Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gift Ideas

This year I am working in more of my gifts reflecting us and our values. One way I have found to do that is by making homemade foods/ mixes for friends and family. I work hard to make sure we eat most of our meals around the table together. I try to use whole ingredients, etc. Here are some recipes that I have tried and will be giving. One way you can prepare them is in a quart mason jar, but they way I have decided to prepare them is in a quart Ziploc bag. Then, I am putting each bag in a Christmas lunch sack with the recipe inside. Tie it off with a tag and you have a cute presentation. I will post a picture later.

Alphabet Country Soup Mix in a Jar
(one bag of beans will make 4 batches)

1/2 cup split green peas
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup raw rice
2 tbsp. parsley
2 tbsp. onion flakes
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
2 tbsp. beef bouillon
1/4 cup alphabet noodles
Twist macaroni noodles

Layer peas, barley, lentils, and rice in 1 quart jar, pressing down after each layer. Then layer parsley, onion flakes, salt, lemon pepper and beef bouillon just around the edges, then also putting the alphabet noodles just around the edges of the jar (so the alphabet noodles can be seen by the gift receiver. Then fill the rest of the jar with macaroni, being sure to press down as much as possible.

Instructions for tag:
Empty contents of jar into a large pot, then add:
3 quarts water
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage
2 cups of tomatoes
Simmer until vegetables are tender.

Potato Soup Mix in a Jar

Ingredients for Jar:
1 3/4 cups instant mashed potatoes
1 1/2 cups dry milk
2 tbsp instant chicken boullion
2 tsp dried minced onion
1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp tumeric

Combine in bowl and add to quart jar, sealing tightly.

For Potato Soup place 1/2 cup of Potato soup mix in bowl, then add 1 cup of boiling water. Stir or whisk until smooth. Serve immediately.
Hearty Bean Soup Mix in a Jar
(each batch makes 8 bags of soup mix)
1 pound dried navy beans
1 pound dried pinto beans
1 pound dried Great Northern beans
1 pound split peas
1 pound yellow split peas
1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1 pound lentils
1 pound pearl barley
1 pound dried red beans

In a very large container, combine navy beans, pinto beans, great Northern beans, split peas, yellow split peas, black-eyed peas, lentils, barley and red beans; mix well.

Divide evenly into 8 jars, pressing down on mix and secure lid.

Attach recipe to jars for gift giving.

Hearty Bean Soup Mix:
2 quarts water
1 ham hock
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Soak 2 cups Hearty Bean Soup Mix in enough water to cover, for 8 hours or overnight.
In a large soup or stock pot, bring 2 quarts water and ham hock to a boil. Reduce heat then simmer for 20 minutes. Remove ham hock. Add soaked beans, salt, pepper, diced tomatoes and green chiles, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil again, skimming foam off the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer hearty bean soup for about 1 hour, until beans are tender.

Red Beans and Rice Mix

1 T. dried bell pepper flakes
1 T. dried minced onion
1/2 t. dried minced garlic
2 t. seasoned salt
1 bay leaf
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. celery seed
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. crushed red pepper

Red Beans and Rice Mix
2 C. dried red beans
1 C. uncooked long grain white rice

In a small bowl, combine seasoning ingredients. Place in a small, sealable plastic bag or container. Fill a pint canning jar with red beans. Fill a sealable plastic bag with rice.

Recipe to attach:
Red Beans and Rice Mix
2 C. red beans (included)
1 ham bone
Seasoning mixture (included)
1 C. uncooked rice (included)
2 C. water
1 t. salt
1 pound spicy smoked sausage, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash beans. Place in a Dutch oven; cover with water and soak overnight. The following day, add ham bone and seasoning mixture. If necessary, add additional water to cover the beans. Cook, partially covered, over medium-low heat 3 to 4 hours.

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