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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

fresh-vegetables

I’m sure you’re family is accustomed to cooking regularly with fresh produce.  However, in a time of emergency, regardless of the season, fresh produce will not be readily available.  So what can you do now to ensure some semblance of normalcy even in the event of an emergency?  Learn alternative recipe methods. 

  1. There are countless types of freeze dried vegetables that will add some spice back into your dishes such as onions, green peppers, celery, carrots, peas, and corn.  Simply do a Google search on “freeze dried vegetables” and you will find a proverbial garden of resources. 
  2. Photo by IndiaMart.com
    Photo by IndiaMart.com

    Remember that you can dehydrate many of your own favored vegetables as well such as shallots, zucchini, green onions, mushrooms, and so much more.  So, there’s no need to feel slighted in your cooking repertoire.  For an example of dehydrating onions, click here.

  3. Adapt your present recipes to accommodate some canned vegetables now.  I’ve begun using canned peas, corn, and green beans regularly in my cooking so that I don’t feel deprived when I’m faced with a produce crisis.  I’ve also successfully used more trendy canned/jarred vegetables such as artichoke hearts, canned potatoes, canned asparagus, etc.  In our kitchen, I’m sure to also have on hand plenty of dried minced onion, and jarred minced garlic to ensure that I don’t have to suffer a loss of taste in my cooking.
  4. Feel free to load your freezer full of vegetables.  I wouldn’t hesitate for one moment to invest in plenty of frozen vegetables.  In the event your power goes off, you will still be able to utilize that which you have in a freezer for a long time so long as you keep the opening and closing of the freezer to an absolute minimum.  Keep in mind that frozen vegetables won’t go bad as quickly through the thawing process as will fresh produce.  While you’ll need to focus on using the frozen items first during a prolonged power outage, it still beats having no access to those vegetables you love.  (I haven’t found a good canned broccoli yet, so I’m grateful for this option.) While some of what you store may experience some freezer burn, keep in mind that the use of a pressure cooker will rehydrate such items quickly and bring out their desired taste just fine.  (Also, here’s a tip: when you buy those enormous bags of spinach at the warehouse store, don’t hesitate to freeze it.  It will keep just fine and is still great for steamed spinach and green smoothies as well.  No need to waste perfectly good spinach.)
  5. Square foot gardening is a great answer to ensure you don’t have to rely on the stores to produce your favored vegetable picks.  Square foot gardens are large enough to grow items that you don’t normally find frozen or in cans such as cabbage, broccoli, radishes, and lettuce, etc.  You can build your square foot boxes above the ground—so no roto-tilling is required.  Simply layer the bottom with a weed resistant ground cover, then fill them with your preferred soil and water regularly.  You won’t have to bend as far down to tend to them, and you will have a minimal amount of weeds as well.  (Photo by www.throughtheillusion.com)
  6. Get familiar with sprouting.  Sprouts are a great substitute for fresh produce.  Sprouting can provide you 10 times more nutrition than any of the other vegetables that you’ve come to know and love.  For example, broccoli sprouts have been found to contain 50 times as much of the antioxidant sulfurophane as mature broccoli.  Sprouts are busting at the seams with antioxidants and  they are full of protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.  They are a veritable whole food.  If you start incorporating sprouting now into your diet, your family won’t go into “shock” with such a new alternative.  You can sprout almonds, wheat, all kinds of beans, amaranth, barley, corn, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, cabbage seeds, kale seeds, mustard seeds, pumpkin seeds, radish seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, peas, and SO much more.  Sprouting is also very fulfilling as it’s a relatively quick process.  You get to benefit from the fruits of your labors a lot sooner than planting. 

Here’s hoping you can successfully begin implementing these sound strategies now so that you and your family can enjoy the benefits of vegetables in the future.  I’ve also included a couple of recipes below that are simple “dump” recipes that include vegetables.  They are yummy now and are ideal in the event of an emergency.

One Pot Dinner

½ to 1 pound of ground beef, turkey, or canned beef, browned and drained

¾ pound of real bacon, from a package or fresh, diced into small pieces

1 C chopped onion (frozen, fresh, or ½ cup dried)

2 one pound, 5 ounce cans of pork and beans

1 one pound can of kidney beans, drained

1 one pound can of buttered lima beans, drained

1 C ketchup

½ C brown sugar

1 T liquid smoke

1 T white vinegar

1 t. salt

Dash of black pepper

Combine ingredients.  Stir.  Cover and cook slowly for about 4 hours, or in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes. 

Pasta and Canned Veggie Salad

2 cups of uncooked gemelli or rotini pasta

½ cup of chopped red or green onion (frozen is fine)

1 ½ cups of canned carrots, drained

1 C balsamic vinaigrette dressing

½ t. seasoned salt

8 ounces asparagus spears, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 jar (6 ounces) marinate artichoke hearts, drained and liquid reserved

1/3 cup of Real Bacon bits

1 Can of halved black olives, drained (optional)

1 Can of small mushroom buttons, drained (optional)

1 cup of your favorite sprouts (optional)

Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.  Place carrots and onions in a shallow skillet with ¼ cup of the dressing.  Sauté until lightly warmed.  Then add asparagus spears and ¼ cup of the dressing as well as the seasoning salt, and sauté until warmed through.  Remove from heat and add to pasta.  Also add artichoke hearts, bacon, reserved liquid, remaining dressing and bacon bits.  (This is when you would add your optional items as well)  Toss lightly and serve.

Easy Minestrone

1 T. olive oil or vegetable oil

1 ½ cups frozen or dried bell pepper and onion mix

2 cups frozen or canned mixed vegetables

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) Italian Style stewed tomatoes, undrained

3 ½ cups of beef flavored broth

½ cup of uncooked small pasta shells

1 can (15 ounces) of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 T. minced garlic

1 T. of Italian Seasoning

In a 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add peppers and onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.  Stir in mixed vegetables, tomatoes, and beef broth.  Heat to boiling, breaking up the tomatoes with spoon as mixture cooks.  Stir in pasta.  Cook uncovered over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and pasta are tender.  Stir in beans. Cook 4 to 5 minutes more until thoroughly heated.  As a special treat, top with garlic croutons, or parmesan cheese, or both!

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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