100% Food Storage: Cheeseballs

My last real trip to the grocery store was November, 2023.  Today is April 8, 2024. 

If you are a regular reader you know I went to the store to buy sour cream recently.  The sauce is made with that and mayo (from storage) and Mrs. Dash Southwestern spice mix.


Last night I was craving something hot and comforting and honestly I wanted dumplings or homemade pasta but when I went into the kitchen to make 'something' I decided at the last second to make homemade cheese balls.   

Here is the basic recipe - same one I first posted for  Cheeseballs - back in 2009.

The food storage options include things like butter you have stored in the deep freezer or have home canned; the green onions I used were freeze dried from storage.  You can used premixed milk, freeze dried or frozen cheeses of your choice - mix and match any kind of cheese you wish.  Jalapenos can be left out, and you can also use straight from a can or bottle or even freeze dried. I used shortening to fry them in - which is hopefully in everyone's storage pantry.

 Homemade Cheese Balls

Play with the ingredients in this recipe. Use all different cheeses, leave out the jalapeno, add crumbled bacon, add extra jalapeno, some chipolte, add chopped shrimp, crab or lobster to make a seafood ball... the possibilities are endless.

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) real butter
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 c flour
1 c milk
1 c mozzarella, shredded
1/2 c cheddar, shredded
2 small jalapenos, chopped fine
1/4 c flour, extra for tossing with the cheese
oil for frying

Form balls and fry in hot oil or melted shortening.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve hot as is or mix up whatever sauce you wish to go with them.






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100% food storage: Broccoli Cheese Soup


Back in high school I had wrote down a recipe for broccoli soup we had made in Home Economics class (now known as Family Consumer Science).  I've been making it ever since. 

Tonight's dinner version of it used pantry, shelf-stable milk and Velveeta from the pantry as well.  I was prepared to use freeze dried broccoli but was gifted fresh broccoli by a friend so I used that instead (yay!). 

I don't use a recipe as I've been making it so man years, but here is the 'recipe' off the top of my head - all amounts are approximate.  Adjust as you wish.  I usually end up doubling it.  When we had all the kids at home I would triple it.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

2 T flour
2 T butter
3 c milk
dash of tobasco sauce
1 t chicken base or chicken bouillon (optional)
2 oz Velveeta or cream cheese
1 1/2 c cooked broccoli

Melt butter in a pan on the stove and whisk in flour.  Add a dash of tobasco sauce and pepper to taste.  Add the milk all at once and whisk smooth.  Add the chicken base or bouillon, whisk. Remove from heat.  Add the cheese and broccoli.

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Cookies starting with a pancake mix... chocolate chip and raspberry macadamia nut

 100% food storage:  last real grocery trip was November, 2023.  Today is April 6, 2024.

My kitchen lights turn everything yellow-tinted... and I don't feel like going through the time and hassle to edit them.

A couple weeks ago I posted this recipe I used to make chocolate chip cookies using a pancake mix I had in food storage.  Since then it's become a 'go to' recipe that I mess around with and make various different kinds.

Here was chocolate chip version.
Pancake Mix Cookies

2 cups pancake mix
1 egg
1/2 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 t vanilla
1 c chocolate chips and optional:  nuts, like Walnuts

Mix the soft butter and sugars in a bowl.  Add the vanilla and egg.  Blend.  Add the pancake mix and blend but don't over beat.  Stir in the chocolate chips and/or nuts.   Place by spoonfuls on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 about 15 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet about 2-3 minutes, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Tonight was another batch of chocolate chip cookies and then I messed around with the recipe and made a batch of raspberry macadamia nut cookies since I had the ingredients on hand (freeze dried raspberries and macadamia nuts).

Using the same recipe, I added a small box of cheesecake flavored pudding, and 1 extra egg.
Stir in about 1/2 cup of freeze dried raspberries and 1/2 cup macadamia nuts.

I baked about 12-14 minutes.  Cool on pan for a couple minutes, then remove to cool on a wire rack.

