Friday, October 17, 2008

Food Storage Friday!

Does anyone have a food dehydrator?

I like this idea of dehydrating food---i looked at prices from companies that sell packaged dehydrated food for storage and HOLY MACKREL they are EXPENSIVE! I know dehydrators aren't cheap...but i'm sure they more than make up their value with a few batches. here is some information im learning about them:

Difficulty: Moderate
Things You’ll Need:

* A good food dehydrater, although you can use plastic mesh screening and solar power.
* A kettle to blanch foods in to help fight bacterial growth, although this is not altogether necessary.
* Salt, spice, sweetener, or marinade to flavor before dehydrating
* Airtight storage containers or plastic freezer bag.

Fresh fruits and veggies You should always start with fresh, good quality food. Don’t buy the old produce in the bargain bin because you won’t be happy with the dehydrated results. Inspect the food to ensure it is clean and free from damage. Just like canning, your end product is a direct result of the quality food you start with.
Blanching Beans Although not necessary, pre treatment through blanching can help fight bacteria, preserve color and maintain flavors. After washing and inspecting your fresh vegetables, boil water in a large kettle, then place the vegetables in the water for approximately 3-5 minutes, then remove and pour cold water over to stop the cooking process.

Meat may be blanched in the same way to control bacteria.However, one may use the marinating method and bypass blanching meat.
Marinade You may choose to marinate, salt, spice or sweeten any foods before you dehydrate them. For example, with meat jerky, you rub the meat with spices or place in a marinade before dehydrating.Marinate overnight, in the refrigerator.
Layering Food on Racks Place the food on the dehydrator screens (or other mesh screens, if solar drying) - using ONE layer only. Try to remember to keep everything in the dehydrator uniformly sliced so that it all dries at the same time. If using a solar dryer, cover food lightly with a thin layer of cheesecloth to help keep insects away.
Meat Sliced for Jerky Most produce takes between 8-12 hours to dry.
Meat, sliced thinly, takes about 12-18 hours, depending on thickeness.
Airtight Container Cool all dehydrated food before storing. Choose airtight containers or plastic freezer bags to keep moisture out. Properly dried and stored foods will last 1-2 years if kept in a cool, dark place.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chicken Dinner Casserole

Scott, Brianne and Owen Sheaffer have a new little girl in their lives! Brianne delivered a healthy and BEAUTIFUL baby girl on Monday morning. Our ward has been BLESSED with SO many precious babies this year! Now all the boys can fight over Holly (Doesn't it seem like 95% of all LDS babies this year have been BOYS?) Anyway, another baby means another dinner delivery basket. I made my go-to dinner for the Sheaffers. Its very VERY simple and fast to make, and I seem to always get a good response from it. (Tom and I could easily wolf down the entire casserole) I know you've probably made or had a similar recipe, but I thought I'd post mine with the few personal *twists* I've put on it over the times i've made it.

Chicken Dinner Casserole
(I originally made this with left-over turkey meat....adding leftover cranberry would be yummy too--a great meal to whip up with thanksgiving leftovers)

6 oz of prepared stuffing
1 container of sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can cream of celery (I used cream of chicken this time)
1 10z packet of dry onion soup mix
2 14.5 oz cans of french style green beans
2 cups of cooked, chopped chicken (turkey)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Prepare stuffing; mix sour cream, soups and dry soup mix. Spread green beans in 9x13 casserole dish. Top with chicken. Pour soup mixture over chicken. Top with stuffing.

Bake for 30 minutes


Monday, October 13, 2008

An autumn delight....

My sister and Liza whipped up a delicious dip to serve at Liza's recent at-home craft boutique. She'll have more pictures of the event posted as well as the recipe for the famous dip! I think I'll make this for a Thanksgiving day appetizer! They offered ginger snaps (yummmmm), mini baguettes and apple slices...which all sound great...but I think pretzels might be good with the dip too...anyway, here is her famous recipe!

check out Liza's blog!

Twigs and Twine Pumpkin Butter Dip
(from Taste of Home Magazine with adjustments)

Warning, Highly Addictive!

3/4 cup Dickinson's Pumpkin Butter

(we used 1 cup and plan in the future to use 1 cup pumpkin pie filling and sugar and spices to taste)

1 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup marshmallow creme (we used a full 7 oz. jar)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Process all ingredients in Kitchenaid or beat with a handmixer until smooth.

Chill and serve with sliced apples and gingersnaps. We also served it with a sliced mini baguette which was surprisingly delicious.