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Homemade MRE?

First off – let me say that what I am about to describe does not replace a military-type MRE. Military MRE’s are superior to “home made” MRE’s in many ways.

MRE, Meals Ready to Eat, survival food, food storage

Military MRE

For those on a budget – there is an alternative to military MRE’s – and they are sitting on your local grocery store shelf. They are called Hormel Compleats Meals.

Hormel Compleats are a tub-packed fully cooked food item. They can be eaten directly from the package cold or they can be heated. Typical method for heating is the microwave oven. They can also be heated via boiling water. At around $2.00 each – many can be stocked for little money.

Hormel Compleats, MRE, homemade MRE


These pre-packed meals average around 300 calories each- so they lag behind military MRE’s by quite a bit. Being able to fully satisfy one’s caloric intake during a TSHTF events is important – however these meals do not contain a huge amount of energy. When TSHTF, it’s important to keep in perspective that grocery stores will quickly run out of stock and without electricity refrigerated foods with also quickly expire. Forget about ordering luxury food items  from the internet or checking out the latest Medifast reviews or downloading a Medifast coupon code, because the internet and computers in general will be rendered useless. Your personal food storage, MRE’s, and maybe even homemade MRE’s such as these will be what you have to rely on for nutrition and survival.

These Compleats meals have an expiration date printed on the packaging. Typically I find freshly-stocked product to have an expiration date of around 2 years out. This is something else that military MRE’s have an advantage – longer shelf life.

I stock up on many of these and eat them on a regular basis for lunch at work. As far as taste – I love ‘em. I recommend the Chicken Breast with Mashed Potatoes and Turkey with Stuffing. Those 2 are my favorite.

Here is a list of current offerings from Hormel for the Compleats meals:

  • Beef Steak & Peppers with Noodles
  • Cheese Manicotti
  • Chili with Beans
  • Grilled Chix & Pasta
  • Pasta Primavera w/ Chicken
  • Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs
  • Spicy Italian Sausage & Pasta
  • Spinach & Cheese Ravioli
  • Homestyle Beef with Potatoes and Gravy
  • Santa Fe Style Chicken with Beans and Rice
  • Sesame Chicken with Vegetables and Pasta
  • Chicken & Dumplings
  • Chicken Breast & Dressing
  • Chicken & Noodles
  • Chicken & Rice
  • Chicken Alfredo
  • Chicken Breast & Gravy with Mashed Potatoes
  • Teriyaki Chicken with Rice
  • Chicken Marinara
  • Roasted Turkey & Veg w/Rice
  • Turkey & Dressing with Gravy
  • Turkey & Hearty Vegetables
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Lasagna with Meat Sauce
  • Meatloaf with Potatoes & Gravy
  • Beef Steak Tips
  • Beef Pot Roast with Potatoes & Carrots in Gravy
  • Salisbury Steak with Sliced Potatoes & Gravy
  • Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

To make a homemade MRE – take one of these meals –  add some candy, salt/pepper packets, snack/nutrition bar, couple packs of crackers, Gatorade packet, chewing gum, pack of matches, napkin, and a plastic spoon. Vacuum pack everything together – and you have a Homemade MRE.

These meals have their place in a survival food storage system. They can be especially useful for use in your bug out supplies.

Give ‘em a try.


Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

3 comments to Homemade MRE?

  • Rourke,excellent! I hadn’t even thought of these.One more item.Variety is good.One can only eat so many pinto’s n spam !!


  • I just bought a bunch of these, for those “I’m too tired to cook but don’t want fast food” days. Then I saw your post. Good idea, making your own MREs using these as a base. Now I just need to get a vacuum sealer-know of an inexpensive one? Thanks!

  • Rourke

    As far as a vacuum sealer – you really get what you pay for. I have had a couple of cheap models – then bought a used Foodsaver brand off eBay. The Foodsaver has worked great. Forget the hand-held ones – at least from my experiance.