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By Kellene Bishop

I'm a Daring Cook!

I'm a Daring Cook!

My confession is not that I’m a good cook. The confession is that I’m a bit daring in my cooking, in that I’m not afraid to try new things and new recipes. I can usually read through a recipe and determine whether or not it will be good, and even what to add or subtract from it prior to making it. In the past I’ve even ventured to cook things on the fly, even when it was for a large gathering. I started this somewhat dangerous habit on the menu of a girlfriend’s wedding reception over 12 years ago. I still remember how amazingly well the Swiss cheese fondue turned out by my combining a few recipes. All was well. The food was great. I felt I could trust my culinary instincts and I’ve done so ever since. Until yesterday…

This is where the confession comes in. Yesterday I taught a solar oven cooking class for a kitchen store. To be honest, I was kind of bored with the same old recipes I’d been using. I had recently received a new cookbook in the mail from Amazon that was supposed to be specifically for solar oven cooking. It was the only book I saw on Amazon dedicated specifically to solar oven cooking recipes. I saw a couple things they did a bit differently than I would, but I figured that the recipes were safe. To my horror, I was soooo wrong. And what’s worse is that I used these sweet ladies in the class as guinea pigs! The bread I made was tender, thanks to the solar oven, but just downright uneventful, and perhaps even painful to eat as a result. The enchilada recipe could not have been more bland. While I usually play my group recipes down on the less-spicy side of things in order to not offend a sensitive palate, I have to say that the taste of this recipe was just plain torture. Boy howdy, was I embarrassed!

solar-powered-ovenI decided that I didn’t like getting my butt kicked by some amateurish cook/author. So, considering I have another solar oven class to teach tonight, I decided to try the recipes again, this time letting my instincts kick in and make them worthy of the Preparedness Pro name. I’m happy to say that I managed to do that today. In light of the fact that some of you are taking the Preparedness Pro food challenge this month and some are also taking the Solar Oven Challenge of cooking for 2 days in their solar oven alone, I decided to share my redeemed recipes with you. Not only do I hope you enjoy them, but at least this time I can be assured that you won’t hate them. 🙂 Enjoy! Oh, and for those of you who attended the class yesterday, I’m SO sorry that the food was less than stellar. If you come tonight at Macey’s in Orem, at 7 p.m., I’m sure I’ll make it up to you. 🙂

Our Ms. Divine Chicken Enchilada Recipe - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Our Ms. Divine Chicken Enchilada Recipe - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Divine Ms. Chicken Casserole

2 T. butter

¼ C. white flour

1 ½ C. chicken broth

½ C. plain yogurt

1 (3 oz.) block of cream cheese, cut into about 5 pieces

1 t. of cumin

1 t. black pepper

½ t. garlic powder

1 C. of green enchilada sauce

1 small can of diced green chilies—heat of chilies is dependent on your taste buds

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1 inch strips

3 C. of cooked and shredded chicken

1 small can of sliced olives

1 ½ C. of grated Monterey Jack cheese

2 scallions, thinly sliced, greens only

Slices of fresh avocado for garnish

Melt the butter on the stove over medium heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly until bubbly. Add the broth and increase heat to high. Add the cream cheese, cumin, pepper, yogurt. Stir with a whisk until hot, but not boiling. Add the enchilada sauce and green chilies, continuing to whisk.

Cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan or small round Graniteware pan with about a third of the sauce. Sprinkle half of the tortilla strips over the sauce, then layer with the chicken, olives, and all but ½ C of the cheese. Then add another third of the sauce. Top with the remaining tortilla strips, sauce, and then cheese.

Cover with the pan lid or a dark, moist towel and bake at about 300 to 350 F degrees for 1 to 2 hours in the solar oven, until the cheese has melted. Serve with sprinkled scallions and sliced avocado. Yum! Yields 6 servings.

Easy Onion Dill Cheese Bread - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Easy Onion Dill Cheese Bread - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Easy Onion Dill Cheese Bread

1 large onion, finely diced

3 C. Bisquick

1 egg

1 ¼ C. buttermilk

1 T. dried dill

2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Scant dash of salt

In a large bowl, beat the egg and buttermilk until well blended. Stir in the baking mix and mix until completely moistened. Stir in the dill, onions, and 2/3  of the cheese.

Lightly oil a dark 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Cover and cook in the solar oven (about 300 degrees) about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

(Note: This is a dense bread, not light and fluffy. It also makes for great muffins. Just cook a little bit less time.)

Chocolate Chocolate Molten Chocolate Cake

Since we have previously published the delectable Chocolate Chocolate Molten Chocolate Cake, click here for the recipe!

Chocolate Chocolate Molten Chocolate Cake - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Chocolate Chocolate Molten Chocolate Cake - photo c/o Preparedness Pro

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

food-storage-shelvesHere’s one simple tip so you never have to worry about HOW to cook what’s in your food storage. 

Many folks just plain don’t know how to cook with their food storage.  When I hear this, I ask people why they’re storing foods that are unfamiliar to them or their family?  Sure there are ideal lists which include long lasting grains and legumes, but if you’re not using such ingredients now to feed your family with, it’s not going to be helpful to them in an emergency.

