Approaching Food Storage with Skillet Stretchers

M.D. Creekmore

I've been interested in self-reliance topics for over 25 years. I’m the author of four books that you can find here. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about prepping, homesteading, and self-reliance topics through first-hand experience and now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

27 Responses

  1. JP in MT says:

    Having been “at this awhile”, I was there too. I’ve added gravies and spices, learned what goes together with what (and what does not) for us, how to make a little meat go a long way, and many other things.

    The importance of this article, especially for larger family groups with younger members, can’t be overstated. I personally have teens that are “spoiled” about their food, but many might. The right mindset come in here.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      JP, our children were allowed one food item they “dont eat” period. We do not do picky in our house. My daughter has friends that are being raised “vegetarian/vegan” which is difficult at times but easy enough to adjust too given our attempts to reduce reliance on as much meats as we would like –

      • Zulu 3-6 says:


        Picky wasn’t really popular in my home growing up, but we still managed to avoid foods we didn’t like. Funny thing was, I stopped being so picky on July 1, 1971. That was the day I went into the Marine Corps. Picky was not authorized at all there and besides, I was so hungry all of the time, I’d eat anything. Unfortunately, I still eat like I was in boot camp. Speed eating. 🙂

        • Jeffrey Fitzpatrick says:

          To this day, I still cannot eat liver. I’ve tried several times in my 25 years in the military but I simply cannot. Not picky about anything else. I can eat snakes I catch in my yard but no liver. Weird.

      • Jesse,

        our children were allowed one food item they “dont eat” period. We do not do picky in our house.

        I couldn’t have said it better myself, LOL. The youngest boy doesn’t like lima beans; but, other than that the biggest requirement, at least for the boys, was to have plenty on hand. Our DD has a mild allergy to soy protein; but, we try to stay away from that as much as we can and about everyone I know around here, will eat most anything when you are hungry, and farm work makes you hungry.

  2. Jesse Mathewson says:

    A great approach and diagnostic fix! Definitely agree regarding healthy portions and non!

  3. Cndnate says:

    I’d avoid the Splenda !!!

    Really enjoyed the article otherwise

    Why not store honey to replace the Splenda ? Doesn’t go bad

    • Docj says:

      As a diabetic, honey is not an option. Splenda and stevia are my only choices.

      • JP in MT says:


        I too am diabetic, type 2, but I find that I do okay on Fructose and honey. I get ours locally; since I started doing that, I don’t like the taste of commercial anymore.

        • JP,

          and honey. I get ours locally; since I started doing that, I don’t like the taste of commercial anymore.

          Another thing with commercial honey is you really don’t know where it came from, how it was treated, and how pure it may be. It has been noted that some Chinese honey is produced with chemicals we don’t allow here; but, then filtered and transshipped to hide the actual country of origin. There also may be some percentage of corn syrup to stretch the more expensive honey. Local honey also contains pollens and nectar from the local area and can help soothe and alleviate those with pollen allergies.

      • Livinthedream says:

        Splenda IS NOT a healthy, safe sugar substitute. Much better choices: Monk Fruit, Swerve (Erythritol) and, of course Stevia In The Raw. Not PurVia. Not TruVia. Stevia in the Raw.

        • Livinthedream says:

          Look up Mercola or Natural News on Splenda. In 2016, the corp. producing Splenda hired Monsanto’s P.R team to promote their poison.

          • Grammyprepper says:

            Better yet, try to grow your own stevia! This is one I need to work on!

          • Livinthedream,

            Look up Mercola or Natural News on Splenda. In 2016, the corp. producing Splenda hired Monsanto’s P.R team to promote their poison.

