Are you wondering how to cook with your food storage — you know, all those freeze-dried, dehydrated, bottled and canned foods you have — and how to integrate them into your daily menus.
Whether you are well into food storage or just starting out, this may be an unanswered question for you.
You may soon realize that "cooking from scratch" is required in order to use the beans, canned vegetables, pasta, rice, dried sauces, dehydrated or freeze dried butter, cheese, or eggs.
There are many reasons for cooking from scratch, not the least of which is the cost savings.
It's much cheaper to whip up dinner from your freezer or pantry supplies than to purchase pre-packaged food (like Hamburger Helper).
Most casseroles and stews can easily be prepared from your own canned, frozen, or freeze dried foods.
Those that are a bit more difficult or time consuming are, for instance, sauces, breads, cookies, cakes, pies, homemade pastas or tortillas.
For Christmas last year, I used several freeze-dried products to make a casserole, hot chocolate mix, and spice combinations (pictured). I used canning bottles and sealed them with my FoodSaver bottle attachment (except for the spices). It was a great way to introduce the benefits of freeze dried food to my adult children and families.
You can substitute food storage ingredients in nearly any recipe you like. So let's talk about the typical food storage ingredients and how to use them.
I thought it would be more fun to share with you how I use my food storage items in some of my everyday recipes so you can see how easy it is to use your food storage.
Experiment with your own recipes, or purchase a good food storage book or two to give you more ideas. (See side panel.)
Powdered eggs can be substituted in any recipe and can be purchased in #10 cans or pouches.
Mix powdered eggs with water. Put butter in a hot pan and add egg mixture, swirling around in the pan. Cook until set and then flip over carefully.
At this point, add re-hydrated freeze-dried cheese, re-hydrated mushrooms, or any other ingredients that you like in your omelet. Fold the omelet in half. Slide omelet from pan onto a plate.
Makes 4 servings
Freeze-dried cheese comes in Cheddar, Mozzarella, or a Cheese Sauce Blend.
I've provided this broccoli-cheese soup recipe because it has so many different foods that you can use from your storage — and, because it's so easy and quick to make.
In a large pot, heat water until hot and then add potatoes, stirring briskly. Turn heat down to medium and add the onions, chicken bouillon, parsley and cheese, mixing well. Add the broccoli with the water and stir in. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Correct consistency with more water and seasonings if necessary. Sprinkle with sprouts if you have them. (See Growing Sprouts for easy fresh vegetables)
Makes 4-6 servings.
Butter powder is a dehydrated butter that can be easily substituted for real butter in any of your favorite recipes. While it's difficult to use powdered butter for spreading, it's easy to use in any recipe that calls for butter. Don't even try to make it into a solid stick of butter — this butter will not set up, even if refrigerated, to behave like a cold stick of butter. So try it baking cookies or cake.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together (consistency may be different than real butter). In a small bowl, whisk dry eggs with water. Add egg mixture and vanilla to butter and sugars. In another bowl, mix flour, oatmeal, oat bran, salt, baking soda, baking powder, chocolate ships and pecans. Add the other ingredients. Mix well. Roll into small balls and flatten a little. Place on baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 375-degree oven. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.
Usually when we think of using our wheat storage, we think of needing a wheat grinder and making bread — and that's a great way to plan on using the wheat you have tucked away. I love baking bread, but there are many other recipes containing flour where whole wheat flour can be substituted.
If your family is not thrilled with whole wheat bread, rolls, pancakes, etc., try making brownies, carrot cake, cookies, chocolate cake — anything that contains chocolate, fruit, molasses, or brown sugar to disguise the wheat taste. Doesn't everything taste better with chocolate on it? :^) (P.S. White whole wheat flour looks just like all purpose white flour and has all the nutritional value of regular whole wheat.)
Freeze Dried Meats, Vegetables, and Fruits can be incorporated into any recipe. Or use entreés that are an entire meal when you are in a hurry, going camping, or save them for a rainy day. (Read my review of freeze-dried foods here.)
Using freeze dried foods in recipes is a huge time saver. Saves time with the vegetables and meats that are already chopped and ready to toss into your favorite soup. Fruits can be made into pies, cobblers, or just eat them as snacks. Yes, they're that good right out of the can.
It just depends on your lifestyle whether you use your storage of freeze dried foods daily or save them for an occasional emergency or long term in a crisis.
But it's very difficult to use them in your daily menus if you don't have them. So check out the sales — there is ALWAYS something on sale . . . seriously!