Cooking with Food Storage: Wheat

I don’t store a lot of wheat. I have issues with it…intestinally… This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t store it. You should. However, if you and your family have never eaten or cooked with wheat, the time to introduce it into your diet is NOW!

Make it More Convenient

Let’s face it, we live in a society where convenience is the norm. We want everything to be fast and require little work. Wheat takes a little time to prepare. So, making it more convenient will increase the likelihood that it will be used. For example: cooked wheat kernels will store in the refrigerator about 1 week. This gives you 6 days to stare at it and 1 to use it…no, no, no. Just kidding. But seriously…

  1. bulgur_lose_26022015_8675Bulgur (wheat berries), are a dried form of cooked wheat will store for several months. Bulgur shortens preparation time because it only needs to be re-hydrated rather than cooked. I do use some bulgur wheat. A recipe for preparing wheat berries is included with the recipes in this post.
  2. Freeze cooked wheat: Place cooked wheat in a thin layer on cookie sheet.

Partially freeze, then place in freezer bags and store in freezer. Freezing it in this way will allow you to remove the amount desired for use without thawing the entire container.

Make it Accessible

You can store wheat in smaller usable quantities in or near the pantry. We often use the most accessible items first. Make it accessible. Remember, I always preach about putting food to be stored into smaller, more convenient packages.

Bring it to Mind

Make menus (a list of meals your family will eat) with notes to the side of the list indicating which dishes may be easily converted to a partial or complete wheat dish. Post the list of menus where they are easy to see (on the fridge, cupboard door, etc.).

Start Small and Keep on Going

Do not try to make changes or conversion to a wheat diet overnight! We eat the foods we do because of habit, taste preferences, and familiarity. Allow time to make changes. Make changes small and gradual, to avoid intestinal discomfort.

Use with Strong Flavored Foods

Wheat is a strong, nutty flavored grain. When becoming accustomed to eating wheat, use it in strong flavored dishes (which will compliment other flavors rather than compete with or overpower mild flavors).

Mellow it by Removing the Bran

Removing the bran from whole wheat flour will mellow flavor, lighten color, and smooth the texture. Sift the flour and remove the bran remaining in the sifter (save the bran and add to cereal, soups, stews, etc.).

Do it

Set a goal to use more wheat and stick to it. The goal may be as simple as making one meal or dish a month using whole wheat.

Whole Wheat Berries

These whole kernels need soaking or steam cooking to become tender.  When cooked, they have a sweet, nut-like flavor and a slightly chewy texture.  There are many ways to prepare dishes with wheat berries, and many ways haven’t been discovered yet – so experiment!

The versatility of wheat berries is proved in recipes from cereals to breads, to casserole and to stuffing for chicken or turkey.  These recipes call for cooked wheat berries.  Wheat berries can be prepared ahead of need and the ready-to-use cooked wheat may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

Wheat berries are probably the easiest whole wheat food to prepare, and certainly ranks as one of the most versatile foods in use.  None of the measurements are critical, and there’s no fussing with stirring, continual watching, etc.

Wheat berries can be made from whole wheat kernels or cracked wheat and can be used to replace rice in most dishes; they can also be substituted for mashed potatoes.

To make wheat berries: In a pot with a tight lid, combine 3 cups of water, and 1 cup of wheat.  Bring to a boil.  Allow to simmer ½ hour.  Turn off the heat and allow the wheat to stand 8-12 hours. Drain any remaining liquid. Use or store in refrigerator, tightly covered, for no more than one week.

Thermos cooked: (This is my favorite method. I use this technique to cook almost all of my grains, unless I’m using them in a recipe. We’ve already established that I am lazy and if there is an easier method to do something, I’m the girl to find it!) Put wheat and 2½ cups boiling water in a quart-sized thermos.  Screw the top lightly and leave until morning.

Slow cooker method: Simmer ingredients on high for approximately 2-3 hours.  Turn off the slow cooker and let it sit overnight untouched.

Wheat Recipes

Wheat and Bean Chili

  • 1 cup uncooked dry beans
  • 1 large can (46 oz.) tomato juice
  • 1 cup uncooked wheat
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Mexican-flavored stewed tomatoes
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. canola or olive oil
  • ½ tsp. cumin

Cook wheat and beans together in one quart of water (may be soaked overnight before cooking). Cook until almost tender. In a separate pan, sauté meat and onions and garlic in canola or olive oil. Drain. Add to beans. Add other ingredients.  Simmer for 1 hour. Season to taste.

