Creamy Tomato Soup ~ Meal In a Jar

Grilled-Cheese-Tomato-SoupI LOVE tomato soup with a hot grilled cheese sandwich. Especially in winter!! So when a friend of mine (Phinecia Ham) sent me this recipe I had to share it with all of you. The recipe below is for one pint size jar of soup, however I like to think beyond that.
We have about 3-4 months of cold weather per year so I am going to incorporate this into our winter meals. So about 17-20 of these pre-made up would allow us to eat this wonderful soup once a week for 4 months. Of course if you want to eat it more than that you can just double up. Sound good?
If you wanted to add more calories you could also store crackers or boxes of jiffy cornbread mix right along side of your soup. (Ingredients are below the video)
 Cooking Directions To Print For Jar:
  1. Add mix to 4 cups boiling water. Reduce heat then simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle cheese on top when serving.

Directions:

  1. Layer all ingredients in jar except cheese.
  2. Place cheese in a sandwich baggy and fold tight.
  3. Put cheese on top of mix in jar.
  4. Wipe rims and place lid on the jar.
  5. Use vacuum sealer and attachment to seal the jar. Then screw on the ring. (Or use oxygen absorbers.)
  6. Print/Write cooking directions and attach to the jar along with the date.
  7. All finished!!!
(Serves 4 people and makes approx 1-2 cups per person. Only you can figure out how much it takes to fill up your family.)

Goodie Gifts For Canners

autumn preserves

Pic Source: Confessions of a Prepper

Whether you know an expert canner/dehydrator or someone just starting in the art, we always need supplies but are not always easy to shop for. So for this holiday season I have put together a list of over 30 of the tools I have found to be very effective when it comes to canning, dehydrating and cooking in general.  Many people have some of these tools and others do not. For those who have the basic tools you may find something here that catches your eye. There are a lot of other items to pick from. Have you ever tried fermenting? If not, the tools are listed here to.  So please, share this article with friends, family and new canners all around and get your Christmas shopping done early!! No matter what your budget is, there is something on this list for you!!

Canning/Dehydrating books are ALWAYS needed!! Below I have listed the books I can’t live without:

hdratelerA dehydrator is a great way to preserve fruits, vegetables and meats. It’s very simple and saves a lot of food or helps to build a great food storage reserve. If you know anyone who loves dried bananas or beef/deer jerky this could be a perfect gift. I sprung for the Excalibur 5 tray Model

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If you are going to make fruit leather, (fruit roll ups) then you can always add these to the stockings to go with the amazing dehydrator!! These are a special Non Stick Dehydrator Sheet needed to pour the puree fruit onto the tray.

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There are two basic things all canners need to start out. A Pressure canner and a water bath canner. (PC are for things like, meats, fish, poultry, vegetables and low acid foods.) Granted a good pressure canner can cost a little more, but in the end it is well worth it. I choose to use the All American 15 -1/2 quart pressure cooker for several reasons. Aside from the fact they are all Made in the USA, the main reason I choose this brand is because of their “metal-to-metal” sealing system for a steam-tight seal; no gaskets involved. That means no replacing worn out gaskets in the future. Positive action clamping locks align the cover to the base, forming a steam-tight seal. Since the seal does not use a gasket, the cover can be easily opened and closed, providing an extra margin of safety over conventional rubber or composition gasket cookers. You can choose any size you want however this model holds 10 pint jars or 7 quart jars. For a cheaper option, the Presto 23 quart aluminum pressure canner is often good for beginners who are not sure if they like canning.

410ls2guNaLThis Stainless Steel Rocking Mezzaluna Knife with silicon handle is essential for any cooks kitchen. At just under $12.00, for quick chopping jobs this is perfect. When a cook likes his/her kitchen gadgets they tend to use them more often.

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Water Bath Canners are for your jellies, jams and higher acid foods. While this is technically nothing more than a large stock pot, the water bath canners come with a jar rack to help lower and lift jars in and out of the water. I find the rack FANTASTIC for blanching tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.

71NOfVsRIOL._SL1500_Pretty much every canner probably already has these tools, however, there’s never any harm in replacing them or adding more to your collection. More than once my jar funnels have disappeared only to be found months later in the kids toy box, closet or buried under their beds. This beautiful 7 piece canning tool set  I am listing is not only beautiful, but very durable because it is not plastic. It comes with a steel canning rack that holds 7 pint or quart-size jars, a sterilizing rack holds 12 lids, 2 stainless-steel funnels, magnetic lid wand, jar lifter, and cheese cloth.

