Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe from Pinterest — food storage style

AND THE WINNER OF THE“Our Best Bites” giveaway RITA ROBERTSON! Email us at info @ foodstoragemadeeasy. net with your address and we’ll get it out!

If you are on Pinterest you have probably seen this Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe go around several times (we just pinned it to our recipes board so you could find it easily). It always looks so delicious and it has been on my personal “recipes-to-try” board forever.

Well I finally got ambitious enough to make it the other night. While I was chopping up the chicken bits I had this little conversation with myself:

I sure do hate chopping up chicken
I love having freeze-dried chicken that is already chopped and ready to go
This is taking forever, I need a Diet Coke
Why did I pick a recipe that needs real chicken?
Hmm, I wonder if I COULD use big freeze-dried chicken chunks to make this …….

So after I finished breading and browning the real chicken, I hydrated some freeze-dried chicken (make sure it’s BIG chunks, not the little chopped chicken pieces–many companies sell both types). After they were rehydrated, I breaded the freeze-dried pieces just like the fresh chicken. I browned them and threw them in a separate baking dish so I could keep track of which was which.

Regular chicken on left, freeze-dried chicken on right

I made a batch and a half of the sauce since I added extra chicken, you pour the sauce over the chicken and bake it. It didn’t seem like I’d have enough to pour over rice when I served it, so I also cooked up some extra sauce using Julie’s recipe while the chicken cooked. Here’s how the chicken looked coming out of the oven.

Regular chicken on left, freeze-dried chicken on right

So overall I would say it was a success! I had my kids taste both options. They said the “regular” chicken was a little juicier but that they were both good. I asked if they would eat the “food storage version” if it were an emergency and they all said OH YES WE LOVE IT! (They may be remembering taste-testing some of our 3600 calorie emergency bars during the 7 day challenge. hahaha.) This is definitely gourmet emergency food … and hey, NO CHOPPING!

Forgive my yellow picture, it was late and lighting in my kitchen is AWFUL!

Incorporating Meat Into Your Food Storage

Meats are something that many people to do not tackle early on in their food storage adventures because they can seem intimidating. There are many different ways that you can add meats into your food storage plan to add a little bulk, protein, and variety to your meals. We love that by storing meats, you can continue to make many of your favorite recipes even in the case of an emergency where you can only live exclusively on your food storage.

Incorporating Meats into Your Food Storage

Meats are generally not included in basic Long Term Food Storage Calculators. It is expected that you will get your protein from legumes. However, if you can add some form of meat into your storage it opens up a lot more possibilities for making “normal” meals, can add dense calories/protein, and can help with avoiding flavor fatigue. Here are a few tips on storing meats:

  • Buy smaller amounts to start until you are sure you like using that variety, preservation method, etc.
  • Consider the shelf life on items and store accordingly
  • Practice using the foods to make sure they will make good substitutes in your meals when it comes time to use them
  • When choosing a preservation method, it helps to think through water necessities (for rehydration), power needs (if you are freezing meats), and space constraints.

In general it’s a good idea to store meats in a variety of ways to take advantage of the pros and minimize the cons of each method. Keep reading for summaries of each type of meat preservation you may want to consider.

Canning Meats for Home Storage

Canning your own meats is fantastic, but is also a little intimidating for a beginner. We recently did a Canning 101 post to help make things easier for those just getting started. We also made specific tutorial videos for canning chicken and canning ground beef.

Pros of Canned Meats
– Can be inexpensive after you have all the tools
– Purchase meats on sale and preserve them
– Complete control over varieties and flavors you store
– Delicious and EASY to use
– No water necessary when preparing meals

Cons of Canned Meats
– Short shelf life (1-2 years)
– Takes lots of time to preserve
– Can be intimidating, risk of not preserving properly
– Some meats may look/taste different than regular cooked foods

If you don’t want to can your own foods you can also purchase a variety of canned meats from the grocery store which can be another great option for getting meat into your storage.

Freezing Meats for Home Storage

Freezing is a very common method for preserving meat. It is best accomplished using a vacuum sealer to avoid freezer burn. Many people choose to count freezer foods in their 3 month supply and plan to hurry and cook or preserve it should the power go out.

