Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Easy and Delicious Meals in a Jar!



Have I ever told you how much I LOVE THRIVE? :) 

I just made these Meals in a Jar, and they are amazing! Now I have 40 quick and delicious meals that even my kids and husband can make in a few minutes. Just dump into a pot, add water and simmer! They were so excited when they came home from an activity and saw these! I thought I would share the recipes for these in case you are interested!

Almost all of these ingredients come from Thrive, except for a few spices, like taco seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. The happiest part for me, is I got most of my ingredients FREE from being a consultant and hosting my own classes! If you are interested in hosting a class to earn free and half off product, or becoming a consultant, please contact me and I can send you some info to consider and help you get started! (macoombs5@comporium.net, 803-818-1569)

A few quick notes: You can substitute products from other companies, but be careful with the bouillon. I tried one recipe with another company's chicken bouillon, and it was waaaaaay too salty. You may need to make some adjustments if substituting.

You can make double batches of soup mix in half gallon jars, and half batches in pint jars (they hold 2 cups). I love how these can be customized so easily!

***Make sure you start with clean, COMPLETELY DRY jars and measuring cups! Personally, I wash my jars and then put them in the oven at 200 degrees until they are completely dry. Then I take them out of the oven and let them cool, and let the filling begin! 

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT FOOD YOU NEED TO BUY TO MAKE A "BATCH" OF EACH RECIPE!

Taco Soup
This is my family's favorite soup!













Put in quart jar in this order: 

3 TBSP Taco Seasoning
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
3 TBSP Tomato Powder
¼ cup Freeze Dried Onions
¾ cup Freeze Dried Hamburger
¾ cup Instant Pinto Beans
¾ cup Instant Black Beans
¾ cup Freeze Dried Corn
2 TBSP Freeze Dried Green Chilis (optional)


Dump all ingredients from this jar into a pot. Add 8 cups water (you might like more or less water). Bring to a boil, turn down to medium heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until beans are cooked. Add more salt or seasonings if you like. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips. (Makes about 10 cups of soup.)
This is my recipe that I created.


Francesca’s Unstuffed Pepper Soup
I think this is my personal favorite! You need to try it!













Put in quart jar in this order:

½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
½ cup Tomato Powder
1 tsp Freeze Dried Garlic (can use ½ tsp garlic powder instead)
1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
1 ½ TBSP Beef Bouillon
¼ cup Freeze Dried Onions
1 cup Instant White Rice or Instant Brown Rice
1 cup Freeze Dried Ground Beef
½ cup Freeze Dried Red Peppers
½ cup Freeze Dried Green Peppers

Dump all ingredients from this jar into a pot. Add 8 cups water (you might like more or less water). Bring to a boil, turn down to medium heat and let simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add more salt or seasonings if you like. Serve topped with your favorite cheese.

This is also amazing as a casserole. Francesca's original recipe said to dump contents of jar into a bowl and add 3 cups of water. Let sit for 20 minutes to rehydrate. Pour into a casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 

Note: When I make it as a casserole, I just put the jar contents in a pot with 3-4 cups of water, 
bring it to a boil and let simmer until rice is done. It will be thick. Put into a casserole
dish, top with cheese and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

I have also used regular white rice (instead of instant rice) and it works great. You
will need a little more water and it will take a good 20-25 minutes of simmering.
Just play around with it and add a little extra water if needed. It will be wonderful!


Sausage Zuppa Toscana
This was a new recipe to me, and it blew me away! I love this soup!
It's spicy and hearty and a new favorite in my house!
















Put in quart jar in this order:

½ cup Sour Cream Powder
1 TBSP Chicken Bouillon
½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
½ tsp Freeze Dried Garlic (or use some garlic powder instead)
½ cup FD Chopped Spinach
¼ cup Freeze Dried Onions
1 cup Instant Pinto Beans
1 cup Freeze Dried Sausage Crumbles
1 ½ cups Potato Chunks (dehydrated)

To prepare in a crock pot, add soup to 8 cups of water and cook on low for 4 hours. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and bread sticks.

To cook in a pot, dump all ingredients of this jar into a pot. Add 8-9 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes and beans are tender.
I am not sure yet where this recipe came from...still searching. It was in my stack of recipes I printed off one day to try out. If you know, please tell me!


Lasagna Soup
You can use other noodles in this, but I like these bowtie noodles!













Put in quart jar in this order:

¼ cupTomato Powder
¼ cup Tomato Sauce Powder
1 TBSP Chicken Bouillon
¼ cup Bechamel Sauce
½ - 1 tsp Freeze Dried Garlic (or garlic powder)
1 tsp Chef's Choice Seasoning
½ tsp Freeze Dried Italian Seasoning Blend
½ tsp Freeze Dried Basil
2 TBSP Mixed Bell Peppers
¼ cup Freeze Dried Onions
¾ cups Freeze Dried Sausage
2 cups Rainbow Farfalle (Bowtie) Noodles

Bring 8 cups of water to boil. Add contents of jar and stir well. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until the noodles are done. Top with Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese.

Original Recipe comes from Shelli Rasmussen

Chicken NOODLE Soup
This came in handy when we got sick with the flu! This tastes SOOO much better than canned soup from the store...and healthier too! 













Put in quart jar in this order:

2 TBSP Chicken Bouillon
¼ tsp Pepper
1 tsp Chef’s Choice Seasoning
½ tsp Salad Seasoning Blend
1/2 tsp Freeze Dried Garlic (or garlic powder)
¼ cup Freeze Dried Celery
¼ cup Carrots (dehydrated)
¼ cup Freeze Dried Onions
1 cup Freeze Dried Chicken (you can use large slices or chopped chicken)
 2 cups Egg Noodles

*Season your jar meal of Chicken Noodle Soup they way you like chicken soup! You might want to put in a little poultry seasoning, marjoram, some parsley or a bay leaf!

Add contents of this jar to 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 mins or until noodles are done. (remove bay leaf before eating if you added one of those in there!)
Not sure where this recipe came from either. Still looking!


Here is the website to see/purchase all of the products:
My Thrive Favorites

Click HERE to see a few more Meal in a Jar Recipes (like Chicken Fajitas and Beef Stroganoff!)

Shelf Life and sealing the Jars

What is the shelf life of the jar meal? (Short answer below in bold!)
This is not a simple answer. There are a lot of factors here, but let's break it down to some info we need to consider. Most companies say that their freeze dried foods last 25-30 years unopened, but once opened, you have about 1 year to use the product in the can. This will vary according to the exact product. You will need to know the approximate shelf life of the products you put into the jar. 

Here is an awesome document from Thrive that shows optimum shelf life while sealed, approximate shelf life once opened, allergens, if the product is non GMO, country of origin, etc.
Thrive Product Detail List

With this in mind, you would need to consider the shelf life of each product in the jar, AND YOU NEED TO SEAL THE JAR! If the sealed shelf life of sausage is 25 years, but you also have Pasta in the jar which only has a shelf life of 8 years, then your jar meal technically has a shelf life of 8 years. 

HOWEVER, you need to consider that a jar lets in light, and light can reduce the shelf life of your food. I personally think you should use your jar meals within a year or so for optimum freshness. I just made 40 jar meals, and there's no way they will last more than a year on my shelf because my family will eat them up sooner than that!

How can you seal the jar? 
You can vacuum seal it with a Pump n Seal or with a Vacuum Sealer machine (like a Food Saver or Seal a Meal.) You can also put an oxygen absorber in the jar. That seems like a waste of money to me, so I use my Pump N Seal or Food Saver.  

But if you consider that once you open a can of freeze dried food, that you have about a year to use it (with just the plastic lid on the can), then technically you don't need to seal it. You just need to use it within a year (or whatever the lowest opened shelf life is for all of the products in your jar.) 

Can I store them in Zip Lock Freezer bags?
Sure. You can make the meals and put them in zip lock freezer bags, but your food will not be as protected as in jars. I would say to use them within a few months if stored in baggies. But it's a great option for temporary storage...like when camping or hiking or backpacking. 

SHORT ANSWER: Everyone seems to have their own opinion...I have read a lot about this online and found opposite extremes in opinions and information. Here is my advice: be smart, make sure your jars are completely dry before you fill them, use quality fresh products, store in a dark cabinet or pantry, seal them if you can for added protection, and use within a reasonable amount of time. Just eat them! They are delicious!

Labels
I have seen people do really fancy labels and give them as Christmas presents, but I just made plain labels and taped them onto the jars. Worked great for my family, and it was simple and fast! 

Here is the website to see all of the products:

You can get cheaper prices than are listed on the website by ordering through a consultant (ME!), hosting or attending a Thrive party, or by joining the "Q" which is their monthly shipping program. You can get lots of free and half of products too when you host a class or "party" or become a consultant.

When you get on the "Q", you will have access to the monthly specials and the lowest prices offered by Thrive. You set your own budget, choose the products you want each month, and decide which day your order will process. It’s a great way to gradually build your food supply and stock up on your favorite items that are on sale. 

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thrive has fabulous products, and the Q is a great way to get healthy and delicious “groceries” delivered to your door. And it helps you stock up on your food storage gradually on a comfortable budget. 

I will be running a special on the consultant kits in January ($40 off). Please contact me if you are interested. 

Happy New Year! Melissa : )

Melissa Coombs
Independent Thrive Life Consultant
Silver Executive

803-818-1569
macoombs5@comporium.net


37 comments:

  1. People have asked about "instant beans". Instant Beans are beans that have been cooked (with no salt) and then dehydrated. They cook up quickly and have a good texture. I'm totally in love with them! Good wholesome beans in 10 minutes!

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    1. I would like to get started, how do i go about it

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    2. Hello Heidi! Can you please email me so I can send you some information and give you a call? My email address is macoombs5@comporium.net. I actually sent you a reply, but it was just from a notification in my emails from this blog! It went into outerspace somewhere! ha ha! Sorry! I know better, but just didn't look closely enough! : )

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    3. I love the instant beans. They make meal really quick!

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    4. I love those instant beans too! So quick and yummy...and they are wholesome beans! Just beans....no other ingredient! : )

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  2. So can you give us an approximate cost of each jar?

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    1. Just for fun, I did some figuring, and to make 15 jar meals of Taco Soup, it takes almost exactly these ingredients:
      1 PC Tomato Powder
      1 PC FD Onions
      1 #10 FD Hamburger
      1 #10 Instant Pinto Beans
      1 #10 Instant Black Beans
      1 #10 FD Sweet Corn
      ½ PC Green Chili Peppers (if you like those...I do!)
      Plus you will need about 2 ¾ cups of Taco Seasoning (I buy bulk containers from Sams) and some salt and pepper.

      You will end up with a small amount left of most of these items, but these cans will make 15 jars of Taco Soup.

      The cost of the Thrive ingredients is about $130.00 (plus $10.99 shipping). It’s about $121 without the Green Chili Peppers. So that's roughly $9.00 a jar (less if you skip the green chili peppers and slightly more if you include them.) Let me know if you are interested in ordering. I am happy to help you. I will be figuring out the other jar meals that I have here and will post what I figure out. I think everyone should host a class or do a catalog party so they can earn these products for FREE! : )

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    2. What do you mean 1 PC , FD? I'm thinking FD is freeze dried, but I can't figure out PC.

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    3. So sorry! I should written that out. PC stands for Pantry Can, which is the "smaller can", about the size of a quart. Have you seen my new post that does this for all of the recipes that are listed here. http://myfoodstoragefavorites.blogspot.com/2015/01/meal-in-jar-packs.html

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    4. Wow! That response looks funny the way it formatted. But I also wanted to confirm that FD stands for freeze dried. Please let me know if you have any other questions!

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  3. Does thrive have a bouillon that does not have msg in it?

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    1. Hello! Thrive does not have any MSG in their products, but their bouillon does contain Autolyzed Yeast Extract. Although that is a natural product and not MSG, there is much debate over if that affects people with MSG sensitivities. I know people who react severely to MSG, but they do not react at all to Autolyzed Yeast Extract. You will just have to be the judge for yourself on that one. : )

      Here is the list of ingredients for the Chicken Bouillon: Maltodextrin, salt, autolyzed yeast extract, vegetables (carrot, celery, garlic, onion), natural flavor, turmeric extract and spices. Certified Gluten free.

      You can go to http://www.mythrivefavorites.thrivelife.com/chicken-bouillon-1.html and see the Chicken Bouillon, and you can also search any product and read the ingredients. I have also included the Thrive Product Details List in the Post that will give lost of good information. It is at the end of the second paragraph in the Shelf Life and Sealing the Jars section.

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    2. That did not give a proper link...sorry! You could copy and paste it though. Or just go to mythrivefavorites.thrivelife.com (there is a link at the very bottom of the post), click SHOP, MAIN WEBSITE, and then you can put any product name in the search bar and read the ingredients. Thanks! : )

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  4. Where do you live?? When we complete our mission I am going to have to get my food storage in order and I need to order THRIVE thanks

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    1. Hello Patti! I live in a small town in SC near Charlotte NC! I will gladly help you with whatever you need! I have customers and consultants all over the United States! : ) Where are you serving your mission?

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  5. These are quart-sized jars, correct? Also, how many servings per meal jar? Thanks.

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    1. Hello Risa! Yes, these are quart jars. I have also made double batches in half gallon jars! : ) And you can make half batches in the pint jars (they hold 2 cups). I love how these can be so easily customized!

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    2. Oops! I forgot to answer about serving size! When I cook the taco soup, it makes about 10 cups of soup. That would feed my sister's family with 3 petite girls all week long. : ) And my 3 teenage boys would gobble that up in about 10 seconds and ask for more. I don't think I can ever really feed them enough food where they would feel full! ha ha! So, I'm not sure on "serving sizes", but the Taco Soup makes about 10 cups of soup. I imagine the other jar meals will vary according to rice, potatoes and noodles that expand...they might be a little more than 10 cups. Have not measured the other ones yet.

