OK so one thing I’ve been doing lately that is wonderful is making homemade convenience food (and canning dry beans). I love the fact that I generally have time to cook from scratch nowdays but sometimes I need something quick.
My first two experiments were the beans and taco soup. I made my taco soup and did a double batch, canning up the rest of what we didn’t eat in pint size jars. These have been great because one pint is approximately one bowl’s worth, so is nice for a quick hot lunch and dinner in a pinch. Taco soup also makes a GREAT topping for nachos.
Note: I thought I had posted the recipe but I hadn’t apparently so I’ll have to post that here today, don’t have it on hand at the moment.
Another thing that has been great and very versatile is canned beans. OK yes we probably eat more beans than most families because they are cheap and also happen to be a major component in my husband’s favorite food (burritos), but they can be used for tons of stuff.
Think… well, anything you use regular store bought canned beans for. They are good additions to casseroles, and my favorite quick meal is to open a can of my homemade taco beans, mash them with a potato masher, cook up some rice and we’ve got bean & rice burritos on the table in 20 minutes. You DO have to have a pressure canner to make these.
Taco Canned Beans
- Dry pinto beans
- Taco seasoning
- Boiling Water
Fill your jars with the dry beans approx. 1/3 full. For pint jars, add 1 tsp of salt and 1 Tbs of taco seasoning. For quarts, double that. Fill halfway with boiling water, let them sit for a little bit to heat up the jar and then top with the hot water. Wipe the rims of the jars, put on the lids, etc. Process at 10lbs pressure for 75 minutes (pints) and 90 minutes (quarts).
People say you should can your beans, meats, etc. unseasoned so you can season them as you like, but I can tell you I always use some kind of mexican flavor in my beans, so these are really nice! The flavors really marinate in. I also can beef with salt, pepper and onion flakes because I’d always use those anyway!
Yesterday I did try a new recipe for chili beans which I imagine will be similar, so we’ll see what the verdict on those is. I also canned some garbanzo beans – I’d like to be able to make “hummus in a jar” where I can the garbanzos with the right amount of seasonings so I can just throw the whole shebang in the blender with some tahini and garlic cloves and have hummus… but that’s for another day.
I’ll continue to post in this category if I find more recipes that are nice convenience foods. I’d like to also experiment with homemade frozen food… occasionally we will get some frozen food from Costco or something and it’s nice to have on hand, so it might be nice to have something I can make.