My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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Knock-Off Recipe Test: Trader Joe’s Ranchero Egg White Salad

One of my most popular posts…

My Foray Into Food Storage

A little over a year ago, I was working with a nutritionist who recommended Trader Joe’s Egg White Salads as a good way to add some protein to my diet without adding too many calories.  I was a bit hesitant, but I stopped by my local Trader Joe’s and bought some.  Both varieties were DELICIOUS!  Only two problems… it was $2.99 for 2 little servings, and Trader Joe’s is a little out of my way.  So, while I would like to eat this just about every day, it’s not going to happen.

Then it came to me!  I could find a “copy cat” recipe and make my own.  Only problem?  I only found ONE recipe online for my favorite Spicy Ranchero version.  ONE!  Usually when I want to make something, I can find at least a dozen recipes online.  Then I can pick and choose at my leisure which…

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Love That Chile Relleno Casserole! Even If I Am Just Makin’ Do.

One of my favorite things to make and eat!

My Foray Into Food Storage

What is Chile Relleno Casserole?  It is all cheesy, chile-y, yummy goodness!

Chile Relleno Casserole Chile Relleno Casserole

You may be asking yourself, “What does Chile Relleno Casserole, no matter how yummy, have to do with Food Storage?”  Well, I’ll tell you.  To “find” money for food storage in my regular grocery budget, I need to use all the food we buy and not waste anything if I can avoid it.  It also requires me to adapt recipes and make do with what I have rather than buy specialty items unless I can use them in several recipes.  I make this with my leftover sourdough bread, stretching my food buying dollar.

Now, onto one of my favorite recipes, EVER!!

My dear friend, Karen, shared this recipe with me a couple of years ago, and I have made it dozens of times!  It is so yummy and so forgiving!  I really wanted it today…

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Star Command To Base! We Have A SERIOUS Emergency Here!

Have you ever been sitting in your house, just sitting, minding your own business, when you’re hit with a craving so intense and overwhelming that you feel you must satisfy that craving NOW or you will DIE?  You would crawl through fire for it.  It doesn’t happen to me very often, but it happened last night.  I was getting ready to fold the laundry (which I’d put off for days), and I thought, “It would be nice to watch a movie while I fold these.”  Innocent enough, right?  Well, then the thought of brownies flitted into my mind, and it wouldn’t go away.  And I didn’t want just regular, plain, ole brownies.  I wanted Cheesecake Brownies!

 

Mmmm...

Mmmm…

 

Funny thing is, I’m not really a big dessert person.  When I have a choice between real food and junk food, I almost always choose the real food, because I like it better.  Blasphemy, I know, but it’s true.  Usually.  Not last night.  I NEEDED a brownie.  Blame hormones, stress, the prospect of mindless housework, whatever.  Luckily, I had a Costco-size box of my favorite brownie mix tucked into my baking cupboard for just such emergencies.  Even better, I had cream cheese and extra Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips, so I could make the now required CHEESECAKE BROWNIES!

 

What’s the problem, you ask?  I had the horrifying realization that I used all my eggs making fried rice for my family last night.  Every single one!  Fried rice I didn’t even eat!  Earlier in the day, I almost went to the store and bought some more eggs, but I just didn’t feel like it.  I knew that if I ran in for “just two things,” I wasn’t coming out with “just two things.” So I didn’t go.  I didn’t think it would be a big deal.  But it was.  I was in the middle of a brownie crisis with no eggs in my house, and it was too late to bug my neighbors for them.

 

DSCN6319

I needed these! There was no question about it!

 

Brownies just aren’t the same without eggs, and I wasn’t going to mess with an egg substitute. Yes, I have applesauce, and chia seed, and probably a few other things that can replace eggs, but when I want a brownie, I want a BROWNIE: full of eggs, fat, and all the yummy stuff that will probably kill me.  I used to have powdered eggs in my pantry for just such an emergency, and I have two cans on order with Thrive (Thanks Jenny!), but they aren’t here yet.  Then… almost as if a light bulb flicked on over my head, I remembered that I had one more can of powdered eggs in my food storage “closet under the stairs.”  HALLELUJAH!  I was SAVED!  Saved from an overwhelming brownie craving which would follow me for days if I didn’t get it under control now.  THIS IS WHY I HAVE FOOD STORAGE: FOR BROWNIE EMERGENCIES.

