Monday, February 25, 2013

Prepare Today Homemade: Mason Jar Water Storage

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This has been my big project at the new house...

 I have slowly been putting my storage room back together.  It is taking forever and the weather isn't helping!  My storage room is a room in the garage, so it gets really cold in there.  I am not one for numb fingers and toes so this project has taken me a long time.  As you can see there is still a mountain of things to put away in the middle of the floor. But I can at least find something now.  It was like a search and rescue mission for awhile every time we needed something in there.  But I love my new space, it is just steps from the kitchen, and it has enough space for everything!!!  

So, today's food post will be the easiest "recipe" EVER!!!  Water is the first and most important item you need in any food storageStoring water can be tricky when it comes to the amount of water needed per person, so this idea will work in any house that has canning jars.  It requires only water and a mason jar.  I first saw this idea on Pinterest and couldn't believe I never thought of it before.  I remembered this idea today when I was stacking all of my empty mason jars in a corner of the storage room, and it occurred to me that it was a waste of space to just store them empty. I took the jars back into the house, filled them with water, wiped off the rims, and screwed the lids back on.  Simple, fast, and keeps the jars clean!!  Now I have water storage and clean jars!! 

Now I just need to fill the other 50 jars and I'll be done with this project too. :)  Remember if you live in earthquake areas to secure your shelves to the wall and to also have a way to hold the jars onto the shelf.  A bungee cord stretched across the front of the shelf, or piece of wood nailed across the front of the shelf will work.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Prepare Today Homemade: Chicken and Potatoes

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This recipe for chicken and potatoes is my go-to Sunday night dinner recipe.  It is quick to put together, uses simple ingredients, and tastes like you knew what you were doing in the kitchen.  Which for me, is a big plus when it comes to cooking meat.  (I don't eat meat, but my family does)

To make this recipe even easier I use dehydrated potato slices that I sealed with my FoodSaver in mason jars.  I sliced, blanched, and dehydrated these bad boys.  I must say it is much easier to buy them already processed for you and sealed in a #10 can...muuuccchhh easier!!

Reconstituting the potatoes is as easy as pouring them into a bowl and covering with hot water for about 10 minutes.

Once they were soft, I drained them in a colander and poured them into my baking dish.

 There are only 3 ingredients that get poured over the potatoes and chicken:  oil, garlic, and parsley.  

Chicken and Potatoes
1/3 C olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/3 C fresh parsley (or 1 T dried)
4 medium potatoes peeled and thinly sliced(4-5 C dried, reconstituted in hot water)
4 chicken breasts, fresh or frozen 
2 cans mushrooms, drained
1 T lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl stir together the olive oil, parsley, and garlic.  Arrange the potato slices evenly in a 13x9 sprayed pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and pour half of the olive oil mixture over the potatoes. Place chicken over the top of the potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Scatter the mushrooms over the chicken and pour remaining olive oil mixture over the top.  Drizzle with lemon juice.  Cover and bake at 425° for 20 minutes, uncover and bake 40-45 minutes longer.   

**I can't seem to remember to take an "after" picture lately.  My family must be so hungry that I am rushing the food to the table and forgetting to take a photo.  I'll try to get those "after" pictures next time!!  

To make this a shelf-stable meal:
  • Use home bottled chicken breast (commercial canned chicken looks like tuna.  When you bottle your own meat you can decided how big you want the meat to be.)
  • Use dehydrated potato slices.
  • Use True Lemon powder or your own dehydrated lemons blended into a powder.   
  • Cook in a Volcano stove, Global Sun oven, or even a Saratoga Jacks Thermal cooker.  In the SJ thermal cooker I would cook the potatoes in the top smaller pan and cook the chicken in a bag in the bigger pan like I did HERE.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Applesauce: A Food Storage Must Have

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There are a few items in my food storage that I feel I must have at all times, such as wheat, dehydrated onions, pasta, rice, etc., but one of the most important items that I have in my storage is applesauce.  That may sound funny, but applesauce is so versatile and almost everyone likes it, and that's why it is a food storage must have item in my house.  

 My favorite place to buy applesauce is Costco.  Now, I have to let you all know that I am not a Costco shopper because I feel I can get better deals using coupons, case lot sales, and buying in bulk from Honeyville, but this is one item I feel is such a great price that I ask my sister to buy a few (or 15) when she goes shopping.  The applesauce comes in #10 cans and is unsweetened, which was the BIG selling point for me.  Now, you are probably wondering why I don't have a great photo of this #10 can of applesauce inserted into this paragraph.  I am writing this post because we just used up our very last can of applesause and I am stressing out that it is all gone!!!  I just moved and my storage has been a mess, so now that I am some what settled, I need to ask my sister to get me applesauce the next time she goes to Costco!!

These are the ways that I use applesauce in my house.
  • I use applesauce cup for cup as a substitute for oil in baking.
  • When I have sick kids I need applesauce for sick tummies.
  • Applesauce makes a great side dish at dinner.  We love to eat it with cottage cheese mixed in or with a dash of cinnamon.
  • My children love a small container of applesauce in their school lunches.
  • Use applesauce for baby food.
  • I add applesauce to muffins, smoothies, and quick breads (just a 1/4 C or less) to make the final product moist. If you freeze the applesauce in ice cube trays they can be tossed into smoothies quite easily.
  • I dehydrate applesauce to make apple fruit leather.
  • In an emergency situation applesauce is a great way to have fruit in your diet.
  • I also love to use dehydrated applesauce in my baking and I save the regular applesauce for eating.    
I am sure there are many other ways to use applesauce but as you can see it is a very versatile food.  I remember a comment that Sherida Raddigan from My Year Living On Food Storage  made about applesauce. Her family lived solely on their stored food and  she said she wished she had stored applesauce to break up the monotony of what they were eating.  They ate really well for 3 months and then their diet became really bland without a lot of fruits.  When I read that it really comfirmed to me that it was a smart idea to add more applesauce to my storage. 

