Chicken Barley Soup

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I’ve got some great “tried and taste tested” content coming up in the next two weeks!  It’s a little different than my “norm” recipe schedule, here there and everywhere (haha!) but I think you’ll like it.

First off, in my second post this week I’ll be posting a compilation of various grocery store ingredient taste tests.  Basically a directory of which brands (of which products) to consider more closely as you’re building your pantry.  This comes as I’ve been collecting this information for a while, trolling various published taste tests and adding up their results. My goal with this post has been to get a better picture of which brand’s products are worth stocking up on versus which ones aren’t.

Secondly, the “Soup in a Bag” reviews are back!!  With the detail in each tester’s trial, I’ve decided to post them each independently M-W-F of next week.  And, best of all, thanks to permission given from the book’s author, each post will include the tester’s favorite recipe for you to try yourself!  Awesome!!  Get ready to enjoy!

Speaking of soup, appropriately enough, swim team just started for my three oldest kids which means the water is freezing and I have kids coming home with blue lips and chattering teeth for the first few weeks.  So you can guess what’s on the menu a lot lately.  This homey soup is the food storage version of this recipe and went over well with everyone, even the five year old.

serves 6 -8 Read more

Truly Impossible Pie

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A friend of mine who reads the blog and is trying to put together a breakfast plan using her wonder oven, asked me last week about making an impossible pie in a wonder oven.  I thought it was an interesting twist and got to thinking about it.  Well, I’m so glad she asked because now I’m totally in love with this recipe!!  So, what’s an impossible pie, you ask? Children of the 70’s (and their mothers) should remember this Bisquick creation, where Bisquick was poured over top of an egg batter layered with vegetables, meat and cheese and baked.   It’s impossibility was that you got a “crust” without rolling out pie dough.  The result was a quiche that was fast and easy to fix.

Well, if ever there was an impossible pie, I’d give that title instead to this variation!  If you’d asked me even a year ago, I never in a million years would have thought this to be a possibility as a food storage recipe.  Thanks to discovering Honeyville’s OvaEasy Eggs, now it is.  And beyond that, it utilizes the heat retentive cooking of a wonder oven, which makes it a breakfast possibility even if the power is out.  You see, you can’t bake anything — for breakfast— if the power is out.  The sun isn’t out to heat your sun oven so you’re options are limited to cooking over a stovetop of some kind.  Not that hot cereal isn’t great, but it gets old like everything else.

This recipe exemplifies the idea that in using a wonder oven your pot and lid act as a “mini-oven”, just as in making bread, where you can still bake using just a minimal amount of stove top fuel if the power is out. Read more

Homemade Hamburger Helper: 9 varieties

Print any of the hamburger helper recipe cards!  

salisbury       potato stroganoff      cheesy jambalaya           

cheesy italian shells        cheesy beef taco       

cheeseburger macaroni      lasagna

beef stroganoff        chili mac

We’re all looking for an easy way to get dinner on the table.  Most nights we’d like it to be without too much thought and without having to worry whether the family is going to eat what we make.  Betty Crocker and other manufacturers have made a killing on the idea of “dinner in a box” albeit with the price of preservatives, colorings and chemicals added in.  Enter Suzanne McMinn.  This gal heads up the site “Chickens in the Road” and she’s figured out a number of the Hamburger Helper boxed dinners for us, allowing us to enjoy the convenience we want minus the additives we don’t.

Now I have to be honest, I’ve never bought Hamburger Helper and only learned about this website and recipe idea from a reader who asked for a food storage version of it.  But I’m so glad she did!  And can we say “pantry meal time”??  I love it when I see people naturally coming up with the same idea.  Ready packed meals make sense whether you’re using them day to day or to have on hand in case of emergency, whether the emergency be immediate –to have ready to grab and go with your 72 hour kit– or longer term.

Thanks to Suzanne doing the hard work,  I’ve done the much easier part of translating them to food storage.  And btw, there are all kinds of additions you can make to these recipes, I’d suggest visiting Suzanne’s original blog post for more ideas on that.  Also, all of the recipes call for 1 lb. ground beef (or about 2 cups cooked), so if you’re using fresh ground beef (or hamburger from the freezer) that’s the amount you’d need.

Each recipe serves 4-6

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Easy Hamburger Soup

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A simple to prepare yet hearty soup that easily adapts with food storage ingredients.  As an everyday meal it’s a great “catch-all” for whatever extra veggies you have in the refrigerator to use up!  I like making this recipe in a large batch because we like the leftovers the next day but if it’s too large a recipe for your group you can easily cut it down by half.  Also, remember, you can replace the soup back into your wonder oven after serving if you’re wanting to keep it hot!

Although it simmers for 45 minutes I’ve categorized it as a pantry meal for how simple the preparation is (plus, it easily “packs” as one).  Ten minutes –fifteen if you’re using freeze dried ingredients– and it’s on it’s way!

Serves 10-12

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Radio Show: Wonder Ovens!

Take a listen tomorrow, March 26th at 1pm CT (or any time afterward, it’ll be archived with the same link) where Joyce Pierce, host of the “All You Need to Know Show” with the Preparedness Radio Network, has invited me over to talk about Wonder Ovens!

We’ll be talking about making them, using them and why having one is so valuable as you’re getting your food storage preps together!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/doctorprepper/2013/03/26/all-you-need-to-know

A few post-script details from what was talked about…

  • To find a local supplier of the styrene beads, I called a national supplier of foam products, Insulfoam (1-800-228-4412), and asked where in my area they supplied “unexpanded polystyrene bead”.  From there I was given a local supplier, which (in my area) referred to them as “virgin beads”. 

**UPDATE:  You can now find the beads to buy online by visiting this retailer!  Visit {this post} for more information on this product.

  • Once you have the beads and the pattern ready you can follow the rest of the instructions easily by visiting the step by step instructions on the following two sites. We filled the pillows using 4 gallons of beads to fill the top and 6 gallons to fill the bottom.  This made a set of pillows “floppy” enough to fit in an 18 gallon bucket.  

www.Iwillprepare.com 

www.prepared-housewives.com

  • for those of you wondering what the styrene pellets look like and how big they’re “not”…here’s a picture of the size you’re looking for.

Polystyrene beads

  • Due to the difficulty we had in creating the pattern from the angles given online, if you’d like a paper pattern mailed I’m offering them for free.  (I’ll pull this offer from the post if it becomes too much to keep up with.)  Just send me an email to request one with your mailing address if interested.  My email address is myfoodstoragecookbook@hotmail.com. 

Mexican Tortilla Lasagna

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Many crock pot recipes work well in a wonder oven and this former crock pot recipe does exactly that.  It follows the same idea as Wonder Oven Lasagna that I posted a year ago, if any of you remember.   Also, if you don’t have a wonder oven, don’t worry, it can still be baked (the changes are in the notes section).

Again, this is a meal that takes longer to make due to the homemade tortillas (which in timing it, this step took an extra 30 min.) but the reward is that you end up with a family friendly meal that doesn’t taste like food storage. Read more

Curried Coconut Chicken

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This is a fantastic recipe!  It’s easy to make (since most of it’s ingredients are shelf stable in the first place) so it works as a food storage meal without a problem.   It was adapted from this Curried Coconut Chicken recipe from Allrecipes.

Due to it’s extended simmering time, it’s perfectly suited for cooking in a Wonder oven or thermal cooker.  On the other hand, it really isn’t reasonable to make (as far as fuel storage goes) without one.  Also, as a side note, we prefer the stewed tomatoes coarsely pureed rather than left in chunks, (that’s the way I’ve made it here) but you can make it any way you want to.

My husband, usually not a fan of curry, is a fan of this recipe.  That fact alone is enough for me to believe that a majority of you out there will like it too.  Enjoy! Read more

Cajun Red Beans ‘n Rice

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If you’ve read much here on the blog, you know that one of the websites that inspired me most initially was Karen Wilkinson’s kneadfulthingsnow.com.  So I was alarmed to receive an email this week that one of my links to her website wasn’t responding.  I tried it myself and sure enough it wasn’t.  I’m trying to contact Karen to see if I can find out where her site has gone, but in the meantime this brings me to share a word with you about the worth of recipes and the frailty of the internet.

It wasn’t all too long ago (my grandmother’s era) that recipes were guarded, prized and generally kept to oneself or strictly within a family.  There are some funny stories my grandmother used to tell about women in the town she grew up in who either outright refused to share certain recipes or gave out bogus “altered” ones to keep their true recipes safe.  Owning a copy of a good recipe was a big deal back then.

Today, we see the opposite: recipes are everywhere.  Good ones, bad ones, and everything in between.  This is great but with so much saturation we risk taking them for granted.  As far as emergency preparedness goes (in my opinion) a recipe that uses your preps, that your family will eat, could mean the difference between surviving and staring at a wall of food storage not knowing what to make.

Bottom line:  if there’s a recipe you think you might want to include in your food storage preps, don’t wait — get it printed out.  You can always toss it later but on the other hand, you might be really glad you’ve copied it; you just never know.  Remember, all the recipes here on the blog can be printed as a simple recipe card and are found at the top of each post.

Which brings us to our recipe, brought back to you from being “lost”… Read more

My $180 lesson

We all know the simplest ideas are usually the best.  Unfortunately, figuring out what’s simple (and best) isn’t always so simple.  After a long road, I’ve finally found the simplest, cheapest and best container for making bread in a Wonder Oven.   If you’ve already read the step by step “how to” of making bread in a wonder oven (over in this post), knowing this item is out there will save you a lot of hassle.  After all I’ve spent in both time and money figuring it out, it seemed worthy of a post to save others the same trouble. Read more