Are you looking for something to do with leftover squash seeds? Each year when I harvest the pumpkins and butternut, we end up with more than enough seeds to save, share, and trade with others.
Another idea to do with those seeds is to make toasted seeds to snack on. They are simple and easy, as well as tasty.
First, rinse the seeds well. Then strain them. I will remove all the large chunks of strings, but some of the thinner ones also are tasty when they are done toasting. I often leave a few of those behind. Once drained, allow them to air dry just a little, then drizzle with EVOO or melted butter. Just enough to lightly coat the seeds. I stress lightly because the batch I did in the photos had a bit too much oil on them. They WERE tasty, but very greasy! They wouldn't last long before the oils could go rancid.
Carefully stir the oil throughout to fully coat the seeds. Then sprinkle with a little sea salt.
Spread evenly on a cookie sheet that has a rim all the way around so the seeds don't slide off into the oven when you are place them in or removing them from the oven.
Place them into a 300 degree F preheated oven, on the middle rack. Toast the seeds until crisp and lightly browned. This could take from 20-45 minutes depending on dampness of seeds. Be careful to stir them every 10-15 minutes to toast evenly.
Allow to cool, and store in a cool dry place for up to 6 weeks.
These seeds are NOT good snacking for children or those with an inability to chew fully. Best for adults only. Not all seeds are safe for consumption. We only use pumpkin and butternut seeds.
Roasted vegetables are one of the easiest side dishes to make. They are simple enough to make for one, two, three or more people. It is one of the recipes I wish that I had known about back when I was trying to teach my mom how to cook for one after dad had died.
What you need is simple, too. Raw vegetables such as carrots, turnips, onion, asparagus, whole green beans, cherry tomatoes, pepper slices or chunks, and of course the traditional potato. These are available in every variety you can imagine from dark blue or purple, to red, and yellow potatoes. If you are a traditionalist a simple bag of regular potatoes will do.
I find that carrots roast better when they are on the larger size, while all the others are much more flexible. However, I will mention here that asparagus is much better roasted when it is on the smaller size, plus asparagus and the green beans do not take as long as some of the root vegetables might.
You will need your favorite oil - we prefer EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). However, melted butter does also impart a WONDERFUL flavor as well. But it does tend to scorch a bit at the higher temperatures.
Salt, pepper, and herbs of every variety, including herb blends like Italian seasoning, Garam Masala, or even Cajun seasoning blends work wonderful.
Next you will wash all your produce. Enough for a serving size for each person. For the two of us, I would use about 3-4 carrots per person, or 6-8 large carrots.
I don't peel the vegetables, except for turnips and, of course, onions. Slice the carrots on the diagonal to make bite sized slices, about 1/4 inch thick. For other root vegetables, potatoes, turnips and onions, for example, Slice about 1/4 inch thick slices. If necessary with the turnips and potatoes, cut the slices into thirds or quarters, for bite sized pieces. Smaller potatoes are very nice to use for this because you can just cut them into slices.
Toss the vegetable slices into a bowl deep enough to toss them with oil and herbs. Drizzle with oil of choice, just enough to coat the veggies. Gently toss them to coat evenly. Then sprinkle with spices and herbs.
I like to choose an herbal mix that matches our meal for the evening. Having a curry? Use a Garam masala spice or Harissa mix. Seafood? Make some "crab" veggies by tossing with some Old Bay Seasoning. These ARE Kosher, too, because there is NO seafood in the Old Bay. Tonight we are having Cajun Stuffed Chicken thighs and some cajun rice. If I were making roasted veggies tonight I would either use the Cajun spice mix, OR for a little variety, simply some garlic and paprika. Use your imagination - especially if you are planning to use these roasted vegetables as a nice afternoon snack.
Next, evenly spread the veggie slices onto a baking sheet with a low side. You don't want the oils to drip down into your oven and cause the smoke alarms to go off!! Place the baking sheet into a 400 to 425 degree PREHEATED oven (I prefer 425), on either the top rack or the second one down. This may depend on how close your heating elements are to the top rack setting. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned.
Serve immediately. And Enjoy!
Fresh vegetables of choice (carrots, turnips, onion, asparagus, whole green beans, cherry tomatoes, pepper slices or chunks, and of course the traditional potato)
Herbs and Spices
Oil of choice (EVOO, Avocado oil, etc.)
Wash produce. Cut into servings size pieces (asparagus into spears, green beans trimmed ends, peppers into long-wise slices or chunks, 1/4 inch slices of root veggies). Place pieces into bowl large enough to toss. Drizzle with oil, toss. Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper and toss. Spread onto baking sheet, and bake 400-425 for 15-25 minutes, until cooked and lightly browned. Serve hot! Enjoy.
Homemade Pasta Dough
2 Cups whole wheat flour
2 Eggs, room temperature
Pinch of salt
Enough water to make a soft dough, not too sticky.
Place flour in a bowl and make a dimple in the middle of the flour. With a fork, mix the eggs well in the dimple, drawing a little flour in at a time. As the flour starts to get mixed in, add a little water at a time until the flour is all mixed in, and the dough is soft, but not sticky.
CAUTION: When using whole wheat flour to make whole wheat pasta, be careful to only mix until ingredients are mixed together. Do not knead! This releases too much gluten and may make the pasta tougher.
This dough can be used for making all types of pasta. “Amish Pot Pie Noodles” are great from this simple dough as are homemade egg noodles for soups. We also use this dough for making homemade ravioli.
It may be hand rolled with a rolling pin or through a pasta machine. I prefer a pasta machine as it gets the dough much thinner and smoother than I have ever been able to accomplish with a rolling pin!
NOTE: For homemade ravioli you will need a batch of Farm Cheese, too. It makes the filling wonderful! We mix ours with steamd and well-drained spinach, a pinch of sea salt and pressed garlic to taste. We add a lot because we LOVE garlic!
This Banana Bread recipe has evolved over the years from loaf after loaf coming out a bit flat or too heavy. It is easily made with regular flour or with a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour.
Hope you enjoy this tasty treat as much as we do!
Banana Nut Bread - Regular or Gluten-free
2/3 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup oil (We use EVOO)
2 Large eggs
2 Tbsp milk
1 Cup mashed, very ripe bananas (about 5 regular sized, or 4 large)
1 3/4 Cups flour (may use equal portions of cup-for-cup gluten free)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 Cup chopped nuts
In mixer bowl, beat sugar and oil with electric mixer or wire whisk, mix until light and fluffy. Add eggs and milk, then mix well. In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients. To mixer bowl add the flour mixture and mashed bananas intermittently, mix until combined. With spatula, fold in chopped nuts. Turn batter into prepared pan - lightly greased and, if desired, lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, then cool 15 minutes in the pan. Turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Cover and store.
