Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hey Lucy! What's for Dinner?

My husband certainly isn't Ricky Ricardo, but some days FarmBoy and the Kolz Kidz come home from their busy activities with precisely the same thing on their minds. Lucy! What's for dinner?

We're working as a family toward establishing a full year's supply, and keeping it up, while rotating things that we enjoy first, and secondly are useable in an emergency, and thirdly will keep long term. Some things simply will not, but we'll be glad to eat those up and rotate them quarterly if need be. In case of emergency, come to the Kolz home for bacon, bacon, bacon. We've got recipes we can use that bacon up without any second thoughts toward the cholesterol about to be burned off in active, physical labor chopping wood or something. Yeah, that's how I'm justifying it.

My first very do-able goal is to have 3 months of easy to fix dinners from the pantry. I have a huge garden most years, as I stock a farmstand and sell surplus produce (and Olde Order Mennonite produce). That gives us a lot to bottle and preserve, but you can find most things I bottle at your grocery store, Aldis discount grocers or International markets (Asian or Hispanic or Indian subcontinent). Then we also store bulk grains, flour, vegetable oil and shortening, legumes, sugar, baking supplies like cocoa, and even chocolate chips.

We end up with a huge variety of canned staples, including vegetables, soup, fruit, some stews, ravioli, tamales, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. How on earth does one keep them all organized, without the store room becoming as big as Walmart? Here's one really good option. And it's free. Free is good. Here's what it looks like and free drawings.

Some good resources for all pantry supplies dinners include: She includes shopping lists she uses, and recipes for different pantry meals.

Here's one we tried for the first time today. I felt rather daring, having never even eaten mackerel fish before. All we knew was the saying "holy mackerel". I figured, how bad could it be with tartar sauce? People eat those fishsticks, this had to be much better. And it was. Even the children thought so, and they're not big fans of salmon, yet.

Fish Patties, or Fish Croquettes
1 can of mackerel (about 16 oz), drained into a cup, with broth reserved.
1 small onion, finely grated or 1T dried onions rehydrated with fish broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or use fresh herbs of your choice (try basil, dill, etc)
ground black pepper, to taste
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 to 1 1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs (or you can try potato flakes!)
3 tablespoons oil for frying, or you make spray with spray and cook without oil


Turn fish into a medium mixing bowl. Flake with a fork, mashing any bones (they are soft, and very edible). Mix in grated onion, parsley and pepper. Mix beaten eggs with salmon. Add enough bread crumbs, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, to make thick enough to shape into 12 small patties or six bun sized patties. If it's too stiff, add some of the reserved broth so the patties will stay together. Roll patties in another 1/2 cup bread crumbs. In a large heavy skillet over low heat, add oil; add patties. Fry patties slowly on one side; add remaining oil, turn patties and fry until brown on the other side. Another time I may use the mackerel in seafood alfredo. I think it would be good used in tuna or salmon recipes interchangeably. Did I mention how inexpensive of a protein source mackerel is? One approximately 16 oz. can was purchased recently for .79 cents, and I see it quite regularly for $1.49 at Aldis. While I wouldn't want to eat fish everyday, here in landlocked Upstate New York, I think we may include it as one dinner in our two week menu rotation.

We served this with tartar sauce on hamburger buns, with a large salad as an accompaniment. French fries wouldn't be bad either, and we do have some 400 lbs. of stored potatoes in the root cellar. But that's enough fat for one day, so we had salad. If you have a garden, this is a food storage friendly salad during garden season. Our produce came from the grocery store today. Coleslaw would be another nice side dish in lieu of salad. But our second favorite salad is the BLT Salad with Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing. Our absolute FAVE salad is here.

BLT Salad with Parmesan Peppercorn dressing
Feeds 7 (with 5 small children)

Parmesan Peppercorn dressing
1/2 -3/4 cup of real mayonaise - reduced fat works fine here as well
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tsp. sugar or splenda sugar substitute
1/2 tsp. steak seasoning (or salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste)
cracked black pepper to taste
Mix in a small bowl, adding parmesan to your taste. It will be diluted by the salad, so strong is good.

1/2 pkg. of ~2.5 oz. shelf stable chopped ready to eat bacon
6 hearty slices of whole grain bread, cubed, and drizzled with 1 T of olive oil, sprinkled with garlic salt, and baked until crunchy - or croutons
Medium salad bowl of chopped romaine or variety lettuce mix
2 garden tomatoes or 1-2 cups of halved sweet grape tomatoes - to taste

Combine the bacon, lettuce and tomatoes with the salad dressing. Add toasted bread cubes right before serving, toss well, and accept compliments. Sprinkle with extra bacon if desired. Rumor is that you should keep the croutons separate for storing leftovers so they won't get soggy, but the salad has had any leftovers.

Tomorrow is boy scouts, and Achievement day girls, and sap boiling for hours and hours which just begs for - a busy day dinner, from my food storage. What's your busy day dinner?


The Crazy Coxes said...

I'm with you on the Bacon but can't be with you on the mackerel. Just can't!

We're also trying to maintain a 3 month supply of all things yummy and then continue to store the basics from there.

Lewis Family said...

KS- you amaze me. Where do you find the time to all that you do? Great blog! I love it!! Great inspiration as I too try to get my 3 month supply in order. ~Emily

CKLHand said...

Hey, KS! Email me!


KelliSue Kolz said...

Gina - it was my first attempt at mackerel. I liked it! Fish flavored, but I wasn't expecting lemon pudding, so it worked.

Emily - it's what we do. I have a gap in children too, Merina is 7 and then Emma is 2, so I don't have stairsteps of little ones to keep track of anymore. Emma will play with Gerard, who is homeschooled, while I milk twice a day.

It's amazing what one can do with more grown up kids and a good night sleep. Couldn't do it two years ago.

Donna from TWOD said...

Okay, where are you? The AOL boards went poof and you haven't blogged and I'm too old to be worrying about my imaginary friends all over Robin Hood's barn. So check in, and holler if you need a link to the board for TWOD/BOL refugees, as Emily calls us.

Liz Adair said...

Love your blog. You remind me of me, thirty years ago, and it makes me tired just to think of it--but it makes me smile, too. I do believe that staying close to the earth is the best way to teach your family about right/wrong, choice/accountability, as you sow/so shall you reap. And, it gives such wonderful self esteem and teaches gratitude. Wonderful lessons.

Thanks for dropping by my blog and giving me your blog's address! I'd like to trade blog links, if that's all right with you.

bobbi said...

KelliSue, making socks is fun, really fun. Stupidly fun. I didn't start making them til I was in my 40's and I sure wish I had learned when I was younger. I will send you patterns if you wish. Hey, would you like the links to the aol food boards? We got some up and running. even a garden one.