Sunday, February 22, 2009

Homemade Granola

Came across this homemade granola recipe at Made a couple batches last night and it turned out great.

Homemade Granola:

1 c. sliced almonds (you could use any nut you prefer-cashews, walnuts, pecans, etc.)
5 c. oats (quick or old fashioned)
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. raisins
1/4 c. sesame seeds (optional)
1/4 c. sunflower seeds (optional)
1/2 c. flaxseed (optional--good for you and gives it a nice crunch)
1/2 c. REAL maple syrup (the cheapest place to buy it is at Costco--it is kind of expensive, but well worth it-yum! It will last for a long time, so don't worry about not using it all)
1/2 c. honey
1/3 c. canola oil

Mix ingredients all together until all ingredients are covered in the honey, maple syrup and oil. If you need to add a little more honey you can do that. You don't want it very sticky, just enough to keep the granola together. Place granola on a baking sheet (don't spray) and put in the oven at 150-170 degrees and bake for 1-2 hours (or until COMPLETELY dry and crunchy). Every 30-40 minutes take the granola out of the oven and stir around to make sure all of the granola is evenly cooked. You can also put the granola in a dehydrator for 3-4 hours on medium heat until dry. By not cooking the granola at a high temperature you are keeping all of the nutrients and healthy enzymes in tact--it is the healthiest way to eat your grains. Let granola cool and then store in ziploc bags, Tupperwares or canisters. Will last for several months in your pantry (as long as it is completely dry).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dry Pack Canning w/ Photos

LDS Cannery: The LDS Cannery is a great place to dry pack commodities. The new facility in Springville is a walk-in facility with no appointment necessary. Other facilities may require an appointment, so call first. Each facility has everything you need to dry pack: bulk products, cans, lids, oxygen packets, labels, and boxes. From my experience, it is best to work in groups of at least 2-4 so that the process moves more quickly. It is ideal to use the LDS cannery facility if you don't want the mess at home, you live close by, and your schedule is flexible. Be advised that you cannot buy commodities elsewhere and then bring them into the cannery.

Dry Pack at Home: Did you know that the LDS Cannery has dry pack canners that can be scheduled for home use? You can schedule the canner for about 3-4 days and have the flexibility of canning at home. Dry packing at home is ideal if you'd like have your kids help, if your schedule conflicts with the dry pack facility hours, if you'd like to do a little at a time over several days, or if you have product at home that the LDS cannery is currently out of.

Photos: Here are some pictures of our latest dry packing experience, done at home:

Step 1: If you want to dry pack at home, you need to prepare by buying commodities in bulk. Prices are great at the LDS cannery, but you might find cheaper product elsewhere. Gather the items ahead of time. Be advised that not every commodity is suitable for long-term storage due to high water content or oily components.

Step 2: Estimate how many cans you'll need, which is based on the pounds of product you have. Here are some estimates to guide you in your planning:

Wheat, rice, sugar: 4 cans per 25 pounds
Beans: 5 cans per 25 pounds
see a complete list here

Step 3:
Buy your #10-sized cans & other supplies from the LDS Cannery. Don't forget the metal lids, oxygen packets, labels, and boxes. You will need one oxygen packet for every can, except those cans that contain sugar (it turns the sugar rock hard). Six cans fit into a box (called a case). The LDS Cannery gives out free labels. Get one for every can and one for every box (that way each case is labeled on the outside).

TIP: Spend the time to calculate before you go to the cannery. That way you'll know exactly what you need and how much.

Step 4: The canner weighs about 40 pounds, so two people should lift it. I got it out of the tub on my own, but it was a battle. It is secured to the countertop with two C-clamps. Use a double-folded towel to prevent damage to the countertop.

Step 5: Fill the cans within 1/4 inch from the top (we topped these cans off later). You don't want to leave the oxygen packs out too long because they are activated after about 30 minutes. So, get the cans all ready for sealing and put the oxygen pack in at the last minute (remember, no oxygen packs for sugar!)

Step 6: Seal and label each can. I let kids help fill the cans, but an adult should use the machine.

Step 7: Label the box with a product sticker, the number of cans in the box, and the year. If you have a case with, for example, 3 wheat cans and 3 sugar cans in it, use a sticker for each product. That way you'll know how many of each you have in the box.

Tip: if you decide ahead of time where and how your boxes will be stored, you can put the label in the correct spot. It helps!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Slow Cooker Italian Beef

Slow Cooker Italian Beef

I made this meal this afternoon and it was fabulous.

