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…

TRADITIONAL RECIPE


So here’s the original recipe from Campbells Kitchen

Ingredients:
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

Instructions:
  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.

FOOD STORAGE VERSION


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.

RESULTS

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.

The Potluck Problem

We had a fun pot luck in my neighborhood today, and of course, I forgot it was even going to happen. About 25 minutes before it was going to start, my friend called me up and asked if I was coming. FOOD STORAGE to the rescue. I decided to do the whole, “sneak” food storage into a dish trick. Remember I did this a long time ago with a dessert? I still feel sneaky about that one.

The theme of the pot luck was salads, so I decided to make a pasta salad. I’ve been using my freeze-dried chicken a lot lately. I admit, it’s a little bit due to how busy I’ve been. Having chicken cooked, and cut all ready to go, has saved my eating out budget a few times lately. Isn’t summer supposed to be less busy? Anyways, I made this pasta salad with chicken in it, and it was ready in the 25 (actually 24) minutes from start to finish. I love not having to thaw, cut, and cook chicken, when I’m making a quick summer dish. I’ll share the recipe with you, but you have to remember, I’m not the measuring type- so bear with me- and excuse the dark, after the fact iphone picture.

Julie’s “Healthier” Pasta Salad

Box of whole wheat noodles (can be macaroni, or any kind – my fav is bowtie multi-grain)
1.5 cups of freeze dried chicken (before it reconstitutes)
Chopped celery (you could probably use freeze dried, I just always have fresh on hand)
Light mayo made with olive oil (you can use regular mayo)
Couple of squirts of lemon juice
1 teaspoon or 2 of dill (this gives it a nice flavor)
Salt to taste

Directions:
Cover freeze dried chicken in water to reconstitute. While the chicken is reconstituting boil the noodles. If you’re in a hurry like me, put a metal bowl in the freezer to get it cold (you’ll understand this in a minute). While the noodles are cooking, chop celery and get the rest of the ingredients out. Drain noodles and chicken, paper towel dry and throw it in the cold bowl and put all of that in the freezer for 5 mins to cool everything down. The freezer step is only necessary if you’re working on a fast timeline… But of course you probably all plan ahead better than me? Right? Add mayo to taste- some like it creamier than others. Add the rest of the ingredients, and cool until you have to leave.

So no one even knew I snuck that chicken in there and we made it on time. Success. Remember if you’re looking for ways to sneak food storage into your families foods, or tips on how to substitute out regular ingredients in recipes for food storage ingredients, read these posts.

“Our Best Tips” for Using your Food Storage

Today we’re talking about using your Food Storage in your every day cooking and recipes. This is important so you know how to use them, and it’s actually surprising how convenient some food storage items can be in everyday cooking. Do you have a favorite food blog you love to go to and drool over all their recipes? Lately we’ve been trying tons of recipes from the blog Our Best Bites. Have you been there? You’re MISSING OUT if you haven’t. Anyways, since we’ve found ourselves cooking a lot of their recipes, and since we tend to rely heavily on our food storage, it’s been very natural for us to substitute typical food storage items all over the place in their recipes.

We thought it would be fun to share with you how we’ve used typical food storage items in some “Our Best Bite” recipes so you can see how easy it is to use your food storage. We encourage you to do this with your own recipes, and recipes from your favorite recipe blog. We recommend only substituting one ingredient at a time, so you can isolate variables, in case something doesn’t turn out right the first time.

DISCLAIMER: We take pictures with our iphones AND we haven’t mastered the art of making food look so darn cute. Don’t let our amateur photos trick you into thinking the food isn’t yummy! Also, READ until the end for a chance to win your very own “Our Best Bites” cookbook.



RECIPE: Strawberry Chocolate Nachos
Item Substituted: Whole Wheat

If a recipe calls for white flour, you can usually substitute it for whole wheat flour. If you’re nervous about the recipe turning out tasting too “wheaty” than you can use half white flour, half whole wheat flour. Also – did you know that hard white wheat tastes more like white flour, than hard red wheat. Learn more about wheat here. It’s best to use wheat flour when you can disguise it in recipes using brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, or recipes that use fruit or vegetables, such as bananas, applesauce, carrots, or zucchini in breads, cakes and cookies. Julie’s sister is actually the one who did the recipe substitution in this recipe. Our Best Bites had used some pre-made white flour tortillas, but since she had some left-over whole wheat tortillas she had made from wheat she ground in her Wondermill she thought- hey why not try it? When something is covered in chocolate, strawberries, and whip cream, you can definitely get away with using whole wheat flour. Jodi also made the infamous nachos using her Sun Oven. Check out her video here.



RECIPE: Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Item Substituted: Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is one of those ingredients that people shy away from. We recommend you start using it in cooking. Julie’s family doesn’t drink milk, so it can be annoying when she wants to make a recipe that calls for milk and she doesn’t have it. You can use powdered milk in smoothies, baking, dressings, puddings, and anything else that calls for milk. The BEST part of using powdered milk in baking is that you can use it to make buttermilk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk – those very things you never REALLY have on hand. For more about powdered milk, see our post here. Julie used Our Best Bite’s Buttermilk Ranch dressing recipe when one day she had a brilliant idea of making a pizza she THOUGHT used alfredo sauce as the sauce. When she opened the recipe, she was surprised it used ranch. She had no ranch – or buttermilk. Well powdered milk came to her rescue and the pizza was delicious!



RECIPE: Cadbury Egg Cookies
Item Substituted: Powdered Butter

It’s no secret around here that Jodi and Julie LOVE Cadbury Mini Eggs…like REALLY love them. When we saw this recipe on Our Best Bites we knew we had to try it. Jodi thought since she had tried powdered butter in cookies before, why not try again. Don’t worry, she wouldn’t have ruined a cookie with a Cadbury mini-egg on a first try attempt. While it’s hard to get the consistency of powdered butter just like real butter for spreading purposes, it actually works great in a lot of baking and cooking, just make sure to follow the directions for your brand of butter..



RECIPE: Asian BBQ Chicken Pizza
Item Substituted: Freeze Dried Chicken

So Julie had been wanting to try some freeze dried meat for a long time, but every time she went to try it, her husband caught her and said “Don’t ruin the recipe with that!” Well last week she was browsing Our Best Bites site and saw this Asian BBQ Chicken Pizza. It inspired her to try the freeze dried chicken, on a chicken garlic pizza she had been wanting to make. While she got the sauce and other toppings on the pizza, she reconstituted the chicken in water then threw it on the pizza fast and baked it. VICTORY! Her husband loved the pizza and didn’t even know- well at least until she said “I TOLD YOU SO” he didn’t know. When it comes to everyday cooking, freeze dried or canned chicken can be a great substitute for when you need meat in a hurry.. Since it can be more expensive to buy, or time consuming to make (see how Jodi cans her chicken here), we don’t use it all the time, however it is good to test some of these things out so you know how they work in recipes if the time comes that you may need to use them.



RECIPE: Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Item Substituted: Powdered Eggs

Before you get all grossed out, we’re not trying to convince you to make an omelet out of powdered eggs. We love to use powdered eggs in baking. When you use any powdered items like eggs, milk, sour cream, etc. in baking, you add the liquid needed to the liquid in the recipe, and the powder to the dry ingredients. Jodi has used powdered eggs in her baking and multiple pancake recipes including Our Best Bite’s Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes. (She also used whole wheat in these and they were totally delicious still!) To learn more about using powdered eggs see our here. While powdered eggs work great, she’s still pretty excited that her chickens are now laying eggs so she can use THEM as part of her “food storage” :)



RECIPE: Beef Stew
Item Substituted: Freeze-Dried/Dehydrated Vegetables

One of the biggest perks of using freeze-dried or dehydrated vegetables in cooking is the time it saves you from chopping. Our favorite freeze-dried vegetables to use from our food storage are carrots, celery, and onions. These are found in tons of soup recipes, and it’s so nice to just throw them in there. No more chopping, or having your veggies go bad if you don’t get to them fast enough. Jodi recently made Our Best Bites stew and threw in some carrots, onions, and celery plus some red potatoes she JUST picked from her garden. Easy and delicious. She usually adds a little bit more water to her soup/stew recipes when substituting a lot of dehydrated or freeze-dried foods.



RECIPE: Berry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Item Substituted: Freeze-Dried Fruits

Substituting freeze dried fruits in recipes is another one of those things you can do when you are out of something. Freeze-Dried fruits act just like regular fruits in all sorts of foods after you have reconstituted them. We put freeze dried fruits in smoothies, muffins, dressings, oatmeal, pancakes and so much moer. In fact, our kids LOVE eating freeze dried fruits straight out of the can, and they are a great replacement for fruit snacks that are full of sugar. This recipe from Our Best Bites calls for strawberries, and since you may not always have fresh strawberries on hand, you can use freeze dried. Don’t forget to account for the moisture lost in freeze drying when adding fruit to recipes. Either reconstitute them first, or add water to the recipe. The first time Julie made this recipe she forgot to account for the liquid she needed to reconstitute the strawberries. The dressing was too thick and she couldn’t figure out why. The next day, she said do herself … “WELL DUH”. The next time she made it, it turned out perfect.



