February is Canned Foods Month! We are celebrating the convenience, flavor, and health of canned foods this month. Darlene and Kristi talk about their favorite canned foods, how they use them, and recipes that use canned goods. Preppers rejoice! And go stock up on these pantry staples. 


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Show notes for episode 38 – You Can Do It With Canned Foods!

February is Canned Foods Month! Darlene and Kristi celebrated by talking about how we use these handy foods to make everyday cooking work for us in a healthful and delicious way! While this episode is late – we trust you’ll find ways to make every month canned foods month! 

We should probably distinguish that we are only talking about commercially canned foods not home-canned. Though, the celebration of canned food month does include home-canned foods! 

Commercially canned foods: to make sure that food is packed at the peak of freshness, most canning facilities are located near orchards/farms/ ect. Near where the food is grown. As foods age, they begin to shed some of their essential nutrients. Fruits and vegetables especially have the highest nutrient content when they are ripest. 



According to a 1997 University of Illinois study and other recent studies, the canning process actually may help to enhance the nutrient profile of certain foods. Canned pumpkin, for example, contains 540% of the Recommended Daily Intake of vitamin A, while the same amount of fresh pumpkin has only 26%. Other foods like canned beans have higher fiber content, and canned tomatoes contain significantly higher quantities of lycopene, an essential phytonutrient, than fresh tomatoes.


Other interesting things to know about cans…

Don’t use cans that are leaking, bulging, or badly dented. Could be a sign of botulism – neurotoxin. 

Yes and even ingesting a small amount will affect your body

Do not store: Above the stove, below the sink, in a damp garage or basement, directly on cement floors, or any placed exposed to high or low-temperature extremes. (Preparednessmama.com)


Darlene’s Fav Canned Foods: 

  • Canned tomatoes of all kinds 
  • I buy what’s cheap or sometimes organic and low sodium 
  • Amy’s organic refried beans 
  • Pumpkin!
  • Garbanzo beans (for the aqua faba!) – any beans you like have this liquid, but garbanzo beans are really plain flavor that go sweet or savory as an egg replacer. 
  • Olives for pizza slices black 
  • Green diced chilies
  • Fruit like Mandarin oranges and Pineapple, peaches, apple sauce for Libby 
  • Coconut milk
  • Canned seafood like tuna and clams for easy dinners and clam chowder 
  • Water chestnuts — Kristi loves these in dressing or stuffing
  • Pickled beets and beans 
  • Enchilada sauce — HERDEZ® Salsa Verde Mild in the 16oz jar 

Kristi’s Fav canned foods: 

  • Beans #1!! 
  • Tomatoes petite diced
  • Beans – refried
  • Tomatoes
  • Soup
  • Enchilada sauce – La Victoria! 
  • Baked beans
  • Fruit – peaches, pineapple, “orangies”, applesauce 
  • Chicken or veggie broth
  • Baked beans


What we DON’T like canned: 

Canned veggies (canned corn grosses me out – I prefer frozen) let’s do a freezer episode soon!

Soups (except stocks) – But Kristi loves canned soup! 

Potted meat ? or spam. Except for musubi rolls!

Beans – these are a sometimes buy for Darlene – but a staple for Kristi


Favorite recipes! {Mostly quick dinner ideas!}

  • Vegetarian chili 
  • “Yumm Bowls” – Like Cafe Yumm… 
  • Soup – Makes it super easy, I use this as a meal for lunch or with a grilled cheese or salad for a quick dinner
  • Broth – can be used to make soups from scratch quickly. I also used canned tomatoes, chilis, beans, and fresh/frozen veggies to make salads. 
  • Side dishes for dinner.
  • Salad – add canned fruit, like mandarin oranges. We will also use the mandarin oranges as a side dish for several meals.
  • Make pizza and pasta sauce from scratch (occasionally) using canned tomatoes, and tomato paste. 
  • Enchilada casserole or even regular enchiladas (we make veggie ones!)
  • Appetizer – Buffalo chicken dip 
  • For the holidays, I will use canned (or boxed) gravy from Trader Joe’s 
  • Water chestnuts- they go in dressing or stuffing  or stir fry
  • Chili
  • Chilaquiles 
  • Soups or sauces with stock
  • Casseroles (mushroom soup from this brand: https://www.pacificfoods.com/our-products/condensed-soups/organic-cream-of-mushroom-condensed-soup/
  • Pizza sauce and pasta sauce also but we make pizza sauce with canned tomato paste and jazz it up! 


Cans are cool!



Darlene – Food has fallen to the wayside – I’m feeling a little burned out. 

Kristi – None. I’m not feelin’ it. Someone else making it for me. 


Food for thought:

Darlene: Take the help where you can. We just need some extra shortcuts right now and canned foods are a nutritious and delicious way to get that help. Feed yourself something great from the pantry. 


What’s for dinner? 

Darlene – Leftover pizza. HA! 

Kristi – Burgers, we went to Kaiser (North of Salem) last weekend and Brandon brought home some sauce from In-N-Out, so he has been wanting to make burgers with it.


Kristi’s Enchilada Casserole: 


1 can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted or regular)

1 small can green chilies 

1 can black or pinto beans, drained

1 cup frozen corn 

1 cup chopped bell peppers (or frozen bell pepper mix from Trader Joe’s!)

About 12 flour or corn Tortillas (either cut into strips, or whole)

Enchilada Sauce (Kristi likes the large can of La Victoria for this)

2 cups Colby jack or cheddar cheese, shredded




Mix up the tomatoes, chilis, beans, corn and bell peppers in a bowl or in a skillet and warm gently. 

Warm the tortillas and Put a little enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pyrex pan.

On a flat tortilla, sprinkle a little of the cheese and add ½ a cup of filling to a tortilla and roll-up. Place in the pan, seam side down. Fill the rest of the pan. Pour the enchilada sauce on top to cover the enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese (Darlene likes to add sliced black olives here too). 

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes. 

You can mix up this filling and freeze half of it to make a 9×9 pan that night for dinner, and have enough ready to go for another 9×9 pan later! 

To make this more “casserole” style, cut the tortillas into strips and mix up filling, tortilla strips, some of the cheese, and sauce then pour into a pan. Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 


Tough Cookie: 



Where to find Darlene

Pickle Jar Studios website
Pickle Jar Studios on Instagram


Where to find Kristi:    

kristi coughlin


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