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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Energy Bites

These are yummy and fast and healthy. No cooking or baking is involved. You are gonna love these!

You will need a bowl for mixing.

Ingredients:
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup flax meal (ground flax seed)
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Start with a spoon and finish with your hands.
Roll into balls and put into a container with a lid.
Refrigerate to set up.

I just keep mine in the fridge, but you don't have to.

I get about 18. How many you get depends on how big you roll the balls.

DO NOT cook the oatmeal first!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Gluten Free Pie Crust

I LOVE pie! Out of all the desserts in the world, I think pie would be tops. My favorite filling is debatable. There are just too many great ones to choose from.

I gave up wheat a couple years ago, for health reasons.
I know there are plenty of wheat recipes scattered on the blog.
But, many of the recipes can be used with other flours.
A lot of the recipes I wrote before I quit wheat.

The biggest thing I missed was pie.
It is really hard to make a gluten free pie crust in the way I always made a crust.


Most recipes I came across were for using parchment paper to roll it out.
I didn't want to do that.

Or, they were just for single crust pies.

So, I came up with this recipe. The crust came out flaky, just like a pie crust should.
This is best made ahead at least a few hours or even overnight.

You will need plastic wrap for wrapping the dough in.

Ingredients:

2 cups Gluten Free All purpose flour blend- I used Namaste Perfect Flour Blend, but use what works for you.
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1 egg
2 to 4 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons lemon juice

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons water, and the egg.
Set aside.
In a larger bowl, mix the flour and salt.
Work in the butter with your hands or a fork until the mixture is crumbly like.
Some of the butter pieces can be bigger and some smaller.
Add the egg mixture and stir in with a fork.
If it is really, dry add another tablespoon and the last tablespoon, if needed.
Work it in with your hands just until it you can get it to come together in a ball.
Divide the dough in two and make into slightly flattened balls.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a few hours, preferably a day.
When ready to make your pie, take a piece of dough out of the refrigerator about five to ten minutes before rolling it out.
Flour the counter well, put the dough on it and flour the top of the dough.
Carefully roll it out to a little larger than the pan size, turning over every so ofter so the dough doesn't stick to the counter or the rolling pin.
Transfer the pie crust to the pan and fill it.
Repeat with top crust.
Stick the pie, covered, in the fridge while preheating the oven.
Place a cookie sheet or pizza pan in the oven before you preheat.
Preheat according to the recipe.
To bake the pie, place the pie on the pan. It will make for a crisper crust.
Make sure to put slits in the top crust before you bake. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin puree




There are different ways to cook up your pumpkin. You can cut it up and peel it and than steam it.
That is one way.
I do mine different and I think it is a much simpler way to do it.
First off, smaller pumpkins are easier to work with.
Use pie pumpkins for baking, if possible. They are meatier.
You can also use all purpose pumpkins that are grown for baking or jack-o-lanterns. But, the great big ones have a lot of liquid in them and your baked goods don't turn out quite as well .
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need a an or two to hold the pumpkin halves.
You will also need a large knife to cut the pumpkin and a spoon to scoop out the seeds
To puree, you will need a blender or food processor.

Wash your pumpkin.
Now, cut your pumpkin in half. 
Cut it in half so that the top half is one piece and the bottom half is the other piece. 
Don't cut it in half the other way. It is easier to cut that way. But, it takes a lot longer to get the pumpkin to cook though. I really don't know why, but it just seems to.
Now, you need to scoop out all the seeds. Those you can either save to roast for a treat. Or you can save them to dry and plant later for more pumpkins.
Take the pumpkin halves and place cut side down in the pan.
Pour a small amount of water into the bottom of the pan.
Put the pan in the oven. 
Bake for about an hour and a half or until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with a knife.
Check once in a while to make sure there is still water in the bottom of the pan.
If the pan is dry, add a little more water.
When the pumpkin is tender, take out of the oven and let it sit until it is cool enough to handle.
When you are able to handle the pumpkin, take a spoon and scoop out the pumpkin pulp out of the shells. Add to the container of a blender or food processor.
Puree.
Now,you are ready to bake or freeze it.
Canning is no longer recommended by the USDA.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pear Crisp


I love a nice warm from the oven crisp. Until this year, I had never tried it using pears. I don't know why, because it tastes fabulous.

You will need a baking dish that holds 2 quarts. I usually use a round glass casserole, but you could use a 9" square baking pan.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 Celsius

Ingredients:
5 cups sliced and peeled pears
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup oat flour(all purpose flour will also work)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Peel and slice the pears and spread evenly in the baking dish.
In another bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
Cut in the butter until you get coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the pears.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pears are tender when pierced with a sharp knife.