RECIPE: Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Item Substituted: Sour Cream Powder

Has this ever happened to you? You think to yourself, “Oh that recipe calls for sour cream – I’m pretty sure I have some in the fridge….” You then proceed to get half way through the recipe, open up the sour cream, and discover it’s way sour- like expired sour? Powdered sour cream is another food storage item that is great for everyday cooking. Julie got a HUGE zucchini from her garden and what better way to use up zucchini than zucchini bread. Our Best Bites has a CHOCOLATE zucchini bread recipe that calls for sour cream. Not only did Julie use powdered sour cream instead, she also did whole wheat flour she ground in her WonderMill.



RECIPE: White Chicken Chili
Item Substituted: Dry Beans

So often it’s easy to grab a can of beans and throw them in recipes. If you can master the art of cooking dry beans though, you can use them in so many recipes and they are cheaper and contain no additives or preservatives. You can also freeze cooked dry beans, and then still feel like you have the convenience of opening up a can. Just cook a big batch and put them in individual ziploc bags. Cooking dry beans with an electric pressure cooker makes cooking dry beans so FAST and EASY! (see how Julie does her beans here.) Our Best Bites has a white chicken chili recipe. Julie had been wanting to try it forever, and after getting around to getting some coriander, she tried it using dry beans she pressure cooked. She also snuck some freeze dried chicken in it too!


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
CONGRATS TO SHANNON WHO WAS THE WINNER!

The girls at “Our Best Bites” have a great cookbook. You can buy it HERE

Food Storage To The Rescue!

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, I was watching an episode of Good Eats on my DVR with my family (random I know!). It’s this show where the host Alton Brown dissects the science behind making foods like pizza, fried chicken, cookies and all sorts of other GOOD things. It kind of reminds me of a science show for kids, but the tricks and science behind it all is awesome. On this particular episode, he was sharing how to master fried chicken…. You know the kind where the crust around it is super good – JUST like the crust on Olive Garden Chicken Parmesan – A delicious piece of friend chicken breast covered in marinara sauce, cheese, and placed on top of noodles (are you drooling yet?). I looked at my husband and said – well now I know what’s for dinner.

I was missing HALF the ingredients to make the chicken turn out good…like buttermilk and eggs. NOOOOOOOO! I exclaimed. Well you’ll probably guess what I’ll say next… I used some of my everyday food storage items to replace what I was missing.

SO THIS IS THE PART - where I tell you how I changed just about everything in a recipe in order to use food storage and to make a recipe healthier.

  • He said to soak the chicken in buttermilk – so I made buttermilk from powdered milk and lemon juice.
  • He also said to dip the chicken in eggs before dipping it in the flour mixture – so I used powdered eggs and it worked!
  • He said to use white flour but I also ground up wheat and just a few corn kernels for the flour mixture.
  • He also said, if you’re looking to add any spices, put it in the egg mixture instead of the flour mixture, cause some spices tend to burn, and if it’s on the egg mixture, then covered in the flour mixture it will be protected!
  • He said to deep fry it, but I lightly coated my pan with olive oil and fried it that way.

SIDE NOTE: I also replaced regular noodles with spaghetti squash and it was SO good. In fact I’ve recently made the recipe again with two versions -one with noodles, one with spaghetti squash, and my entire family including the kids preferred the squash version!


Ingredients:

-1 cup of buttermilk (add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar for every 1 cup of milk, or powdered milk. Sit for 5-10 minutes)
-3 Chicken breasts (I sliced them to be more like chicken fingers for faster cooking time)
-2 Eggs (2 Tablespoons of powdered eggs, and 4 Tablespoons of water)
-1 cup of white or wheat flour. Add a small amount of cornmeal for a crunch
-2 Tablespoons of olive oil
-Package of spaghetti noodles, or 1 spaghetti squash
-Mozzarella cheese
-Homemade or store bought marinara sauce

Directions:
Soak chicken in buttermilk (overnight is best, but if you’re like me you’ll get about 15-20 minutes in and call it good). Place soaked chicken in a bowl with eggs, cover and coat evenly. Place flour in a ziploc bag. Put each strip of chicken in the flour bag one a time shaking it so the flour mixture coats the chicken evenly. Heat frying pan and olive oil, then place chicken on – turning once half way through.

Cook noodles or spaghetti squash separately and place in 9×13 pan. Pour marina sauce over the noodles. Place fried chicken on top of the noodles. Cover with a little (or a lot) of mozzarella cheese and a little more marinara. You don’t want TOO much marinara on top because you don’t want your chicken to get soggy – remember we like the CRUNCH. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes and ENJOY!

Needless to say- I was so glad I had some Food Storage items to help me make this recipe.

Let us know on our Facebook wall post today, or in comments how Food Storage has rescued you. What are some typical substitutions you make?


Food Storage Substitutions, Measurements, and Yields

We recently posted about a few food storage substitutions we found to be helpful. Well after that post, one of our great readers (Nola) shared with us a document she put together that had TONS of common substitutions, measurements and yields.   She suggested we share it with our readers, and let us tell you, the document is AWESOME. Since it has so much information, we’re breaking it up into multiple posts to share.

Knowing what foods you can use as substitutes is a great food storage planning tool that allows you to really focus in on WHAT to store. Understanding yields can also be very helpful as you progress towards cooking more whole foods from scratch. Today we’ll be covering some common measurement conversions, and over the next few weeks we’ll move on to discuss some great substitutions and yields for common items.

measurements1
 
354625_measuring_spoonspinch = 1/16 tsp.
dash = 6 drops or 1/8 tsp.
1/4 T. = 3/4 tsp.
3 tsp. = 1 T.
1/8 C. = 2 T. = 1 fl. oz.
1/4 C. = 4 T. = 2 fl. oz.
1/3 C. = 5 T. + 1 tsp.
1/2 C. = 8 T. = 4 fl. oz.
3/4 C. = 12 T. = 6 fl. oz.
1 C. = 16 T. = 1/2 pint = 8 fl. oz.
2 C. = 1 pint = 16 fl. oz.
4 C. = 2 pints = 1 quart = 32 oz.
16 C. = 4 quarts = 1 gallon
8 quarts = 1 peck
4 pecks = 1 bushel
1 liter = 1 quart plus 3 oz.
2 oz. = 1/8 pound
4 oz. = 1/4 pound
8 oz. = 1/2 pound
16 oz. = 1 pound

 
NOTES:
tsp. = teaspoon
T. = tablespoon
C. = cup
oz. = ounce
“=” means equals
“-” means minus
“+” means plus

These measurements can be really helpful when doubling or tripling recipes, and is something that should be printed and inserted into your recipe box, cookbooks, or Food Storage Made Easy Binder. (*hint* we just may be including some handy handouts in our next FREE binder update). Thanks again to Nola! And we’re excited to share with you all the other great stuff she sent us!

Food Storage Substitutions

When considering which items to store in your long term food storage, it’s beneficial to consider what bulk items you could store that would serve multiple purposes. This can help save space as you avoid storing unnecessary items, and many times you can extend the shelf life of items by making them out of ingredients with longer shelf lives.

Food Storage Substitutions:

softbrown500Brown Sugar = 1 c. white sugar + 1-2 T. molasses
White sugar and molasses are already on our list of storage items, so if you plan to store brown sugar as well, just store a little extra of these items. Molasses has a longer shelf life than brown sugar, and you don’t have the problem of it getting clumpy and hardened since you will be making it fresh.

6a00d83451fa5069e200e54f6196468833-800wiButtermilk = 1 c. milk or powdered milk + 1 T. vinegar
This is so much easier than having to keep buttermilk or powdered buttermilk on hand when you need it for a particular recipe. Vinegar can also be used in baking recipes, to improve your bread recipes, as well as for homemade cleaning supplies. So these two items should definitely be part of your food storage already!

davisbakingpowderBaking Powder = 1 tsp. baking soda + 2 tsp. cream of tartar
While you may not think of storing cream of tartar, this actually makes a lot of sense. Both baking soda and cream of tartar can have an indefinite shelf life if stored in airtight containers at room temperature. Baking powder, however has a short shelf life of 6-12 months. To test if your baking powder is still active, stir 1 teaspoon into ½ a cup of hot water. If it doesn’t bubble, it will need to be replaced.