Saturday, October 30, 2010

50 Pounds of Potatoes

Potatoes are a staple in our food storage.  I store potatoes in several forms.  
1.  Fresh potatoes-I buy two fifty pound bags in the fall and we eat them until spring. 
2.  Dehydrated Potatoes-in #10 cans from Shelf Reliance.  I love these for soup, it is so easy!
3.  Potato Pearls (or you might know them by the name potato pearls) in #10 cans from Shelf Reliance

I just bough my potatoes for the year. One bag of russets and one bag of Yukon Gold.  Where I live they are $12.00 a bag for 50 lbs. So if my math is right that make them  $0.24 a pound.  I think that is a pretty good deal.
How do we store all those potatoes so they don't go bad?    I store them in the brown paper bags they come in. on a well ventelated shelf (not on the flour or next to a wall) in the coldest part of my basement. I am lucky to have a cold storage room in my house, but if you don't you could store them in the garage, or in some other cold dry enironment. 
How are we (a small family) going to eat all those potatoes?  Over the next few days I’ll share our favorite potato recipes for using our 50 pound sacks of potaotes. Here is a glimpse of what is to come.
Mashed Potatoes
Garlic Oven Fries
Roasted Potatoes
Parsley Dill Potatoes
Crock Pot Baked Potatoes
Mom’s Potato Salad

Garlic Oven Fries 

This recipe is from my sister Crystal, who is a fabulous cook, who modified it from a Cooking Light recipe. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time these fries need to be in the oven for quite a long time. 
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 medium potatoes, washed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 tsp  garlic salt (I really like McCormick California Style Garlic Salt with parsley)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400°.  Combine first oil, salt, and potatoes in a large plastic bag, tossing to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning after 20 minutes.  Combine butter, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.  Brush butter mixture over potatoes.  Broil potatoes for 1-3  minutes being careful not to burn them.  Serve immediately.

**From  In return for providing you with free food storage recipes.  I request that you add comments on your experience to assist others. Recipes evolve over times, I would love to hear how this recipe works for you and any improvements you have made. ***All rights reserved. Private use only. Recipes  from this page are not to be used for commercial purposes or republished without the express written consent of the publisher, Heather Lorimer, Cooking With My Food Storage.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How to Cook Beans and the Best Burritos

Beans are a mainstay of food storage.  they are inexpensive, nutritionus (full of protein and fiber), and can be used in many ways. 
There are several ways to cook beans, I use three different methods, depending on how my day is looking and how far ahead I planned.  

Which ever method you use before you start you need to rinse and sort through your beans, discard rock, broken beans etc. 

Traditional method
In a large pan (use the one you will cook the beans in no need to dirty more dishes then necessary) cover beans with cold water.  Add 3 tsp salt. (the salt helps tenderize the beans think of it like bringing a chicken) Let soak over night.  In the morning drain and rinse. cover with new water. Cook 45-60 minutes.

Crock-pot Method
The crock-pot method is basically the same as the traditional method except you make it in your crock-pot. In a crock-pot cover beans with cold water.  Add 3 tsp salt. (the salt helps tenderize the beans think of it like bringing a chicken)  Let soak over night.  In the morning drain and rinse. Cover with new water. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Quick Soak Method:
Place beans in pot. Fill pot with water. Place on stove uncovered and bring to a rapid boil. Allow beans to boil for 2 minutes and remover from heat cover.  Let stand for 1 hour and then procede to cook them. 

Been and Beef Burritos *adapted from the USU extension recipe
1 pound black beans
3 tsp salt
1 pound ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 large onion, chopped
½ pound cheddar cheese, grated
2 cans diced green chilies
1 pt salsa
1 lb Monterrey jack cheese grated

Soak beans overnight with salt; drain and rinse. Cook beans the next morning in 4 qts of fresh water; drain (reserve 2 cups liquid). Combine beans and reserve liquid; salt to taste. Brown meats with onion and taco seasoning; drain. Add chilies and salsa; stir into beans. Stir in grated cheese; mix well. Spoon onto flour tortillas and fold; serve.  Makes 24 –36 depending on size.  May wrap and freeze for later use. 

This is how I wrap burritos.  You might notice that at my house we do this in an assembly line and make a bunch at a time, which we then freeze and take to work for lunch. 

1.  Place the filling on the burrito fold on side in.
2. Fold the long part of the tortilla over the mixture.
3.  Fold the third side in on top of the filling.
4.  Roll the burrito up.
5.  Make sure the ends are all tucked, and then place in ziplock bags. We like two per bag. I use quart sized freezer bags.

6. Freeze.  When ready to reheat microwave for 1-2 minutes.  Enjoy.


Friday, October 22, 2010

The Best Crock Pot Beef Stew

When I was first married I worked at a retirement home. One day while talking to the chef she mentioned another chef at a rival retirement home had ordered beef stew already made from her supplier. "If you can't make beef stew you have no business in the kitchen" was her comment. In my head I said to myself "I have never ever tried to make beef stew, I guess maybe I should" And so I did, after many not so good attempts I found a recipe from Cooks Country and I have really liked it. I have adapted it some to fit better with what we really like.

The Best Crock Pot Beef Stew

1 lb boneless beef chuck-eye roast trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch 1 1/2 lbs
salt and pepper
3 TBSP vegetable oil
1 medium onions, chopped fine (or 1 Tbsp dry onion)
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
3 TBSP soy sauce (don't leave it out it really makes it more meaty tasting)
1 lb carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces (or 1/4 cup dry carrots rehydrated in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes0
2 lb potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/12 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
2 TBSP minuet tapioca
2 cups frozen peas

1. Dry beef with paper towel, season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 TBSP oil in large skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Brown beef about 8 minute. Transfer to slow cooker.
2. Add 1 tbsp oil, onions and 1/4 tsp salt to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 6 minuets. Add tomato paste, broth and soy sauce bring to simmer, and transfer to slow cooker.
3. Toss carrots, potatoes, thyme and remaining oil in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap vegetables in foil packet that will fit in slow cooker (Like you are making a hobo dinner to cook in a campfire). Stir bay leaves and tapioca into slow cooker; set vegetable packet on top of beef.
4. Set slow cooker to high, cover, and cook 6 to 7 hours (or 10 to 11 on low) Transfer vegetable packet to plate. Carefully open and stir vegetables and juices into stew. Add peas and let stand until heated through.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Brown Rice and Lentil Soup

I love soup, especially when it is cold outside. My friend Kim shared this recipe with me. She said she got it from the Salt Lake City Food Coop newsletter years ago. One thing about the recipe is that you need to make sure you have enough time, if you try to do it in a hurry you get crunchy rice and lentils. Not so tasty. One of the things that I really like about it is how healthy it is.

Brown Rice and Lentil Soup
1 medium onion chopped (1 Tbsp dry onion plus 1 1/2 T water)
1 cup chopped carrots (1 Tbsp dry carrots plus 1 1/2 T water)
1 celery stalk chopped (1 Tbsp dry celery plus 1 1/2 T water)
½ red peppers chopped up (1 Tbsp dry peppers plus 1 1/2 T water)
2 20 once can tomatoes NOT STEWED
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
2 cloves minced garlic
Pepper to taste
½ to ¾ cup *lentils rinsed
1/3 to 2/3 cup uncooked brown rice (soak rice ½ hour before you cook)

In large pot cook all vegetables until soft. Add tomatoes cook for 10 minutes
In blender process until pureed. Stir in broth and remaining ingredients except lentils and rice
Bring to a boil. Add lentils and rice. Cover and simmer 45 minutes until lentils add rice are tender.

*Lentils-What are lentils? Lentils are a legume used in many middle eastern dishes. The seeds require a cooking time of 10–30 minutes, depending on the variety and should not be eaten raw. Lentils contain high levels of proteins, including the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine. Lentils are an inexpensive protein and are essential to those who adhere to a vegetarian diet. They can be sprouted. When buying lentils look for brighter (lentils come in brown, yellow, green, and black)colors, dull dusty lentil are old. Lentils are sold in the grocery store near the dry beans. Or from a variety of food storage companies. Lentils are a low cost way to add protein to your diet. I use these lentils from Shelf Reliance.

Ham Fried Rice and Tiny Spicy Chicken

Tiny Spicy Chicken–from Matt Payne
Printable Google Document
As far as I can tell this exact dish is a Cache Valley original. It is a spicy breaded chicken in a red sauce kind of like General Tso’s chicken. My family loves it.

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast- cut into 1-11 /2 ` cubes garlic salt
2 beaten eggs

oil is hot when popcorn pops
1 -2 tsp Samball Fresh Chili paste
1 1/2 cups sugar 3/4 cup ketchup
3 tsp soy sauce dash slat
3/4 cup chicken broth
6 T brown sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar

Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt, and let sit for 1 hour in the refrigerator. After the hour, dip chicken into beaten eggs and then coat with cornstarch. Brown chicken in fryer until golden brown. Put the chicken into greased 9 x 13 pan.

Mix sauce ingredients in saucepan. Cook only until sugars are dissolved. Pour over chicken

Bake chicken @ 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes, turning the chicken every 15 minutes.

**When frying it is important that the oil is hot. To tell if it is hot add a couple of kernals of popcorn. When the popcorn pops it is ready to fry.

• When you pour the sauce over the chicken, it will be very liquidy. The sauce thickens as it cooks, making a nice coating over the chicken.

There is a Chinese restraint in Ogden called Mardarin Garden and it has wonderful Chinese food. My family always ate there when I was growing up and now I am a Chinese food snob. One of the thing I miss now that I don’t live close enough to eat there very often is the ham fried rice. Yum. Well I have finally found a recipe for ham fried rice that is just as good. 

Ham Fried Rice from “Fabulous Freezer Meals” by Jenny Ahlstrom Stanger, as you might guess from the title of this book this recipe freeze very well.
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 TBSP canola oil
3 ½ cups cooked rice
½ cup crumbled cooked bacon
½ cup cooked diced ham
½ cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp soy sauce

Heat wok or small heavy skillet over high heat. Add 1 ½ tablespoons oil and swirl to coat. When the pan in very hot, add the eggs and scramble them. Remove from pan before they brown. They should be soft and a bit runny.

Heat skillet again and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add rice and toss to coat. Add bacon and peas. Toss the ingredients until heated through. Add soy sauce and scrambled eggs; toss to combine. Season with salt. Garnish with chopped green onions.

When rice has cooled place in sandwich size zip top bags, label and freeze.
To serve; Defrost in microwave in zip top bag (it will act as a steamer) until warmed through about 5 minutes. Serve.

Rice Bowls-Asian Style

So I had the LDS missionaries over for dinner a few night ago and served this. As thy came to the table I could tell they were thinking (yuck what are we eating) but as they were brave and tried it they both told me over and over how good it was. Give it a try.
Asian Rice Bowls

The Easy way
Cooked Rice
1 lb Ground Beef or chicken (I use the canned ground beef from the LDS cannery)
¼ cup dry Onions
¼ cup dry Carrots
¼ cup dry Celery
1-2 cups Water
1 bottle Kraft Light Asian Toasted Sesame Salad Dressing (now I know you are going to get to the grocery store and see the light and the regular and you will think if the light is good I bet the regular is amazing. Not so my friend do no yield to temptation. The regular is yucky and has more calories)
Samball hot chili paste (this comes in a small container with a chicken on the front t and a green lid. You find it in the Asian section of the grocery store. My small grocery store in Smithfield UT has it some I am sure yours does too)
Chopped green onion
Chopped peanuts
Shredded cabbage

Soften dry vegetable is water about 10 minutes. Brown ground beef, drain and rinse. Drain vegetables, add to ground beef, add enough salad dressing to coat (about ½ the bottle) add a small (and I do mean tiny maybe 1/8 a teaspoon) chili paste and stir.

Place rice in bowl, add meat mixture, top with onions, peanuts and cabbage. And a little bit more dressing. Enjoy.

*note the Samball hot chili paste is very spicy. When I make this for my family I leave it out (my kids do not like spicy) and my husband and I add it at the table. That way we all get it as spicy as we want.

The meat mixture can also be used as the filling for lettuce wraps.

Rice Bowls -Cafe Rio Style

We love rice bowls. What is a rice bowl you ask. Well it is rice in a bowl with toppings. One of our favorite is Café Rio Rice with Sweet pork and dressing. I originally got this recipe from a friend Megan, she used it to make Sweet pork Salad as served at Café Rio. I have made it many times for salad or for burrito filling, but we really just love to eat it in bowls. So how do you eat this? In a bowl put a scoop of rice, some dressing, then meat. Top with cheese, sour cream, tomatoes and avocados.

Café Rio Rice
3 cups rice
6 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
¾ tsp salt
1 TBSP butter
½ bunch cilantro chopped

Mix and cook according to direction for you rice.
Then blend the following to the cooked rice.

2 tsp garlic (minced)
1 can green chilies
2 tsp chopped onion

Café Rio Creamy dressing
½ bunch cilantro (chopped)
½ jalapeno (optional)
1 package hidden valley ranch dressing mix (make according to directions on package)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 tsp lime juice
Blend all ingredients together. Chill then serve.
This Recipe makes a lot of dressing, if you are just cooking for a few, try using readymade “spicy ranch” from the grocery store. We really like both the Hidden valley ranch and the Wal-Mart brand.

Megan’s Shredded Pork Burritos
3 lb pork roast
1 can Coke or Pepsi
1 c ketchup
5 T brown sugar

Cook roast until tender in crock pot. Shred meat. Place remaining
ingredients in a pan. Thicken with cornstarch. Replace sauce and meat
in crock pot. Cook on low for 1 hour or more or until ready to serve. Add about ½ cup chili sauce (buy on the pickle isle) just before serving.

This makes a lot, but we love that because I freeze the left over’s (separately) and we then have something easy and super tasty for dinner when time is tight.

Fresh Vegetable Risotto

I find that often I need a healthy easy dinner that only take a few minutes to get on the table. This is one that my family really loves. I tend to use whatever vegetable I have on hand either fresh, frozen, or freeze dried. My kids especially love adding Parmesan cheese at the table.

Fresh Vegetable Risotto Serves 4 large portions
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 onion chopped (1 T freeze dried rehydrate in 1 1/2 T water)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup rice (brown)
3 cup water
1 tsp instant chicken bouillon
2 cup broccoli flowerets (or 2 cups freeze dried rehydrate in 2 cups water)
1 c. chopped tomato (Roma is best)
1 medium shredded carrot (2 T freeze dry carrot rehydrate in 1/4 cup water)
¾ cup shredded cheese
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp basil or parsley

In large saucepan cook the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add water and bouillon and stir to dissolve. Add rice and cook covered for 15 minutes. Stir in tomato and carrot and cook about 5 min more. Stir in cheese and basil. Serve immediately.

*when using dry veg you can rehydrate all of them in one bowl just make sure to have plenty of water. I always rehydrate in hot water as it is faster. Carrots take the longest to rehydrate about 10 minutes.

Mircowave Rice

I must admit that for a long time every time I tried to cook rice for my family I failed. Now this was really a huge issue for me. I was a home ec. teacher for crying out loud and I could not consistently make rice. Ridiculous! I asked a good friend of mine Shannon. She is an amazing woman that is an amazing cook. She told me to buy a rice cooker. Which I did, but I also found that you don’t need a rice cooker to make amazing rice. This recipe is the first that I found that I could consistently make and have good non-crunch rice every time.

Microwave Rice
Follow the directions on the package of rice for the rice to water ratio. But here is exactly what I do:

For 8 servings:
2 cups rice
4 ¼ cups water

Place in a large microwave safe bowl. (I use a very large Pyrex bowl) cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave for 16 minutes on high. Let rice sit in microwave for 5 minutes. Remove and fluff.

*you can add seasoning to the rice prior to cooking for example I often add some “better than bouillon”, garlic, and salt. But you can add anything that you would like.

I love cooking things that can go from cooking, to the table, to the fridge all in the same bowl.