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For those who love canning cherries, the Cherry Pitter Device is ahhhmazing! It quickly de- pits multiply cherries to speed up your job and is easy for kids to use to!

One thing I can not stand is getting my hands all sticky when canning jams or jellies. This Prepworks Ladle from Progressive has a unique angle that’s shape easily gets into the corners of a stock pot; eliminates need for tools to scrape the bottom of pot. Its large capacity scoop fills entire 1/2 pint in 1 scoop and pours from both sides for left or right-handed use. The clip keeps scoop from slipping into pot and withstands heat to 400. It won’t stain and is dishwasher safe.

canning ladle

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Props to Prepworks again. They have come out with another nifty little tool. Sometimes I have problems getting the head space accurate when filling my jars. This wide mouth and regular mouth funnel comes in very handy for those of us that need it. 🙂

71pni06wMFL._SL1500_I have had my Bella Bullet Blender for two years now. I got it for $10.00 on Black Friday but you can still get it at a great price of $25.00 on amazon. I use this primarily for turning dehydrated foods such as tomatoes, onions, cayenne peppers, kale, etc into powders. It also blends up smoothies great. Its small and take up very little counter/cabinet space.

91qrUJsEagL._SL1500_For those bigger blending jobs I like to use the Ninja Ultima Kitchen System. This is a little bit pricey but this one gets all jobs done, you will get rid of all other blenders and it will make your kitchen guru very happy. It’s an 8 cup blender verses a 2-3 cup. Any serious canner knows and hates chopping up cups and cups of green peppers, jalapenos, onions etc for those delicious jar meals and will be so happy and grateful for this machine. Less time in the kitchen means more time with the family. Mmmmm perfect for large batches of home-made salsa!!

81BH76MBTTL._SL1500_As a cook and a canner I am always in need of a clean dish towel. With many different colors to choose from this makes another perfect gift to go along side of a new canner. Utopia Cotton Kitchen Towels come 12 to a set for a great deal at $15.00.

71k-it4cEEL._SL1500_The Victorio Food Strainer and Sauce Maker is great for any project that requires you to use cheesecloth. (Something I personally hate doing) It is wonderful for making all the sauces, purees, juices and jams you love without painstaking peeling or coring. It quickly separates fruit and vegetable puree from unwanted skins, stems and seeds. Optional electric drive motor. Don’t forget the 4 piece accessory kit with it so you can do even more. 🙂

816COBVtPDL._SL1500_Another small pet peeve of mine is small measuring cups. Most canning recipes call for more than 1 or 2 cups of any ingredient and any given time. When your mind is racing with everything to do sometimes its hard counting cup for cup and much easier to only have to measure once or twice. I have lost count more than once when it comes to sugar or vinegar in a recipe. I recently purchased this and am very happy with it. It is a Pyrex 4 cup measuring cup.

Ball Collector Jars seem to be a hit among those canners who love to take pictures of their work or use nice jars on their counter tops. There are several different kinds so I will list a few of them.

ball 1

The first is a Quart size Heritage Green tinted jar. It also comes in pint size as well. Any canner would love this and appreciate the thought.

ball 2The second most popular Vintage Heritage Jars are the beautiful blue tinted class jars. This link leads you to a case of 6 pint size jars with lids and rings.

fermenyThe Perfect Pickler Fermenting kit. If your family loves sauerkraut or anything else fermented then this might be the kit for you. Odor-free fermenting! Wild fermentation – no cultures to add and seals out air to induce a naturally pro-biotic world. Self-pressurizes to lock out airborne microbes.

61NRMk2nHqL._SL1500_If you have a vacuum sealer then this is a MUST!! This is a nifty little attachment that attaches to your mason jar lids and vacuum seals them air tight. Perfect for anyone who likes to dehydrate their own foods or makes meals in jars for their food storage.

61311pXeWNL._SL1500_If you do not have a vacuum sealer yet and its been on your *to get list* then now is the perfect time. We use The Food Saver V2244. We have had it about 4 years now with no problems and have never had to replace a part.

