Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Recipe Bag

When I moved back to GriggsDakota after years in a city, the thing I missed most was the supermarket. I lived in a place where the market was truly super. Despite our land-locked location and coolish climate, the store offered a great selection of fish and produce as well as choices in every category. They had a wonderful bakery and deli which I ran to at the last minute many times.
Now, let me say at the outset, I fully appreciate the GriggsDakota Grocery. The owner is a dear friend to her customers and does her very best. She actually puts on an appreciation supper every year to thank us. But she can't be open 24/7 and when the shelf empties of an item, the supply is gone until the next truck runs through town. That might be a week away. There is not a bakery in GriggsDakota and nowhere to stop by in a hurry on Sunday morning.
So, I learned some tricks of how to stay supplied. With a house full of hungry people who are willing to cook and bake as well as eat, I had to develop a protective method of keeping the ingredients that I need in the cupboard. Usually, speed is of the utmost importance, so I must be able to pull things together quickly. Here is the idea:
Gather the nonperishable ingredients needed for a particular recipe. Include the recipe, which is on the marshmallow bag in this case.
Put it in a labeled grocery bag. I might write a note of what I planned to use the ingredients for. If it's for someone's activities, include their name. "Kirsti play practice 2/2" would be an example. The notes seem to help deter thieves. Tie the bag and put it away.
It works for me to put it back in the cupboard, but you may need to carve out a space somewhere out of the sight of your family to keep these safe. Once your family understands the importance of the bags, they will be respectful of the process. If you keep a calendar, make notes on it as to what your plan is.
When you find a recipe that works well on the package of an ingredient, note that on the bag. The location of the recipe is a key to speed when it is time to grab the bag.
Practice will help you to determine what info you want to include, but I try to include as much of the plan as possible and make notes in my calendar.
Consider taping the recipe to the outside of the bag. Now that I have this process down, I wish I would have done it years sooner. It is fast, easy and thrifty.
At the end of this blog post is the recipe for Potluck Salad to make from a Recipe Bag. If you keep bananas on your counter, the rest is in the bag. You will be ready to make a delicious salad in no time. Follow along with the process.
The recipe is on the bag.
The ingredients are unloaded.
Today I found the tropical mixed fruit, pictured on the left, in the Recipe Bag, but any mixed fruit you like will work just fine.
The liquid must be drained from the canned fruit. You can do this by opening the cans and dumping them into a strainer or colander, but I'll show you my method. Pop the tops to break the seal, but leave the lids in place.
I open the cans, but leave the lids attached to the can by stopping about one fourth inch before completing the circle.
I place a colander into the mixing bowl, then tip and drain the liquid from the fruit.
Let the cans drain into the colander with a bowl under if you wish to reserve the juice.
Why do I use this method? If I don't want to reserve the juice, I lay the can on its side in the sink and save myself the time of dealing with the colander. Let the can drain, then pick it up holding the top with one finger and give it a good shake to get the last drops out.
Today I used the juice in glasses of iced tea. One part juice, one part ice and one part cooled black tea. Very refreshing!
While the fruit is draining, I measured marshmallows, generously of course, and prepared the cherries.
How many cherries? That is a cook's decision. Today we will use about half of this jar. Let the cherries drain a bit on a paper towel.
Then cut them in half.
Assemble the salad by first pouring the apricot filling into the mixing bowl.
Add the drained cans of fruit and marshmallows to the bowl.
Stir by pushing down to the bottom along the edge and lifting through. Canned fruit is soft, so mix carefully just to combine. We don't want a bowl of fruit mush.
If you need this salad for tomorrow, cover the mixing bowl, put the cherries in a plastic bag or small covered bowl and refrigerate. You can finish it in the morning. If day has already dawned, keep going. This salad does not need to be cold to be delicious, but I prefer it chilled, especially in warm weather.
Add bananas as close to serving time as is practical. I like to peel and divide the banana into sections.
Then cut into chunks. Whatever is fastest for you is fine. All I ask is that you use a cutting board and cut down toward it with your knife. No kitchen carelessness, please.
Stir in the banana using the previous method. Transfer the salad into a serving bowl.
If you are taking the salad somewhere, use a bowl that won't break.
Then carefully arrange the cherries on top.
Or drop them on as fast as you can.
You will have a beautiful and delicious bowl of salad in front of you. When I need a salad in a hurry, I can grab the Recipe Bag and have it ready in less than ten minutes. Leave the cherries whole, estimate the marshmallows and cut the time even more! Whip it up in the morning. Then you can drop it off at church or take it to work to chill in the fridge until lunch.
1 Can Apricot pie Filling
1 15 oz. Can Fruit Cocktail
2 20 oz cans pineapple chunks
2 15 oz cans Mandarin Oranges
1 cup miniature marshmallows
2 firm Bananas
Maraschino Cherries cut in half
Drain the juice from the canned fruit.
Combine apricot filling, fruit cocktail, pineapple chunks, oranges, and marshmallows. Chill. Add bananas just before leaving for the potluck and garnish with cherries. Serves 12-15.
At a GriggsDakota potluck it always disappears.

1 comment:

  1. I love all the things you teach me! My life is easier because of it!