 

I crawled into my “closet under the stairs” (no, I still haven’t straightened it), dug my way back to the back of my closet, found my box labeled “whole egg powder” and pulled out my last precious can of powdered eggs.  Weird, you say?  Not when used in baking.  You cannot tell one lick of difference between the powdered and the real stuff in baking, and they’re shelf stable saving precious refrigerator space!  It’s great for those who don’t eat a lot of eggs and hate having them go bad in their fridge.  They are fantastic.  A “must have” in my kitchen.

 

So…  Brownies.  Cheesecake Brownies.  Here’s how I made ’em with my powdered eggs and all.

 

 

Best Brownies Eva!

Best Brownies Eva!

 

 

Cheesecake Brownies with Powdered Eggs

Adapted from the Betty Crocker Website.  Recipe here.

 

Favorite Brownie Mix (prepared as directed)

8 ounces of cream cheese, softened

2 eggs (or in my case, powdered egg and water to equal 2 eggs)

6 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips (add more or less, if you prefer)

 

Prepare your favorite brownie mix according to the directions, and pour batter in a greased pan.  Mix the softened cream cheese with the eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  Pour cream cheese mixture on top of the prepared brownie mix.  Swirl together slightly with a knife.  Top with chocolate chips.  Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-55minutes or until done.  Let cool for several hours, then cut into 16 pieces and serve.  Each brownie contains 338 calories.

 

Sounds good, huh?  That most difficult part is waiting for them to cool with the house smelling all chocolately, cheesecakey good.  But they are totally worth the wait.  Watch how I made these delicious, most favorite of all treats, treats.

 

Here are the ingredients I used.

Here are the ingredients I used.

 

I started my brownie mix by mixing the powdered eggs with the oil and water.

I started my brownie mix by mixing the powdered eggs with the oil and water.

 

Then I added the brownie mix and mixed it with a whisk until just combined.

Then I added the brownie mix and mixed it with a whisk until just combined.

 

To make the cheesecake mixture, I put everything in my mixing bowl: powdered eggs (plus water to reconstitute), cream cheese (which I didn't soften), sugar, and vanilla.

To make the cheesecake mixture, I put everything in my mixing bowl: powdered eggs (plus water to reconstitute), cream cheese (which I didn’t soften), sugar, and vanilla.

 

I probably should have softened the cream cheese, but I was in a hurry. :)

I probably should have softened the cream cheese, but I was in a hurry. 🙂

 

Since I didn't soften the cream cheese, the whisk wasn't cutting it, so I used my hand mixer.

Since I didn’t soften the cream cheese, the whisk wasn’t cutting it, so I used my hand mixer.

 

I mixed it until combined, but can you see the little lumps of cream cheese in there?  That's because I didn't soften it, but you won't notice one lick of difference once these are done.

I mixed it until combined, but can you see the little lumps of cream cheese in there? That’s because I didn’t soften it, but you won’t notice one lick of difference once these are done.

 

I poured the brownie mix into a greased Pyrex pan (my baking pan of choice).

I poured the brownie mix into a greased Pyrex pan (my baking pan of choice).

 

I poured the cream cheese mixture on top.

I poured the cream cheese mixture on top…

 

Swirled a knife through...

Swirled a knife through…

 

And they looked like this.  Make sure not to "over swirl."  (Is that a word?)

And they looked like this. Make sure not to “over swirl.” (Is that a word?)

 

As if there wasn't enough chocolatey goodness, I topped the entire mixture with Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips.

As if there wasn’t enough chocolatey goodness, I topped the entire mixture with Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips.  Then I popped them into my convection oven at 290 degrees Fahrenheit.  Yes, that’s different than the temperature I quoted you, but my oven runs hot.

 

See?  They're done!  When they "poof" up all the way across the top, I know they've cooked through.

See? They’re done! When they “poof” up all the way across the top, I know they’ve cooked through.

 

And they're done!  Next comes the hard part... waiting for them to cool.

And they’re done! Next comes the hard part… waiting for them to cool.

 

But I waited!  Aren't you proud of me?  I may have had an overwhelming craving, but I still have some semblance of self control.

But I waited! Aren’t you proud of me? I may have had an overwhelming craving, but I still have some semblance of self control.

 

All that waiting paid off!  They were so DELECTABLE!

All that waiting paid off! They were so DELECTABLE!

 

What do you do when you have a crazy craving like I did last night? 

Do you have the ingredients on hand to satisfy it?