More Mixes - Dressings, Seasonings and Soup Mixes!

Monday, September 30, 2013
Update May 2017: I've since updated the onion soup mix with better pictures, a tweak to the recipe, and a demo video.  You can find the updates HERE.

I've got some great little mixes for you today!  These are so handy to have around, and they get used often.  I have so many recipes that call for packets of ranch dressing mix, or Italian dressing mix, or onion soup mix, and I can never seem to keep enough around.  And don't forget the taco seasoning!  So here are some recipes for making your own homemade versions of all those dressing and flavoring and soup packets you usually find in the spice/seasonings aisle at the grocery store.  And most of them use ingredients that you probably already have on hand!

"Hidden Valley-ish" Ranch Mix
1/2 c. buttermilk powder
1 T. dried parsley
1 t. dried dill weed
1 t. onion powder
1 t. dry minced onion
1 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. ground pepper

Combing ingredients in blender; blend on high until smooth.

For dressing or dips, used 1 T. mix + 1 c. mayo + 1/2-1 c. milk (depending on how thick or thin you like it).

For recipes, 1 T. is equal to about one envelope/packet of dressing mix.

Ranch Dressing Mix (I have this one around because I can't always have the dairy that is in the one above)
1/4 c. black pepper
1 1/2 c. dried parsley
1/2 c. granulated garlic
1/2 c. granulated onion (or onion powder, or chop up dry minced onion in the blender to make your own granulated stuff)
1/4 c. garlic powder
2 T. kosher salt
2 T. dried dill weed
(I add chives to mine, too)

To make dressing, combine 1 T. mix with 1 c. mayo, 1 c. buttermilk, 3/4 c. sour cream and 1 tsp. lemon juice.

(Or, in my case, add 1 T. mix to 1 c. dairy-free soy-free vegenaise and 1/4 c. soured almond or coconut milk.)

Onion Soup Mix (I have several of these, just haven't decided which one I like best yet)
3/4 c. dried minced onion
1/3 c. beef bouillon powder (I think you could use granules here, too)
4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. crushed celery seed
1/4 t. sugar

For this recipe, 2-3 T. of mix = 1 pkg onion soup mix.

2/3 c dried minced onions
1/2 c. beef bouillon
1/2 c. butter or margarine powder
2 T. cornstarch
2 t. onion powder
2 t. parsley flakes (optional)

For this recipe, 2-4 t. of mix = 1 pkg onion soup mix.

#3 (for the equivalent of one package onion soup mix)
4 t. beef bouillon
8 t. dried minced onion
1 t. onion powder
1/4 t. black pepper

Italian Dressing Mix
1 1/2 t. garlic powder
T. onion powder
 T. dried oregano                                                  
T. dried parsley
T. granulated sugar
 T. salt                      
1 t. black pepper
 t. dried basil                                                  
1/4 t. dried thyme                                                  
1/2 t. dried celery leaves or flakes
Combine all and store in airtight container. 
To make dressing, combine 2 T. mix with 1/4 c. vinegar, 2 T. water and 1/3-1/2 c. olive or canola oil.
For recipes, 2 T. is equal to one packet dressing mix.
Taco Seasoning
1 T. chili powder
1/4 t. garlic powder (for more garlic flavor, increase to 1/2 t.)
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. paprika
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
For recipes, 2-3 T. is equal to one packet seasoning mix.

Useful Mixes - Cornbread, Brownies, Cookies and More!

Thursday, September 26, 2013
If going whole hog and doing entire meals in jars isn't your thing, don't fret!  You can still save time and money by putting together your own mixes right at home, with ingredients you already have in your pantry!  These are handy and very convenient to have around!  And much, much cheaper than the boxed versions at the grocery store.  Plus, you control what goes into them, and there are no additional additives or preservatives.  And no need to vacuum seal these - they will stay good on the shelf for several months. 

These are also very versatile - because if you WANTED to turn them into "just add water" mixes, you could!   And if you WANTED to then vacuum seal them and add to your food storage, you could!  He he he!

There are 3 mixes and 1 variation in the picture above, but I'm going to give you recipes for several more, too!  Let's start with my all-time favorite one, shall we?