NOTE: I find that it is much easier to cool the Gluten-free version on a plate, cutting board or other flat serving surface. It has broken easily when cooled on a wire rack.
That is what my husband said after he ate a piece of the pie I made from our fresh pumpkin. When someone pays you a compliment like that you just have to write down the recipe and make it your new favorite! This is how it all started:
For our fall feast this year, I found myself running short on eggs while at the same time wanting a delicious pumpkin pie for dessert. What to do? Experiment as usual! I figured that I have used chia seeds for so many other recipes as an egg substitute, why not try it for pumpkin pie? Worst case scenario, we would be eating the pie as custard with a spoon instead of as pie with a fork. Either way, it would be a win.
Using my traditional recipe, I decided my best idea might be to try something similar to a pumpkin chia seed pudding, baked in a pie shell. I whipped up my whole wheat pie crust, shaped it into my 11-inch stone casserole dish, and set to mixing up the filling.
Pastry for pie crust. (Use your favorite recipe)
NOTE: This recipe makes a nice, THICK 9-inch pie, but I used an 11-inch round stone casserole dish. If making a larger pie as I did, it tends to take a pie crust recipe that is one and a half times normal.
In a small bowl, mix well:
3 Tbsp ground Chia seeds
9 Tbsp water
Set aside for at least 15 minutes.
Place the following ingredients into a blender jar (if jar is large enough!!! Some are not), or large bowl,
4 Cups cooked pumpkin
12 ounces whole Milk
1 Cup Sugar
4-5 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
Mix together well, then add the chia seed mixture. Mix again thoroughly and pour into your prepared pie shell in the pie plate. Be careful not to overfill. If you have leftover liquid, you can pour it into a small baking dish and bake as a crust free pie, if desired. May also be frozen for later use. Keeps frozen up to three months.
Place pie in a preheated 425 oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 and bake for another hour. You may need to cover the pie crust edges with foil so that they do not over-brown of burn in baking. Pie may not be set as firm after baking as a regular pumpkin pie. In fact, the knife test normally used will not work with this pie. Bake until the filling is no longer runny, and is almost set. This may take a total baking time of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Allow to cool enough to place in the refirgerator. Refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight.
In our experience, this pie was the richest and creamiest pumpkin pie we have ever had. It was softer than normal, but after the 8 hours in the refrigerator, it was set enough to serve. The key was baking it until all the liquid was gone. It had a pleasant velvety texture, similar to a cheese cake.
Another variation I sometimes make with a pumpkin pie recipe is Maple Pumpkin PIe. It's simple as pie, made by adding 1-2 tsp of 100% genuine maple flavoring for a wonderful fall treat. Pour this into the blender as those ingredients are mixing. Bake as directed.
One of Jim's favorite types of rolls is the restaurant style Garlic Knots. We have learned to make them ourselves, now, at home with the sourdough bread recipe. This one is a tasty one to create to go with soups, Italian dishes, or just with eggs in the morning.
Garlic knots are simple - take 1/2 batch of the Sourdough Bread Recipe. Cut this into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, about 6 inches long. Tie it in a simple knot. Place each in a greased baking pan large enough to fit all 12 rolls while they rise. Cover with a warm, damp cloth and allow to rise 1-4 hours, until doubled in size.
I find that the pan needs to be sized just right - too small and they mold together into one blob, too large and each roll rises too wide, and not upward enough. There should be about 1/2 inch of space between each roll before rising so that they force each other upward as they rise.
Once risen, bake for 18+/- Minutes in a preheated 375 F oven. Immediately after removing from the oven, brush with olive oil that has a large number of crushed garlic cloves added to it. I like to crush the garlic into the oil before baking the rolls as it gives the oil a good chance to absorb the natural oils from the garlic. Serve hot.
NOTE: If you really LOVE garlic as much as we do, you can also add crushed garlic directly into the dough to up the garlic flavors! YUM!!! You can also use the full batch of dough and make enough to share, freeze or eat the next day.
Everyone seems to remember those sticky buns Gramma used to make or that cinnamon swirl bread the diner used to serve. Why not bake up some old memories with some delicious sourdough bread dough and introduce your children to a time honored tradition? Here are my two favorite recipes for making a batch of either. The nice thing about these taste treats is that they start out pretty much the same. It just depends on how it rolls!
Yield: 18-24 Sweet rolls
Prepared baking pan. 13X9X2
May also use two 9“ square pans or two 9 inch pie plates. I prefer pie plates because all my serving dishes are round and it is easier to tip out the completed rolls after baking.
1 batch of Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread dough
1 Tbsp cinnamon mixed with 3 Tbsp sugar (Sometimes we use a double batch of this for two loaves!)
In a small saucepan melt 1/2 Cup Butter, remove from heat and add
1 Cup Packed brown sugar, 1 cup chopped nuts (Pecans or Walnuts), mix well
Split between 2-9 inch square pans, 2-9 inch pie plates, or pour over the bottom of a 13X9X2 pan.
Taking freshly kneaded dough, cut it into two pieces. Set one aside. Taking the first batch, roll it out onto a floured counter into a large rectangle. Dampen the dough with a pastry brush and a thin brushing of warm water. Sprinkle with 1/2 the cinnamon sugar mix. starting on the LONG SIDE, roll the dough up evenly into a swirled roll of dough. Slice into 9-12 equal slices. Place each slice into the prepared pan.
Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Cover and let rise until doubled, approx 2-4 hours. When risen, preheat oven to 375 degrees F, place rolls into preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. BEING CAREFUL NOT TO FLING HOT STICKY GOO ONTO YOURSELF, place a serving dish over the pan and gently flip the pan over onto the serving dish. Allow the rolls to gently fall from the pan onto the dish, and the topping to drizzle over the hot rolls. Allow to cool for a few minutes more, serve warm. Or cool, for a few hours and serve room temperature. Either way - ENJOY!!!
NOTE: This recipe is great made with raisins in the center, too. Or even sprinkled with some pecans or walnuts on the inside and also in the caramel topping. Some people enjoy adding powdered sugar icing on top, but we are not that into such high sugary sweets, so we only use the caramel topping.
CINNAMON SWIRL BREAD
Grease two bread pans. Set aside
Taking freshly kneaded dough, cut it into two pieces. Set one aside. Taking the first batch, roll it out onto a floured counter into a large rectangle. Dampen the dough with a pastry brush and a thin brushing of warm water. Sprinkle with 1/2 the cinnamon sugar mix. Starting From the SHORT SIDE, roll up the dough into a loaf, pinch the two ends shut so that the sugary center does not ooze out during baking and burn to the pan. Place the loaf, seam side down, into a prepared baking pan that has been greased.
Allow to rise until doubled, 4-8 hours, then bake for 45 minutes in a preheated 375 degree F oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides of the bread from the pan, flip onto a serving dish. Allow to cool fully and slice. Serve with or without powder sugar icing.