Here's a couple random photos of the chocolate chip cookies.
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100% Food Storage: Muffins from a pancake mix (all different kinds/flavors - your choice)

100% Food Storage:  last real grocery trip was November, 2023.  Today is April 1, 2024.


This particular can of pancake mix from food storage is about 12 years old
Continuing on 'things to do with a pancake mix' that aren't necessarily pancakes.
The cookies were a hit, now let's move on to muffins.  So QUICK and easy.  I whipped up a couple different versions today and thought I'd quickly share.

Pancake Mix Muffins

2 1/2 c pancake mix
2 eggs (egg powder to equal)
1 c milk (premixed from dry milk powder or fresh if you have it)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c oil of choice
extract - vanilla, almond, lemon or orange - depends on the kind of muffins you want

Stir or whisk together the ingredients, add whatever flavorings and extras you wish.  Bake in muffin tins, lined with paper if you wish, at 400 for 15-17 minutes until done. 
The first batch was chocolate chip with vanilla extract

Second batch was almond and vanilla extract with poppy seeds, and topped with sliced almonds







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100% Food Storage: Fail - reconstituting McDonalds Filet O'Fish and Fries

Looks can be deceiving!  The reconstituted and re-warmed fries above look pretty normal and good for McD's but... they were completely inedible and went into the trash.

Actually, everything ultimately went into the trash.  Regular readers know I never ever ever waste food and always come up with new ways to use leftovers, failures, etc. but these, my friends, were inedible. 

It was still so fun to trial and error these though!!!

Today I started out with freeze dried Filet O'Fish and Fries from McDonalds.  Already purchased completely freeze dried.   Now, when I bought these a couple years ago, they hadn't been done before, and even this company was the first to do them - and therefore, had no experience and no reheating directions.  They took pre-orders before embarking on this little trial of their own.  I was game for trial and error so I bought some.

Today was the day to try to make them. 
I knew it would be tricky - already doing the cheeseburgers a couple days ago.  I thought I had learned some good tricks from the cheeseburgers and knew what to do, but these fish sandwiches were... a whole different kettle of fish.  Ha ha.  See what I did there?

Upon opening the dried sandwiches... they always look much better than they are.  Picture a piece of light weight wood - like balsam - and this sandwich made from it.  Or cardboard.  It's that.
I decided to use the instant pot to steam them this time rather than setting up the double broiler method I used on the cheeseburgers.  Good in theory but I think the double broiler method was much better as the pressure cooker still wanted to cook them.  I only did 5 minutes on these and they looked fine, but were hard and very much like shoe leather.
   Meanwhile I was doing one of the buns this way:  I wrapped in wet paper towels, steamed in the microwave for a minute and then put into a ziploc air tight bag for about 30 minutes.  I thought this would work but... not really.  It didn't change much from the state it was in when I took it from the microwave.  The sides were all soft and reconstituted, but the middles were not.  Spritzing hot water directly onto the centers softened them up though.  Steaming/spritzing worked better than the Ziploc.

The fries were done a couple ways.  Here I poured some freeze dried, directly from the package, into the steam basket of the pressure cooker.   It ended up being a fail anyway. 
These fries were poured over and soaked in boiling water.  It honestly was just like reconstituting dehydrated hash browns from the Costco or Sam's boxes of dehydrated potatoes.  Once rehydrated, they were just... like frozen, thawed fry shapes you buy at your grocery store.  Ready to be deep fried - not at all edible in this form. 
One of the seemingly best ways of rehydrating the buns was when I quickly dipped them directly into boiling water for 1 second and removed.  Still not great though.  the edges are mushy while the very center is still a little hard, and it isn't enough to soften the cheese, which is still sharp and solid.
Dipping the buns also made the little bits of pickle and onion from the tartar sauce come off in the water).  Not that there WAS any tartar sauce... that was gone during the freeze dry process.
Here is why they were inedible.  Note the hard, brown, shoe leather like texture.  Tough - like chewy jerky.
This is how they were when they were in the solid dry form... and they did not reconstitute well with any of the methods used.  It seems the freeze dry process with the solid cooked fish to start ruins the fish from ever reconstituting well no matter the style.  I am thinking maybe if you put it into simmer water for 20 minutes but then the breading falls off anyway and you are left with a tough little piece of dried fish that has a little moisture (maybe?) so it would be inedible that way anyhow.
Photos of the finished trial and errors......
The two trial and error fries, side by side.  The fries COULD be reconstituted and eaten but you had to soak them in boiling water and let them set about 30 minutes.  Then drain and pat dry or let set till dry.  Then heat oil and completely re-deep fry them. 

