Showing posts with label Cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cooking. Show all posts

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Homemade Apple Fritters

Homemade apple fritters are a family tradition. And no wonder! They are so good! My mom makes these every Christmas morning. She loves to tell the story about who used to make them and where the recipe came from. In fact, when I emailed her to ask her if I could share this recipe, she sent me this:

"Your Great-Grandma Marie Jebsen Kopp made that recipe a family tradition using either apples or raisins. Your dad prefers the apple one so that has become our tradition. I heard the recipe came from her mother, so your Great-Great Grandmother Amanda Wohlert Jebsen. They would use dried apples and reconstitute them by boiling in water a little while. Raisins were also treated to a hot bath. Raisins were a treat for those living in the Midwest back in those days, they usually only bought them at Christmas or Easter time. They were not readily available in this part of the country most of the year or if they were they didn't spend money on them until the holidays."

I love the history behind this recipe. All these ingredients would have been pantry staples except the raisins. The apples would have been preserved in the fall for use year round. I know raisins were a delicacy. I never have had this recipe with raisins in the fritters.

Homemade Apple Fritters

Makes 12-15 fritters. (I often double the recipe when making for my own family.)

1 cup flour
1 tsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix these together very well in a large bowl.

1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Beat together, then add to the dry ingredients. This dough comes together well and you should have a ball of dough when you are done.

2 pared, diced apples

Stir or use your hands to mix the apples in. I prefer to use my hands.

Heat oil or shortening to 375 degrees. I use an electric skillet and use about 1-1/2 inches of oil. My mom uses an electric dutch oven and uses 3 inches of oil. If you have a fryer, that works too.

When the oil is hot, drop in the batter by spoonfuls.

If they don't turn over themselves, you must flip them over when they are brown on the bottom. If you are using an electric skillet, you will have to flip them yourself. For everything else, they should flip themselves over.

When golden brown and the oil is bubbling lightly around the fritter, remove from oil. Drain on paper towels.

You can dip the fritters in sugar to eat (what my family does) or you can roll them in powdered sugar. I have gone to eating them plain, but still sometimes dip them in a little sugar!

Thanks for reading,

Shared on The HomeAcre Hop

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Applesauce - Eating, Canning, and Freezing Instructions

Slow Cooker Applesauce is probably one of the easiest recipes I have in my arsenal to make. I love that I can sweetened it to taste, spice it if I want to, and make enough to can.

Slow Cooker Applesauce also has the benefit of saving me money by using the slow cooker and not the stove. I also like this recipe because there is no babysitting the stove! I have better things to do with my time than babysit the stove.

Per pint, Slow Cooker Applesauce is also cheaper than purchasing it in the store. I know what is in my applesauce versus the store bought applesauce which can have high fructose corn syrup and other preservatives that are not necessary!

During the fall, apples are cheap! If you don't have a tree or two to pick from, you can pick up 10-20 pounds pretty cheaply at the store. I know our local stores were advertising $.69 a pound for apples during this last fall. When you do the price break down, you can make your own cheaper than the store. During the rest of the year, I can find apples for $.89 - $.99 per pound which isn't a bad price. I refuse to pay more than that anyway. I can usually pick up bags of apples on clearance for $.99 a bag. What Dane doesn't eat gets made into this applesauce.

The apples will turn brown as the slow cooker cooks them down. I am okay with this. Some people might not be okay with this and they can choose to add Fruit Fresh or lemon juice.

Also, I am using a 6 quart slow cooker. If you are using a smaller one, adjust the recipe to fit your slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Applesauce

20-30 apples, peeled, chopped or sliced with cores removed
sweetener of choice, to taste
spices, to taste (I use cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg)

1. Place the apples in the slow cooker. I run my apples through an apple peeler/corer/slicer and throw the apples in the slow cooker as I go. When the slow cooker is full, I put the lid on so 20-30 apples is an estimate.

2. Set the slow cooker on low and walk away. Occasionally check the slow cooker and stir if you would like. It does help to break up the apples.

3. After 6-10 hours, if your apples are broken down and basically mush, you can do a few different things. I like to use the potato masher to get the apples to the chunky applesauce consistency. Then I sweeten them and spice them. If you like a smoother consistency, you can use an immersion blender, food mill, or a food processor and puree them smooth. Then you can sweeten and spice them.

4. Serve as part of a meal or make it the meal. Who am I to judge? Otherwise, move to the canning portion of this recipe. You can also freeze this applesauce.

To Can Applesauce:
1. Fill water canner and bring water to boiling.
2. Clean jars and rings with hot soapy water and dry. Keep jars and lids hot, either using the water canner or the warm setting in your oven.
3. Fill jars with hot applesauce leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim of the jars off with a wet washcloth.
4. Place lids and rings on jars. Tighten them to finger tight.
5. Process pints in the boiling water canner for 20 minutes. If using quart jars, process for 30 minutes.
6. Take out of canner and let cool. You should hear a pinging sound as the lids cool and seal. Let cool for 24 hours and put away. I generally get 4-6 pints of applesauce canned, depending on how much we eat first.

To Freeze Applesauce:
1. If using containers or jars, clean them in hot soapy water along with the lids. If using bags or a Food Saver, get them out and ready to go.
2. Fill containers/jars with hot applesauce, filling only 3/4 of the container/jar. You need to allow room for the applesauce to expand as it freezes. Otherwise, you will have a big mess. If filling bags, the same philosophy. Fill only 3/4 full, squeeze as much air out as you can, and seal.
3. No matter what you are using, place them in the refrigerator for 24 hours to cool. If you don't moisture from the hot to the freezer may cause freezer burn, breaking of containers or bags, and a mess in your freezer.
4. Place into the freezer after the 24 hours cool down in the fridge.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Frozen Berry Sauce

Last Saturday morning we decided to have breakfast for lunch. The kids wanted pancakes and Rob wanted French toast. Everyone wanted bacon. I had made a loaf of Golden Egg Bread in the bread maker which is absolutely delightful as French toast. I had some frozen bananas which I turned into Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes. I had some homemade Pancake Syrup already made up.

Rob really wanted some kind of berry syrup/sauce for the French toast. I couldn't find any at our local convenience store (I didn't expect they would have it). So I was determined to make something for him. I had some frozen strawberries, but no blueberries. However, I got started.

I started with a bag of  frozen whole unsweetened strawberries in a saucepan with two tablespoons of sugar. I let them thaw and soften over medium heat. In the meantime, I was still looking for frozen blueberries because I could have swore I had some! I didn't find any, but I found some blueberry freezer jam that I had not liked by itself and I couldn't just throw it out either.

In the saucepan, I was stirring the strawberries and they were starting to soften so I smashed them down some more. They were starting to form a sauce. I decided to add some honey because I like honey. I let it cook some more and then added a few good-sized spoonfuls of blueberry jam. The blueberry jam thickened up the strawberries quite a bit. I used a blueberry jam that was made of natural sugars and honey. I let the mixture cook on medium until it started boiling. Then I turned it down on low because I had to get the pancakes done and the French toast done. The sauce cooked on low for about 15 minutes until I was ready for it.

My sauce was still a bit chunky and I like it like that. I want to know that it still contains fruit.

I poured it into my gravy boat so it could be poured out onto the pancakes and French toast. Honestly, I thought the kids would not like it. They loved it!!! Rob loved it! Dane thought it tasted like something from Denny's which he is currently obsessed with eating at. I think he meant that as a compliment.

Frozen Berry Sauce

1 - 12 oz. bag whole unsweetened strawberries, frozen
2 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoon honey
1/2 -1 cup blueberry jam

1. Place the frozen strawberries in a saucepan with sugar. Turn the heat on the cooktop to medium. Let the strawberries thaw, softened to the point of easily smashed.

2. Add honey to the strawberry mixture. Stir and cook for two minutes to get incorporated.

3. Add blueberry jam to the strawberry mixture and bring to a boil.

4. Turn heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or until thickened.

5. Take off the heat and pour into a container for serving. Enjoy!

Yield: 3-4 cups.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Corn Chowder

One of my very favorite soups has to be corn chowder. I have tried many versions before I created one on my own that had plenty of flavor and could easily become a comfort food. I wanted a corn chowder that could easily be made with ingredients I had on hand and were naturally good for us. I also wanted a corn chowder that I could add a protein to it because I need a lot of protein to curb my sugar cravings and keep my energy up.

This corn chowder is so easy! You can easily add more ingredients to it to make it your own. I have added a small can of green chilies, some diced carrots, and some bell pepper (not at the same time!). I have experimented with different meats using bacon, ham, and chicken.

