Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Cooking with Chef Jo: Preparedness in Lean Times

This COVID-19 virus couldn't have come at a worse time for us. With the failed garden last year, too soon to harvest most vegetables, and the grocery stores having lean picking planning meals around what we have is a minor challenge. So, this is what my menus are like...
  • 15 Bean Soup seasoned with a ham bone with rice and cornbread. Beams and rice form a complete amino acid chain (aka protein). The cornbread is an excellent filler and fiber.
  • Hamburger Soup (recipe below) with leftover cornbread.
  • Chicken and Dumplings, green beans, and a small tossed salad. My favorite comfort food.
  • Quiches with a small tossed salad.
  • Beef Stew with biscuits. 
  • Bacon Casserole (next week's recipe) with a spinach salad and rolls
Not too shoddy, huh?These meals hark back to my "cook once and eat several times. The extras can be either canned or frozen for later use. Serving amounts are large at 16 -20 servings. For only the two of us on this homestead, that's 8-10 meals of each recipe! That's plenty enough food to carry us through. If I do get sick, I'll have some quick fix meals with almost effort. All the hard work is done. My shopping list is small with the grocery stores putting a limited of two on everything they do have since mid March.

Chef Jo's Hamburger Soup
Serves 20

What you'll need 
Hamburger soup
5 lbs ground beef, 80/20
2 onions, large and diced
5 stalks of celery, including leafy green leaves diced
1 pt jar of Fagioli soup, I canned this previously*
1 qt jar of green beans, about 1 lb 1 1/2" cut pieces
2 cups corn kernels,
1 qt jar tomato sauce
1 Tbs Italian seasoning* plus 1 tsp oregano
6 cloves garlic, minced 
                                                             3 large potatoes, diced
                                                             4 large carrots, diced
                                                             1/2 pt of dehydrated mushroom, or 1 pt mushrooms,
                                                             2 qts beef bone broth or stock
                                                             2 large bay leaves
                                                             Salt and pepper to taste

Notes-* If you do not have the Fagioli soup canned add 15 oz can cannelloni beans (rinsed), 15 oz can dark red kidney beans (rinsed), 1/2 lb hot Italian sausage (cooked), 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, 3 cups V-8, and 1 15 oz can kale. You'll end up with 36 servings of hamburger soup.

* Italian Seasoning
2 Tbs dried oregano
2 Tbs dried basil
1 Tbs dried rosemary, ground
1 Tbs marjoram
1/2 Tbs dried red pepper

Grind coarsely with mortar and pestle. Place in air tight container.

Putting it all together
  • Brown ground beef in large stock pot. If using the Fagioli recipe given above in the notes, add Italian sausage.
  • Drain off all but 1 Tbs of grease. If you drain the meat from pot with a lid rather than a colander, you'll have about 1 Tbs of grease left with the meat.
  • Add onions, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, and carrots to the pot. Scraping fond (brown bits on the bottom of the pot as you stir.
  • Stir well, cover and cook until the onions and celery are done. The carrots will still not be cooked through.
  • Add Fagioli, tomato sauce, beef broth, corn, green beans, and potatoes.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Check for salt and pepper. Add if needed.
  • Simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.  
Serving Suggestion- Add macaroni or egg noodle, or barley the last twenty minutes of cooking. Serve with grated Cheddar, Swiss or Parmesan cheese to the serving bowls. If canning this recipe omit the above and add cooked version when reheating. Serve with crusty bread, cornbread, or rolls.  Enjoy!

Y'all have a blessed day!
                                       Chef Jo                                                      


  1. You sound very well prepared for meals. I love cooking once and enjoying many times too!

    1. Whether I can leftovers or freeze them, they are readily available. I'm hoping that I've made enough meals to last through this tough time (almost bare cupboard and flu season/virus). I really wished it would last through to harvest time.

  2. Not shoddy at all. Gourmet eating any way you look at it!

    1. Anything is better than resorting to rice, beans and cornbread, but even that is a step up for most people.


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