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  • 3 Substitutes for Corned Beef and Cabbage Slaw

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    Corned Beef and Cabbage Slaw is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal. This year, we decided to pay homage to the beef and cabbage combo, but try it out in some different recipes. Give one of these a try on St. Patty’s Day or any time—believe me, you’ll want to make them more than once a year.

    Cabbage Coleslaw

     This delicious cabbage coleslaw is great alone or as part of a meal using food storage ingredients!

    Beef Brisket Lo Mein

    Beef Brisket Lo Mein gives you the flavorful taste of beef and cabbage in a delicious Oriental-style dish

    Beef Brisket Taco

    The Beef Brisket Taco adds a colorful display of flavor to the table any time of the year.

    Personal BBQ Brisket Pizzas

     Personal BBQ Brisket Pizzas from food storage

    What’s your favorite beef and cabbage meal?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: beef and cabbage, food storage meals, emergency cooking, St. Patrick's Day, #10 cans, freeze dried, emergency preparedness, recipes, food storage

  • Spice Up Your Celebrations: Cajun Chicken and Pasta

    Cajun Chicken and Pasta

    Trying to impress your friends and family with your extraordinary cooking skills? Well, we have a recipe that will blow them away—and the best thing is you can make it anytime, even in an emergency, just using your food storage supplies. (And you don’t have to be a great cook!)

    A few of us here at the office decided to see if we could impress our co-workers with our cooking skills using this Cajun Chicken and Pasta recipe—because really, sometimes yummy food is just the best way to celebrate on an uneventful Tuesday.

    Cajun Chicken and Pasta (4 servings)

    2 cups Provident Pantry Freeze Dried White Chicken, reconstituted

    1 cup Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Red Bell Pepper, reconstituted

    ½ cup Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Celery, reconstituted

    2 TBS MyChoice Freeze Dried Green Onions, reconstituted

    ½ cup MyChoice Freeze Dried Mushroom Slices, reconstituted

    1 cup reconstituted MyChoice Instant Nonfat Dry Milk

    1 TBS Provident Pantry White Flour

    1 tsp Cajun seasoning, divided* (or add more to taste)

    2 TBS Clarified Butter or Red Feather Canned Butter

    ½ tsp MyChoice Basil

    ½ tsp Provident Pantry Iodized Salt

    3 cups cooked Provident Pantry Egg Noodle Pasta

    Parmesan cheese (optional)

    *You can make your own Cajun seasoning by blending ¼ tsp MyChoice Onion Powder, ¼ tsp MyChoice Garlic Powder, ¼ tsp paprika, ½ tsp Provident Pantry Iodized Salt, and ½ tsp cayenne pepper.

    1. Reconstitute first six ingredients. Drain and reserve excess water
    2. Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.
    3. In skillet, sauté vegetables in butter and sprinkle with 1/3 of the Cajun seasoning.
    4. In a separate bowl, sprinkle chicken with a little of the Cajun seasoning as well. Add chicken into skillet with vegetables and toss to coat with butter and seasonings.
    5. Mix in basil.
    6. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir.
    7. Add milk and stir well until thickened. If there is any Cajun seasoning left, add it to the chicken mixture. Taste for seasoning; if it’s not spicy enough for you, add more Cajun seasoning to taste.
    8. If the sauce in the chicken mixture becomes too thick, thin it with a little of the reserved water.
    9. Fold chicken mixture into the cooked noodles.
    10. Add about ½ tsp of salt and mix well.
    11. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

     

    Here’s What the Emergency Essential’s Team Had to Say

    We tried to impress our co-workers with this savory meal and…it worked! After everyone had a taste, check out what they had to say:

    “This has just the right amount of spice. I never would’ve guessed in a million years that this was from food storage!”    --Scotty

    “Extremely flavorful with a slight kick. I would definitely eat this…”    --David

    “This is a great meal that’s easy and fast to make! It gives you an exotic food storage meal that’s different from the traditional food storage meals.”    --Angela

    “Delicious! It had just a little bit of a kick, but not too spicy. It was just enough to say ‘Mmmm!’ I never thought this would’ve come from food storage.”    --Becca

    “It was good—a little spicy for me—but good.”    --Sairey

    “I love the flavor and the spicy factor wasn’t too high so even though I’m a wuss, I could still handle it—Delicious!”    --Sarah

    Try out this delicious recipe with your food storage to make an impression at any celebration, or just for a flavorful meal at home. Come back and let us know what you think!

    Also check out these other delicious recipes that will have people coming back for more:

    Oriental Chicken Salad
    Food Storage Super Bowl Recipe Roundup
    Spicy Chicken
    Chicken A La King
    Linguini Chicken with Vegetables

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: cajun chicken, emergency cooking, chicken, freeze dried food, #10 cans, freeze dried, food, recipe, recipes, food storage

  • Mountain House Rice Entrees to Die For

    Several of the Mountain House Entrees on sale this month include rice. If, like me, you’re fond of rice-based dishes, you’ll definitely want to try these! Mountain House produces some of the most popular, best-tasting entrees in the business. Most of these meals are fully-cooked before they are freeze-dried, not just made of separately freeze-dried or dehydrated ingredients tossed together during the canning process. Here are a couple of my favorites:

    New Orleans Style Rice with Shrimp and Ham (Sale price $22.12, regularly $39.49)
    Reminiscent of Creole Jambalaya, this spicy entrée includes black beans and flavorful seasonings along with shrimp, ham, rice, and vegetables. This dish is a quick, hot meal to make on a cold winter evening!

