Mondays are the day I try to share some great information and meals to make for food storage. I was raised growing a garden and making food from scratch so I try to offer budget-friendly ideas. Sometimes I will also offer meals in a jar or things for longer-term storage for those interested in just having convenient meals on hand. These will usually be meals that cost around 6-8$ a jar if you use jars you already have on hand and if you make them according to my directions. They are generally shelf stable 5-7 years (or more) depending on the meal. Today's meal is shelf stable up to 10 years.
So this week I wanted to add these comforting scalloped potatoes Au Gratin. I'm not gonna lie. I love scalloped potato casserole. Add cheese and ham with some garden vegetables and I'm in total comfort food heaven! If I don't have to fire up my oven to have the casserole...what's not to love about that?! If I can do it low fat and still have it taste delicious. Yes. I'm going to do that. Dude. Arizona is hot. I am not a fan of cooking in the summer. So this is the heat-saver version. Even though this meal will work beautifully in my Solar oven or even the heat retention cooker the convenience of having a skillet meal is not to be overlooked. In this recipe I use real freeze dried Ham. One can of the ham will make about 20 of this meal because you use only 1/2 cup of the meat. This cannot be substituted with TVP ham in this meal because the the veggie ham will go bright pink when cooked for a long time in liquid. For the record. If you're having a fairy princess party and want pink potatoes, be my guest.
This meal ends up costing just over 6$ a meal if you break up the cans of ingredients. This time I listed how many meals each can will make if you use that portion from the can. This particular recipe for one meal makes 4 servings (1 1/2 cup of casserole). 1.50$ a serving. We usually serve it with a big fresh salad and a slice of whole grain bread. The use of the freeze-dried vegetables gives this dish a more "fresh" flavor compared to the dehydrated vegetables. I really recommend using them.
If you are new to the meals in a jar, go: here and get some details on how the meals are done as well as the basic safety guidelines. If you scroll through the rest of the 52 jar method posts, there are a lot more recipes, ideas, and helpful tips when making the meals. I answer a lot of questions in the comment sections as well.
This meal fits in a regular quart size jar for a family of 4.
Chef Tess Country-Style
Scalloped Potatoes and Ham Au Gratin Skillet Meal
2 1/2 cups Dehydrated Potato Slices (one can make approx. 5 meals)
1/2 cup freeze dried Ham* (no substitutions) (one can make approx 20 meals)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour or ultra gel (modified corn starch)
1/4 cup powdered cheese sauce (each can makes approx 41 meals)
1/2 cup instant milk (one can make approx 16 meals)
2T Freeze Dried Onion (one can make approx 80 meals)
2T Freeze Dried Celery (one can make approx 80 meals)
1/2 Cup Freeze Dried Bell Peppers (one can make approx 28 meals)
2T butter powder (one can make 51 meals)
1 tsp Chef Tess All Purpose Seasoning (one bottle makes about 24 meals)
To Make jars: Layer ingredients in the order that they are listed, shaking the powder ingredients into the bulkier ingredients. Once the jar is full, top with an oxygen absorber packet and seals tightly, making sure that the absorber is low enough in the jar that it doesn't overlap the rim of the jar. Store in a cool, dry place.
To Prepare Meal:
Combine dry ingredients in a 12-inch deep skillet with a lid. Add 6 cups cool water. Stir well and bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Once boiling, lower heat to very low for 12-15 minutes, uncovered. Stir every few minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off heat. Cover pan and let sit for 5-10 minutes after cooking until all the potatoes and ham are completely tender. Serve hot with your choice of vegetables. Top with additional cheese if desired. * Ham is optional. If you make it without meat, reduce water to 4 1/2 cups.
Enjoy another delicious meal in a jar!
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess