James and I have decided our goal is to make and store a 3-month supply of bag meals by the end of the year. That means 5 a week for the rest of the year, which would give us 2 bag meals a day for 90 days. Of course, this 3-month supply would probably last us longer than that, seeing as each meal can feed up to 8 people and we are only 2 and a half people around here. So, each meal will have leftovers for maybe 2 more meals even. So, I'm thinking this is a good goal.
So, each week I will either pick one of my own recipes to modify and see if I can make into a bag-ready meal, or choose a recipe from the Snows' book to try out. This week I did both, cuz I was so excited or something. :) The first thing we tried was the whole wheat pancakes and homemade syrup recipe that Michelle actually gave out at the demo we went to.
This is how they should have turned out. Read on to find out what really happened.
(Image from here.)
I'm sad to say my pancakes failed miserably. I'm not sure what happened. The flour didn't mix in very well, I guess, and I had a soupy, lumpy batter to work with. I think that's because I was trying to make the syrup at the same time, the kitchen was a disaster and there was no clean surface to work on, a friend was coming over to share the meal with us, and basically everything was hectic. I didn't realize the syrup was going to grow and overflow out of the small pan I had chosen, so while I was dealing with that, I threw the bowl of half-started batter at James and said, "Mix this!" He did his best, but he didn't have much help from me. I kept saying, "Oh wait I forgot to add something!" So, the pancakes turned out really flat and dense and just not very tasty. The good thing is that the syrup was hea-ven-ly, so that saved it. But don't take this experience to say that the pancakes were not good. I had them at the demo, and they really were the best pancakes I'd ever eaten (except for my dad's, cuz no one makes pancakes as good as my dad's). So I think I need to try them again, just a little more focused on what I'm doing this time.
The next bag meal we tried out was much, MUCH more successful. We tried the chicken tetrazzini from It's in the Bag, and it was easy and delicious! Thank goodness! James loved it, I loved it, even Isaac liked the noodle part! :)
Little-known fact: dinosaurs love chicken tetrazzini.
And later in the week, I fed leftovers to the ladies in my craft group, and they all loved it, too. So there, this bag meal served 7 people so far, and there are still leftovers! The one thing I would say though, is that we should probably include more than the 8 oz of spaghetti listed in the recipe. When I served the leftovers, I had to make more noodles, though there was plenty of sauce.
Here's my happy (handsome) husband enjoying his meal. We made it with some Pillsbury french bread. No vegetables pictured, but later I remembered we had some salad, and I made us eat some leaves. You know, to be healthy. :) I figure that the total cost for this meal was between 6 and 7 dollars. Can you beat that?
The last food storage adventure we had this week was a meal I adapted from one of my favorite recipes: beef stew. I love stew. It was one of my favorite things to eat growing up, and it still is. Only I realized recently that what I call stew is a little different than what most people call stew. I think when most people say "stew" they are thinking of something you could eat on a plate - meat and veggies and gravy. Like this:
Which I'm sure is very tasty. But my stew, my mom's stew really, is more like a thick soup. A very thick, delicious broth, but you still have to eat it in a bowl. Like this:
This stew takes ALL DAY to make (I guess that's probably the same with most stews), so it was really fun to make a bag meal version that takes about 20 minutes, rather than 6 or 7 hours. And the greatest news of all was that it was almost as tasty as the real version. Chock full of yummy vegetables, very filling, and extremely cost effective. I'll give you the recipe and break down the cost for you:
4 cups water - .30 (bottled water)
1 can roast beef - 3.33/can (when bought at Costco)
2 cans diced potatoes (drained) 1.18
1 can diced carrots (drained) .99
1/3 cup dried celery .82 (based on Amazon prices, cuz I didn't actually remember to buy this)
2 Tbsp oregano - I'm estimating maybe 5 to 10 cents?
2 tsp chicken bouillon powder or 2 cubes - about 30 cents
2 tsp beef bouillon powder or 2 cubes - about 30 cents
1/2 tsp pepper - so low I'm not even gonna bother
2-4 Tbsp flour - ditto
Total cost: $6.40 Cost per serving: $0.80 Pretty sweet, huh? Even if you wanted to have a more beefy version and added another can of beef, it would still be under $10 for the whole meal and about $1.20 per serving. Anyway, back to the recipe!
Combine 3 1/2 cups of water, the meat and broth (don't drain the meat), vegetables, and spice packet in a large pot. Heat on medium high heat until boiling. Mix the flour with the remaining 1/2 cup of water (more flour will make it thicker, less flour will make it thinner) until it is dissolved. Slowly add this mixture to the boiling stew. Stir and simmer about 5 minutes, until thickened. Serve!
You can really play with this recipe to make it according to your likes by changing up the veggies and spices. For instance, in my mom's stew, she doesn't use oregano - I think she uses bay leaves. I couldn't recall her recipe while I was in college and couldn't get her on the phone, so I went with what I thought, and it turns out I just really like it with oregano. Or even Italian seasoning. So yeah, play with it. Here is a recipe card, without all the commentary, if you'd like to download and print it:
Kristin - unless you guys have moved, I actually have your address, so I'll get that sent over to you right away! Congratulations.
And with that, I'm out! Thanks everyone! :)