reflections on 30 days of cans

Reflections on 30 Days of Cans

My 3o days of cans challenge came to an end on May 1, and , as has become my habit, I want to share the results.   In other words, it’s time to review my recipes, and see how I did in relationship to the rules that were established for this  challenge.  The 30 days of canned food challenge had only a few rules.

They were: 

30 days of cans1.  Each recipe must contain at least one can of food.

2.  Food “canned” in glass jars will also count as canned food for the purpose of this challenge.

3.  One half of all of the recipes posted must be prepared using only shelf stable food items.

4.   Shelf stable refers to any food which can be stored at room temperature for a week or longer.  This will include rice, pasta, dried herbs, dehydrated or freeze dried vegetables, grains, onions, potatoes and citrus fruits.

5.   In addition to tasting good, seventy-five percent or three of every four recipes that I post will have a nutrition grade of  B or better when analyzed by Calorie Count’s recipe analyzer.

Every recipe contained at least one canned food item.  Here’s the review of how well I did with regard to rules 3 and 5.  Let’s begin with rule number three.

The following recipes were made using only shelf stable items:

  1.  Spanish  Rice with Corn
  2. Berta’s Tuna Casserole
  3. Spaghetti Bolognese with Mushrooms
  4. Green Beans with Onions and Garlic
  5. Cornbread
  6. Vegetable Beef Soup
  7. Creamed Peas and Potatoes
  8. Chicken and Dumplings
  9. Rocky Road Fudge
  10. Chicken Chili Verde
  11. Sweetened Condensed Creamer
  12. Chicken Enchilada Soup
  13. Canned Fruit Cobbler
  14. Cannellini Beans and Tomatoes
  15. Pineapple Sweet Potatoes
  16. Pearl’s Cream Style Corn  (if you don’t use any butter)
  17. Chili con Carne with Beans
  18. Potato Bacon Soup
  19. Easy Beans for Burritos

Rule number 3 was for 50% of the recipes to be made only from shelf stable items, but 63% of the recipes made during the month of April were shelf stable, so I exceeded the expected 50%.  My only question is whether or not a mango is considered shelf stable.  If it is, there’s one more recipe for the shelf stable list.  Unfortunately, that recipe requires freezing or refrigeration, so it still might not count. 

The following recipes had a nutrition grade of B or better, according to the, now defunct, Calorie Count website:

  1.  Spanish  Rice with Corn    Nutrition Grade: B+
  2.  Berta’s Tuna Casserole   Nutrition Grade: B
  3.  Spaghetti Bolognese with Mushrooms  Nutrition Grade:  A
  4.  Green Beans with Onions and Garlic  Nutrition Grade:  A
  5.  Cornbread   Nutrition Grade:  B-
  6.  Vegetable Beef Soup    Nutrition Grade:  A
  7.  Creamed Peas and Potatoes  Nutrition Grade:  A-
  8.  Chicken and Dumplings  Nutrition Grade:  B
  9.  Chicken Chili Verde  Nutrition Grade:  A
  10.  Five Cup Salad  Nutrition Grade:  B-
  11.  Sweetened Condensed Creamer   Nutrition Grade:  B-
  12.  Chicken Enchilada Soup  Nutrition Grade:  B+
  13.  Canned Fruit Cobbler  Nutrition Grade:  B+
  14. Navy Bean Soup from Canned Beans  Nutrition Grade:  A
  15. Cannellini Beans and Tomatoes  Nutrition Grade:  A
  16. Creamy Chicken Enchiladas  Nutrition Grade:  B
  17. Pineapple Sweet Potatoes  Nutrition Grade:  B
  18. Pearl’s Cream Style Corn  Nutrition Grade:  A
  19. Chili con Carne with Beans  Nutrition Grade:  A
  20. Sum Gum  Nutrition Grade:  A
  21. Potato Bacon Soup  Nutrition Grade:  B-
  22. Easy Beans for Burritos  Nutrition Grade:  A

This list indicates that I failed on the second criteria as only 73% of the recipes had a grade of B or better.  If I eliminate the three recipes that had a grade of B-, that percentage drops to 63%.  Clearly, I didn’t pay enough attention to the nutritional content of the dishes that I prepared.   I failed on this objective, but it’s good to know that so many recipes made from canned food can be considered nutritious.  I was honestly surprised at the number of recipes that received a nutrition grade of A.

eflections on 30 days of cansWhat did I learn during my 30 days of cans?

I learned that using canned food products can simplify meal preparation without sacrificing taste.  I also learned that it’s possible to prepare nutritious meals using canned food items as a base.

The least nutritious recipes were:

  1.  Chocolate Mousse Cake which earned a nutrition grade of D
  2.  Rocky Road Fudge which also earned a nutrition grade of D

These scores weren’t much of a surprise since these were both desserts, and desserts aren’t generally known for their good nutritional content, but the canned fruit cobbler scored a B+.  That was a definite surprise.

Our favorite recipes for the month were:

Salmon PattiesSalmon Patties

Chocolate Mousse CakeChocolate Mousse Cake

Chicken Chile Verde Chicken Chili Verde

Canned Fruit Cobbler Canned Fruit Cobbler

Obviously, we have a pretty big sweet tooth since we chose two desserts as our favorites, but we really enjoyed all of the recipes we made during these 30 days.  It helped us to realize just how versatile canned foods can be.   Adding canned fruits, vegetables, and meats, purchased at the best possible price, to your pantry, will help you to get a nutritious meal on the table for your family without breaking the bank.  If you’re worried about the sodium content in canned food, we found several canned food products that were low sodium or had no added salt that were priced comparable to regular canned goods.  In addition there are many organic canned products on our grocer’s shelf, too.

What’s your opinion about canned foods?  Are they friend or foe?  Do they have a place in your kitchen?  Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

There’s one more thing before I go.  Since we have spent the last 30 days eating canned foods, we are considering some new yard art.  What do you think?   Let us know in the comment section.

Reflections on 30 days of CansThanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

2 thoughts on “Reflections on 30 Days of Cans

  1. Although I didn’t accept the 30 day challenge, I did use more canned products last month and read all of your recipes. I learned some interesting new facts. I didn’t think that most canned food was tasty (my main criteria as a food lover and culinary writer.) I also didn’t know that some recipes had a high nutritional value. I tried some canned vegetables for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. Canned asparagus is a new fave when fresh isn’t available. I add it to most of my pasta dishes now…easy and economical. I also add canned fruit to fresh fruit smoothies now. Thank you, Patty.
    I enjoy your ideas and summary.

    1. Brenda, I’m so glad that you enjoyed our month of canned food recipes. Did you know that you can use pureed canned asparagus to make a dip similar to guacamole? Well…it’s green and good with chips, but it’s not really guacamole. LOL.

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