Corn Chowder

3 potatoes, diced (peeled or unpeeled)
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/2 or 1 onion, diced (Onion can be to your liking. One whole onion is too much for my kids.)
1 quart of chicken or turkey stock
2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk
2-3 Tbsp. flour
Bacon, cooked and crumbled or Ham, chopped

1. In a 5 quart pot, put the potatoes, celery, and onion. Add the chicken or turkey stock. This should be enough liquid to cover the vegetables. If not add a little water so the vegetables are covered in liquid. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender.

2. When vegetables are tender, add the corn, butter, salt and pepper.

3. Mix the milk and flour together until smooth using either a whisk or a fork. If you would like a bit thicker soup, use 3 Tablespoons of flour. I usually just use 2 Tablespoons of flour. Add this mixture to the soup and stir to incorporate.

4. Bring the soup to a boil. Take off the heat. You can add the meat in at this time if you would like. I usually just let my family add the meat to their bowl and ladle the corn chowder over top. If you don't want meat, you don't have to have it.

5. Serve! My kids think crackers are a necessity with this soup, but again it is all about preferences!

Yield: 4-6 servings.

Enjoy! Thanks!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate Chip Muffins are a household favorite! The kids think I don't make these often enough or enough of them when I make them. I have gone to doubling the batch just to get through more than one day!

You can make this recipe as healthy as you want or not. I have changed a few things from the original recipe and I will give you the original ingredients and what I use to make them healthier. Do what you want or use what you have on hand; making your own food from scratch is the best way!

Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar (I have used organic pure cane sugar)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk (we have used almond milk with excellent results)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (any cooking oil will work here)
3/4 - 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a smaller bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil.  Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or paper line your muffin tin. Fill the cups 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing the muffins. Cool on a wire rack.

This makes one dozen muffins. If you want any for breakfast the next day, double the batch. Trust me here, this will save your sanity!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Quick Chicken & Noodles

One of the many recipes my family enjoys is Quick Chicken & Noodles. The original recipe is from Gooseberry Patch Country Quick & Easy Cookbook. I have made some changes for my family and their preferences.

This dish is one of my go-to recipes when we need dinner in a hurry. All the kids love it!

Quick Chicken & Noodles

6 cups chicken broth or stock
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 stick butter
1/2 onion, diced or 1/2 Tablespoon dried onion
garlic powder to taste (we use about 1 1/2 tsp)
Italian seasoning to taste (we use about 1 Tbsp)
salt and pepper to taste
12-oz. pkg. extra wide egg noodles, uncooked

In a large pot, combine chicken broth, chicken, butter, onion, and seasonings. Bring to a slow boil over medium to medium high heat. Once boiling, add egg noodles. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until noodles are tender.

Yield 6-8 servings.

I typically serve this with a vegetable like green beans because they taste good together. I also serve this in bowls so the green beans also mix in well!

I use homemade broth and leftover chicken in this dish. If you use store bought, 1 49-oz. can chicken broth and 2 5-oz. cans chicken would be the store substitute.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash

During the summer, the grill is where it is at! Actually I grill year round, but I love summer grilling. I especially love grilling the fresh garden bounty!

This recipe is a super simple side dish or appetizer that can be used with a variety of vegetables. I actually learned this from Rob and was a little perturbed at myself for not thinking of it before. But he and I have two different ways of doing this. These are delicious and so, so easy!

Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash

2-3 firm zucchini and/or summer squash, unpeeled
Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice the zucchini/summer squash into 1/4" thick rounds. 

Rob's method: Place rounds on a wire vegetable rack. Brush olive oil on the zucchini/summer squash, season with salt and pepper, and flip the rounds. Brush olive oil on the other side and season again. Place on the grill.

My method: Place rounds in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss them with your clean hand until all are fairly coated. Place on wire vegetable rack and place on the grill.

Neat vs. Messy. Your choice.

Place on a preheated grill over low to medium low. When the first side starts to brown a little bit or char a little bit, flip the rounds. When the second side does the same, remove them from the grill, and eat.

You do need to keep an eye on them while grilling and check them fairly often. They can burn easy if the grill is too hot. You also might need two wire grill vegetable racks.

I have used this recipe for potatoes and bell peppers with excellent results. I think the possibilities would be endless!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

MYO Bagged Salad

One of the most frustrating things for me in grocery stores is bagged salads. I like to eat healthier because I feel better, but supermarkets certainly do not make it easier for me to do so. They sell bagged salads with some wacky ingredients, lettuce/greens with no beneficial nutrients, and they are so overpriced!

Yesterday, I had an idea hit me so suddenly that I was surprised! Why not make my own bagged salads?

Genius I tell ya!

Some of you, I know, are saying "duh". Some of you are wondering what kind of time and bother is involved. I don't blame you. With the schedule I have been keeping lately, I couldn't be making anything complicated or mind-boggling. I just can't do it.

The benefits of making your own bagged salad are:

1. You control the ingredients.

You can make them anyway you like them! You can have as many ingredients or as little ingredients as you like. I dislike red onions and nuts in my salads so to have a salad without those? Awesomeness!

2. You waste less. 

You control the potions. I made my salads up thinking individuals servings. They will wilt more slowly than if they were in one big bag. I also bought ingredients that I would use in other meals making even less waste.

3. The salads are healthier for you. 

Most bagged salads contain pesticides and preservatives to protect the quality of the salad as well as to slow down the wilting and browning of the ingredients. Nasty! Also, they include ingredients that are not so good for you to appeal to you a little more like candied nuts, heavy dressings, and croutons/crackers.

4. The costs involved are less. 

Less waste, less cost. You can buy the ingredients per potion for less than pre-bagged salads.You are getting ingredients you like and can be used for other dishes. The costs get even less if you have fresh garden produce that you can use instead of store bought.

5. This salad is portable.

This salad has travel options! You can take it to work with you. You can take it on picnics with you. You can take it to the ball game with you. You can pack it in the cooler for car trips. The options are endless!

Sounds great, right?

This is so easy you will wonder why you didn't think of it! Any ingredients you want, you put together. You know what you like!

Here is my first version of MYO Bagged Salad:

1 bag of organic raw spinach
1 - 1 lb. bag of snow peas
1 pint of grape tomatoes
1 pint of sliced mushrooms

I used a quart-sized plastic bag for my salad, but you can use a pint size bag depending on a potion size that works for you. You can also use jars if you do not like to use plastic bag.

I filled the bag halfway with the spinach (a good handful). I added about 10-12 snow peas, 6 grape tomatoes, and about 1/3 cup mushrooms. This is a rough guess because I just tossed the ingredients in. I wish I could be a bit more fancy and give exact measurements, but it is what it is.

Close the bag and you are done. If you like cheese on your salad, you can add that in the bagged salad or when you dump the salad out. If you are into salad dressing, you can put that into a little container to take with your salad.

Easy peasy! Even better, you can eat it in the bag if you want or dump it into a bowl/plate. You can eat it with your fingers if you don't care what others think! Although I wouldn't if you put salad dressing on it. That might get messy.

Use your garden produce in this recipe! Snapped green beans, chunks of kohlrabi, chopped carrots, and summer squash would taste wonderful as well as the ingredients listed!

Give this a try and let me know how it works for you! Let me know what combinations you used!

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Corn Casserole

This week's recipe is brought to you today from almost any cookbook my mom has made for family or me. This is a popular recipe with my kids, my family, those that eat it outside of the family, friends, etc. My kids absolutely love it!

Here is the disclaimer: if you are an organic, whole foods, all-natural person, be prepared to turn your head or revamp the recipe. Consumer and convenience food friendly is where this casserole is at! However, many adjustments can be made to this recipe to fit your particular lifestyle. 

This is also a one-dish recipe. Stand on your chairs and sing hallelujah! I love one-dish recipes! A dutch oven or large skillet works great!

Corn Casserole

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
onion, salt, and pepper to taste 
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can creamed corn
2-2 1/2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked

1. Brown the ground beef with the onion and seasonings. Drain the fat if you wish to. The leaner the ground beef, the better off you are. I use a 90% lean ground beef and don't drain the fat. I think it adds more flavor.

2. Add the cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, and creamed corn. Mix well.

3. Add the elbow macaroni and mix well. 

4. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 45 minutes or until bubbly and the macaroni is done. The top will get a bit crunchy sometimes. 

Serves 4-6. For my family, I just double it. They become very healthy eaters when this is on the table!

Now for the tips, suggestions, and substitutions:
1. You can substitute ground turkey in this. It tastes delicious.
2. I tend to use a seasoning salt that does not contain MSG in place of the salt and pepper. I like it better.
3. You can use dried onion or real onion. Your choice.
4. You can make your own cream soup of mushroom/chicken if you wish. It would really up the healthy/nutritional value.
5. We use veggie elbow macaroni and love it. The kids almost prefer it that way and the color helps it look prettier. I have also been known to use other kinds of pasta to use up ends of boxes. As long as it isn't egg noodles or a long noodle-y type pasta (spaghetti), you should be good.

Good luck with our family favorite! 