616Fz0ZAFkL._SL1500_Recap is a great idea for those regular mouth jars. We often store our fresh ground herbs and dried foods in our mason jars and opening and closing them every time can get old. With this invention one simply has to flip the lid open. 🙂 (For a four pack of all sizes, click here.)

41hNSB6bEcLMade to fit the Recap lids listed above, this Farmcurious Mason Jar Fermenting kit comes with everything you need to ferment your vegetables. This little set locks out the air and all the yeast and mold that come with it. Carbon dioxide escapes through the top of the airlock but nothing is allowed in. Attach the set to any wide mouth mason jar – fits a half-gallon jar for larger batches and down to a half pint for tiny little test batches.

Includes two full setups – two ReCAP lids, instructions and recipes, two stoppers and two airlocks so you can make two batches of yummy lactose-fermented goodies at once!

fermenting jarIf you would like to take fermenting to the next level then surprise your partner or treat yourself to the wonderful 2 Gallon (10L) Fermenting Crock Pot with stones. Harvest stoneware Fermenting Crocks from Czech Republic feature a traditional old world design that has proved highly functional for 100+ years. Harvest crocks were designed by the maker of the Harsch Crock and are handmade in the classic kiln process for stoneware. Fermenting crocks are excellent for pickling vegetables, making delicious sauerkraut or Kimchi, and even making wine. Fermentation pots have been used for hundreds of years as a way of naturally allowing foods to preserve in a salt and water brine. The lids on these fermentation pots are vented and once in place do not need to be removed as long as you keep the water level in the rim channel above the vents.

15 Bean Soup & Cornbread

15 bean soupI have used this recipe for close to 15 years now. I can not recall where I got it, but over the years we have added and taken away to make this soup delicious. As with all recipes….make it to suit your family!!

(Note: I have added links for dehydrated or freeze dried foods used on the ingredients list.  I added these links for your convenience if you prefer to prepare freeze dried meals in jars as I do.)

Ingredients:

  • 1- Package 15 Bean Soup (Ham, Cajun or plain is fine)
  • 1 lb. ham steak (diced into 1/2″ squares), ham hocks, or smoked sausage (You can store canned ham or beef stew meat in your food storage to add the meaty flavor and calories as well.)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can diced or stewed tomatoes (dehydrated tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Juice from 1 lemon.  This is a very important step, it really brings out all the flavors. (Crystallized Lemon for food storage)
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup beef bouillon
  • 2- Jalapeño’s, seeded and diced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar, (Tip: This is not for flavor. Adding a cap or two of white vinegar locks in all the different colors in soups, stews or what ever your cooking.)

Directions:

  1. The night before:  Place beans in a large pot, cover with 2 quarts of water. Allow beans to soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.
  2. After soaking, drain excess water, and add 2 quarts of fresh water and meat. (Sometimes I forget this step and then have to go strain it and add fresh water, but only if its when I just start cooking it.)
  3. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 2.5 hours.
  4. After simmering, add onion, tomatoes, chili powder, lemon and garlic. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Add contents of ham packet, (optional) 1 to 2 minutes before cooking is completed. Salt and pepper to taste.

Corn Bread:

  • One box of Jiffy cornbread.
  • Add about 1/4 cup of sugar and cook as directed. (optional)
  • Serve with honey.

Patriotic Layered Drink

DSC_0210-685x1024Ingredients:

  • Sobe Pina Colada Drink (cold)
  • Gatorade Fruit Punch (cold)
  • G2 Blueberry-Pomegranate (cold)

Directions:

  1. Fill bottom of glasswith ice
  2. Pour the sobe into the bottom of the glass just enough to cover the ice.
  3. Add more ice until the glass is full
  4. Then slowly pour the fruit punch
  5. Then add the G2 Blueberry-Pomegranate

The trick to any layered drink is to put the drink of choice with the highest sugar content in the bottom first, then the next to highest second and the lowest on top. The difference in the thickness is what creates the layered look.

Kids love these drinks and so do adults. We prefer non alcoholic but many people choose to add alcohol.

Source: You Tube

 

 

Spicy Buffalo Chicken & Rice

IMG_20130602_131052Spicy buffalo anything is a favorite in our house by the majority of people here.  So I thought, what better meal in a jar to prep for than some buffalo chicken and rice!!

It turned out great so I had to share the recipe with all of you.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons spice mix (Knorrs), more or less to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups minute rice
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried mixed vegetables OR 1/4 cup celery and carrots each
  • 1 1/2 cup freeze-dried chicken, cubed
  • 3 cups of Hot water
  • 1 case of Quart Jars (about $10.00 at Walmart)

Directions For Cooking: Print this label and secure it to the jar.

  • Add ingredients from jar and 3 cups of warm water to a cold skillet.
  • As your skillet heats the water will re-hydrate the ingredients.
  • Place lid on skillet stirring occasionally so rice does not stick to the skillet.
  • Cook until rice is tender and meal is hot. (about 10-20 minutes)

You can put the ingredients in the jar in any order that works for you. I like to start with the rice or chicken and then add the buffalo spice mix so I can shake the powder down some to make more room for the rest of the ingredients. Use your vacuum sealer to seal the jars.  (Equipment picture links below)

This particular recipe will make 8 quart jar meals before running out of Chicken.  I had leftover Vegetables, rice and buffalo mix. Had I opted to use another can of chicken then I probably could of gotten another 6 meals made out of it.  There are four of us and we each got a large full bowl of this meal.  The great part is that it passed the test!! Everyone really enjoyed this meal with no questions asked.  They could not tell that any of the ingredients were freeze-dried.

Cost for 8 Spicy Buffalo Chicken and Rice meals in jars was approx $103.00. This one jar will feed 4 people a good size bowl for supper. In my opinion that is not bad for 8 great meals that will last a long, long time.

vac sealer

wide mouth

Note: Reseal leftover absorbers in a jar to keep them good.

Note: Reseal leftover absorbers in a jar to keep them good.

Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry in a Jar

stir fryI came across this recipe some time ago online and have altered it a little to our families liking. I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does 🙂 If you are making these meals for food storage then it is a good idea to buy two cans of meat so you have enough to go with the other ingredients. We have a family of four so you will have to prep according to your family size. Every meal in a jar is different so ingredient cost may differ as well.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Layer all ingredients in the order listed above in a one-quart jar.

After adding the stir fry mix, shake it down so it mixes with the chicken. This will give you more in the jar.

Place an Oxygen absorber on top or vacuum seal the jar. (Don’t forget your vacuum sealer attachments for jars. Wide mouth or regular.)

Below are ingredients on how to prepare the meal for your family. I print/write the directions on paper or labels and secure them to the jar along with the date it was made. If properly sealed these meals will last as long as if the meal was sitting on your shelf in its number ten can, but take up way less space! 🙂 For one months worth of meals (3 meals a day) we only use 8 canning boxes that all stack very nicely.

To Prepare Meal:

Add 4 cups of water to a skillet and let boil. Add entire jar contents to the skillet, mix and then turn off the heat. Let the food sit for about ten minutes to re-hydrate and then simmer for 20-25 minutes uncovered. Stir occasionally.

Chicken Stir Fry Mix

  • 1/4 cup chicken bouillon, 35 ounce jar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dehydrated onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

To make the sauce:

For more sauce in your meal: Add 1/3 cup dry mix to 1 1/4 cup of water.  In a small sauce pan, mix together and let simmer until sauce starts to thicken.

Note: We like extra sauce in ours so we make up a large jar of the Chicken stir fry dry mix for that purpose.  You can also do this with Taco Seasoning, Cheese sauce for Mac and Cheese and Basic Sauce Mix Recipes.

Source of original recipe: Rainy Day Food Storage

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Wide Mouth Jar Attachment

vac sealer

Vacuum Sealer

Carrot Juice

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Ingredients:

5 large carrots or enough to fill a pint size mason jar.

 

Click here if you do not have a juicer!

Click here if you do not have a juicer!

 

Nutritional Facts according to healthbynature.com;

100 g of fresh carrot juice contains:

  • 2.1 mg of beta-carotene and 350 micrograms of vitamin A
  • Up to 3 mg of vitamin C, which is necessary to maintain immunity
  • 0.2 mg of vitamin PP, which has beneficial effects on metabolic processes in the body
  • 0.01 mg of vitamin B1, required for proper function of the brain and nervous system
  • 0.02 mg of vitamin B2, needed to maintain healthy metabolism and vision
  • 0.3 mg of vitamin E for healthy cells and synthesis of hormones (It’s several times greater than in beet juice.)

