How to meal plan in anticipation of the full water interruption in CDMX

Hi everyone,

If you are as worried as I am about how to feed your family with homemade healthy food during the water cut-off, you are at the right place.

As you know I love cooking – my Instagram account is @Cook_with_Lu if you’d like to follow me. I like the idea of knowing exactly what goes into my plate. I know a little OCT… So a water interruption of minimum 5 days is a nightmare for me. I don’t see myself eating outside every day. It reminds me of the time my husband and I we were remodeling his first apartment as an owner. We had no kitchen for so many weeks. At first, I was happy to stuff in that greasy food. But then things started not to be that fun anymore and my pants showed the first signs… 

Luckily, the city announced the full water interruption in advance so we have time to put up some plans. Many will probably leave the city but not everybody can take a week off from work. So I got you covered 😉 Here are a few pieces of advice to help you better cope with the water cut-off:
  1. Get your groceries at the last minute so they are fresher and would last longer in the fridge
  2. Assuming your building has water tanks and will open the pipes at different hours in the day, set the alarms so you can make the most of these few hours
  3. Keep in mind any dish containing meat/dairy can be kept in the fridge for around 4 days, any dish with seafood/fish can be kept for 3 days and any dish with no ingredient of animal origin can be kept for a week. This is my rules of thumb but it may vary, best to trust your nose and your taste buds.
  4. Wash all your fruits and veggies and keep them in the fridge so they can last longer
  5. Start meal prepping on Monday. 
  6. Prep some food you can use for different dishes. I came up with some ideas below

We have a small fridge so my motto will be space optimisation. I have also linked some of my recipes if that helps.

  • Soups: cook the vegetables with a minimum amount of water and blend them. This way the batch won’t take too much space in your fridge or freezer. When you warm the soup, add the liquid – broth, water or milk and season with salt then. 
Example of soups:
Minestrone cooked with a high-pressure cooker like an Instant Pot. Soak the white beans in the water on Monday to cook them in the high-pressure cooker on Tuesday for 20 minutes. Then in a pot, stir 1 small onion, chopped with 2 cloves of minced garlic for two minutes and then add the veggies of your choice (carrot, celery stalk, tomato cut in cubes, green peas) add some water and cover to slow cook until the vegetables are tender. Transfer both the beans and the vegetables into a food container. When you would like to eat, add some water or stock to warm it up. I serve it with a spoonful of freshly made pesto sauce.
Butternut squash soup: bake the squashes in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for around 45 minutes – it depends on the size of the squash. Insert a knife to check if it’s cooked. In a pan, stir some minced onion and garlic with olive oil. Then transfer the squash (with the skin if it’s organic) and the onion/garlic into the blender, add a little bit of liquid if that helps the blender and blend until smooth. Pour in some coconut milk to warm it up. Toss some fresh thyme and grilled bacon bites before serving. This also works with the pumpkin you carved for Halloween 
  • Salads: prep the following food and store them individually in a food container

An animal protein: chicken breast/grilled bacon/boiled eggs/seared salmon. Keep in mind that they can be refrigerated for 4 days

A carb: pasta/rice/potatoes/quinoa/buckwheat. They can last in the fridge for a week
A grain: black or white beans/lentils/chickpeas/edamame. They can last in the fridge for a week
Raw vegetables: wash them well. You can grate the carrots, slice the cucumbers and the radish but keep them together as a whole so they don’t dry up. However, I don’t recommend you to cut the tomatoes in advance as they may wilt fast.  
A leafy green: store-bought packages of leafy greens are often sold as triple washed but I noticed they were not as clean as they claim. So I always wash them before use. And doing so, you would be able to put more leafy greens in the same plastic box they came with. Wash and drain them well using a salad spin. Lay a kitchen paper on the bottom of the plastic box and transfer half of the leaves.  Lay another kitchen paper and transfer the rest. The kitchen paper will absorb the excess water and the leafy greens will last longer. And if you really cannot wash them, opt for some organic washed lettuce.
Salad dressings: prepare two or more salad dressings to vary the taste like French vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette or a soy sauce/sesame dressing to go with the buckwheat and edamame beans. Store them in glass jars so you can pile them up. 
Quinoa salad
Quinoa salad with caramelised cherry tomatoes and pecan nuts on a bed of arugula
  • Sandwiches: you can use some of the above food

Bread: sourdough bread/pita bread/flour tortillas

Sauce: mayonnaise/a homemade spread like tapenade (olive paste), tzatziki sauce, hummus or even pesto sauce
Protein: canned tuna/prosciutto/shredded chicken breast/falafels/smoked salmon
Raw vegetables: tomato/cucumber/jicama. Most of the time I prepare some caramelised cherry tomatoes: in a pan with some olive oil and minced cloves of garlic, add the cherry tomatoes cut in half and season with some salt, black pepper, and sugar and cook it on low heat to caramelise the cherry tomatoes
Leafy greens: arugula/lettuce/baby spinach

Caramelized cherry tomatoes
Caramelising cherry tomatoes
Example of sandwiches:
Spread some pesto sauce on a slice of sourdough bread, add some arugula, some slices of tomato, some prosciutto, and even mozzarella cheese.
Or in a pita bread, spread some tzatziki sauce, add some slices of cucumber, some falafels, some shredded lettuce 
  • Dips: if you prepare enough tapenade/hummus/tzatziki, you can serve them as snack or appetizer. Cut some raw vegetable sticks like carrot, cucumber, red bell pepper, jicama, and radish. Serve them on a plate with some crackers or slices of bread  
  • Hummus
    Hummus with caramelised cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives

  • Pasta sauces: I assume you will be able to cook your pasta. But if not, you can precook them. Serve them with the pesto sauce or the caramelised cherry tomatoes. This works also with noodles. For instance, stir-fry some chicken breast with minced garlic and ginger, season with some salt and soy sauce. Add some bok choy or baby spinach and other veggies of your choice. Drizzle with some sesame oil. And store this into a mason jar. On the day you’d like to serve a noodle stir-fry, cook the noodles in a large pot. Then combine the noodles with the chicken breast and the veggies. Et voila!
  • Chicken noodle stir-fry
    Chicken noodle stir-fry

  • Quiches/empanadas/veggie patties and any food that can be eaten with your hands. NO plates or cutlery to wash hehe. Ideas of quiches you can make in advance are quiche Lorraine, salmon and spinach quiche, mushroom and chicken quiche. A few years ago, I found a very easy recipe of crust that is called the ‘Tupperware crust’. You can literally toss all the ingredients in a Tupperware and then shake it up until well combined. It’s clearly a cheat recipe but trust me, it’s so handy that it will become your go-to crust recipe. For a 30cm wide quiche/tart pan, you will need 185g of all-purpose flour, 75 g of melted butter, 75ml of warm water, a pinch of salt, ½ tsp of baking powder. In a salad bowl, transfer all the ingredients and mix well until you get a smooth dough. This dough is quite elastic and easy to work. Once into the pan, use a fork to make small holes in the crust so it won’t inflate during baking time. I recommend you to let it sit in the freezer for ~15 minutes before you blind bake it for 10 minutes at 180 degree C. This helps the crust not to melt during the baking time. 
Chinese empanadas
Chinese version of empanadas 
Zucchini and oat patties
Zucchini and oat patties
Hope you may find this post helpful. You may become smelly over the days but your stomach will be full with all that yumminess. If you try all these recipes, let me know so we can come to help you out 😉