Gifts of impeccable taste 2012: Holiday meals in a jar

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Creamy Tomato Soup Mix (in a quart jar with an oxygen absorber packet)

  • 1/2 c flour (or 1/4 cup cornstarch or Ultra Gel )
  • 1 1/2 c nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 c tomato powder 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 T dehydrated onion 
  • ¼ tsp celery seed 
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic 
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 2 tsp pepper 
  • 2 tsp thyme 
  • 2 T MSG free bullion (optional) (omit previous salt if you use bullion) 

I keep this mix in jars sealed and labeled for a quick dinner any time of the year. They keep fresh up to a year (for best flavor) so please be sure to label and date clearly. 

To prepare, combine soup mix with 6 cups water (for a richer cream soup, use milk) and whisk until combined over medium heat. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Add any flavor variations you like: 2 cups chopped broccoli or cauliflower, potatoes, corn, carrots, chicken, clams, crumbled bacon.

If you want a cheese soup, be sure it gets added only at the very end after soup is off the heat or it will be grainy.

Country-French  Beef Stew (in a quart jar with an oxygen-absorber packet) 

  • 1 c Honeyville instant red beans, 
  • 1 c Honeyville freeze dried mixed vegetables
  • ¾ cup Honeyville Freeze Dried diced beef
  • 1 c Honeyville dehydrated diced potatoes
  • ¼ c Honeyville dehydrated onions
  • ½ c Honeyville tomato powder 
  • 1T Chef Tess French Provencal Essential herb blend 
  • ¼ c flour
  • 1 T beef bullion 

Layer all in a clean quart canning jar. Place 1 oxygen packet on top and close tightly using a canning lid and ring. Shelf stable 6-7 years. 

To prepare beef stew: In a gallon pot, combine stew mix with 6 c water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. 

Creamy Southwestern Corn  Feliz Navidad Chowder  (in a pint jar with oxygen absorber)

  • 1 c Honeyville Creamy Potato Cheese Soup Mix 
  • ¼ cup Honeyville taco TVP 
  • ½ cup Honeyville freeze dried corn 
  • ¼ cup dehydrated green onion 
  • 1T Chef Tess Fajita Seasoning 

Directions: Combine soup mix with 4 cups cool water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Yield 5 cups soup. 

Comforting Creamy Potato Cheese and Ham with Rosemary Soup (in a quart jar with an oxygen absorber packet)

  • 3 cups Honeyville Creamy Potato soup mix 
  • 1 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Ham (do not use the ham TVP for this) 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dehydrated rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper 

Directions: Combine soup mix with 10 cups cool water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

How do you package mixes?
Use mason jars and upcycled glass jars.

Be creative with the ties, lids and more. You can have a lot of fun with ceramic paint on the outside of jars. Just be sure not to use it inside as most are not food grade. Or just wrap it really funky with the scrapbook paper! How easy is that?

Fabric bags are another great option.

Fabric bags can add a lot of great texture and color to a gift. They don't have to be expensive. I find them many times at the dollar and discount stores. Antique stores are also great for this!

Hot pads are the best "fabric bag" for a cookie mix! It doubles as the tool to take the cookies out of the oven! Check the discount stores. They go in sale big time this time of year!

Do you have to use an Oxygen Absorber?

Oxygen "eater" packets are used to make meals shelf stable. These will cause a vacuum seal and an oxygen-free environment that will not allow the growth of mold and spores. The jars should be packed in a dry jar on a day when the air has very low humidity. That becomes especially important when repacking freeze-dried meats.

Note: It is important to open the freeze-dried meat and bottle it again within 24-48 hours in a very dry environment. If you're worried about it or want a vegetarian alternative, you may use 1 1/2 cups freeze-dried zucchini instead of the meat. You'll need to add 1 tsp. no-MSG chicken bouillon to the mix as well. It is not a good idea to seal these meals in just a plastic storage bag or one that is not designed for long-term storage if you are using the real meat.

Chef Tess Bakeresse at the Honeyville Farms' Teaching Kitchen
33 S. 56th Street
Chandler, AZ. 85226 
Phone: 480-785-5210
Gifts of Impeccable Taste Meals and Mixes in a Jar
Saturday, Dec.1 - All-Day New Kitchen Open House Event
Ribbon Cutting at 10 a.m.