Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One Vegetarian Base, 3 Different Meals in a Jar!

As the meals in a jar cookbook has been progressing, I noticed that I didn't have any meals on my blog that used the simple method of making one base meal and turning it into several different meals, simply by changing the sauce and a few flavor agents as I had done in my post on 6 Meals from One Casserole...The Great Divan Divide for freezer meals. I use this method when I taught my 4 Pasta Salads in One Post and whenever I teach my classes on Culinary Herb and Spice Alchemy 101.This method of using a base recipe and changing the sauce and seasoning to make different distinct meals is often referred to in the culinary world as "Dovetailing".  I see it often on Italian restaurant menus. Chicken...12 different sauces...all different prices depending on what it is paired with on the menu. So, today I'm sharing a similar spin on my meals in a jar.

Why Dovetail?
  • Save Time
  • Save Money
  • Use familiar ingredients
  • Simplify meal preparation
One base vegetarian noodle recipe...
Three Meals!
Classic Italian Marinara and Saucy Vegetables
Oriental Ginger Noodle Wok
Classic Creamy Pasta Primavera
You'll need to read up on home vacuum packing in my Original Post on Jar Meal Packing as well as the follow-up posts that teach how to make homemade mylar packed meals for camping and beyond. There is a lot of great information on how to do this meal method safely for long-term storage. Most of these meals will last 7-10 years on your shelf if you follow the guidelines I outline. Each quart sized meal serves 4. 1 1/2 cup servings each. If you have 12 people in your family, use a gallon sized jar and multiply the recipe by 3! If you are single, you can divide the recipe among half-pint jars or mylar bags and get smaller portions. If it is just two at home, cut the recipe in half and use pint-sized jars or mylar bags. I serve the meals with a simple side salad and breadsticks if I'm feeling like making more, but honestly, most often we just cook it up and have it "as is."
For today's post you will need: 

Vegetarian Noodle Base for Jar Meals

In a quart jar add:
4 oz spaghetti noodles (gluten free work)
1/4 cup Dehydrated Carrot
1/3 cup Freeze Dried Peas
1/3 cup Freeze Dried Bell Pepper
1 cup (scant) Freeze Dried Mushroom
1 cup Freeze Dried Zucchini
2T Freeze Dried Onion

Make sure you weigh the noodles. There should be a 4 oz portion.
I generally break the noodles in half so I don't have any of this going on...

Layer the vegetables next to the noodles in your jar.
Shake you different sauce variation ingredients into the jars. Today I'm sharing the...

Classic Italian Marinara and Saucy Vegetables

to each Vegetarian Noodle base quart-sized jar add:
2/3 cup Tomato Powder
1 T sugar or granulated honey
1T Chef Tess Italian Seasoning

Top each jar with an oxygen absorber and tighten lid. Label clearly and date.

Directions to prepare meal: Bring 5 cups water to a rolling boil. Remove and discard oxygen absorber (they are only good once!). Pour contents of jar into boiling water and stir. Boil 8-10 minutes until noodles are tender. Serve hot.

Now. Please don't hate me. I'm sharing the other two meals on Thursday this week when I guest post on The Cookin' Cousins Blog. At that point, there will also be a printable PDF with all 3 meals on it so it will be all in one spot for you. In the meantime, remember that I love you!

I'm so excited at the response we've had on these easy meals. Perhaps the ones that get me most excited are the ones from people who have eaten these meals while a tornado raged over their underground shelter...and the moms who have been sending these to sons and daughters over-seas as missionaries and service men in our armed forces. New moms and those who are taking care of older family members have also tugged my heart-strings quite a bit! Thank you so much for all the love. It is the most motivating thing on earth!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess



taco3bumper said...

I enjoy your posts! They are informative and entertaining at the same time. Your meals in a quart jar are inspired. I haven't made them, but I think I almost have them memorized. At the moment I'm on a very low carb diet, so I can't eat them. My biggest question concerns making things in pint jars. Are all the recipes adaptable to this (as you did the Ziti recipe for your Mom)? Thanks so much. I can't wait for the cookbook!

Chef Tess said...

Ironically, I'm also very low carb right now. Tomorrow I'll be posting some great Low carb options that I think will make you very happy!! Xoxo! All the recipes are adaptable to smaller sized meals. The cooking time almost always stays the same, just divide everything by half for the pint jars...and also remember to use half the amount of water in the recipes. Thanks for your sweet comment! It made me smile!

Rachele Funk said...

I wish you had a local class!!!

Chef Tess said...

Rachele...we're working on filming more and more!Xoxo!

Catherine Matthews-Scanlon said...

I really love the idea of meals in a jar - I sure have enough mason jars -- but do you have to buy such large quantities of the dried foods?

Jen said...

Thank You Thank You Thank You!!! I'm so very excited about these meals in a jar, you have inspired me :)

Anonymous said...

since you've done the show now, can you add a link for the other 2 recipes, thnx

Chef Tess said...

Yup. Here's the link:

Kristen Otto said...

Hi Tess!
Could you give me some ideas to add some Honeyville TVP products to these 3 recipes to add protein? Quantity per quart jars would be awesome.

Wood chips from the wood pile said...

Can dehydrated foods be used in these recipes instead of freeze-dried? I noticed the veggie base one has both dehydrated and freeze-dried. Do you have many vegetarians recipes? Thanks!