Print the recipe card! potato soup – soup in a jar
It’s “Soup in a Bag” week!! You’ll remember our search for reviewers of the book “Soup in a Bag” by Pam Emick back in April. Well, they’ve now tested it out for us, testing a total of 14 recipes! They did a fabulous job!! Also, thanks to the book’s author for allowing us to share each tester’s favorite here.
Without further ado, here’s our first reviewer, Julene (you’ll find the other reviews posted on Wed. and Fri). Julene is also the author of Prepare Today Newsletter. You can pay her a visit there to find out more of her tips and favorites on the subject of food storage and preparedness!
Being the mother of 5 I am always on the lookout for quick new ways to serve warm meals to my family. I am also a preparedness junkie and when the book “Soup In A Bag” was offered to me to sample, I was ecstatic! This book is not just for preparedness minded folks, it is a concept that will save so many families time and money in the kitchen. In a day and age where fast food is mainstream this book will help those who want good, hearty, and healthy fast food for their families.
While looking through the book I noticed right away were the colored photos. I learn so much more when I have a photo to compare to. The section on dehydrating was especially loaded with pictures that I knew exactly how my results should look. The instructions for each recipe were in a simple step-by-step form and were easy to follow. And the ingredients listed were common pantry items that I had already stored, so making these recipes required little to no extra shopping for me. After choosing the recipes that I wanted to make I found it so easy to tailor each recipe to my family’s tastes. I swapped out ham for bacon tvp in the Potato Cheese soup mix and I also used tvp in place of real meat to meat the needs of a vegetarian in the family.
The section that really impressed me was the dehydrating section at the front of the book. Even though the author recommended purchasing a separate book on dehydrating, I found the instructions and images provided enough details for even a beginner to follow. I referred to this section quite a bit when I was dehydrating my ingredients. For me personally, I felt that some of the dehydrating wasn’t necessary if I were to store the mixes for use as a dinner in my home. Dehydrating canned goods, such as rice and tomatoes, are a great way to have a complete meal when camping, traveling, or in 72-hour kits, but for making a quick meal at home I will store the mix without the dehydrated rice and tomatoes. Opening a can and adding it to the soup while it’s cooking will save me the step of dehydrating them.
My family and I cooked up four soups from the book. And before I review them I must state that the taste of the final product will vary greatly depending on what company you purchase certain canned items from. Powdered cheese and milks will taste very different from different retailers and I don’t want someone to shy away from these recipes just because they have tried a powdered cheese and it wasn’t very good. I would suggest trying several different retailers until you find a quality product that you enjoy. I also sealed my soups in canning jars instead of mylar bags because that is what I had on hand. I sealed the jars using my foodsaver.
Potato Cheese Soup pg. 43 (rated #1 in my family)
Out of the four soups that we tried, this one was our favorite. My daughter said it tasted just like the soup at our favorite restaurant! The recipe called for ham tvp but my family doesn’t care for the taste of ham and I substituted bacon tvp. This is a thick and hearty soup and I found I needed to add about 1 C extra water while I was cooking. But again, this soup was easy to prepare and so thick and creamy. I also noticed in step number 4 the water amount is missing from the directions. I figured it out by doing some simple math with the amount of water in the ingredient list, but it would be helpful to know how much water to add with baggie #2 into the pot.
Potato Cheese Soup
In Mylar bag:
1 oxygen absorber packet
1 1/2 cup dried potato chunks and/or slices
2 TBS dried onion
In baggie #1 inside Mylar bag:
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
6 cups water (2 boiling)
In baggie #2 inside Mylar bag:
1 1/2 cup potato flakes
1/4 cup ham TVP, ground fine
1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. coarse ground pepper
2 TBS butter powder
1/2 cup + 1 TBS dehydrated cheese powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Open Mylar bag. Discard oxygen absorber packet. Pour potatoes and onions from Mylar bag into a medium sized bowl. Add 2 cups boiling water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes to allow water to be completely absorbed, stirring mid-way if necessary. Pour nonfat dry milk from baggie #1 into a bowl. Using a whisk, combine with 1 cup water until smooth. Set aside.
Open baggie #2. Pour dry seasoning mixture into a cooking pot. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid the cheese sticking to the bottom of the pot. Turn off the heat and add in the rehydrated potatoes/onions, stirring to combine. Cover. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until potatoes are tender.
Add dry milk mixture. Bring soup to a low boil, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and check seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if necessary. Serve hot.
Broccoli Cheddar Cream Soup pg. 113 (rated #2 in my family)
This was the only soup that I didn’t make up in a jar before cooking. I needed a quick soup as a side dish for dinner one night and I had all the ingredients to make it and it ended up on the table that night. This soup was very simple to make and took very little prep work. I pureed the soup for a creamier finish and we all thought it was a keeper. I used freeze-dried broccoli and it didn’t need to reconstitute as long as the dehydrated broccoli, so this soup came together quite quick. This is a recipe where the cheese powder will make or break the end results. I used Honeyville Grain’s cheese powder and we were very pleased with the soup.
Spanish Rice Soup pg. 72 (rated #3 in my family)
This soup is perfect for those spring days when the weather is in between warm and cold. It isn’t as thick and creamy as the other two soups that I made but it had plenty of rice and beef tvp to satisfy the kids, and it went really well with rolls. I substituted the ground beef for beef tvp and it worked really well. The flavors blended nicely and I really appreciated the flavor combination in a dried soup mix. This soup tastes like you made it from scratch with fresh ingredients. I found the information on dehydrating the rice and canned tomatoes in the front of the book very helpful for this recipe, but I will use the canned version the next I prepare this soup. If I were to store this soup for our 72-hour kits I would dehydrate them and add them to the mix. We rated this as our third favorite soup.
Carrot Yam Soup pg. 40 (rated #4 in my family)
This is the very first soup in the book and is was also the first recipe I wanted to try. Don’t let the rating of 4th place sway you from cooking this soup. I really enjoyed it, but I feel it was too sophisticated for my 5 children. They ate it but it didn’t fill them up as a dinner soup. This would be a great soup for lunch or a light dinner. The flavors were interesting in a good way and it was exciting to me that I could have such a fun soup in my food storage.
The options are limitless that you could put together with this concept. Each and every family could individualize the recipe to fit to their tastes. The directions and pictures make this book stand out from others, but for the price of $28 I would like to see a spiral bound book, for ease in the kitchen while cooking, and not a paper back book. The price seems quite high for a paper back book. But for the information and the idea of having meals ready to go for busy nights, new moms, shower gifts, college students, etc. I feel this is a smart purchase to make.