Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Honey Baked Ham & More Easter Recipes

With hams on sale this week, here are some great recipes to try this easter.

Honey Baked Ham (click link for Recipe)
(from Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker)

Mashed Potato Casserole

This is such an easy dish to make for Easter. It can be made up to 3 days ahead and cooked the day of. Just remember to bring it to room temperature before putting it in the oven.

5 lbs potatoes (about 8 large)
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (thawed)
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp garlic salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup butter

Cook and mash potatoes. Beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth; gradually add to potatoes. Beat in garlic salt and pepper. Put into buttered shallow casserole dish (9x13 works great). Dot with butter. Bake, covered at 400 for 50-60 minutes.

May refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Green Bean Casserole
by Campells Kitchen

1 can (10 3/4 oz) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp soy sauce
Dash ground black pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans
1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions

Mix soup, milk, soy, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in 1 1/2-qt. casserole. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until hot. Stir, Sprinkle with remaining onions. Bake 5 minutes more.

TIP: Use 1 bag (16 to 20 oz.) frozen green beans, 2 pkg. (9 oz. each) frozen green beans, 2 cans (about 16 oz. each) green beans or about 1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans for this recipe.

Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

1 medium cauliflower
2 cups milk
8 oz Velveeta cheese
1 TBSP butter

Take off leaves, core cauliflower and wash in cold water. Put in a microwave safe bowl with 1 TBSP water. Cover TIGHTLY with food grade plastic wrap and cook for 5-7 minutes depending on the size of the cauliflower. Let set in microwave for 10 more minutes to finish cooking.

To make the cheese sauce, cook milk, cheese and butter over medium low heat until melted. Add cornstarch mixture (see below) to hot cheese sauce until thickened.

Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower and serve.

Cornstarch Mixture

1/2 cup COLD milk
2-4 heaping TBSP cornstarch

Stir with a fork until mixed thoroughly.

Southern Biscuits
by Alton Brown

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup chilled buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.)

Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

Lemon Bars (with Whole Wheat)
by Jamie Perkins (page 179 in the Galleria Gourmet)

1 cup butter
½ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat flour

4 eggs, slighly beaten
2 cups sugar
½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup lemon juice

Cream butter and powdered sugar. Add other crust ingredients and mix. Pat into 9 x 13 greased pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Mix filling and pour over hot crust. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Almond Glazed Sugar Cookies (for all your cute Easter cookie cutters!)
by Your Homebased Mom

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix butter, sugar and extract in a large bowl. Beat until cream, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Beat 1 to 2 more minutes. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and flatten balls to 1/4 inch thickness with the bottom of a buttered glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 400 for 7-9 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Cool 1 minute. Move to a wire rack. Stir together glaze ingredients with a wire whisk. Decorate cooled cookies with glaze and sliced almonds (optional)

Glaze: 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. almond extract, 4-5 tsp. milk (I used whipping cream)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

FREE Classes from BYU Continuing Education

BYU Continuing Education has many FREE classes online! Since they are offered online, they can be taken in your state (not just Utah). So have fun and expand your horizons!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chicken Vegetable Noodle Soup

Recipe from Rhonda (Melissa's sister)

Chicken Vegetable Noodle Soup

2 ½ cups water
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
10-16 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables (or 2-3 cups fresh)
A handful of noodles or other pasta
2 tsp or 2 cubes chicken bouillon
2 cups cooked chicken (or turkey), cut up

Combine water, noodles, sauce and veggies. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in chicken. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Makes about 6 cups.

Lisa's Notes: To make this a complete pantry meal, use canned chicken and a can or two of mixed vegetables (adding the vegetables near the end, instead of the beginning of cooking)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sachets with Lavender & Rosemary

Easy Sachets!

Hannah (my 4 year old) and I took a gardening class last year at Acacia Demonstration Gardens. It was free to attend and was put on by the Master Gardeners of Southern Nevada. With the warmer weather coming upon us, I thought this might be fun to try this year.

Supplies needed:

Step 1. Dry your rosemary and lavender. Tie them in bundles using a paperclip as a hanger and hang in a dark dry place (like a closet) for about 4 weeks (1 week in Las Vegas).
Step 2: Gather your supplies and pour lavender and rosemary in little organza bags.

