Why Food Storage? + Delicious Ritzy Potatoes

Do people ever act like you are a bit “crazy” for being interested in food storage and preparedness? We have a lot of readers who love our Facebook community because they feel like they can connect with others who understand their need and desire to help their families be more prepared. While many people first get started with food storage thinking about a natural disaster type of situation, it quickly becomes apparent that there are a TON of other reasons to store food. We did a little series on this that you can check out by clicking below:

Well this week I wanted to share a silly reason why I am so grateful to have my food storage. On Saturday I had to bring “funeral potatoes” to a funeral for someone in my church. For those who don’t know, this is just a creamy potato casserole with a crumbly topping, my family likes to call them Ritzy Potatoes. My “pregnant brain” completely spaced this fact until about 45 minutes before the potatoes were supposed to be at the church. This was not enough time to boil potatoes and cook the dish. I started to panic when I realized, duh, I have some freeze-dried potato dices in my food storage. Might as well try them out now!

It took about 1/2 of a #10 can to make one batch of funeral potatoes, so they definitely aren’t a cost-effective way to eat potatoes on a regular basis, especially compared to my “free” garden potatoes I’ve been eating the last few months. But they sure saved me in an “emergency”!

Shelf Stable Ritzy Potatoes

So here is the funny part of this story. My husband was so sad when they brought back the empty casserole dish because he had been salivating over the smell of them all afternoon. So the next day I planned to make another batch for our family but realized I had used the last of our sour cream the day before. So I did what any good food storage blogger would do and decided to do an experiment and try the recipe with ALL SHELF STABLE INGREDIENTS. It actually turned out fantastic! And as we were eating it my husband kept giggling to himself thinking how funny it was that in an emergency we could have something so delicious and NORMAL to eat. So here is the shelf stable version of the recipe for you. Try it out, it will not disappoint.

Ingredients
4 cups freeze-dried potato dices
1/3 cup dehydrated onion flakes
2 cans cream of chicken soup (or 20 ounces bean flour cream of chicken)
1 cup sour cream powder, hydrated
3/4 c. freeze-dried cheddar cheese
1/2 c. powdered butter, hydrated
2 tubes ritz crackers crushed

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Soak your potato dices and dehydrated onions in warm water. In a separate bowl, soak your freeze-dried cheddar cheese. While they are soaking, mix up your sour cream powder with water. My can said 1/2 cup of water per 1 cup of powder, it made a thin sour cream which is good for this recipe. Stir in your cream of chicken soup. (I don’t store much cream of chicken any more as I prefer to make my own. So I made a double-batch of bean flour cream of chicken and then measured 20 ounces of it into the bowl with the sour cream). Drain your potatoes and pour them into a 9×13 casserole dish. Drain the rehydrated cheese and add it to the cream mixture. Pour the cream mixture over top of the potatoes and stir together well. In a small bowl mix up your powdered butter. My can said to do 1/2 cup butter powder and 1/2 cup water. This made a REALLY watery butter. Add the crushed ritz and mix well. It will be quite goopy but it still works (I would probably just use regular butter for this since I store a ton of it in the freezer but I was going for all shelf stable here). Using your hand, crumble the ritz mixture over the top of the potatoes. Cover the dish with tinfoil and bake for 30-40 minutes or until hot all the way through. You can remove the foil for the least 5 minutes to get the topping a little more brown and crumbly.

Summary

Now a lot of these ingredients are NOT cheaper than buying fresh. We do not encourage you to make it a habit of replacing all of your foods with powdered or freeze-dried versions. But we DO encourage you to buy some, try it, learn how to use it, figure out the recipes it works in, and then store it! You will appreciate being able to make a lot of your “normal” family recipes in troublesome times.

If you are looking for places to buy some of these more uncommon storage items, check out the different companies on our Useful Links page.

  • Beth

     I have never commented before, but I have been following all of your Baby Steps, etc.  It has prompted me to do a lot of looking on the Net for specific things, like recipes & how-tos.  I have learned so much & I really thank you.  I have learned to garden & to preserve all different ways.  I have gained much confidence in my abilities, too.  This year, I dried tomatoes, after canning salsa & sauce & dried puffball mushrooms, too.  I know they’ll come in handy. 
    This article & the comments, which I learn a lot from, made me realize that I want to dry potatoes & carrots, too.  I have allergic reactions to some preservatives & try to avoid them, though it’s not easy.  So, it thrills me when I can preserve my own food, even homemade chili & spaghetti. 
    This year, I even tried to follow your Disaster week.  What I want to tell you is that I had been working the past 2 years building up a 3 month supply.  Well, it came in handy this summer, which was rough for us financially.  I wasn’t able to buy much at all & I was very glad that I had food & other supplies stored up.  Now I have to slowly build it back up, but thanks to you & God, we never ran out of food.  Bless you & keep it up.  I know that you help a lot of people. 

  • OutdoorsMom

    For those who do find it more expensive to buy the already prepared dehydrated foods you can always get a home dehydrator.

    While you are making a recipe with, say, the celery and carrots you mightn’t use up as described below if you buy a whole celery bunch or 5 lb bag of carrots, you can dehydrate the extra and store it in canning jars. 

    If you have a FoodSaver you can get an attachment that will vacuum pack the jars so they last even longer.

    Voilá, home made dehydrated foods that are ready to go the next time you need those ingredients.  And you didn’t waste any time because you prepped them for the dehydrator while you were cooking with them to start with :)

  • Frugalshirl

    I might make one other comment about the instant beans. Being empty nesters, we certainly can’t eat a whole pound of beans, and we always wound up cooking the whole pound because it just doesn’t make sense to cook one cup of beans for hours! We tried the instant pinto beans and love them. Now I know the ratio of water to beans to use (not the one on the can, which is too soupy) and we can cook just enough for one meal in only 15 or 20 minutes. They taste as delicious as regular dried beans. I buy ham seasoning in the Mexican food section at our grocery store and use one packet for flavoring. I’m going to try using some beef bouillon as well. So, I think this is another way it is more economical for us to use the long-term storage on a daily basis. Now…Thrive just needs to add Great Northern beans to their inventory…regular and instant! That with some of those ham dices would be delicious! Also, I’m going to buy a can of the instant beans for my dad. My mother died earlier this year, and he is struggling to cook for himself. This would greatly simplify his life.

  • http://shirlsmusings.blogspot.com Frugalshirl

    My husband and I are new to long-term food storage and have already bought quite a bit of it through your store. At some point, we intend to start using it on a regular basis. 

    I would have to offer a bit of a rebuttal about the expense of using some food storage daily. We are empty nesters and find that the long-term storage allows us to only use what we need. We’re not big celery or carrot eaters but do use them in some recipes. While I’m not proud of it, I found we would buy celery or carrots for a recipe and wind up wasting the rest. With long-term food storage, I see that I can use just what I need and the rest will keep in the can until I need it again. No waste! The same was true with milk. We don’t drink a lot of milk and always wound up throwing away a large portion of a quart of milk until I started buying organic milk. Organic is quite expensive, but I have yet to throw out any of it because it keeps so long. We use all of it. With the powdered milk I’ve bought, now I don’t have to use the expensive organic milk in my cooking.

    I’m already finding the powdered eggs an extremely useful thing to have around. I never seem to have eggs in the house because we don’t eat many of them. Now, I never worry about it. I use the pantry size for which I did a price comparison, and they worked out to be the exact cost of a dozen fresh eggs, so it’s not more expensive to use them, and when I start using them even more, I’ll probably move to the #10 size, which will be a significant savings over fresh eggs. An added note here, when I found I needed eggs for a recipe, I would usually wind up having to make a run to the grocery store, and we all know we never go to the grocery store and pick up only one item! So, there’s the cost of the trip itself, plus the added expense of buying other things while there…things that are usually impulse purchases. So, I know these are going to save money in a number of ways.I know this is going to be a new learning experience for us, but I am really pleased that we can open a can, use only what we actually need, and the rest will keep long enough for us to use it up. We won’t have to cook more than we need and maybe not eat it. Once you get the ratios down (like the instant beans), you can make a small enough quantity that you will eat all of it. I am really convinced that, in the long run, it’s going to be cheaper for us to use long-term food storage on a daily basis.

    It was through reading your blog here that I have learned so much about using long-term food storage. I so appreciate all the help you give us. None of this comes naturally, so we have to learn new ways of doing things. It’s an adventure!  LOL!

    • http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net Jodi and Julie

      Thank you for sharing! I hope I didn’t make it seem like we think it’s always more expensive to cook with food storage. I was mostly thinking for people looking at the cost of freeze-dried cheese or potatoes, and seeing how pricey it is per pound. For those things that last quite a while in your fridge anyway, it is definitely more expensive to use freeze-dried varieties, but I wanted to be clear it can still make since to buy them and try them to make sure they work for you. But just don’t assume you are saving money on it.

