June 29, 2010

My Mother's Quiche

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This quiche was made with diced up yellow squash and sliced zucchini to top it off. Can you say yum?! When I have alot of tomatoes I slice those ontop of the Quiche instead of zucchini

Give me a few eggs, some vegetables and cheese, you have yourself a simple quick light meal. I'm talking quiche! This is super easy, and it may not look like much, but my kids are perfectly happy to have this as dinner on hot summer days. The best thing about it is, you can fill it with pretty much anything! Got left over chicken? Bacon? Ham? Even diced up sandwich meats work in this. Trust me, I've made this with just about everything. I make two at a time so one is usually filled with vegetables the other with meat of some kind. The kids like to put salsa on it as times, other times they just ask for cheese melted on top.

3 Eggs
1c Bisquick
1 1/4 c. milk
1 2/3c. shredded cheese
1/4 to 1/2c lightly cooked chopped onions
1/2 to 3/4c. shredded cheese (for topping)
1lb. crispy cooked bacon, or 1/2lb. diced, boiled ham or 8 oz crab meat, diced or 1 c. diced cooked chicken. *** You know I have never measured the meat or vegetables I end up putting in I guess everything comes out to about a cup and a half maybe 2c.of whatever I feel like that day. After the first time you make it, you'll get the idea of how much you can get away with. **


Beat eggs, Bisquick and milk together until well blended. Fold in cheese, onions and meat of choice. Pour into 10 inch pan, sprayed with Pam. (If no quiche pam, a deep 10-inch glass pie dish or 6x10x3-in glass casserole dish will work) Bake for 15 minutes at 425F, then turn oven down to 325F and bake for 30 minutes or until edges are lightly brown and knife inserted 2-in from edge comes out clean.

Looking for another eggs recipe? Check out Colorful Frittata or Breakfast Ham & Eggs Cups




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June 24, 2010

Dear Peas

      Oh How I love you!


Aren't they so pretty?



Yes I'm showing off my peas :) I'm so proud of them! My kids helped everyday pick off snails and check for other bugs. They looked and searched , taking the job serious, well it paid off big time, cause they did a wonderful job with the first harvest of peas!
These are Mammoth Sugar Peas, they taste sweet, As soon as we finish picking the last of these, which will be within the next week I plant to next set. In a good summer I can get 3 new plantings of peas. Beans would be in there as well, but for some reason an annoying squirrel will not leave them alone! Who knew furry creatures had a thing for veggies? Luckily it hasn't bothered anything else lately so the rest of my garden is growing fast, it's a jungle out there.
On with the peas. This is a simple side dish for peas, as I make it so often, throughout the year. This came from Allrecipes, it calls for frozen peas but you can do it with fresh.

1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
1 (4.5 ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
 1 pinch black pepper
Directions
Cook peas according to package directions. Set aside.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and mushrooms, then season with sugar, salt, thyme and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and cook just until heated through.
Enjoy!


                                                               
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June 21, 2010

Italian Meatloaf

I made this over the weekend for "Man's Week" .We're hitting the warmer parts of summer here and always try to get stuff done before it really gets hot. My Son's birthday is also this week, so between that and Father's Day, it became "Man Week". Nothing says man food like Meatloaf either. You just can't go wrong with it! Sometimes I'll make it a day before, and we have meatloaf sandwiches, also like to plate the  meatloaf on top of greens, spinach, and tomatoes with shredded Parmesan cheese.



 came across this on allrecipes:
makes 1 large meatloaf

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 pound ground beef, 85% lean
1 pound ground pork ( I used ground turkey)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus extra for sprinkling on top
1 cup plain bread crumbs
2 cups of marinara sauce - homemade is great here!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a saucepan to medium high heat and add the butter. When melted, saute the onion, celery, and red pepper for 6 - 8 minutes. Add garlic to saute for an additional minute. Add the basil, oregano, fennel seeds, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup. Simmer until thickened (couple minutes). Pour into a large bowl to cool.