Best Ever Cornbread
For the mix:
  • 1 cup Bisquick (or your own homemade baking mix)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
Add to bag. Seal and label with instructions. 
To make:
  1. Add dry ingredients to bowl.  Cut in 1/2 cup butter until course.  Add 4 beaten eggs and 2 cups buttermilk (or soured milk).  Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes until done.
Best Ever Cornbread (the "Just Add Water" option)
For the mix:
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter powder
  • 4 Tbsp. powdered eggs
  • 5 Tbsp. buttermilk powder
Add to bag.  Seal and label with instructions.
To make:
  1. Add dry ingredients to bowl.  Add 2 1/2 cups water.  Stir just until moistened.  Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes until done.
All I did for this second one is use the powdered dry equivalents to the fresh dairy from the first one.  See how easy?!?

Brownie Mix
For the mix:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
Add to bag. Seal and label with instructions.
To make:
  1. Add 2 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Pour into prepared 8x8 or 9x9 pan.  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until done.
For this one, you *could* make it a "just add oil and water" mix, but you'd need to use vanilla powder, which isn't exactly in most standard pantries.  But it can be done.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Mix
For the mix:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/2 cup raisins or nuts (leave out raisins if storing for very long term)
Add to bag.  Seal and label with instructions.
To make:
  1. Place dry ingredients into bowl.  Add 1 stick softened butter, 1 egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.  Mix together; drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350F for 9-11 minutes.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
For the mix:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
Add to bag.  Seal and label with instructions.
To make:
  1. Place dry ingredients into bowl.  Add 1 stick softened butter, 1 egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.  Mix together; drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350F for 9-11 minutes.
Sugar Cookie Mix
For the mix:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Add to bag.  Seal and label with instructions.
To make:
  1. Place dry ingredients into bowl.  Add 1 stick softened butter, 1 egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.  Mix together; drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350F for 9-11 minutes.
White Cake Mix
For the mix:
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 3/4 cup super fine sugar (buy or make own)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
Mix together and add to bag or jar.  Label with instructions.
To make:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease 2 (8-inch) cake pans with shortening and set aside.
    Cream 3/4 cup unsalted butter.  Add 5 egg whites, one at a time until incorporated. Add 1 cup milk, 2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. almond extract.  Bake 20-30 minutes.

Meals in Jars: The "Add Ons" Option

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I love the convenience of the "just add water" meals in jars, but what I DON'T like about them is the cost.  And that cost comes mainly from the freeze-dried meats.  Seriously, they are expensive!!!  #10 cans of FD meats will run you $25 - $50 per can.  UGH!   For many of the recipes I used in the "just add water" method, I substituted various flavors of TVP (textured vegetable protein) for the meats.  But let's face it, TVP is not quite the same as sometimes the taste leaves a little to be desired.

So, I was really excited when my husband bought me a book about meals in jars, and it didn't require any FD meat!  Nor does it use TVP substitutes!  Instead of having all of the meal ingredients in the jars, you just put most of the ingredients in the jars.  Then, when you are ready to cook the meal, you "add on" a few ingredients, things you would theoretically already have in your food storage or pantry.  In this case, the book assumes you will use either fresh or home-canned meats at the time of cooking.  And since I do can my own meats for my food storage, and find it to be easy and much more cost-effective than freeze-dried meats, I am loving this "add on" method!

The recipes I used came from the book, "Dinner Is In The Jar" by Kathy Clark.

It is very well laid out, and includes labels for photocopying (with cooking instructions), and lists of all ingredients and add-ons by recipe.

Here are the ones I have made so far:

Chicken Pot Pie
Cheesy Chicken Casserole
Mexican Pizza
Broccoli Cheese & Rice Casserole
Biscuits & Sausage Gravy
Pasta Soup
Hawaiian Haystacks
Black Beans & Rice
Italian Cheese & Sausage Calzones
The add-ons for these are:
Chicken Pot Pie - 1 pint cooked chicken (1lb)
Cheesy Chicken Casserole - 1 pint cooked chicken, 1 c. shredded cheese
Mexican Pizza - 1 pint cooked ground beef, 1/3 c. olive oil, 4oz can diced green chiles, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can small diced olives, shredded cheese
Biscuits & Sausage Gravy - none
Pasta Soup - 1 pint cooked chicken, 10 1/2 c water
Hawaiian Haystacks - 2 Tbsp butter, 1 pint cooked chicken
Black Beans & Rice - 1 can diced tomatoes
Italian Cheese & Sausage Calzones - 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese, 1 Tbsp. yeast, 2 Tbsp. olive oil
As you can see, all of the add-ons are things you most likely already have in your pantry or food storage, or can be added fresh.  Since I do store all of these add-ons in my food storage and can my own chicken and beef, these work really well for me.  Some of the recipes are a little more involved, including making your own tortillas for enchiladas...and I'm lazy, so you'll notice I didn't make the enchiladas recipe in this batch...he he he!  ;)

Universal Muffin Mix

Monday, September 23, 2013
I seriously love this muffin mix!  I have had fantastic results every time, and there are SO many different varieties of muffins you can make!!  No more of those half-risen tiny muffins from a box mix - these things come out looking like they have just been baked at a gourmet bakery!  :)

(The muffins in the back are peach, and the ones in the front are pumpkin cream cheese.)

Muffin Mix

18 cups flour
5 cups sugar
2 ¼ cups dry buttermilk or nonfat dry milk powder
6 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. ground nutmeg


Combine ingredients and break up any lumps.  Store in a well-sealed container.


To make 24 regular-size muffins:

·         Preheat oven to 400F.  Coat muffin tins with cooking spray.

·         In large bowl, beat together –

o   4 eggs

o   3 tsp. vanilla

o   2 c. water

o   ¾ c. oil

·         Stir in 5 ½ cups muffin mix and any additional ingredients.  Stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy) – DO NOT OVERMIX.

·         Fill muffin tins full.

·         Bake 18-20 minutes until muffins are golden brown.


Muffin Varieties:

Applesauce muffins: 1 cup applesauce, omit oil.

Apple muffins: 3 cups raw grated apples, 1 tsp. ground cloves, 1 cup nuts or raisins; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture before baking.

Apricot muffins: 1 cup chopped dried apricots.

Banana muffins: 2 mashed bananas 1 cup walnuts (optional).

Blueberry muffins: 2 cups fresh or frozen rinsed blueberries.

Bran-molasses muffins: Use only 3 cups of muffin mix. Stir in: 4 cups bran cereal, 1/2 cup molasses, 1 cup raisins.

Butterscotch muffins: 2 (12 oz.) bags butterscotch chips, 1 cup chopped nuts.

Carrot muffins: 2 cups grated carrots, 1 cup raisins, 1-1/2 teaspoons allspice.

Cashew muffins: 2 cups unsalted coarsely chopped cashews.

Cherry muffins: 2 cups fresh or dried pitted cherries.

Chocolate chip-fudge muffins: 1-1/2 cups cocoa, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 cups mini chocolate chips.

Coconut muffins: 3 cups toasted flaked coconut (reserve some to sprinkle on the top).

Cranberry-orange muffins: 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen cranberries, 1 cup nuts, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 Tbsp. orange peel.

Currant muffins: 1-1/2 cups currants, 1 cup chopped nuts.

Date nut muffins: 1 cup chopped dates, 1 cup chopped nuts.

Eggnog muffins: 4 teaspoons rum extract, 2 cups eggnog (omit water from recipe) before baking, top with mixture of: 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

Fig muffins: 2 cups dried chopped figs, 1 cup chopped walnuts.

Fruit muffins: 2 cups dried diced fruit.

Garden fresh muffins: 1 cup grated carrots, 1 cup grated zucchini, 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves.

Gingerbread muffins: 2 Tb. ground ginger 1/2 cup molasses 2 cups raisins.

Granola muffins: reduce muffin mix to 4 cups and add: 1-1/2 cups granola. Top with additional granola before baking.

Grape nuts muffins: reduce muffin mix to 4 cups and add: 2-1/2 cups grape nuts and 1 teaspoons allspice.

Hazelnut muffins: 2 teaspoons ground cardamom 2 cups chopped hazelnuts.

Incredible Cream Cheese muffins: combine: 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese 1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs. Drop this mix by Tb. onto top of muffins before baking.

Jam muffins: 1-1/2 cups jam or preserves (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, cherry) 1 cup chopped nuts (optional).

Kisses and hugs muffins: 1-1/2 cups cocoa 1/2 cup sugar after filling muffin tins 3/4 full, drop one Hershey’s kiss into the center of each muffin, pushing down slightly until kiss is covered. Ice cooled muffins with confectioner’s sugar and water glaze.