Basically you start from scratch as if you just cut your own potatoes up or used frozen fries from the store.  You have to re-salt them and there is little to no flavor of 'McDonalds' in them at all. 

It was really fun to mess around with these but in the end, yuck.   I think I still have another bag or two of these in food storage so perhaps another day I'll try again.  In the meantime, the McD's cheeseburgers can be rehydrated and eaten but I don't have much hope for their fish.







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100% Food Storage: (FAIL - kind of) - Freeze Dried Cheeseburgers


In storage, for 'fun' I had invested in some first run/trial McDonalds cheeseburgers - freeze dried.

The company had never done these before (when I ordered them) so they didn't really have any instructions or directions on how to actually rehydrate them.  Other consumers and I were on our own to do some trial and error.  The best the company can offer is to "steam them for an hour" to rehydrate.  That's it.

I actually agree with the steaming idea - but I wasn't sure how to do it and unfortunately I ended up being in a HUGE HURRY that day and wasn't able to do this trial very well. 

I thought about not posting this at all until my next trial (TODAY) but decided to put the FAIL here with the reasons I knew it failed.

  the photo above is a cheeseburger, fully cooked, ordered from the restaurant and freeze dried as it was.  It looks great in the photo but believe me, it's rock hard, dry and basically cardboard.

SET UP:  I set up a double boiler situation in the pan with water below and rack above, so they would be steamed, as they didn't need to be cooked.

TRIAL ONE:  I debated taking the buns out and doing them separate, but I decided to do my first 'trial' as a whole sandwich, and steaming for an hour.  

Fail.  Unfortunately I soon found that wasn't going to work!  The bottom buns were getting steamed so quickly that within about 3 minutes they were getting soggy and saturated.

TRIAL TWO:  I then put the bottom bun on top, and had the burger patty on the bottom, nearest the hot boiling water underneath.  Better, but the buns were still reconstituting too quickly so I needed to remove them completely (which I should have done anyway to start but I wanted to do my first trial as the company package said of simply steaming the whole thing for 1 hour).

TRIAL THREE:  I had been making these for my husband to take with him to work for his lunch/dinner but I wouldn't have enough time so I had to come up with another idea.  I decided since I had boiling water in the pot below anyway, I'd add some pasta to it while steaming the burgers above, and I'd cook him spaghetti to take as a 'backup' to my failing burgers.

The water under it was splashing up onto the burgers, so at this point I wrapped them foil and steamed the whole burger inside the foil... didn't work, partly because I was RUSHING EVERYTHING and doing a poor job of testing as I was racing with the clock to get him 'something' made to take to work.

Here is a partially reconstituted burger in my hand.  The bun looked great, the burger was only reconstituted and soft on the sides - the inside completely rock hard and dry.  The bun on the counter below is so wet it was disintegrating.

THE END RESULTS were that my next trial (and the corrected version I believe): 

Remove both top and bottom buns
Reconstitute the burger separately either by steam or in about 1/2 inch water or broth - boil/simmer for a few minutes until moist all the way through.
Buns reconstituted by wrapping with wet paper towels and microwave, steam or even put into a Ziploc in the fridge overnight to absorb moisture until needed.

Trial of Filet O'Fish coming today.

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