Add ground beef, ground pork, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs to bowl with the onion mixture and combine gently until the well mixed. On a rimmed baking sheet, form a loaf. Bake for about 30 minutes and then spread about 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the top and side of the meatloaf. Return to the oven, continue cooking for an additional 20 - 30 minutes or until the internal temperature registers about 170 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest about 10 minutes before cutting into thick slices. Serve with remaining warmed marinara sauce and extra Parmesan cheese.



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Have a good week

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

                                                       
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June 18, 2010

Chili

This should be a canning entry, but it's not. Sadly, I'm waiting on my canning salt and ClearJel to get here. Without them both, I can't start. Not that chili doesn't stand on it's own but still, I was really hoping to be using my pressure canner at this point. Just to explain a little before throwing some chili at you, Canning salt is not like other salts, it's fine-grained that's ok to use in pickling and canning. It's free of anti-caking agents, which can cause the liquid to turn cloudy, as well free of iodine which can darken things.
 ClearJel is a food starch will not break down when heated to high temperatures and/or cooled and reheated, which is the entire canning process to begin with, so this is a must in alot of recipes. Not every recipe does take these two things, but what if one day you woke up thinking of making your own apple pie filling instead of tomato sauce? See, it'd be good to have in case you change your mind. It's only avaible through online or mail order. So yeah, sadly I'm waiting so I have everything at my fingers tips.
 On with the chili, even though it's summer, we still have chili alot. With four awesome kids that seem to plow through food faster than I can even get it on the table, chili is a good staple. (With my pressure canner I could can it, imagine that! Never without chili, ever again!!) Ok, enough of the canner...

   
Chili!


Ingredients
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 pound boneless pork, cut into 3/4-inch cubes *first time I made this the kids weren't into the pork, so I used ground beef, as lean as it can be, plus even ground turkey, shhh don't tell the kids or my husband!*
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies * I chopped up 1 of each pepper, yellow, red, green & orange as well  plus an onion*
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/2 to 1 cup salsa
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
*Now the original recipe doesn't have beans in it, my husband will grimace and make faces at me if I ever made chili without beans, so I had about 3 cups of already cooked kidney beans tossed in here before I let it slow cook all day long. You can use canned, and really as much as you want depending on how many people your feeding. *

Directions
In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add 1 pound of pork (or beef); cook and stir until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. Repeat with remaining meat, adding more oil as needed. Return all of the meat to Dutch oven.
Sprinkle flour over meat; mix well. Add the chilies, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, cilantro, salsa and broth. Cover and simmer until pork is tender and chili reaches desired consistency, about 1-1/2 hours. You can Serve with warmed tortillas, toss cheese in there, crackers, put it on a hot dog, you can do alot with chili :)

As with any chili recipe, mix it up, toss in more of your favorites or add less of something if you want. I put in more garlic and onions all the time Enjoy!

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June 16, 2010

Let the fun begin!

Canning. I won't lie and say this doesn't intimidate me one bit. The thing about canning is, if you do it wrong, you can seriously make someone sick, Not a little sick either, I'm talking you don't want to even talk about it sick. Not only that if you say don't have perfectly clean utensils, or use the wrong ones, you could end up with purple pickles, or black peaches, or cloudy relish. If that doesn't turn you off, I bet mold would.

   Even though Canning sounds (to me anyways) hard, everyone I've pounced on with hundreds of questions waves me off saying once you get the hang of it, it's nothing to worry about. Though I will worry my little head off and most likely hid behind a corner the first time to avoid having something blow up in my face. One lady laughed at me, saying "Your afraid of an explosion of pasta sauce?"
Ummm. Yes? Aren't we supposed to be afraid of that? Or is that just me?
Her response, " Stop your belly aching and do it before you chicken out." So on I went to buy my pressure canner!
    
Meet "Bes" She will be my new best friend in my kitchen. Isn't she just shiny?!
She is my new pressure canner, she's been owned and used for over twenty years. For one thing, she aged pretty darn good! This is a weighted gauge canner, vs a canner that has a dial gauge on it along with screws and fancy smancy stuff. This is the one I picked after reading many blogs and even the instructions to the canner itself. Biggest reason? This one has been tried and tested throughout generations of familes as not only practical but a sure fire thing that never let's a family down.
Not saying the new fancy ones are bad, but I can't work with them. They are commercially built as in, twenty pounds PLUS! That's not including adding the water, then filled jars for the task. Can you imagine lifting about fifty or sixty something pounds just to make a corn relish? Really? Is it worth breaking your back for? ... Ok, Maybe if it was some pretty awesome relish, but still it's not practical for me.

Let's get on with Bes. She came with her original booklet which I flew right through and turned inside out. The neatest thing inside was a form where you would write to a Person <--- Person, an actual person with a full name. Not, Mrs.  Or Ms, or Mr. Just a full name to write to if you had any troubles. Get that?! No customer service or anything, she was the customer service! This lady must have had her hands full, I doubt if I wrote to her now she'd even be working but the thought itself delights me :)



Now if I can just figure out which side the rack is supposed to face down in Bes I could start canning....
Anyone else can? Mind sharing with a newbie?

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June 15, 2010

Apricot-Honey Dijon Chicken

My itouch has become a handy little thing to have around my life. It's gives me those few moments throughout the day where I can grab a few minutes for just me in between one mess to another. My kids take up my entire day, everything I do revolves around them, not that I'm complaining one bit. As a Mom you learn you come last compared to your kids. They are fed first, cleaned first, and so on, it's just how it happens. When I prepare dinner , the kids are first in mind second to keeping it healthy for us all. It's alot of work no matter how you do it, even more when I must cut alot of things from dinner even before it's made so it can be diabetic friendly for my husband. So to say the very least meal planning in this house takes up time, but it doesn't mean I can't have fun doing it. :)
 A couple weeks ago while my kiddos were tossing sand around and pretending to plant weeds in their sand castles I grabbed a moment and found a cool app for my itouch. It's called iFood assistant.It's Kraft though, not really sure why they changed it but it doesn't really matter. I found this recipe which is under the "healthy" portion of their lists. It's delish! The kids were really into the sweet taste of the Apricot while I tasted hints of mustard. It's super easy to do, the recipe calls for it to be grilled but I tossed it all together in the oven. :) It would taste great on pork and I bet even some fish !
3 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp. apricot preserves **to cut out the extra sweet, go sugarless & buy  local as well. Our local food market has hand made preserves with no added sugar, a burst of flavor!**
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
To Make It --
PREHEAT grill to medium heat. Mix mustard, preserves, honey and ginger until well blended.

REMOVE half of the mustard mixture; set aside. Brush chicken with remaining mustard mixture.

GRILL chicken 10 min. on each side or until cooked through (170°F), brushing occasionally with the reserved mustard mixture.
 How To Prepare in Quantity- Prepare as directed, using 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. mustard, 3/4 cup apricot preserves, 6 Tbsp. honey, 1 Tbsp. ginger and 24 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 lb.). Makes 24 servings.Variation Omit honey. Prepare as directed, using  Savory Honey Mustard.

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June 11, 2010

My Grandmothers Snack Crackers

Addiction in a jar! No joke! Once you take one bite of these awesome little kick in the mouth crackers, there's no stopping you! Growing up whenever my family would go visit our Grandparents house (Dad's side, though my Mom's Mother had a pretty darn awesome line up herself whenever we went there!), My Grandmother always had a big jar full of these freshly made. Oh! What a site to see. So many memories of sneaking handfuls of these crackers. It's funny, cause now my kids do the same thing I always did. HA. That will teach me.
   These are easy, but they also need to sit for a day.I know, the waiting kills you, but if you tasted one an hour after you made it, you'd see why you need the waiting. Now on with the addicting cracker recipe, seriously try to share these.

