I keep getting asked how I can put something together from nothing. Maybe it is the mindset? We keep a basic pantry and the stuff from the garden and farm then fill in as money allows.
Having a basic pantry really helps , as well as having few simple recipes rattling around in the old brain 🙂 so thought I’d share some ideas that have helped.
Start out by being honest about what your family will and WILL NOT eat-there is absolutely no SENSE in storing things they won’t touch. You can experiment witht he extras- not basic supplies.
I tend to keep larger amounts of “staples” flour , rice, pasta- though now that I have a pasta maker I keep less of it on hand. Beans and sugar, honey, chocolate and “risings”- baking powder, soda nd cream Tartar , as well as corn starch. Coffee and teas-and we love Country Time mixes for summer drinks.. I dry herbs and store them -both for herbal cold drinks and for medicinals. We usually store heirloom seeds as well. .
I also keep things like cream soups on hand-
A great basic recipe for casseroles is a starch/carbohydrate – like pasta, sliced potatoes or rice – and a meat( I usually sear it in a skillet first to add to the flavor)- -add seasoning like chopped and sautéed onion , mushrooms , celery and a few jars or cans of veggies if you don’t have fresh – cover with a cream soup and a few cups of milk- bake at 350 for about an hour. Equals instant main meal.:)
Here’s a favorite – one giant pan on a campout or with a houseful- In a large pan , fry cubed potatoes (one medium per person plus one for the pot) til lightly browned , Add chopped ham and heat- then throw in eggs- I usually will use two per person plus a few “For the pot” Though if you are short on eggs , adding more potatoes and veggies will spread it out to feed everyone… Add your grated or cubed cheeses and any veggies – (I usually add chopped tomatoes last , so they don get soggy) Once the eggs are cooked , serve them up on tortillas! SHIP WRECKS!!! One pan , no mess – use what you have on hand!!!
Soup, chili or stew- same basic thing sear a meat in a little oil, add veggies and a starch like rice, beans or potatoes and/or noodles- add whatever liquid you have on hand- cook an hour , then thicken with a little roue or cornstarch-
An awesome addition to your cooking skills is a basic white sauce. Very simple , bit can make gravy, cheese sauce – thickening for soups , casseroles, mac and cheese etc.
Basic recipe for two cups – medium thick –
melt on low heat – four tbsps. butter (oil or lard will work , too)
stir in four tbsps. flour cook for a few minutes to allow the flour to cook -this is a roue- if you brown it , it becomes the base for jambalaya
stir in gradually two cups of liquid-(milk, water , broth or any combo of them- use what you have on hand!) return to heat and stir until thickened.
To change consistency- for thin – use two tbsps. each flour and butter – for extra thick use sic tbsps. each..
Once you have mastered this – you have a base for many meals!
You can take these basic recipes and just use what you have on hand- and it will come out different but yummy every time. WELLL I do have one story about a disaster- one the missionaries tell to this day.
We used to have a larger home in the Erbie area-so Linnea Powers and I took turns feeding the Missionaries every other Tuesday. One month we were both very broke and trying to come up with food for our young folks. Wel-l-l-l we had a rice dish that was terrible—and that same meal I sent one of the fellas in to make orange koolaid for the group- “You’ll find orange powder in a gallon jug in there on the pantry shelf. he found a powder- orange- mixed it up – it congealed into this horrible goo! He’d gotten the cheese powder !Yuck – we laughed like insane women! One for the books- I learned at that time to LABEL thing in glass jars LOL and we also learned it was ok to say we can’t manage the meal this time.
More recipes in another post !