I have a friend who is pretty much the Queen of Food Storage. Really. But just a few years ago, she didn't have a single can of green beans stashed under a bed. I think I am having my own food storage epiphany this month. Your many funny, poignant and touching blog entries about Hurricane Ike have really made me think. Just three years ago, we lived in one of those neighborhoods that went powerless for a week or two. More recently, the Queen was visiting teaching me when mention of the apocalyptic bird flu came up. If (do I dare say when?) your city is hit, your family may be quarantined for up to three months.
Though still encouaraged to build up a year's supply of essentials, the Church is currently emphasizing being well-stocked for three months. This seems overwhelming in a house that barely holds our day-to-day life, but I read a very funny quote recently from the man who is the director of food storage for the Church. He said, "If you need it, you will wish you had stored it in the living room and kept your furniture in the garage." Hmm . . . food or leather sofas?
In light of the whole world going crazy this month (black October anyone?), this week, food is sounding like the right choice.
Anyway, some months back, the Queen taught Sunday School and told about her "Times Twelve Plan." She has come up with seven meals that her family likes that can be made entirely from food storage. Now, some of her recipes are optimal using fresh ingredients, but in a pinch, there is a food storage substitute that is totally adequate. Then, to create a three month food storage supply, you simply multiply each ingredient by 12, and that is what you buy to create your food storage, in addition to toiletries and longer term storage items. I like this because it gives you specific meals to make, and food storage you will actually use. The Times Twelve Plan helps you avoid the following conversation on Day 8 into your food storage:
STM says, "Hey, Plantboy, any ideas what to make with dried lentils, cream of chicken soup and canned green beans?"
To which Plantboy replies, "If only we had some cheese, you could make a killer casserole."
"Right. I think I actually have some shaky cheese."
"Yummy. What about throwing some Ramen noodles in there?"
You get the point. On Day 9 you would eat the leftovers. By day 30, you are boiling wheat to eat like cereal with your last six ounces of sugar. By day 45, you are eating each other . . . .
The problem, for me, with this plan, is finding recipes that can be made using no fresh ingredients that my family will actually eat. So I think it would be cool if anyone reading this blog, who happens to have a great food storage recipe that your family loves would post said recipe under the title, "The Times Twelve Plan." Between all of us, we should be able to come up with several good meals: we may not even have to eat the same thing each week. I am posting two. The first is a meal, the second is a wonderful bread recipe made entirely from food storage. The bread, served with prepared tuna (mayonnaise and relish count for food storage) and a can of fruit, is an excellent, nutritious meal.
Using a crockpot or a Dutch oven, boil 2 chicken breasts with 3 cups of broth OR drain a large can of chicken and combine it with 2 cups broth and 1 cup water (canned chicken is saltier).
When cooked, shred chicken into bite sized pieces and add the following (draining beans and corn):
1 small can diced green chilis
1 large can diced tomatoes (or sub two previous ingredients for 2 cans Rotel brand tomatoes, any variety)
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can corn
Stir well, add one package (1/4 cup) of taco seasoning and a ranch dressing mix packet. Stir again.
Variations--If eating fresh, serve with chips, sour cream, shredded cheese and chopped cilantro. You can easily modify this to a vegetarian version by using vegetable broth, skipping the chicken, and adding an extra can of beans, any variety. If making it fresh, I use frozen corn: it is more flavorful and has much less salt. You can cook beans from scratch for this recipe, but if power is an issue then you will want something that can be heated through quickly.
The Queen's Whole Wheat Bread
Combine 3 cups warm water, 1/3 a cup honey (or sugar) and 2 Tbsp yeast. When yeast softens and begins to work, add 5 cups whole wheat flour. Allow this sponge mixture to rise until double, about 40 minutes.
Add another 1/3 cup honey (or sugar), 1 tsp of salt, 2 Tbsp oil, 4-5 Tbsp dough conditioner (also called gluten flour or wheat gluten) and 3 more cups whole wheat flour. Knead. Rise until double, another 30 to 40 minutes.
Divide into three smallish loaves and place in greased bread pans. When loaves double, another 30 to 40 minutes, bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
This bread is so soft and yummy, but it is the addition of the gluten that makes it so. It is also good half wheat and half white, which is a good option if you don't have gluten. Generally, I do five to six cups of wheat, 2-3 cups of white and a 1/2 a cup of quick cooking oats. Very yummy. A professional grade Kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook will handle this dense dough, but it is tough. It is best to hand mix in the flour in the second mixture to save your motor a few extra years!
I will wait anxiously for your recipes!