NOTE: I like to brush ours with olive oil right after removing from the oven and I place something over the top of loaf to keep the steam in. It seems to make for a more moist loaf for us. You may or may not need to do this.
This recipe uses our Whole Wheat Sourdough dough and provides one more addition to the family menu planning to utilize a basic recipe, from basic ingredients. We find that for our tastes, we tend to like to use about 2/3 - 3/4 of a batch of dough for pizza crust. This gives a nice, fluffy thick crust pizza.
Mix your dough according to the main recipe, found here.
Before shaping dough into your desired pizza crust, grease one or two pizza pans, depending on desired thickness of crust.
Whether making pizza crust or the focaccia, you can take a few minutes here to knead in some garlic and herbs, OR if you were on top of things, you already did that when you first made your batch of dough. It IS much easier to add those ingredients earlier with one of the additions of flour before kneading takes place.
Roll out dough to the appropriate size ON THE PAN. It makes it easier than trying to transfer!
Brush the crust with olive oil, if desired, cover and allow to rise until doubled. 2-6 hours depending on room temperature. Before baking, brush with olive oil and garlic. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven but do not turn off the oven. Spread the crust with pizza sauce, sprinkle with toppings, replace in the hot oven and continue to bake for approx 10-15 more minutes until baked through and toppings are hot, cheese melted. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve!
Once the dough is rolled onto the pan(s), using your fingertips, poke down into the dough at intervals to make “dimples” to allow the dough to cook more evenly throughout. Cover and allow to rise 1-4 hours. You DON’T want it to rise until fully doubled or it may puff up, or be too thick. When risen, brush generously with olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and parmesan or romano cheeses, bake in 425 oven for approx 15 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to rest 5 minutes, slice and serve!
Focaccia goes great with soups, pasta dishes, or just as an appetizer served with some marinara or other dipping sauces on the side
We often get recipe requests for normal everyday items that you used to buy at the store, but that people might like to learn to make at home. If you have perused our recipes already, you can see we have one recipe for prepper mayonnaise posted that uses freeze dried eggs. It is my all time favorite mayo recipe as it is the closest to how I remember mayonnaise from when I was a child. The store bought jars these days just are not what they used to be. With the various changes to increase shelf life and to remove certain fats from the American diet, it just doesn’t taste the same. The other problem people mention are the strange thickeners that are now added that weren't there 30 years ago.
There are times, though, when families need an egg free solution, for whatever reason. Whether health issues or you ran out of powdered eggs, having an alternative may be something you would like to keep tucked away.
We don't have health issues, so my dilemma was running out of powdered eggs and wanting to whip up a batch to go with sandwiches for the Sabbath. I perused the internet and could not find a recipe that used the only ingredients I happened to have on hand. Suddenly I found myself in a pickle, with no condiments!
Through reading and studying various recipes, I was able to piece together a basic idea of the process for making a batch of vegan mayonnaise. Then I went through the pantry to piece together what I might have to experiment with. Off I went to create. I had just a few goals in mind: Must taste yummy, no weird textures, the consistency of mayo, use as few ingredients as possible, and ALL from my food storage! No grocery runs allowed.
What you are seeing here is a recipe tried and true many times, plus one failure! Not to worry, though. I also provide at least one solution that may help fix yours if it turns out too runny.
As time goes on, I will edit and add to this recipe as I find ways to make it better. I also welcome your input! Have you tried a vegan recipe? Any suggestions on how to make it taste the way your family enjoys? Send us a message.
Homemade No-Egg Mayonnaise - Vegan
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp finely ground flax seed
1 to 1 1/4 Cups oil (I have used olive oil alone or in combination with other oils such as avocado or sunflower)
1 1/2 Tbsp Vinegar
Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika to taste (Start with a dash of each)
pinch of sugar
Heat the water on the stove or in the microwave. Remove from heat and mix flax seed in. Allow to sit until reaches room temperature. Place in food processor or blender with 1 Tbsp oil, personally I prefer my stick blender. Whirl until blended well, and thick. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, ONLY ADD ONE NO MATTER HOW TEMPTED, and whirl until mixed well, and mayonnaise consistency. Add another 1 tbsp of oil and whirl until mixed. Continue to mix oil in ONLY 1 Tbsp at a time until 1 Cup is mixed in. If you would like a little softer consistency add the additional 1/4 cup of oil 1 Tbsp at a time. NOTE: Only mix in 1 Tbsp at a time. Any more tends to cause the recipe to fail!! Experience shows that failure can happen at any time during the mixing process if you add more than one Tbsp., OR if you don't whirl it enough.
Once it is mixed well and is the mayonnaise consistency, add the vinegar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika to taste. Add a pinch of sugar and make sure it is all well mixed for about 30 to 45 seconds. Chill and serve.
I have used this recipe to make chicken and egg salads and as a sandwich condiment. When mixed well, the flax seed is not even noticeable.
-- I rushed this recipe one day, and it failed horribly. It was just a runny, oily mess. I hated wasting what I had made, and thought about mixing up a soft dip with it. It just didn’t seem the right consistency for that either. While trying to figure out what to do, I decided to try to redo it with a new batch of flax and water to see if it would work. I re-mixed a new portion of 3 Tbsp boiled water and 1 Tbsp ground flax and let it cool. When cool, I whirled it with the stick blender again and slowly added the first batch of runny mayo to the new flax mixture, one tbsp at a time, mixing very well with the stick blender after each addition. I was surprised to see that it worked! I had mayonnaise! It didn’t seem any different than a normal recipe, which was a great relief. After this fix, I was able to use the mayonnaise as usual. Nice to know that it can be fixed in a pinch.
-- I have not tried doubling the recipe as yet. This would make an awful lot for the two of us, so we are waiting until we have to make and take a dish somewhere or have company where I need the added amount. Because of this we are unsure whether just doubling would work. I have learned though, that any changes to a mayonnaise recipe CAN make it fail horribly. Something to consider before attempting a double batch. Personally, if I need a larger amount, I may make two different batches.
-- Adding the additional spices will make it taste more like store bought mayonnaise. Over the years I have noticed that different brands may be a little stronger on one spice while lighter on another. You can adjust these all to taste. I have also added a pinch of mustard powder or a squirt of brown mustard after it is set properly. This makes the flavor even more like what I prefer. Experiment with these and enjoy!
Yield: Approx. 8-18 bagels, depending on size
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
1 batch of our Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread dough
Kosher salt or other toppings
Bagels are made similar to the pretzels and will need to be par-boiled before baking.
Taking your dough, divide into equal pieces. From one full batch of dough I generally get 12-24 bagels, depending on size. Take each piece, roll between the palms of your hands to get a nice ball shape. Take the ball, press one thumb into the center, going all the way through to form your hole. Stretch the bagel out a bit making the hole a decent size to allow for rising, while still leaving a hole.