Have a great day! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baked Rigatoni

This week I am labeling Thursday with a theme! I hope to keep this up the whole year because this is a theme I can get with. Every Thursday I will be sharing a recipe with you all that comes from my ever-growing cookbook collection. In the challenge of trying to eat healthier while still retaining the simple cooking methods that I love (one-dish meals rock!), I will be sharing recipes that I find family pleasing and good for you too.

To credit where credit is due, I got this idea from Stacy Makes Cents. Please check out her blog because it is the real deal! I love it!

Today's recipe is from the cookbook, Saving Dinner: The Menu, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table by Leanne Ely. The cookbook has been a lifesaver and I have a tendency to buy copies of it for those people I think need it.

This recipe is one of my family's favorites from it, but they never remember me making it because they always ask what I am making. I tell them. They don't remember. They eat and they remember. They love it. Silly kids.

Baked Rigatoni

1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 cup oats
1 jar or 4 cups spaghetti/pasta sauce
1 cup cottage cheese
3 cups rigatoni, cooked
1/2-1 cup shredded mozzarella or pizza blend cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

If you haven't started already, get your water boiling for the rigatoni. When the water is boiling, dump the rigatoni in. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then start the meat.

In a large (12-inch) skillet, brown ground beef. When browned, drain any grease and, if you would like, use a paper towel to blot the meat to get more fat out. I personally like the flavor and with the beef I have from the local farmer, I rarely have to drain the fat.

Add the oats to the meat and mix well. Mix in the spaghetti/pasta sauce and cottage cheese. Mix well. Add in the cooked rigatoni and mix well again.

Here is where I take the fork in the road. If I have company over, I will put the mixture in a 11"x7" greased pan. If I am feeding the hungry minions, I mean kids, I will leave the mixture in the skillet. Sprinkle both cheeses on the top of the mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly and melted. Serve!

This feeds 6 people, but might be wise to have some bread and a green salad to go with it. Especially if you have growing kids.

Some substitutions and additions:
Italian sausage for ground beef
Marinara sauce for spaghetti/pasta sauce
Romano or Pecorino cheese for Parmesan cheese
Additions: cooked spinach, mushrooms, garlic, onions

I rarely mess with this recipe because I have kids who are not found of unknown things in their food. They like it when I stick to the recipe and do not make many additions, but they do make exceptions for garlic. Good kids.

Some of you might also be wondering about the oats. The oats are an odd ingredient in this recipe, however, they add fiber and replace some of the bulk from the meat. You will hardly know they are in there. I use quick-cooking oats or rolled oats depending of what I have on hand at the moment. The quick-cooking oats cook up faster and are much less noticeable. I prefer the rolled oats because they are better for us as a grain.

Please let me know what you think of this! We love it and I hope you do too!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers - 3 Ways!

One of the greatest food holidays is done and gone. I am a little sad myself as I love Thanksgiving and all the wonderful food that I get to eat on that day! With any meal like that though comes....



I eat leftovers all the time so I have become a big fan of leftovers. With Thanksgiving leftovers comes three great dishes that I am about to share with you today. The first dish is Hot Turkey Sandwiches (best thing ever!), following that will be Turkey Stuffing Casserole, and finishing will be Barbecue Turkey Pizza!

Hot Turkey Sandwiches

These open-faced sandwiches are so easy and available at a lot of diners, but I am amazed at the amount of people who have never heard of them much less ate one! If you have not, let me please enlighten you!

You will need: 
Sliced bread of choice
Sliced or shredded turkey (actually almost any meat will do!)
Mashed potatoes
Stuffing (optional)
**I don't list quantities because I believe these are a matter of preference. 

1. Heat up the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy in whatever method you choose. This sandwich works better with hot ingredients.
2. On a plate, lay down the slice of bread. If you would like stuffing, put some down over top the bread.
3. Add a layer of turkey. If you choose, you can add the mashed potatoes on top or have them on the side. I like them on top.
4. Cover the sandwich with gravy.
5. Grab a fork and dig in!

Turkey Stuffing Casserole

Again, this is very easy to put together. I make this all winter whenever I have leftover stuffing on hand!

You will need:
Stuffing to cover the bottom of an 8"x8", 9"x9", or a 9"x13" pan
Turkey (Chicken works really well here too!)

