Wednesday, September 15, 2010

autumn harvest chili

Autumn Harvest Chili Warms the whole family by the fireplace!!!

3 cans beans Black, Pinto, Kidney Beans
3 colors Whole Bell Peppers Cut
2 Whole Red Onions
2 Cans Stewed Tomatoes (No Sugar)
1 Cup Corn
10 Cloves fresh Garlic
MorningStar Farms® Breakfast Patties Organic Soy 6 Patties
MorningStar Farms® Fakin Organic Bacon Strips 6 Strips
1 1/2 t Clove Spice
1 1/2 Chile Powder
Cheyenne pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Cut the peppers & onions in half and then cut thin strips. Grill veggies with olive oil to golden brown in a stewing pot. Add rinsed beans, corn & stewed tomatoes. Cook 45 min. While cooking beans and veggies, brown the chopped breakfast patties and bacon strips in a fry pan.breakfast patties to beans. Add spices and chopped garlic.

Add bacon strips as crispy garnish.
~Serve with Homemade Pan Corn Bread.

homemade blender tomato soup

This is one yummy soup. And surprisingly easy. Once you make this, you'll never be able to go back to canned soups!!

10 Roma Tomatoes
1 White Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
3 tbs Olive Oil for Grilling Onion and Pepper
8 Garlic Cloves
1 1/2 tbs dried Basil (to tell you the truth, I'm just guessing here cause I just throw it in :)
1 tbs Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Fresh Basil for Garnish
French Bread

Get out your best blender. We use a VitaMix Blender. Wash and cut out stems on tomatoes and put in blender on high. Blend till hot. While tomatoes are blending, cut the onion and pepper in big chunks, put olive oil in frying panand grill onion and pepper on high till golden brown. Add all spices and garlic. Blend for 10 seconds
onion and pepper and blend for 5 sec. We want this to be chunky. Taste to see if you have enough spices. Add more if needed When ready to serve, add fresh basil.
Toast french bread and ENJOY!! Makes 4 servings.

strawberry freezer jam

easy and'll never buy jam again :)

4 c. ripe strawberries
4 c. granulated sugar
1 box Sure-Jell powdered pectin
3/4 c. water

Wash and hull the berries; crush them completely, a few at a time. (Should end up with 2 cups.) In large bowl, mix together the berries and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Combine pectin and water in saucepan. Bring to boil; boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir hot pectin into the fruit bowl; continue stirring. Don't worry if sugar is not completely dissolved. Ladle jam into freezer containers. Put lids on immediately. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours or until set. Refrigerate for a few weeks or freeze for up to a year. Enjoy!!

easy grape jelly

3 cups concord grape juice
5 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup water
1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin

Sterilize and dry jars for jelly, and set side. I like to use my dishwasher. New lids are recommended for best results. Combine grape juice and pectin in a large pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and stir one minute at a rolling boil. Stir in sugar for a few minutes to completely dissolve. Remove from heat. Ladle the hot jelly into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Wipe rims of jars with a clean dry cloth. Cover with a lid and ring to seal. Let stand 24 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate. Jelly may take up to a week to set. Once set, it is ready to serve. Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, once set. If canning for long term storage, process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Enjoy!!

ginger peach jam

Taste summer all year round!!

5 cups ripe peaches peeled and cubed
1/4 cups crystallized ginger finely chopped
6 cups sugar

Peel and pit peaches then finely chop or grind and pour into sauce pot and add ginger. Measure sugar and set aside. Mix fruit pectin into fruit in sauce pot then place over high heat and stir until mixture comes to a full boil. Immediately add all sugar and stir. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam with metal spoon. Ladle quickly into hot jars then fill to 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Invert jars for 5 minutes then turn upright. After 1 hour check seals.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

soaking and cooking beans

Beans and legumes are an excellent source of vegetarian protein and a staple of many vegetarian diets. The drawback is that they take a long time to cook, but once you know the techniques, you'll find it's not difficult at all. Most of the time they are just soaking or boiling on their own; your actual "hands on" time is only about 10 minutes.

Washing Beans and Legumes
Before using beans and legumes, rinse them thoroughly under cool water, then sort through them for any stones or other debris. If using lentils, mung beans, or split peas, skip the soaking section and go right to the cooking instructions. If using anything other kind of beans, continue to the next step: soaking.

Soaking Beans and Legumes

All dry beans and legumes except lentils, mung beans, and split peas should be soaked before cooking. Soaking shortens the cooking time and makes the beans more digestible. To soak, cover the washed beans with four times their volume of water (no salt*), then choose one of these soaking techniques.

1)Normal soak: Leave the beans to soak for at least 6-8 hours (larger beans need more time). This is the traditional and healthier method of soaking beans. (If you put them on to soak at night, they'll be waiting for you whenever you're ready the next day.)

2)Quick soak: Bring the beans to a boil for one minute, cover, and let sit for one hour.
The beans are soaked once they are uniformly tender and have doubled or more in size.

After soaking, you have two choices:

1)Drain the soaking water, rinse the beans, and cook with fresh water
2)Cook with the soaking water
The first reduces flatulence, while the second provides more nutrients.

Cooking Beans and Legumes

Whether reusing soaking water or adding fresh, there should be twice as much water as beans. Boil furiously, uncovered, for ten minutes. Skim off any foam that collects at the top, then cover, lower heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Stir in salt (½ tsp per cup of dry beans) and continue cooking until the beans are tender. Stir them every 15 minutes or so, adding a bit more water as needed.

White beans might be done after the first hour, but larger beans like chickpeas need more time. When you think they might be done cooking, cut one bean in half - if the color is consistent, it's done. If there's a lighter patch in the middle, it needs to cook longer.

You do doupke batches and store them too!! I like to freeze them in quarts (about 3-4 cups) you could freeze a can sized portion (1 and 1/2 cups) in a sandwich bag, and then put the smaller bag into a gallon freezer bag, it's so easy and then they are ready to go :)


*1 c dry beans yields 2-2½ c cooked. Unless otherwise stated, the amounts given in my recipes refer to the cooked volume.

*Salt can disrupt the cooking, so don't add it while soaking or during the first hour of cooking.

*Excessive heat can make soaking beans ferment, so when it's hot out, put soaking beans in the fridge.

canning 101

15 steps to canning your beautiful harvest!!

1) Wash canning jars in hot sudsy water; rinse. Cover with boiling water until ready to fill. Jars used in recipes in which food is processed for less than 10 minutes must be sterilized by immersion in boiling water for 10 minutes. Prepare lids and screw bands according to manufacturer's directions.

2) Fill canner with water; start heating. I uses a Back To Basics stove top water bath canner and I love it!!

3) Prepare only as much food as needed to fill the maximum number of jars your canner will hold at one time. Work quickly, keeping work area clean.

4) Place hot jars on cotton towels to prevent slippage while filling.

5) Fill jars, leaving recommended headspace (space between top of food and jar rim) to promote sealing. Add salt to canned vegetables, if desired (use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for pints; 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for quarts)

6) Add boiling liquid to jar, keeping specified headspace.

7) Release trapped air bubbles in jar by gently working a nonmetallic utensil around the jar's sides. Add liquid if needed to maintain headspace.

8) Wipe jar rim with clean, damp cloth (food on the rim prevents a perfect seal).

9) Position prepared lid and screw band, tightening according to manufacturer's instructions.

10) Set each jar into the canner as it is filled; jars should not touch.

11) Cover canner; process as directed.

12) Remove jars; set on towels or rack, leaving at least 1 inch between jars.

13) After jars are completely cooled (12 to 24 hours), press center of each lid. If dip in lid holds, the jar is sealed. If lid pops up and down, jar isn't sealed. Unsealed jars can be refrigerated and used within 2 or 3 days, frozen (allow 1-1/2-inch headspace), or reprocessed within 24 hours. To reprocess, use a clean jar and a new lid; process for the full length of time. Mark label and use any recanned jars first. If the jars have lost liquid but are still sealed, the contents are safe. However, any food that is not covered by liquid will discolor. Use these jars first.

14) Wipe jars and lids to remove any food residue. Remove, wash, and dry screw bands; store for future use. Label jars with contents and date; include a batch number if doing more than one canner load per day. (If one jar spoils, you can easily identify any others from that canner load.) Store jars in a cool (50 to 70 degrees F), dry, dark place. Use within one year.

15) Enjoy the fruits and vegetables of you labor!!

stuffed peppers

This is so good and can be made surprisingly quick!  My 2 year old likes it so much he'll even eat most of the pepper too!!

4 Bell peppers, hollowed out
1 box of spanish rice (we use Near East) and follow the package instructions
1/2- 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 c. grated cheese
1 sm. can of tomato paste

Preheat oven to 350 F. One rice is finished cooking and you've browned and drained your beef, mix them together.  Stuff peppers with mixture then sprinkle cheese over the tops of each pepper.  Neatly top with tomato paste and bake for 25 minutes.  Voila!!

tomato sauce

Tis the season for canning your yummy garden tomatoes. Once you make your own sauce, you'll never buy it again!!

10 ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Burgundy wine
1 bay leaf
2 stalks celery
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Have ready a large bowl of iced water. Plunge whole tomatoes in boiling water until skin starts to peel, 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon and place in ice bath. Let rest until cool enough to handle, then remove peel and squeeze out seeds. Chop 8 tomatoes and puree in blender or food processor. Chop remaining two tomatoes and set aside.

In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook onion, bell pepper, carrot and garlic in oil and butter until onion starts to soften, 5 minutes. Pour in pureed tomatoes. Stir in chopped tomato, basil, Italian seasoning and wine. Place bay leaf and whole celery stalks in pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 2 hours. Stir in tomato paste and simmer an additional 2 hours. Discard bay leaf and celery and serve.