Place each bagel on a greased cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal. Cover with a damp, warm cloth and allow to rise until doubled. About 1-2 hours, more if the room is chilly. After rising is complete, bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Place 3-4 bagels into the water and allow to pre-cook on one side for approx. 60 seconds. Flip the bagel for another 60 seconds. Remove with a strainer or slotted spoon to a baking rack. Allow to drip a minute or two while you place the next ones into the water. While the next round of bagels boils, take the drained bagels and move them to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with toppings, if desired. We like kosher salt. Do this with each small batch as they are removed and drained, until all bagels have been pre-cooked. Turn off the pot.
Place the baking sheet of bagels into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot, or allow to cool. Be careful when slicing!
This recipe is one of our favorites to make with the Traditional Whole Wheat Sourdough batch. It is quick and easy for the 'kitchen staff', while also an enjoyable taste treat for everyone!
Serve with your favorite pretzel toppings for snacks, or as a fun addition to the kids usual soup recipe. They also pack nicely in lunch boxes with some fresh fruits, veggies and dip for a nice "rounded" meal. Use your imagination and spice them up in different ways, too. Add fresh pressed garlic or finely diced onions, or one of our favorites: spice them up with some Cajun Spices mixed with just a touch of salt before baking. Fresh or dried herbs added before kneading make for a taste sensation, too.
Yield: Approx. 24-60 pretzel nibs depending on size.
Yield: Approx. 12-30 soft pretzels depending on size.
1/2 to 1 full Batch of our Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread (depending on desired yield)
Kosher Salt for topping
Grease a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with corn meal. Taking your sourdough fully mixed and before rising, shape into the pretzel shape you prefer. We like to do Pretzel Nibs, so we make a rope and cut them to size. You may prefer the traditional pretzel shape. As you shape each pretzel, place them on the greased and sprinkled cookie sheet. Once finished shaping your pretzels, cover with a damp warm towel or damp linen napkin, and allow to rise 1-3 hours.
Once risen, preheat over to 425 degrees.
While oven is preheating, in a deep frying pan, (ours is almost 3 inches deep) place enough water to be almost 3/4 full. Add 1 tsp salt. Bring water to a boil. Gently place pretzels into the boiling water and allow NIBS to pre-cook for 45-60 seconds. If making regular soft pretzels, allow them to boil for approx 30 seconds then flip and allow another 30 seconds. With a strainer or slotted spoon, remove to a cooling rack to drain excess water from the pretzels. Once drained, approx. 1 minute, move back to the cookie sheet. Top with kosher salt. Place completed pan into the preheated oven and bake.
Pretzel nibs take approx 12-15 minutes, depending on size.
Pretzel Shapes take approx 18-20 minutes.
We don’t typically brush ours with beaten egg, but you can do this if you would like. Before sprinkling with kosher salt, take 1 egg mixed well with 2 Tbsp water, and brush over pretzels. Top with salt and bake as usual.
Serve with cheese sauce, japenos, mustard, or any of your favorite soft pretzel toppings. Enjoy!!!
It seems like I say this a lot, "My favorite food storage recipe. . . ." What I really mean to say is that feeding your family is only as far away as your recipe book or your imagination! It is comforting to know that you can create food for your family from what you have laying around in the kitchen.
Another of my favorite recipes is for what I have always been taught to call “Farm Cheese." It is very simple, and yet so very versatile. It starts with simple ingredients of milk and vinegar, and only takes a little bit of your time.
You will also need a heavy bottom, non-aluminum pot and a candy thermometer. A very fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. An old, clean linen napkin also works very well. The rest is very simple.
8 Cups Milk - whole milk preferred, but any will work. Even 8 cups of mixed up powdered milk
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Vinegar
Place the 8 Cups of Milk in a heavy bottom pot and heat on medium heat until the milk reaches 180 degrees F. Watch the milk carefully during heating so that it does not burn to the bottom. Turn off the heat and add your vinegar. Stir gently, then allow to sit until milk and whey separate. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or so.
Strain through the strainer or cloth, saving the whey liquid to use in other recipes. If you want the cheese to be softer, don’t press it and don’t let it sit and drain. For a drier cheese, allow it to strain for additional time, checking occasionally to check consistency. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can vary the softness and hardness of this cheese by changing up the type or amount of vinegar. In my experience, rice vinegar seems to make a softer cheese, while white vinegar makes a very hard cheese. Mine was more crumbly with white vinegar. This made it good for ravioli and sprinkling in quiche, but not so great in lasagna. It was horrid as a pizza topping.
I find that Farm Cheese never melts like mozzarella cheese does on pizza, but if made softer, it can be similar to ricotta on the pizza, and goes great in other pasta dishes like lasagna or baked ziti.
One very yummy vinegar to use is the leftover vinegar brine from a jar of jalepenos or banana peppers. We have used this and it is wonderful. It tends to make a much softer cheese with a nice pickled-pepper flavor. It goes great on top of Southwestern Quinoa bowls and even sprinkled on top of a taco salad.
Experiment with red wine vinegar and others to see what you enjoy. Make sure to write down how much vinegar you use and your results. This will help you develop favorite recipes to use with your meals.
Since many of our recipes to this point have been Gluten-free, I thought it was time to start uploading all our Gluten-FULL recipes as well. What better recipe to start with than a basic recipe that has an abundance of potential: My Traditional Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread recipe.
This recipe is one I have used for years and uses only the basic storage ingredients. The nice thing about this recipe, too, is that if you are running low on salt or sugar, even oil, you can eliminate those and still come up with a halfway decent loaf of bread. I will say that the touch of sugar and salt do give it an added flavor, and the oil just makes the dough generally softer. Yet it can be made with just the starter, water, and added flour.
This is a great recipe to use for making so many other goodies including soft pretzels, cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, or dinner rolls. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. In fact, as I type this blog and tie up the loose ends on the recipe, a batch of Garlic Knots and loaf of Challah Bread for Sabbath are rising on the stove for nashing on during meals this weekend.
What will YOU use it for?
Traditional Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
Yield: 2 nice loaves or 2 batches of rolls
1 - 1 1/2 Cups sourdough starter
1 3/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp oil (I prefer Olive Oil)
6-8 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour
Mix together the starter, water, salt, sugar, oil, and 2 Cups of the whole wheat flour. Mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add more flour as needed and mix well. Continue adding flour until it can no longer be stirred in with your spoon or spatula. Sprinkle flour out onto the counter top where you will be kneading the dough. Pour the dough onto the floured counter, sprinkle more flour on top of dough. Mix with hands and add more flour as needed to make a soft, but not too sticky dough. You should be able to easily knead the dough without it sticking too much to your hands - this should not take more than 2-4 minutes.
