Oct 092015
 

Szechuan SPAM Bowl

The first time I made this dish I got the greatest compliment from my youngest son. He said, “Oh. It tastes like real Chinese food.”

If you’ve done much cooking with stored food, you know that food storage meals can be hit and miss sometimes. I’m the first to admit it. Some of the stuff I try turns out absolutely terrible. Every now and then though, I get a big hit. This is one of the biggest. SPAM in this recipe doesn’t taste like SPAM, it tastes like Chinese pork. It’s perfect for this complex blend of spicy hot, smokey, savory, sour and sweet flavors. Put the bomb in your bomb shelter with Szechuan SPAM.

This recipe takes less than 30-minutes to prepare. Less than 20-minutes if you’ve made it before. Before you start it though, put on a pot of rice to cook. I use 2-cups of white rice cooked in 4-cups of water to accompany it. If you want pudding for dessert, prepare it before starting the rice. Canned peaches can be opened up just before serving dinner.

For a gluten-free, dairy-free meal be sure to use gluten-free soy sauce. If you’re serving pudding for dessert prepare conventional cooked cornstarch pudding, using soymilk instead of dairy milk.

Szechuan SPAM

Ingredients 

  • 2 or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (12-ounce) can SPAM, cut into small strips
  • 1 large onion, chopped OR 2 to 3 tablespoons dry onions
  • 1 (8-ounce) can mushrooms
  • 1 (15-ounce) can French style green beans OR cut green beans
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts
  • 1 (15-ounce) can baby corn
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers OR 8 ounces of pimento
  • 1/4 to 1/2-teaspoon red pepper flakes OR ground red pepper
  • 1/2-teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)

Directions

Before you start cooking do all of your prep-work first. Pour the oil into a large or deep skillet or pot. Set it aside.

Slice the SPAM into thin slices. Stack the slices and cut them into strips.

If you have a fresh onion peel it. Cut it in half and then slice into half-moons. Use your fingers to break it into many pieces. If you’re using dried onion then measure it and set it aside.

Drain the mushrooms and green beans, saving the liquid in a measuring cup. Add enough water to equal 1-1/2 cups.

Drain the water chestnuts, baby corn and red peppers. Rinse well if possible. Cut the red peppers into thin strips. Set the vegetables aside.

Measure the red pepper flakes, garlic powder and sugar into a small dish or cup. Set aside.

In a small bowl or cup combine the vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch dissolves in the liquid. Set aside.

Get out the sesame oil if you’re using.

Now it’s time to do the cooking. Heat the oil in the large skillet or pot over medium-high or high heat. Add the SPAM. Stir-fry for about 5-minutes, or until it’s somewhat browned. Add fresh onion if you’re using is. If you’re using dry onion, then wait to add it with the sugar, garlic and hot pepper.

Fry the onion and SPAM for 3-minutes or until the onion is hot and beginning to become tender. Add the mushrooms. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, or until it dries out a little bit. This improves the texture of mushroom in the finished dish.

Next add the remaining vegetables and the sugar, garlic, hot pepper and dry onion (if you’re using it). Pour in the water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer for 1-minute, or until thick. Measure the sesame oil if you have any. Add it to the skillet and stir it all until evenly mixed. Serve over rice.

To make a meal serve something cooling such as peaches or fruit cocktail. I like a simple vanilla pudding as dessert to cleanse the palate after the spice of this dish.

Szechuan SPAM

Oct 092015
 

Canned Tomatoes

Stewed Tomatoes are one of the simple things in life that no one prepares anymore but that everyone loves once they try them. Canned tomatoes are seasoned and simmered and then served to happy eaters. The only drawback is that they are drippy and tend to ooze all over your plate. Kids especially hate this. I combat the situation by serving the tomatoes in custard cups or dessert bowls. The kids eat their tomatoes and no one complains about them taking over their dinner plate.