    Mountain House Rice Entrees: New Orleans Style Rice with Shrimp and Ham

    Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice  (Sale price $27.75, regularly $39.49)
    Pork, rice, onions, green and red peppers, all in a delicious pineapple sauce—yumm, a taste of the islands! We just sampled this yesterday, and the flavors blend beautifully. The pork is in small-enough pieces that it reconstitutes quickly and completely, and the pineapple and peppers balance each other nicely. The “sour” part is just right—not overwhelming.

    Mountain House Rice Entrees: Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice

    Other rice-based entrees include

    • Rice and Chicken, which combines bites of chicken with perfectly-seasoned rice and bits of pimiento.
    • Mexican Style Rice and Chicken, which features scrumptiously spicy chicken, brown rice, tomato, kidney beans, olives, peppers, and onions, as well as a wealth of spices to warm up your winter.
    • Chicken Teriyaki with Rice, including bamboo shoots, mushroom, bell peppers, peas, and onions in a tangy teriyaki sauce which one reviewer said “passed the picky teenage daughter test.”

    These are just a few of the great Mountain House products we have on sale this month. Check out all the Mountain House cans at beprepared.com. You can buy with confidence, knowing our satisfaction and low-price guarantees are there to back up your purchase.

    I’m planning to stock up this month—how about you?

    --Sharon

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Rice dishes, emergency cooking, freeze dried food, #10 cans, freeze dried, emergency preparedness, sale, preparedness, mountain house, food storage

  • Food Storage Super Bowl Recipe Roundup

    Throwing a party for the big game?  Still don’t know what to make for snacks?

    Cheer the Seahawks or Broncos on in style this Sunday by making these four food storage recipes that are sure to please a crowd.

    Corn Salsa

    Corn Salsa made from Food Storage for Superbowl Sunday

    1 Cup Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Super Sweet Corn

    1 Cup Provident Pantry Black Beans

    ¼ Cup MyChoice Chopped Onions

    1 Cup Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Tomatoes

    ½ Cup Avocado

    1 ½ tsp MyChoice Tomato Powder

    A pinch MyChoice Minced Garlic

    Fresh Cilantro (to taste)

    Provident Pantry Iodized Salt (to taste)

    MyChoice Mesh Black Pepper (to taste)

    Lime juice to taste

    Word of Advice:

    I’ve found that the best way to cook dried black beans is to soak them over night the day before you cook them.  This method ensures that your beans will be tender after they cook and ready to eat when your guests arrive.  Check out the blog “veggietativestate” to pick up some tips and benefits of cooking with dried beans and ways to reduce their . . . ahem . . . gaseous side effects.

     

    Red Salsa

    1 Cup Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Tomatoes

    ½ tsp MyChoice Minced Garlic

    ½ Cup Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Green Bell Pepper Dices

    Lime Juice (to taste. I put in 1 tsp)

    A Pinch of Provident Pantry Iodized Salt

    A Pinch of MyChoice Mesh Black Pepper

    ¾ tsp Provident Pantry Tomato Powder

    Word of Advice: To give your red salsa a more intense tomato flavor add Tomato Powder. In addition to Tomato Powder, you can also include Tabasco sauce, hot sauce, or Jalapeno peppers (if you have them) for a hot and spicy salsa.

     

    Meatball Sandwich

    Food Storage Meatball Sandwich for Super Bowl Sunday

    Makes four servings:

    1 ½ Cup reconstituted Provident Pantry Freeze-Dried Italian Meatballs 2 cups MyChoice Barbeque Sauce Mix

    1/2 Cup Provident Pantry Mozzarella Cheese

    1/2 Cup  Provident Pantry Green Pepper Dices

    Ciabatta Rolls

    Directions

    1. Reconstitute meatballs according to directions on the can (our serving of meatballs took us 30 minutes to make).
    2. Meanwhile reconstitute the BBQ sauce in a saucepan on the stove.
    3. Reconstitute cheese and green peppers.
    4. When meatballs have reconstituted, combine with the BBQ sauce and turn heat to medium to warm the mixture up.
    5. Add a ½ cup of meatball mixture to a Ciabatta roll. Top with green peppers and mozzarella cheese.

    Word of Advice: I know what you’re thinking . . . “30 minutes to reconstitute meatballs, that’s crazy?!”  Instead of trying the traditional “soaking method” for reconstituting meats, boil a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, put your meatballs into the water. Turn off the heat and let the meatballs sit in the pot for 10-15 minutes or until tender.

     

    Semi-Sweet Prepper-Style Muddy Buddies

    Semi-Sweet Prepper-Style Muddy Buddies for Super Bowl Sunday

     

    9 cups Rice Chex, Corn Chex, or Chocolate Chex cereal (or any combination)

    Semi-sweet Chocolate (see recipe below)

    ½ cup reconstituted Provident Pantry Peanut Butter Powder

    ¼ cup reconstituted Provident Pantry Butter powder

    1 tsp Imitation Vanilla Powder

    1 ½ cup Provident Pantry Powdered Sugar

     

    Chocolate Recipe

    ½ cup reconstituted Provident Pantry Butter Powder

    ¾-1 cup MyChoice Baking Cocoa

    ¾ cup Provident Pantry Powdered Sugar

    1/3 cup Provident Pantry Instant Milk

    1. In a medium-sized bowl, gradually mix the cocoa powder into the reconstituted butter. Stir until blended and mix until it becomes a paste.
    2. Microwave paste in 10 second intervals, stirring each time, until it’s smooth and creamy (be careful not to burn it)
    3. Gradually blend in milk and sugar. Mix well until the paste is smooth and creamy. Taste, and adjust with more sugar if necessary.
    4. Put chocolate to the side until ready to use for Muddy Buddies.

    Word of Advice: For a sweeter chocolate, add more powdered sugar (to taste) until you reach the desired flavor. I added ¾ cup gradually and the chocolate was closer to a “dark chocolate” flavor—more bitter than sweet. Once combined with the peanut butter, Chex, and powdered sugar, it all blended into a delicious treat.

     

    Muddy Buddies

    1. Measure cereal into a large bowl; set aside.
    2. Add reconstituted peanut butter powder and reconstituted butter powder to chocolate mixture. Stir until mostly smooth. Microwave in 10 second intervals until you can get it as smooth as possible. (Try mashing up the peanut butter before mixing with the chocolate to get a smoother consistency).
    3. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable plastic bag.
    4. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

    Word of Advice: The vanilla doesn’t need to be reconstituted for this recipe. Simply measure out the powder and add to the mixture. You’ll still get the same delicious flavor.

    Enjoy the game!

    Looking for more party recipes to try? Check out our recipe page for more snacks, treats, and desserts to make.

    What’s your favorite food storage snack to make? Let us know in the comments

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency cooking, freeze dried food, freeze dried, freeze-dried foods, recipe, recipes, food storage

  • Favorite Holiday Meal

    Favorite Holiday Meal

    My husband’s siblings live in our general area, so on Christmas afternoon our family tradition takes us all to my brother’s home for a pot-luck holiday meal. His family, with a few dollars contributed by each of us, provides a ham and a turkey. The rest of us bring the trimmings—rolls, salads, relish plates, potatoes, vegetables, and desserts. These can vary from year to year, but here are some favorites:

    Sour Cream Party Potatoes—(known locally as “Funeral Potatoes” because they’re so often included at after-funeral luncheons!): Shredded cooked potatoes  baked with Cream of Chicken Soup, sour cream, green onions (optional) and grated cheese, topped with a crunchy layer of crushed cereal or potato chips. (See recipe below)

    Cranberry Orange Relish: chopped fresh cranberries; ground orange with some peel, sugar, and nuts; mixed into a black cherry or raspberry gelatin base. It tastes like Christmas!

    Green Bean Casserole—the usual combination of green beans (fresh-cooked, frozen, canned, or reconstituted freeze dried) mixed with French’s Fried Onions and some Cream of Mushroom Soup. Some folks add cheese, others slivered almonds or mushrooms. A delicious variation is fresh-cooked asparagus bites with Cream of Asparagus Soup.

    Raisin Sauce for Ham—a slightly thickened sauce of ham drippings, pineapple juice, and brown sugar, with a few plumped raisins to spoon over sliced ham.

    Butter-browned Parsnips—parsnips peeled and cut like carrot sticks, boiled a few minutes until just tender, then lightly browned in a skillet with butter.

    Layered Salad—Bite-size lettuce bits layered with ranch dressing, frozen green peas (they’ll thaw), shredded Swiss cheese, crumbled crisp bacon, and chopped green onions. Chill in layered state and toss just before serving.

    Christmas Jello—red and green layers of gelatin (with fruits as desired), separated by a layer of cream cheese mixed with whipped topping (and a little pineapple if you like). Top with a dollop of whipped topping on each serving.

    Sweet Potatoes and Apples—alternate slices of each in a casserole dish, top with melted butter and brown sugar and bake until tender. Variations: sweet potatoes and pineapple dices, or broiled pineapple and apple slices.

    Chocolate Peppermint Dessert—using a recipe for cream-puffs, spread pastry on cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned and puffy. Spread generously with mixed instant chocolate pudding, then a layer of whipped topping, finished with finely-crushed peppermint candy. Cut into squares.

    And a few fondly-remembered dishes from my southern childhood:

    Macaroni and Cheese Casserole (and I’m not the only one—be sure to see Mac and Cheese: A Holiday Tradition--and by the way, don’t miss Apple Cinnamon French Toast—a Christmas Tradition—I’m trying that one this year!)

    Cornbread Stuffing for Turkey—Use the same seasonings as for bread-crumb stuffing: sage, thyme, onion, celery, and chicken or turkey broth--used to moisten crumbled cornbread instead of wheat bread crumbs. (See recipe below)

    Pecan Pie—whole pecans topping a rich filling made of dark Karo syrup and eggs

    Sweet Potato Pie—similar to pumpkin, but made with cooked, pureed sweet potatoes instead, making a slightly thicker texture.

    Recipe: “Sour Cream Party Potatoes” (the mostly-food-storage version)

    4 cups reconstituted Provident Pantry Hash Browns, drained

    1 tablespoon Provident Pantry Green Onions (or any of our Onions)

    1 ½ cups Provident Pantry Shredded Freeze-Dried Cheddar Cheese

    Sauce:

    Whisk together in a medium saucepan:

    3 ½ cups cold water

    1/2 cup Provident Pantry Cream Sauce and Soup Base mix

    1 tablespoon Provident Pantry Chicken Broth mix

    ½ cup Provident Pantry Sour Cream Powder

    Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

    Fold drained potatoes into sauce. Add onions and cheese and stir well. Pour into a buttered casserole dish and top with crushed potato chips or crushed cereal such as crispy rice or corn flakes. Dot with Red Feather Butter. Bake at 350° F for ½ hour or until bubbly.

     

    Recipe: Cornbread Stuffing (the mostly-food-storage version)

    1 batch of Provident Pantry Corn Muffin Mix, prepared the day before if possible, cut in slices and allowed to dry out

    ½ cup Provident Pantry Chopped Onions, reconstituted

    ¾ cup Provident Pantry Celery, reconstituted

    1 ½ teaspoons sage

    1 teaspoon thyme

    1 teaspoon dried parsley

    ½ teaspoon Provident Pantry Black Pepper

    3 tablespoons Red Feather Butter or Clarified Butter

    About 2 cups Provident Pantry Chicken Broth, prepared

    In butter, sauté the onions and celery for a few minutes, then add seasonings. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Crumble the dry cornbread into fine pieces and add to skillet, stirring to absorb the liquid. Add more chicken broth as needed to get the consistency you like. If you’re planning to stuff a turkey or a chicken, make your stuffing a little on the dry side, as it will absorb juices from the bird. Otherwise, spoon stuffing into a casserole dish and cover. Keep warm until it’s time to serve.

    There you have it—some of my favorite traditional holiday foods. Do you have a favorite holiday meal? Leave a comment and let us know!

    Happy holidays!
    --Sharon

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: traditions, holiday, #10 cans, freeze dried, recipes, food storage

  • Mountain House Sale Continues Through December 5th

    Mountain House Sale 2013

    As Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!” The same principle applies to the Mountain House sale—it’s not over until December 5th, 2013 (while supplies still last). There are still plenty of great Mountain House products to choose from at great prices. You can get up to 25 to 50% off of these excellent products! So even if you missed out on our Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, you can still get a great deal for these Mountain House products.

    The best part: unlike Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can order many of these sale items online, by phone, or by mail! (Those labeled “Special Buys” are only available online.) But in order to get these special prices, make sure you meet the following deadlines before the sale ends:

    Your phone call must be placed by 6 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (Remember 6 p.m. MST is—8 p.m Eastern Time,; 7 p.m. Central Time, and 5 p.m. Pacific Time); The phone lines tend to be very busy at times like this, so skip the wait and place your order online if you can.

    • Your online order must be placed by11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on Dec. 5th.
    • Your mail order must be postmarked by December 5th. Please note that some items may be sold out before we receive your mail order.

     

    Click here to see all our Mountain House items on sale, or check out some of the most popular Mountain House Items on sale below: http://bit.ly/1eMBs3A

    Beef Stroganoff for $20.25 (regularly $28.49)

    Beef Stroganoff

    Granola with Milk and Freeze Dried Blueberries for $28.12 (regularly $39.99)

    Granola w/ Milk & Blueberries

    Freeze Dried Chicken Dices for $34.50 (regularly $48.99)

    Chicken Dices

    Creamed Beef for $36.75 (regularly $51.99)

    Creamed Beef

    Raspberry Crumble for $19.50 (regularly $27.49)

     Raspberry Crumble

    Special Buys--online only. (These items were produced in 2011 and 2012 and therefore have a slightly shorter [shelf life].)

    Sliced Bananas for $18.80 (regularly $34.49)

    Sliced Bananas

    Green Peas for $10.49 (regularly $20.99)

    Garden Green Peas

    Granola with Milk and Blueberries for $25.99 (regularly $39.99)

    Granola w/ Milk & Blueberries

    Green Beans for $11.99 (regularly $23.99, a saving of 50.02%)

     Green Beans

    Remember, when these and the other sale items sell out, they will no longer be available to order at the special price, so keep in mind these other old sayings: “The early bird gets the worm,” and “He who hesitates is lost.” These bargains will be flying off the shelves, and this is an excellent opportunity to add to (or begin) your food storage at great prices!