Step 3: Place a pretty sprig of lavender on the top and tie closed. Done!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Container Gardening with Plastic Drinking Bottles

Recycled Drinking Bottles

Hannah (my 4 year old) and I took a gardening class last year at Acacia Demonstration Gardens. It was free to attend and was put on by the Master Gardeners of Southern Nevada. With the warmer weather coming upon us, I thought this might be fun to try this year.

Hannah planted a sunflower seed in a plastic water bottle container.

Supplies needed:

  • empty water bottle container
  • cotton yarn or cotton rope (1/8")
  • soil
  • water
  • seeds

Step 1: Cut a plastic water bottle container in half. Place the top of the bottle upside down in the bottom of the water bottle (see photo). Place your wick through the top and bottom of the water bottle. If you are using cotton thread, make sure to double it.

Here are the types of rope and yarn used.

Step 2: Pack your soil down around the wick, making sure the wick is slightly visable above the soil.

Step 3: Plant your seed. Here's Hannah planting her seed with a little help.

Step 4: Water your soil and then fill the bottom of the bottle with water (use tap water, not osomosis or water softener water).

The container is self-watering, just fill the bottom with water as need. Here is our sunflower after a few days. A sunflower will need to be replanted as it gets larger, but you can plant something smaller.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Black Bean, Edamame and Wheat Berry Salad

Photo by

Imagine how excited I was to find this recipe in the April issue of Food Network magazine!!

Black Bean, Edamame and Wheat Berry Salad
by Pompeian or Food Network's April 2010 issue pg 43

4 cups water
1/2 cup dry wheat berries
1/2 of a 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp. Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar
3 Tbsp. Pompeian OlivExtra Plus (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Salt and black pepper to taste

Combine water and wheat berries in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 55 minutes or until wheat berries are just tender. Place in a fine mesh strainer and run under cold water to cool quickly, drain well. Combine the wheat berries with the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 8 hours in advance.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Make Your Own Rice-a-Roni

Since I had never heard or Fideo or Fideo Cortado type pasta, I thought I would post a picture of them. I found these at my local Super Wal-Mart in the pasta isle (American Beauty) and the Mexican/Latin isle (La Moderna). The American Beauty brand is Fideo Cortado (Fino) and is thinner and longer than the La Moderna Fideo brand. The American Beauty was also more expensive at .62 for 7 oz. The La Moderna was .48 for 7 oz. If you already have angel hair pasta at home, use that and break it into 1/2 inch long pieces.

Rice-A-Roni (Chicken Flavor)

1/2 cup raw Fideo or Fideo Cortado (or angel hair pasta broken into 1/2 inch long pieces)
3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
3 cup water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine or oil
1/8 tsp seasoning salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp onion power
1/8 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp instant chicken bouillon

In medium skillet sauté broken pasta pieces and rice in butter, stirring constantly, until the pasta is golden brown. Carefully pour in water, spices and bouillon. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rice Blends

Dilly Lemon Rice Blend

4 cups long grain rice
5 tsp. lemon peel, dried, and grated
4 tsp. dill
2 tsp. chives
2 tsp. salt
8 tsp. instant chicken bouillon

Spanish Kick Rice Blend

4 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt

To cook, combine 1 cup Rice blend with 2 cups and 1 TBSP butter. Cook as you would cook plain rice.

Here are more Rice Blends recipes from Celebrate Dinner! Eating Gourmet the Food Storage Way.

"Pasta"bilities - SRS Meeting March 4, 2010

Buy it: Rice, Pasta and Potatoes are very cheap to buy and when sealed probably can be stored for 30 years. You can buy these items from the LDS Cannery in #10 cans or from your local grocery store. Rice, Pasta and Potaotes will not last as long when not sealed in #10 cans..

Store it: Rice, Pasta & Potatoes can be stored in almost any airtight container. I use my rice most frequently, so my rice is in a 5 gallon container. My pasta was bought on sale and is still in it's original packaging, and is part of my 3 months to a year supply. My potatoes are from the cannery in #10 cans and are part of my long term storage. Here is the original post on Storage Containers.

