Gifts from the Kitchen

As seen in the Holiday Entertaining Guide.

gift-in-jars

Give gifts from the kitchen in jars this year for a unique gift with a nifty presentation.

Gifts from the kitchen are always thoughtful and appreciated. This year, why not join the jar revolution and package your homemade gifts in canning jars?

In this collection of mixes, soups, and sweets treats you’ll find something for everyone on your gift list. Assembly is easy, kids will love to help, and the end result is festive and fun. So make your list, gather your supplies, and start filling jars.

assemble-spices

Assemble ingredients before beginning to make the process run smoothly

Here are a few tips to help:

  • Use a gravy ladle to smooth each layer for a pretty presentation.
  • Be sure to include clear cooking instructions.
  • To increase the shelf life of the jars, consider vacuum sealing but be aware, the contents may shift and the layers become muddled.
  • Use card stock and your printer to create pretty gift tags complete with cooking instructions.
  • Add cooking utensils such as wooden spoons or a soup ladle to make the gift extra special.

Homemade Muffin Mix

Yield: 4 ½ cups

Quart Canning Jar with lid

4 cups of all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ cup sugar

1 1/3 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients; transfer to a jar with a tight fitting lid.

To Prepare Muffins:

2 cups of muffin mix

2 eggs, beaten

4 Tablespoons melted butter

¾ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with paper liners. Set aside. Add the muffin mix to a medium-sized bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over-mix. A few lumps are ok.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling each cup two-thirds full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Add-ins:

  • ½ cup fruit, such as blueberries, diced strawberries, raspberries, mashed bananas or crushed pineapple.
  • Add ½ cup chocolate chips
  • Add ¼ cup nuts, figs, prunes, or dried cranberries

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings of prepared soup

Quart Canning Jar with lid

3 ½ cups of dried black beans

12″ x 12″ square of parchment paper or snack sized zip top bag

1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 Tablespoons cumin

¼- ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon celery seed

2 bay leaves

½ teaspoon black pepper

4 chicken or veggie bouillon cubes (if using Knorr bouillon cubes, you only need 2)

Use a gravy ladle or other small utensil to smooth each layer for a pretty presentation

Use a gravy ladle or other small utensil to smooth each layer for a pretty presentation

Using a wide mouth funnel, pour the beans into the quart jar. Lay the parchment paper out on a work surface and place all the spices on the parchment paper and then fold the sides in to make a little packet. Secure with a rubber band if you prefer. Stuff the spice packet into the jar. It may be tough to wiggle it in, but eventually it will snuggle into place. Close the jar tightly.

To prepare:

Wash and sort the beans. In a large stockpot add the clean beans, contents of the spice packet and 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 1 ½ -2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the soup is thick. Add more water as necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve topped with sour cream, diced avocado and/or chopped fresh cilantro.

Texas Two-Step Soup

Yield: 4-6 prepared servings

Pint Canning Jar with lid

1 (1.6 ounce) envelope of brown gravy mix

2 Tablespoons of chili powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

½ teaspoon garlic salt

10-12 tortilla chips, crushed

1 to 1 ¼ cup pasta, such as elbow macaroni

Pour the brown gravy mix in the bottom of a pint canning jar; smooth with the back of a gravy ladle. Combine the chili powder, oregano, cumin, dried onion and garlic salt in a small bowl. Pour the spice mixture over the gravy mix and again, smooth with a gravy ladle. Add the tortilla chips and fill the remainder of the jar with pasta, you will use either a cup or just over a cup. Close the jar tightly.

To prepare:

1 pound of ground meat

7 cups of water

1 (15 ounce) can of corn with red and green peppers

1 (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes

Set a medium large Dutch oven over medium high heat and brown the meat; add the water and contents of the jar and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the corn and tomatoes; reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the pasta is tender.

Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheese.

Creamy Oatmeal Mix

Yield: 1 quart mix

Quart Canning Jar

3 cups quick cooking oats

½ cups non-fat dry milk

½ cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon apple pie spice

In a large bowl, mix together the oatmeal, milk, brown sugar, salt and spice. Transfer the oatmeal mix to the canning jar and close the jar tightly.

To Prepare:

Bring 2/3 cups of water, or apple cider, to boil in a small saucepan. When the water has reached a roiling boil, stir in ½ cup of the oatmeal mix. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.

Variations for prepared oatmeal:

  • Freeze dried strawberries and freeze dried yogurt bites
  • Dried cranberries and toasted pecans
  • Dried apples and toasted walnuts