1. Heat up the turkey, stuffing, and gravy using whatever method you would like. This helps the casserole cook faster.
2. On the bottom of the casserole dish or pan, put down a layer of stuffing. You do not have to spread it or pat it down, just cover the bottom at least an inch high. Higher is okay too!
3. Cover the stuffing with a layer of turkey. How much you want is a matter of preference. I like to have the stuffing completely covered by the turkey.
4. Pour hot gravy over the top of the turkey to cover. The gravy will soak in so I pour over the top the equivalent of 2 jars of gravy on a smaller pan and 3 jars on a bigger pan.
5. Cover the casserole tightly. This can bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly. You can also do this in the microwave for 15 minutes on high until hot in the middle and bubbly.
6. Get your leftover side dishes out and serve with the casserole!

Barbecue Turkey Pizza

If you are sick of stuffing and the other traditional Thanksgiving dishes or need something to do with all that leftover turkey, this recipe is for you!

You will need:
1 unbaked pizza crust to fit a pizza pan or a 9"x13" pan
2 cups shredded or chopped turkey (chicken also works here)
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 - 8 oz. bag shredded mozzarella and/or cheddar cheese (2 cups)
**You can add other toppings if you would like. Sliced onions, caramelized onions, and mushrooms are awesome on this pizza!

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. On a greased pizza pan or a 9"x13" pan, spread out your pizza crust so that it creates a lip for the pizza.
2. Spread barbecue sauce on the pizza. You might need a little less or a little more depending on the size of your pizza.
3. Place shredded or chopped turkey over the top of the barbecue sauce. Again you might need a little more or less depending on the size of your pizza and your preferences on toppings.
4. Place cheese over the top of the turkey so that it will cover the turkey.
5. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes. After about 12 minutes, I would start watching the pizza so that it gets nice brown crust and does not burn.
6. Let the pizza rest for 5 minutes after you take it out of the oven. Otherwise it will be a hot mess!
7. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these recipes and realize that they are not just for Thanksgiving leftovers. Take the pizza as an example: I make that year round. Yum!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

MYO Oatmeal Packets

One of the things I like to do to save money and control what goes into my body is to make my own oatmeal packets. This is actually very easy to do and only take me roughly twenty minutes to do. 

MYO Oatmeal Packets

What you need to get started: 
Old-Fashioned Oats or Quick-Cooking Oats
Salt ( I use sea salt)

This time I was making twelve packets so I put 2.5 cups of oats into the food processor. 

I processed the oats into a powder. This will help your oatmeal thicken when it is cooking.

I use snack size bags to make the individual packets. Into each packet you want to add:
1/4 cup oats
2 Tablespoons powdered oats
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

If you like your oatmeal plain, you can be done at this point. However, I do not like my oatmeal plain.

My favorite combination of additional ingredients are:
1 Tablespoon raisins
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon golden flax seeds

You can experiment with any number of ingredients: dried  fruits, spices, sweeteners, etc. I am still trying to figure out a good way to add maple to the oatmeal. I think the best way would be to use maple sugar if you can find it or add maple syrup after you are done cooking it.

I also suggest using small amounts of what you are adding to your oatmeal and adding more until it is to your taste. It is very easy to overdo on the ingredient amounts!

To make an individual oatmeal packet, add 2/3 - 3/4 cup of boiling water to the oatmeal in a bowl. Let sit for 2-3 minutes to thicken. You can also make this in the microwave by adding water to the packet in a bowl and microwaving for 2-3 minutes (depends on the strength of your microwave). I suggest the variable water amounts so you can adjust how thick you want your oatmeal. I like a thick oatmeal so I use less water.

Please let me know what ingredients combinations you try when you make these!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!   Frugal 
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Steak Skillet

Steak Skillet is a meal I could eat happily 3-4 nights a week. It is that good and has all the things I love in this meal: some form of red meat, one dish, simplicity, and the yummy factor. This is also a very simple dish that can be added to or subtracted from without much trouble. I love how this tastes using my cast iron skillet. I love my cast iron skillet!

The only problem? I wish I would have had the foresight to take pictures when I made it Monday night. But you know me and pictures!

Steak Skillet

1-1 1/2 pounds of whatever steak you have on hand: round, sirloin, chuck, cut into uniform size pieces
1 quart jar of canned potatoes or 3-4 potatoes, chopped and parboiled
1 bell pepper of your choice, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

**When chopping everything, I would chop it all about the same size, roughly 1 inch pieces maybe slightly smaller. This just makes cooking everything easier.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and let cook for 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook until the pepper starts to soften. Add the steak and cook until browned on all sides. Add the potatoes and cook until heated through and maybe getting a little brown on them. Add the Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. Let cook for 2-3 more minutes. Serve!

