Almost 10 years ago, I started sharing my recipes for meals in a jar using freeze-dried and dehydrated items that were "just add water" and super simple... I started sharing the 52 method. The method of basing long-term food storage on a 7 day menu and getting 52 of each jar. It took off like crazy! It was long before anyone else had even put the concept together. Several years into it, I wrote The Gourmet Food Storage Handbook, and then a year after that The Meal in a Jar Handbook.
At the time I pioneered this concept, I had no idea how popular it would become, or how many people would be blessed by the simplicity of the concept. I worked diligently to promote the idea on TV, Radio and at endless preparedness trade shows. I spoke with literally thousands of people about it. Thousands.
I didn't make much money for sharing my recipes and wisdom. It wasn't about the money for me. It felt more like a calling than a job and I was (and am) super passionate about helping people...
However, I did see the company that I worked for at the time making thousands of dollars from how my concept could make food storage so customizable and so simply accessible for daily use. I was on salary, and as the sole breadwinner for my family didn't complain about them making money. I considered it part of my job.
Fast forward now to 2017. I haven't worked for my previous employer for almost 4 years. They continue to make money from links off my website here based on direct referrals. It doesn't seem fair to my family. At. All. Now they no longer sell my books or spices on their website. They've moved away from me, it's fair to say that I'm no longer part of their family. So...I'm moving on. I still love them and am forever grateful for the opportunity that they gave me. Period.
Just to clarify, I have a current employer that treats me like gold. Serious gold. They have built my confidence and lifted my spirits. It's still salary and I am still the sole breadwinner for my family. Things are better, but it's still a pretty serious job. I'm still recovering from four years of less than ideal finances. I thank God for my job now every single day. It is a huge blessing! My current employer doesn't sell freeze-dried foods. This side venture will not be considered a conflict of interest. I'll only be mentioning those new freeze-dried products here every now and then as an effort to bless my family and hopefully your family. So that's what we're doing.
I've become an independent sales consultant for a company in Utah called Thrive Life. That happened...yesterday. Literally. Mainly because my family does and did rely on the royalty money we did receive from said previous employer to pay some of the family expenses. That loss has been sorely felt. The other reason, however, is that I've secretly been purchasing Thrive products for the last several years and have actually found their quality to be incredible. Their meat cans are always full. Their textures are perfect. They have more variety. They cater to more of the family's needs and a busy lifestyle than any other freeze-dried company out there, including meal kits similar to the famous "Blue Apron" meals. The simple plates, however, are totally shelf-stable!
As for this new venture...Anyone is welcome to join my team and get the benefit of having me as your food storage mentor on this journey. I'm excited about that. Mostly, I'm excited to share some outstanding tips and ideas for shelf-stable food. It also goes without saying, that I will still only suggest foods that I think have the highest possible quality.
So...Now for today's Recipe Post.
Instant Chicken Salad was such a popular post for fast and easy sandwich filling that I thought I would take it a step further and introduce all of you to this great way to make instant BBQ chicken bun stuffer and instant oriental chicken wrap or salad greens topper. These are great convenience meals for family picnics, camping trips, travel and whenever you're on the go. They are perfect for scout camp and are really delicious.
If you are new to this 52-method Meals in a Jar you'll probably need to read the posts on how to pack the jars with a food saver (if you don't want to use an oxygen absorber) as well as how to make the meals in mylar bags if you decide not to make them in the jars. Those posts are here:
This isn't just BBQ chicken. It is Kansas City BBQ Chicken. If you know anything about BBQ then you know that the Kansas City version of BBQ is usually tomato based on the addition of molasses or brown sugar. Using tomato powder give you the ability to control the thickness of the sauce without having to simmer it for hours. If you like your bbq chicken saucy, then this recipe is for you!
I used just a few simple ingredients for this stuffer. Once you've used freeze-dried chicken, you'll wonder why you have waited so long to try it! I have been so impressed with the lean, clean, awesomeness of this stuff for a long time. Mainly because it doesn't have any added junk to it. No soy, or msg or extra flavor. It is just chicken. Ahhh. It is a great way to make a shelf-stable meal without added chemicals.
One thing I am pretty particular about is the seasoning. If you haven't tried my Chef Tess Spices Chef Tess All purpose seasoning, is one that I developed as a chef for restaurant and banquet use. It goes with everything and hands-down is one of the best seasoning blends on the planet. You won't be disappointed. I say that and I realize that it is no longer available online, but that will change in the near future! I promise!
Kansas City BBQ Chicken Stuffer
1/2 cup Tomato Powder
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2T Freeze Dried Onion
2 tsp Chef Tess All Purpose Seasoning
1/2 tsp hickory smoke flavor powder or 2tsp smoked paprika
2 cups Freeze Dried White Chicken chunks
Directions: Combine all ingredients in pint-sized jar and top with an oxygen absorber. You may also use a mylar bag instead of the jar. You can cut the recipe in half for smaller portions or double for larger families. Simple stuff.
Safety Note: For the love of Pete, please use an oxygen absorber. They are the magic ingredient that makes these meals safe for long-term storage. Bacteria and junk can't grow without oxygen and moisture so this is a biggie! By the way, oxygen absorbers are a one time use. They are a must! After you have filled all your jars or mylar bags with the recipe ingredients, place a 300cc oxygen absorber in each jar (or bag). Seal within 20-60 minutes for the oxygen absorber to be viable.
To prepare: Combine chicken stuffer mix with 2 cups boiling water. Allow hydrate, about 10 minutes. Add more water to-taste of sauce thickness.
Lettuce wrap filling or salad green topper:
This recipe is versatile for either a salad wrap, topper or even a tortilla wrap. You'll love the heat! If of course, you're not a spicy person, you can omit the pepper flakes all together. I serve my salad with a squeeze of hot chile sauce and some fresh shredded carrots on salad greens. It is a simple grab when I'm traveling or just want a light lunch.
Oriental Spicy Chicken Salad
2 cup Freeze Dried Chicken chunks (3 oz)
1/3 cup Soy Sauce Powder (1.5 oz)
2T Lemonade Powder
1T dehydrated garlic slices (store purchased or make your own)
2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how hot you like your meals)
1/3 cup Dehydrated Onion
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1T Ultra Gel
Directions: Combine all ingredients in pint-sized jar and top with an oxygen absorber. You may also use a mylar bag instead of the jar. You can cut the recipe in half for smaller portions or double for larger families.
To prepare: Combine chicken stuffer mix with 2 cups boiling water. Allow to hydrate, about 10 minutes. Add more water to-taste of sauce thickness. Serve on top of greens. Or wrap in lettuce leaves for salad wraps.
There you go! Enjoy some wonderful new summer meals in a jar!
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess