Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Dinner: Teriyaki Chicken and Rice from your Food Storage!

Too often, I hear that folks shy away from using Food Storage Staples as they have this perception that it somehow substandard.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

Teriyaki Chicken and Rice....a Sunday Dinner!

I want to show you how you can prepare a wonderful meal using items in your Food Storage. For heaven's sake....who doesn't love Teriyaki Chicken?  

Before I left for Church this morning I decided that we were going to have Teriyaki Chicken so, I took out my trusty Crock pot.  I put in Chicken Breasts that I had frozen in pairs and coated them with Teriyaki Sauce.  (See the link to learn how simple it is to prepare your own and have it on hand).  I turned on the Crock pot and got ready for Choir Practice. Hours later, I entered my home to that magnificent aroma of Teriyaki.  It filled the entire house.

I wanted to have rice with my amazing we did.  I pulled out my the Minute Rice that I dehydrated myself.  Now, just to clarify I didn't set out to make my own Minute Rice the first time that I placed it in the dehydrator.  The fact of the matter is that I had a lot left over from a family gathering.  This rice had butter on it too. I have frozen rice before, but I never have wanted to wait for it to unthaw. (Yes, I am very impatient.....).  I decided to try to dehydrate it.  I took out my dehydrator and the fruit leather inserts.  When it was finished, I dry packed it into jars and vacuum sealed it with my Food Saver.  

Today, I opened my jar and poured in the desired amount of rice.  (By the way, I always check to see if it is rancid when I break the vacuum seal.  I am happy to report that it never has been).

When I add water, I just barely cover the rice.  I then bring it to a boil and cook it until it is the consistency I desire.  I literally takes a couple of minutes once the water starts to boil.  Just for your information, the rice still tasted of butter and it was delicious!

So far, we have discussed using Frozen, Canned, Dry Packed, and Dehydrated foods for this meal.  In my Cold Storage (my 2nd refrigerator), I retrieved apples and sliced them with this handy device that most people think is only for canning.  Not around here!

Once we got home, I had dinner on the table in about 15 minutes....that's right....15 minutes.  I LOVE THAT!

Take Home Message:

  • Food Storage is vibrant and delicious!  You can have a wide variety of meals if you plan and prepare for them.
  • Food Storage meals can sometimes be a great convenience as it was today. I made this meal in a less time that it would have taken to go to the Drive-through at a restaurant.
  • I know the quality of my ingredients....because I chose them all!  I am not dependent on someone in a back room choosing the ingredients and putting it all together for me.  If I have special dietary requirements, I can management them by stocking up on items that fit with my limitations.
  • I believe I made this meal for 2 for under $4.00 today.  Take that big box restaurants!
  • I am rotating my staples and trying out recipes at a time when I could always make something else if this didn't work out.
  • I am gaining skill sets by thinking of meals that could use any of the following types of foods:  Canned, Frozen, Dehydrated, Dry Packed, and in Cold Storage.

By The Way....IT WAS GREAT!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

It's a Matter of a Sunday Brunch....From Food Storage Staples!

It's Sunday once again. I love Sunday's because the pace of life slows down just a little.  We can even take naps sometimes!  Because it is so low key, I like to make our Sunday meal from our Food Storage Staples. This allows us to use what we store and also rotate our food.  It also lets us try new things when we have plenty and not wait until the chips are down. Trying new foods where some sort of crisis exists is foolhardy indeed. 

Easy Bistro Chicken

I found a recipe for Easy Bistro Chicken at  This recipe calls for a lot of fresh ingredients, which I am totally in favor of. However, I was able to make this same recipe using items from my Pantry and Food Storage.  Let's see how it went!

The recipe called for canned Italian Style Tomatoes drained and chopped.  I used canned diced tomatoes and I did not drain them.  I will show you why in a minute.  

Chopped Onions and Garlic are part of this dish. I used dehydrated forms of both.

Sliced Mushroom are an important ingredient.  I used my the Mushrooms that I dehydrated a few months ago when they were on sale.

Chopped Pepper is also called for. Again, I used my dehydrated Peppers that I dehydrated some time ago.

Diced Celery is also required for this dish, I used some that I had purchased in a #10 Can.

Remember when I made the decision not to drain my tomato as the recipe suggested?  Well, I chose not to do that as I was putting in dehydrated ingredients. These dried ingredients absorbed the extra liquid.

While the sauce was simmering, I added Italian Seasoning as the original recipe called for "Italian-style Tomatoes".  I was adding the "Italian" in this manner.

From the Freezer I added Chicken Strips.  Frozen foods are also part of my Food Storage Staples.

I let the Chicken unthaw and simmer in the tomato-based sauce.  I put on some Macaroni noodles (the recipe called for Macaroni or Cavatappi) to cook while the sauce simmered.

When we served the Bistro Chicken, I also added some grated Parmesan Cheese and sliced apples. The Apples came from our 2nd refrigerator and I have a block of Parmesan that I grate for dishes like this.  My second refrigerator is cold storage for fruits and items like Parmesan Cheese. These foods were also from my Food Storage.  

