Meals in a jar: Spring and summer picnic ideas

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX --Looking for a fun and easy twist to traditional picnic foods?

On Monday's Good Morning Arizona, Chef Tess showed us how to create simple picnic recipes, using dehydrated foods that are shelf stable (Meals in a Jar). Those items include instant chicken salad pizza wraps and kid friendly taco-rice.

"Most of these meals will serve a family of four to five, for about 10 bucks or less," says Chef Tess. "Cheaper than take-out, and you can control all the ingredients."

Not only are these meals great for picnics, they also work well for eating on the road on vacation, pr in hotel rooms!

Chef Tess Instant  Family Sized Chicken Salad

Quart Jar ingredients:

2 cups Freeze Dried White Chicken

1/4 cup  Freeze Dried Onion

1/2 cup Freeze Dried Celery

1/4 cup Buttermilk Powder

1/2 tsp Chef Tess All Purpose or Italian Seasoning

2 Tbsp Ultra Gel (gluten-free)

Jar directions: Layer ingredients in a clean, very dry mason jar. Top with a 300 cc Oxygen Absorber (this must be used with freeze-dried meat for it to be safe!) or  use the Food Saver Vacuum Packing Meals in a Jar Tutorial. Label jars clearly with preparation instructions.

To Prepare: Remove oxygen absorber and discard. Pour 1 3/4 cup boiling water into the jar with the chicken mixture. Cover and let sit to hydrate 10 minutes. Chill for cold salad or immediately serve over salad greens or in between two slices of whole grain bread, rolled in a whole grain tortilla or eat with crackers. Yields 2 cup chicken salad.

Nutritional information: 1/2 cup chicken salad 167 calories, 3 g fat, 2 carbs, 25 grams protein.


Chicken Pizza Salad Wraps

To the original Jar ingredients add:

Use 1 tsp Chef Tess Italian Seasoning

Add 2 Tbsp Tomato Powder

1/4 cup  Dehydrated Shoestring Carrots

Increase water in preparation to 2 cups boiling water. Wrap warm salad, 1/2 cups with 1 cup lettuce and 2 tomato slices in an herb


Taco Tuesday Party Rice

¾ cup instant white rice

2T taco tvp

2T tomato powder

2T cheese sauce powder

¼ cup freeze dried mixed vegetables

In pint jar, combine ingredients.

To Prepare: Pour 1½ cup boiling water into jar. Cover and allow to sit 5-7 minutes until rice is tender.


For more information on Chef Stephanie "Tess" Petersen, call 480-440-8408, or visit Chef Tess Bakeresse online at

You can find the meal in a jar book and specialty ingredients at Honeyville farms in Chandler.

Chef Tess is teaching a class on Basic Bread there Saturday, May 17 at noon. Cost is $5. Book signing will follow from 2-5 pm.

Honeyville Farms
33 South 56th Street
Chandler, AZ 85226