If you’re using stored foods to prepare this recipe then 1-tablespoon of butter flavored shortening or 1-tablespoon of homemade margarine will both work well in place of the butter. If you are dairy-free then dairy-free margarine or butter flavored shortening will either work just fine.

Stewed Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 15 ounce can of tomatoes (no-salt-added if possible)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted tomatoes)
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Dash red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry onions
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons butter or the alternative of your choice

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a 1-quart saucepan. Place the lid on the pan. Place the pan over the heat and simmer for at least 5-minutes, longer if desired. Serve hot.

 

Oct 092015
 

Chicken In A Can

This is an easy food storage recipe for creamed chicken made from canned chicken or turkey. The canning liquid is used in the sauce to give it extra flavor. To make this dish gluten free and dairy free simply use rice flour instead of all purpose flour and soymilk instead of reconstituted dairy milk.

Chicken or Turkey in Gravy, From Scratch

Ingredients

  • 12 ounce can of chicken or turkey, undrained
  • 1/4 cup butter or alternative of your choice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour OR rice flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken broth powder or 1 bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup reconstituted milk OR soymilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • Good dash black pepper

Directions

In a medium-sized saucepan melt the butter or alternative over a low flame. Stir in the flour until it absorbs the fat. Gradually add the water. Whisk the mixture until it’s completely smooth. Add the undrained chicken, broth powder, milk and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 5-minutes or so, to thicken the sauce and blend the flavors. Serve over mashed potatoes. Makes 4-servings. Add hot bread, peas and carrots, and canned peaches for a complete meal.

VARIATION

Fred always adds a can of mushrooms to this dish. Use the liquid drained from the mushrooms as part of the 1-cup water called for in making the sauce.

Oct 092015
 

Canned Soup

Some people use lots of canned soup in their food storage. Other people think it’s the devil. If you do use canned soup then this easy method for making creamed chicken will appeal to you. If you don’t stock canned soup, then you can try my recipe for Creamed Chicken or Turkey, From Scratch instead.

Ultra Easy Creamed Chicken or Turkey

Ingredients

  • 10 ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 12 ounce can of chicken or turkey, undrained
  • 1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • Dash Black Pepper

Directions

Open up the soup and scrape it into a 2-quart saucepan. Open the chicken or turkey and drain the juice into the pan of soup. Add the powdered milk. Stir until smooth. A whisk helps you accomplish this quickly. Heat the sauce over a medium flame. Using your fingers or a fork pull the chicken into small bits. Add this to the sauce. Simmer for a few minutes to heat thoroughly. Stir often to prevent sticking. Serve over mashed potatoes.

If desired you may add a well drained can of mushrooms or a small can of drained peas or peas and carrots. Makes 4-large servings.

VARIATION

Easy Turkey Spam in Gravy: Replace the chicken or turkey in the above recipe with a 12-ounce can of Turkey SPAM. Slice the meat thinly then stack the slices and cut them into thin slivers. Add 1/2-cup water to the soup to thin it into gravy. Then add the chopped SPAM and remaining ingredients (dry milk and seasonings). Simmer as directed and spoon over potatoes.

Oct 092015
 

BUF50015

I almost never supply recipes with this many convenience foods. This menu/recipe is the exception that proves the rule. Before we gave up gluten and dairy, this meal was a sure bet, family favorite. It’s not to hard on the cook and it produces a meal that the family is always happy to see, whether it’s the holidays or not. It can all be prepared on a 2-burner camp stove. After preparing it, the cook deserves the day off, and the rest of the family can manage clean-up.

If you prefer to use canned chicken for this meal, replace the Turkey SPAM and pepared turkey gravy with Creamed Chicken, either From Scratch or Quick & Easy.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Ingredients

  • 2 (12-ounce) cans Turkey SPAM, sliced into 6 or 8 slices each
  • 2 packets of turkey gravy mix (to make 2 cups gravy)
  • 1 (6-ounce) box of chicken or turkey stuffing mix
  • 6 to 8 servings of prepared instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 (29-ounce) can of green beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of whole berry cranberry sauce

Directions

For this recipe you have to read the directions on the boxes and prepare things as directed.

