Food Storage Meats and a Delicious Meatballs Tetrazzini Recipe

When you look at typical food storage calculators you’ll notice that the main source of protein is in the legumes. For a long time Julie was a little “scared” of beans and just decided that she could store tuna and peanut butter and call it good for protein. (not really, but kind of).

Since then, we have both learned to love beans and the MANY MANY uses they have and how healthy they are to use in your everyday cooking. We also have discovered that it is not too difficult to add REAL meats into your food storage. We actually did a post a while back all about incorporating meats into your food storage that can give you some ideas on how to do it that best suits you. Some ways are more time consuming (canning) … others are more expensive (freeze-dried) and each person should figure out the best way for THEM to store meats for their own family.

That being said, I have done a combination of home-canned meats (tutorials found here and here), meats in the freezer, and freeze-dried meats. I like to have lots of options open to me. I love to practice cooking with my home canned and freeze-dried meats so that I can make sure they are good in my recipes should I ever have to depend on them in an emergency. One thing I’ve really been curious about is if I could make some of my favorite meatball recipes using food storage. Well I finally tried it and was THRILLED with the results!


This is a recipe that comes from my husband’s mom and it has quickly turned into a family favorite around here. You can use any basic meatball recipe, but I’ll share my favorite one with you. For this experiment I used half rehydrated freeze dried ground beef and half regular ground beef and it held together great! I’m going to try it with all freeze-dried next time and see if the meatballs are able to keep their shape ok still.

Basic Meatball Recipe:
1 lb ground beef (I used half freeze-dried ground beef)
1/3 c. milk
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. dehydrated onion flakes
1 egg
1 tsp. Salt

Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Shape into meatballs (it’s easiest with a melon or ice cream scoop) and put on a rack with a pan underneath. I cover the pan with tinfoil to save on clean-up time. Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes. Note: I always double this recipe and save half in the fridge or freezer for another meatball recipe later in the week.


Meatballs Tetrazzini Recipe:
1 batch of basic meatballs
8 oz package spaghetti
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/4 c. freeze dried onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/8 tsp. pepper
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: Prepare basic meatball recipe. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook spaghetti and drain. Combine soup, milk, onion, salt, pepper, and cheese. Head until cheese is melted. Arrange meatballs and spaghetti in a 9×13 pan. Pour liquid mixture over meatballs and toss to mix well. Back for 30 minutes until hot and serve immediately.

Strawberry Macaroons (Food Storage Cookies!)

I have a confession to make. I’m in love with the Thrive Macaroon Cookie Mix. If you ever need a super fast and amazingly delicious treat to bring to an event, these are THE thing to make. It’s a cookie mix and you just add water, scoop onto a cookie sheet and cook for fifteen minutes. EVERY time I bring these somewhere I get asked for the recipe and have to sheepishly admit they are from a can mix. I don’t care though. They are so good that I always offer to bring the treat, just so I can have an excuse to make them. They are awesome to keep as a comfort food in your food storage, but we always eat through them faster than I can replenish!

Today we had a mother’s day picnic in the park and I was assigned to make an “Oh My Heck” Salad (our family calls it the oh my heck salad because it is so good that you say oh my heck when you taste it). Anyway, maybe we’ll post that recipe another day. But I was in the mood for my cookies so I offered to bring them too. I’ve been reading about other people trying some variations so I decided to take the plunge and experiment and I have to say, it was WORTH IT! Here’s how you can make delicious easy strawberry macaroons out of your food storage foods 🙂


Food Storage Strawberry Macaroons

6 1/2 c. Thrive Macaroon Mix
2 c. freeze dried strawberries, rehydrated
1 c. boiling water (I used the water leftover from rehydrating my berries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Reconstitute your strawberries. Try to get a lot of powder from the bottom of the can to enhance the strawberry flavor. Once the strawberries are softened, drain them and reserve the water. Boil 1 cup of the strawberry-flavored water. Mix with the Macaroon Mix in a large bowl. Mash up the strawberries and stir them into the mix. Spoon with a meatball or ice cream scoop onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to let them set or they will just tear apart when you try to get them off.

This is a double batch of the recipe on the can. It probably made about 50 cookies. There wasn’t one cookie left after our picnic, and my 8 year old was mad because he only got to eat one. Yes they were THAT good.

p.s. Since these cookies are white, you can also add food coloring to make festive cookies (i.e. I made green ones and took them to a St. Patrick’s Day event)

Pizza Casserole (Food Storage Style)

I don’t know about you, but some days I just see the same recipes going around Facebook and/or Pinterest over and over again. It’s like a conspiracy to try to get me to make something naughty. A couple of weeks ago this delicious looking pizza casserole was making the rounds:


I thought it looked easy and yummy but I was missing a few of the ingredients for it … so I decided to make an adventure of it and try making a food storage version. I have to say I was pretty thrilled with the results, and it was a winner with my kiddos. That doesn’t often happen when I’m trying new recipes. So here is MY version of the pizza casserole. Enjoy!


1 16 ounce package rotini pasta
2 c. freeze dried sausage crumbles
1/2 c. freeze dried green peppers
3/4 c. Thrive Tomato Sauce Powder
3 c. water
2-3 c. freeze dried mozzarella cheese
1 small package sliced pepperoni

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13 casserole dish. Cook rotini noodles until slightly underdone. While pasta is cooking, lightly brown the dried sausage crumbles (before reconstituting). Mix tomato sauce powder with water until smooth, add browned sausage and freeze-dried green peppers. They will rehydrate in the sauce so no need to do that beforehand. Combine the sauce and the noodles and pour into the casserole dish.

Lay freeze-dried cheese out on a plate covered with a paper towel. Spray it with water using a spray bottle until the cheese is fully hydrated and not crunchy any more. Sprinkle over the top of the noodle/sauce mixture. Top with pepperoni slices. Bake 20-25 minutes in the oven.

There you have it, an easy yummy dinner that could be made totally with shelf stable items. Who wouldn’t want “pizza” in an emergency? And this is a lot easier than grinding wheat to make homemade pizza dough 😉

Homemade Ranch Dip or Dressing

As I’m getting ready to write this post today, I realized I’ve been on a kick to share my friend’s recipes lately. Here are a few of them:

Our regular readers know I’m not the type to follow a recipe, so sharing my recipes has been really hard for me. I always get anxiety trying to come up with the exact measurements I use. Well the beauty behind sharing my friends’ recipes is that I can share real measurements and I’ve tasted them so I know they are good.


So this recipe is for a homemade ranch-like dip. This dip tasted so fresh and delicious. I’m a big fan of the recipe for a lot of reasons:

  1. It is homemade and free of preservatives and ingredients I can’t pronounce
  2. It uses ingredients I often have on hand (thanks to freeze dried spices, and powdered sour cream)
  3. I can make it as thick or thin as I would like depending on how much liquid I add
  4. The fresh (or freeze dried) instead of dehydrated spices made it delicious!

photo 3 (5)

1 c plain greek yogurt (full fat)
1/2 c. sour cream (or sour cream powder)
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dill (I used freeze dried cilantro instead)
1/4 t. pepper
3 T. minced fresh parsley (or freeze dried parsley)
2 T. minced fresh chives (or freeze dried chives)
salt to taste

Since I couldn’t help but put a food storage spin on the recipe, I’ll explain what I did. For the sour cream, I used sour cream powder and I put the same amount, and then just added water until I got the texture I wanted. I was using this for a salad dressing, so I went a little on the runnier side than a dip would be. I also added a teeny bit of lime juice, since I opted to use cilantro instead of dill. I like this because sour cream is something I never have on hand.

You’ll also notice I used freeze dried spices… which are currently my favorite! If you haven’t tried them, you really need to. They act like fresh spices instead of dehydrated. The flavor is amazing, and I don’t have to worry about rotting parsley and cilantro in my fridge anymore! You can buy them at discounted prices at our Thrive Life store here.


Boxed Cake Mix Extender

So today I’m going to tell you about a fun tradition I have going with my sister’s kids. About 4 years ago my sister was making her son’s first birthday cake. She was doing an Elmo cake for him. We were together, and she could tell it took everything in me not to leap over the counter and try to take over as she was decorating. I might be a little overbearing, I know. After trying to get Elmo’s face done, she looked at me and said “Fine, you can do it”. That is where the tradition started. Since then, she has let me make her kid’s cakes, and I LOVE to do it. One of the sweetest parts of this tradition was when she told me she overheard her son telling her daughter “When your birthday comes up next, all you have to do is tell Julie what you want and she can make ANYTHING”. Since they are only 5 and 3, I can still impress them and I’ll keep doing it until they realize I’m no professional


So onto why this has anything to do with Food Storage. This year, her daughter wanted a Dora Cake. Fair enough right? Well then she decided she wanted a Three Tier Funfetti Dora Cake. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you have to give into every little whim of a child, but I’m the Aunt and I’m allowed to! I had a Funfetti mix in my food storage, but I knew it wouldn’t be big enough for three tiers. I didn’t want to go to the store, because I never want to go to the store. So I got online. I found a recipe for a cake extender. Basically you can use it in any cake mix and it makes it bigger. I love food storage for so many reasons, but the Everyday Emergency is one of my favorites. For more about WHY food storage, check out our series here.

