Well, I'm going to share a really cool idea and great product from a close friend of mine, Chef Stephanie Petersen (Chef Tess), that fits perfectly in preparedness. And this is something that is not only a really smart idea, but easy and tastes great!
Chef Tess and Honeyville recently provided me a sample of the "Chef Tess Taco Soup Mix" and asked me to try it out and let them know what I thought. I was so impressed that I decided I needed to not only add it to my food storage and emergency preps, but tell others about it as well.
First of all, the Honeyville ingredients are as follows:
- 2 cups Honeyville Quick Cook Red or Black Beans (I used Red Beans)
- 1 cup Honeyville Taco Flavored TVP
- 1/2 cup Honeyville Dehydrated Diced Onion
- 1/3 cup Honeyville Freez Dried Bell Pepper Trio
- 3/4 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Corn
- 1/2 cup Honeyville Tomato Powder
- 1T Chef Tess Southwest Fajita Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional... but I used it)
The cooking directions: Place contents of jar in a gallon pot in a solar oven or on the stove. Add 2 quarts (8 cups) of water and simmer 20-30 minutes until veggies are tender. Serve with nacho chips, sour cream and salsa if desired.
So I threw all the ingredients together, brought it to a boil and simmered it for 25 minutes. THAT'S ALL! It doesn't get much easier than that. And the coolest part is that the Quick Cook Beans are really quick. No soaking or cooking for extended periods of time. In fact, after 10 minutes of cooking I took a taste and they were tender and ready. And best of all, it tastes really, really good. I did add a little Tabasco to mine after I tasted it... because I add it to all my soups, stews, chili, etc. It's great without it but Tabasco is like my ketchup... I add it to everything.
Another great part of this is that all the ingredients can be stored for long periods of time. In fact, to store this meal, all you have to do is layer the ingredients into a quart jar. After you put the tomato and seasoning powder in, shake it around and it falls into all the cracks. Then just add an oxygen packet and put the lid on. The meal is now good to store for 7 or more years! Just add water! And this isn't one of those semi-good meals you find elsewhere. This is a meal I'd crave.
Besides food storage, another great application is camping. If you're like us, we often go camping with family and/or friends and assign meals to a certain family for a certain day. That way you only have to cook one meal for everyone and then just enjoy the rest of the time. The biggest hassle is preparing, cooking and clean up, particularly when you have to chop things, cook in several pots and then scrub everything clean with minimal resources. However, if you had a few of these jars pre-made, you just throw it in a pot, bring to a boil, simmer for 25-30 minutes and serve with chips! Clean up is just a pot and ladle. This is exactly what I'm doing for the next group campout! No coolers needed to keep everything cold, nor getting started 3 hours before meal time to get it ready.
I did find that the above amount was far more than our family of four could eat. In fact, it would feed us for a good 3 meals, at least. So I may consider making up a few in smaller bottles at 1/3 this size for those days when you just want to throw it in the pot and have a full meal in 30 minutes with minimal dishes. (Guys... this is PERFECT for those times you want to give your wife a break from cooking and have it as easy as possible).
In conclusion, I've found another great idea for food storage, camping meals, easy preparation and just a great tasting meal. I'm adding it to my supply. Check it out! Maybe it'll be a great addition to yours as well. I look forward to trying out some more of her meals like this one.
Enjoy the journey!
About Chef Tess...
Chef Tess is a national celebrity, appearing on national cooking shows, newscasts and other TV appearances. She is a trained chef, cooking instructor, recipe developer and gourmet spice line developer. Her real world experiences and dedication to helping others has made her an expert in cooking on a tight budget and learning nutrition and gardening skills.
Chef Tess website: http://www.cheftessbakeresse.com/
Chef Tess cooking classes: http://cheftessbakeresse.blogspot.com/p/upcoming-classes.html