Friday, August 26, 2011

Food Storage Friendly - Friday Meal Idea and Tip of the Week

I just want to take a minute and thank those of you who have emailed me about the blog. I have received awesome emails from some of you and it really helps give me inspiration for the posts I do here.

Preparedness isn’t an easy thing. It really complicates our lives sometimes. I find myself looking at friends and others who don’t do food storage or preparedness and at how uncomplicated their lives seem. Then I come back to reality and think about how sad they will be someday when the availability of food isn’t there or the price becomes restrictive to them. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have not only of how to do a few things with food storage items but also knowing that someday I am going to be really glad to have it and thankful to use it now and in the future.

My tip this week is to can or preserve everything you are able to. Sometimes cost or availability is restrictive, but if these aren’t a problem, look at the abundance around you and make every effort to preserve it. I even dehydrated a watermelon yesterday just because I didn’t want to waste it and I wanted to see how it works. I’ll keep you posted on that one. Gather what you can and find a way to preserve it, even if it is not something you usually can or dry. You’ll find things that you have never preserved before sometimes turn out to be some of your favorites. I make it a goal to try at least 2 or 3 new things each year. I’ll share some of my new favorites next week.

Every summer I go through a time when I just don’t want to cook. Nothing sounds good, it heats up the house and I just plain have a hard time remembering how to actually make anything nutritious. I might note here that I don’t seem to forget how to make desserts and treats, hmmm. Fresh veggies and fruit are the only things that really sound good; well something wet and cold to drink always sounds good.
Thank goodness some of you are still sending in your food storage friendly recipes. It gives me something new to try and a reason to cook. I’d like to share a recipe for Turkey (or chicken) Cottage pie sent to me by a reader. This is a fun variation on a basic pot pie – very food storage friendly. Thanks, Jeri.

Turkey (or chicken) Cottage Pie

Jeri B. - Arizona
1 C. finely chopped celery
1 C. finely chopped carrot
1 C. finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 T. unsalted butter
3 T. flour
1 C. turkey gravy
1 C. chicken stock or broth
2 1/2 C. bite-sized cooked turkey pieces or chicken
1/2 C. cooked peas
1/2 C. cooked carrots
1/2 C. cooked pearl onions
salt and pepper
2 C. turkey stuffing
Melted unsalted butter, as needed
In a saucepan sweat the celery, carrot, onion and garlic in the butter, covered with a buttered round of waxed paper and the lid, over moderately low heat for 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the gravy, stock or broth and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the turkey, peas, carrots, pearl onions, salt and pepper to taste, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Transfer the mixture to a flameproof 1 1/2-quart baking dish, and with a spatula spread the stuffing over it. Drizzle the stuffing with some melted butter. Bake the pie in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbling, and put it under a preheated boiler until the top is golden brown.

I may or may not have mentioned that for Christmas last year my husband bought me an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. I have loved it. It has been so fun to make genuine Dutch oven potatoes in my house. I have cooked so many different things in it and the results have been wonderful every time – no fault of my own. It’s a lot like cooking in the crock-pot only quicker; the results are much the same.

Just for fun, I want to share a couple of my favorite summertime recipes today. The recipe for Layered Potatoes is originally a crock-pot recipe that I adapted to cook in the Dutch oven. It is wonderful either way. So if you are looking for a great easy no-heat-up-the-house crock-pot recipe or you have a Dutch oven you want to use, this is a great one.

I’m also including a favorite recipe for Green Beans. We love this and have made it many times. You don’t need a crock-pot or a Dutch oven for this one, just your stove top. It’s great for summertime so you don’t heat up your kitchen and especially if you have an excess of fresh Green Beans.

Layered potatoes (Crock-Pot or Dutch Oven)
2-4 T. butter (depending on the amount of potatoes you are using
Thinly sliced (1/8”) red potatoes – peeled or unpeeled (russets work too)
Thin sliced packaged ham (Land-of-frost honey ham is great)
I onion sliced fairly thin
Salt and pepper
Shredded cheese
1 can Sprite OR 1 can cream of chicken soup
Melt butter in bottom of Dutch oven. (If using crock pot spray bottom and sides of pot with cooking spray. Add a little butter to the bottom of your pot (optional).) Spread a layer of sliced potatoes in the bottom of your pot (2 or 3 slices deep). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. *Note: when using ham the potatoes don’t need as much salt. If adding cream of chicken soup, it is quite salty as well; salt the potatoes accordingly. Add a single layer of the sliced ham. Top with a layer of separated onion rings. Sprinkle lightly with grated cheese. Repeat layers, using as many potatoes as you wish. The original recipe called for spreading the cream of chicken soup over the top and spreading it like frosting, then topping with a final layer of cheese. When I made these in the Dutch oven I made as many layers as I wanted and then poured a can of sprite over the whole pot, and topped with a final layer of cheese. They were so good. I have also since used this method in the crock-pot and it worked well. You choose which kind of topping you want. Both are great. For Dutch oven – Bake at 350ยบ for about an hour – they cook quickly. For Crock-Pot – Cook on high about 4 hours and turn to low to keep warm. This is a half-full crock-pot. If you are filling your crock-pot with potatoes, adjust time accordingly. These can also be cooked on low for a longer time. To check for doneness, test potatoes in the center of the pot.

The following recipe for Green Beans originally came from Our Best Bites. I altered it a bit by adding a few sliced almonds and using thick sliced peppered bacon; I also adapted a couple other ingredients and upped the cooking time a bit – we don’t care for our beans to be crunchy. These are now one of our favorite summertime veggies.

Caramelized Green Beans – Original recipe from Our Best Bites

1 1/8 lb. fresh green beans, washed and ends snipped off & snapped in half
½ lb. thick sliced peppered bacon
½ red onion, sliced
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil or bacon grease
2 T. sugar
2 T. soy sauce
½ t. kosher salt
Lots of freshly-ground pepper
Slivered almonds for garnish
Fry the bacon in a large skillet. Start boiling a large pot of water. Prepare the sauce by mixing sugar, soy sauce, and salt in a small bowl. Halve and slice onions, mince garlic. Remove bacon from pan; drain on a paper towel; crumble. Save a couple T. bacon drippings unless you prefer to use olive oil. Place beans in boiling water. Boil 7-8 minutes or until they reach your desired tenderness. If you like them crispy, remove after a couple of minutes and drain in a colander.

Add onions and garlic to heated bacon grease or olive oil. Stir a minute or so. Add drained beans to pan with onions and garlic. Stir fry 2-3 minutes. Stir sauce and pour on top of beans. Keep stir-frying until the beans get kind of glazed. Stir fry for another 2 minutes. –Add crumbled bacon and lots of freshly-ground pepper to the beans. Keep stir frying until the sauce sticks to the beans and the bacon. Transfer to a serving dish and let stand a few minutes so the beans cool down a bit and the glaze thickens up a little. Top with sliced Almonds if desired. *Note: My husband who claims he has never liked green beans can’t get enough of these.

No comments: