Suggest a "buy now, eat in 4 months" meal

Although my family mostly lives in Indonesia, we do maintain a home base in the US, and I happen to be there now. It’s on the island of Hawaii - not terribly remote, but remote enough that there are no 7-11 or Store 24 places around us.

Anyway, we’ve generally been lucky and arrived here in the middle of the day, able to grocery shop immediately on arrival. But it occurs to me that if our next plane flight back here happens to arrive at 10pm or something like that, we are so screwed. If we stumble into our home tired and hungry at night, there are no options for getting any food.

So…what could I buy now for an arrival meal or two in June? It can’t be anything that requires refrigeration/freezing, as vacation renters use the facilities when we aren’t around. It has to be stuff I can store in our locked closet. Assume a fairly constant temperature of around 70 degrees F, and low humidity (we’re in Waikoloa, not far from Kona, for anyone familiar with the local conditions).

Snack stuff is easy - obviously I can buy things like nuts and chips, and just make sure the expiration date is after June. But what if we’d like something vaguely resembling real food when we arrive? Obviously fresh fruits/veggies are out of the question. Still, can we do better than a can of cashews and some Cheetos? We do have a fully equipped kitchen, so it is okay if some cooking is involved.

The only things I can think of so far are rice and cans of baked beans. Other ideas?

Couple of packages of ramen and a can of Spam sounds like all I’d have the energy to prepare after a seventeen-hour flight.

Anyway, don’t they still have Zippy’s open after hours (I notice you’re on the Big Island, though, so maybe not)?

Alas, no Zippy’s on the Big Island. Love the thought, though - there’s nothing more delicious than an outing to Zippy’s and Napoleon’s Bakery.

Canned soup might be a good option. Or minute rice with some canned beans on top. Some pasta with jarred sauce?

We just faced a similar issue, arriving home after 20 + hrs fly time, to an entirely bare fridge and pantry, ravenously hungry.

Fortunately it was the middle of the afternoon, so I sent hubby out for take out: Swiss Chalet, a whole chicken, two large salads, and two orders of fries. Plus a carton of milk so I could have tea!

And it was delicious and truly hit the spot, just in time, before crashing hard and sleeping for several hours!

10pm doesn’t seem so late that you couldn’t order in something. Pizza? Chicken? Indian food?

But it sounds like someone has access, (for vacationers etc.) Can’t you just arrange for someone to plug in the fridge and leave beverages and some take away chicken in it, the day before your arrival? I’ve done something similar before with good results!

Another choice is to stop and pick up take away on the way in from the airport. Even if it’s not exactly on the way, it’s better than arriving after a long, long journey and having zero food in the house. It’s hard, because you’re so worn down by then, and home is so close, but it’s doable if you stay focussed!

Good Luck!

Cans of soup, frozen casseroles, dried pasta (just add butter and some parmesan cheese), frozen/canned vegetables, oatmeal, rice, dried beans etc etc

It’s a stop gap you’re looking for, not a great meal. Unless you can get some Swiss Chalet, then make sure to ask for extra sauce. :slight_smile:

Hormel has shelf-stable entrees. They require no refrigeration and are good for years.

Rice and a rice cooker. Canned/boxed goods are stable and would also work well. Maybe some canned chicken or cream of x soup to put over the rice. Boxed mac & cheese. etc

I’ve tried those and I assume that by good, you mean edible. Because they don’t taste very good. If I were the OP, I might stockpile a couple of packages of dry pasta and some jarred pasta sauce. On the other hand, for a late-night arrival, spaghetti might be a little too heavy.

I like having a couple of “Go Picnic” box lunches at the office for when I get in too late for lunch but need something NOW.

They are shelf stable and I have found them at Target and on Amazon.

Tuna noodle casserole out of cans.

You will need:

Dried noodles (I usually use macaroni, but almost any pasta will do)
Canned vegees - any sort will do
Can of cream of mushroom soup
Couple cans of tuna

(You can also top with things like bread crumbs or what not)

While you’re cooking the pasta un-can and mix together the vegees, soup, and tuna. Mix with the noodles when they’re done. Put in casserole dish, cook at 375 to 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Serve.

Note that you can substitute canned chicken for the tuna. Also you can top with things like bread crumbs or crushed chips/crisps.
As long as the noodles are stored in a vermin-proof container this combo will not just be good for months, it will remain good for years. No power required.

There are also various forms of canned beef stew or the like. Not exactly glamorous food, but it will work for something that actually feels like a meal.

Dried fruit/trail mix in sealed packages. Canned tuna or chicken. Crackers. Peanut butter.

Rice has already been mentioned. Get a can of coconut milk and some canned black beans and you can make yourself coconut rice.

I wish my problem was having food delivered to my holiday home in Hawaii!

As to staples, I’d go with pasta, dried herbs, tinned tomatoes, olive oil, jar of minced garlic, jar of pesto, seasoning, and take some parmesan with me.

Also could your neighbours be of any help (if you have them)?

Just take any canned foods you see at the grocery store. Canned vegetables taste alright, though a bit overcooked. You can find canned tuna and other fish, chicken white meat chunks, ham chunks, and spam. A small unopened jar of mayo will be fine after 4 months as will most other condiments. If you can find them get the little packets used for takeout, if you don’t use them right away they’re great to have around other times. There’s some kind of sweet brown bread in a can I’ve seen around here, don’t know the name but know some people that love it. There are canned soups and canned desserts. You might as well pick up more than you need, 4 months later you might like a choice and you might need some extra meals before you can get out to the store. Nuts do pretty well over time in a sealed container. I wouldn’t keep anything in paper or this plastic wrapping unless you can put it in another strong sealed container. You don’t want to come home and find bugs found a way into anything.

pouches of Indian food

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! Some good ideas there.

Just to be clear in case anyone else cares to post more ideas - assume that refrigerated/frozen stuff is absolutely not an option* and I want to be prepared for the possibility that zero shopping or food delivery options are available. (What if we have a flight scheduled to arrive at 10pm and it is delayed? Come to think of it, that actually happened to me once. It was eerie because the airport, a small quiet place at the best of times, was completely closed with just a very few people working late to accommodate the flight.)

*As an experiment, I might leave a package in the back of the freezer and see if it is still there when we arrive. But I can’t count on that happening.

Long story but I had good success with powdered milk in college. There are other dried/powered items that I like - Mac & cheese, various seasoned noodle kits, pudding mixes, Jello.

The whole purpose of inventing dried and canned foods was for long-term food storage prior to refrigeration.

Depends on the item. The beef stew is fine, as it the chicken alfredo. The mashed potatoes are pretty bad, but anything without them is fine.

Yep. Canned soup, canned stew, canned chili, canned beans, canned tuna, canned Spam, canned Chef Boy-ar-dee-style pasta, or dry pasta and canned/jarred sauce, canned fruit, canned veggies… Just don’t forget your can opener!