Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

For dinner tonight I made a quick and easy Beef Stroganoff by using home canned stew meat and homemade powdered mushrooms. It must have been good since they did not leave anything. :)

No one in my family likes mushrooms including me but I feel they do have some value in our nutrition so I set out to find a way that I could include them in to our menus. Last year I bought and Excalibur Food Dehydrator and starting dehydrating food for the first time. I love using the dried foods in my daily cooking. Then I heard about vegetable powders made from dehydrated foods so I decided to try making mushroom powder. After drying the mushrooms according to the directions I then ran them through a food processer. They didn't come out finely ground as I wanted so I decided to run them through my coffee grinder that I bought just for grinding herbs and spices. Worked great as you can see below.

To make the stroganoff I used two 12oz jars of stewmeat that I had canned last year, placed them in a pot, added two cups of beef broth and one tablespoon of the mushroom powder. Brought it to a good simmer then added three cups of egg noodles. Covered and cooked until the noodles were done. Added a little cornstarch slurry to thicken the broth and sourcream. And I was done. A main dish that would take me normally at least 30-40 minutes done in less than 20. I served it with corn on the cob and a tossed salad.

My own little hamburger helper type meal only better for us because I controlled the salt and it was healthier to because I used lean stew meat instead of fat laden ground beef. And it was cost effect to because I bought the roast on sale that I cut into stewmeat when I canned it. The roast was on sale for $2.29 a pound and ground beef at the time was $2.99 a pound.

Pulled Pork

This past weekend I canned 7 pints of pulled pork. This was my first time canning it. I have always froze it in meal size portions before. While it turned out a little darker then when I just freeze it and it has a little more sauce then normal it still looks good. I plan on using the pork to make sandwiches but if it is to saucy it will not go to waste as hubby as already come up with another way to use it. He thinks it will be great heated up and served over steak fries with shredded cheddar cheese on top. :) Personally I think it would make a good chip dip. :)

All I did was roast two bone in pork loin roasts until done in a 350 degree oven. Then shredded the pork when it was cool enough to handle. Mixed with Sweet Baby Ray's Original Barbecue sauce. Brought it all up to a simmer then packed in the jars, wipe the rims and then add the lids and rings. Then I processed them for 75 minutes in a pressure canner at 10 lbs pressure which is what is called for in my area.

These jars of pulled pork will make for fast fix meals for us on busy days. :) Just another reason I love canning.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Canning is frugal and fun

Let's face I love to can!! Nothing gives me for satisfaction then looking at all the jars of pretty foods I fill when I go on a canning spree. And canning is frugal as well. Our grandmothers and great grandmothers would spend months during the gardening season canning every thing they could get their hands on so they would have good healthy foods to feed their families during the winter. They were limited mostly to the foods they could grow in their back yard gardens and local farmers but thanks to the over the road trucking companies and others we are able to can all year long.

In addition to my love of canning I am also a prepper. I believe food prices are going to rise a lot higher than they have already and with us living on a limited income I am trying to do all I can to make sure we survive. It is a well known fact that all the current weather related problems and earthquakes have been causing crop losses. And they are going to continue causing crop losses and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Michigan has already lost their sour cherry crop and grape juice crop for this year not to mention all the other states that had huge crop losses last year and even so far this year to floods, draught and more. I want to do all I can to make sure my family. So I have been canning as much as I could in the last week. So far I have made grape jelly (pictured above), carrots, succotash, cranapple jelly and pulled pork.

The grape jelly and cranapple jelly were a very frugal thing for me to do. I was given several bottles of both juices and since we are not big juice drinkers here I turned them all into jelly. All I had to do was buy the sugar, Sure Jel and canning lids. I now have enough jelly to last my family of 4 for about one year from the juice that was given to me. A win/win for us. :) We even have enough that I can send a few jars to my grandkids. They love Nana's jelly.

Here is a picture of the cranberry jelly. Doesn't it have a pretty amber color? It sure does taste good as I got a small sample after filling the jars. YUM!!

I can't wait to see what I can get my hands on to can next. Happy canning everyone!