Monday, September 29, 2008

Home made tortilla chips and ideas for using your powdered milk.

Before I get to the tortilla chips, I wanted to answer a question about canning milk, and the question came about because of children not liking to drink powdered milk (me too!). So I'll offer some kid-friendly tips for drinkable powdered milk and a link to an interesting article on canning up milk in a pressure canner. First off, here are some suggestions for using the powdered milk.

*Use Nestle's strawberry quick or chocolate syrup to the milk or even a little vanilla. I've never had any complaints after that.

*Make use of your milk in french toast, pudding, shakes and smoothies, etc. My family doesn't seem to notice the taste there either.

*For adults, try using a whey based "powdered milk" like Morning Moos, it has a creamier taste. (I say adults because the whey based milks don't contain all nutrients of regular powdered milk-who knows, check the content and perhaps you can mix the whey product with reg. powdered milk and still get enough of what the itty-bittys need).

*Try a boxed milk. My oldest is lactose intolerant so we store Costco's Vanilla Soy and the kids like that too. The shelf life is 1 year. There is also a real milk called Parmalat and it has the same shelf life as the soy. The Parmalat has peaked my interest, so as soon as I get my hands on one I'll give you the 411.

*I've read that evaporated milk in a can can be diluted and used as regular milk. Not sure on that haven't tried it yet. Maybe if it's really chilled....

*Lastly, I've found an interesting article on canning your own milk in a pressure canner. From what I've read you can use store bought too. I'm going to try some next time I use my canner. I'll give a full report after. Till then, you can read all about it HERE.

Now, for the tortilla chips. I've added the recipe for Cinna Strips, but for plain, simply omit the shaking of all things sugary. I used the recipe for tortillas that I posted HERE. You can use store bought, but the homemade are unbelievable and worth at least a try. The wheat tortillas were great in this recipe too, kids loooooved them.

Fried Cinna Strips (use plain for regular tortilla chips)

1 C. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

10 flour tortillas (8")

vegetable oil

In a large resealable plastic bag combine sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg, set aside. Cut tortillas into 3"x2" strips. Heat 1 inch of oil in a skillet or electric fry pan to 375ยบ. Fry 4-5 strips at a time for 30 seconds on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. While still warm place strips in plastic bag w/ sugar mixture; shake until gently coated. Store in airtight container. Yield: 5 dozen

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I can't believe it's not butter! Oh, but it is and it's dang good!

When I think of food storage, I think about a lot of things. First I think about what I have in storage and whether or not I'll like using it when disaster strikes (this is a major motivation factor for me, the reason I'm always trying new recipes, learning new cooking methods etc.). The second thing I think about are things that I have in my food storage that would be a comfort to me and my family. For instance, I've been canning up lots and lots of chocolate chips, M&M's, granola bars, goldfish crackers (all in vacuum sealed jars-more on that later) and butter because I know that at one point in time these will come as a great relief in times of stress. These items will also add just a little something to the everyday routine of wheat, wheat and more wheat. And so I introduce you to another one of my favorites: Butter In A Can. Yes, Butter In A Can, sweet, beloved and yummy butter in a can. I've tested it, tried it in recipes and it is fabulous. BTW, it's spreadable and gorgeous, not powdered, although the powdered kind can be very handy. It can be pricey, but I feel it's always worth it to carry a few cans to round out your storage. You can link HERE to purchase, but as I am affilated with no company if you find it cheaper somewhere else, by all means. I think it's also on sale at Macey's in Provo.

Did you know that you can also can up butter and margarine in jars? Here's a recipe that I've tried and it works well too. Please email me with any questions (I have found that butter works much better than margarine in this recipe):

1. Use any butter that is on sale. Lesser quality butter requires more shaking (see #5 below), but the results are the same as with the expensive brands.

2. Heat pint jars in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes, without rings or seals. One pound of butter slightly more than fills one pint jar, so if you melt 11 pounds of butter, heat 12 pint jars. A roasting pan works well for holding the pint jars while in the oven.

3. While the jars are heating, melt butter slowly until it comes to a slow boil. Using a large spatula, stir the bottom of the pot often to keep the butter from scorching. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes at least: a good simmer time will lessen the amount of shaking required (see #5 below). Place the lids in a small pot and bring to a boil, leaving the lids in simmering water until needed.

4. Stir the melted butter from the bottom to the top with a soup ladle or small pot with a handle; pour the melted butter carefully into heated jars through a canning jar funnel. Leave ½” of head space in the jar, which allows room for the shaking process.

