4 pounds stew meat, cubed
4 cans (10.75 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
4 cans (4 oz.) mushrooms, drained
1 cup apple juice or red wine
2 1-oz packages dry onion soup mix
1. In each of 2, gallon-sized freezer bags combine 2 pounds meat, 2 cans of soup, 2 cans of mushrooms, 1/2 cup apple juice/wine and 1 package of onion soup mix. Zip closed. Store in freezer. (A tip to prevent freezer burn — zip your bag almost closed; insert a straw into the corner and suck all the air out. Pull the straw and finish the seal.)
2. When ready to eat, remove bag from freezer and thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours.
3. Pour contents of the bag into a slow cooker that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
4. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours (cooking on low is best).
5. If a thicker consistency if preferred, thicken with a small amount of flour or cornstarch.
6. Serve over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes.
Yield: 2 meals – 6 servings each.
As I write this I know that some have completed harvest and for others harvest remains underway. While harvest may have taken a little longer than some would have liked, I remember when being done with harvest by Thanksgiving was the goal and not the rare exception. Regardless of whether you’re wrapping up harvest, doing fall field work, or enjoying the fact you’ve finished fall calving, I hope you and your family are doing well.
Here at Farm Bureau, our ongoing efforts to move agriculture forward are in full swing. Earlier this month, members from across the state met in North Platte to be a part of Farm Bureau’s Policy Forum. The annual Forum brings farmers and ranchers from across the state together to discuss the policy resolutions advanced by Farm Bureau members through their County Farm Bureaus.
The Forum is truly grassroots work at its finest. And, it’s a major part of the process in shaping the positions Farm Bureau will take on key agriculture policy issues. Those who’ve served on a policy committee or attended the Forum know, we put much effort into making sure every policy resolution gets thorough consideration to ensure delegates to Farm Bureau’s annual meeting have the best resolutions in front of them when making final decisions on Farm Bureau policy. If you’re a farm or ranch member who has never seen our grassroots policy efforts up close, then please consider this a personal invite from me to join us in Kearney in Dec. for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Annual meeting and Convention. Your membership investment does great work and I’d invite you to see it in action. http://bit.ly/1sUQ5qQ
On a similar note, I’d be remiss in not reflecting quickly on the outcome of the elections earlier this month. Over the years I’ve had many elected officials comment on how much they appreciate Farm Bureau’s grassroots work and the comfort they have in knowing that when Farm Bureau takes a position on a rule, regulation or legislation, that it is founded in the majority decision of farm and ranch families.
What they’ve also come to appreciate is the support of Farm Bureau members. Many Farm Bureau “Friend of Agriculture” candidates did well in the Nov. 4 election, including the election of Gov. Pete Ricketts, U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, Attorney General Doug Peterson and a host of state legislative candidates. Farm Bureau’s endorsement continues to grow in importance for those seeking office not because of the Farm Bureau name, but because of the support it brings from members.
To all of the Farm Bureau members who engaged with their County Farm Bureau to make recommendations on endorsements to our PAC, who hosted candidates on their farm, who walked in parades, put signs up on their property, or took the time to come out and vote, I say “Thank You.” There’s nothing more important than exercising our freedoms and Farm Bureau members make the most of those opportunities.
At Nebraska Farm Bureau we’ll continue to move agriculture forward by working with our members to develop policies to address the issues that face farm and ranch families and we’ll engage with our existing and newly elected officials to implement those policies because Farm Bureau is all about making life better for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.
Until next month,
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Generously butter 6 muffin tin cups
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg, then whisk in the sour cream. Add the cheese and chives. Mix to combine.
4. Taste the potatoes and season them with salt and pepper if needed. Add them to the egg mixture and mix well.
5. Spoon the potato mixture into the muffin tins, filling them just to the top or a little below.
6. Bake 25-35 minutes until they pull away from the sides of the cups and are golden brown all over.
7. Removed from the oven and let them cool 5 minutes in the pan. Turn them out onto a platter. Serve with sour cream.
Yield: Serves 6
The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 29th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.41, a 37-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.04.
The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $21.65 this year. That’s roughly $1.35 per pound, a decrease of less than 1 cent per pound, or a total of 11 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2013.
“Turkey production has been somewhat lower this year and wholesale prices are a little higher, but consumers should find an adequate supply of birds at their local grocery store,” AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. Some grocers may use turkeys as “loss leaders,” a common strategy deployed to entice shoppers to come through the doors and buy other popular Thanksgiving foods.
The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.
Foods showing the largest increases this year were sweet potatoes, dairy products and pumpkin pie mix. Sweet potatoes came in at $3.56 for three pounds. A half pint of whipping cream was $2.00; one gallon of whole milk, $3.76; and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.12. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery ($.82) and one pound of green peas ($1.55) also increased in price. A combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour) rose to $3.48.
In addition to the turkey, other items that declined modestly in price included a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.54; 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.34; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.42; and a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.17.
“America’s farmers and ranchers remain committed to continuously improving the way they grow food for our tables, both for everyday meals and special occasions like Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” Anderson said. “We are blessed to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for about $5.00 per serving – less than the cost of most fast food meals.”
The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home (available online at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm), which indicates a 3-percent increase compared to a year ago.
A total of 179 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 35 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.
Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.
The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.