6 Meals to Make during a Power Outage & a Guide to Saving vs. Tossing Cold Foods | Carson Tahoe Health

6 Meals to Make during a Power Outage & a Guide to Saving vs. Tossing Cold Foods


No Power? No Problem!

With the increase in snow we’ve been experiencing in Northern Nevada, power outages may be on the horizon. Fingers crossed we make it through the rest of winter without a major power outage, but in the event that a storm leaves you in the dark, here are some tasty and nutritious meal ideas to serve up — no oven, blender, or microwave required!

Have a Tapas Party. You don’t need a power outlet to break out the cheeseboard and enjoy an array of tapas. Think: Olives, chickpeas (toss with olive oil and spices for a little more flavor — we like chili powder for a spicy kick), mashed avocado with a sprinkle of lime and salt, roasted red peppers, and whole-grain pita wedges. This is also the perfect time to use up cheese that may go bad if your power is out for an extended period of time.








Think Ahead With Overnight Oats. If you think the power will be out until morning, combine 1 part oats and 1 part water, and let the mixture sit overnight. (Be sure to sub in water for milk since you won’t be able to refrigerate overnight.) In the morning you can add sliced banana, or apple and cinnamon, for a no-cook bowl of oatmeal.








Mash Up Some Homemade Hummus. For a tasty snack, use a fork or potato masher to smash chickpeas, then stir in lemon juice, minced garlic, and a touch of salt for a homemade hummus dip. Serve with sliced veggies and whole-grain crackers or pita for dipping. For a bean dip trio, mash up an assortment of beans, such as black, kidney, and cannellini.










Get Creative with Veggie Noodles. The wonderful thing about veggie noodles (other than their ability to transform your favorite pasta dish into a low-cal meal) is that they require no boiling water, making them the perfect meal base when you don’t have electricity. Carrots, cucumbers, and beets can all be spiralized into noodles or cut into ribbons with a veggie peeler, and then tossed with seasonings like oil, vinegar, and herbs for a no-cook pasta dish.








Wrap It Up. Veggie wraps are super easy to whip up and can be customized using whatever is left in the house — all veggies, beans, and seasonings are fair game. Start with whole-wheat tortillas (or use romaine, kale, or collard greens as wraps), then pack in canned beans, onion, tomato, cucumber, and any other veggies you have on hand, and drizzle with oil and vinegar.








Go Old School with PB&J. Throw it back to lunchbox days and enjoy a schmear of peanut butter and sweet jelly on bread. After two hours without power, all meat and poultry is a no-go, so peanut and other nut butters are a smart go-to protein source. Take the traditional sandwich up a notch by adding sliced banana, apple, or strawberries.









Tip: Consider storing refrigerated/frozen foods outside to help preserve freshness during a snow storm.

Refrigerated Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When to Throw Out

Food Categories

Specific Foods

Held above 40 °F for over 2 hours

MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood; soy meat substitutes Discard
Thawing meat or poultry Discard
Salads: Meat, tuna, shrimp, chicken, or egg salad Discard
Gravy, stuffing, broth Discard
Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef Discard
Pizza – with any topping Discard
Canned hams labeled “Keep Refrigerated” Discard
Canned meats and fish, opened Discard
Casseroles, soups, stews Discard
CHEESE Soft Cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso fresco Discard
Hard Cheeses: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone, Romano Safe
Processed Cheeses Safe
Shredded Cheeses Discard
Low-fat Cheeses Discard
Grated Parmesan, Romano, or combination (in can or jar) Safe
DAIRY Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk Discard
Butter, margarine Safe
Baby formula, opened Discard
EGGS Fresh eggs, hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products Discard
Custards and puddings, quiche Discard
FRUITS Fresh fruits, cut Discard
Fruit juices, opened Safe
Canned fruits, opened Safe
Fresh fruits, coconut, raisins, dried fruits, candied fruits, dates Safe
SAUCES, SPREADS, JAMS Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish Discard if above 50 °F for over 8 hrs.
Peanut butter Safe
Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles Safe
Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, hoisin sauces Safe
Fish sauces, oyster sauce Discard
Opened vinegar-based dressings Safe
Opened creamy-based dressings Discard
Spaghetti sauce, opened jar Discard
BREAD, CAKES, COOKIES, PASTA, GRAINS Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas Safe
Refrigerator biscuits, rolls, cookie dough Discard
Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes Discard
Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinaigrette Discard
Fresh pasta Discard
Cheesecake Discard
Breakfast foods –waffles, pancakes, bagels Safe
PIES, PASTRY Pastries, cream filled Discard
Pies – custard, cheese filled, or chiffon; quiche Discard
Pies, fruit Safe
VEGETABLES Fresh mushrooms, herbs, spices Safe
Greens, pre-cut, pre-washed, packaged Discard
Vegetables, raw Safe
Vegetables, cooked; tofu Discard
Vegetable juice, opened Discard
Baked potatoes Discard
Commercial garlic in oil Discard
Potato salad Discard
Casseroles, soups, stews Discard

Frozen Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When to Throw Out

Food Categories

Specific Foods

Still contains ice crystals and feels as cold as if refrigerated

Thawed and held above 40 °F for over 2 hours

MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD Beef, veal, lamb, pork, and ground meats Refreeze Discard
Poultry and ground poultry Refreeze Discard
Variety meats (liver, kidney, heart, chitterlings) Refreeze Discard
Casseroles, stews, soups Refreeze Discard
Fish, shellfish, breaded seafood products Refreeze. However, there will be some texture and flavor loss. Discard
DAIRY Milk Refreeze. May lose some texture. Discard
Eggs (out of shell) and egg products Refreeze Discard
Ice cream, frozen yogurt Discard Discard
Cheese (soft and semi-soft) Refreeze. May lose some texture. Discard
Hard cheeses Refreeze Refreeze
Shredded cheeses Refreeze Discard
Casseroles containing milk, cream, eggs, soft cheeses Refreeze Discard
Cheesecake Refreeze Discard
FRUITS Juices Refreeze Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.
Home or commercially packaged Refreeze. Will change texture and flavor. Refreeze. Discard if mold, yeasty smell, or sliminess develops.
VEGETABLES Juices Refreeze Discard after held above 40 °F for 6 hours.
Home or commercially packaged or blanched Refreeze. May suffer texture and flavor loss. Discard after held above 40 °F for 6 hours.
BREADS, PASTRIES Breads, rolls, muffins, cakes (without custard fillings) Refreeze Refreeze
Cakes, pies, pastries with custard or cheese filling Refreeze Discard
Pie crusts, commercial and homemade bread dough Refreeze. Some quality loss may occur. Refreeze. Quality loss is considerable.
OTHER Casseroles – pasta, rice based Refreeze Discard
Flour, cornmeal, nuts Refreeze Refreeze
Breakfast items –waffles, pancakes, bagels Refreeze Refreeze
Frozen meal, entree, specialty items (pizza, sausage and biscuit, meat pie, convenience foods) Refreeze  



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