Use it: Pasta, Rice and Potatoes are very versitle and can be used as part of many main dishes, as well as a great side dish. Click on the links to check out our recipes for Rice, Rice blends, Rice-A-Roni, Potatoes & Pasta!

Newsletter: The entire newsletter can be downloaded here. Click on the links to view our posts on Preparing & Storing Pasta, What Can You Do With a Pound of Pasta?, Rice Basics, & Types of Rice, Potatoes for Food Storage & Green Living (Cloth Diapering)!

Container Gardening with Milk Jugs

Milk Jug Gardening

Hannah (my 4 year old) and I took a gardening class last year at Acacia Demonstration Gardens. It was free to attend and was put on by the Master Gardeners of Southern Nevada. With the warmer weather coming upon us, I thought this might be fun to try this year.
Supplies needed:
  • Milk jugs
  • Nails, or a Screwdriver
  • Soil
  • Seeds
Step 1: Cut the top off of the gallon milk container, leaving the handle completly intact. For windy days, this makes it easy for transporting them into the house. How far you cut down the front depens on the type of seeds being planted. As you can see in the picture above, there is only about 5 inches of soil. For the carrot pictured below, there is about double that.

Step 2: Before filling with dirt and seeds, make sure to poke holes (using nails or a screwdriver) in the bottom of milk container for drainage.

Step 3: Fill with dirt and seeds of your choice. For tiny seeds (such as radish), you can glue the seeds to a paper towel, then cover with dirt

Here's the radish that was grown in a small plastic container.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What Can You Do with 1 Pound of Pasta?

This week our Self-Reliant Meeting is all about pasta, rice and potatoes. Here is a great article on pasta for you.

What can you do with 1 lb. of pasta?

Do you get tired of the same old turkey sandwich for lunch everyday? Well why not shake things up a little and consider adding a little variety with some different pastas? Start Sunday by cooking up a pound of pasta - any short variety will do - penne, fusilli, farfalle. Just rinse with cold water after cooking, toss with a touch of olive oil, and refrigerate for later. When ready to use, mix up 1 1/2 cups of cooked pasta with one of the following variations and season with salt and pepper, if desired...

Monday: Mediterranean Pasta

1/2 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup arugula
1/4 cup crumbled Feta
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Tuesday: Artichoke, Almond & Parmesan Pasta

6 artichoke hearts (from a jar), chopped
2 TBSP chopped roasted almonds
2 TBSP grated Parmesan
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

Wednesday: Tuna, Red Onion, and Olive Pasta

1 (3 oz) can tuna, drained
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 TBSP chopped red onion
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar

Thursday: Asian Pasta Salad

1 carrot, sliced
1/4 cup English cucumber, diced
1 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP chopped roasted peanuts
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar

Friday: Chicken and Pesto Pasta

1/2 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup prepared pesto

Potato Recipes

Download the recipe cards here!

Farmer’s Casserole
by Better Homes and Garden

Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers or shredded cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
1 cup diced cooked ham, cooked breakfast sausage or Canadian-style bacon
1/4 cup sliced green onions
4 beaten eggs or 1 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
1-1/2 cups milk or one 12-ounce can evaporated milk or evaporated fat-free milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Coat a 2-quart square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with cheese, ham, and green onions. In a bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over potato mixture in dish. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Easy Cheddar Potato Cakes
by Recipezaar

2 cups instant potato flakes
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup cornmeal cornmeal
1-2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional and to taste)
black pepper
2 cups milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup melted butter
vegetable oil (for frying)

In a bowl the first 7 ingredients (potato flakes to green onions) mix well to combine. In another bowl mix the milk with egg and melted butter whisk until well combined; add to the dry mixture; mix well. Let mixture stand for about 5 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Season with black pepper and/or cayenne pepper. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Take about 2 tablespoons batter into clean hands then shape into a ball, place into hot oil then press down with a spatula to about 2-inch rounds. Cook about 3 minutes on each side or until browned adding in more oil as needed. Remove to paper towels.

Harvest Potato Soup
by I Dare You to Eat It

1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
4 cups potato, diced
½ lb bacon, cooked and drained
2 cups instant potatoes
½ cups dehydrated carrots
8 chicken bouillon cubes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

Simmer all vegetables, bouillon cubes and cream of chicken soup in 8 cups of water until vegetables are fully cooked. Add instant potatoes and evaporated milk to achieve desired consistency. Garnish with grated cheese and bacon bits.

Rice Recipes

Measurements vary for different rices. When cooking jasmine rice, the secret is using less water to rice. Brown rice and wild rice take a bit more water as their cooking time is longer.

White rice: 1 cup rice to 2 cups water
Jasmine: 1½ cup rice to 1¾ cup water
Wild and Brown: 1 cup rice to 3 cups water

How to Cook Rice by Real
Foolproof Guide to Cooking Rice by Life 123

Download the recipe cards here!

Basmati Rice

1. Wash basmati thoroughly before cooking it because there is so much starch clinging to its grains. Wash two to three times with your hands.
2. Soak basmati for at least ½ an hour to an hour in cold water prior to cooking. Remember to drain the water again and then fill.
3. Next, the quantity of water should be either be 1 to 1.3 rice to water ratio if you want firm rice, or 1 to 1.5 rice to water ratio if you like your grains more tender. Add the correct amount of water and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil.
4. Make sure you cook it in a heavy pot and do not disturb the rice or take a peek while its in the middle of cooking.
5.When it boils, lower the heat, simmer for 12 - 14 minutes before turning off the heat.
6. Remove from heat and stand covered, for another 5-10 minutes. until you're ready to serve. The rice should have absorbed all the water and will just need fluffing up with a spoon.

Jasmine Rice

1. Rinse the rice once, moving your fingers through the rice, until the water runs pure without any milkiness. Drain.
2. Place the rice in a pot. Add enough water to cover the rice by 3/4 inch. An easy way to measure the water is to use the knuckle test – the water should come up to the first joint of your knuckle. (For 1 1/2 cups rice, I use just over 1 3/4 cups water).
3. Bring the rice to a boil, uncovered.
4. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Cover and simmer until the rice is cooked through (about 20 minutes).
5. Remove the rice from the heat and allow to sit, still covered, for at least 10 minutes.
6. Fluff with chopsticks or a fork before serving

Rice Pudding

1 cup cooked rice
1 cup milk
2 well beaten eggs
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
dash nutmeg

Mix ingredients. Spread in pan 1 inch deep. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until light brown on top. Cut in squares and serve.

Oven Rice
by Suzanne Riggs

2 cups rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 - 2 cans milk
dash of pepper and salt

Combine ingredients in a casserole dish. Bake covered at 350 for 1 hour.

Pasta Recipes

Download the recipe cards here!

Classic Italian Pasta Salad

8 oz spiral pasta, cooked and drained
2 ½ cups assorted cut-up fresh vegetables (broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, etc)
½ cup cubed mozzarella or cheddar cheese
1/3 cups sliced pitted ripe olives
1 cup Italian dressing
Pepperoni or chicken (optional)

Combine all ingredients except dressing in a large bowl. Add dressing; toss well. Serve chilled or at room temperature

Bowtie Pasta Salad

1 lb bowtie pasta
1 (14 oz) bottle Bernstein's Cheese and Garlic Italian dressing
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts; drained and chopped
1 (2 oz) pkg pine nuts
1 (4.5 oz) jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil; drained & chopped
1 (4 oz) can parmesan cheese, grated

Cook pasta following directions on box. Chill pasta and toss with a small amount of dressing. Add chopped artichoke hearts. Drain oil from tomatoes, chop if necessary and add to pasta. Add pine nuts and cheese. Add dressing to taste, you will not use the entire bottle. Chill and serve.

Pizza Pasta

8 ounces rotini pasta
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
4 ounces sliced pepperoni sausage
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef with onion until beef is brown. Drain. Combine beef mixture with spaghetti sauce, pepperoni and cooked pasta and pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden.

Pantry Posse Stew
by Becky G.

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dehydrated onion flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1 TBSP parsley flakes
1 can bean with bacon soup
1 can vegetable soup
1 can vegetable beef soup
1 can ranch style beans
1 can corn
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1 soup can of water

Combine all ingredients and simmer until the macaroni is tender & the soup is very hot. If the soup is too thick, add a little water. Serve with scones or corn bread. This makes a hearty soup

An Introduction to Cloth Diapering

What are the pros to using cloth diapers?

Cost: While cloth diapers may seem expensive to purchase upfront, they are cheaper than disposables in the long run. (And if you use the homemade laundry detergent that was highlighted in the January 2010 meeting, the soap cost will only be 3 cents per load!)

Environmental Impact: It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone. Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air (oxygen) and sun. Since this is highly unlikely, it can take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing. While cloth diapers do require washing after each use, the waste that is flushed/washed away is being properly treated at wastewater plants instead of accumulating in landfills.

Skin & Health Concerns: Cloth diapers do not contain the dyes and chemicals that disposables do, making them a good alternative for children with sensitive skin. Many parents who use cloth diapers on their babies report significantly less diaper rash. This is attributed to the fact that babies who wear cloth diapers are likely to be changed more often than babies who wear disposables.

What are the cons to using cloth diapers?

Initial Cost: While they may seem costly to purchase initially, they will more than pay for themselves over time compared to disposables. (Please see below.)

Convenience: Cloth diapers need to be washed after each use instead of simply being thrown away. Some may also find them a bit more work to use while traveling. (Many opt to use cloth diapers at home and disposables on trips.) With the newer style of cloth diapers that are on the market, however, disposable diapers are not much more convenient that cloth diapers. The new multiple layer, Velcro/snaps fastening cloth diapers are just as easy to put on and take off as disposables. Cloth diapers do not really need to be presoaked, or even rinsed out. Flushable liners can be used with cloth diapers that let you lift the soiled liner off the cloth and flush the liner and the poop down the toilet. If you don’t use liners, you can just dump the older baby’s solids down the toilet. Cloth diapers usually only add about 2 extra loads of laundry a week to your schedule.

(see The New Parents Guide for more information)

Where can I buy cloth diapers, and how much will they cost?

There are literally dozens of brands that are sold online (too many to mention here)! A great place to start would be to contact someone you know who has used cloth diapers and get an opinion on which brands/types she/he enjoyed using. Or, try a few brands and see for yourself which you like best. If you would like to try to save yourself the cost of shipping, it may be worthwhile to find a seller in your town. USA Baby and Well Rounded Mama are a few local boutiques that sell cloth diapers.

There are different types of cloth diapers, namely: Prefolds with covers, pocket diapers with inserts, and all-in-ones. The cheapest route would be using prefolds with covers. This option, if you were to use them on your child from birth until 2-1/2 years, including the cost of washing, comes out to be approximately $380 total. The most expensive cloth diapering route would be a combination of all the cloth diaper types and comes out to be approximately $1,470 total. The total estimate to outfit one child from birth until potty training in disposables is about $2,577, approximately $1,100 more per child than even the most expensive cloth diapering option!

(see Diaper Decisions for more details)

Potatoes for Food Storage

Potato flakes, pearls or dehydrated slices are all types of potatoes that you can store in your food storage. Potato flakes can be bought at the LDS cannery and have a shelf life of 30 years when packaged in #10 cans. Potato Pearls have a limited shelf life due to added oils and can only be bought in 28 oz packages.

Other types of dehydrated potatoes such as slices, chunks and hash browns can be bought at Costco, Sam’s Club and online at various food storage sites. Check these products when buying to make sure there are no added oils. Dehydrated potatoes with added oils will have a limited shelf life and will not work for your long term storage.

Most potato flakes or instant mashed potatoes that are bought in local grocery stores have added flavors and oils. These will be great for your 3 months supply, but not for your long term storage.

Types of Rice

WHITE RICE - Regular-milled white rice, often referred to as “white” or “polished” rice, is the most common form of rice. The outer husk is removed and the layers of bran are milled until the grain is white. While removing the bran and germ makes white rice more tender and delicate, it removes much of the nutrients as well. To compensate, converted rice uses a steam process to retain some of the nutrients.