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: holiday, freeze dried food, #10 cans, freeze dried, emergency preparedness, sale, mountain house, food storage

  • Thanksgiving Made Easy

    In my family, my mom’s usually the one caught up in the kitchen all of Thanksgiving Day making the holiday memorable. And we all know that cooking Thanksgiving dinner takes a lot of hard work. With so much needed preparation, and so little time to pull it all together, we, here at Emergency Essentials, want to help with your holiday feast.

    The Thanksgiving Dinner Combo, only $126.04, gives you all of the delicious flavors of Thanksgiving, but with less work and less stress; making your cooking time shorter, and giving you more time to spend with family and friends.  Succulent, tender turkey, fluffy mashed potatoes, crunchy green beans, and a sweet, decadent raspberry crumble—all memories of holidays at home—are included in this new combo.

    Here’s What We Did

    Freeze Dried White Turkey

    Thanksgiving Dinner Combo:White Turkey

    A dish that usually takes all day to cook, took me less than 10 minutes—of course, it wasn’t a whole turkey needing to roast.  The freeze dried white turkey is precut into pieces to make your job simpler. This dish tastes great on its own or even in a turkey casserole. Simply follow the instructions on the can to reconstitute and voila!—you have your main dish for Thanksgiving dinner.

    Spice It Up:

    I added Provident Pantry Iodized Salt and Provident Pantry Black Pepper to my turkey to give it a little more flavor--you’ll also want to add the chicken gravy that comes in the combo so don’t worry too much about the turkey flavoring yet.

     

    Instant Mashed Potatoes

    Thanksgiving Dinner Combo: Mashed Potatoes

    These are the easiest mashed potatoes I've ever made. Simply follow the instructions on the can, adding the right quantity of potatoes for your guests to boiling water.

    When the water begins to boil, pour your instant mashed potatoes into the water, immediately stirring them together. It will foam a bit and then turn into fluffy mashed potatoes. Personally, I’m not a potato type of girl—I can’t ever eat potatoes plain. If you’re like me, or would just like to add a little flavorful kick to your potatoes, try spicing it up some.

    Spice It Up:

    I sprinkled on some Provident Pantry Ground Black Pepper and Provident Pantry Garlic Powder to give my potatoes a flavorful taste. Add as much flavoring as you and your family would like, taste testing it every once in a while to make sure you have your desired blend of seasonings (Hey, there’s always an excuse to taste test . . .)

     

    Chicken Gravy Mix

    Turkey and mashed potatoes are just not the same without gravy. Simply add water to the gravy powder, mix, and you’ve instantly made traditional gravy that adds moisture, flavor, and overall satisfaction to the two most crucial dishes of your Thanksgiving dinner.

     

    Freeze Dried Green Beans

    Thanksgiving Dinner Combo: Green Beans

    Simply reconstitute your beans, and enjoy the familiar taste of this fresh, crunchy vegetable.  These green beans are great to use as a side all by themselves, or to create a fun, tasty dish. These green beans will make a great addition to your Thanksgiving meal and to your table throughout the year as well.

    Spice It Up:   

    My family’s favorite way to spice up green beans is to add some Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Mushroom Slices.

    While my green beans reconstituted, I sautéed the reconstituted mushroom slices and Provident Pantry Minced Garlic over medium heat. After sautéing them for 3-4 minutes, I added my green beans. I sautéed them for another 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms turned golden brown.

    This dish is unique and flavorful, giving your dinner a tasty surprise. (Be careful, even a little too much garlic can be overwhelming.)

     

    Corn Muffin Mix

    Thanksgiving Dinner Combo:Corn Bread

    Provident Pantry Corn Muffin Mix is great for making individual muffins for every member of the family. I love this food storage item because you can choose exactly how much you want to make.

    I made half of a batch (6 muffins) which was eaten up immediately! Simply follow the instructions on the can for a delicious, fresh out of the oven side dish. After 20 minutes, my batch came out golden brown on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside.

    Spice It Up:

    To mix it up a little, try adding Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Red or Green Diced Peppers before baking for a spicy taste. You could also add butter and honey afterwards for something a little more sweet.

     

    Raspberry Crumble

    Thanksgiving Dinner Combo: Raspberry Crumble

    After dinner is all cleaned up, who wants to spend even more time cooking over a hot stove for dessert? This decadent dessert is created by simply adding boiling water and letting it sit for a few minutes.

    Spice It Up:

    To make a complete, beautiful dessert, add some vanilla ice cream to the side. Mmm!

     ***

    This is what I did to make a complete Thanksgiving dinner using the Thanksgiving Dinner Combo, but you can also supplement other side dishes to go along with the combo to give you the perfect Thanksgiving for your loved ones.

    For a more complete meal, try adding sweet potatoes, veggies, or rolls.