Lemon muffins: omit 1 cup water and replace with 1 cup lemon juice use 4 eggs, 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Lemon-poppy seed: 2 packages (3.4 oz each) instant lemon pudding mix 2 Tb. poppy seeds use 4 eggs omit 1 cup water and replace with 1 cup lemon juice.

Mandarin muffins: 2 (8-1.4 oz) cans crushed pineapple (undrained) reduce water to 1 cup 1-1/2 cups shredded carrots.

Maple muffins: 6 Tb. maple syrup, reduce water to 1-1/2 cups.

Marmalade muffins: 1-1/2 cups orange marmalade, 1 cup chopped nuts (opt), 1 cup orange juice (omit 1 cup of the water).

Mincemeat muffins: 1-1/2 cups mincemeat.

Nutty muffins: 3 cups peanut butter chips 1/2 cup chopped peanuts.

Oatmeal muffins: reduce muffin mix to 4 cups and add 1 cup oats; use 4 eggs and up to 2 cups raisins or grated apples.

Orange muffins: 2 cups sour cream,1 cup nuts or coconut (opt), 2 cans (11 oz. each) mandarin oranges, drain; use 4 eggs.

Peach muffins: 2 cups fresh or one large can (drained) chopped peaches.

Pear muffins: 2 cups fresh or one large can (drained) chopped pears.

Peanut-butter banana muffins: 1 cup peanut butter 1/2 cup chopped peanuts 3 mashed bananas.

Peanut-butter & jelly muffins: 1 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup chopped peanuts; drop 1 Tb. jam into each muffin before baking.

Pecan muffins: 2 cups chopped toasted pecans, 1 teaspoons maple extract.

Pineapple muffins: 1 teaspoons ground cloves, 1 large can crushed pineapple, drained 1 jar (7 oz. or about 1 cup) macadamia nuts, chopped.

Pineapple carrot raisin muffins: 1 cup each: grated carrots, crushed pineapple, drained and raisins 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional).

Plum muffins: 2 cups fresh or canned plums; chopped.

Prune muffins: 1 to 2 cups chopped prunes 1/3 cup poppy seeds.

Pumpkin muffins: 2 cups or 1 can solid pack pumpkin 1 Tb. pumpkin pie spice 1/2 cup each chopped nuts and raisins.

Raspberry muffins: 2 cups fresh or frozen whole, unsweetened raspberries.

Rum raisin muffins: 3 teaspoons rum extract before baking, top with mix of: 2 teaspoons sugar 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg.

Sesame seed muffins: 1 cup toasted sesame seeds before baking, top with mix of: 1/2 cup nuts 4 Tb. brown sugar 4 Tb. sesame seeds 2 Tb. flour 1/2 teaspoons each cinnamon/nutmeg.

Sour cream muffins: omit one cup of the water and add: 1 cup sour cream 2 cups nuts 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (opt.).

Strawberry muffins: 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped.

Sweet potato muffins: 1 Tb. allspice 4 Tb. dry orange peel 2 cans (10 oz each) sweet potatoes, mashed, well drained (about 2-1/2 cups).

Tropical treat muffins: 1 cup dried mango or papaya, chopped 1 cup chopped banana chips or 2 fresh mashed, 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped 1/2 cup coconut 1/2 cup sour cream 2 teaspoons lemon peel, grated.

Vanilla muffins: 2 packages vanilla chips.

Walnut muffins 1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts.

Wheat germ muffins: 2-2/3 cup wheat germ, use 4 eggs, 1/2 cup extra water before baking, top muffins with mix of: 1/2 cup wheat germ 2 Tb. sugar.

Yogurt muffins: reduce water to 1-1/2 cups and add: 2 cartons (8 oz each) yogurt -- plain or flavored.

Zucchini muffins: 2 cups grated zucchini, 2 Tb. Cinnamon, 1 cup chopped nuts (optional).

-Recipe from GroupRecipes

Homemade Cleaners

Sunday, September 22, 2013
Some of the "mixes" that I use most around my house are the homemade cleaner mixes!  Here are the three that I use for just about everything.

Because I use this stuff a LOT, I keep bleach, vinegar, ammonia, borax and rubbing alcohol in my food storage, so that I will have plenty of cleaning solution options available should I need them in an emergency or long-term difficulty situation.  These are all multi-purpose multi-taskers, so in the long run they save me money and save me space over having to store a year's supply of various different individual cleaners.

All-Purpose Cleaner
I got this recipe from the Dr. Oz show a few years ago (random, I know) and I love it!  We use it for kitchen and bathroom countertop cleaning, wiping down walls and banisters, cleaning sticky fingerprints off of kitchen chairs, etc.  ;)

1 Tbsp. Borax
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. dish soap
2 cups water
a few drops essential oil

Mix ingredients together carefully to avoid creating too many suds.  You may need to break up some clumps of the Borax.  Pour into spray bottle and label.

Disinfecting Wipes
I've been making these for several years, and they work marvelously!

1 roll Bounty paper towels
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. Lysol all-purpose cleaner

You'll also need:
  • airtight container large enough to hold paper towels (I believe mine is the Walmart brand, and this particular one says 6 or 9 on the bottom.  But I think if you go for the Rubbermaid ones, it is the #10 canister.)
  • large serrated bread knife or electric knife
The messiest part of this is cutting the roll of paper towels in half!  You'll need to saw through it with a long bread knife or electric knife. 

Place half of your roll, with the "fuzzy" cut end down, into the container.  Carefully remove the center cardboard roll.  Pour your cleaning mix over the roll; cover and let sit for an hour or so.  Then turn the container upside down for a bit to make sure the cleaning liquid is fully and equally absorbed into the paper towels.

To use, pull the wipes from the center of the roll. 

*Note: You can use just about any cleaning mix you want, and there are tons of them available on the Internet.  I use the Lysol because most of the time I am using these for disinfecting/sanitizing.  I'm sure there are homemade disinfecting cleaner recipes out there, I just haven't taken the time to look them up yet, so I just continue to use the Lysol. ;) And one 52 oz. bottle of Lysol has lasted me several years!  Feel free to use whatever cleaner or cleaning recipe you like.  Just be careful - these can get mold/mildew after awhile if not used fairly quickly (although I've not had that happen when using the Lysol, most likely due to its disinfecting ingredients).

Window Cleaner
I just started making this stuff a few months ago.  We're at the end of our first bottle, and so far so good! 

1 empty Windex bottle or spray bottle of similar size
1/8 cup (1oz) white ammonia
1/4 cup (4oz) isopropyl rubbing alcohol
1-2 drops blue Dawn dish soap (yeah, you could probably use any dish soap here)

Fill container about half full with water.  Add ammonia and rubbing alcohol.  Then add the dish soap.  Fill remainder of container with water and swirl gently (to avoid making suds with the soap). 

Multi-Purpose "Quick Mix" (aka Homemade Bisquick)

This is a handy little mix to have in your pantry!  It is easy and quick to whip up, does not require refrigeration, and can be used for more things than you can imagine!

You can use this mix for breads, biscuits, cakes, cornbread, coffee cakes, brownies, cobblers, pancake/waffle batters, etc.  And you can use if for making your own Shake & Pour pancake mix!  So convenient!

To make the multi-purpose mix, combine:
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. nonfat dry milk
  • 4 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 cup shortening
Stir together first four ingredients until mixed.

 Cut in shortening into flour mixture until it resembles course cornmeal (can use a pastry cutter, fork, food processor or mixer).  I used my Bosch mixer for this latest batch, but I've also done it using a Kitchenaid mixer with great results.

Store in an tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 6 weeks.
For a full listing of all the different recipes you can use this in, download the "Mixing It Up with Mixes" publication from the USU Cooperative Extension.  Or check out this similar publication "Utah Ready-Quick Mix" (at some point apparently they changed the name, but the recipe remains the same. 
So, now that you've got your basic mix ready, you can put together some shake & pour pancake mixes!  I used the instructions at One Good Thing by Jillee's blog, and they have turned out great every time.  Very handy to have for weekend breakfasts or camping trips! 
They are super easy - to a quart mason jar, add 2 cups of the basic mix and 1 teaspoon sugar.  To make the pancakes, add 1 cup water and 1 egg, shake until mixed, and then pour onto/into your preheated cooking vessel of choice (campstove, griddle, skillet, etc.).  Then grab them fast before they are all gobbled up!  :)

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Another of the "mixes" we talked about today in the Meals and Mixes class was homemade laundry detergent.

Usually for blog posts, I try to take pictures of all the ingredients, or photos of certain steps in the process.  I made this stuff back in July, and just today realized that I had failed to take ANY pictures when making it.  Bad blogger.

