Monthly Archives: August 2008

Rice, Ramen Soup

As most of you know, food storage is very high on my priority list. I’m hoping that I can help you get enthused about stocking up your food resources, too. My theory about food storage is that you are only as prepared as your neighbor. I would never let anyone go away hungry.  If we are all prepared as we have been instructed to be, then we would be a help to our neighbors and not be a burden in times of need. “… if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”

I would like start some new ideas that will hopefully help you see how EASY, FUN and AFFORDABLE building your food storage can be. One ideas is the “$10.00 Will Do It” club.

Each week I will recommend very specific storage items that you will be able to buy for your food storage that will cost no more than $10.00 (or really close to it).

Now, by no means is this the only way that you should build up your food storage, but it will help you to get started. Or, if you have already started, it will help you increase your storage.

This weeks suggestion:
25 lbs. of white rice for $5.49 or 25 lbs. of sticky rice $5.99
Ramen Chicken soup – 36 count for $3.69

Ready or Not #14: Rice Recipes

I hope that you were able to enjoy the recipes that I shared last posting. I thought that it would be fun to share a few more of my quick and easy, food storage friendly, recipes. I promised recipes with rice this time. My first recipe is another family favorite. After all, what would be the purpose of having recipes that your family doesn’t like?

First, cook up twice the amount of rice that you need to feed your family (you will use it tomorrow). 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water, add a little salt to the water and boil on medium heat until water is gone (I usually cook three to four cups of rice at a time.)

While you are waiting for the rice to cook, make Rice with Refried Beans. Open one or two cans of refried beans, depending on how many people you are feeding, and warm up in a saucepan. Add just a little bit of water so that it isn’t so thick and season with granulated garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, powdered onion, black pepper, salt and cumin (you have to have the cumin – it just isn’t the same without it) to taste. When the rice is done put a good size serving in the bottom of a bowl, put another good size serving of the seasoned refried beans on top of that, top with shredded cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream. This is a very hearty and healthy meal.

OK. It is the second night and you have all that left over rice. Life is so easy. Just make Refried Rice with Ham. Cube some ham (however much you want) and fry it up in a large frying pan. When it gets good and golden brown on the edges, add a little bit of olive oil and the cold leftover rice. Fry the rice and ham together and season to taste with black pepper. I add just a dab of butter at the end of the cooking process to add a little flavor, but it is not necessary.

Serve up with a side of corn and season the rice and ham with soy sauce. My family requests this one, but remember that it tastes best with day old rice.

If you don’t have any ham, don’t worry, just add a bag of frozen oriental vegetables and have Oriental Vegetables with Refried Rice. I like the oriental vegetable mix because I like the baby corn and snow peas. You can use any frozen vegetable mix you want. The only thing that I would do different from the ham and rice is that I would re-fry the rice up separately from the vegetables so that the vegetables don’t get all smooshed up. Flavor with a little bit of soy sauce.

I like soy sauce – no, I love soy sauce. My favorite is Kikkoman. I buy it by the five gallon bucket for only $35.00 (at least that was what it was the last time I bought it.) Soy sauce is not just for oriental cooking, it is a highly versatile seasoning. Try this recipe for Beef Soup as an example. I think that you will be surprised.

Take a very large pan and brown your stewing beef or beef chunks, add onions at this point and let them start to sweat. Add approximately 16 cups of water (in my pan that fills it ¾ of the pan). You really don’t need to measure, just make it approximate. Add about 1 cup of soy sauce (now you know why I buy it in five-gallon containers).

Add your cut up vegetables: celery, carrots, potatoes and whatever else you want. To make this recipe even faster, less than 10 minutes or about the time that it takes to heat the water, use canned meat and canned vegetables and dried onions.

Flavor your soup with garlic granules and black pepper. I also like to add a touch of cayenne pepper. You can also put in a touch of sage or Italian seasoning. It is all about the taste, just experiment with the flavors you like. If there is too much soy sauce, add a little water. Not flavorful enough? Add more soy sauce.

This recipe becomes a favorite of anyone who tries it. It is one of those “comfort” foods that people always talk about. If you have any leftover rice (of which you won’t) you can add it to the soup. No bouillon cubes here!

Ready or Not #13: Fast Food

Now would be a good time to re-evaluate why you eat a certain way and why you buy certain types of foods. Do you buy things to eat because they are healthy and tasty for your family or do you buy food because they are convenient and easy? Do you cook from scratch or is opening a box your thing?

There is a really good book called “Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence” co-authored by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. Basically the book talks about our relationship with purchasing convenience and how much it costs us. It talks about how advertisers convince us that we need “and deserve” convenience. Advertisers have convinced us that we just can’t do “it” as good as they can and that our families will be better off if we let them do it for us so that we have more time to what? Go to work to so that we can earn more money so that we can buy more convenience? How inconvenient, and so very expensive.

I know that everyone that works is going to say, “I just don’t have time to fix dinner and I’m too tired”. I know, I understand. I work full time, I just recently quit my second job. I clean a house every other week, write a newspaper article and help out in the community and I have a family. I understand what you are saying. I’m tired too. I just find it too costly to buy “convenience” as an every day way of life. I am not saying that I don’t ever stop off and get a pizza on the way home, but my family does consider fast food a rare and unexpected treat – not an everyday way of life.

In order to keep my sanity I have come up with my own “Fast Food” and I will share it with you. You probably have your own favorite quick fix meals, but remember they don’t all have to be casserole based and you can use your food storage items.

My first and favorite recipe is one that my friends Diane and Stanley Green shared with me. It is called Salsa Soup: Brown 1 lb. of hamburger and drain the excess oil. Add 1 pint of your favorite salsa and 1 quart of stewed tomatoes. Heat and eat. Really that is it. By the time it is warmed up, it is ready. I serve tortilla chips with it on the side and a bit of shredded cheddar cheese on the top with a dollop of sour cream (both are optional). This soup only gets better with age – think yummy homemade lunch the next day at work instead of the old tired sandwich or the expensive “buy on the run” meal.

This next recipe is actually a two-nighter planned meal. Have spaghetti the first night (that is easy enough) and cook twice the amount of spaghetti noodles. With the leftover spaghetti noodles you can make my family’s favorite meal – Spaghetti and Vegetables (a variation of some Chinese dish). Warm up the spaghetti by putting it in a colander and running hot water over it.

Meanwhile either steam or fry up some frozen oriental vegetables from a bag. After the vegetables are hot, toss the noodles and vegetables in a large hot pan (the one you cooked the vegetables in) with just a little bit of olive oil. Season with some granulated garlic, black pepper and lots soy sauce – to taste. You might use more soy sauce than you are used to, but it will make all the difference in the taste.

Warm everything up together so that the sugars will caramelize a little. You can also add a dab of butter at the end for taste or drizzle just a little bit of sesame oil on it. Throw a couple of shrimp in with it if you have them, but they are not necessary. Serve with soy sauce so that everyone can season it to taste. Remember you are using left over noodles – very EASY and TASTY!

Next time I will share with you how to make rice come alive. Remember that stuff in your food storage? No longer is it just a side dish.

Ready or Not #12: Provident Storer

We have discussed the Siege mentality and the Practical mentality and now we will look at the Provident mentality.

The Provident storer is a combination of the Siege and Practical with one big difference.  Instead of just storing what the Siege storer stores (i.e. wheat, dry milk, sugar, etc.) the Provident storer uses it. The Provident storer will also have a large garden and will bottle, freeze and dehydrate the foods they grow. They will raise animals, where they are able to, and will do their best to not rely on the grocery store.

When they go grocery shopping they buy in bulk, taking advantage of sales and only go down to the store once in awhile for fresh foods like milk and eggs (unless they have a cow and chickens). Some Provident storers will even make their own cheese (which, by the way, is A LOT OF FUN!)

A Provident storer will incorporate foods in their everyday diet that most people wouldn’t consider taking on like wheat and powdered milk. Which, if you started to incorporate these “gotta have, but don’t ever actually use” items into your diet, you would be surprised at how easy and tasty they can be, not to mention how much cheaper and healthier your diet would become.

I’m not advocating that everyone go back to the pioneer days of becoming self reliant, but I am saying that you can find a balance with your food storage and the way that you build it, use it and rotate it. I find that I am a Practical storer with tendencies of the Provident mentality.

I love trying to find different ways to use what I have stored. I know that wheat and whole grains and beans are healthy for us, but how do I use it? Well, I just jumped in. I started grinding and blending and going to classes to learn more about how to use everything that I knew was good for my family’s health. I also did it because I wanted to know that my family would enjoy the food that I had stored and that it wouldn’t make them sick.

To introduce wheat to your family, try using wheat flour instead of white flour when making the tortilla shell recipe that I shared with you. (3 cups flour, 1-tsp. salt, 1-tsp. baking powder, ¼ cup oil and 1 cup warm water.) We actually prefer the wheat tortilla shells to the white tortilla shells. The way that I started to incorporate powdered milk was to take a class on how to use powdered milk taught by Darlene Carlisle. What a fun class! Darlene gave us lots of wonderful recipes (that are available at the USU Ext. Service) and I will never be able to look at powdered milk the same.

After trying this pudding recipe you will be hooked and will want to sign up for her class the next time she teaches at the USU Extension Service in Provo.

Basic Pudding (or pie filling)

1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
5 Tbsp. flour (6 for pie)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. cornstarch (2 for pie)
2 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup non-instant powdered milk
3 1/2 cups of water (3 cups for pie)

Bring half of the water to a boil, take the other half of water and blend in a blender with the dry ingredients and the 2 eggs, add to the boiling water. After it comes back to a boil, cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Stir in the 1 Tbsp. of butter and the 1-tsp. of vanilla.

Chocolate: add 4 Tbsp. of baking cocoa to dry ingredients.
Coconut: add 1 cup shredded coconut. Can use coconut flavoring instead of vanilla.
Banana Cream: use banana flavoring instead of vanilla.

This recipe is yummy and soooo very easy to make and a lot cheaper than if you bought it in a box or pre-made.

THIS is good food storage.