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Monday, October 18, 2010

food storage!

Ok, so, I can't remember if I've mentioned this here or not, but, our oven doesn't work. It stopped working properly this past spring. We will eventually get a new one, but, there always seems to be more important things to spend the money on. The stop top works just fine, and I bought a huge toaster oven to tide us over and between that, the electric roaster pan and the crock pots, I've found that, for most things, I don't really need the oven. (Though it's certainly easier to have one, and we will still be getting a new one, eventually, but we're waiting until after the big contract switch with hubby's employment..)
Anyway, so I've been wanting and needing to play around more with the crock pot and also working more on usable food storage recipes. Especially now that it's getting colder, nice hot meals are going to be welcome, and while we're trying to hoard money for various things (riding out any employment pauses between contracts, that new stove, home repairs we've still got to do, and all those adoption costs we've still got to deal with...)I figure now is a good time to use up some of the many food storage items we have in the basement. Always need to rotate that stuff anyway, and even better if you know how to use it. The wheat might be difficult since we still don't have a mill (another thing we're saving for..) but I might be able to come up with something there with enough poking around.. :)

Anyway, my first attempt was making beef stroganoff. The hamburger helper variety is a family favorite, but I wanted to try making my own. I think it could still use a little tweaking, but I've gotten a good starting point worked out. I've tried this with both noodles and rice and it was good with either.
1 can cream of mushroom soup mix it with only half a can of liquid if you want the sauce thicker.
1/2 lb ground beef, ground soy, or tvp. I used ground beef since I had it available, but this would work with any other ground meat or meat substitute. I need to dehydrate some meat one of these days and try it with that. It should work just fine. Use what ever you have and like.
big dollop of sour cream
mix them all together, heat, serve over the noodle or rice. Personally, I think it could use a little more seasoning, but I've always been one who likes lots of herbs, spices, etc.. so I will have to wait and make it when someone else is home for a better take on that.

Today I am making slow cooker stew. I forgot to take the stew meat out of the freezer yesterday, so made a last minute decision to make it a meatless stew and threw in assorted soup beans instead. Really basic stew. Onions, tomatoes, celery, carrots, green beans, the assorted soup beans and lentils, beef broth and a little pepper and Mrs Dash seasoning. I don't use salt if I can avoid it due to issues with my blood pressure so I try to keep as low sodium as I can.. Since this batch is for this week, I also added 2 small bay leaves and a few sprigs of thyme. No one will be here except me this week, so I can get away with it. (Hubby hates thyme...) Might add a few other herbs as it develops through out the day.

Hubby has mentioned that apples are on sale at a good price at one of the local stores, so I might be going out to pick some of those up later today. If this is true, I will likely be making apple sauce later this week, perhaps even making some apple pie filling and doing some more bottling. I've not bottled apple sauce or pie filling before, so that will be a fun new challenge. I've still got to do jams here sometime soon as well. Can't wait to do more watermelon jam and I'll also be doing some mixed fruits, maybe some strawberry and peach as well.. (I can't quite remember what all is down in the freezer waiting at the moment..) I've been waiting for it to get colder before doing the jams, since it's a nice way to heat the house as well. :) But the weather keeps not cooperating and we still haven't had any snow yet. Very disappointing that is.. it will be here soon though.

I did get over 4 dozen pints of pickles done though. (A dozen of those have already been claimed and left the house... the perils of adult children living nearby.. and their friends.. heh..) and did a few small bottles of jalapenos as well. So we should be well and truly pickled for the coming year.