Think for just a moment what kind of chaos a financial collapse, an earthquake, an act of war, or some other kind of disaster could bring into your life.  Do you really want to complicate things by adding more stress into your life by consuming “foreign foods”?  You and your family are going to crave as much “normalcy” as possible.  Unless you’re already serving your family “Boston Baked Wheat” you don’t want to try it out on them while they are being quarantined for 90 days as the result of a flu pandemic.  In fact, it is exactly these kinds of times that you will want to provide the most comforting favorites for your family.  But…yes, there is a but…

Part of being prepared is being ready to live off of foods which are most nourishing and longer lasting than what your diet may currently consist of in your household.  (To this end I implore parents of picky eaters—or spouses of such—to do all they can to get them to embrace more nourishing foods.)  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are great now.  But how will they be when you have to make the bread from scratch?  Will your family even touch them?  Don’t panic.  Just start learning the lost art of bread making now.  I can tell you from experience that it’s a heck of a lot more rewarding than besting someone at an online game of Scrabble.  

Try sprouts on a meat sandwich! Photo c/o scanwiches.com

Try sprouts on a meat sandwich! Photo c/o scanwiches.com

Slowly introduce your family to new things.  For example, my husband, who I can’t get to eat a vegetable unless it’s on a slab of beef, has agreed to try and start putting sprouts on his meat sandwiches.  Why?  Because I am trying to get him used to eating this easy and widely accessible source of nutrition so when we are in the midst of an emergency, he can handle it—not only emotionally, but physically as well.  Being ready to live off those foods doesn’t involve just having the appetite for them.  We need to be prepared to use them and work with them as well.  If you’ve never tried sprouting, don’t think that the sprouter you’ve got in the basement is going to do much for you in a time of crisis.  Using it under such circumstances will only cause you more stress due to its unfamiliarity and you’ll avoid it at all costs. 

You also need to get your body accustomed to eating such foods.  In fact, if most people attempted to go from their existing diet to one containing whole wheat at the majority of their meals, they would actually DIE inside of 30 days due to the dehydration and diarrhea their body would experience in so drastic a dietary change.  This is one reason why I counsel people to store what they eat—at least a 90 day supply—and then work on introducing other, more stable storage foods, into their diet along the way.  Yes, it’s a lot less expensive to store a year’s supply of wheat, legumes, honey, and powdered milk as opposed to the ingredients for your favorite casseroles, Navajo Tacos, and brownie mixes.  But I assure you that those items won’t get used for much of anything if you haven’t already familiarized your family with them prior to a disaster.  So be sure to have at least 90 days of the familiar and then work on familiarizing your family with other foods that will have a great shelf-life in your home.  Remember, stress alters the mind.  It races the heart.  It breaks down the immune system.  If you’re in a quarantine situation, for example, can you really afford to expose anyone in your family to any of these physical stresses simply because you weren’t prepared with a realistic menu for them?  Perhaps now you may better understand why I go to great lengths to learn how to make bread, sprout, store M&Ms, make sour cream out of powdered milk, wax my own cheese, store eggs long-term, and create recipes out of what’s on my shelves, etc.  I do it in anticipation of a situation in which food and nourishment will be a comfort to the mind and the spirit, not just sustain life.  (And yes, there are indeed those times in which M&Ms sustain me. :))

I’ve been asked how I remember where all of my food storage is since it’s scattered all around the house.  I remember because I’m always in it—except when I’m on that blasted diet.  I’m always using what I store.  I’m rotating it.  (In fact I have a Mason jar full—er, half full—of almond M&Ms next to me on my desk as I write this.)  Other than the years supply of MREs we have stored in the back of the basement, there’s not a single nutritional item in my home that is “uncommon” to me.  If you have anything that’s uncommon to you in your food storage, it’s nearly useless.

kuhn-rikon-pressure-cookerPoint being, no one should have trouble cooking with their food storage, because their food storage should contain what they are already consuming and thus what they are already familiar in preparing.  Practice making your food in a Dutch Oven, or in a pressure cooker over a small butane stove, or in a solar oven.  Go to classes to learn how to make the essentials.  They are usually free.  Go through cook books and experiment with “less than fresh” items as substitutes in recipes, such as canned chicken for frozen, canned green beans for fresh, etc.  Find out from your family what their absolute favorite meals are and then find the most efficient way to stock the items for those meals.  We’re not in the dark ages here, folks.  Cooking with your food storage doesn’t have to involve an Indian dance and an archaic tool for grinding your flour.  Even without the luxury of electricity, we still will have the benefit of the luxury of knowledge and technology galore. 

Keep in mind that in a previous article I wrote, I recommended that folks start their food storage by storing their food in “meals” as opposed to “pounds of items.”  In other words, if your family loves waffles, then be sure you have the makings for waffles.  If you have such ingredients sufficient to make them 12 times, then you only have to come up with 29 other meals.  (Or less, depending on how often you want to eat waffles.  I recommend coming up with a great variety for your family though so that they don’t suffer from “appetite fatigue.”)

It all boils down to this: Store what you eat and eat what you store.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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