Food Storage Auditions- Black Bean Burgers and Chicken Salad

Last week, we auditioned two more potential 3 month food storage candidates. 

First we tried the Black Bean Burgers from the excellent Safely Gathered In blog:

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Before we proceed with the results of the audition, I want to add my standard disclaimer to this as well as any and all types of “veggie” burger.  If you are expecting it to have the texture and taste of a ground beef burger, you will always, always be disappointed. If you are expecting a delicious grilled sandwich- you may be suprised that you like it in spite of the missing meat.

So- back to this recipe.  It was excellent- one of the best bean burger recipies we’ve tried (and one of the easiest).  We did almost double the amount of salsa called for in the recipe, and we added about a 1/4 or 1/2 coup of corn (about 1/3 of a can). 

They cooked up nicely on the stovetop, too- crispyish on the outside and mushy (creamy?) on the inside.  We served them with melted cheddar, salsa, tomatos and lettuce.  Kid rating was a double-thumbs-up- Birdy ate her whole sandwich (which is the ultimate kid test). 

My only issue is that I wonder about the suitibility for “shelf storage” since it relies on buns (which, technically I could make- you know, if they have a “hamburger bun” recipe for the bread machine).  However, I think for the practical purposes of the 3 month supply, it gets a “pass”.

On Saturday we went to the zoo.  We have a new commitment to NOT eating out, so we decided it was a perfect opportunity to bust out the Chicken Salad  recipe (also from Safely Gathered In) and give it a try (Pic from Safely Gathered In- not mine):

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I only became a Chicken Salad sandwich fan recently, and have been pretty committed to a great recipe that my sister  found on one of my favorite recipe sites, Allrecipes.com.  It is awesome, but definately not food-storage friendly.

We really enjoyed this chicken salad. The canned chicken suprised us again by being really good. The craisins gave it a great shelf-stable sweetness and the toasted almonds provided the crunch. Our only complaint was that it seemed a bit dry and we had to add a good 1 1/2 extra tablespoons of mayo.  The girls also thought it was great and ate up their whole sandwiches while watching the rhinos.

So now our total is up to 4 recipes and we have started shopping and collecting ingredients.  I’m curious, readers, shall I continue these reviews? Are you interested? Do you care? Do you want me to just send you our final list/recipes?

Let me know in the comments!~

April 23, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Food Storage Auditions- Coconut Curry Chicken and Garbanzo Bean Soup

In order to build our list of 15 dinners to help us on our goal of having a 3 month supply of food we actually eat, we decided to “audition” 2 recipes a week for the next little while.

The first one we tried was Coconut Curry Chicken and rice courtesy of  Safely Gathered In

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 This one was a total winner.  It was our first time ever using canned chicken in any way, and we were suprised at how good it was, and how the texture worked with this recipe. The sauce turned out kind of salty, but it was OK when you mixed it with the rice. I think the saltiness could have been the cheap-ish spice mixes we used- we’ll have to try another. 

I think the “eatability” of this dish outweighs the fact that coconut milk is kind of expensive and it uses some “uncommon” spices that, from a food-storage perspective, will likely only be used for this recipe (vs garlic, rosemary or other more universal stuff). But one bottle of each of the spices will likely see us through the 6 times we are planning to make it.  Since we were “rotating” (internet food storage blog speak for just making something to use up your supply, I’ve learned) we added peas and the sweetness, color and texture really made this extra-yummy and added some more veggie power.  This one also got a high “kid rating”. EJ gobbled it up and asked for seconds (something she never does).  Birdy was just ticked that I “sprinkled” her rice and “ruined” it so it is hard to say what she would have thought if she had decided to try it.

Next we made the Pasta and Garbanzo Bean soup, also from Safely Gathered In

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This one is probably a keeper, but less of a slam dunk than the Coconut Curry Chicken.  since we were “rotating” and I love to add veggie power wherever I can, we dumped a bag of frozen peas and carrots in and it turned out nicely.

It was nice to have the convenience of a crock-pot recipe, and the taste was awesome, but I think before we add this to the “keeper” pile, we’ll make a few changes.  First, the texture wasn’t that great- part of that was our fault because the garbanzo beans were undercooked- but I think that the water-to-stuff-that-soaks-up-water is low- the soup was thick the day we made it, and the next day it was about the texture of refried beans.  Not really the best, but we added some water and that made it work again.

I think I’d like to try this one again and substitute lentils or barley for the orzo- just to give it more of a nutritional boost.  I think we’ll also try canned garbanzo beans- I think they will make for a better and less grainy texture.  So I think after one more try, this one will be a keeper because the taste really is great!  The “kid” rating on this one was also high- EJ asked if we could “eat it every day” and Birdy ate most of her bowl- unheard of for soup.

So we basically have 2 down, and 13 to go!  I’d love any recipes you might have that are “shelf stable” or easily adapted. We are focusing on main dinner dishes first, and then we’ll stock up on canned fruit and veggies and lunch and then we’ll probably work on breakfast stuff last. I think it would be fantastic to have a full 3 month supply- breakfast, lunch and dinner including sides- but I think it is more realistic to focus on small goals first 🙂

April 3, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Living Providently

Provident living makes me Happy!

Provident living makes me Happy!

DMP and I are trying to follow the Prophet’s counsel to be more prepared and live more providently. In addition to having aspirations on working on our 72 hr. kits (we have extra clothes and one of those ready-made things that has food, emergency blankets and etc). 

Our latest goal that we are actively working on is getting our 3 month supply squared away.  We live in a small townhome, so a year’s supply is just a pipe dream (but thanks to Dad, we have a lot of good staples).  However, we think that we can totally build up a 3 month supply of food we’d eat in the event of a lost job, flu epidemic, being lazy and unwilling to go to the grocery store- you get the idea.

The problem is that food storage totally mystifies me- particularly the “rotating” part. I’m just not talented enough to remeber and think up uses for powdered milk and wheat. We typically eat a LOT of fresh fruit and veggies with our meals, so stockpiling stuff we “typically” eat is really hard for me to wrap my head around.

I said a special prayer of thanks when I discovered a new blog- Just Organize Yourself.  Joy is seriously my new Mom-Hero.  You who know me well know I love to be organized and she is awesome and full of fantastic ideas.  Anyway- back to our three month supply… She recently posted about how she organizes her three-month supply and it was a total revelation to me. 

She has 15 meals that can be made entirely from “pantry foods” – i.e. canned and packaged stuff with a long-ish shelf life.  She then buys ingredients in multiples of six and viola! you have a 3 month supply of dinners. This way, if you are a total “rotation” dork like me, you can rotate by meal, instead of by individual ingredients (but you could rotate ingredients, too).  Also, if you click through to the post above- you will see exactly why she is my mom-hero- look at the beautiful baskets in her storage room- all neat and in a row. It makes my heart happy 🙂

Joy was kind enough to share her recipies on her blog, and I’ve searched the internets for recipies that fit our family.  One fantastic resource I’ve found for recipies and all things “provident” is the Safely Gathered In blog- there are tons of recipies, food storage and emergency kit ideas and inspiration.

So now we are in the process of “auditioning” the recipes I’ve gathered. I figure if we are going to rotate (and possibly live off of) these things, we should at least like them enough to eat them 6 times in 3 months (!!! we hardly ever make the same recipe more than once in 6 months so that would be strange).  So expect a blog soon featuring the first two auditions- Coconut Curry Chicken and Rice and Pasta and Garbanzo Bean Soup!

April 2, 2009. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.