Take Home Points:

  • We had a  nutritious and very scrumptious meal even though fresh ingredients were not used.
  • I did not have to go shopping yesterday to be ready for today, I just used items I had on hand.
  • Adapting recipes to use your Pantry and Food Storage items is usually relatively simple.  If you are using dehydrated or freeze-dried foods, allow for additional liquid.  Frozen foods require some time to thaw and be cooked appropriately.
  • Having the satisfaction of making something great from items on hand.....Priceless!
Here is the recipe for Easy Bistro Chicken (with my adaptions in red)  from

Ingredients for Easy Bistro Chicken:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (From my Pantry)
4 (6-ounce) chicken breast halves, skinned (From my Freezer, I used strips)
4 chicken thighs (about 1 pound), skinned (From my Freezer, I used strips)
4 chicken drumsticks (about1 pound), skinned (From my Freezer, I used strips)
2 cups chopped onion (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
4 garlic cloves, minced (Dehydrated, From my spice cabinet)
1 cup chopped celery (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Dehydrated, From my Pantry)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (From my Pantry)
1/4 cup sliced green olives (From my Pantry)
1/4 cup capers (did not use)
1 tablespoon sugar (From my Pantry)
Dash of ground red pepper (From my spice cabinet)
2 bay leaves (From my spice cabinet)
1 (28-ounce) can Italian-style tomatoes, undrained and chopped (Diced Tomatoes From my Food Storage with added Italian Seasoning)
8 cups hot cooked macaroni or cavatappi (Macaroni, From my Pantry)
Parsley sprigs (optional) (From my spice cabinet)

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breast halves to pan; sauté 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken pieces; sauté 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add celery; sauté 5 minutes. Add basil and next 8 ingredients (basil through tomatoes). Return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Uncover and simmer 25 minutes or until chicken is tender. Discard bay leaves. Serve with pasta. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

Note: You can chop the tomatoes in the can using kitchen shears.MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

Try It Soon!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Review...The Organic Canner

Canning, A Matter of Preparedness

It is no secret that I am a fan of Canning and preserving my own foods.  Even though my kids have rolled their eyes when I have asked them to help (which I think they inherited from me....I used to do that too), several of the items we have canned are preferred items.  A Case in point was when I made a batch of Strawberry jam. My youngest son ate 3 jars before warning me that I needed to make more because it wasn't going to last the winter. The goal is always to have your Food Storage and Food Preservation last the winter...and a bit beyond.

Anyone who has ventured into the world of canning inevitably has had a few questions.  That is certainly the case for me.  That is why I was really glad to read and review this new publication by Daisy Luther entitled "The Organic Canner".  (Ms. Luther gracious provided a copy of her work for me to review)

The Organic Canner....

I always wondered how folks canned or preserved items before the likes of our modern 'thickening' agents that are used in things like Jams and Jellies.  I also wondered how to ensure that you have removed all the pesticides that may be on your produce.

Additionally (and professionally), I work with families that have children with feeding and swallowing disorders.  Many of them are on some type of elimination diet due to Gastrointestinal or Allergic reasons.  These families quickly learn how to cook from scratch as prepared foods just don't meet the special needs of their little ones.

These, along with other reasons are why I was interested in reviewing this book. 

Points of Interest:

  • Ms. Luther explains why she has objections to "Genetically Mutated Organisms".  She even has her own "Manifesto" which explains her views. 
  • She gives 'doable' mentoring on how to water-bath and pressure can at home.
  • She sheds light on how to make your own Jams and Jellies without "the box".  It is straightforward and I plan to try it as soon as berries are in season.  By using her method, you actually get 2 products....the jam and fruit syrup.  
  • Canning meats is also discussed, which is a personal favorite of mine.  She highlights the serious leftovers we all often have during the holidays. Canning the extra Turkey or Ham is a great way to extend their use.
  • Did you know that you may preserve Nuts such as Pecans, Walnuts, and Hazelnuts?  I once had a disaster with nuts in my pantry.  I won't go into it, but I learned a painful lesson.  I had always thought that I would need to seal nuts in jars with my dry-pack canning device.  However, I learned that you can also do this with Water-bath canning.  Yea!  I'm going to try it!
  • There are many recipes that I have 'dog-eared' the corner of the page because I want to try them. Here are just a few to pique your interest: Beef stroganoff, Marinara with Meatball, Cajun Jambalaya, Sloppy Joe Filling, Deep South BBQ, Vegetables and Fruits with a twist, Random Pickled Veggies, Honey Vidalia BBQ Sauce, Taco Sauce and many more.
  • She has a section dealing with canning your own recipes. She gives thoughtful advice on how to determine the method and time needed for your favorites.
  • The only 'glitch' is that she refers to page 237 for directions on "Removing Pesticide from Produce" which actually appears on page 231.  This is not a big issue in my view.
I love this portion of her Disclaimer:  "Ultimately, though, you bear the responsibility for your own food and safety practices."  Overall, that is true for any food activity we participate in and is something we really need to be thoughtful about. If you are concerned about what is in your food and how it is prepared, then this book may really fit the bill for you.

If you are looking for a way to preserve your food more from a 'ground up' approach, you should consider "The Organic Canner".  As of this writing, the price is $16.75 on Amazon.  You most likely will spend more than that going out for dinner and a movie!

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