Pros of Freezer Meats
– Can take advantage of sale prices
– Easy to do, does not take a lot of time
– Easy to incorporate the foods into regular recipes

Cons of Freezer Meats
– Freezers are affected by power loss
– Limited amount of space available
– Shorter shelf life (6 months – 1 year)

Dehydrating Meats for Home Storage

Dehydrating can be done at home with a Food Dehydrator whereas Freeze-Drying needs to be done in a commercial facility. Dehydrated meats are basically just jerkey. You can dehydrate meats yourself to make all kinds of different jerkeys. You can also purchase jerkey at the store.

Pros of Dehydrated Meats
– Long shelf life if preserved properly
– Inexpensive after equipment is purchased
– Wide variety of foods you can make

Cons of Dehydrated Meats
– Not good for young children
– Can be difficult and time consuming to dehydrate yourself
– Not useful for using in recipes as a substitution for regular meats

Freeze-Dried Meats for Home Storage

Purchasing freeze-dried meats is probably the easiest method for getting meats into your storage and you can be confident that they will last a long time. However, it is also the most expensive of the methods we’ve discussed.

Pros of Freeze-Dried Meats
– 20-25 year shelf life
– Easy to store in large quantities
– Easy to substitute into regular recipes
– Commercially purchased so safety is not a concern

Cons of Freeze-Dried Meats
– Must have water storage to rehydrate
– Expensive price-per pound of meat
– They don’t work in ALL meat recipes (i.e. chicken on a grill)

Food Storage Enchilada Pie! FOR REAL!

This is a recipe I have been making for a couple years. I first introduced you to it in a blog post with some fun challenges to help you use your food storage items more often. The post came with challenges such as cooking your dry beans instead of using canned, making bean flour cream of chicken instead of using canned, and making whole wheat tortillas from scratch. The challenges and post can be found here. Well, then I found a homemade enchilada sauce and posted about that here.

Well last week I brought it to the NEXT FOOD STORAGE LEVEL! I tried it using freeze dried chicken and freeze dried cheese. I always justified the chicken and cheese in there by saying I keep a 3 month supply in my freezer, but I always wondered in the back of my mind, if it could ever be done ALL THE WAY SHELF STABLE?!?!? Well the answer is YES. I was impressed, and relived all at the same time with how it turned out.

1 can of black beans
1 lg onion
1 can of cream of chicken
1 can of cream of mushroom
¾ cup of milk
1 (4oz) can diced green chilies
1 (8 oz) can mild enchilada sauce
1 pkg soft tortillas
½ lb cheddar cheese, grated
½ lb monterrey cheese, grated
3 chicken breasts shredded

Wash and cook beans. Mix next 6 ingredients with beans. Place tortillas in greased 9 by 13 inch pan. Top with half the bean mixture and half the cheese. Repeat the layers. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool slightly and cut in squares.

1 1/2 cups of cooked black beans
1/4 cup dehydrated onion
1 batch of cream of chicken from bean flour
1 (4oz) can diced green chilies
1 batch homemade enchilada sauce
6 whole wheat tortillas
2 cups of freeze dried cheese.
2 cups of freeze dried chicken

Cook tortillas, and black beans. Hydrate chicken and cheese (the measurements given are the ingredients dry) While chicken and cheese is hydrating make cream of chicken bean sauce and enchilada sauce. Add beans, onions, cream of chicken sauce, diced green chilies, enchilada sauce, and chicken in a large bowl. Place tortillas in greased 9 by 13 inch pan. Top with half the bean mixture and half the cheese. Repeat the layers. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool slightly and cut in squares.

Now I’m not going to lie. Making it the Shelf Stable Deluxe way is a TON of work. BUT, I dare you to try it at least once. It tastes INCREDIBLE because of how much fresher and healthier it is. It’s also a GREAT way to try all sorts of food storage foods, and techniques. If you like the recipe, then you can decide how ambitious you will be with it in the future. Maybe you make some of it shelf stable, and some of it fresh. You may not choose to be as ambitious as I had to be by bringing over 100 samples of it to a food storage fair, but hey – we all have our crazy moments!