      • Frugalshirl

        It always pays to do price comparisons, but, then, there are other factors to consider, which is what I was pointing out…especially when I spoke about the organic milk. That stuff is EXPENSIVE! However, like I said, almost every quart of regular milk we bought spoiled before we used it, causing us to throw away milk. To my knowledge, I have never thrown away milk since we started using the organic milk. I believe if I seriously did a cost factor on it, it would show that we are actually saving money. So, it comes down to knowing your own circumstances. We, as empty nesters, would never use the quantities that you use as a family, which means a #10 can of potatoes, for instance, would go farther for us. Also, the larger bag of potatoes go bad before we will use them all! Plus, I buy large bags of potatoes and wind up throwing many of them out because they are bad to begin with. One time, I bought a 5# bag of potatoes (not as cost efficient as larger bags) and by the time they cooked down, I had almost nothing. I was cooking them for a Holiday meal and wound up having to add instant potato flakes to them to stretch them. Maybe that was a fluke, but I was astonished! I guess my point I was trying to make is that there are a lot of things to factor into the cost of something. That dish in the quantity you made it, I agree, was not an economical use of the dried potatoes but did bail you out.

      • Frugalshirl

        It always pays to do price comparisons, but, then, there are other factors to consider, which is what I was pointing out…especially when I spoke about the organic milk. That stuff is EXPENSIVE! However, like I said, almost every quart of regular milk we bought spoiled before we used it, causing us to throw away milk. To my knowledge, I have never thrown away milk since we started using the organic milk. I believe if I seriously did a cost factor on it, it would show that we are actually saving money. So, it comes down to knowing your own circumstances. We, as empty nesters, would never use the quantities that you use as a family, which means a #10 can of potatoes, for instance, would go farther for us. Also, the larger bag of potatoes go bad before we will use them all! Plus, I buy large bags of potatoes and wind up throwing many of them out because they are bad to begin with. One time, I bought a 5# bag of potatoes (not as cost efficient as larger bags) and by the time they cooked down, I had almost nothing. I was cooking them for a Holiday meal and wound up having to add instant potato flakes to them to stretch them. Maybe that was a fluke, but I was astonished! I guess my point I was trying to make is that there are a lot of things to factor into the cost of something. That dish in the quantity you made it, I agree, was not an economical use of the dried potatoes but did bail you out.

      • Frugalshirl

        It always pays to do price comparisons, but, then, there are other factors to consider, which is what I was pointing out…especially when I spoke about the organic milk. That stuff is EXPENSIVE! However, like I said, almost every quart of regular milk we bought spoiled before we used it, causing us to throw away milk. To my knowledge, I have never thrown away milk since we started using the organic milk. I believe if I seriously did a cost factor on it, it would show that we are actually saving money. So, it comes down to knowing your own circumstances. We, as empty nesters, would never use the quantities that you use as a family, which means a #10 can of potatoes, for instance, would go farther for us. Also, the larger bag of potatoes go bad before we will use them all! Plus, I buy large bags of potatoes and wind up throwing many of them out because they are bad to begin with. One time, I bought a 5# bag of potatoes (not as cost efficient as larger bags) and by the time they cooked down, I had almost nothing. I was cooking them for a Holiday meal and wound up having to add instant potato flakes to them to stretch them. Maybe that was a fluke, but I was astonished! I guess my point I was trying to make is that there are a lot of things to factor into the cost of something. That dish in the quantity you made it, I agree, was not an economical use of the dried potatoes but did bail you out.

      • Frugalshirl

        It always pays to do price comparisons, but, then, there are other factors to consider, which is what I was pointing out…especially when I spoke about the organic milk. That stuff is EXPENSIVE! However, like I said, almost every quart of regular milk we bought spoiled before we used it, causing us to throw away milk. To my knowledge, I have never thrown away milk since we started using the organic milk. I believe if I seriously did a cost factor on it, it would show that we are actually saving money. So, it comes down to knowing your own circumstances. We, as empty nesters, would never use the quantities that you use as a family, which means a #10 can of potatoes, for instance, would go farther for us. Also, the larger bag of potatoes go bad before we will use them all! Plus, I buy large bags of potatoes and wind up throwing many of them out because they are bad to begin with. One time, I bought a 5# bag of potatoes (not as cost efficient as larger bags) and by the time they cooked down, I had almost nothing. I was cooking them for a Holiday meal and wound up having to add instant potato flakes to them to stretch them. Maybe that was a fluke, but I was astonished! I guess my point I was trying to make is that there are a lot of things to factor into the cost of something. That dish in the quantity you made it, I agree, was not an economical use of the dried potatoes but did bail you out.