Begin with the turkey and gravy. Open the turkey and drain any liquid into a measuring cup. Add enough fresh water to make 2 cups of liquid. Use this to prepare the gravy mix according to the package directions. Use a large skillet that’s big enough to hold the turkey too. Slice the turkey into thin cutlets. Place them in the prepared gravy. Bring the turkey and gravy to a good boil. Cover with a lid and place in a nest of old towels, or blankets, or best yet . . . a comforter, to keep warm.

Prepare the stuffing mix according to package directions. If you don’t have butter or margarine then use butter flavored shortening to prepare the stuffing mix. When you cover it and let it sit, place it in the towel and blanket nest alongside the turkey and gravy.

Prepare the instant mashed potatoes according to the package directions. If necessary use butter flavored shortening instead of the butter or margarine called for on the box. Evaporated milk makes the potatoes extra creamy. When it’s done, place a lid on it and place it in the towel and blanket nest to keep warm.

The green beans should be seasoned with a pinch of sugar and a goodly amount of pepper. Add a little butter or alternative of your choice (1 tablespoon) and allow them to boil hard for a few minutes. Place the lid on the pot and put them in the towel nest to keep warm.

The cranberry sauce should be opened up and set aside.

To serve the meal, place a big scoop of potatoes and a big scoop of stuffing on a plate. Place 2 or 3 slices of turkey alongside and spoon gravy over the potatoes and stuffing. Add a generous serving of green beans and a small scoop of cranberry sauce. Serve with hot chocolate or prepared packets of instant hot apple cider. You can add some canned fried apples, or stewed dried apples to make it extra fancy if you like.

This is a great storage meal. It tastes good, serves a hungry family and has a festive air about it that makes everyone feel happy and well blessed.

Using 2-cans of turkey SPAM it makes a hearty meal for 6. Using 1-can of turkey SPAM it makes a hearty meal for 4.

 

Oct 092015
 

anchovies

This is one of my very favorite meals in the whole wide world. A traditional homestyle Italian dish, it’s spicy, salty, warm, filling and delicious, especially when I’m tired, irritated and can’t bear the though of preparing anything more complicated. If you love anchovies this dish will become pure comfort food. If you don’t like them, skip this recipe all together—there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

To make this dish gluten free simply use gluten free spaghetti. The rest of it is good to go.

Spaghetti with Garlic, Red Pepper & Anchovy Sauce

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dry spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 ounce can anchovies packed in olive oil, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dry red pepper flakes

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a small pot combine the anchovies, garlic and red pepper flakes. Half fill the anchovy can with a little of the water from the boiling spaghetti. Pour this water in the pot with the anchovies. Simmer the mixture over a medium-low flame for about 5-minutes, or until the anchovies disintegrate and the garlic swells a little bit.

Add this sauce to the drained spaghetti and toss until the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce. Divide between 4 bowls. If desired top with fried bread crumbs or a little Parmesan or Vegan Parmesan Alternative. Spinach or green beans are good accompaniments.

Oct 092015
 

22134143

This recipe is from the 1970’s when canned soup was in every cupboard and sour cream was the height of gourmet. I remember eating it as a child and thinking it was quite elegant.

Easy Tuna Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 2 – 5 ounce cans tuna, well drained
  • 10 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 ounce can of mushrooms, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon dry onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dry wine, vermouth or sherry, optional
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt

Directions

Open up all the cans. Drain the tuna. In a large skillet or pot combine everything but the last 2 ingredients. Stir it up and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for about 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the wine or sherry and the yogurt or sour cream. Stir and stir until it’s all creamy and well combined. Serve over cooked noodles, or rice, or even bread or biscuits. Easy and delicious. Try a green beans salad on the side.

