Meals in a Jar: Real Life Update (Chicken Noodle Skillet Meal)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Chicken Noodle Skillet Meal in a Jar

We pulled this meal out for dinner this week.  Just wanted to update everyone on what we thought!  The original called for freeze-dried turkey, but I substituted chicken tvp instead (because that's what I had on hand).

Turns out I should have sprung for the turkey - I'm currently HIGHLY allergic to soy, and that is what tvp is made out of, so I wasn't able to eat any of this meal.  I did take a taste, but that was it.  It was okay - nothing super.  Definitely edible, and better than some of the Mountain House meals I've tasted, for sure.

Jar was still fully sealed and nothing smelled or tasted stale at all. 

The two younger kids ate it without complaint, but the oldest wasn't very thrilled.  Hubs ate it fine and said it wasn't bad.  My only complaint was that it BARELY made enough for 1 adult and 3 kids.  And they weren't large servings.  So if you have a larger family, or older kids, you may want to plan on TWO of these jars per meal.  My biggest surprise was that the kid didn't complain once about the vegetables!  They are notorious for turning their noses up at anything that even resembles a vegetable.  And this contained freeze-dried veggies no less!

It seemed to be a little overly sweet to me, and I'm thinking that was from the cheese sauce.  I suspect that is due to the brand of powdered cheese sauce I used.  I've read reviews that it isn't the favorite choice for powdered cheese sauce.  So once I'm done with the current can, I'll try a different brand and see if that makes a difference when I go to remake the meals we've used.  I did add a little extra salt and pepper, to tone down the sweetness, and that helped a little. 

Overall, a decent meal that only took 10 minutes to put on the table, from start to finish!

How to Tell When Canned Jam May Have Gone Bad

Monday, May 5, 2014
How to tell when canned jam may have gone bad...

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn't the same...

Same batch, canned the same day. Not sure what might have happened, but the dramatic color change is a fairly big indicator that something didn't go right. It is still sealed, with no bulging. I think there might be mold. I hate to lose the jar, but at this point, it isn't worth risking opening it and possibly contaminating my sink or counters, or other food, by releasing spores or bacteria (mold, botulinum toxin, etc.) into the air.

This batch isn't even a year old. And we just finished off some that was two years old without any issues. So, just remember to use your common sense and intuition when dealing with canned foods - look for clues. If it looks wrong, then it probably is, and it's safer to just get rid of it than risk getting someone sick.
Now, apparently I need to get working on some new strawberry jam for this year!  Good thing it's strawberry season!!!