Though there are plenty of different meats to choose from for storage meals, we will focus on the following....think of meat more as a flavoring/used sparingly instead of a main focus of meals, to me that is a healthier way to use it:
Real bacon bits
Freeze-dried ground beef
We are looking for ways to store longer than freezing where ever possible, although it is smart to have some meat in freezer for short term storage plan. This leaves us choices of *canned (most canned meats store/last 2 to 5 years), bottled, dried, freeze-dried. Many of your current recipes can be replicated, or nearly so, using these longer term meats. When home-bottling meat, do so in a pressure canner for 90 minutes. My opinion is properly processed bottled meat lasts longer than 5 years.
*if canned meat is bulging, do NOT eat, throw out without opening the can....this hardly ever happens, but smart to be AWARE
Here's a post of some research this person did:
Also....tvp meat substitutes to consider:
Chicken, canned....buy at best price in grocery or wholesale stores. If bottling at home: this is one of the easiest meats when using boneless, skinless chicken breast....and the taste beats commercially canned chicken by a wide margin! We bottle our own, but here is what I buy from Costco when using canned:
This is an easy recipe to make if you keep pasta, alfredo sauce, chicken on hand. We are also going to add some broccoli....
1 bag (16 oz.) pasta, such as rotini or rotelle
**frozen chopped broccoli
*16 oz. jar alfredo sauce
1 can (12.5 oz.) chicken chunks, do not drain
In a large pot, cook pasta until done to your preference. In a saucepan, cook frozen broccoli, the amount is up to you. Drain hot cooked pasta, put back in large pot; drain hot cooked broccoli, add to pasta. Turn heat to low. Stir in alfredo sauce [put 2 T. water in empty alfredo sauce jar, put on lid, shake....then add this liquid to the pasta mixture in pot]. Add undrained chicken (I usually take a moment while pasta is cooking to dump the canned chicken/liquids into a bowl, then cut the chicken chunks into smaller pieces). Cover to heat 3 minutes or so. This is a one bowl meal, makes 6 to 8 servings.
NOTES: if macaroni or spaghetti is the pasta you have on hand, that will work. Also could use fresh chicken breast, cut in bite-sized chunks and cooked ahead so it's ready to add.
*can make your own alfredo sauce from 'cream sauce in a jar' + dried parmesan cheese
**can re-hydrate and cook FD broccoli to use instead of frozen (follow instructions)
Real Bacon Bits
Sliced bacon is easy to freeze as it is already sealed in plastic (usually), but having some in a longer storage form, such as jar pictured here, or larger amounts in sealed bags I have seen at Costco and Sam's, will help enhance food/flavor. Keep in fridge after opening. Use it to top off potato soup, in baked beans or bean n' bacon soup....etc....
NOTE: if you prefer, bacon flavored tvp is available in #10 cans. Several companies offer this.
Freeze Dried Ground Beef
I like this page, it shows different sizes, method to store after opening. Read the entire information and the reviews:
This is my choice for longer term storage of ground beef.
Canned Ham Chunks
Yes, ham is available in FD form also, but I prefer to keep FD meat purchases to a minimum. Please make your own choice on this and do the research in order to make your decisions on what you like to store. We dice and freeze leftover ham, but I watch for this can below to go on sale at 10 for $10.00. Target has it for $1.39 per can.
This will be for making pizza....if you have another meat that is your favorite, store that instead.
Put unopened/packaged sticks in a zip-loc bag and refrigerate. (I have found conflicting info on how long it will store this way, please post if you can help).
I have had the pillow packs of sliced pepperoni stay just fine in fridge for 3 months.
NOTE: if you prefer, pepperoni flavored tvp is available in #10 cans. Several companies offer this.
Canned Tuna in Water
Choose a quality brand, or try a few brands to find one you like. My opinion is: do not store tuna with a 5 year rotation, although that works for some meats, but to me tuna tastes best with around a 2 year rotation.
Crusty Tuna Pattie Dinner
Crusty Tuna Patties:
1 can tuna in water, drained
(save liquid if making sauce; recipe follows)
1 large egg
1 T. dry milk powder
1 tsp. oil
1⁄2 tsp. lemon pepper
1⁄4 tsp. garlic salt
1⁄2 stalk celery, minced
3 T. minced onion
3 to 5 T. oil for cooking
Mix tuna, egg, dry milk, oil, lemon pepper, garlic salt, celery, and onion. Heat pan on medium; add oil for cooking. Form 8 small patties in hot oil using a spoon. Cook 4 minutes on each side. Makes 2 to 3 servings. Serve with sauce, if desired.
Sauce: drained tuna-water + water to equal 1/2 cup; set aside. Mix in jar: 3 T. dry milk powder, 1 T. unbleached flour, 1/4 tsp. true lemon (or more to personal taste). Add tuna + water mixture, put lid on jar tightly. Shake until smooth. Pour in sauce pan, heat on medium-high, stirring constantly until thick, stir/cook for 1 minute. Take off heat, add up to 1/8 tsp. dill weed and couple shakes garlic salt, stir. Cover, let sit.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
Follow directions for making mashed potatoes from Potato Flakes, adding 1 T. dry milk; garlic bits, dried parmesan, and butter to taste.
1/2 c. drained green beans is one serving. Heat; add 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine and sprinkle lightly with salt or garlic salt.