Keep extra flour close by as it may be needed to keep the dough from sticking to your kneading surface. Set your timer for 10 minutes and knead the dough for a full 10 minutes for the best consistency. This is a great workout for your arms! Yes, ten minutes really is needed to fully release the gluten in your whole wheat dough! There are times I even feel the need to knead for an additional few minutes to ensure the elasticity of the dough.
When the timer goes off, shape your dough into the final product. Allow to rise for the amount required in the recipe for your final product. This could take from 1-7 hours, depending on final product and temperature of the room - a cooler room will take longer), or until nicely doubled. Please alot for this amount of time before serving in your prep time - in other words, if you want bread for breakfast and it's chilly in the house, make sure to make it up the night before to allow for proper rising time before baking a fresh hot loaf for morning!
Loaves: Cut the dough in half before rising. Shape into loaves and place into greased loaf pans. Allow to rise until double, usually about 4-7 hours for loaves. Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 40-45 minutes. Brush with olive oil or butter, allow to cool slightly before removing from pan. Cut, serve or store.
NOTE: I often split the batch and use 1/2 to make pretzel nibs and 1/2 to make rolls or a loaf of bread!
Recipe Is Great For:
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Hamburger and Hotdog Buns
Whatever your imagination can come up with!!! Possibilities are endless!
I have not been one to use white flour in a very long time. In fact, I can't recall the last time I honestly bought a bag of it from the store. I think it was about 5 years ago to make some recipe that "required" it. The white flour sat around for so long, that it turned into a block of white concrete in the New Jersey humidity! I ended up making the recipe that "required" it with whole wheat flour and it must have turned out okay because no one seems to recall a failed flour recipe!
Sourdough starter is one of those recipes that I will never make with white flour. Although some people may claim that you can't make the starter without it, white flour has not been around nearly as long as sourdough has. In fact, sourdough is closest to the biblical recipe as one can get these days. At least until someone discovers a recipe card in the mid-eastern deserts, that is!
It has been shown repeatedly that whole grains tend to have a better and often higher natural yeast content than any pre-ground, processed flour. This has also been my personal experience over the years. The starter I have created from whole wheat, faro or einkorn has been much more active, and healthier than anything I attempted "back in the day" with white flour. Because of this evidence, I much prefer to create our starter from the simple, old fashioned freshly ground whole grains.
Here is the recipe that I have gotten accustomed to using. It is very simple to create because it uses two ingredients that many people will have on hand in their food storage: Water and grains ground into flour.
Basic Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter
NOTE: Use this recipe for our Traditional Whole Wheat Sourdough
To begin your starter:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup room temperature, filtered water (about 70 degrees)
A glass jar, crock or bowl that can be easily, yet loosely covered. I like to use a glass quart size canning jar, a metal ring and a coffee filter. Place the flour and water into the jar and stir until very well combined, making sure that there is no dry flour left. Cover with the coffee filter and place the metal ring on. Let the mixture sit at room temperature (about 68-75 degrees is optimal) for 24 hours.
Day 2: There may or may not be activity showing as yet - activity would be little bubbles in the mix or there appearing to be more mix than the day before. It may just look like what you started with on day one. Either way, take 1/2 of the mixture, set it aside in a bowl (See below for ideas to do with the discarded starter so that you do not waste). To the mix remaining in the jar, add 1/2 cup of room temperature, filtered water and 1 scant Cup of whole grain flour. Mix well, recover, and let mixture rest at room temperature for another 24 hours.
Day 3: By day 3 you should be seeing some activity - bubbles, evidence of expanding dough. This is the day you will start feeding the dough 2 times per day. Try to feed it as evenly spaced apart as possible - 12 hours.
For each feeding, stir down the dough, then take a generous 1/2 cup of starter and mix it with 1 scant cup of whole wheat flour with 1/2 cup room temperature, filtered water. Stir thoroughly, cover, and set aside for approx 12 hours. Remember to use your discarded starter for something, or set it aside to use later with additional discarded starter.
Day 4: Repeat steps for Day 3.
Day 5: Repeat steps for Day 3. By the end of Day 5, you may start to see that the starter is “doubling" You should also see lots of bubbles, and it should have a tangy, tart, or “sour” but pleasant aroma. If it is not this active as yet, you may need to continue the feeding process for days 6 and 7. (On rare occasions, or in colder weather, it may take a bit longer to develop fully)
-- When the starter has reached the point described on Day 5, you will want to give it one final feeding before storing in the refrigerator. Feed as usual, mix well, let the starter rest for 4-8 hours to see a generous amount of bubbles breaking the surface of the starter. Now you may place it in the refrigerator for “permanent” storage.
Make sure to feed your starter at least once per week with 1 Scant cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup water, just as you have fed it during the process. By removing all but 1/2 cup from the permanent container, setting aside the removed portion to make a loaf of bread, rolls, or other recipe. To the remaining 1/2 cup add your water and flour. I like to leave it out on the counter for about an hour to rest before putting it back into the refrigerator, just to give it a little time to start its process.
Now you can enjoy fresh sourdough bread products any time you would like to!
NOTE: If I allow the starter to set in the fridge for a week, I often see a brown or dark liquid on top of the starter. This is a sign that your starter is HUNGRY! Feed it! It is best that you not allow it to get to that point, though, so that you do not starve it to the point of inactivity. This liquid is commonly known as "hooch" and is a naturally occurring alcohol. YES, this should be pour off and discarded before feeding your starter. I find that if "hooch" happens more often, it means I need to feed it more often.
More troubleshooting tips can be found here:
I am always a fan of waste-not-want-not, so I do not dispose of our sourdough starter when we are starting a new batch every spring. When the recipe says to discard it, I always discard it right into a bowl and make pretzels, bagels, or muffins from it. BUT my favorite is to make whole wheat crackers and have them with some cheese. Here's my favorite recipe for a tasty snack:
Okay, maybe this is not new to some people, but it was new to us. We were bored with the same old recipes for quinoa as salad or side dish and it was the only grain I actually had left in the cupboard that day. I went digging around and found an old recipe from a friend for Quinoa Patties. I didn't quite like all of the flavorings that she had added to the recipe, but used it as a pattern to devise our own flavorful taste treat.
Since creating our recipe, I have learned that Fried and even Baked Quinoa patties are a common recipe used by countless people. The internet is packed full of other recipes for them that I did not know existed! Apparently, there are thousands of people out there who loved them as much as we did.
This recipe is great to make with leftover Quinoa, too. In fact, the next time we boiled up some quinoa, I went ahead and doubled the recipe so that I would have enough for the next day to make patties!
Use your imagination with this one to flavor it up any way you like. They are even tasty served with sauces.
