Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Food Storage Auditions- Black Bean Burgers and Chicken Salad

Last week, we auditioned two more potential 3 month food storage candidates. 

First we tried the Black Bean Burgers from the excellent Safely Gathered In blog:


Before we proceed with the results of the audition, I want to add my standard disclaimer to this as well as any and all types of "veggie" burger.  If you are expecting it to have the texture and taste of a ground beef burger, you will always, always be disappointed. If you are expecting a delicious grilled sandwich- you may be suprised that you like it in spite of the missing meat.

So- back to this recipe.  It was excellent- one of the best bean burger recipies we've tried (and one of the easiest).  We did almost double the amount of salsa called for in the recipe, and we added about a 1/4 or 1/2 coup of corn (about 1/3 of a can). 

They cooked up nicely on the stovetop, too- crispyish on the outside and mushy (creamy?) on the inside.  We served them with melted cheddar, salsa, tomatos and lettuce.  Kid rating was a double-thumbs-up- Birdy ate her whole sandwich (which is the ultimate kid test). 

My only issue is that I wonder about the suitibility for "shelf storage" since it relies on buns (which, technically I could make- you know, if they have a "hamburger bun" recipe for the bread machine).  However, I think for the practical purposes of the 3 month supply, it gets a "pass".

On Saturday we went to the zoo.  We have a new commitment to NOT eating out, so we decided it was a perfect opportunity to bust out the Chicken Salad  recipe (also from Safely Gathered In) and give it a try (Pic from Safely Gathered In- not mine):


I only became a Chicken Salad sandwich fan recently, and have been pretty committed to a great recipe that my sister  found on one of my favorite recipe sites,  It is awesome, but definately not food-storage friendly.

We really enjoyed this chicken salad. The canned chicken suprised us again by being really good. The craisins gave it a great shelf-stable sweetness and the toasted almonds provided the crunch. Our only complaint was that it seemed a bit dry and we had to add a good 1 1/2 extra tablespoons of mayo.  The girls also thought it was great and ate up their whole sandwiches while watching the rhinos.

So now our total is up to 4 recipes and we have started shopping and collecting ingredients.  I'm curious, readers, shall I continue these reviews? Are you interested? Do you care? Do you want me to just send you our final list/recipes?

Let me know in the comments!~

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Food Storage Auditions- Coconut Curry Chicken and Garbanzo Bean Soup

In order to build our list of 15 dinners to help us on our goal of having a 3 month supply of food we actually eat, we decided to "audition" 2 recipes a week for the next little while.

The first one we tried was Coconut Curry Chicken and rice courtesy of  Safely Gathered In


 This one was a total winner.  It was our first time ever using canned chicken in any way, and we were suprised at how good it was, and how the texture worked with this recipe. The sauce turned out kind of salty, but it was OK when you mixed it with the rice. I think the saltiness could have been the cheap-ish spice mixes we used- we'll have to try another. 

I think the "eatability" of this dish outweighs the fact that coconut milk is kind of expensive and it uses some "uncommon" spices that, from a food-storage perspective, will likely only be used for this recipe (vs garlic, rosemary or other more universal stuff). But one bottle of each of the spices will likely see us through the 6 times we are planning to make it.  Since we were "rotating" (internet food storage blog speak for just making something to use up your supply, I've learned) we added peas and the sweetness, color and texture really made this extra-yummy and added some more veggie power.  This one also got a high "kid rating". EJ gobbled it up and asked for seconds (something she never does).  Birdy was just ticked that I "sprinkled" her rice and "ruined" it so it is hard to say what she would have thought if she had decided to try it.

Next we made the Pasta and Garbanzo Bean soup, also from Safely Gathered In


This one is probably a keeper, but less of a slam dunk than the Coconut Curry Chicken.  since we were "rotating" and I love to add veggie power wherever I can, we dumped a bag of frozen peas and carrots in and it turned out nicely.

It was nice to have the convenience of a crock-pot recipe, and the taste was awesome, but I think before we add this to the "keeper" pile, we'll make a few changes.  First, the texture wasn't that great- part of that was our fault because the garbanzo beans were undercooked- but I think that the water-to-stuff-that-soaks-up-water is low- the soup was thick the day we made it, and the next day it was about the texture of refried beans.  Not really the best, but we added some water and that made it work again.

I think I'd like to try this one again and substitute lentils or barley for the orzo- just to give it more of a nutritional boost.  I think we'll also try canned garbanzo beans- I think they will make for a better and less grainy texture.  So I think after one more try, this one will be a keeper because the taste really is great!  The "kid" rating on this one was also high- EJ asked if we could "eat it every day" and Birdy ate most of her bowl- unheard of for soup.

So we basically have 2 down, and 13 to go!  I'd love any recipes you might have that are "shelf stable" or easily adapted. We are focusing on main dinner dishes first, and then we'll stock up on canned fruit and veggies and lunch and then we'll probably work on breakfast stuff last. I think it would be fantastic to have a full 3 month supply- breakfast, lunch and dinner including sides- but I think it is more realistic to focus on small goals first :)