    So however you celebrate the season, enjoy this time with your family, friends, and loved ones.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Kimberly

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Thanksgiving, holiday, #10 cans, freeze dried, dehydrated, preparedness, food storage

  • How to Make Delicious Homemade Jams and Jellies

    |4 COMMENT(S)

    Jams and Jellies are great additions to your food storage

    Nothing in the pantry or storage room looks more attractive than a shelf of clear, jewel-like jellies and jams. There’s also the satisfaction that you’ve preserved summer’s fruit in delicious spreads that brighten winter meals, whether a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich or an elegant conserve to go with a holiday ham dinner. Once you learn a few basics, they’re easy and fun to make, and don’t require a pressure canner.

    First, let’s get our terms straight!

    • Jam is made from chopped or ground whole fruit
    • Jelly uses only the extracted juice of the fruit
    • Preserves typically contain larger chunks of fruit or even whole fruit as in strawberry or gooseberry preserves
    • Conserves are fruits mixed with raisins or nuts
    • Marmalades are based on juice and finely-chopped orange or other citrus peel
    • Butters are spiced, long-cooked, smooth spreads

     Traditional jams, jellies, and preserves require long cooking times and the natural pectin that occurs in some fruits. I warmly recall dark, syrupy preserves of the hard sand pears that grew on our property in Florida. They were heavenly on hot biscuits or with bread and cheese! It seemed to me that Mom cooked those fragrant preserves all day to get them tender and perfect.

     Quick-cooking or freezer jams and jellies need added pectin in order to achieve a “gel.” They’re easy to make—just follow a dependable recipe to the letter!

    You will need:

    • A heavy pot such as a flat-bottomed Dutch oven or the pot of a stainless steel pressure cooker. It’s best not to use aluminum, as the acid in the fruits and lemon juice can react with it, giving a metallic taste to your product and perhaps ruining the pan
    • Hot, clean jars—probably pints or smaller—to bottle your product
    • A wide-mouth funnel
    • Hot, clean, new lids and rings
    • Ladles, jar lifters, pot holders, a clean kitchen towel, and (if you like) a candy thermometer
    • For jelly: a colander, cheese cloth or jelly bag, and large bowl
    • A water-bath canner to properly seal the jars
    • Probably bottled lemon juice or vinegar (don’t ignore these; they brighten the color and flavor, help the gel to set, and help preserve the product)
    • Sugar (unless you have a sugar-free recipe), which preserves the color of the jam or jelly, enhances the flavor of the fruit, helps the gel set, and gives a glossy sheen to the product
    • Fruit.  Choose ripe fruit, but not overripe and mushy, for best results. Some cooks feel that jam is what you make from the overripe fruit that can’t be bottled, and that all they need to do is trim off the bad spots—but the truth is that unseen colonies of bacteria have reached deep into the fruit and can cause spoilage on the shelf. Also, overripe fruit has less pectin than slightly-under ripe fruit. A good ratio is 1/3 under ripe fruit to 2/3 ripe fruit to guarantee a good set.

     
    Jelly challenges? We’ve got you covered.

    It can be tricky getting jelly to set properly. Some jellies gel at once, while others seem a bit loose but firm up after a few days. If it never gels, use it as a yummy pancake syrup. Put a bow on the lid and give it to friends, letting them think syrup was your objective all along! You could also reheat it, add a little more liquid or powdered pectin, and try again!

    Another challenge is keeping jelly clear and jewel-like. Cloudiness in jelly can often be avoided by warming the fruit gently before attempting to strain the juice off, then using several thicknesses of damp cheesecloth or a jelly bag in a colander to filter out pulp. Try to resist the impulse to squeeze or mash the softened fruit very much as that can produce cloudy juice. If it still clouds, don’t stress! It may not be as pretty, but the flavor will not be affected.

    If you’re making a jelly without added pectin, such as one including apple juice, there are tests you can apply to see if your hot jelly has reached “gel” stage:

    • Watch the bubbles. Tiny bubbles mean you’re not there yet. When they get larger and more numerous, you’re approaching a gel.
    •  If you’re using a candy thermometer, 220° F is the magic number.
    • Or, you can dip a spoon into the jelly and see if it “sheets” together when you drip it from a spoon. When it coats the spoon, and the last two drops merge into one as they drip back into the pot, you’re there!

     

    JAM AND JELLY RECIPES

    Traditional-style Apple Jelly 

    1. Wash and stem the apples, but leave the peel and core.
    2. Cut into chunks and put into a large stockpot. Add enough water to barely cover, bringing to a simmer.
    3. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
    4. Pour into a dampened jelly bag or a colander lined with dampened cheesecloth (dampening the cloth keeps it from wicking up and holding the apple juice) and allow the juice to drain into a large bowl overnight in the refrigerator. Do not squeeze or press the bag.
    5. Measure 1 quart of the resulting juice and add it to a large saucepan over high heat. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a full boil that you cannot stir down.
    6. Continue to boil until the gel stage is reached.
    7. Remove from heat and quickly transfer to clean, hot jars, as apple jelly sets up fast. Cap and refrigerate or process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.
    8. For a boiling water bath, turn off heat and allow jars to rest in water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours, then check seals and store for up to a year.

