Monday, January 31, 2011

Refried Bean Soup Mix (Dinner Is In The Jar)

Feast your eyes on this amazingly simple and delicious soup!

I received a great book called Dinner Is In The Jar in the mail several months ago from a wonderful author named Kathy Clark. It's taken me a while to do a review of it, because, frankly, I loved it! I didn't want to do it a disservice by not really giving it my full attention! As you all know I do recipes every Monday for making a mix with our food storage or using some kind of homemade convenience food. This is a great way we have of saving money on our grocery bill, and having wholesome food that isn't loaded with a lot of chemicals. I was happy to receive this book a few months ago and have been experimenting with quite a few of the recipes. Kathy obviously put a lot of thought and organization into her book. As a mom, I appreciate how each recipe was so organized. Most exciting to me has been that each recipe has been so tasty and convenient! Kathy said that the premise of the book is this, "Create a 90 day supply of easily prepared dinner mixes your family will love using food storage ingredients in mason jars or mylar bags for emergencies and convenience on busy days.Wouldn't it be nice if your pantry was filled with premixed dinners that you could put together with little effort and have healthy homemade meals that your family would love? Not only would you have a supply of easy dinners, but you could also give them away as gifts that anybody would absolutely love to receive."
Some of the recipes included things like: Chicken Pot Pie, Biscuits and Gravy, Enchiladas, Pizza, Spaghetti and Meatballs in Mushroom Parmesan Tomato Sauce, Italian Cheese & Sausage Calzone and many more.

Since we're mostly vegetarian, I went with the recipe for Refried bean soup as the one I wanted to share here on the blog. This is Kathy Clark's original recipe. One thing I really liked was the fact that all the "brain work" was done. I just had to make the recipes and then tape labels to jars (labels are included in the book).
The recipe was pretty basic too. If you don't have a great source for food storage, may I suggest my favorite: Preparing Wisely Online Store

We used rice,
dehydrated Refried Beans,
and dehydrated celery.
The spices Kathy used in her recipe were really nice for a mild soup. If you want something more spicy, use an added teaspoon of ancho chile powder or some nice New Mexico chile powder.
Dehydrated re fried beans are easy to use. I liked using them mainly because they help with cutting down on the cooking time.
Oh all the cans in a circle of love make me smile.
I keep this stuff on hand anyway, so for me it was like making free dinners. If by chance you need to purchase the products, it will cost a little up front, however, I have found that in the long run, it's worth it to me to have the freeze dried stuff on hand. It's so fast, easy, and healthy. I don't have to worry about the vegetables going bad in a short time if we don't eat them. I also love that each meal is contained in a jar. It makes a great "grab and go" meal for giving away or for having on hand for fast meals. Camping...these would be perfect!
Everything for the refried bean soup fit right in a quart size jar. If you planned on having this once a week for a year, it would take 4 cases of quart mason jars to make the meals. It makes it easy to plan for food storage in this way. The best part was this jar made about 12 cups of soup!

Prepared according to the recipe with the addition of fresh chopped cilantro, sour cream, cheese and it was a huge hit!

There you go! Thank you Kathy Clark for the great Dinner Is In The Jar book and the awesome recipes. We'll be using this one often in our home!
For more recipe ideas, check out Kathy's Menu Page!


Rachelle said...

Great Idea I love it. I may just put a few of these together for soup night. Way better than Progresso I bet.

aswesow said...

It would seem logical to use tomato flakes so you don't need to add anything but water. Is there a reason you wouldn't?

Chef Tess said...

It would be totally logical to use the dry tomato if you have it. Just increase the water to 10 cups and use 1 1/2 cups tomato powder or dried tomatoes.

mlebagley said...

And could you substitute brown rice for the long grain white?

Chef Tess said...

Emily, you can use instant brown rice, as it only takes 10 minutes to cook. Regular brown rice is around 40 minutes so it would take a lot longer for dinner to get to the table. Not saying that it couldn't be done just have to increase the cooking time.