Boxed Cake Mix Extender

3/4 cup of flour (I used whole wheat flour ground in my Wondermill)
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of oil
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients in with the cake mix. Mix wet ingredients separately. Add together and follow directions on cake box. You may need to cook it a little longer since it’s more batter, but it just depends on how you spread out the batter.

So I wrote this down on an envelope and can’t remember where I found it online. I can’t seem to track it down again, but it seems like it’s a common recipe. I really liked how it worked. This little extender allowed me to make the full three tiers and it tasted great. A lot of people actually commented on how good it tasted. I know you can make cakes from scratch and everything, but she wanted Funfetti. And I’m a FUN Aunt! Hopefully you can put this little trick into use one day, when you have an Everyday Emergency!

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies – Without Raspberries?

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my family room, when the doorbell rang. My good friend had just tried out a new recipe and needed me to tell her if it turned out good or not. I’m ALWAYS willing to help a friend in need, so I tested a vegan, gluten free cookie she had just made. Now I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been off refined sugar for a long time, or if I was super hungry, but these cookies made me happy. Instantly.

Fast forward a few days. I was babysitting my cute niece who told me she wanted cookies. How could I deny my cute little niece cookies? I remembered where my friend had told me she found the recipe and looked it up. I was so happy I had all the ingredients (because I don’t usually cook vegan, gluten free). All the ingredients except raspberry jam.


I knew I wanted to make these cookies. The reason I don’t have jam in my house, is because I would eat jam if it were in my house. And let’s be honest… most jam is just straight sugar. Anyways, I had a little idea about how to get around the no jam problem I was having to make these cookies. I thought to myself… I wonder if I sprinkle a little bit of water on freeze dried raspberries, and then added maple syrup to taste if that would work as a quick and easy jam. It worked. The reason I think it worked is because there wasn’t any water in the raspberries to start with. Had they been fresh raspberries, I think there would have had too much liquid, and it would have turned the cookies soggy. Not to mention, I don’t just have raspberries in my fridge. Like ever.

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Ok, let’s move on to the RECIPE. I didn’t have a chance to ask the author if I could share the recipe right on here, so I am going to LINK TO IT HERE. The website is called “Oh She Glows”. I haven’t been on there before this, but it seems right up my alley with a lot of healthy cooking. Since I know some of the ingredients in this recipe aren’t totally conventional, I figured it might help to give you a little cheat sheet on them:

RICE FLOUR: Rice flour is a common flour used when baking gluten free things. I don’t eat gluten free, however I eat enough wheat through bread, that I figure when I can mix up my grains, I ought to. I think variety in all things are good. You can buy rice flour, but it can be pricey. I use my WONDERMILL to grind brown rice, and voila! I have cheap and healthy rice flour in seconds!

ALMOND BUTTER: Almond butter is like peanut butter, made out of almonds. I get mine at Costco and I like it. If you’re looking to stick to “healthy” check that the only ingredients in there are almonds.

GROUND FLAX SEED: The ground flax seed in this recipe is what replaces the eggs. It’s pretty common for people to use ground flax seed as an egg replacement, or in smoothies. Ground flax seed is just flax seeds that have been ground. You don’t want to grind these in your Electric Mills because they have oil in them. You can however grind them in the Wonder Jr hand grinders. If I’m being honest, I just buy it pre-ground. It’s worth it to me.

ALMOND MEAL: Almond meal is just finely, finely ground almonds. Again, you can purchase this, or you can make it. If making it, place raw almonds into a high-speed blender or food processor. Process on high speed until a fine crumb, making sure not to process too long or the oils will release.


Have I told you about the pan my mom got me for my birthday. It’s like an EXTRA LARGE cookie pan that fits the whole oven. It’s awesome. Except when you preheat your top smaller oven and realize the inside of that is smaller than regular ovens, and have to restart, and heat the bottom oven.

Greek Lentil Soup Recipe


Something I love about where I live is that I have a lot of friends and neighbors interested in eating healthy, and willing to share ideas and recipes. My friend was telling me about a lentil soup she made, and I thought to myself… hmmm I have lentils…that I NEVER use…I should try this recipe.

Well here’s the thing about lentils. They are a quick cooking legume. Most legumes take a long time to cook, but lentils cook fast. Having said that, this recipe tells you to simmer for a couple hours. I am not sure why, but I do know that I have made it WITH the simmer and WITHOUT, and I prefer the simmer. It made it a little more mushy. For some reason, I’m okay with a little mushy for lentil soup. Jodi on the other hand, isn’t okay with lentil soup at all, ever, mushy or not.