Fried Quinoa Patties
1 Cup Quinoa
2 Cups Water
1 tsp salt
Bring to a boil, simmer until done.
1 Med. to Lg Onion, very finely chopped
1 Cup Potato flakes
1 Tbsp chia seeds, ground
1 Tbsp flax seeds, ground
6 Tbsp warm water
Mix together these two, then enough water to make an egg-like consistency.
Once quinoa is done, mix all ingredients together well in a bowl.
Heat Griddle to 350-400 degrees F. When heated, drizzle with oil, spread oil, and then plop mixture onto hot griddle by 1/4-1/3 cup dollops, spread or press it out until pancake thickness. Allow to fry until heated thoroughly throughout and nicely dark brown and crispy. Flip, and brown the other side.
Serve hot with bbq sauce, ketchup, mustard, sriracha sauce, or other desired dipping sauces. Will also go delish with mayonaisse and toppings on a bun! OR With nicely fried eggs.
Additional options: chopped peppers, jalepenos, garlic, or other herbs as desired.
Thinking on the fly is something you need to learn now.
One very precious commodity during a food storage emergency can be WATER. Recently Jim got an idea and we decided to give it a try. We had no idea how it would turn out, but what could go wrong with a food storage experiment, right?? His idea: Cheese sauce with pepper juice.
Scenario: He wanted some cheese sauce to dip his dinner rolls in - they were a bit dry and he thought cheese sauce would fix it. I asked him to mix the cheddar cheese powder up with a little water while I fixed the rest of supper. He got the idea to use some of the jalepeno pepper juice from a jar of pickled peppers in the fridge. We sat down to dinner where he tried his before I did. He told me to hurry up and try it before I had eaten all my rolls dipped in our broccoli rice dinner.
I grabbed a roll, dipped it in my cheesy sauce, and WOW!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! That was the best cheese sauce I ever tasted. Lesson learned: Don’t use water - use pepper juice!!!
Of course if you have young-uns in the house who don’t like hot food you might need to mix theirs weaker or separately from yours. I have to say, though, this was awesome! From now on we are going to save as much of that pickled pepper juice as we can keep around in the fridge. And not just the Jalepeno pepper juice - the banana pepper juice is going to be saved, too.
We already learned it makes great farm cheese from powdered milk, and now we have found an extra use for it. I bet it will taste even better on fresh, hot sourdough pretzels right from the oven - maybe tomorrow!!!
Basic Pepper Cheese Sauce Pretzel Dip
1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese Powder
1-2 Tbsp pepper juice
Mix well, serve. Great with fresh hot sour dough pretzels, rolls, or as nacho cheese on chips!
Need your cheese sauce thicker or thinner? Simply reduce or increase the amount of pepper juice. Need it milder? Use half pepper juice and half water. Most of all, USE YOUR IMAGINATION! You can even add the hot peppers if you would like to.
Well, the weather says we may get snow this weekend around here - so it is time to dig into the soup pot and pull out some warm and wonderful ideas to get ready for the "snow storm". Our Creamy Tomato Soup recipe is great
Creamy Tomato Soup
6 Cups Water
1 Cup Tomato Powder
1 Cup Freeze Dried Diced tomatoes, rehydrated
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry basil
1 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp Butter powder
4 Tbsp Sour Cream powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring the 6 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Add the Tomato Powder and stir to mix well. A whisk works wonders to mix the tomato powder in. Reduce heat to medium low. Add the Diced tomatoes, chives, onion and garlic powders, basil and mix well. Whisk in the butter and sour cream powders until creamy. Reduce to low and allow flavors to blend for about 10-15 minutes. Serve hot. Better than canned soup!!!
Baked Oatmeal Version 2.0
After a lot of experimentation over the past year, we have come up with a second version of the Baked Oatmeal recipe I posted a while back. This version is thicker, fluffier, and still feeds 6 people comfortably. We felt it has a better flavor and is not near as dry as the original recipe we used for so long. I hope that you enjoy this one as much as the old recipe. This Version 2.0 is also just as versatile as you want it to be by adding additional ingredients such as nuts, fruits, coconut or by varying the spices you add to the mix.
Bake some up and enjoy!
Baked Oatmeal Version 2.0
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients very well:
2 1/2 Cups Oats (Both regular and instant oats work well in this recipe)
2 Tbsp Ground Flax seed
2 Tbsp ground chia seeds
1/4-1/2 Cup sweetener - Sugar, honey, or maple syrup work well in this recipe. (If using honey or maple, decrease the water by the amount
4 slightly heaping Tbsp THRIVE Milk powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 Cups water
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup Coconut oil, melted
Pour the water over the dry ingredients, then the eggs. Mix well. Gently pour the melted coconut oil over and stir well. Pour into an oiled 9X9 pan and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Delicious served with a pat of butter melted on top, or with some fresh fruit poured over.
Baked oatmeal is wonderful with added fruits or nuts before baking, too. Toss in some walnuts, pecans, almonds, apples, or even diced pears or peaches.
Taco or Chicken Burrito Bowls
This recipe is great served just over the rice or rolled up in some soft tortillas like a burrito filled with your favorites. One friend even suggested serving it in hard taco shells as taco filling because it is packed full of good ingredients for a hearty, filling meal.
I love to make this one in advance, and put it in either single serve dishes or in a large casserole. Then slice and dice all your fresh produce in advance, too, and this way, you can re-heat the casserole in the evening or the next day for an easy meal for lunch or dinner. What a perfect recipe for those times when you are running around with little time to cook, or for early prep and serve on Sabbath with family. Plus, single servings means people can heat theirs when they are ready and dress it up however they like.
Taco or Chicken Burrito Bowls
Serves 4-8 People
1 Batch of Easy Enchilada Sauce
1 1/2 Cups Freeze Dried Chopped Chicken plus 3/4 Cup of warm water
1 Cup Instant White or Brown Rice, cooked
2 Cups Freeze Dried Instant Black Beans, rehydrated or
2 Cans your favorite beans (or 1 Cup Dry Beans that has been cooked, rinsed, and drained, We like Anasazi Beans)
1 Cup Freeze Dried Sweet Corn plus 1/2 Cup Water
chopped Fresh or pickled Jalepenos
Rehydrate all freeze dried products.
Make sure your Easy Enchilada Sauce is heated through and that rice is cooked.
In a large bowl, mix together the cooked rice, beans, corn and the chicken. Mix thoroughly and then Scoop into individual bowls or a casserole dish. Cook in a 350 oven for approx 20 minutes, until heated through. Remove from oven, and serve with toppings.
A perfect meal for a summer evening with some fresh vegetables harvested and chopped from your survival garden or produce stand. This one is also great served in soft tortillas or our Gluten Free Naan Bread. Even a side of fresh, hot cornbread would go nicely.
