Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Make Cheap Convenience Food For Emergencies And Everyday

Surviving in place will probably mean that you will have a lot of times when you will be very busy. Digging neighbors out of their collapsed home, for example, or hauling injured to the nearest doctor.

During these times you will still need to eat. You can make your own convenience food for these times. One of the ways that I do this is with small flat pies that are thin enough to pop into a toaster. I am not suggesting that you can use a toaster if you have no electric power, but having them this thin means they will thaw out quickly and if you do heat them you won't need much fuel.

They will fit easily into a pocket and are not difficult to eat without making a mess or dropping most of it while you are still moving. They would be even good to use for part of your go bag food if you have enough time to get them out of the freezer.

I already posted about these, but did not go into a great amount of detail. I am giving the detail here because the readership on the other post was low. My turbocharged gift of service is kicking in and I'm going try to help you with this some more. :-)

You can use commercial biscuit mix or even those pop open cans of biscuits. I hate both of those because they have chemicals in them, but whatever it takes  you to get started is good.

I make my own whole wheat biscuit mix with no chemicals in it and am giving you the recipe right here:

QUICK MIX      about 13 c mix use within 10-12 weeks

8 1/2 C all-purp flour (or 4 1/4 c all-purp

 flour and 4 1/2 c whole-wheat flour)

4 T baking powder (increase to 5 T for 

whole wheat)

1 T salt

2 t cream of tartar

1 t baking soda

1 1/2 c instant nonfat dry milk or dry

buttermilk powder

2 1/4 c vegetable shortening

In lg bowl, sift tog all dry ingreds.

Blend well. With pastry blender or a

 heavy-duty mixer, cut in shortening

until mixture resembles cornmeal in

 texture.  Put in an airtight container.

 Label w date and contents.  Store in a

 cool dry place.  Use within 10 to 12

weeks. Makes about 13 c of QUICK


Here is the recipe for the biscuits to 

make with this mix:

Biscuits (Also pizza dough, pies, fruit

 cobbler, etc.)

3 c Quick Mix

3/4 c milk or water

Preheat oven to 450F.  Grease a baking

sheet.  Combine Quick Mix and milk or

 water in a medium bowl.  Stir until just

 blended.  Drop dough by tablespoonfuls

 onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake 10 to

 12 minutes, until golden brown.  Makes

 12 lg drop biscuits.

Once you have biscuit dough made you 

can easily make the little pies I 

mentioned. You will need to add a little extra flour to make the dough stiff enough to roll out. The dough should be rolled very thin. If you don't have a rolling pin, you can use a water glass, jar, or can.  I like about an eighth of an inch or less. Any of these items will also work to cut out circles of flattened dough. I use a small zippered pouch from a chef's supplies shop. It makes crusts about six inches across. I put the filling to one side and form the pie by folding the crust in half.

 If your pocket is small this size will be 

too big. You might do better with a tin 

can cutter. You can use a zip lock bag to

 roll them out in, but you might need to

 oil or flour the inside between each crust

 to prevent sticking.

If you plan to use these pies to carry

 around in your pocket, you need to be

 sure to place only a very small amount

 of filling in them. If you put too much

 in, they will leak. 

If you are using a very small glass or tin can to cut out your pies, you may want to  use two of them instead of folding over your crust on top of the filling.

I crimp the edges together with a fork. Next I cut a tiny opening to let air out while it is cooking. If you neglect this, your pie may burst open. I like to put some kind of glaze on top of the crust to make it brown attractively. Milk, butter or beaten egg all work well. If you have no pastry brush for the glaze, your fingers will do to spread it on the crust. A very thin glaze is fine. It does not take much.

Don't have the pies touching on your baking sheet or pan. They will be likely to stick together if you do that. 

The amount of cooking time varies a lot according to many things including the thickness of the crust and amount of filling. Until you are used to this recipe and how you do it, I would check every five minutes or less to see how they are doing. Keep track of the time for the next batch. When the oven is already hot, they will cook a little faster, so you need to allow for that in your timing.

I allow them to cool before I put them in the freezer, usually on the same sheet they were cooked on. Once the pies are frozen solid, you can remove them from the baking sheet or pan and put them in containers or zip lock bags. They will keep for several months once frozen. 

When you want to thaw the pies, you can put them in a toaster, or up on top of your refrigerator to thaw out. I like to put them on top of the fridge the night before I plan to eat them. They will be ready the next morning. 

I especially like these for snacks when I plan to go shopping. Several previous posts on this blog were about how shopping on an empty stomach is very expensive. You are much more likely to buy things you don't need. These pies are part of my tactics to avoid this problem.

I seldom use these pies for dessert. If that is your wish, you can fill them with canned pie filling, or instant pudding. Chopped fruit with a little corn starch and sugar or honey will work also. That should be simmered until tender in a pan on the stove, before using it for filling.

My preference for fillings is to use anything that would go into a good casserole dish. Spicy Mexican style beans, egg roll fillings, etc. are good. If the dish you want to use is too liquid, you can add a little corn starch and cook it on a low temperature for a little bit to thicken it. 

These little pies are your chance to have exactly the kind of filling you especially like. I don't eat meat, but there are lots of nice meat dishes that would go well in these little pies. Ham or hot dogs and sauerkraut might be good. 

Children love these little pies and will devour almost anything that is in them as long as it isn't too spicy. This is a way to get them to eat things that are good for them and enjoy it.

These pies are excellent for emergency preparedness storage. You can thaw them quickly even without heat and avoid cooking smells bringing in the whole neighborhood. If you happen to like the idea of feeding the whole neighborhood, you need a different recipe. :-)

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