Sure, carrot juice is good for everyone, but special attention should be paid by those who have lowered immunity or eye diseases. Drinking a glass of carrot juice a day is recommended for pregnant and lactating women.
Slightly diluted with water, it can be given to children.
The main healthy component in carrot juice is vitamin A, which is required:

  • If one’s got eye problems. It helps low vision.
  • If one’s got skin problems. Lack of vitamin A is immediately visible on the skin as it gets dry or may be flaking. Heels and elbows get hard very quickly.
  • For growth and development of bones of the body.
  • For pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as children.
  • For healthy tooth enamel in adults and proper development of teeth in children.
  • For mucous membranes to be healthy. Otherwise, the protection against infections drops, and infection can occur at any mucous body, such as as the bladder, stomach and intestines, mouth, etc.
  • For cleansing the liver. Vitamin A accumulates in the liver and cleanses it constantly, so carrot juice supports the health of the liver.

Carrot juice is rich in antioxidants, which:

  • Slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Help cleanse the cells of toxins and impurities, thus ridding the skin of acne.

Drinking carrot juice can help you get rid of dermatitis and eczema.
Vitamin C acts as a protector of the nervous and immune systems.
A glass of fresh carrot juice perfectly relieves stress after a hard day and calms if one is overexcited. It is important to drink fresh carrot juice for smokers because nicotine destroys all supplies of vitamin C in the body. Vitamin C in combination with B vitamins reduces the level of harmful cholesterol, thereby protecting the cardiovascular system.
Fresh carrot juice increases appetite and improves digestion. It serves as a great resource in atherosclerosis, infections and kidney stones.
Carrot juice is very helpful to women. Carotene normalizes the synthesis of female sex hormones. That allows women to stay young and healthy for longer. Because the lack of vitamin A leads to infertility, carrot juice, in some cases helps to resolve that problem.
In addition to a fun-filled orange color, carrot juice contains a substance related to endorphins, which promotes a sense of joy. In a moment of bad temper when your hand is reaching for a chocolate bar or a cake, you’d better squeeze a cup of carrot juice instead, so you would get a good mood right now … and in a few days too, looking at the scale).
Carrot juice can also benefit for red-haired beauties. A carrot juice mask will give your hair a beautiful shine and color, restore and strengthen the structure of hair follicles. Method: fresh juice is distributed along the hair and gently rubbed into the scalp, avoiding places around the forehead and temples. Put a shower cap on your head, after half an hour rinse your hair with water.

How and How Much Carrot Juice to Drink

  • The first rule is that you need to drink carrot juice with any fat. You can add a spoonful of sour cream or a bit of cream, olive or other vegetable oil. Fat promotes the absorption of carotene in the liver. Pure carrot juice in small amounts is almost useless, as it’s not digestible; in large amounts, it will create a heavy load on the liver.
  • Keep the fresh squeezed juice no more than an hour because many vitamins, including beta-carotene, begin to fail and lose activity, and carrot juice benefits considerably reduce.
  • Drink carrot juice for half an hour before meals and, even better, in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • There’s a lot of controversy about how much carrot juice you can drink a day. The average daily need for beta-carotene and vitamin A is covered by a glass of carrot juice (250 ml) for both men and women. Yellow skin (it’s especially noticeable on the face) is a sure sign that all is good in moderation and it’s time to take a break from drinking carrot juice.
  • Children can be given carrot juice after six months by diluting it with water (1:1).

Carrot Juice Contraindications

  • Carrot juice should be avoided by people with diabetes.
  • It is not recommended that you drink it if you have an increased acidity in the stomach, ulcer or gastritis.
  • Carrot juice has a mild laxative effect, so it should not be consumed if you have diarrhea.

It is equally important to stress that the excessive consumption of carrot juice can cause yellow skin, weakness, drowsiness, headache and vomiting. In such situations, drinking should be stopped immediately.
Do not forget the old saying – everything is good in moderation.

Energy Booster

Energy BoosterIngredients:

2 Cucumbers

8 celery sticks

6 Kale Leaves

1″ Ginger root

1 apple

1 lime

2 green apples

Run your fruits and vegetables through your juicer and drink for Breakfast or a mid morning snack.

I am obtaining my juicing recipes from Juicing with Julie on Facebook.It doesn’t taste as bad as I thought it would.

juicer

Click here for the juicer if you do not have one!