    Nice to do: Add a few fresh mint leaves to the apples as they cook for a delicious mint jelly.

     

    Red Currant Jelly

    If you’re fortunate enough to have access to fresh red currants, you can make this beautiful and delectable jelly for your own table and as gifts. For Christmas, consider giving a small jar of this red jelly and a matching one of green pepper jelly with a package of cream cheese and some crackers—delicious!

    1. Place the currants into a large pot and crush them with a potato masher.
    2. Pour in 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.
    3. Simmer for ten minutes, and then strain through a dampened jelly bag or cheesecloth.
    4. Measure out 5 cups of the juice into a large saucepan and stir in the sugar.
    5. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat and stir in the liquid pectin. Return to a full rolling boil for 30 seconds.
    6. Remove from heat and skim foam from the top.
    7. Ladle into clean hot jars and wipe rims. Cap with new, sterile rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

     

    Green Pepper Jelly (Paula Deen’s recipe)

    1. Process bell pepper and hot peppers in a food processor or blender until finely minced.
    2. Combine pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
    3. Remove from heat and add pectin and food coloring.
    4. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and cap, then process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

     

    Rhubarb-Orange Jam 

    1. In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and water.
    2. Bring to a boil, and then cook over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until thick. (It will thicken more as it cools.)
    3. Ladle into hot, sterile jars and seal with lids and rings.
    4. Store in the refrigerator.

    Makes 2 pints.

     

    Mixed-Fruit Jams

    One of the most creative and fun things to do in making jams and jellies is to mix compatible fruits—and most fruits are compatible! Some popular combinations are apricot-pineapple jam, cherry-apple jelly, currant-apple jelly, and apple-grape jelly. If you are mixing fruits without a specific recipe, your safest bet is to be sure that you are using the amounts of pectin and lemon juice called for in the recipes that come in a package of pectin for whichever fruit in your mix requires the largest amount of each. For example, if you’re mixing plums (which are naturally low in pectin) with peaches (which are high in pectin) use the amount of lemon juice and pectin recommended for the plums to be sure of a good set.

     

    Golden Mixed Jam 

    1. Mix the juices, fruits, and sugar in a large, heavy (non-aluminum) saucepan; let stand one hour.
    2. Bring to a full, rolling boil and boil 1 minute.
    3. Remove from heat and immediately blend in the pectin. Stir for 5 minutes.
    4. Ladle into hot sterilized jars and seal.
    5. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

    Makes six half-pint jars of jam.

     

    Cherry-Blueberry-Rhubarb Jam (so good!)

    1. In a heavy pan, combine rhubarb, blueberries, cherries, lemon juice, and water.
    2. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add pectin, and stir thoroughly.
    3. Add sugar, stir well, and return to heat. When it reaches boiling, allow to boil for 4 minutes.
    4. Remove from heat, skim off any foam, and ladle into hot, sterilized jars.
    5. Cap and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

     

    Pear Preserves

    Use a variety of hard pear, such as Kiefer, Southern Sand, or Chinese Sand Pears, as they will keep their texture in a preserve and not turn to mush in the cooking process. The ingredients are simple:

    1. Layer pear pieces and sugar in a heavy pot and allow to sit overnight to release the pear juice.
    2. Place over medium heat and simmer, stirring often until desired color and consistency is reached. Color can range from pale to dark amber.
    3. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath to seal.

     

    Strawberry Freezer Jam 

    1. Mix lemon juice into strawberries. Sprinkle pectin over berries and stir well to dissolve.
    2. Add Karo syrup, stir in.
    3. Add sugar and mix well until it’s dissolved.
    4. Ladle into clean jars or plastic freezer containers and fill to within ¾ inch of top.
    5. Cap, allow to sit on your counter for several hours, and then freeze.

     

    Traditional Cooked Strawberry Jam 

    1. Mix berries and sugar and allow to sit for a while on your counter and then overnight in your refrigerator to allow the fruit to soften and the juices to be drawn out.
    2. Transfer berries to a large stainless-steel or enameled pot and bring to a boil, crushing and stirring the berries. Add lemon juice and stir well, continuing to cook for about 20 minutes or until the jam reaches the desired consistency.
    3. Remove from heat and allow jam to sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, cap, and either refrigerate or process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

     

    Jam and jelly-making is as much an art as a science, and with practice, you’ll soon gain confidence in your ability to create colorful and delicious spreads!