2 (12oz) boxes  oyster crackers (flat ones)
1 pkg. Hidden Valley original ranch dressing (dry)
1/2 tsp. garlic, granulated (1 tsp. is better)
2 Tbsp. dill weed (oh how I love dill!)
1 c. coat oil
salt to taste

Place crackers in large glass jar (doesn't work very well in plastic) with seal able lid. Pour other ingredients onto crackers, making sure oil is last. Mix thoroughly. Seal. Shake often for 24hrs. Taste and add salt, 1/2 to start, then by the shake until salted to your taste (I find I never have to add more salt, and if your restricting your salt, don't add anymore either) Eat & enjoy, this needs no baking :)
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June 10, 2010

Berry Smoothie


We love smoothies in this house. Not only for treats but sometimes instead of a snack all together. Since many of our neighbors have some sort of fruit tree or plant we can even have super fresh smoothies.
 You can't go wrong with them, add what you like, blend it, pour it, drink it.
 Those are our own strawberries we've grown, the kids like to dip them into the smoothie. The recipe calls for frozen, we used half and half so really mix it up!

Ingredients


1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) blueberry yogurt **used fat free

1/4 cup grape juice

1-1/2 cups frozen blueberries

1 cup frozen blackberries **added 1 cup strawberries as well

Sugar substitute equivalent to 2 tablespoons sugar  *I didn't add sugar substitute
 
Directions


In a blender, place all ingredients in the order listed; cover and process until blended. Pour into chilled glasses; serve immediately.
**Change it up a bit, with different yogurt and fruits. Enjoy!
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June 7, 2010

The Wonderful World of Canning!

(These are pickles I did last year)
Time to Dive into Canning!
It's that time of year ago where my garden is growing, the green is taking over the yard and bees are humming everywhere! Vegetables galore in around my house! Last year was my first year diving into the canning process, though I've been growing vegetables for several years. My very first canning process was a success, it was simple pickles which could either be treated or set into the fridge. Most yields though of pickles aren't small, so you will at least have to know the hot water process to be able to keep those pickles.I also did my own small batches of tomatoes, but they didn't last very long, opened them the next day. Seriously, tomatoes..don't expect me to just let them sit there staring at me. BBQ sauces as well, and other little small batches of condiments were made throughout the seasons as well as this year. Jelly's and Jams are a shoe in, of course, but I don't really count them as it's nearly an every week thing here. My kids go through so much jam, jelly and spreads sometimes there's o use to finish canning I just hand it over to them as they growl with hunger.

      This year as once again my garden is booming and bigger than the last, I must, with no choice head into pressure canning.
      There's two kinds of canning, hot water bath, and pressure canning. You use the hot water bath for high acid foods, and pressure canning for low acid foods. There's even two ways you may do that as well, Hot packed, which is filling jars with preheated, hot food prior to the heat process, or Raw packed. Raw packed method is when you fill jars with raw, unheated food before the whole heating process.
     Unless you are a seasoned canner it's not recommended to start mixing up a bunch of vegetables and toss them together to can. Your mixing things that could end up causing more harm than anything else. Low acid foods if not processed correctly can sprout dangerous bacteria, mold and other dangerous things that yes, can kill you. So it's no joke.
 If your new to canning, read directions,  follow them to the "T" After you are comfortable and know what your doing, know how each process works along with the food your combining, by all means, create your own fantastic recipe. Just be aware of what your doing.

 Besides knowing what process to use which with which kinds of foods, you need the right things to make it.
It must be a carefully planned out operation. You can't be fiddling with things while your trying to can. Again read directions, plan before hand, it is after all a process.
Things you need
Jars, and jar lids. - It's a long process, I cannot say this enough. The lids are to be kept in hot water, not boiling, the rings must be cleaned and dried, the jars must be kept hot. The reason why they must be hot is your about to pour HOT liquid into them, you cannot pour hot into a cold glass, it's going to crack.  As well as taking them back out of the hot water. Some recipes call for leaving the jars in the canner unless everything has cooled, others say lift out to cool on the counter. Again, you can't put a scolding hot glass jar on a cold surface, have some towels out to put them on and don't touch the jars for 24hrs.
Other items-
Jar lifter: essential for easy removal of hot jars.
Jar funnel: helps in pouring and packing of liquid and small food items into canning jars.

