Italian Delight (Meal in a Jar)

UPDATE: I just made this today in my Sun Oven and it was too liquid and too salty so I have changed the recipe to handle those 2 issues.

At the beginning of this year I ran into a great idea from a food storage website while trying to find freeze dried fruit for long term storage.

Meals in a Jar.

I had already been making my own pre-made mixes for things I make all of the time … like my husbands absolutely MUST HAVE DAILY Breakfast Muffins. Only I was storing them in zip lock bags.

What I did not like in the already available recipes was 1) they were using glass mason jars (to heavy and subject to breaking) and 2) the recipes sounded good but in reality would not pass the final judgment of my “taste tester” husband.

mylar-bagsNOTE: If I want to make these meals for long term storage I vacuum seal them in in heavy 3.5 to 4 mil mylar bags that will last for many years, lay flat and store well in heavy plastic tubs.

I will address long term storage when I get around to it at some point in the future. Like what equipment I use today. What I have tried over the past 50 years. WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOES NOT.

After some trial and error flops (R & D) from various blogs that were into this “meal in a jar” idea the final solution was … why not develop our own family favorites?

That too was trial and error since everything had to be converted from fresh to dehydrated or a combination of dehydrated and canned.

I quickly decided the freeze dried meats for home storage were not only expensive the shelf life was not that long and the taste was lacking … well I guess real chicken or beef sawdust is better than nothing.

But at this point I do not have to settle for sawdust or nothing. :)

So I dragged out my old presto pressure canner and bought a new All American Pressure Cooker/Canner to do that job. More on that whole process when I find the time to post all of that.

Finally when the recipes past the MAIN “taste tester” and other family members I started making 4 of these plastic quarts at a time of each recipe. They stored nicely on the pantry shelves because I was using square PET jars (food safe), they were light weight, easy to label using my laptop and printer.


On the label at the front of the jars I put the ingredients, the date made and how to reconstitute the contents. When the last jar of that recipe is finished I make a new batch of 4 more. This allows me to have meals quick and ready when I am too busy, too tired, or it is too hot to cook inside.

These recipes work great in my sun oven.

pantry1Anyway for years I have used these square storage containers in my pantry so they were the perfect solution for “meals in a jar”. I just had to buy lots more. I ordered them from US Plastics but I found a bunch at the dollar store a few days ago. They did not have the cute dome lids but for a dollar they would do the trick. I already had as many as I needed but I picked up about a dozen to send as a gift filled for my brother :)

From US Plastics:
32 oz square containers .61 cents ea.
89/400 White PP Dome Cap with F217 Liner .54 cents ea.

Finally to a recipe that we have loved for years Italian Delight.

This is one old time potluck casserole that my grandmother dragged to every family gathering … to the joy of all who attended.
Only difference?
She used fresh from the garden or preserved.
After all that was in the mid 40’s to early 60’s when she unexpectedly passed away.

Italian Delight
This is one old time potluck casserole that my grandmother dragged to every family gathering ... to the joy of all who attended.
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662 calories
134 g
0 g
10 g
27 g
2 g
1824 g
2710 g
52 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 662
Calories from Fat 80
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 2710mg
Total Carbohydrates 134g
Dietary Fiber 25g
Sugars 52g
Protein 27g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 cup thin spaghetti broken
  2. 1 1/2 Tbsp beef bullion
  3. 2 Tbsp dry chopped onion
  4. 2 Tbsp FD red or green peppers
  5. 1 cup FD whole corn
  6. 6 Tbsp tomato powder
  7. 12 pieces dehydrated tomato cut up
  8. 1/4 cup dry olives
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  11. pinch red pepper flakes
  12. 2 tsp. dry worchester powder
  1. Preheat sun oven to 250 to 350 degrees
  2. Place everything in sun oven pot I use black granite ware with a lid.
  3. Add 4 cups of boiling water.
  4. Top with cheese
  5. Cook for 45 mins. to one hour depending on the temp. of your sun oven the day you are cooking.
  6. You can also bake this in your regular oven 350 degrees until spaghetti is al dente. About 45 mins. to an hour.
Not in Jar
  1. 4 cups of boiling water
  2. 2 cup shredded cheese (not in jar)
  3. 1 pound hamburger (canned not in jar)
Adapted from Grandma Ruth Hill original recipes
Adapted from Grandma Ruth Hill original recipes
A Food Orgasm

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