     

    Sources:

    www.nchfp.edu/how/can7_jam_jelly.html

    www.southernfood.about.com/od/jamsjellies/Jams_Jellies_and_Preserves.html

    www.simplycanning.com/jam-or-jelly.html

    www.pauladeen.com/index.php/recipes/view2/pepper-jelly

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: holiday, Emergency Essentials, freeze dried, recipes, food storage

  • Mountain House Entree Review

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    In light of the jaw-dropping sale all this month on all Mountain House number 10 cans (you have seen that, right?), I’ve been asked to taste test and review a number of the entrees. It’s a rough job, but…

    Actually, to be completely forthright, my expectations were not high. I spent enough years as a single college student to develop a serious aversion to pre-prepared, pre-packaged, conveniently shelf-stable, preservative-laden meals. And when I was tipped off that Mountain House brand had been tested as edible after 20+ years, I was convinced something must be wrong.

    So imagine my delight when my week of experimental, freeze-dried lunches turned out to be some of the most enjoyable and satisfying meals I’d had all month (note: this is in no way an aspersion on my admittedly dismal culinary skills).

    What was so great about the Mountain House entrees I tried? Let me break it down for you.

    Taste – Bland? Salty? Chemical-y? None of the above. The first shock was how real it all tasted. The Mexican Style Rice and Chicken had a spicy little kick. The Beef Stroganoff with Noodles had the unmistakable tang of sour cream. And there’s an easy explanation: the ingredient list is full of real ingredients. Cream, spices, beef, vegetables, rice, pasta—all the stuff you’d use if you were actually making this stuff in your own kitchen. In fact, the first step in the production process of Mountain House’s freeze dried entrees looks a lot like what goes on in your kitchen. According to Outside Magazine’s Steven Rinella, “The company prides itself on the fact that its food is first prepared as a ready-to-eat dish before it is freeze-dried, which leads to what it calls the ‘homemade taste’ of its offerings.”

    Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce

    Texture – For my money, there’s nothing worse than the rubbery meat of a ready-made meal. So it was with some hesitation that I dug into the Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce. But whether it was ground beef in the lasagna, shredded chicken in the Mexican rice, or Sweet and Sour Pork, it all felt like meat. And no mushy pasta or cardboard veggies, either. Something about the magical process of freeze-drying, which Mountain House (part of Oregon Freeze Dry) has been perfecting since the 1960s, preserves food at the moment it’s frozen. That means, when reconstituted, your meal looks, tastes, and feels almost identical to how it did when it was first prepared. (Want your mind blown? Read about the freeze drying process.)

    Variety – Here’s some fun history: during the Vietnam War, Oregon Freeze Dry was approached by the Department of Defense to develop portable meals that “tasted better, weighed less, and were easier to prepare” than the bulky canned rations servicemen had been toting around since WWI. The Mountain House line was the result, which means that the company has been experimenting, refining, and expanding their repertoire for more than four decades.

    Mountain House Pasta Primavera

    At any given time, Mountain House offers 20-25 different entrees, ranging from pasta dishes like Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Turkey Tetrazzini, and Pasta Primavera to down-home favorites like Chili Mac with Beef and Chicken Stew. The four I tried were all winners, which makes me think I could really brighten up a protracted emergency situation if I were to fill my shelves with all 20.

    And, of course, as icing on an already super palatable cake, the Mountain House meals are extremely light, store easily, require only boiling water, and (did I mention?) last for 30 years! This is one reformed skeptic who will be stocking up.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: long term food storage, survival food, freeze dried, Food Storage Entrees, freeze-dried foods, mountain house

  • Celebrate Spring (or Pretend it's Spring) with Food Storage Pasta Primavera

    Spring has been a little hit and miss so far this year. Whether or not it’s Spring outside in your neck of the woods, you can enjoy a little Spring flavor. Just whip up this delicious Pasta Primavera made from 100% food storage ingredients.

    Food Storage Pasta Primavera Food Storage Pasta Primavera

    Food Storage Pasta Primavera

    *all ingredients measured dry

     

    Directions:

    Whisk one tablespoon broth and two tablespoons soup base into one cup hot water. Set aside.

    Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add one cup water, the carrot dices, onion flakes, and minced garlic. Simmer, adding more water as needed, until the carrots are almost tender. Reduce heat to medium. Add clarified butter, and sautee the veggies until the carrots are fully tender. Set aside.

    Meanwhile, start some water in a medium pot to boil for the pasta. Measure out all of the veggies you’ll add to your pasta (add the ones we’ve suggested, or come up with your own combo!) and set them aside in a single large bowl.

    Once the pasta water is boiling, add the pasta. While the pasta cooks, completely cover the veggies with warm water and let them rehydrate for 5-8 minutes (that’s about how long it will take the pasta to cook). Once the pasta is al dente, drain and set aside.

    Also drain the veggies, and sautee them with clarified butter until they are hot and some have browned. Put the veggies back in the large bowl, and add the carrot mixture and pasta to the bowl.

    Add 1/3 cup flour, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, and 2 T clarified butter to the skillet to make a thick roux (we used whole wheat flour, but just use what you have on hand). Add the chicken broth mixture to the roux until it's the consistency you would like for your sauce.

    Add the sauce to the bowl of pasta and veggies. Mix well to coat everything. Enjoy!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: vegetarian, pasta, freeze dried, vegetables, recipes, food storage

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