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Monday, March 11, 2013

First Day of Spring Break--2013

It's hard to change the habit of waking up before 5:30 AM.  Here it is...Spring Break...and I have been up for over 2 hours (it's 7:48AM).  I had to find something to do, so I am canning Chicken-Vegetable Soup--a spicy version, since we are battling allergies right now (and jalapeno helps clear the sinuses).

 Spicy Chicken Soup

 I started early this morning.  These came out of the canner at about 9AM.  They  have all sealed (I don't put the labels on until they have sealed).  It's a good day.  Cod is in the canner now...5 half pint jars and a few quarts of water.  Another hour and a half...then tilapia.

This is the canned cod.  One of the jars will have to be re-processed if it doesn't seal in the next couple of hours.  The jars of tilapia are in the canner now.  If I need to re-seal the cod, I'll put it in with the flounder.

A friend of mine mentioned canning left-over soup in her small pressure cooker (they hold 3 pint jars), and I realized that I could can soup any time I wanted.  What a revelation!  Most of the soup recipes I prefer make 15 servings.  Do you know how long it takes one or two people to eat 15 servings of soup?  Yeah...TOO LONG!

My family likes Taco Soup (the Weight Watchers version), so I started with that.  I canned it in quarts at first--enough for 3 or 4 servings.  Then, I got smart and started canning soup in pints.  After all, it makes sense--and the pints fit on my pantry shelves better than quart jars.

Taco Soup--quart jars

Today's soup has the following ingredients: ground chicken (browned with 1/2 onion, chopped), Rotel tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, carrots, green peas, Knorr flavored cubes (garlic, onion, cilantro, & chipotle), 1 TBS Hidden Valley Ranch dressing powder, 1 package of baby kale, and chicken broth.  Delicious and spicy!  I haven't figured the nutritional value on it...if I do, I'll come back and post it.

I find that the biggest problem with home-canned food is that I like the way it looks on the shelves--and I don't want mess up the look by eating it!  However, if you can more food to replace what you eat, it works.

From left to right: top shelf--chicken broth, beef neck soup, chicken-vegetable soup, jalapenos (from my garden), bottom shelf--chicken, green beans (from the farmers market), chili, beef broth

I have a couple of empty shelves in the pantry...maybe I can get them filled this week. 

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