This easily feeds 4-5 people especially if you serve with bread or side dishes. I use cheaper cuts of steak with this dish because I would cry to see a ribeye used in this manner. I also undercook the meat a little so it stays tender. By the time it all cooks, the meat is about medium. Perfect.

Eggs can added to this for a breakfast skillet. I would do that at the end and cook until the eggs are set or scrambled, however you prefer. Seasonings can be changed up on it or fresh herbs added if you have those on hand. If you have leftover bacon, that could be added at the end. Shredded cheese could be added over top.

Possibilities are endless! My favorite is the basic recipe, but the additions are delicious too!

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chuckwagon Wraps

In yesterday's post, I mentioned we are incorporating more legumes into our diets. This recipe is one that I have used for awhile with excellent results. The meal is also very quick and easy to put together and serve. The bonus for my family is that we eat it with tortillas. They will eat just about anything when tortillas are involved.

The legume involved is the fast and easy kind - a small can of baked beans. I usually use Bush's because I like the taste of theirs better than the thin tomato-y sauce kind. This recipe would work fabulously too if you have leftover homemade baked beans.

I also apologize in advance if this similar to anyone's recipe. I have been making these for about twelve years and have lost the original recipe or where the recipe came from. 

Chuckwagon Wraps

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped or  1 Tablespoon dried chopped onion
1 16.5 oz. can of baked beans
1 cup of frozen or canned corn (I prefer frozen sweet corn)
1-2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
Chili powder or hot sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, etc.

1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef and onion together until beef is done. Drain if necessary.

2. Add can of baked beans and corn to skillet with beef. Stir together.

3. Add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and seasoning to the mixture in the skillet. Let simmer on low for 5-10 minutes.

4. Serve with warmed tortillas and whatever condiments you like. Enjoy!

My kids only need tortillas, shredded cheese, and sour cream to eat these. When I pointed out they needed vegies, they pointed at the corn. Point taken.

This will serve 4-5 people without side dishes. With side dishes, this could serve 5-6 people or more. They are filling and absolutely wonderful leftover for the next day too.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Eating Naturally

We have been making the switch at our house to watching what we eat. We are trying to make more from scratch and eating more naturally produced foods instead of artificially processed foods. I have friends who are 100% into the clean eating life and I envy them. We are not there and I doubt at this point in time we will be. But the changes I have been making are starting to reap the results.

I did not jump into natural eating for political or societal reasons. I did it because of our health and well-being. I did it because I did not feel comfortable with eating the preservatives and additional things they added to processed food. I did it because I kept finding MSG being added to food under different guises such as natural flavorings. I did it because the effects of processed food on my children and myself were mind boggling.

The changes I made at first were small: little to no high fructose corn syrup, no dyes like blue 4 and yellow 10, no MSG whatsoever, and decreasing the amount of white flour and white sugar until I did not use it anymore. I also sought to buy more and more fruits and vegetable to eat as snacks as well as with our meals.

The changes I made were difficult and needed to be flexed once in a while because I had to change some of the recipes we enjoyed eating. Also I refused to throw out food so we needed to use up what we had such as cream soups and boxed seasoned potatoes. I was also shocked by how much food has HF corn syrup and dyes in it. Incorporating more rice that was not fast cooking rice was and still is a bit difficult, but a huge improvement over boxed potatoes.

Some changes were easy. I substituted whole wheat flour and unbleached all-purpose flour for bleached white flour. I also played with using almond, coconut, and oat flour to very surprising, but delicious results. I started to use honey and organic pure cane sugar instead of white sugar in most things. I haven't been able to do this as much in my canning recipes much to my disappointment.

I use lemons and limes for juice instead of using bottled lemon and lime which does not really taste like the real thing. I use more kosher and sea salt then table salt. We also quit using margarine and use only butter. We use coconut, grape seed, and olive oil instead of vegetable and canola because of the health benefits and the processing of the oil.

We are still in the making changes process. This isn't easy, but it is for the best. Some days we fail miserably. I still have a Coke from time to time. My teens like their junk food although they eat a lot of what I make too. All the kids are very tolerable about trying new recipes or a new twist on old recipes. We are trying to make wiser choices when we eat out.

The benefits are starting to show. I can't speak for the kids so much, but I feel better. I sleep better. I have more energy. Cooking does not seem like such chore because I like to experiment in the kitchen. Food tastes better. I haven't lost much weight, but I do notice that I don't bloat nearly as bad or hardly at all. I love fresh food so eating more fruits and vegetables have not been a hardship at all!

Growing some of my own food has been very beneficial in terms of producing my own food. I know where it came from and what is in it. Learning how to can and preserve is skills I had always wanted to learn and now I have. The food tastes better and is more inline with the changes we are making.

This isn't everything we have done, but it is an overview. I will have more posts on natural eating as well as how to do it frugally. I wanted to get you all an idea of how this journey can be as well as how it can be flexible according to what you feel is best for you.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Making Chicken Stock

In our quest to become healthier, more frugal, and self-sufficient, we have been making our own things. Chicken stock is one of them. I think I only have one can of the store-bought stuff left on the shelf. I have been using my homemade variety a little over a year now and I love it! I can my chicken stock and sometimes I will freeze it, but I like canning it the best. No unthawing!

Chicken Stock

The ingredients are very loosely based. It really depends on what I have on hand. I also use the bones and leftovers from when we roast chickens. I will keep these in the freezer and pull them out when I get time to make broth.

1-2 chickens worth of bones and leftovers
3-4 carrots, roughly chopped into pieces
3-4 celery stalks and leaves, roughly chopped into pieces
1 onion, cut up into wedges
3-4 garlic cloves, whole
Salt to taste (I add roughly a scant palmful)
Whole peppercorns (10-12 roughly)
Water to cover the whole thing and then some

Put all ingredients except water into a big pot. I use the biggest one I have, but I am not sure of the size. Add the water. Fill 3/4 full.

Place on the stove. I bring my stock to a boil and then turn it down to simmer. Keep it covered to keep the goodness in the pot. I let this simmer for 2-4 hours at least. It just depends on how distracted I get.

After a few hours, take off the burner and let cool a bit. Strain the chicken and vegies out by either a strainer using a cheesecloth for more clarity in the broth. Strain into the biggest bowls you own. It makes this next step easier. 

If it is summer, put your strained broth into the fridge to cool and let the fat rise to the surface. If it is winter and cold where you are (30 degrees and colder), put it outside and out of reach of the animals. I use the inside of my grill which sits out all year round. My refrigerator room is premium space here. Let the broth sit for 24 hours. 

Bring the broth inside or out of the fridge. Skim off the fat layer at the top. I will leave it up to you as to keep it or not. I know people who do and use it when cooking. I don't. If canning the stock, this would be a good time to heat it back up again. 

If freezing the stock, fill your containers 3/4 full to allow room for expansion. Label and place containers in freezer. You are done.

If canning the stock, fill hot jars with hot stock, leaving one inch of headspace. Screw hot lids and rings on the jars and place into the pressure canner. Fill the pressure canner with 2-3 inches of water and place the lid on the canner. Use the canner according to the instructions you have. My canner is old and basic. Bring the canner up to 10 pounds pressure. Process the pint jars for 20 minutes, quart jars for 25 minutes (as per Ball Blue Book of Preserving). Let cool and bring the pressure down in the canner. Take out of the canner and listen for pings. Let cool, label, and put away for the day you want truly homemade chicken noodle soup!

My recipe makes me about 6-7 quarts of stock. I usually end up freezing some too. 

That is it! A basic and simple chicken stock that will blow you away with goodness! Yum!

Thanks for reading! Have a great night!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dehydrating Bananas or How to Make Banana Chips

My kids love dried banana chips. Fresh bananas do not get eaten up very fast here, but banana chips do not last very long. And they are so easy to make yourself. Much, much cheaper than buying them at the store.

First get out your trusty dehydrator. Blow off the dust if you need to.

Next get your bananas ready. I may have used bananas that were a little to ripe this time, but they worked out fine.

Slice your bananas. I slice mine to roughly a quarter inch thick. If you like a crispy chip, slice thinner. If you like a chewy chip, slice thicker.

Since I had room on my trays, I sliced a few apples too. Apple chips are also very  popular at my house.

Load the trays into the dehydrator. Turn on or plug in the machine. Whatever you need to do to turn it on.  And wait. My machine takes about 24 hours to dry the chips out. A long wait, I know, but the house smells lovely in the meantime!

After about 24 hours, test a chip to see if it is done to your likeness. Please realize that as they cool, they will get a little harder. If they are done, shut off or unplug your machine. Take out the trays.

Voila! You are done. Take the chips off the tray and store somewhere. I store my chips in a jar. Then eat at will!

Easy, no? Thanks for reading! Have a great day!



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