BROWN RICE or HULLED RICE - Brown rice is unpolished rice, milled to remove the hull from the kernel but retain the rice bran layer and the germ, which give it a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It also has a lower glycemic index and is more nutritious because the bran contains most of the vitamins, minerals and fiber rich in minerals and vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamin group. (In contrast, white rice is milled to remove the bran layer for a milder taste and texture, and brown and white rices have similar calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein). The light brown color/dark beige of brown rice is from the bran. Brown rice takes about twice as long to cook as white rice. Any rice—long-grain, short-grain rice or sticky rice—may be harvested and milled as brown rice. Because of the Asian aesthetic for finely-polished white rice, brown rice was traditionally denigrated, associated with poverty and wartime shortages, and in the past was rarely eaten except by the sick, the elderly and as a cure for constipation. Today, it is more expensive than common white rice, partly due to its low consumption and much shorter shelf life (because the oil in the germ will turn rancid).

BASMATI RICE - An aromatic, long-grain, slender, non-glutinous rice from India and Pakistan. When cooked it swells only lengthwise, resulting in long slender grains that are very dry, light and separate—not sticky. Basmati has been cultivated for centuries at the foot of the Himalayan mountain ranges. The rice is long-grain and scented; literally translated from Hindi, it means ”queen of scents” or ”pearl of scents.” For centuries, it has been exported to the Arab countries, where many traditional rice dishes are cooked with basmati rice.

ARBORIO RICE - This medium-length, round-grained rice is named after the town of Arborio, in Italy’s Po Valley, where it is grown. The grains have a more tan color with a characteristic white dot at the center of the grain. Primarily used in risotto, Arborio rice develops a creamy texture around a chewy center and has exceptional ability to absorb flavors. The creaminess comes from a high starch content. Arborio is a japonica cultivar, the same variety that produces the other “sticky rices,” including mochi and sweet rice.

CALROSE RICE - Calrose rice is a medium-grain rice developed at the Rice Experiment Station at the University of California at Davis (“U.C. Davis”) from the japonica variety. The cooked grains are softer, moist, sticky and absorb flavor well. Calrose is an all-purpose table rice as well as a rice for specialty Mediterranean and Asian cuisine such as paella, risotto, pilaf and rice bowls. The cooked grains are soft and stick together, making it good for use in sushi (most sushi restaurants use Calrose). Calrose is now grown extensively in the Pacific Rim and Australia.

CONVERTED RICE or PARBIOLED RICE - Converted rice is pressure-steamed and dried before it is milled (husked), which causes the grains to absorb nutrients from the husk. This partially compensates for the removal of the bran and the germ, so is a good choice for people who want more nutritious rice but don’t want to eat brown rice. It has the same color and flavor as white rice.

INSTANT RICE or MINUTE RICE - Instant rice is white rice that has been parboiled (precooked) and dehydrated to enable a faster cooking time. It is cooked by adding one cup of boiling water to one cup of rice; then stirred, covered and allowed to stand for one minute to reconstitute. It is more expensive due to the convenience, but less flavorful than regular rice.

JASMINE RICE - Grown in Thailand, jasmine is an aromatic long grain rice that has a distinctive jasmine aroma after cooking and a faint flavor similar to that of popcorn. The cooked grains are soft, moist and cling together. Jasmine is the most popular rice in Thailand and Southeast Asia. This excellent white rice cooks in similar fashion to basmati but possesses a rounder, more starchy grain (i.e., it’s sticky, where basmati is not). It can be interchanged with white basmati rice in recipes. It naturally lends itself to coconut dishes and seafood dishes. Jasmine rice is a good source of B vitamins and complex carbohydrates.

(see The Nibble for more rice information)

Rice Basics

In many parts of the world, particularly Asia, rice plays a central role in most meals. In fact, there are more than 120,000 varieties of rice grown around the world.

Most rice is classified as either brown or white; the color is determined by the way the grain is processed. White rice is stripped of its outer husk, as well as its bran and germ. Brown rice has its bran and germ left intact, has more vitamins and fiber, a stronger flavor, and a chewier texture. It also takes longer to cook, and is more perishable, so it is best bought in smaller quantities and kept refrigerated. All rice is classified by grain size; the shorter the grain the more starchy it will be.

