Homemade Ready-Made Meals

Making your own ready-made meals lets you take advantage of bulk food prices, store a variety of easily prepared foods and still have delicious and nutritious meals.

| January 2015

  • Pasta in a jar
    Dry foods like pasta lend themselves to ready-made meals, especially when combined with packaged sets of spices, vegetables and meats for a complete meal in a tidy package.
    Photo by Fotolia/ognianmed
  • Meals in a Jar
    Imagine coming home from a long work day to a pantry of ready-made meals that require just water and limited time: Julie Languille offers just that in "Meals in a Jar," with more than 100 recipes for shelf-stable meals that are easy to prepare, tasty and nutritious.
    Cover courtesy Ulysses Press

  • Pasta in a jar
  • Meals in a Jar

The recipes in Meals in a Jar (Ulysses Press, 2013) by Julie Languille are perfect for camping fare and weeknight dinners, but they can also be lifesavers in times of disasters like fires, blackouts or hurricanes. Make up bags, boxes and jars of ready-made meals that only require water and time to prepare, and rest easy knowing that you are prepared for a last-minute gift, a quick dinner or even an emergency situation. The following excerpt comes from chapter 1, “Ready-Made Meals.”

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Meals in a Jar.

I love walking into a full pantry, lined with neatly arranged shelves of meals in jars and boxes all stacked in rows. Better than a candy store to me, the shelves of baking supplies, canned goods, and my own home-canned meats and vegetables all please me greatly, but what I like best are my own “ready-made meals.” I have bags, jars, and boxes of shelf-stable meals, which I consider to be my own treasure trove and insurance against hardship or hunger. From the convenience of weeknight hustle to the moderate or dramatic circumstances of disaster, my store of shelf-stable meals means I am ready to feed my family well quickly and easily, with a minimum of fuss or effort and no trip to the grocery store for extra ingredients.

I have designed a whole variety of complete meal kits, packaged sets of everything you need to make a meal for your family—just add water. They can be packaged in Mason jars, in bags with handles to easily grab and go, or sealed into plastic bags. I have a variety of each, and this book will show you how to put together a food kit for seven days of food for your whole family, stored in complete meal kits in plastic tubs or lined up neatly in your pantry.

What Is a Ready-Made Meal?

A ready-made meal is a jar or bag with everything you need to create a complete meal with no additional ingredients except water. Ready-made meals can be breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, breads, and desserts. There are options for how you store them, and you can choose what works best for your family and unique situation.

Ready-made meals come in three varieties: pressure-canned complete meals, dry meals, and meals that are a combination of the two and are packaged together.



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