Below is a recipe that we sampled that would be nice to prepare ahead of time to serve on those chilly fall nights. The Taco Soup recipe uses 7 canned items, which would also make it a great meal to put in your 3 month supply of meal makings. You can use ground beef that you have previously cooked and frozen, or make this recipe up the night you need it and freeze the leftovers for a future meal.
Taco Soup Shaleen Wilding
3 cups ground beef/onion, cooked
1 can black beans
1 pkg. Taco seasoning
1 can corn
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 pkg. dry Ranch dressing
1 can great northern beans
1 can Rotel tomato and chilies
1 can kidney beans
1 1/2 cups water
cheddar cheese, shredded
Brown hamburger with diced onion (or use frozen and cooked ground beef/onion). In large pot dissolve taco seasoning and dry Ranch dressing in water. Add ground beef and canned items, including the juice (do not drain cans – most of the cans are about 16 oz. cans). Heat till hot, 30-40 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Oh-so-good!
Also, there are many online resources that can help as we look for ideas, recipes, and answers to our questions. One of my favorite sites is http://www.30daygourmet.com/ Another site that Colette brought to my attention last week is http://www.stilltasty.com/
Some handy tips I found this week on that site are listed below:
Surprising Foods You Can Freeze
You already know that the freezer is a good place to store steak and chicken. But it works equally well for some far less obvious items.
Try freezing the following. You'll save money, waste less — and make cooking a lot more convenient. Go to http://www.stilltasty.com/articles/view/33 and click on the food item you are interested in for more information in freezing it.
• EGGS: 1 year
Crack open and mix in a touch of salt (if using for savory dishes) or sugar (for baking or desserts); place in freezer bags or airtight containers.
• BROWN RICE (UNCOOKED): 1 year
Brown rice has a higher oil content than white rice, so its shelf life isn’t nearly as long. But it’ll keep for several months longer if you freeze it.
• BUTTER: 6 months
Butter freezes well, so stash a stick or two in the freezer (leave in the original wrapping and place in a freezer bag) and you’ll always have some on hand when you need it.
• MILK: 3 months
If you’re constantly running out, freeze a backup supply in an airtight container. Thaw in the fridge and stir well before using — the texture may be a little grainy, but it's fine for cooking and usually okay for drinking.
• NUTS - INCLUDING PECANS, ALMONDS, WALNUTS: 1 -2 years (depending on the type)
Thanks to their high oil content, nuts are especially prone to going rancid. Freeze them and they’ll stay fresher longer.
• FRESH HERBS - INCLUDING BASIL, CILANTRO, PARSLEY: 6 months
Most recipes call for only a sprig of herbs, but you have to buy the whole bunch. Freeze what you don’t use in ice cube trays, covered with a bit of water, and then transfer to freezer bags.
• TOMATO PASTE: 3 months
Rarely do you need to use the whole can at once. Freeze dollops of leftover tomato paste on a cookie sheet or in ice cube trays and transfer to freezer bags for use in future recipes.
• BREAD: 3 months
If you can never seem to finish a whole loaf before it gets rock-hard or moldy, freeze it. Bread toasts just fine, straight out of the freezer.
• MAPLE SYRUP (100% PURE): keeps indefinitely
Sure, it’s more expensive than the imitation stuff. But pure maple syrup keeps forever in the freezer — so you’ll never have to waste a delicious drop.