Guess what? Jello won't gel unless it has an encounter with boiling water and then cold temperatures. I used sugar free Jello with regular tap water. It looked like the mixture was suspended in water. It tasted like Jello. But it continued in it's liquid state and never congealed at room temperature. It never congealed after being in the refrigerator over night.
I took it out and held it up before a window. It appeared as if there were really tiny little balls all through the solution. Declaring the experiment a failure I nuked it until it came to a boil and stirred. The solution became evenly transparent and the little balls disappeared. It gelled very quickly once I put it in the frig. So lesson learned. You can't make Jello without HEAT and COLD. But you could drink it because it tasted fine even in its rebellious state.
I do have a success story about packaged dehyrated soup. I knew I liked the Bear Creek brands of soups in a packet, but was not familiar with the Cugino's. I made Lemon Chicken and Rice yesterday. The recipe calls for 6 cups of water and 2 cups milk. I decided to use evaporated milk. One can was not quite 2 cups so just used water to make up the difference. It was delicious with nothing else added. However, I wanted to make it a true stand-alone supper meal. I added a can of Swanson's chicken and shredded it very fine. I think I created my first ever 100% pantry meal!
The directions call for the soup to simmer for 20 minutes and I found I had to stir more than the "occasionally" they suggested because the chicken stuck to the bottom of the pan. It never burned, but did have to be attended to. I had a lemon I needed to use so put extra lemon in my soup. Dear hubby liked his just the way it was.
The "best by" date is June 2014 so this is a great item to put on the shelf as you build your 30, 60, 90+ day storage of products you use everyday. The Bear Creek packages had dates ranging from a year to 18 months. I have used them YEARS after the "best by" dates and they had no discernible decrease in quality and flavor. The Nueva Cocina brands do not have dates on the packaging. They use only 3 to 4 cups of water so if you like Mexican foods and have a small family, they might work for you. The Bear Creek soups all seem to make up 8 servings of about 1 1/2 cups.
In the last post I mentioned the awful reality of bland mash potatoes and rice. A fellow prudent preparer suggested having cans of gravy available. I definitely am picking up some cans when they go on sale. However I have used the brown, chicken, turkey gravy mixes that come in a large container at Sam's. It makes up in less than 3 minutes, has no fat or oil, and tastes as good as my homemade which tends to lack something. These gravy mixes are a powder and dissolve with no lumps. I think this is a really important addition to your pantry stores. It is inexpensive and seems to last forever -- well maybe not forever. I been using the same jar for so long, I can't begin to calculate its age. The gravy is good. Maybe not as good as you make yourself, but better than what I turn out most of the time. It is 10 times better than what dear hubby makes. So you might want to consider picking up a jar or two