This one was created on a whim one night when my husband said he was in the mood for a good old fashioned meal. I asked what he was in the mood for and he said something with gravy. I had been wondering if you could make a meatloaf out of the freeze dried meats from Thrive, and there were several recipes I found, but they all used the Freeze dried ground meat.
I figured I would do like I did when I made meatballs a few weeks ago, and I crushed the meat chunks until it was almost powdered. Then placed it a bowl with the water, and followed the rest of my standard meatloaf recipe. It worked great.
It was too soft to place in a square baking dish because it would not hold is shape. It also wasn't quite enough meat to bake in a large loaf pan, so I used two small loaf pans instead. I oiled them up a little bit, placed the meat mix in and baked! I served it with a side of mashed potatoes and some gravy made with our Chicken Bullion, as well as a healthy helping of Freeze dried corn cooked to perfection. It was definitely that old fashioned home cooked meal Jim had been looking for.
I had a little of one loaf left over for the next day and I sliced it up to fry with some eggs. It just needed to heat through and brown up a little bit. OH MY GOODNESS! It was wonderful. It even tasted just like a slice of sausage.
My next goal is to make it ahead, refrigerate one and freeze one. Just to see how it works. Will keep you posted. Give it a try and see what your family thinks - I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Food Storage Chicken Meatloaf
1 1/2 Cup Freeze Dried Chicken Chunks, crushed as small as possible so that it resembles dried ground meat (this is great for that powder at the bottom of the can!)
1 Cup water
2/3 Cups Oats
1/4 Cup Milk
1 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp Garlic powder, or more to taste
1/2 tsp Onion powder, or more to taste
1/2 tsp black Pepper, or more to taste
Salt to taste
May also add any other spices or herbs you usually like to add to your meatloaf.
In a large bowl, place the crushed chicken and 1 Cup water. Mix well and allow to rehydrate fully, then add the rest of ingredients to the bowl. Mix all ingredients well. Separate evenly and place each half into one of two prepared small loaf pans, pack each loaf firmly.
Bake in a 375 degree F preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until baked firm. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes to cool. Remove from pans, slice and serve!!
This is excellent served as you would any meatloaf with gravy, mashed potatoes, and a side of corn! Also wonderful with a ketchup sauce like the diners serve. Serves 2 to 4 people.
Want some sausage for breakfast? Place it in the fridge over night and slice it in the morning. Fry it in a little oil and serve it with your eggs. How about making sausage and egg sandwiches? Or maybe some sausage and gravy from your meatloaf? This makes a great, versatile meat product for every day AND a great home cooked meal.
What To Do With All Those Freeze Dried Cans
The other day someone asked what they could do with all those left over cans from their freeze dried foods, and several people were tossing around ideas. One woman recommended taking a dozen or so, and sticking them into the freezer filled with water as an emergency back up ice supply for when you lose power. She said she keeps a layer at the bottom of her freezer at all times just in case.
I thought at the time that this idea was a waste - especially of valuable freezer space for frozen foods you have stored from your garden. As the days went on, though, I thought it might be a minor sacrifice of a small amount of space to ensure that you won’t lose all those foods in a sudden outage. Now it started to make sense, but I had not bothered to do it yet because I just didn’t take the time.
Then it happened. No, we didn’t lose power, but close enough. The brand new refrigerator stopped working properly and the milk turned into cottage cheese over night. The top freezer was still working perfectly, but the refrigerator was warm. Thank goodness we didn’t have alot of spoilable foods in there, but we did have butter, milk, and 1/2 a meatloaf. The meatloaf jumped up to the freezer and I put the milk into a bowl full of ice. The butter was cool enough to keep until I could take care of things.
I called the manufacturer and scheduled an appointment because it is under warranty, but they can’t come until several days from now. A week or two ago we had just thrown out about 4-6 empty cans that I wasn’t using for anything, and I couldn’t figure out what to do with. That was BEFORE the conversation I had the other day with friends. I went through my cupboard really quick and grabbed several almost empty cans then went to it.
Two cans I filled 1/3 of the way to stick the milk jug into directly - it’s only a 1/2 gallon jug so I figured this will work great. Then I filled two cans completely to place one at a time in the fridge to keep it as cold as I possibly could. All total, I stuck four cans of ice in the freezer so that I can preserve the milk and butter and ensure we don’t lose any of the mustard and ketchup.
Thinking on the fly - I guess maybe all those years of prepping paid off in that respect, but had I been a little more prepared with some things already done, I would have been more able to live up to my claim of being a prepper!
This one is a nice recipe for a chilly afternoon with that same old fashioned flavor as Mom's stuffed peppers and the convenience of a quick serve casserole. It goes great with some fresh baked rolls or garlic bread.
Tuck this one away, too, in the fridge for the next day as a make ahead and bake later meal. I love to use these kinds of casseroles or meals for Sabbath meals because I don't have to cook that day, just reheat and serve!
Stuffed Pepper Casserole
1 - 1 1/2 Cups Freeze Dried Chicken Chunks plus 3/4 Cup water (May also use THRIVE Beef, rehydrated)
2 Tbsp EVOO (Extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 Cup Freeze Dried Onion, rehydrated, or diced yellow onion
3 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Cup Freeze Dried Red and Green Peppers plus 1/4-1/2 Cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Cups water and 2 tsp Chicken Bouillon
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup uncooked Instant Brown Rice
1 Cup Freeze Dried Cheddar, rehydrated, or 1/2 Cup Freeze Dried Cheddar plus 1/2 Cup Freeze Dried Monterey Jack
In 4-quart saucepan, sautee onion and garlic over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, then add the rehydrated meat. Stir until heated through. Add bell peppers, salt and pepper. Heat through. (If you used fresh meat you may need to drain off some of the fat at this point.)
Reduce heat to medium; add tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce, soy sauce and Italian seasoning. Stir until well combined. Heat to boiling.
Add uncooked rice. Return to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 25 minutes or until rice is tender. Place in a baking dish, sprinkle with cheese, and either cool for cooking later in the day or next day, or place immediately in a 350 degree F oven and bake for approx. 15-20 minutes. Serve hot with rolls.
Spinach, kale, escarole, collard greens, they are all the same. I buy them either fresh by the pound or in a fresh prepackaged bag, stick them in the refrigerator with every intention of using them in salads, sautees or soups. Then I either forget they are there, or cook other ideas through the week, and there they sit. If I let it sit too long, it ends up getting squishy and slimy and crossing that line into the “unknown veggie” zone - that deep, dark, green, liquefied state. I have, over the years, thrown away way too much food like that but I keep hearing my grampa’s words in the back of my head, ‘Waste not, want not.”
