May 19, 2017

Jani's Salsa

6 fresh big tomatoes
1/8 of a large onion
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/8 c jalapeno
squeeze of lemon juice
Blend until you like the consistency.

Homemade "Rotel"

Caught with no Rotel in your pantry? We were and queso for our taco salad just wasn't going to be the same. Enter the quest for how to make it.
28oz can of diced tomatoes (fresh if you have it!)
1/6 cup (2T + 2tsp) apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/8 c jalapeno
3 slices of bell pepper
2oz green chiles

Put it all in your blender or food processor and blend until you like the consistency.

April 13, 2017

Grape Jam

We were recently gifted a few flats of black grapes and having never tasted them before, we found the grape to be good but the skin to be rather thick. Not exactly something we want to snack on. Enter in the decision to make jam. After looking through a few recipes I've decided we needed to just follow some instinct and surge ahead. This site has great pictures though to help you along if you need a visual. Since the grapes didn't slip easily out of their skin we've chosen to start the mash, squishing out the pulp/juice, straining, then composting the skin.

1. gather the equipment: jars, lids, rings, towel to put hot jars on, canning pot filled with water, pot for mixing the jam, wet cloth, funnel, tongs, metal spoon, strainer for the skins/seeds, 1 frozen spoon

2. For this recipe you need 3# Concord grapes and 3c sugar. We might venture into some mixed flavorings if this turns out for us.

3. Put the grapes in a tall pot and squish them slightly with a potato masher. Once the juice is coming out turn the heat on. You want the grapes to be heated all the way through, usually takes about 5-10 minutes. Continue squashing the grapes to get the pulp out. Strain the grapes/juice to remove skin and any seeds.

4. Return the pulp/juice back to the pot and in the sugar. Stir it together and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Keep stirring! As it thickens, skim off the foam that forms on the top like it does with the strawberry jam. When it looks thicker, get the spoon from the freezer, spoon some jelly on the back of it. If it drips off you need to cook the jam longer. If it slides off in a smooth sheet then it's ready to put in jars.

5. Ladle the jam into your prepared jars leaving 1/4" space at the top. Using your clean wet cloth, wipe the rim and place a lid on each jar. Place rings on the jars and screw on but not completely tightened. Put the jars into the water bath that is boiling and ready. Process your pint or half pints for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars onto a towel to allow them to cool for about 24 hours. You should hear the lids popping as they cool and create suction. Tighten the lids and place in the pantry.

January 13, 2017

Enchiladas Verdes

While on vacation in Dec 2016, we had dinner with our friends and Leslie made these delicious enchiladas for us. I've never had green sauce before; it was just something I preferred to pretend didn't exist. But man have I been missing out!!!

For the sauce:
2# green tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
2 serrano chiles
1 cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup white onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp safflower or corn oil

For the enchiladas:
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Oil for frying the tortillas
12 corn tortillas
½ cup Mexican style cream can substitute for heavy cream
½ cup crumbled queso fresco, farmers cheese, cotija or mild feta
1/3 cup white onion, chopped for garnish

Place the tomatillos and garlic cloves in a pot and cover with water. Place over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until tomatillos change their color from bright to pale green, are cooked through, and are soft but not coming apart.

Place the tomatillos, garlic and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the blender and puree. Add the chiles serranos, cilantro leaves, onion, and salt; puree again until smooth. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, but not smoking, pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer over medium heat for about 6 minutes, until it thickens and deepens in color. Taste for salt and add more if need be.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, add enough oil to have about 1/2" depth. Let it heat about 3 minutes. Gently "pass each tortilla through the oil," one by one, for about 15 seconds on each side, they will soften and become resilient. You should be able to fold them without breaking them. Transfer them to a paper towel covered plate.

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Place about 2-3 tablespoons chicken inside of each tortilla and roll them up. Place them, seam side down on a baking dish. Cover, generously, with the green sauce. Place them in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven, sprinkle with the crumbled cheese, the cream, and the chopped onion. They are very satisfying with a side of rice and/or beans, as well as with a light green salad.
Eat the enchiladas while they are hot!

November 15, 2016

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I found this recipe while searching for a moist oatmeal cookie. We made it, forgot the eggs the first time, and it was still wonderful. I also have a little trick to drop the raisins in hot water before adding to the batter; it plumps them up very nicely.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups oats (not instant)
1 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350°.
Whisk dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, baking powder, salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar with a hand mixer on low. Add, eggs and vanilla. Cream together by increasing speed to high and beat until fluffy and the color lightens. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until no flour is visible. (Over mixing develops the gluten, making a tough cookie.) Add the oats and raisins; stir to incorporate.

Measure 2 tablespoons of dough and drop 2" apart onto baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake 11-13 minutes on center rack, until golden, but still moist beneath cracks on top.
Remove from oven; let cookies sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Drizzle with icing as desired.

September 21, 2016

Orange Marmalade

We had a big box of oranges so before they go bad I had to find something to do with them. Enter jelly. It's my fall back plan when we have a bunch of extra fruit. A quick google search found this recipe so while I'm saving it today, it's the first time we'll be making it. Hopefully it comes out tasty!

3/4 pounds of oranges, 4 to 5 medium
1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
6 cups water
3 pounds plus 12 ounces sugar
10 8oz canning jars with rings and lids OR 5 pint jars

Wash the oranges and lemon thoroughly.
Zest the oranges and lemon.
Juice the lemon, discarding the pieces and seeds. Save the juice.
Peal the oranges removing as much pith as you can.
Use a knife or mandolin and slice fruit into 1/8" slices, removing the seeds as you go.
Place the fruit into an 8-quart stainless steel pot. Add the zest and juice and the water to the pot, set over high heat and bring to a boil, approximately 10 minutes.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes or until the fruit is very soft.

Fill the bath canner 3/4 full with water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Place jars, rings, canning funnel, ladle, and tongs into the boiling water and make sure the water covers the jars by at least 1". Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the lids and leave everything in the pot until the marmalade is ready.

Meanwhile, place a small plate in the freezer. Increase the heat under the orange mixture to return to full boil. Add the sugar and stir the mixture continually, until it reaches 222 to 223 degrees F on a deep-fry or candy thermometer, and darkens in color, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. You may need to adjust the heat in order to prevent boil over. Test the readiness of the marmalade by placing a teaspoon of the mixture onto the chilled plate and allowing it to sit for 30 seconds. Tilt the plate. The mixture should be a soft gel that moves slightly. If mixture is thin and runs easily, it is not ready.

Remove jars from the water and drain on a clean towel. Fill the jars using the ladle to just below the bottom of the threads of the jar. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used. The amount of marmalade may vary by 1-2 jars. Wipe the rims and threads of the jars with a moist paper towel and top each with a lid. Place a ring on each jar and tighten.

Return the jars to the canning bath of boiling water, being certain that they don't touch the bottom of the pot or each other. Add additional water if necessary to cover the jars by at least 1". Boil for 10 minutes. Using canning tongs, carefully remove the jars from the water, place in a cool dry place and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours before opening.
Once open, store in the refrigerator. Unopened marmalade will last for up to 6 months.

May 16, 2016

Hunan Beef

This spicy dish came through email from Blog Chef and can be found here. We doubled it for 6 with no leftovers so keep that in mind if you make the original recipe amount.

1.5# flank steak, sliced into thin strips
2 egg whites
2 tablespoon cornstarch
oil for frying
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon chili paste with garlic
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
Several drops sesame oil to taste
4 garlic cloves (minced)
8 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoon dry sherry
¼ teaspoon salt

Boil/Steam broccoli, drain, set aside for mixing with beef.
In a medium bowl combine beef, egg white and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside. In another bowl mix together soy sauce and chili paste. Mix in cornstarch, sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. Set aside.
Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375°. Deep fry strips of beef in batches for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sauce mixture to the wok and cook until it becomes thickened and bubbly. Mix in cooked beef strips and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broccoli. Remove from the pan to a platter and set aside.
Serve over white rice.

Bake Sale Lemon Bars

About to try these for the first time but we're using lime instead of lemon. The original recipe is here from Taste of Home.

3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1½ cups + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour, divided
3 large eggs
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
extra powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar until blended. Gradually beat in 1½ cups flour. Press into bottom of a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
In a small bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and remaining flour until frothy; pour over hot crust.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until lemon mixture is set and lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with additional powdered sugar. Cut into bars. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 4 dozen.

Italian Lemon/Lime Pound Cake

I think I found this recipe through an email, but either way, here is the original. As usual we've twerked it a bit, preferring more lemon instead of just a mild taste of lemon. Find your balance. Even more twerking we made it a second time using lime instead of lemon. mmmm

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup of sour cream
6 tablespoons lemon/lime juice
zest of 2 lemons/limes (about 2 tbsp)
1 teaspoon of vanilla

For the Glaze:
¼ cup butter, softened
1½ cup powdered sugar
4-6 tablespoon lemon juice, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 300°. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream, lemon juice, vanilla,and lemon zest.
Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix in the buttermilk and then add in the remaining flour mixture. Mix just until the flour disappears. Pour the cake batter into a bundt pan that has been generously sprayed with baking spray.
Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Turn the cake over on a cake platter. Spread half of the lemon glaze over the warm cake so that the glaze can soak into the cake. Let the cake cool completely and drizzle the remaining glaze over the cake.

Cream the butter and slowly add powdered sugar and lemon juice. Beat well until the glaze is a creamy smooth consistency.

April 22, 2016

Stew/Pot Roast with Veggies

We had a 4# package of stew meat, not the ground up for chili kind, but the beef chunks. We followed Ree's recipe here but changed a few things. Like making it a gravy instead of a soup. Big difference.

6 (3+3) Tablespoons Olive Oil 
2 Tablespoon Butter 
4# Beef Stew Meat (chuck Roast Cut Into Chunks) 
Salt And Pepper 
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced 
3 cloves Garlic, Minced 
6 ounces, weight Tomato Paste 
4 cups Low Sodium Beef Stock Or Broth, More If Needed For Thinning 
Several Dashes Worcestershire 
6 whole Carrots, Peeled And Diced 
2 whole Turnips, Peeled And Diced (we used potatoes) 
4 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley

Rinse, dry, and salt and pepper stew meat. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add butter, and as soon as it melts, brown about 1/3 of the stew meat until the outside gets nice and brown, about 2 minutes but DO NOT CROWD THE MEAT. (Turn it as it browns.) Remove the meat and put it on a plate. Add more of the meat to the pot and brown it, too. Remove it to the same plate and set the meat aside.

Add the onion and garlic to the pot, stirring it to coat it in all the brown bits in the bottom of the pot. Cook for two minutes, then add the tomato paste to the pot. Stir it into the onions and let it cook for two more minutes.

Pour in the beef stock, stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire, stir, then add the beef back to the pot, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1½-2 hours.

After 1½-2 hours, add the diced turnips(potatoes) and carrots to the pot. Stir to combine, put the lid back on the pot, and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. The sauce should be very thick, but if it seems overly so, splash in some beef broth until it thins it up enough. Feel free to add beef broth as needed!

When the carrots and turnips are tender, stir in minced parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with extra minced parsley at the end.

April 11, 2016

Chocolate Pudding

We've wanted to make our own for a long time and a recipe was posted on Pioneer Woman that fit the bill. We loved it however it does have a more dark chocolate taste. If you're looking for a milk chocolate taste this won't fit the bill. We also doubled this for a nice serving size for 6 people.

2 Large Egg Yolks
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
2 cups Whole Milk, Divided
½ cup Sugar
¼ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
¼ teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Chocolate Extract or Vanilla Extract

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks for about 60 seconds until light yellow and increased in volume, then whisk in the cornstarch and about 1/4 cup of the milk. Once smooth and incorporated, set aside.

Place the sugar, cocoa, salt, and remaining milk in a saucepan, and bring to a scald over medium-high heat, which is when the liquid is about 180-190ºF. This is before the mixture comes to a boil, and in this stage you will see little bubbles start forming on the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and, while whisking constantly, dribble the hot cocoa into the egg cornstarch mixture very gradually. We are tempering so we don't scramble the eggs. Pour everything back into the saucepan and cook over medium high heat, whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue whisking for a couple minutes until the pudding is thickened.

Remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the chocolate or vanilla extract. Pour the pudding into a bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding so a skin doesn't form. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until chilled.

March 12, 2016

Gold Medal® Classic Biscuits

Googled for a new biscuit recipe and found this one. It was easier than our current favorite and came together faster. The outside is crunchy and the kids really like that. We cut them with a 3" glass and that barely made 9 biscuits.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup shortening, butter or margarine
3/4 cup milk

Heat the oven to 450°F. In a medium bowl stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until mixed. Cut in the shortening using a pastry blender or fork until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the milk until mixture forms a soft dough and leaves the side of the bowl (dough will be soft and sticky).
Lightly sprinkle flour over a cutting board or counter top. Place dough on floured surface and begin kneading dough using the heels of your hands,turn a quarter of a turn each knead, repeating 10 times. Dough will feel springy and smooth.
On the floured surface, flatten dough evenly, using hands or a rolling pin, until dough is ½" thick.
Before cutting each biscuit, dip a 2½" round cutter into flour to lightly coat it so it will cut cleanly through the dough without sticking. To cut, push the cutter straight down through the dough without twisting or turning. Cut the biscuits as close together as possible. Place biscuits on an ungreased pan about 1" apart for biscuits with crusty sides, or place with sides touching for biscuits with soft sides.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

February 24, 2016

Our Go To Meatloaf

I found this recipe awhile back and we've made it several times so it's about time I put it here. I found the recipe here on Blessings Overflowing.

3# ground beef/alpaca
3 eggs
1 cup tomato juice or 1½ cup ketchup
1½ tbsp sage
1½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp dried onion flakes
1½ tsp garlic powder
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp celery salt
1½ cup oatmeal or bread crumbs or crushed crackers

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix ground beef and oatmeal/bread/crackers in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix all other ingredients together with a fork. Add this mixture to the ground beef mixture. Stir well or use hands to incorporate all ingredients. Form into a loaf shape and place in a roasting pan (lined with foil for ease of clean-up) and put the lid on. Bake in 350° oven for about 1 hour or until cooked. Take the lid off for just a few minutes to brown the top of the meatloaf.

MRH Fire Cider

I'm working on clearing out some excess papers right now and one of those things is catalogs. Before I put it in the burn pile I looked through the Mountain Rose Herbs catalog and found a couple of recipes. I'm listing them so I can use them in the future.

This traditional cold remedy has deep roots in fold medicine. Delicious by the spoonful or added to savory dishes!
½ cup organic ginger root, freshly grated
½ cup organic horseradish root, freshly grated
1 medium organic onion, chopped
10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped
zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
2 tbsp of dried organic resemary leaves
1 tbsp organic turmeric powder
organic apple cider vinegar
raw local honey to taste

Place all roots, fruits, and herbs in a quart sized jar. Pour vinegar over the ingredients, filling to the very top of the jar. Use a plastic lid or a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep vinegar from touching metal. Shake well! Store in a dark, cool place for 1 month. Shake daily. After 1 month, strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Squeeze as much of the liquid as you can from the pulp. Add ¼ cup of honey and stir until incorporated. Taste your cider and add another ¼ cup until you reach desired sweetness.

MRH Breathe Easy Steam

I'm working on clearing out some excess papers right now and one of those things is catalogs. Before I put it in the burn pile I looked through the Mountain Rose Herbs catalog and found a couple of recipes. I'm listing them so I can use them in the future.

Feeling stuffy? Let these herbal vapors bring you some relief.
4 parts organic peppermint leaf
3 parts organic calendula flowers
1 part organic mullein leaf
1 part organic clots-foot
1 part organic elder flowers
1 part organic lavender flowers
*organic eucalyptus essential oil

Stir all herbs together in a container until well mixed. measure out ¼ cup of the mixture into a large bowl and mix in 1 drop of eucalyptus essential oil. Pour boiling water over the herbs and cover for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and hold your face over the steam. Use a large towel to cover your head and the bowl. Keep your eyes closed and breath deeply for up to 10 minutes. Not for asthma.