Blog

Chili Potatoes

Mazama PotatoThis post might seem premature for some folks but for us here in Washington State we’ve felt like sprig has been with us for quite some time now. Sometimes during the spring we need a meal that is warm enough to fight back the icy west wind but easy enough so that we can just throw it on and let it cook while we dedicate ourselves to some serious cleaning, yes, we’re already doing spring cleaning and planting. That meal for the Rill Family is often baked potatoes covered in piping hot chili.

You will need:

Baked Potatoes: 5 medium Russet Potatoes olive oil salt pepper

Chili: 1 package of Rill Foods Taneum Canyon Chili or Mount Mazama Lentil Chili 1 15 oz can tomato sauce 1 lb meat of choice (optional)

Toppings: shredded cheese bacon bits sour cream chives etc.

Directions:

Cook Chili by following the directions on the package. If you are making a bean chili you will want to soak the beans for 6 to 8 hours before. Start the chili right before you start to bake the potatoes. It should take about the same amount of time, just enough time to prepare and baked the potatoes. Once the potatoes are done cover them with the chili and any additional toppings. ENJOY!!

Bake Potatoes:
1.
Preheat oven to 425° F. While you’re waiting for it to heat prepare the potatoes.

2.Clean the potatoes. Scrub them thoroughly under running water and pat them dry. You don’t have to remove the eyes, but trim away any blemishes.

3. Rub the potatoes all over with a little olive oil. It’s easiest to use your hands but messy, a pastry brush would work too. Generously sprinkle or rub salt and pepper over the potatoes.

4. Prick the potatoes in 10-15 places with the tines of a fork. This allows steam to escape from the potato while it’s baking.

5. You can bake the potatoes directly on the oven rack, or you can place them a few inches apart on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake the potatoes for 50-60 minutes. Flip them over every 20 minutes and check if they’re done by piercing them with a fork. Potatoes are done when the insides feel completely soft when poked.

New Signature Chicken Base

We have exciting news, after two years of trial and error we have finally created our very own signature chicken base! We started to make our own vegetarian beef and vegetable flavors in early 2012 but for some reason the perfect chicken base eluded us for an extra two years.

Our taste testers, friends and family in the tiny community of Thorp, trudged through bowl after bowl of chicken broth. As we progressed the descriptions changed from salty water, to something you would buy in the store, to where we are now, a broth that 10 out of 10 people say make our soups taste even better.

Omak Kick'n ChickenAt the end of November we realized our recipe was completed, there was just one thing left to do. For the final challenge we put the new broth up against it’s toughest critics, the Rill Family and die hard Rill Foods fans. We made each soup and gave out the samples. Each time people said “even better than before”, “wow, so much flavor”, “now, this is tasty” and “this has always been my favorite soup but now its even better”.

Not only is this new base delicious but it is also more natural, healthier and has less salt. Below you can read the ingredients of the new chicken base (first) and the previous chicken base (second).  In an effort to remove high risk GMO foods we’ve also made the chicken base, along with our beef and vegetable, without corn or soy. So you can feel better about feeding them to
your family.

Soon we’ll be through all of our back stock and everything you buy will be made with the new chicken. For now though, if you want the new chicken leave a comment on your order or ask us on the phone and we can make sure the soups you get have the new chicken.

 

NEW Recipe:  Tapioca maltodextrin, potato flour, onion, garlic, natural chicken broth, dried chicken, garlic, cane sugar, celery, curry turmeric, black pepper.

OLD Recipe: Salt, corn syrup solids, corn starch, hydrolyzed soy protein (partially hydrogenated cotton seed and/or soybean oils added), chicken fat (natural flavor), sugar, silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent), artificial flavor, dehydrated onion, turmeric and other spices, disodium inosinate and disodium quanylate (flavor enhancers), NO MSG. CONTAINS SOY.

Same Soup, New Name. Hurricane Ridge Chicken Chili

We participate in lots of shows that sell directly to consumers and shows that sell to businesses.Lemolo Chicken Chili At both types of show people would ask us about the Lemolo White Bean Chicken Chili. With noses slightly crinkled and lips pulled slightly down they would say “Lemon? Eww.” or “Does this really have lemon in it?”

At first we just thought it was a fluke, one random person who saw Lemolo and thought lemon. After the 2 dozenth time however, we accepted the fact that our name might not have been the best fit. A year and a half ago we started discussing whether to change the name. Finally a few weeks ago we decided that we would.

The white bean chicken chili that so many people love is now going to be known as Hurricane Ridge Chicken Chili. We are hoping that the change will increase the popularity of the soup and draw more people from the Olympic Peninsula to our line.

How do you like the new name? Tell us what you think. Join us on Facebook to help us name future soups.

Read the new history here:
     Hurricane ridge offers unparalleled views of the Olympic Peninsula. In the late 1800’s a prospector wandered to the top of the ridge on a windy day, as he leaned into the wind he is said to have given the ridge its name. “It’s like a bloody hurricane!” he said, as the legend goes. From his spot on the summit he would’ve been able to see Port Angeles, Sequim, Mount Olympus, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and even into Canada.
     As you drive up the ridge road it snakes around the south side of the hill. Looking off to your left you can see deep canyon carved by small rivers and the sprawling Olympic Rain Forest. At the crest of the hill the view pulls on your stomach and sits heavy on your body. Such beauty cannot help but awaken a small part in all of us that longs for adventure and the freedom felt only in wilderness. Wildflower meadows spread as far as the eyes can see from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and mountain goats dot the steep hills.
     Hurricane Ridge sits inside the Olympic National Park, created in 1938 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, to protect the calving ground of Roosevelt elk. The creation of the national park has protected wilderness lands on the Olympic peninsula and also opened the way for projects such as the Elwha dam removal.
     In 2011, the largest dam removal project in history started inside the Olympic National Park, just west of Hurricane Ridge. The project had unusually wide acceptance and support on a public and governmental level because of its location within the park.
     In 2013, the river now runs free. Salmon and trout have begun to once again spawn in the rivers and people have hope that maybe once again the Elwha will be know as one of the best salmon rivers in the Pacific Northwest. It’s arguable that this project would have never been approved if the dams hadn’t landed in the Olympic national forest 20 years after they were built.

 

Lentil and Brown Rice with extra sausage and veggies

I like to spice up the lentil and brown rice with tons of vegetables and sausage. Of course IDSCN0297 add the basics, some extra carrots and fresh tomatoes instead of canned but double what the recipe calls for. Sometimes is even throw in some extra onion because, really, when is there ever too much onion.

My favorite thing to add to the lentil and brown rice though, is red cabbage. I like it when it is still a little crunchy so what I do is add in a cup of cabbage, a cup and a half if I’m really feeling the vegetables, about 20 minutes before the rice is done. This way I make sure that it is cooked enough to be passable for the other members of the family but just crunchy enough for my taste.

Don’t forget to add some sausage too. It’s no longer a Daniel Fast edible soup once you add meat but it’s still healthy and maybe even more delicious. My favorite is a sweet apple sage sausage I get at a local store.

Remember to experiment when you make the soups. Of course they are great just out of the bag but it’s always rewarding to play with your food and have it turn out even more amazing.
DSCN0275

 

How to open these frustrating little bags

We know, we know the bags of soup can be quite frustrating if your trying to open them in a rush. Hopefully this post will help you open up your bag without spilling beans all over the floor.

You will need:
Butter knife
Scissors
Package of soup

DSCN0248

DSCN0250

1. Use the butter knife to remove the staples from the label. You’ll want to keep this in one piece since the directions are on the back and there are little tidbits and facts on the bottom.

 

A. From the back of the package pry open the fold of the staples
B. After prying open the back folds of the staples slip you butter knife under the staple and pull gently directly toward you. The staples should come right out and the label slip right off.

DSCN02562. With the soup facing away from you pull up on the little flap that was folded over when the soup was sealed.

3. Cut open the package with the scissors.DSCN0257

Traveling Soups

A few years ag Ninon’s daughter and niece started a tradition on a pleasure trip to Europe. They took a picture of a beat up little package of St. Marie’s Wild Chicken soup. Soon the soup was popping up in all sorts of pictures and a tradition was born. In the two years since we started taking our own traveling soup pictures and asking others to send in their’s we have seen our soups in Europe, Southeast Asia, and all over the U.S.

If you have pictures of Rill Specialty soups traveling the world send them to us at rills@fairpoint.net and we’ll share them on our Facebook. Then we’ll send you a coupon for our online store.

Check out some of our favorite pictures below or see them all on our Facebook page.