Lid wand: magnetized wand for removing treated jar lids from hot water. --The kids call it my magic wand...haha :) See I have magic powers!

Clean cloths: handy to have for wiping jar rims, spills and general cleanup. They happen alot. I've canned pickles all last summer no matter how many I did, or how organized I was, spills happened, you need a couple handy for anything.

Knives: for preparing food --- But not used anywhere in or with jars. One tiny scratch and you may have just ruined your canning process.

Narrow, flat rubber spatula: for removing trapped air bubbles before sealing jars. ---again nothing metal or even wooden. Wood spoons may seem perfect but they can absorb liquid. I doubt much at all would harm anything though.

Timer or clock: for accurate food processing time. Reading through the recipes for just pressure canning alone, time is everything. You don't start timing till it's hit the right pressure. While Hot water Canning is when the water is boiling.

Hot pads or towels, to use throughout.

Cutting board
 
Canner, Of course. For Hot bath method a simple tall pot will do, but you need a jar rack. You cannot have any jars whether the hot water method or the pressure method touching the bottom of the pan. Also the rack makes it easy to set jars in and keep them apart. You don't want jars knocking into each other and cracked during your canning process.
This is a good one for Water Bath , they sell smaller or even larger ones, just make sure you get one with a rack.

 













Here's One of many Pressure canners( these you MUST research big time. It's not an easy thing to up and buy) I'm serious, I've been researching pressure canners for about two months now, and just now got one. Whew..Off of eBay as well, one with a weighed gauge on top. The ones they sell in stores and online all have dial gauge, most of these say you cannot use on a glass counter stove top, which I have. Yet another thing you must know before buying. These things are heavy duty, so before buying check out the weight of the canner itself (most are about 20lbs) now think of water being in it, as well as filled jars!! Heavy is an understatement at that point. There's also these huge pressure canners  that  have a ton of screws, pretty neat looking but I kinda want to run and hide around the corner just by the looks of it. All it says is, "I have a bunch of screws to keep my lid on in case I feel like blowing up in your kitchen!"
      Nice eh? Nothing says intimidation like a big possible explosion in your own kitchen.
 "Hey kids, lets go experiment!" :) I'm kidding.....
    
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June 4, 2010

Zucchini Bread


Oh the wonders of this bread. Once my garden starts producing zucchini, this bread is made nearly every other day. Homemade bread is by far the best, but when you add in your own home grown vegetables there's a shine of pride coming through! This bread has a very wonderful taste to it. I add a tad more cinnamon and nutmeg to my tastes and they all blend so well together. It's much better when you wrap it up & store it for a day. All those flavors, all those spices just come out more the next day so let it sit.
When selected your zucchini get good firm ones, as fresh as possible, when my garden is not in full bloom the local farmers market is a hot spot for the best vegetables! The store bought zucchini tends to be very thin, small and not very full of flavor.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 beaten egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup finely shredded , unpeeled zucchini (I actually add more than a cup, cup and a half sometimes a tad more, depends on the size of my zucchini. But a cup is fine)
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted (optional)

Grease the bottom and parts of the side of an 8x4x2 inch loaf pan, set aside. In med. bowl combine the first 6 ingredients, make a well in the center of the mixture. Set aside.
In another med bowl combine egg, sugar, zucchini & oil. Add zucchini mixture all at once to the flour mixture, stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy) Don't over beat it's a quick bread, so if you over beat it won't come out right, just make sure it's mixed. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake in 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 mins. Remove from Pan, cool completely, wrap & store overnight before slicing. (you need to wrap & store, the flavor comes out overnight!)

You can eat this straight from the fridge, or warmed up, you can put jam on it, or do it plain. I love it plain, so do the kids. I sometimes  make some cream cheese frosting on it (only the tops) before wrapping in foil before putting it in a freezer zip-lock bag to store and or freeze. The kids love it either way. Enjoy!

Oh you can make these into muffins!!Even Apple bread, substitute 1 1/2 cups finely shredded peeled apple for the zucchini
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