Makin' Jar Meals again this month :)


Beef Noodle Dinner,  Penne Pasta Burger Dinner, Rainbow Faille Dinner, Cheesy Sausage Frittata

Yep.  It's pretty much that straightforward.  
There really is nothing to it!  
Here's a breakdown on a few of those details:

1.  Order Thrive Life ingredients for your recipe.  
Yes it is important, because the Quality of your ingredients matter!!  High quality - Ingredients - that you know will taste good, just tastes better.  Because the vast majority of Thrive Life food is non-GMO, Certified Gluten Free, and has no MSG or artificial flavors or colors...you know you're getting the best possible ingredients available.  Add to that the food is freeze-dried on state-of-the-art freeze dryers, the best in the world...and you can't go wrong!  It's going to taste AWESOME.

2.  Wide-mouth jars are important (but not required).  It is just lots easier to use wide mouth jars. Ingredients (like big noodles or pieces of meat or veggies) are a pain to cram in that tiny opening, let alone to dump them out you're ready for use!  But use what you have first, if your buying jars start with wide mouth save yurself trouble. You can get pints and even 1/2 pints in wide mouth jars.

3.  Measure ingredients into jars.  It goes without saying, but make sure your jars and hands are clean and DRY!  You don't want ANY moisture to get into your ingredients!  I like using one of those canning jar funnels to measure everything in, so that the top of the jar stays clean.  A disposable cup with the bottom cut off makes a great funnel.  

When measuring the food in: Start with some of the biggest pieces (like meat or diced potatoes). Then add some of the powders (such as spices, sour cream powder, etc) to fill in the cracks, This allows you to shake down the powders around the larger things - to fit more food in.  Then you can add the medium sized foods like chopped onions.  I like to finish with something on top that isn’t powdery or spicy – something that won’t jump out at you when you open the jar.  

4.  Seal your jar: Options are 1- with a Food Saver jar attachment or use Food Save bags instead of glass jars. 2- Oxygen Absorber packets (on Amazon for around $10 for 100 )  Put one in the  finished jar,  put on a new lid with a ring tightly closed.  It seals within a few hours of closing the jar.  

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Is it REQUIRED to seal the jars?  Not necessarily - it would just depend on how soon you plan to use it. Here's the deal:  most of the ingredients you get from Thrive Life have a 25 YEAR shelf life when it's sealed in their cans.  Once the cans are opened, most of it is good for up to one year, depending on your climate and how much humidity you are exposed to.  I find that all of the veggies and dairy hold up great, along with most of the meat.  (Pulled pork and ham have a short shelf life, so don't use those unless you plan to consume within weeks.)  Fruit tends to go soft the fastest. 

So...when you open those cans and measure the ingredients into jars, you are essentially dealing with the opened can shelf life of roughly one year.  I plan on just consuming those jar meals in that one-year time frame.  Theoretically, if you re-seal it into your jar, you should be able to get a longer shelf life.  But there are variables that could affect that - for one, your pretty jar is clear glass that is letting in light.  Light affects the shelf life.  When you pack that meal, if you accidentally get any moisture in there, that's going to affect the shelf life as well.  I like to seal those jars just to help them stay fresher, and then plan on using up the meals within a year.  They work great!

What if I don't have a jar, and want to put it in a Ziploc bag instead?   Yes, but I have learned that I want to use them only for day trips. The let in too much air and the food will soften up. If your going to cook it then it's OK for it to soften because your going to refresh it anyway. If you like it crunchy out of the bag don't let it sit around in a ziplock your may be dissaointed. If your only going camping or on a road trip and don't want to deal with useing a food saver or don't want to take jars, be sure to consuming it within a week during our travels. 

Why make my own meal in a jar, anyway?  I love having the ability to customize the meals to suit my tastes!  If I need to leave out an ingredient due to an allergy, I can easily do that.  I know exactly what is going into the meals, and don't have to worry about weird artificial junk in my meals.  Most of the recipes I have come from recipes originally made from scratch, but discovered I could shortcut by combining the ingredients into a jar for an instant meal.  You can do this with your own recipes too!  I also like this more than freeze meals (which I used to do), because those meals take a FULL day to assemble, trash the kitchen in the meantime, take up a ton of space in the freezer, and then require planning ahead to thaw them - who has time for that?!?

These jar meals are awesome for SO many occasions!!

  • Camping - no worrying about coolers, germs, or clean up, and it cooks FAST.
  • Road trips - avoid eating out every meal and cook in your hotel!
  • Let the kids to cook - if I'm out working or on date night, my kids can easily cook this up, and it sure as heck beats a mac n' cheese dinner.
  • Helping a friend who is sick or expecting a baby - seriously...what better gift can you give to an expectant mom, than some easy dinners?  Once those first couple weeks of excitement are gone and mom still has to come up with dinner AND care for a baby...these are perfect!  Fast and easy to cook, minimal kitchen clean up, no thawing or prepping...it's a dream come true.
  • Gifts for elderly - when you can't come up with a useful gift for your elderly relatives...why not give them something practical, that they can actually use?  If your elderly relatives have health problems and cooking is hard for them, this is perfect.
  • Teacher gifts - I LOVE giving these to my kids' teachers as a little token of appreciation, and they love getting them!  Sure beats another apple or mug to clutter up their desk.  Just sayin. 
  • College students - how many college students wouldn't LOVE to have some delicious variety? I'm sending my daughter to college with this, so I know she will be eating healthy instead of relying on Fruit Loops and Ramen for her diet.
  • Exhausted Day - Some days, even ordering a pizza or going out to eat takes too much effort!  I was exhausted beyond strength last week, and was SO glad to have this available because I didn't have to think or do anything - just dumped it in a pan, added water, and let it cook while I laid down.  It was perfect.
...need I go on??  These jar meals are the perfect solution for everyone!  So...pick a recipe, order your ingredients (make sure you're my customer -its easy create a log in here ) gather up some jars, and start putting your meals together!  It usually takes me less than an hour to put together a whole batch of 12-15 jars of one recipe, and then I'm set for a long time. You'll be so happy to have them ready to use!

Let me know how your experience is in putting these meals together and using them!