Let’s face it - the economy is not as good as they would like us to believe, and food prices are going up. I saw apples the other day - not that long ago, a couple years at most, a 3 lb bag in season could be bought for anywhere from $.99 to $1.99 on sale. The ad I saw online was for a local grocery and they were selling a 3 lb bag of apples for $4.99. This week, the out of state apples are about $2.75 a bag for the 3 lb bag. That is at least a little better, but it makes you put things into perspective so you can start finding ways to save money AND preserve foods.
A couple years ago I had the brilliant idea to nip my waste in the bud by grabbing whatever is left at the end of the week and throwing it in the freezer, often just as it is. Sometimes I will slip it into a zipper bag for better protection from freezer burn, but often I just toss it on a shelf for use later. I know someone out there will tell me that this is not the proper way to freeze foods, and that I truly should take the time to blanch the veggies. Often I am in a hurry and just am not willing to take the time to blanch, chill, dry, package, freeze, when I can just grab the bag and throw it on a shelf. I have also been known to take the plastic tubs full of organic spinach and just toss them in as well.
These frozen greens are great to throw in soups, stews, sautees, quiche, or anywhere you would toss fresh greens then allow to steam. We have also just grabbed a bag out, steamed it and served it with olive oil or butter as a quick and easy side dish. I find, personally, if I do this with the tougher greens like kale and collard they do work better in meals, too, because my random freezing breaks down some of the wood stems better than steaming, then adding to meals. And just imagine the energy I am saving by not precooking a small bag or two, then cooking again later!
Yes, you will definitely read all over the internet and in books as well as be advised by those at every cooperative extension that blanching is a MUST to stop all enzyme activity and to reduce the nutrient loss of vegetables that are frozen. Yes, you will also see that freezing without blanching will “change the texture” or flavor of the vegetables. Some will even tell you that you run the risk of the non-blanched vegetables to continue to decompose or “go bad” while in the freezer. Over the years I have heard many people say that not blanching the greens makes them flavorless, but I can only speak from experience here - and that has not been the case. We have still used the greens with great results in many different types of dishes, BUT we make sure to use them within a couple of months of sticking them in the freezer. Often times we use them within a a week or two by not buying more fresh until the frozen ones are gone.
Please note, I would NOT do this with any other vegetable that I am going to freeze. If I am going to store corn, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or any other vegetable, I will always blanch those first. I will take the time to set aside a day, pick or buy in bulk, and process as much as possible for the freezer all at once. These vegetables tend to be the ones that I store for longer periods of time, though - sometimes up to a full year. The greens I freeze are top on our list of things to use and I make sure to schedule them in somewhere within 3 months of throwing them in the freezer because this is just a stop-gap measure to save what I over bought and didn’t use. Waste not, want not.
If you prefer to blanch your greens first, make sure you study and learn the proper equipment to have on hand, as well as the specific amount of time for each vegetable you plan to blanch/freeze. Every vegetable is different, and therefore needs a different time under the hot water to stop the enzyme activity and to prepare them for deep freezing.
In a pinch, this method of quick-freeze and use for greens may help you salvage what you might normally throw away. It could help you stop wasting money as well. On the other hand, if you have a compost heap, you can always toss it there and “grow” some delicious dirt!
Easy Potato and Egg Casserole, is one that may quickly become a favorite for the family.
If you are tired of plain eggs, and just don't want a quiche, why not try this great recipe? A simple way to make potatoes and eggs without all that standing over the stove!
Potato and Egg Breakfast Casserole
Feeds 4-6 as is. Need a bigger recipe? Double it and bake it in a 13X9X2. Just remember to increase your baking time accordingly.
2 Cups Freeze Dried Potato Dices plus 3 Cups HOT water
1 Cup Freeze Dried Cheddar plus 2-3 Tbsp water
1/4 Cup Freeze Dried Onions plus 1/2 Tbsp water
1/4 Cup Freeze Dried Dices Chili Peppers plus 2 Tbsp water
1/4 Cup Olive oil
6-8 eggs or 12-16 Tbsp Freeze Dried Scrambled egg mix plus water as per package directions
1/2 Cup Milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Add water to potato dices in a bowl and let set for 10 minutes.
Add water to Cheddar and let set for 10 minute.
Add water to Onions and Chili peppers in the same bowl and let set.
Mix up eggs and milk or Freeze Dried Scrambled eggs, water, and milk.
Take potatoes, and drain excess water if any, and mix with 1/3 of the cheddar cheese. Mix together well. Add onions and chili peppers, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Press into the bottom and sides of a greased pie plate (9 inches works well). Make sure this “crust” is pressed firmly. Place in a preheated 450 degree oven and bake for approx. 15-18 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Remove from oven and pour the egg mixture over top. Replace in oven for 8 minutes. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and replace in the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve hot with fresh fruit or juice. Delicious!
This is one of the easiest recipes to make from your food storage and can be served so many ways. As a side dish with a sauce of some type - like a fresh marinara, with fried eggs for breakfast, or how about with some delicious fresh diced tomatoes and basil from your garden and crumbled feta drizzled with olive oil and balsamic? Yes, my imagination is running away with me . . .and I am also getting hungry again!
So, go! Make some fresh polenta and enjoy!
Easy Homemade Polenta
1 Cup Corn Meal
3 Cups water
1 tsp salt
Bring the water and salt to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and slowly pour in the corn meal. Stir well to combine, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Place the polenta in a dish or pan, press down firmly to shape it, and allow to cool. About 10 minutes. Slice and fry in hot pan that has just a small amount of olive oil. Serve.
I find that the key to this recipe is to stir regularly through the 20 minutes so that the polenta does not burn to the bottom of the pot AND to start with a tall sided pot with as small a bottom as possible. I have a 2-3 qt saucepan that has high sides and works perfectly. The reason why you want the tall sides is because the polenta spits and pops as it cooks the water into the cornmeal. You also need to make sure that you cook it for the full length of time. It will be thick. Then scoop into a greased pan or dish. I used two small non-stick loaf pans and parchment paper for easy removal so that I could slice it before frying. Once in the pan of choice, press down firmly so that it sticks together well. Allow to cool and slice then fry. Enjoy!
NOTE: I whipped ours up with onion powder, lots of garlic powder, and black pepper, too. Maybe you like yours with a buttery flavor. You could add a little olive oil or butter to the mix right after you add the cornmeal to the water. Or other herbs and spices, depending on what you are serving it with!
Judith has over 20 years experience in food storage, herbs, essential oils, and prepping. She was a captain in the USAF-AUX, FEMA trained, Community Emergency Response Team member and NRA marksmanship award recipient. She shares her experiences with her readers offering tips and recipes.
The information shared is our personal opinion and should NEVER be considered a substitute for professional medical, nutritional, or other expert advice. Information contained is not for the purposes of diagnosing, or treating any disease or medical condition. Any endorsement of products should not be considered an un-biased review since we are paid and compensated when you purchase products from this site.