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Showing posts with the label Cooking

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 his…

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…

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 …

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 T…

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, m…

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 a…

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 fai…

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 …

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 yo…

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 r…

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....

LEFTOVERS!
Yeah!

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
Gravy
Stuffing (optional)
**I don't list quantities because I believe these are a matter of preference. 

1. Heat u…

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…

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 …

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 sau…

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…

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 us…

Dehydrating Bananas (or How to Make Delicious 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. (This is an old one that my mom did not want anymore. This dehydrator would be an excellent one to use!) 

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 …

Meal Plan for Week of March 5

Below is our meal plan for the week. I need to have a plan and be accountable for it. I skipped a few weeks of planning just to get some things cleaned up and out of the freezer. I am trying to make room for the half of beef that I want to have ordered and processed soon. This week will be a little of the same, but hopefully focusing more on the healthier meals.

Monday - Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, and Onions in the Crockpot
Tuesday - Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice, Leftover Vegies from Saturday's meal
Wednesday - Turkey Sloppy Joes, Homemade Baked Potato Chips
Thursday - Roast Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Corn (Frozen from last summer)
Friday - Easy Baked Rigatoni, SaladThis weekend's meals are still up in the air, but Saturday's lunch may include leftovers! Sundays we usually have brunch instead of lunch and that includes something like pancakes or French toast. Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Some Interesting Links

I haven't been posting so much because I have been busy learning! I am trying to learn more about canning, prepping, and to some extent candle-making.

Here is what I have been watching on YouTube lately:

Canning Chili: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_du998lYkdE&feature=related

Canning Potatoes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUkjSWLNmKw&feature=related

Canning Beef: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUBRKyAHoOw&feature=related

Canning Pork: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LghymrKPbSk&feature=g-vrec&context=G2fa4c59RVAAAAAAAAAg

Here is some of the blog ideas I have been reading about:

Canning Chicken at the Hugs and Giggles Blog

Making DYI Survival Candles at the TEOTWAWKI Blog

6 mistakes Homesteaders make and how you can avoid them at the Joybilee Farm Blog

Rising Gas Prices: 10 Ways to Save Money at the Pump at the Frugally Sustainable Blog

I hope these are as informative for you as they were for me! Thanks for reading!