 

The picture that started it all. Belgrade, Serbia.
The picture that started it all. Belgrade, Serbia.


484026_411877068848700_890769111_n
555798_408607352509005_1226059707_n 551093_411877088848698_592678053_n
315452_406912232678517_1491106388_n

380252_378001918902882_1890717830_n
319839_379906802045727_1504231165_n 1970448_637310802971991_583474439_n
1557496_619301128106292_1187067323_n 1272707_564310263605379_331563137_o 1237767_555472424489163_20966714_n10876_554923677877371_9767521_n 544747_547698905266515_715301817_n418496_416535585049515_1434604074_n 59191_507331522636587_692394679_n 402028_416538568382550_586800745_n

 

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed peppers straight out of the ovenThese stuffed peppers are just to die for! Not only do they taste fantastic they are
super simple to make. All you have to do is throw a package of Wapato Stuffed Pepper soup on the stove then chop up a few bell peppers and brown your meat while you wait for it to cook. Total time for this meal is about 1.5 hours total prep time in the kitchen however is only about 30 minutes

You will need:
Original size Wapato Stuffed Pepper Soup
6 oz can tomato sauceBell peppers
1 lb meat of choice
4 large bell peppers
Grated cheese (optional)
Sautéed onions (optional)
Jalapeño peppers (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F
2. Cook the Wapato Stuffed Pepper soup. Cut the water from 7 cups to 8 cups and use 1/2 can of tomato paste instead of tomato sauce.
3. While you are waiting for the water to boil brown your meat. After you’ve browned the meat add it to the pot of soup.
4. Prepare the bell peppers and optional toppings while you are waiting for the rice to soften completely. You can either cut the tops off of the bell peppers or cut them in half lengthwise. After you cut them clean out the seeds and set themWapato stuffed peppers aside.
5. When the rice is soft, approx. 20-25 minutes, scoop it into the waiting bell
peppers.
6. Add any optional toppings (onions, jalapeños, cheese, bread crumbs etc. We used sautéed onions and spicy sausage) then place the peppers in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the peppers reach your desired texture.
7. Enjoy!!

Meet the Staff – Jill S

I was born in Auburn, Washington and spent most of my childhood in and around my birth town. If you’ve never had the opportunity to travel to the Auburn/Black Diamond area imagine it as a hidden suburbia surrounded by dense forest. As a child I occupied myself playing in the woods that surrounded my home or pretending that I was stranded on an island. Metro buses didn’t come to Black Diamond, you either had to take the school bus to town or drive, so it was never hard to imagine ourselves completely cut off from the world. This Jill S.feeling of being “stuck” made me appreciate the trees around me and all that they had to offer. As I’ve grown older I still enjoy thinking about all the adventures I discovered in the forests surrounding my home and the good times I had beneath the sweeping boughs of the trees.

As I grew older I moved to Kent, then Renton. After my daughter, Mikayla was born though I decided that I wanted to move to a smaller town and I found Ellensburg. Ellensburg has a slower pace of life and the small town atmosphere I was looking for. We have been so happy in Ellensburg the last fourteen years that I don’t think we’ll ever move back to city life.

I’ve been at Rill’s for over a month now and despite the fact that the shipping room is cold enough to store a popsicle I couldn’t be happier. I enjoy shipping soups to happy customers despite the fact that sometimes I have to ship with cold clumsy fingers. I enjoy working in the production room too mostly because it smells so good. The first day I worked in the production room I came home and my daughter couldn’t stop talking about how good my clothes smelt. Needless to say we filled our bellies with Omak Kick’n Chicken that night. I look forward to making quality food and shipping tasty soups to satisfied customers in the months to come.

 

The Saga of the Machines

The first day we unpacked the machines. The giant smiles give away the fact that we didn't know how much trouble they were going to cause us yet.
The first day we unpacked the machines. The giant smiles give away the fact that we didn’t know how much trouble they were going to cause us yet.

Saga is the only word that can truly describe our most recent journey that has spanned more than three months and has finally culminated with two functioning machines. Ninon, our fearless leader and the owner of Rill Foods, didn’t take the decision of buying two new machines lightly. She researched for almost two years, checked out competing machine manufactures, called companies to ask about their equipment and was only convinced when she was able to go to a trade show and see the machines in action herself.

She came back to the production site with good news, we were going to be getting two new machines. They would work in tandem to measure out and bag all our single component items with little human oversight. The idea was that what currently took us 15 hours every week would soon take 15 hours every 6 months to accomplish. Now all we had to do was wait. Each machine is made specifically with the buyers needs in mind and tested to make sure it works as it should. We sent hundreds of dollars worth of product to Pennsylvania where our machine was being tested and set back easy in out seats knowing in 6 or 8 months we would never have to weigh another beef base by hand.

Finally when the day came to see our machines in person for the first time we went to California to get a little bit of training.  This is where the problems started. Sixty pounds of vegetable base in hand we arrived eager to see some magic. We couldn’t get the vegetable base to work. One bag would weigh 17 grams, then the next 25 grams, then 10, then 27, then 16, it was all over the place. At one point Lacey asked “Did you pay yet? Can we just leave it here?”. It had been paid for. Panic subsided once we finally got it dialed down within a gram of what it should be three bags in a row.

When the machines were shipped to our production facility in Thorp, Washington they didn’t even fit through the door to our warehouse, it was 1 cm too tall. After getting creative and removing the trim from around the door we squeezed it into the warehouse and found it a nice home out of the way. There it sat unassuming in a corner for almost 3 more weeks until we finally got the right type of electricity (this was another debacle in itself).

Lori is putting the insides of our auger machine together in this picture.
Lori is putting the insides of our auger machine together in this picture.

After we got electricity the problems with the machines were just getting started. We couldn’t get anything to work. We tried different products, different revolutions, different heights of the auger, different types of agitation and nothing gave us consistent weights for more that a few bags at a time. Finally after Ninon talked the sales man’s ear off he told us that he would stop by during his personal time on his way to Seattle and get it working for us.

Here Lori is putting the hopper, the bowl that holds the product, onto the auger machine.
Here Lori is putting the hopper, the bowl that holds the product, onto the auger machine.

He spent six hours without so much as a bathroom break trying to get our machines to work before he told us what we already knew in the back of our minds, something was wrong. The machines that we had just spent thousands of dollars and countless hours of time on did not work. Then the hardest part started, convincing the producers that there was in fact something wrong with the machine other than our incompetence.

We tried everything that they asked, we took videos and explained over and over what was happening. Finally exasperated they asked us to send, for the second time, hundreds of dollars worth of product to their testing facility. At the testing facility they found out that they sent us the wrong tooling from the get go. We had been trying to shove a round peg into a square hole for weeks, no for months and it would never have happened if they had actually tested the products we had sent almost a year earlier.

Now here we are at what we hope is the end of the saga. The machines are working well and we are learning every day how to use them better. What used to take us 12 hours to do now takes us 2. We can spend one week working on what used to be 3 months worth of work. Check out our video to see our new machines in action and breathe a sigh of relief with us knowing how long and tumultuous this journey was!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtsFeWhS-LI]

Homemade Spinach Noodles – Miner’s Minestrone

Noodles out of a box can be quick and easy but no noodle out of a box can light a candle to homemade egg noodles.  When Ninon (owner of Rill Specialty Foods) was a kid her mom used to make her own noodles all the time. Ninon and her 5 siblings would practically beg for them. Nancy, Ninon’s mom, would make a minimum of 3 heaping gallons of noodles every time. When Ninon had her own kids she made noodles for them and when she started her deli she would make chicken noodle soup with her noodles any time the weather turned. You can make homemade noodles that will warm your family’s stomachs too.

Homemade egg noodles are incredibly easy. The hardest part can be cutting them but even that can be done with a butter knife or a long chef’s knife.

You will need:Spinach in the blender
1/2 lb spinach
1 eggs
1 cup flour (or until mixture is no longer sticky)

Directions:
1. Put the spinach in a food processor and chop until fine (you can do this by hand too you just need to chop for a while)
2. Add eggs to the spinach and mix well
3. Add 1/2 cup flour, blend wellCut Noodles
4. Remove mixture from food processor and add additional flour until the mixture can be kneaded.
5. Knead until gluten activates, the dough will become springy
6. Roll out the dough 1/8 of an inch thick or thinner and cut into 1/4 inch wide strips or to desired size.
7. Add an extra cup of water to the Minestrone and the desired amount of noodles then drop the rest into boiling water and use as a side dish.
The noodles will take about 15 or 20 minutes to cook.

Getting Rid of Fruit Flies

Spring is in the air at the Rill Foods Production facility!! The crocuses have started to bloom, the day lilies are peeking out from underneath their mulch and the red breasted Robins are back in hoards. These signs of spring are a welcome reminder  that life is returning and rejuvenating after a long dreary winter. The returns of some animals however, are not so celebrated here at Rills.

Just yesterday we saw the first fruit fly of the year hanging out in a basket of oranges. We compost all of the scraps out of our kitchen and every summer these little buggers find a way in then multiply, seemingly by the thousands, in just a matter of hours. But no longer will we have to tolerate these little buggers! Lacey (read her story here), found a nice little trick to get rid of the flying menaces.

Method 1
Put 2 tsp of cider vinegar, 1 tsp sugar and several drops of liquid soap in a bowl of water.
The vinegar and sugar attract the fruit flies then the soap kills them.

Method 2
Partially fill a small bowl with apple cider vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap. Poke holes in the top of the plastic wrap.
This method traps the fruit flies and they won’t be able to get back out.

Whole Wheat Bread Bowls

Bread bowls are delicious, plain and simple. Like many things in life though they are even better when you make them yourself. Attached is the recipe we use at Rills when we make bread bowls.

Usually we will fill them up with a chili then pile cheese and chives on top or fill them to the brim with the St. Marie’s Wild Chicken. Leftover bread bowls are equally good a few days later sliced, toasted and slathered with butter or jam.

Ingredients:Bread Bowl
4 cups warm water
3 Tbsp honey or sugar
2 cups wheat flour
2 cups white unbleached flour
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp instant yeast

Add ingredients to mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Continue adding whole wheat flour until the mixture cleans the sides of the mixing bowl. Knead with a kneading hook on low for 6-8 minutes or by hand for 10. Let the dough rise for 15 minutes. Knock the dough down and knead the dough once or twice. Let the dough rise for another 15 minutes then knock it down and knead once or twice.

Once you have let the dough rise twice shape the dough into rounds and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Slash the tops of the bowls. Let rise until doubled. Brush with eggs (optional) Bake in preheated 350° oven for 25-30 minutes.

bread Bowl with Mount Mazama Lentil Chili

Cut small pieces off the top of the bread bowls then use a fork to hollow out the insides. Be careful not to punch through the sides or bottom.

Makes approx. 6 bread bowls.

Mount Mazama Lentil Chili – Pile on the Vegetables

P1060979

Just a few weeks ago we attended a trade show in Seattle. While we were there we stayed with some of Ninon’s family in Redmond. One night the cousins made us the Mount Mazama Lentil Chili for dinner and it was just fantastic. 

The Mount Mazama is our newest soup and we knew it was a good soup but our cousin took it to a whole new level. She added lots of vegetable and extra chopped tomatoes along with the normal tomato sauce. The vegetables did a great job soaking up a little bit of the spicy kick and added a nice well rounded flavor to the dish.

You will need

Chopped tomatoes & tomato sauce
Fresh or frozen vegetables (a freezer bag of assorted veggies works perfect)
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Carrots
Tomatoes etc..

We encourage you to play with your soups a bit. It is so easy to completely change the soups by adding one or two ingredients. Experiment. Enjoy. Then tell us what you did! Share it with us on Facebook or by email soups@rillsonline.com .

Go to Daniel Fast Meal

One of the reasons why cooking according to the Daniel Fast can be so hard is probably because it seems too simple. When a person is standing over the oven it’s hard to tell themselves that not everything needs to be drenched in ketchup, slathered in mayo, topped with cheese or overflowing with meat. Sometimes all a meal needs is basic whole grains and fresh steamed vegetables.

Brown Rice and Vegetables
You will need:
1/4 of Brown rice per person (dry)
1/2 cup fresh cut vegetables per person

Examples:
onion
fresh garlic
broccoli
cauliflower
cabbage
zucchini
carrots
bok choy
any vegetable really

Cook the rice according to the directions. Note that brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice. When the rice is done/ almost done cook your vegetables. You can steam them or fly them up in a skillet. Try cooking the vegetables with water instead of oil if you put them in a skillet. Top rice with vegetables and enjoy. Season with just salt and pepper for a real simple back to the basics dinner.

If you want to throw some chili powder in the mix, some cumin, black pepper, and a little extra garlic you can alway make some homemade tortillas too!