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    3. Thanks Melissa! With myself, husband, and an 18-year-old, we should get two meals per jar.
      All your recipes sound really good, but I'll have to save up (husband is retired), or get a friend to go in half with me.
      Thanks again!

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  6. I would also like to know if any of these products contain MSG?? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Hello! I just wrote the answer above, but I will paste it here to make sure you receive it. : )

      Thrive does not have any MSG in their products, but their bouillon does contain Autolyzed Yeast Extract. Although that is a natural product and not MSG, there is much debate over if that affects people with MSG sensitivities. I know people who react severely to MSG, but they do not react at all to Autolyzed Yeast Extract. You will just have to be the judge for yourself on that one. : )

      Here is the list of ingredients for the Chicken Bouillon: Maltodextrin, salt, autolyzed yeast extract, vegetables (carrot, celery, garlic, onion), natural flavor, turmeric extract and spices. Certified Gluten free.

      You can go to http://www.mythrivefavorites.thrivelife.com/chicken-bouillon-1.html and see the Chicken Bouillon, and you can also search any product and read the ingredients. I have also included the Thrive Product Details List in the Post that will give lost of good information. It is at the end of the second paragraph in the Shelf Life and Sealing the Jars section.

      That did not give a proper link...sorry! You could copy and paste it though. Or just go to mythrivefavorites.thrivelife.com (there is a link at the very bottom of the post), click SHOP, MAIN WEBSITE, and then you can put any product name in the search bar and read the ingredients. Thanks! : )

      Delete
  7. How do you keep weevil out of the jars? how long do they keep?

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    1. Hello Debbie! Weevil cannot get into a sealed jar, so there is not a problem with that. I wrote a section about the shelf life in the post after the recipes, so please see that section about how long they can last. : ) Have a nice night!

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  8. How do Thrive products compare to Mountain House? We love theirs. Plus we use the company be prepared.com they seem to have the best prices I've found thus far.

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  9. Hi Melissa -

    In your comment above, about the cost per jar, I really like how you have it broken down to how many cans of Thrive products you need to buy to make 15 jars of soup. Do you have that information for the other recipes also? Thanks in advance :)

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    1. I am posting that in a few minutes! I finally got it all figured out. It's been a rough week of sick kids here! These soups have come in handy!!

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    2. Jessica, did you see the new post with the information you requested? Just want to make sure you received it!

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  10. If I were to use a seal a meal device to store the food which takes the air out completely with that give it a longer shelflife then jars also you mentioned you take the air out of your jars how do you do that

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    1. Yikes! For some reason I do not get proper notification about comments that are left on my blog! So sorry to just be responding! Yes, any time you can use a vacuum sealer on the jars, that will give you longer shelf life than if you didn't. I said that I use the Pymp N Seal or a Food Saver type of machine...they both vacuum seal the jar. : ) Please email me if you have further questions or need help. I'll feel more sure I will get your email...macoombs5@comporium.net. Thanks! Melissa :)

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  11. I may have missed the answer to my question, but how to you seal a jar of dry food? I can food each summer but it's always been with cooked hot produce. Thanks for your post, I can't wait to figure this out!

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    1. Hello! So sorry I am just responding! I am not receiving notifications that I have comments! So sorry! In the last section of the post called "Shelf Life and Sealing the Jars", I explain that I use a Food Saver or Pump N Seal to vaccum seal my jars. But I don't always use that because I make them and then we eat them within a few weeks. The food is shelf stable for about a year, so it will last in the jars that long. Please read that sections so you get all of the info I shared. If you have any further questions or need help, please email me because I will defintiely get your email! Thanks! Melissa :) macoombs5@comporium.net

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  14. I may have missed it, but where can you buy the instant and freeze dried products? My local store doesn't carry any specialty items. Is there a creditable place online to order them from?

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    1. Hello Sheena! YES! Go to www.mythrivefavorites.thrivelife.com. There is a link in the post right after the Chicken Noodle Soup recipe! Thrive has the best quality freeze dreid food on the market!! We just had out huge Black Friday Sale! So sad ou missed it! If you place an order with me, I will be happy to send you some free product as a bonus. :) Call me if you need me! Melissa 803-818-1569

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  15. I am Tracy Sandmann and just became a consultant. The meal in a jar is a great way to see the product and try it at parties. My daughter and her neighbor is looking at each taking two of the recipes and then swap jars. Thanks for the shopping list for each one it makes that step easy.

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