*Fresh tomatoes or rehydrated freeze dried tomatoes may be added in place of canned stewed tomatoes. Use about 8 skinned fresh tomatoes or 1 cup rehydrated freeze dried. Adjust spices for flavor.

Meatloaf Mix

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ tsp. ground marjoram
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp. celery salt
  • 2 Tbsp. dried chopped onion
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef*
  • 1 tsp. salt ½ cup bread crumbs (optional)
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup regular oatmeal (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. ground sage
  • ½ cup wheat berries (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. ground oregano
  • ½ cup cooked rice (optional)

In a large bowl, combine eggs, tomato sauce, onion, salt, Worcestershire sauce, sage, oregano, marjoram, and celery salt.  Add in ground beef and any/all optional ingredients as desired and mix well.  Spoon evenly into three 2-cup freezer containers with tight-fitting lids.  Attach lids. Label containers with date and contents.  Store in freezer.  Use within 3 months.    Makes 3 packages or about 6 cups MEAT LOAF MIX.

*use only fresh (not frozen and un-thawed) ground beef

Mini Meat Loaves

  • 1 pkg. MEATLOAF MIX
  • 2 tsp. tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375º.  Shape meat mix into two mini-meatloaves.  Place in shallow baking pan.

Top with tomato sauce mixed with brown sugar, if desired.  Bake 30 minutes or until done.

Stuffed Green Peppers

  • 1 pkg. MEATLOAF MIX
  • ⅛ tsp. garlic salt
  • 2 green peppers, halved, seeded
  • ½ cup cooked rice
  • ½ cup tomato sauce

Cook green pepper halves in boiling water for 2 minutes.  Drain well.  Combine tomato sauce (reserve 4 Tbsp. for topping) and rest of ingredients with the meat mixture.  Fill each pepper half.  Place in glass baking dish.  Top each pepper with 1 Tbsp. tomato sauce.  Bake uncovered at 375º F. for 45 minutes or until done.

Casserole Pizza

  • 1 pkg. MEATLOAF MIX
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp. oregano leaves, crushed
  • ⅛ tsp. dried sweet basil leaves, crushed
  • 1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms
  • 6 green pepper rings
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. grated Romano cheese
  • Sliced black ripe olives for garnish
  • 2 parsley sprigs for garnish

In medium bowl, combine tomato sauce, oregano, basil and mushrooms; set aside.  Preheat oven to 375º F.  Turn MEAT LOAF MIX evenly into two 4-inch pie pans, or individual casserole dishes.  Spoon tomato sauce mixture evenly over mix.  Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven.

Remove from oven and top each with 3 green pepper rings.  Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella and Romano cheese.  Bake 10 minutes longer.  Garnish with black olives and parsley sprigs.

Porcupine Meatballs

  • 1 pkg. MEATLOAF MIX

Form into balls, each about 2 inches in diameter.  Place in casserole dish.  Cover with sauce (below).  Bake at 350º F for about 45 minutes.  Makes 6 to 8 servings, 2 large meatballs each.

Sauce:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup bottled barbecue sauce
  • ½ tsp. seasoning salt
  • ½ cup catsup
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 tsp. dry onion flakes

Combine ingredients and blend thoroughly.  Heat and simmer about 3 minutes. Pour over meatballs.

Minestrone Soup

  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • ¾ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup kidney beans
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1½ quarts water
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini
  • 1 Tbsp. beef bouillon crystals
  • ½ cup shredded cabbage
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup sliced carrots
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup minced parsley
  • ¼ tsp. oregano
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Italian-flavored stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup green beans or peas

Heat oil; add ground beef and onion, sauté until onions are straw-colored. Drain grease from beef; add celery, water, and beef bouillon. Cover and simmer slowly until celery is tender. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake (I don’t want to hear any yucks or ewwws until you taste it!)

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Sift together white and wheat flour, salt, soda, spices, and cocoa.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugars, butter or margarine, and oil.  Beat in eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Add sifted dry ingredients.  Add 2 cups of grated zucchini and 1 cup chocolate chips.  Bake in greased and floured 9×13 pan for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 350º F.

Feather Rolls

  • 7 cups whole wheat flour, divided
  • 2 to 3 cups white flour
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. dry yeast
  • ½ cup honey or sugar
  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ⅔ cup oil

Mix 5 cups whole wheat flour, dry yeast, and nonfat dry milk in large mixer bowl. Add water, oil and honey. Mix well for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off mixer, cover bowl, and let dough *sponge for 10 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Add eggs and salt. Turn on mixer. Add white flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Knead for 5 to 6 minutes. Dough should be very soft and manageable. Stiff dough produces heavy, dry rolls. If dough stiffens while mixing, drizzle a little warm water over dough as you knead it. Dough may be used immediately or covered and stored in refrigerator for several days. Lightly oil hands and counter top if needed. Shape immediately into rolls. Let rise until very light. Bake at 350º F. for 18 to 20 minutes. Do not over-bake. Yield: 5 dozen large rolls.

