodies on hand.  Crackers can be eaten with peanut butter, cheese, or hummus.  Cookies, muffins, and chips help when you need a little comfort food.

7. Buy ready-to-eat foods.  A rotisserie chicken (if you can find a gluten-free one) can be used for dinner with gluten-free potato salad or chips and veggies.

8.  Go out to eat.  I didn’t view the power outage as an excuse to go out to eat.  Instead I viewed it as a challenge.  I would have been fine going a couple of more days without power after a trip to the grocery store.  After that though, I think I would have been ready to go out to eat.  If you have gluten-free eating out options nearby—go for it.

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  1. says

    Very helpful as we just experienced an unexpected power outage in San Diego. We went the raw food route with food from the garden, but luckily ours just lasted one day

  2. nini says

    we were able to find this stove atCash & Carry for about $30. We use it for BBQ’s in the park and emergencies as it is safe in the house also. It runs on little butane cans that are $2 each and run for a couple hours cooking time each.
    Also, if using the single burner to boil water, you can then easily make rice in a thermos with the water while doing something else like a stir fry on the burner…
    a good way to use those veggies in the fridge or ice box….

  3. Karin Goodman says

    Could you post the details of how you made/ cooked your cornbread. This is a great idea, and could also be used when camping.

    • says

      Karin, I followed my corn bread recipe as usual and put it into a glass baking dish. I preheated the grill which has a thermometer and kept the temperature between 350 and 400. I simply put the dish on the grill and closed it. About half way through the baking time I turned the dish around because the back of my grill is hotter than the front. It did get slightly burnt on the bottom and edges, but that was easy to cut off.

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