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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Resourceful Economics and Food Storage

To really stretch our food budget dollars is to use up every package and minimize waste. Food Storage, and learning how to use it, will increase your grocery budget, and if done correctly, can actually end up being “extra money” in your budget. You minimize waste and take a few minutes to make a few things rather than buying them will allow you to spend those dollars elsewhere. What do you do with the ends of the loaf of bread? What about the broken up cracker pieces. It may not seem like much to keep, but over time you are wasting a lot of useable food. 

BIG TIP: If you won’t eat it under “normal” (non-disaster) circumstances, don’t buy it or store it. An emergency is not the time to figure out how to use what is stored and if you like it or not. Practice using all items and recipes before storing them.

Homemade Croutons- using the heels of bread, day old bread, or bread that you forgot about, you can make your own croutons for soup, salad or casseroles.
8 slices of bread, crusts removed (any type, mix & match)
¼ c. butter or margarine, melted
¼ c. olive oil
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. EACH onion powder, paprika and Italian seasoning
Salt, a pinch
Preheat oven to 350 deg. Cut bread into cubes. In large bowl melt butter, add olive oil and seasonings. Mix together, add bread crumbs and toss evenly. Bake on baking tray for 20 minutes, turning once half way through baking process.  Bake until crisp, then cool on pan. Store in airtight container in fridge.

Homemade Breadcrumbs
Using dry bread, leftover or broken crackers, you can make a quick bread crumb for coating fish, pork or chicken dinners.
Bread or crackers
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. onion flake
½ tsp. garlic powder
Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulsate to crumbs. You can store these in an airtight container for about a week.

Tips on Herbs
Cut up and freeze in ice cube trays to use later in soups or stews.
Save old spice bottles to store your dehydrated spices from your garden.
Dehydrate in oven or microwave or even in the sun. Place on tray and bake 350 until dried.
Food Storage Chili
2 lbs.  Hamburger
1 medium onion
2 cans of whole tomatoes (15 oz)
1-2 cans tomato sauce (15 oz)
2 cans kidney beans (or one black and one kidney)
1 can white beans
1 can pinto beans
2 TBSP chili powder
2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp.  garlic powder
salt, pepper to taste
1-2 cups water (start with one and add more if too thick)
1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped* optional
Brown meat and onion in large stock pot. Add water, tomatoes, beans and seasonings. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes until thickened.
Tip for using Oats: Substitute 1/3 of the flour you are using to bake cookies, muffins, waffles, pancakes or bread, with oats. They add fiber and whole grains easily.

Instant Oatmeal Packets
¾ c. rolled oats
1 ½ c. quick oats
½ c. powdered milk
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
Blend dry rolled oats in a blender, pulsing until powdery. In a bowl combine oats with remaining ingredients. Put ½ c. mixture into Ziploc bags. To use: combine one packet with 2/3 c. water and microwave for 2 minutes. Add dried or fresh fruit as desired.

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