*Sponge means to let it stand while yeast becomes active.

Honey and Wheat Mix

  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup baking powder
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup instant nonfat milk powder, or whey
  • ¼ cup powdered honey* or ½ cup sugar
  • milk substitute, or dry buttermilk powder

In a large bowl, combine wheat flour, all-purpose flour, milk powder or buttermilk powder, powdered honey, baking powder, and salt.  Spoon into 12-cup container with tight-fitting lid. Attach lid.  Label container with date and contents.  Use within 10 to 12 weeks if stored in refrigerator or within 6 months, if stored in freezer.  Makes about 12 cups HONEY AND WHEAT MIX.

*(½ cup liquid honey may be used. Drizzle over mixture while stirring with a wire whisk.)

Honey Wheat Waffles

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 cups HONEY AND WHEAT MIX
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, melted ½ cup canola oil

Preheat waffle iron. In medium bowl, combine egg yolks, buttermilk, and butter or margarine, beating with wire whisk to blend.  In large bowl, combine HONEY AND WHEAT MIX and baking soda.  Stir in buttermilk mixture until just moistened.  Batter will be lumpy.  Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Fold into batter. Bake in waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Serve hot with syrup.  Makes 4 large waffles.

Honey Wheat Pancakes

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 cups HONEY AND WHEAT MIX
  • 1⅓ cups water
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil

In medium bowl, combine egg, oil and water, beating with wire whisk to blend.  Stir in HONEY AND WHEAT MIX until blended.  Let stand 2 minutes.  Preheat griddle according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Lightly oil griddle.  Stir in more water if a thinner batter is desired. Pour about ⅓ cup batter onto hot griddle to make 1 pancake.  Cook until edge becomes dry and bubbles form.  Turn with a wide spatula. Cook 35 to 45 seconds longer until browned on both sides.  Repeat with remaining batter. Makes about ten 4-inch pancakes.

Honey and Wheat Muffins

  • 3 cups HONEY AND WHEAT MIX
  • 1⅓ cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400º F.  Generously grease 12 large muffin cups.  In large bowl, combine HONEY AND WHEAT MIX and brown sugar.  In a small bowl, combine egg, oil and water, beating with wire whisk to blend.  Add egg mixture all at once to flour and brown sugar mixture, stirring until just moistened.  Batter will be lumpy.  Fill each prepared muffin cup ⅔ full with batter.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes in preheated oven until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out dry.  Makes 12 large muffins.

Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 2 cups HONEY AND WHEAT MIX
  • ½ cup buttermilk, milk or water
  • ¼ cup shortening

Preheat oven to 400º F. Pour HONEY AND WHEAT MIX into medium bowl. Cut in shortening.

Add buttermilk, milk or water all at once. Stir with fork until dough follows fork around bowl.

Turn out dough on lightly floured surface. Knead 10 to 12 times. Roll out dough to ½ inch thick.

Use 2-inch biscuit cutter to cut rolled-out dough. Arrange dough circles on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven until lightly browned. Makes about 9 biscuits.

Pancake Mix

  • 10 cups flour
  • ¼ cup baking powder
  • 2½ cups instant nonfat dry milk
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • ½ cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Stir together to blend well. Put in large airtight container. Label. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 6 months. Makes about 13 cups of Pancake Mix.

Perfect Pancakes

  • 1½ cups PANCAKE MIX
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil

Put pancake mix in medium bowl. Combine egg, water, and oil in small bowl. Add egg mixture to PANCAKE MIX. Add more water for thinner pancakes. Blend well. Let stand 5 minutes.

Cook on hot oiled griddle about 3 to 4 minutes, until browned on both sides. Makes ten to twelve 4-inch pancakes.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancake Mix

  • 4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup non-fat dry milk
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar
  • ½ cup sugar

Combine ingredients and stir to mix well. Put in large airtight container. Label. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 6 months.

Mixing Directions:

In medium bowl, beat 2 eggs. Beat in 3 Tbsp. oil gradually. Gradually stir in 2 cups pancake mix and 1 cup water. Drop by spoonful’s onto lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat. When batter shows broken bubbles, turn pancakes over. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes.

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