Slow Cooker Italian Beef for Sandwiches

1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix (such as Good Seasons brand)
1 (5 pound) chuck roast (my roast was only 3.5 lbs)

Combine water and beef broth with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salad dressing mix. Whisk to combine.Place roast in slow cooker, and pour salad dressing mixture over the meat. Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4 to 5 hours. When done, remove bay leaf, and shred meat with a fork (I did this step about 45 minutes before eating so the shredded meat had time to absorb more of the juices in the crockpot). Serve on crusty rolls with cheese, if desired.

Mandarin Chicken

Last night I made this recipe and it turned out great. Thought I would pass it along.

Mandarin Chicken

6 chicken breasts
½ c. flour
Salt & pepper
Garlic salt
4 eggs
½ c. water with 1 chicken bouillon cube (I use chicken base)
¼ c. ketchup
1 Tb Worcestershire sauce
¾ c. sugar
½ c. vinegar
Mandarin oranges
Slivered almonds

Mix flour with a little salt and pepper and garlic salt. Put in paper bag. Beat eggs; dip chicken in eggs then in flour. Brown on both sides. Put in dripper pan. Mix chicken bouillon, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil and pour over chicken. Bake uncovered at 350° for 1 hour. Spoon sauce during cooking. When done put chicken on platter and put Mandarin oranges and almonds over top of chicken then pour sauce over the whole thing. Serve with some white or brown rice.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Three Month Supply of Dinners

Angie and I have both been working on menus for a three-month supply of everyday foods. The idea is to have on hand all the ingredients you would need to fully feed your family for at least 90 days. My first task was to plan dinners (then I'd do the same for breakfast and lunch).

Recipes: I've been collecting and trying different dinner recipes that are comprised of ingredients that are easily stored. I decided on 15 dinner recipes, with the idea that I'd cook each dinner 7 times. Yes, I know that 15 X 7 = 103 meals (I like to be extra prepared!) Basically I figured we'd eat the same thing twice a month.

Calculations: Next, I went through each of the 15 recipes and wrote down all the ingredients (including spices) and how much I'd need. Then I multiplied the amounts to figure how much I'd need of each ingredient if I were to make the recipe 7 times. Next I determined what I already had stored and what I need to buy.

Organization: I've decided to photocopy each of my 15 recipes and put them together in one binder along with the calculation/ingredient list.

Discoveries: What I learned was that I need a lot more of some items than I previously thought. For example, I'm short on chicken bullion, diced canned tomatoes, and chicken breasts. Calculating it out helped me to see that we use a lot of some items.

Limitations: The recipes I have chosen do require electricity for keeping the frozens frozen and fuel for cooking. I have considered modifying my list to include some menu items that are ready-made and could be used with little preparation should cooking be an issue. I'm still thinking that one through. Any ideas?

Dinner Ideas: Here is my list of 15 dinners. I picked these recipes because my family will eat them. I also selected these recipes because they use canned goods, grains, lean meats, and legumes. I'd like to hear your dinner ideas, too!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Taco Soup
Soft Tacos with Tortillas & refried beans
Chicken Noodle Soup
Cream of chicken soup mixed with veggies & Chicken over rice
Chicken pot pie
Hamburger Veggie Soup
Spaghetti with Alfredo Sauce
Chicken, Lentil, and Barley Soup
Shepherd's Pie
Chili with potatoes & peas
Beef Stew
Beef Barley Soup
White Chicken Chili

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tuna Melt

After Joanne read Angie's post about needing tuna recipes, she emailed me this one to share with everyone. And, this recipe doesn't call for mayo. Here it is:

I kind of just eyeball it....

2 cans tuna (white albacore tuna works the best, but you can use regular too)
1/2 can of olives minced
1/2 red onion minced
1-2 tsp of dried parsley
1-2 tsp of taragon
1-2 tsp of basil
capers (I usually don't put these in)
salt and pepper to taste
Juice from one lemon (bottled lemon juice works, but isn't quite as tasty)
Olive oil-- to moisten the mixture

Mix everything together. This is fantastic on toasted bread broiled with fresh tomato slices (my favorite) or cheese. Also, it s very good in pita pockets with lettuce. (We'll usually eat it hot for dinner, and have the leftovers cold for lunch the next day).

Trust me, hot tuna has NEVER sounded good to me. But when I learned of this recipe, I thought it was worth a shot. It is one of my favorites that I make quite often. Fresh herbs would make it even better, but I use dried, because that is what I have. (However I just planted my indoor herb we'll see in a couple of months if I don't have fresh herbs handy for this tasty meal.)

Plus-- I think it's a very attractive meal. It looks pretty fancy, but is so simple.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Freezer Woes

I think I have had second thoughts about freezing cream cheese. It looks a little nasty now that it has thawed out. I'll get back to you on this one.

I'm back with an update. I give the cream cheese a 10 on the Nasty Scale. Live and learn, right? I tried to save a buck by buying when it was on sale and now I am stuck with three more frozen hunks of cheese goo.