NOTE: Homemade yogurt is cheap to make and handy to have around during lean times. It’s what I use in this dish most often. When I’m camping I use canned Nestle Table Cream. To sour it simply stir a little lemon juice (1 or 2-tablespoons) into the opened can. I use a chopstick to stir it in because that makes less mess. Allow the cream to sit for a few minutes to thicken and sour completely. Leftover sour cream is easily used. Stir in a little brown sugar and spoon it over canned fruit.

Oct 072015
 

Canned Pineapple

Since SPAM is spicy and smokey, it combines well with tangy pineapple and sweet baked beans. The recipe below calls for an 8-ounce can of pineapple. If you prefer to use a 20-ounce can just use 4 of the pineapple slices with the SPAM and serve the others as a side dish with the meal. Remember to save the juice from the pineapple and add it to whaterver beverage you’re having with the meal. It’s good with kool-aid, lemonade, and iced tea.

SPAM, Pineapple & Bean Bake

Ingredients

  • 28 ounce can baked beans
  • 12 ounce can SPAM
  • 8 ounce can pineapple rings (4 rings)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions

Open the baked beans and pour them into an 8-inch baking pan. Open the SPAM and cut it into 4-square shaped slices. Arrange these slices over the beans. Drain the juice from the pineapple into a cup and give it to the children to drink. Place a pineapple ring over each slice of SPAM. Sprinkle the brown sugar over all. Bake at 400° for about 25-minutes, or until the sugar is caramelized and the beans are bubbly. Serve hot. Makes 4 portions. Serve with biscuits or muffins, plus hot buttered collard greens on the side and butterscotch pudding for dessert.

 

Oct 072015
 

Bean Pot

For reasons I will never understand, commercially canned chili beans all have added wheat. Mind boggling, I know. So we don’t ever eat canned chili beans in my house. I used to make this recipe simply by combining SPAM a little ketchup, dry onion and canned chili beans. Now I make it according to this recipe. It tastes about the same and, of course, is gluten free. I have it on good authority that cub scouts, brownies, cowgirls and cowboys all appreciate this dish, especially when you call it Campfire Beans.

If you prefer to use home cooked beans then start off with 1-1/2 to 2-cups of dried beans. Soak them overnight in plenty of water. Boil them the next day until tender, about 2-hours. Proceed as directed in the recipe.

SPAM and Chili Beans

Ingredients

  • 12 oz can SPAM
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, or a large 40-ounce can
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dry onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes

Directions

Open the SPAM and cut it up into small dice. Open up the beans and dump them into a 3-quart saucepan. Add the SPAM and all of the other ingredients. Mix well. Heat over a medium flame until hot and bubbly. Serve over hot cooked rice and a hot pan of cornbread or cornmeal pancakes or hoe cakes. Add a side of hot canned yellow squash and maybe some peaches to make it extra good. Makes 6-servings.

 

Oct 072015
 

canned_ham

A quick skillet dish that can be prepared on a propane stove, this meal gives sweet potatoes their traditional American topping–marshmallows. It’s a good way to use up marshmallows that you brought along on your camping trip to toast over the fire. I usually prepare this dish canned ham, but canned SPAM works equally well.

Ham & Yams

Ingredients

  • 1 pound canned ham, OR 12 ounce can of luncheon meat, sliced
  • 29 ounce can of sweet potatoes
  • Ground Cloves
  • Marshmallows (optional)

Directions

Open up the ham or SPAM, and the sweet potatoes. Pour the sweet potatoes, with all of their liquid, into a deep skillet. You may cut the potatoes into smaller chunks if desired. Arrange the sliced ham or SPAM over the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle a little bit of cloves over top of the meat. Cover the pot and simmer it over medium heat for about 15-minutes. This will heat the meat and sweet potatoes all the way through, and mingle the flavors a bit. If desired, you may arrange a few marshmallows over the sweet potatoes at this point. Cover the pot again and let it heat for a couple of minutes to melt the marshmallows.

With or without the marshmallows, this is a good hearty dish. I like to serve it with canned fried apples, and mixed greens. This makes a very nice blend of flavors. Great for Sunday Supper.

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