Here are some yummy varieties of applesauce that you can bottle at home. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Prepare Today Homemade- Food Storage Recipes

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Finding new recipes to add to the blog every week has caught up to me.  I didn't have time this past week to cook up anything new, but I want to share one of my favorite blogs today.

Jamie Cooks It Up!

I find many of my recipes from amazing food blogs online. One of my favorite sites is Jamie Cooks it Up!  She has great tasting recipes and beautiful pictures to make your mouth water.  Jamie put together a list of 40 recipes from her site that use pantry items.  They all look delicious and as a bonus they use food storage.

Click HERE to see Jamie's list of 40 Food Storage Recipes.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Grocery Deals 2/6-2/12

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The deals are not as hot this week at Smiths, but Harmon's is having a great buy 10 sale on pantry items we all use

  •   BUTTER $2.00
  • SMITHS BREAD $1.00
  • SMITHS BUNS $1.00

  Western Family Buy 10 items get $5 off instantly sale:
  • WF BAGGED CEREAL $2.49/$1.99
  • WF PASTA .99/.49
  • WF PASTA SAUCE $1.29/.79
  • WF CAKE MIXES $1.29/.79 
  • WF CHUNKY SOUPS $1.49/.99
  • WF JELLY $1.49/.99
  • WF PEANUT BUTTER $2.29/$1.79   

Monday, February 4, 2013

Prepare Today Homemade- Creamy Baked Mac & Cheese

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This recipe for Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese is one of my family's favorites!! I wrote this recipe down in my "to try" notebook and usually I write the source of where I found it, but I didn't make a note of the source.  I tried googling it but I couldn't find it either.  If anyone finds one similar please let me know so I can credit the cook who came up with this amazing dish!!

One of the foods that will become scarce quickly after a disaster will be cheese.  I have had a can of Honeyville's freeze-dried cheddar cheese on my storage shelf for some time now, and I finally opened it the other night.  My kids were begging for this dinner and I had run out of cheddar cheese, freeze-dried cheese to the rescue.  I have been to many classes at Honeyville where they use this cheese, and I have used the Mozzarella cheese, but never the cheddar.  This is a must-have storage item for everyone who eats cheese!!

This is what the cheese looks like in the can.  Doesn't it look exactly like shredded cheese?  If feels like a slightly drier version of fresh shredded cheese.  Now, the trick to reconstituting freeze-dried cheese is to use COLD water.  If you use warm, or hot, water you will get a big, melted blob of cheese.  
 I spread out the cheese onto a large plate and sprayed it liberally with cool water.  I tossed it a little with my hands and sprayed it again.  After about 5 minutes I checked it and tossed it again, and sprayed any dry cheese with more water.  Just a note, if you are adding the cheese to a dish that is creamy or has liquid, I would just toss the cheese right in and not worry about reconstituting it.  
 The ingredients for this recipe are pantry friendly and they also convert easily to a food storage friendly recipe as well.  If you're wondering how to get cream cheese from your storage, good news the Honeyville store in Salt Lake sells powdered cream cheese that would work great in this recipe.  Click HERE to see where to order powdered cream cheese if you don't live near the Honeyville store.  You can also make homemade cream cheese by straining plain yogurt for several hours in muslin or kitchen towel. Place the towel in a colander and set in a bowl.  Let drain 5+ hours until you get desired consistency.  (Kathy Ashman)

The freeze-dried cheese melted so well when I made the cheese sauce.  

 For the topping I love to use Ritz crackers.  They add the right amount of buttery goodness to the top of this dish.  I crush them right in the sleeve they come in.  Feel free to mix it up and add whatever topping you like on your mac & cheese. 

Stir the noodles and cheese sauce together.....

Top with more freeze-dried cheese and finish it off with the crushed crackers.

I forgot to take an "after" picture.  This is what was left :)

Baked Creamy Mac & Cheese
2 1/2 C elbow macaroni cooked and drained
1/2 C butter
1/2 C flour
1/4 t salt
dash of pepper
2 1/3 C milk (we use skim)
1/2 C broth
3 1/4 C cheddar cheese (or 3 1/4 C freeze-dried cheese)
4 oz cream cheese
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, stir in flour to make a paste.  Add the milk and broth slowly while whisking.  Stir and cook until the sauce has thickened.  Add only 2 1/2 C of the cheese and cream cheese.  Stir until heated through and melted.  Remove from heat and pour over macaroni.  Stir mixture until combined.  Pour into a greased 13x9 pan.  Top with remaining cheese and then the crushed crackers.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned.   

To make this a shelf-stable recipe:
  • Substitute freeze-dried cheese for fresh cheese in equal amounts
  • Substitute powdered milk, butter powder, and cream cheese powder for fresh ingredients (follow directions on can to reconstitute)
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