5. Carefully wipe off the top of the jars, then get a hot lid from the simmering water, add the lid and ring and tighten securely. Lids will seal as they cool. Once a few lids “ping” shake while the jars are still warm, but cool enough to handle easily, because the butter will separate and become foamy on top and white on the bottom. In a few minutes, shake again, and repeat until the butter retains the same consistency throughout the jar.

6. At this point, while still slightly warm, put the jars into a refrigerator. While cooling and hardening, shake again, and the melted butter will then look like butter and become firm. This final shaking is very important! Check every 15 minutes and give the jars a little shake until they are hardened in the jar! Leave in the refrigerator for an hour.

7. Canned butter should store 3-5 years or longer on a cool, dark shelf. It does last a long time. Canner butter does not “melt” again when opened, so it does not need to be refrigerated upon opening, provided it is used within a reasonable length of time.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Here's the dessert that I made for the food storage class; it was even better with the homemade tortillas! All the ingredients were made from food storage items, including the butter (Did you know that you can bottle butter or buy it in a can? It's soooo good. More on that later). Also I added instructions for how to make powdered sugar out of regular sugar. This is a really great idea to help you expand your food storage more and to help you out in your everyday cooking if you're in a pinch for powdered sugar.

Apple Enchiladas

1 (21-ounce) can apple fruit filling

6 (8-inch) flour (or wheat) tortillas

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

powdered sugar and milk for icing (pass around bag for texture)

Spoon fruit filling evenly down center of each tortilla; sprinkle evenly with cinnamon. Roll up, and place, seam side down, in a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish.

Bring butter and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Pour over enchiladas; let stand 30 minutes. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Homemade powdered Sugar (you can mix this with a little milk and drizzle over the enchiladas if you're like me and could use a little sugar overkill)

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Combine the two ingredients and process in blender until powder forms.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New class on this Thursday, 18th at 7:00, Maceys in Provo!

Hey food storage fans, I've gotta another class coming up this week on Thursday. You can sign up at Macey's or I believe you can call the store directly to do so. I'm doing an entire Mexican meal from food storage. Enchiladas made with Red Feather cheese and homemade flour and wheat tortillas, Spanish rice in a rice cooker, refried beans from dehydrated flakes, a dessert enchilada and tortilla chips (these are so thin and crispy from scratch and well worth the effort!). I'm posting the recipe for the tortillas here with the tutorial, and I'll post the rest of the recipes after the class. Here goes:

Homemade Flour Tortillas (can be altered for wheat tortillas)

2 cups flour (use 1 cup white flour & 1 cup wheat for wheat tortillas)

1 tsp. Baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons shortening (I used Crisco butter flavored)(Use one extra tablespoon for wheat tortillas)

1/2-1 ½ cups water

Mix well, rest dough 10 minutes. Knead 5 minutes. Rest dough 10 minutes. Make into 8 balls, let rest 10 minutes. Roll balls until the tortillas are paper thin. Cook on a high skillet without any oil (at about 425 degrees or lower). Turn tortillas until lightly browned and freckled. Store in plastic bag.

First up we've got the flour, baking powder, salt and shortening all mixed up here. The process is similar to making a pastry crust. Work in the shortening with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture has little clumps the size of peas. Then add your water slowly until the mixture is moist and starts to form a little ball. And you want it moist enough to be pliable, but not as moist as a bread dough would be (Now the recipe calls for 1/2 -1 1/2 cups water so you need add your water a little at a time and stop when it is workable). Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then knead for 5 minutes. Then the dough needs to rest for another 10 minutes (Whew! This dough sounds like me!). It should look like this when peacefully tucked away in a container to keep from getting dry.

Then here we are after we have divided the dough in to little balls, and as you guessed it, let it rest again for another blessed 10 minutes.
Are we there yet? Why yes. Now we get to roll the dough out. Now, in order to get a nice circular shaped tortilla instead of the square, misshapen tortillas that I first made, you need to remember two very important things...Here goes: 1. You need to work from the center out and turn the dough before each roll (or you can work your rolling pin around the dough in a circle-my preference because it seems like too much work to take your hands off the pin and turn it, then roll it) and 2. You need to keep your surface lightly dusted at all times so the dough will actually keep a circular shape and not keep snapping back everytime you roll it out. This guy is about half-way there.

But, you really want the tortillas to be paper-thin. So keep rolling until you can easily see through it (can you see the grain of the table underneath?). Now your'e ready for fryin'.

You need to pre-heat your pan (and it should be super hot, about 425 degrees). Place the dough on your pan, wait a few seconds and flip. Keep flipping until the dough is nice and freckled. And, drum roll please, here is the finished product: