Thursday, August 27, 2009

Home Canned Salsa

Today a basket of peppers, chilis and tomatoes that someone graciously shared with me became 14 beautiful pints of salsa. The process began with roasting peppers and ended with boiling the pints. All told, it probably took about 3 hours. The herbs and spices were already in the cupboard, as was the tomato paste. Onions were the only ingredient that had to be purchased just for this recipe...and if you are growing them, maybe this will be an almost free thing for you.

Home Canned Salsa:
6 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped roasted chili peppers (or you can use 1 small can~ I have done both)
1 small can tomato paste
1 chopped jalapeno pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
2 Tbls sugar
2 Tbls vinegar (because tomatoes just aren't acidic enough these days to be completely safe in a boiling bath)
Combine all ingredients and simmer for about 90 minutes. Pour into clean pint jars. Adjust prepared lids and boil for 15 minutes. visit frugal friday, food on friday, friday feasts, foodie friday, grocery cart recipe challenge and family recipe friday

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Putting Together Menus for Entertaining

I am an incorrigible list maker. I make lists for everything. I thrive on organization. Maybe that explains why I decided, a few years ago, to put together some entertaining menus. Besides making weekly menus to save money and time, I have this list for special occasions. It allows me to fit special dinners for guests into a weekly menu without having to wrack my brain for ideas. I keep it tucked in a certain cookbook on the shelf.

When coming up with menus, I try to stay frugal, but also add a bit of something special. I think about what the plate will look like and try to include a variety of colors in the meal. I also try to think about what will be in season, how hot it will be outside and what kind of atmosphere I will be trying to create.

Here is what I came up with (feel free to ask for me to post anything that looks interesting):

(*)means the recipe is already posted on the blog
1. Mexican Chicken, Herbed Tomato Pasta*, Tossed Salad with oranges, Chili Cheese Rolls, Apple Pie*
2. Tuscan Pork Roast*, Risotto, Carrot Coins*, Wilted Green Salad, Hazelnut Torte
3. Lasagne, Garlic Bread, Fruit Salad, Green Salad, Trifle*
4. Rosemary chicken, Petit Pois, Sauted yellow squash, Rolls, Cheesecake*
5. Enchiladas, Refried Beans*, Spanish Rice, Caesar Salad, Homemade Ice Cream*

There are more, but I am afraid I will bore you...

But I did also do some themed meals: fondue, brunch, Chinese, Irish, Pizza party, and an Appetizer fest. Planning ahead allows me to be more spontaneous later. When the Good Guy says, "Let's have So and So over to dinner, I can say, "Sure, how about this week?" I look at what I have on hand and then go to my ready made menus and VOILA the dinner is planned.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Family Recipes: Aunt Janice's Cherry-Berries on a Cloud (GF)

I married into a large close-knit family. We travel to reunions every summer and often get together with cousins, aunts and uncles in the spring and fall, too. It's always potluck at the meals. There are many good cooks in the family. This is a favorite dessert among the group made by the Good Guy's Aunt Janice.
CHERRY-BERRIES ON A CLOUD (10 to 12 servings)
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup sugar

2 cups chilled whipping cream
2 pkgs cream cheese (3 oz. each) softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup sugar

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups sliced fresh berries or 1 package (16 ounces) frozen berries. (Any kind can be used)

CRUST Heat oven to 275 degrees. Butter a baking pan, 13x9x2 inches. In a large mixer bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until foamy. Beat in 1 3/4 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue beating until stiff and glossy. (Do not underbeat!)Spread in pan. Bake 1 hour. Turn off the oven; leave the meringue in oven with the door closed for 12 hours or longer. (I do this part at night & leave it in oven all night.) (Do not open oven door before 13 hours)

FILLING In a chilled bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff. Blend cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and the vanilla in another large bowl. Gently fold the whipping cream and marshmallows into the cream cheese mixture; spread over the meringue. Chill 12 to 24 hours. Cut into serving pieces and top with Cherry Berry topping.

TOPPING Stir together 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling,1 teaspoon lemon juiceand the berries.(As you can see it takes planning to prepare this. It is easy, just plan ahead.)I serve the topping on the side and allow everyone to put on the amount they want. The dessert keeps better without the topping on the filling. The longer it sets together, the better it is.

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Italian Sausage Over Spaghetti Squash

This was originally posted in October 2008, when I first started blogging. I thought it may come in handy for some gardeners this year. It is absolutely delish!
Tonight I made Italian Sausage over Spaghetti Squash. My spaghetti squash this year was extra orange with beta carotene. The grocery stores called it orangetti.
1 lb bulk Italian sausage
1 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can Great Northern beans, drained
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 can Italian tomatoes (I used fresh)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
1 medium spaghetti squash
Cut the squash in half. Scoop out the insides, prick the skin and lay it cut side down in a glass pan. Pour 1/2 cup water over it and cover. Microwave 15 minutes or until done. Scoop out strands and place on platter. Meanwhile (or maybe first!) brown sausage in a pan, drain. Add onion, pepper and garlic and cook until onions are almost done. Add the zucchini, beans, tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Pour over the spaghetti squash and serve.
I normally don't care about presentation but this is one pretty dish!
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

13 Additions to Liven up your Food

Here are some things I do to shake things up a bit in my foods. Some are common enough, but maybe you will find one you haven't tried.

1. Add vanilla to homemade pie crust when adding the water
2. Add cream cheese to mashed potatoes in place of some milk & butter
3. Add allspice to pumpkin pie along with cinnamon and ginger
4. Add bacon to green bean casserole
5. Add lemon juice to pecan pie filling before baking
6. Add a can of gumbo soup to your sloppy Joes
7. Add coconut extract to fresh peach pie filling
8. Add powdered sugar instead of regular sugar to whipping cream when whipping
9. Add cut up lemons and oranges to the interior cavity of roast chicken
10. Add Italian seasoning to frozen corn for an extra bit of special
11. Add peppermint extract and flavored coffee mate to hot chocolate
12. Add a cup of hot Postum in place of coffee in baked goods (if you don’t drink coffee)
13. Add 1/3 Provolone to 2/3 mozzerella on homemade pizza is the home base of tens of thirteeners, come join us!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Spam Fried Rice

Spam might be an aquired taste. But! It's cheap and it is easy to use. I have found ways to use it that are hits in my family. These recipes camouflage the spaminess. Fried rice is an easy Sunday dinner. I start the rice in my cooker just before we leave for church. I also cook the vegetables and spam before we leave. When we get home, I put the refrigerated veggies and meat in a pan, heat them up, add the still warm rice and then add the egg. It goes together in about 15 minutes; just enough time for all of the kiddos to be out of their church clothes and gathered around the table with forks in hand.
1 Tbls oil
1 chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
2-3 large carrots, chopped or sliced
any other vegetables that need to be used up
1 can Spam, diced
2 cups rice cooked with 4 cups water
2 eggs, beaten
2-3 Tbls soy sauce
Heat oil, saute onion, garlic and vegetables until soft. Add spam, heat through (I like mine a bit browned) Add cooked rice and soy sauce. When warmed, add beaten egg. It's done when the egg is cooked. Add more soy sauce to taste.

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