Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chef Tess' 5 Personal-Sized Meals in a Jar (or Mylar) for work, home, and play!

Okay my darlings! It is your crazy Chef Tess here for some fun! It is time for five new meals! I'm excited to share with you the cool-fest I've been having making and taking my personal sized meals with me to random vacations, work trips, work lunches, and  hotel rooms. Oh yeah! The party travels with me. Truth be known, sometimes I just want something familiar when I travel and I don't really want it to be the familiar taste of McDonald's cheeseburgers (as gooey-comforting as those may be to my thighs). So, about six months ago I started making my meals in a jar in the personal sized half-pint jars for me and the kids to have on the go. I also started developing some personal sized mylar meals to take with me on the road when I traveled. Initially it was for lunches during the summer for my boys with the bottomless-pit stomachs. Seriously. What is it with boys and constant eating? Then it turned into a really predictable calorie count on a meal so I could be accountable to myself.

If you want to see how to make the personal mylar pouches, see my How to Make Homemade Mylar Meals Tutorial. It has all the details on the safety of making these meals.  Always use an  oxygen absorber if you are using the real freeze dried meat. That is not optional! Today I'm going to share recipes. I think that is what makes these so amazing. This is a 5 day menu!

Taco Rice for One
The first one is adapted from my family meal that is easy that we've used often from this recipe for  Fast Taco Rice. It cooks in about 7 minutes and is made by just adding boiling water in this shelf-stable version. It is heavy on tomato and saucy. I love a good saucy rice for scooping with a few baked taco shells. It makes a great quick meal. 

3/4 cup instant white rice
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dehydrated jalapeno (optional)

Place contents in a half pint jar, shaking powder into the jar completely. Or use a pint sized mylar bag.  Always add an oxygen absorber if you are using the real freeze dried meat. 
To prepare meal: In a quart sized pot, bring 2  1/2 cups water to a boil. Add Taco rice mix and return to a rolling boil. Turn off heat and cover pan. Let sit for 5-7 minutes until water is absorbed. 

French Ham and Asparagus soup for One

This is a beautiful blend of bold flavors using one of my new spice blends Cheftessbakresse™ French Provencal Essential  It should be available soon at your local Honeyville store. 


Place contents in a pint jar, shaking powder into the jar completely. Or use a pint sized mylar bag. Always add an oxygen absorber if you are using the real freeze dried meat
To prepare soup: In a pot, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add soup mix. Reduce heat and simmer low heat 10-15 minutes until meat and vegetables are tender and soup is slightly thickened. Cover and turn off heat. Allow to sit 5 minutes. Serve hot. 

Country Beef Stew for One
Yes, this is adapted from my Original Family Size Menu but now in a personal sized recipe and including chunks of beef. Use a pint sized jar or mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.


Seasonings I shake down into the jar: 2T Honeyville Tomato Powder ,1/4 tsp thyme, 1/4 tsp garlic,1T all purpose flour, and 3/4 tsp beef bullion. It will fit if you shake it really well.Always add an oxygen absorber if you are using the real freeze dried meat.
To prepare Country Style Beef Stew: In a quart size pot, combine stew mix with 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Chef Tess Taco Soup for One
Yes, this is adapted from the Original Family Size Menu but now in a personal sized recipe. This one includes chicken breast and has only 380 calories with 14 grams of fiber and only 8 grams of fat. 


When you get to the tomato powder, just shake the jar so it works its way into the cracks.Always add an oxygen absorber if you are using the real freeze dried meat . Seal. Good on the shelf in a cool place up to 5-7 years. 
To prepare Taco Soup: place contents of jar in a quart sized pot ion the stove. Add 2 1/2 cups of water and simmer 10-15  minutes until veggies are tender. Serve with nacho chips, sour cream and salsa if desired.

Honeyville Classic Chili for One
Classic Chili Meal in a Jar is still one of our most popular meals. Why? Because it is just freakishly good.  Pack in a pint sized mason jar or a pint sized mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.  Always add an oxygen absorber if you are using the real freeze dried meat.

3/4 tsp beef bullion (no MSG)
3/4 tsp chili powder (more or less depending on how you like your chili)
 pinch of  hot chili flakes (if you like it hot)

I pack the ingredients as tightly as I can in the jar, shake the seasonings in there too. There is always room for the most vital addition to your jar, the oxygen absorber.
To prepare: Combine the contents of the jar with 2 cups hot water (depending on how thick you like your chili) and simmer over medium-high heat 10-15 minutes until hydrated and ready to eat. Serve with hydrated
freeze dried cheese if desired...or just have it plain in all it's glory.

There you go! Make some personal sized meals in a jar or mylar.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess


Rhoda said...

I was wondering how the 52 jar method cookbook was coming along. Is it still going to be published by the end of this year?
Thanks, Rhoda

Heather - said...

These are great! I just came across Chef Tess & Honeyville Farms and I'm so excited to learn more.

Cookin' Cousins said...


We're hoping to see it towards the end of this year. Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Is there anyway you can just microwave these meals. That would make them ideal for traveling:)

Sande said...

How long do these keep? I see in the store part the meats are listed as keeping one month once the packages are opened. How does that apply to these meals in jars? I love the idea of these. They're great.

Chef Tess said...

Sande, they're good 3-7 years depending on the recipe. If you send me a private e-mail ( I can send you the pdf with all the detailed instructions.

Team Miller...I take them to hotel rooms, work, play, anywhere. Microwave safe of course. Put them in a micro safe bowl or use a quart size jar and just add the water when you're ready to eat. Leave lid off and microwave to a boil. Depending on the recipe you can either finish cooking on the 50% setting for 5-7 minutes, or most of them can be just left to hydrate in the microwave for a few minutes and they're ready to eat.

Heather said...

I'm anxious for your cookbook. My husband drives a semi, these will help me help him eat better food while on the road!

Chef Tess said...

You'd be suprised how many trucker-friends I have who live on these meals! Xoxo! Thank you Heather! I'm excited to see them going to helping people like your husband. That is what it is all about. Does he have one of the cab-cookers? Those are great for being on the road!

Anonymous said...

can I use veggies that I have dehydrated myself instead of freezedried ones? also if I use a vacume sealer on the jars do I still use a oxygen absorber? thanks Norma

Anonymous said...

Chef Tess, I need more meals for one, as a senior without a family, it's so cool to have small meals in a jar. If you could expand on this I would be so grateful. I can't have dairy, and a can of sausage or beef lasts forever, because where a cup is asked for I only use a 1/4 cup. I am militant about staying at 130 pounds so I cut back on pasta, and rice as well, I will have a big salad with lemon and garlic, and a glass of carrot juice fresh squeezed, so my meal is small but delicious. I use tons of garbanzo beans, I wish Honeyville sold them in the quick cook variety,I do buy the kidney, and black beans quick cooked. I have watched a ton of your videos and I really enjoy them. Thank you for this creative way to cook, and prep in small portions. Minty

Cookin' Cousins said...

Hi Minty! Have you checked out the Food Storage Handbook written by Chef Tess? It's full of plenty of Meals in a Jar recipes, and can be purchased on our store website!

Barbie Chiu said...

Eating is really one of my hobby i mean part of my life and cooking is my passion. I also love going to a place and at the same time taste their delicious and most wanted food.I want to taste something that is new to my palate. Thanks for sharing your article with us.

Anonymous said...

Can you use the hot water from a water dispenser?

maria said...

I'm hoping I can get a reply:) I'm making thee meals for my hubby who works out of town. can I use zip lock bags? with out oxygen absorbers since he will eat the within a couple months? thank you! !

In The Kitchen With Honeyville said...

In reply to Maria -- you can use Ziploc bags if he'll be eating the meals within a few days. Otherwise, we'd recommend using mylar bags so that they last a little longer.

Anonymous said...

Each time you open a use the jar do you need to purchase a new lid for a reuse when doing oxygen absorber method? I know for canning you do but I didn't know if that applied to oxygen absorbers. Thanks!