Short-grain rice has a short, plump, almost round kernel. The cooked grains are soft and cling together; short-grained rice is used for risotto and sushi.

Medium-grain rice (from the japonica strain) has a shorter, wider kernel (two to three times longer than their width) than long grain rice. The cooked grains are more moist and tender, and have a greater tendency to cling together than long grain.

Long-grain rice (from the indica strain) has a long, slender kernel that is four to five times longer than their width. The cooked grains are separate, light and fluffy.

(see The Nibble for more rice information)

Preparing and Storing Pasta

Storing Pasta
Pasta from the LDS Cannery has a shelf life of 30 years. Dry packed pasta has a shelf life of 6 to 8 years. Pasta in its original packaging has a shorter shelf life of 2 to 3 years.

Refrigerate cooked pasta in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. You may add a little oil (1-2 teaspoons) for each pound of cooked pasta) to help keep it from sticking. Because cooked pasta will continue to absorb flavors and oils from sauces, store cooked pasta separately from sauce.

Getting Started
Use a large enough pot: For each pound of pasta, you will need at least four quarts of water. Add at least two tablespoons of coarse salt after the water comes to a boil.

Preventing Sticking
Enough water and frequent stirring will keep pasta from sticking. Do not add oil to the water – this prevents sauces from clinging to the pasta. Always cook uncovered.

When is it done?
Pasta should be al dente (firm to the bite). If undercooked, it will have a chalky core and floury taste. If overcooked, it will be limp and soggy. When cooking pasta for baking alter, it is especially important that it is al dente as it will continue to cook in the oven. Start tasting the pasta two to three minutes before the end of the cooking time given on the package.

Before draining the pasts, reserve one to two cups of the cooking water; it contains starch from the pasta that can add body to sauces. After draining, shake the colander a few times. Do not rinse (unless you want it to cool)

Reserving, Cooling and Drying
To reserve pasta for a few minutes, drain, and toss with a little olive oil. To cool pasta for salad or manicotti, run under cold water while draining. To dry. Spread pasta on a sheet pan, and pat with paper towel.

The best pasta shapes for freezing are those that are used in baked recipes, such as lasagna, jumbo shells, ziti and manicotti. You’ll have better results if you prepare the recipe and freeze it before baking. To bake, thaw the dish to room temperature and bake as the recipe directs.

If you don’t want to tie up your baking pans in the freezer, line them with plastic wrap before filing. Once food has frozen, lift out, remove plastic wrap, and transfer to resealable freezer bags (label & date); place in freezer. When ready to bake, remove from plastic bag and place in pan to reheat.

Self-Reliance in All Things - Home Production & Storage

Home Production and Storage

"Each person or family should produce as much as possible through gardening, sewing, and making household items. (Since you're reading this, you're well on your way to learning how!) Each person and family should learn techniques of home canning, freezing and drying foods, and where legally permitted, should store and save a one-year supply of food, clothing, and, if possible, fuel."

Like everything in the gospel, we cannot achieve self reliance in a day. Not in a month, maybe not in a year. It is a process. Step by step. Line upon line and precept upon precept. Resolve today to take up the monthly challenges in the area of food storage and begin chipping away even if it's just an extra can or two of food every time you go to the grocery store or one can from the cannery each month. It all adds up.

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." D&C 38:30

Thanks to Stephanie for this post!

Introduction post here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Self-Reliant Challenge

Here is the Self-Reliant Challenge for March.

  • Purchase five pounds of your family’s favorite pasta to add to your food storage.

  • Document Challenge: Gather the information for your credit cards, bank, brokerage, mortgage, and savings account. Jot down all of the account numbers, the branch locations, the websites, the phone numbers, and the passwords (kept secure).

  • Recipe Challenge: Prepare a dinner using potatoes, rice, or pasta that could be used on your list of food storage meals.

    You can also download the entire 2009-2010 challenges in pdf form here.

    Each meeting we will also be passing out monthly challenges prepared by Rachelle. We would love for everyone to become “Self-Reliant Certified” by completing all the monthly challenges. Our last meeting will be dedicated to those who have completed some or all of the challenges. Prizes will be awarded to those who have completed all the challenges.