Another thing I really liked about this recipe, is that it can be completely shelf stable. In fact, I think I will assemble most of these ingredients into jars, and then have Jodi foodsaver them shut for me and use them as pre-made mixes. Maybe one day I’ll get my own Food Saver. Another appliance I thought I would NEVER need.

Using freeze dried veggies and spices in soups:

  • No chopping. Seriously awesome
  • If you store a variety of freeze dried veggies, you can make a variety of soups and change them up without pre-planning or shopping
  • You don’t need to measure as much as the recipe says, since when rehydrated they will bulk up a bit
  • You don’t need to rehydrate freeze dried veggies before making the soup
  • If you are using a LOT of freeze dried items, you’ll probably want to watch the liquid and add more water in the pot while cooking
  • Freeze dried spices taste just like fresh, have incredible flavor, and you wont throw away any leftovers from your fridge

So here’s the recipe. If you are wondering what the vinegar is for, so was I. I asked about it on our facebook page. You can see the answers and discussions here.

Greek Lentil Soup

2 Cups lentils, dried
4 Cups cold water
1 Cup onion, chopped or freeze dried onions
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 Cups beefbroth
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 Cup celery, chopped or freeze dried celery
2 Cups tomatoes, stewed
1 bay leaf
1 Cup carrots, chopped or dried carrots
3 Tblsp parsley, Chopped or freeze dried parsley
1/2 tsp. oregano or freeze dried oregano
2 Tblsp. vinegar

1. Wash lentils, drain well. Combine lentils with all ingredients except vinegar. Bring to a boil

2. Lower heat; cover and simmer 2 hours or until lentils are tender

3. Add vinegar and simmer 30 minutes more. Remove bay leaf. Serve soup.
Serves 8

New Thrive Sauces (and Seasonings) – Oh My!

You may have seen us mention on Facebook this week that we were able to attend the Shelf Reliance convention last weekend. It was super busy but way fun and we got a ton of information on changes in the company and NEW PRODUCTS! One of the biggest announcements is that they changed their name to THRIVE LIFE. We love the new name and how it emphasizes their Thrive Foods which are just fantastic products.



I love love love the new Thrive sauces. They make it so simple to cook with your food storage without having to add in any additional ingredients from the grocery store. You can put together complete and delicious meals. I have tried similar sauce powders from other companies and never been completely thrilled with how they tasted but every one of these ones is delish and super easy to use. After getting home from convention I decided to try one of the sauces each day of the week and I loved how FAST my meals were and how good they were. Even my picky kids snarfed them down without complaining.

Bechamel Sauce

This one is my favorite, it is like a simple white sauce but rich and flavorful and thickens really fast for a quick dinner. I boiled some bowtie pasta and while it cooked I rehydrated some freeze-dried chopped chicken and peas and heated up the sauce. I threw it all together with a little Thrive Spice (more on that later) and had dinner on the table in under 15 minutes. That’s a win around here!

Espagnole Sauce

I usually wait until I have leftovers from a roast beef dinner to make a good beef stew with my mom’s famous mashed potato biscuits. But I don’t make roast that often so I am always a little sad I don’t get to eat yummy stew very much. I decided to try the Beef Stew recipe that we sampled at convention and it didn’t fail me. I again had to cook the biscuits first or else the stew would have been done too fast. I can’t believe how quick these sauces cook up, and adding in the freeze-dried foods just make the meal that much faster, and is great practice for using my food storage.

Tomato Sauce

I wasn’t sure about this one since I’ve already been using the tomato powder for my sauces and loving it. But I cooked this up using the Bolognese Sauce recipe from the Thrive Live (Shelf Reliance) website and it was AMAZING. It was seriously restaurant style sauce. No need to pay $15 for gourmet pasta at a restaurant! I think a big factor in this recipe turning out so great was the freeze-dried spices added in, so I’ll be interested to taste it plain and see if it is just as great.

Veloute Sauce

The Veloute is like a thick chicken gravy and can make a great substitute for cream of chicken or cream of mushroom in any recipe. My first thought was biscuits and gravy so I heated some up and threw in freeze-dried sausage. I actually had to cook my biscuits first since the sauce was done so fast. By the time they were done cooking we were in business.

I am a busy mom of four crazy kids who are in tons of after school activities so having all these new yummy dinner options opened up to me makes me very very happy. If you want to try them too, make sure to shop from our consultant website so that you save off of retail pricing. Click here to check at the sauces at our discounted prices!

p.s. Yes I did mention some spices and seasonings above. Thrive Life came out with a whole line of freeze dried spices and blends that are amazing. The freeze dried spices are so much yummier than dehydrated and taste fresh. More about that in a future post, but for now you can see a sneak peek here. We will fill you in on our personal review soon!