So instead of just posting a boring recipe here with no other pictures than the one above, I will send you to the post where I originally got the recipe from.  She has great pictures and gives some good tips that will be useful when attempting to make your own!

I used this stuff for several weeks, but unfortunately it coincided with the worst weeks of my morning sickness, and I'm super-hyper-sensitive to smells during my first trimester, so the smell of this stuff, while nice, was just too overpowering for me after a few weeks and I had to stop using it for the sake of my stomach!  ;)

DIY Laundry Soap from How Does She?

There is also another one to try out, that also gets really great reviews.  From a fellow Utahn, even! :)  (This one is a liquid version.)

Super Concentrated No Grate Liquid Laundry Detergent from One Good Thing by Jillee

If you try this stuff out, let me know what you think!

Meals in Jars: The "Just Add Water" Option

There are lots of different "plans" or options when it comes to doing food storage, and they all serve certain purposes.  There isn't really one right or wrong way to do food storage - well, okay, there is ONE wrong way, and that is to not do anything at all.  That would be bad...

I'd like to introduce you to a method of making up your meals in advance, and storing them in sealed jars, so that all you have to do is add water and you've got yourself a meal!  You use dehydrated and freeze-dried products.  You can opt to do a portion of your food storage, or even all of your food storage, this way.  These are incredibly convenient!  Especially for nights where you need a quick meal, or you just aren't in the mood to fix something from scratch but you don't want fast food again.  My only "con" with these is that they can get a little pricey with the freeze-dried meats (they run $20-$50 per #10 can).  But many of these can be made with "fake meat", otherwise known as TVP (textured vegetable protein), which is much cheaper than freeze-dried meat, so that you can do either the freeze-dried meat or a TVP substitute.  For the jars you'll see below, I went the cheap route and used the various "flavors" of TVP. 

Most of these recipes have been developed by Stephanie Petersen, aka "Chef Tess".  She calls this her "52 Method Meals-in-a-Jar".  She has produced a cookbook for Honeyville Grains that includes several of these recipes, but she has also graciously posted the recipes online for free!  So that's what I'm going to link you to.

To get the basics of how to do the jars, and sealing, and the basic rules to follow, please check out her FAQ post:

52 Method Jar Info

*Note:  It is REALLY, really, REALLY, really important that you read and follow the safety guidelines for sealing these jars if you use the freeze-dried meats.

Now on to the recipes!

Potato Sausage Cheese Casserole

Taco Soup

6-Grain Peanut Butter Cup Cereal

Dallas-style Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Chicken Veggie Casserole

White Chocolate Eggnog Cookies  These are from a basic cookie mix made by Chef Tess, that she then uses to make several different variations of cookie mixes in jars.  Great for gifts!

Beefy Taco Rice  The recipe posted online has been scaled down for a single-person option.  Here is the recipe for the full quart jar size:

In a quart jar:
1/2 cup freeze-dried ground beef or beef TVP
1 1/2 cups rice
1/2 cup freeze-dried bell pepper
1/2 cup dehydrated onion
1 Tbsp. Chef Tess Southwest Fajita seasoning
1 tsp. dehydrated minced garlic
1 Tbsp. dehydrated minced ancho chiles (I found some dried chiles at Walmart that I used)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 cup tomato powder
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. beef bouillon

Add contents of jar to 5 1/2 cups boiling water.  Cover and simmer on low 25-30 minutes until tender.  Top with cheese or sour cream if desired.

Bean & Rice Fajita Casserole

Turkey Noodle Skillet Meal  (I cheated on this one - I didn't want to buy the big #10 of freeze-dried turkey, so I substituted chicken TVP, and now it is "Chicken Noodle Skillet Meal".)

Country Style Hamburger Stew

Carrot Cake Breakfast Pudding
Chef Tess has a TON of other recipes, too!  These are just a few that I made for testing and for my Meals and Mixes class today.  You can find additional recipes on the 52 Method Jar Info page (link above), and on the Cookin' Counsins Blog under the topic, "Chef Tess".

These next two are from other sources online:

Lemon Dill Rice

Mac & Cheese from Rainy Day Food Storage blog.  (There are quite a few other meal-in-a-jar recipes on this site as well.)

If you'd like additional recipes and ideas, I'm gathering them on a Pinterest board, and you can follow along if you'd like.

101 Uses For Your Jar Sealer