            I’ve been using both Aspartame and Splenda for years with no ill effects. Calling it poison without any real evidence could be considered libelous unless you have concrete proof. Adding that it is your opinion would take care of that and make your unproven assertion perhaps a bit more palatable.
            Honey, sugar beets, or maple sugar are natural and easily produced, and cane sugar is inexpensive and keeps a long time.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Please consider this is a list I use, IT is MY list…. NOT a “recommended for You to buy”! The list provided is an example of things that I group together, . If you or your family will not eat and item then , it is a real simple fix, just do not buy that item but find what can be substituted to give you another option..that fits into YOUR budget and menu plans..
      Why did i not put honey on that list? ( I do have and store honey for medical use and other family members, but it is not my primary goal to add sugars to our diet… The primary goal is to have foods we can all consume for adequate energy..
      I can eat almost NO sugars/Carbs. This includes sorghrum, Honey, Cane Sugar, Sugar in the Raw…and I need options that can be used to make jams/jellies/syrups in reduced glycemic loads..
      . I am in process of storing Steva, one brand,powdered/granulated,. produced without chemicals.. Pyure brand… .. I use Now brand orig formula, mostly for making syrups…( recipe calls jellies but they turn out as syrups.).. as well. . all of the other sweetners give me gastritis….I still have some splend stored.( probably enough to do us another year.)
      I use healthy oils , but have recipes that call for crisco and Canola oil. The Canola was developed to make COWS fat. It is not a helathy option… coconut, olive, sunflower , butter and Yes LARD are what we use now and DH ‘s triglycerides and lipid levels have returned to normal..It toook 2 months for them to get in line.
      Here are some other things to consider… Your needs MAY change. esp. Your calorie and tolerances to foods or food groups…
      Since i wrote this article i have discovered several things on this list we will not or can not use, even tho they came highly recommended by others… among these are gravy mixes, and bear creek soup mixes. There are also meats that we will only use sparingly… like SPAM.- we do like the bacon flavored one,,but it is not stocked in our area and have to special order it… and will eat a 3 cans a YEAR of it…now…
      I can no longer eat dried beans, I love them but get sick after i eat them….enzymes help but not enough to prevent gastritis…. so our meat plans need to go up by the boat-load.. DH can no longer have common greens daily, limited to 3 servings a week and many of our veggies are now root crops…He can not eat bell peppers, an enzyme in peel issue, makes him sick for days..

  4. Bebe says:

    Good article. One everyone should read, Even Old-timers need to freshen up their thinking once in awhile.

  5. Thor1 says:

    I think I would choose this approach compared to the FDA that wants us to eat bugs and cockroach milk…..LOL

    I would also stay away from synthetic sugar…..not good for anyone.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Thor 1,, Agreed! the best natural and carb friendly of the sweetners is … Stevia in Pyure brand tastes good, and is processed cleanly…acccording to company web site. from a Non bitter form of the stevia plant…they grow specially for their product.. I also have a stevia plant, getting another one is on the agenda, ..Until i use up the sweetners i have stored will be using them in limited quanities….
      I think that persons who heavily use sugar , and are not preparing for some sweetner to be stored are going to have a rude awakening when the 40 lbs they currently use/mo is no longer available..Of course after the adjustment to NO sugar in that tea… they will be healthier if they live thru the adjustment.. I have just chosen to use mostly UNsweetned tea, and ice water… Now there will be my problem… (lol).

      • Livinthedream says:

        Our new favorite drink is CLEAN water – bottled SPRING water or our Berkey water – w/fresh lemon squeezed in. A good way to detox & liver cleanse, too.

  6. Bonnie says:

    Did you mean the American Dietetic Association? Those are some pretty carby foods for a diabetic! Altho the other ADA promotes a lot of carbs. As one having diabetes, I’ve learned from sad experience to ignore the ADA & stick with low carb foods.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Not Thor, but I believe he was refering to the Diabetic association..form context..
      The FDA does regulate and include all kinds of junk ingredients in medications… including nagalase, cancer cells from monkeys and cancer cells and human DNA… so educate self on what is in every thing you use…
      I have also found to ignore ADA rules. I am on a prescribed 90 gram protein, low -but healthy fats, and very low carb…25-50 grams..
      This can be justified , ignoring ADA rules, by recording your response to carbs…blood sugar tracking along side a strict diet and exercise diary. Everyones tolerances for blood sugar control is different, some respond to with rapid drops when carbs are ingested..with as little as one and one half of ADA servings of carbs… Folks when a blood sugar drops One must consume food/calories to get it up again. Knowing what and how you respond is vital to your life.

  7. Labgirl says:

    Nice article, I will save those recipes!

  8. Grammyprepper says:

    This was a good piece, I like the idea of adding more veg to a meal as well as offering a side veg.. But I notice no one else mentioned the use of canola oil. Despite all we have been led to believe, it is not a healthy oil There is no such thing as a non GMO canola oil. It is better to reduce use of fats and only use healthy fats. Well sourced olive oil, coconut oil, butter and others are better choices.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      You are right no Non GMO rape seed oil… all is made to make cows fat… We decided..we had enough weigh problems without helping it along…LOL,…. I stopped using Canola and Peanut several years ago.. after I did some research. I found after we had used peanut oil for a month , My DH’s triglycerides went thru the roof… It took 6-8 weeks after elimination to get them back down…
      This article was written several years ago… but this system still works. for us.. I am still refining the lists I use and using less pre mixes and more single ingredients… Single ingredients stored alone…. do not need anti-caking agents as badly or have msg hidden under label of spices.. ..
      I am using the sun butter,, olive, coconut,sunfower, bacon grease, and a little lard/pork fat… so far his labs are fine… next check should be in 3 months… I do have some other oils and they are in reserve for lighting/ other non food uses..I used to have some to use as a back up supply, but now use /keep healthier options in larger quanities…
      . I am trying to reduce the sunflower oil am using as well…to make my sun butter spread…so have increased the butter and coconut oil in each jar a bit… I use all bacon grease we get off our bacon.. Have found that the hickory smoked ones do not cause the eggs to stick…
      We have been working toward the goal of eliminating GMO’s from diet and it is a hard thing to totally eliminate. DH has sensitivity to corn unless organic. we are sure it is the pesticide residue… He has increased pain in feet when he eats regular corn chips…organic ones are not available at most stores, and are 2x price…

  9. mom of three says:

    I’m about a week late but what a great advice extra tid bits, I can use I love canning Spagetti Sauce, so easy and so much better for you.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Would be nice to have enough tomatoes to can our own, has not happened in several years here… too many things out of our control… working on it.
      ..Meinwhile I buy some pre made on sale and keep cmmercially canned tomatoes to add spices, mushrooms and meats to…
      Glad you found some tidbits use-able in your life. This enables me to keep a variety of foods and make a variety fo different foods form base ingredients.

  10. Denise ,
    I was glad when I started reading this that it wasn’t what I had expected from the title. I have seen too many people talk about skillet stretchers like Hamburger Helper. While the latest versions contain pasta instead of TVP, they are IMHO a poor and expensive substitute for doing it yourself.
    Instead of the 1 box dinners, you could try the better, less expensive 1 bag dinners from places like Bear Creek that all easily store long term as purchased. Most make a good hearty meal right out of the bag with only 2 quarts of water; but, adding vegetables like potatoes or broccoli or some meat to the Darn Good Chili, easily extends the bag contents to feed 3-4 people with little extra ingredients and time.
    Keeping a few hundred pounds of beef in the freezer and chickens that give use 6-8 eggs per day also helps a lot, since a few grains and some eggs can be the start of many tasty and filling meals. We no longer use lists, other than to make sure we keep a supply of canned tuna, chicken, sardines and some ready to eat soupds like Progresso. We also keep a supply of box cereal as well as cream of wheat, oatmeal and corn meal, all of which can make anything from a breakfast to a piece of an entrée with things like easy to make corn meal mush, scrapple, corn bread or corn meal muffings. We keep quite a few jars of various red sauces on hand from Aldi’s any of which can be enhanced with addition of some meat or mushrooms, and used on pasta of all sorts, or baked into pasta dishes.
    We do keep some Splenda and Equal on hand; but, prefer cane sugar which is very inexpensive, plus some honey, maple syrup and sorghum syrup. Our best spices are garlic & onion, since they are what we like.
    If you have no spaghetti sauces, most pasta can still be tasty with only a bit of grease (butter or olive oil) and some garlic.