Fast and Easy Chicken Quinoa Soup

A couple of weeks ago I asked you all on Facebook to vote for which recipe you wanted us to share next. The two options were:

A quick Chicken Quinoa soup made in a pressure cooker
A 9 grain pancake that used lots of food storage

The soup won the vote, so here we are! I’ll share the pancake one next 🙂

I love to use my electric pressure cooker for quick meals, and a lot of different soups. In fact the electric pressure cooker is one of our favorite tools to use to rotate a LOT of of food storage items. If you want to see a lot of our favorite food storage tools, we shared them in a post here.

I love to make this soup when I have leftover quinoa. Quinoa is a great grain that is high in protein. I store a lot of it in my food storage and use it often times instead of brown rice, or to extend my meat, or in salads and soups. If I know I have quinoa I need to use, and at least a couple frozen chicken breasts, I make this soup real fast, and it feels like a treat. It’s super healthy, and super tasty!


2-3 chicken breasts
3-4 celery stalks with leaves diced (or 1/2 cup of freeze dried celery)
4 carrots diced
1 small onion diced
3 cloves garlic, or minced garlic
10 peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
Handful of fresh parsley if you have it on hand OR use dried herbs.
You can also add a teaspoon of sage, rosemary, thyme or any other spices you like.
6 cups of water

1-2 cups of leftover quinoa


Add all the first ingredients to your pressure cooker except your leftover quinoa, and cook on high for 15 minutes (I throw in frozen chicken breasts). Select natural pressure release, and your chicken will be so tender it will fall right apart for you. After the pressure is released, add 1-2 cups of cooked quinoa and heat up on the simmer option right in the pressure cooker. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

More about Pressure Cookers

Electric Pressure Cooker:
An electric pressure cooker is great for cooking dry beans, brown rice, and a variety of other foods that usually take much longer to cook. We’re talking from dry to cooked beans in an hour or less! It’s awesome. You can also use this for cooking a variety of meals in a hurry. We both use and love the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker.

You may remember some of our posts that we have done where we talk about our electric pressure cooker:

Thanksgiving Green Bean Food Storage Sneak (slight fail)

Last week we did a Thanksgiving recap post. This year for Thanksgiving, Julie was at Jodi’s house, but Jodi was at her in-laws so she wasn’t there. Yes we’re TRYING to confuse you. Today’s post is brought to you by Julie (who married Jodi’s brother)

My assignment was a green bean casserole and rolls. Easy enough. I decided I would just make the recipe according to instructions and not try any healthy, food storage alterations. I didn’t want to offend any of my in-laws. Well I made the recipe, according to instructions, but then I got worried there wouldn’t be enough so I made a second batch the way I wanted to… It wouldn’t have been a fail, if I hadn’t broken the number 1 rule to sneaking food storage. Read on…


So here’s the original recipe from Campbells Kitchen

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular, 98% Fat Free or Healthy Request®)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Dash ground black pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans
1 1/3 cups French’s® French Fried Onions

  1. Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
  2. Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the bean mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining onions.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.


So for the regular followers of this blog, you probably know I like to make any cream of “anything” soup using bean flour. I like to thicken soups like the Creamy Potato Soup with bean flour, and my ALL TIME favorite food storage recipe, Enchilada Pie uses white bean flour ground in my Wondermill to make the cream of chicken soup. The full instructions on making cream of chicken with bean flour can be found at the bottom of this post.

So here are the alterations I made:

  • I replaced the can of cream of mushroom with a recipe of the bean flour cream soup
  • I skipped the milk completely, because our family doesn’t drink milk
  • I used freeze dried green beans instead of canned (alright I did that in both recipes, but never told anyone that one!). I just soaked them for a couple minutes first in water, then drained them.


So, here is what I did TOTALLY wrong. I placed both pans of casserole on the table and said “Ok, I admit it, I made one of them totally healthy, and with food storage, so you don’t have to eat it”. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?. That’s breaking the number 1 rule of sneaking Food Storage into your families diet. The only one who gave both a try, was Jodi’s mom, Grandma Lori. She said she wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t said anything but side by side she thought the texture wasn’t the same. I actually blame that on omitting the milk though. So all and all it was a success and a fail. My kids ate up the health food storage one without noticing though. So there you have it.

P.S. Freeze dried green beans are among my FAVORITE freeze dried foods. They are so much yummier than MUSHY canned beans! They are available at our Consultant Website so you might want to give them a try.