Monday, April 23, 2012

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham Au Gratin Skillet Meal in a Jar (52 Method continues)

Mondays are the day I try to share some great information and meals to make with 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. Special Thanks to Honeyville Grain for the ingredients I used in today's post. They have been sweethearts when it comes to being able to use their products and I appreciate them very much! Plus...they did ask me to write the book on the subject so it's been fun working with them in that regard. 

           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 over-looked. 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 your scroll through the rest of the  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. 
Today we used:
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 will make appox. 5 meals)
1/2 cup  
freeze dried Ham* (no substitutions) (one can makes 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 makes approx 16 meals)
2T  Freeze Dried Onion                                       (one can makes approx 80 meals)

2T Freeze Dried Celery                                       (one can makes approx 80 meals)
1/2  Cup Freeze Dried Bell Peppers                           (one can makes approx 28 meals)
2T butter powder                                                   (one can makes 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 jar is full, top with an oxygen absorber packet and seal tightly, making sure that the absorber is low enough in the jar that it doesn't over-lap 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.

There you go. Get the printable version of the jar labels and recipe here

Enjoy another delicious meal in a jar!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess
I am no longer the corporate chef for Honeyville but we still love them dearly. My family is greatly blessed and relies heavily on the extra money brought in by sales tracked back to this site. This is also the company that packages and sells my spice line as well as my food storage cookbooks. Thank you so very much for your support. Xoxo!


Granny Frets said...

Thank you so much for another wonderful sounding jar meal. I just have one quick question. What is the amount of green pepper? It just says 1/2...cup, tablespoon?

Chef Tess said...

Good catch. Yes. 1/2 cup.

Barbara said...

Have you ever thought about becoming the NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR?

Chef Tess said...

Oh that would be fun!! I'd miss my kids though.

Tara said...

Wondering about the amounts of preservatives in the dried items?
We are trying to steer away from that kind of stuff- we do a lot of gardening, canning, etc, and I'd like some info before I go on and order some stuff.


Chef Tess said...

Honeyville doesn't add any preservatives. It is just the vegetables as far as I know. On the ham, it is just ham.

Robbie Lowry said...

Any chance you could make these recipes for a family of five or six? We've been talking about food canning for emergencies, when I am just too tired to do a ton of prep work, or when we go camping.

Love the ideas.

Chef Tess said...

Robbie, You can double the recipe in a half gallon mason jar or you can also use a mylar bag for a double recipe for camping. I anticipate posting more on the mylar next week.

Tammi said...

Question... Just made 10 jars of this but read on the Ham description that it is only good for 1 week after opening and 1 month if left in the fridge. Does that mean the ham in my jars will be bad after 1 week??

Chef Tess said...

As long as you use the oxygen absorbers your meals will be shelf stable 5-7 years or more. It is usually closer to 10 years. It basically puts the meat back in it's pre-open state when you do the jars with the oxygen packs. Great question!

Anonymous said...

Can you just clarify on the meat thing. The freeze-dried meat cans come with an oxygen absorber in it. I made only 3 quart size jars of a meal and sealed those with the Food Saver vaccum-jar sealer without an O2 abs. So that is ok right? The metal jar lid is suctioned to it just as if I heat canned it.
Also, Do I need to transfer the remaining meat dices to a canning jar/s with an O2 abs. to keep it shelf stable. I didn't think the plastic lid was enough once the 10# can was opened. Thanks for all your tips.

Chef Tess said...

Yes and yes. Using the foodsaver instead of an O2 absorber is okay, as long as the lid seals like you described. Yes, you need to transfer the remaining meat into another mason jar and seal it again for it to be shelf stable. Technically, it can be out at room temperature in the covered can up to a week if it is kept dry. I prefer to do my jars within 24-48 hours for extra safety.

Anonymous said...

where can I find your 52 meals in a jar book ? and also can I add sausage to your scallop potatos instead of ham ?

Chef Tess said...

The Gourmet Food Storage Handbook just came out with a section on the 52 method meals (18 main course and 7 breakfast meals). The second book is in-process currently.

jdm6of18 said...

Scalloped Potatoes and Chicken Au Gratin - sorry no ham in cupboard. Excellent! Proportions just right, even for my dehydrated potatoes, celery & red/orange/yellow peppers. Seasonings just exactly right. Great recipe, now to make up some jars. Thanks, Chef Tess! Janice

Laura Wilson-Anderson said...

I think I'm going to try this with mushrooms instead of ham. Would the amounts and cooking times stay about the same, or would the mushrooms change things a bit? Thanks!

Chef Tess said...

The mushrooms will be great. You need to reduce the water by about 1/4 cup if you use those instead.

Suelynn Jacobus said...

Can you break down along with these recipes how much each meal in a jar approximately costs?

Chef Tess said...

There is a huge variation in cost from the online store and the retail "brick an mortar" store prices. Generally it is about 2$ a serving if you use the real meat in most of the meals.

Emily said...

We have a bunch of nonfat dry milk (not the instant kind) on hand. Can I substitute that in for the instant dry milk? Would thew quantity change?

Chef Tess said...

You can certainly use the regular non-fat dry milk powder. You'd use the same amount.

Anonymous said...

I noticed you were using ultra gel in this recipe. If I were to use cornstarch or flour which would you recommend? And would I have to boil the cornstarch first? Thanks.

Deborah Wheeler said...

What size can ham did you purchase to make 20 meals?

Deborah Wheeler said...

What size can of ham did you purchase to make 20 meals?