Serves 6.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- What Is It?

I can't believe it is Friday already.
I've been busy canning and freezing and time is just flying by.

I've spent a lot of years learning how to stretch a dollar.
I make everything from scratch.
I make stock from a turkey carcass.

We all have a different idea of frugality.

Some people clip coupons to save money.
I don't use coupons much because I don't use what I can find coupons for.

I would like to know what is frugal for you
or do you have any questions on how to be frugal with something.

Leave me a comment or send me an email.
My email is greatcookrep@live.com.

Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Peaches, Pears, and Apples OH MY

Sunday was a busy day.
There was plenty of picking going on.

My husband, daughter, and I went to my parent's place to pick fruit.
My sister showed up to help too.

Dad has a apple tree with a bumper crop.
A couple pear trees and a couple peach trees too.

The peach are the small white Iowa peaches.
Here is some of what we brought home.


These are not everything either.
The fruit crisper drawer is full of apples and there is a cooler full in the garage.
I have a cooler full of pears that isn't in this pictures.
There is also a huge box of peaches sitting in the back of the truck.
Too full for us to want to move until some of the peaches are gone.

Mom and Dad also have tons at home.

I did make butterscotch peach jam yesterday.

Today I am planning on making applesauce.
I may freeze some apples today too.
Later this week, I will be doing apple butter.

The pears aren't ripe yet.
They don't ripen til picked off the tree.

I am still doing tomatoes too.

One day I need to find time to cook my neck pumpkin.
This I got from a friend.

I'm going to be busy.
But, a good kind of busy.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- Freezing Fruit

If you find yourself with an abundance of fruit, freeze it for later.

Sometimes there are discounted or free bananas because they are over-ripe.
Grab them!

If you are given fruit, take it.

Fruit is so simple to freeze.

Peel and cut if needed.
Or just wash.
Freeze.

If you want to make sure the pieces don't stick together, freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet for a couple hours.
Take out of the freezer and put into containers or freezer bags.

Bananas are super simple.
You can freeze them for a frozen treat or for baking.

For treats, you will want to peel and either leave whole or mash.
My daughter likes them left whole, but you can mash them until smooth and than scoop out like ice cream.
If you are planning to bake with them, you can peel and mash or you can just stick the whole banana in the freezer.

My mom peels and mashes. She measures and than freezes.

I just stick the unpeeled banana in a bag and into the freezer it goes.
To use, thaw out and snip off one end of the banana and squish out the banana.
What I like about doing it this way, is that the mashing is virtually unnecessary.

I have heard frozen grapes are good treats too.
I have not tried it, but it's an idea worth trying.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spaghetti Squash

 This is a spaghetti squash. A squash this size will feed a family of four or five. It is called spaghetti squash because you rake the flesh out with a fork and it comes out in strands somewhat like spaghetti.
You serve it like you would pasta. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and maybe a little Parmesan cheese. You can also top it with a sauce like Alfredo or marinara.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 Celsius.
You will need a pan large enough to lay the squash in.
You will also need a knife, a large spoon, and a fork.
A towel is nice, but not necessary. 

Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash

Wash your squash off and pierce the hard skin a few times with a knife.
Lay in the pan and put in the oven.
Bake for one hour and poke with knife to see if it is tender. If the knife goes in fairly easy, it is ready. 

Take out and let it rest a few minutes.
With the knife, slice it in half lengthwise.
With the spoon, scoop out the seeds and spongy stuff.
You might want to hold a towel against outside of the squash so it's not so hot.
Rake the fork down the pulp and it will come out in strands.

Serve with sauce of your choosing.

The seeds can be roasted like pumpkin seeds or dried and saved for future planting.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Crockpot Hungarian Goulash

This is a great, simple meal that just screams comfort. Hungarian goulash is different from the tomato sauce/hamburger/macaroni version that most Americans are used to.

Serve this over rice or noodles and you have quite a meal.

This serves 4-6 people.

You will need a 4 to 6 quart size crockpot.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. cubed beef roast
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1-1/4 cups water, divided
1/4 cup flour

Cut up the meat and put it in the crockpot.
Combine the ketchup,Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt, paprika, dry mustard, and 1 cup of the water.
Pour and over the meat and stir everything together.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours until the meat is tender.
Combine the rest of the water and the flour.
Stir that into the beef mixture and turn on high for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce thickens.

While the sauce thickens, cook your rice or noodles.

The cut of roast can determine how long to cook it. Chuck roast is tougher so it may take the full 10 hours, whereas a loin roast may be tender at 8 hours or less.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- Preserving



Preserving comes in many forms.

You can can.
You can pickle.
You can freeze.
You can make jams, jellies, preserves, or butters.
You can dry.

It's always great if you have your own garden or fruit trees, but you can save money preserving by getting stuff from friends, farmer's markets, or even the plain old grocery store.

One year, before I started growing my own pumpkins. I bought one at the store.
I cooked it up and pureed it and froze it.
You get the seeds as a bonus.
You can roast the seeds as a snack, bake with them, or just dry them and save to plant later on.

Frozen fruit can be used for making jam.
Buy some when it's on sale.
Tastes better and you'll save over buying it already made.

You can make jelly with bottled juice.
It works great.
Just buy some sugar, some juice, and pectin.
You are good to go.

You can dry your own herbs with a dehydrator or by letting them air dry.

So, if you ever find yourself a really good deal or have too much...
remember, there is always a way to save it for later.

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Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Stuffed Peppers


Bell peppers are just made to stuff. These are a family favorite when the bells are in season. Yes, you can buy them year round, but it can be hard to find some good fresh ones.

You can stuff them by cutting them in half, taking out the membrane and seeds and stuffing. This is for those times when the bells are more pointy ended.
If you have bells that stand up well, you can just cut off the tops, remove the membrane and seeds and stuff.
They are tasty either way. It just depends on how you want them to look.

This recipe will make 3 to 6 stuffed peppers. If your peppers are really large, you will have enough filling for 3. If they are more normal, medium size, you will get 6.

You will need a pan of boiling water for the peppers.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius.
You will need a baking pan large enough to hold the peppers.
You will also need a large skillet.

Ingredients:
6 medium bell peppers OR 3 extra large peppers
salt-opt.
1 lb ground beef or turkey
small chopped onion-1/4 to 1/3 cup
2 cups chopped tomatoes OR a 16 oz. can
1/4 cup white rice
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to season
1 cup shredded cheddar OR cheddar/jack cheese plus a little for sprinkling

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise OR cut the tops off and remove the seeds and white parts. 
Bring a pan of water- large enough to hold all the peppers- to a boil.
Immerse the peppers and cook for 5 minutes.
Drain.
Sprinkle with salt, if you'd like.
While you are doing that, add the 1/2 cup water and rice to a small pan with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.
Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. You should end up with approximately 3/4 cups rice.
Set the rice to the side.
In a large skillet cook the meat and onion.
When the meat has browned, add the tomatoes, rice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
Mix and simmer about 5 minutes.
Add the cheese.
Stuff the peppers.
Put in baking pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with more cheese.

Serve.

One time I made these and halved the recipe. Except, I forgot to cut the amount of cheese in half. It was excellent.
So, if you love cheese, go ahead and add some more!

Thanks, Lynn, for reminding me to post this recipe!



Monday, September 9, 2013

The Ripening

My bell peppers are starting to ripen. I love having red peppers as well as the green.

What I hate, is the waiting. They stay green for so long before they start to turn red, yellow, orange, purple, or whatever color you have.

My daughter prefers the green for snacking. But, the sweetness of the fully ripe pepper is great in cooked dishes.

The white powder on my plant is Diatomaceous Earth. It's organic and tomato horn worms and grasshoppers have been my enemy in the garden this year.

So, if you want ripe peppers and think they will never turn, just wait and wait.
And wait a little more.
They will get there.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting


These are really tasty. They are also a great way to use any zucchini, should you find yourself with an abundance of it.

This recipe is wheat free. Instead of wheat flour, oat flour and a small amount of ground flax seed is used.


Oat flour can be bought. You can also make it by grinding it finely in blender, food processor, or spice grinder.

You will need muffin tins and cupcake liners for 18 regular size cupcakes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 175 Celsius.


CUPCAKES-

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/2 cups oat flour
1/3 cup ground flax seed, also known as flax meal
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt, optional
2 teaspoons cinnamon
heaping 1/4 teaspoon allspice
1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, orange juice, and almond extract.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. 
Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and mix well.
Add the zucchini and blend that.
Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners. They will be about 2/3 full.
Bake 18-20 minutes or until the cupcakes test done when using the toothpick test in one.
Take out of the oven, but leave in the pan for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove from pan to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Frost.

CARAMEL FROSTING-

Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 to 2 cup powdered sugar

In a medium size saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar, and milk together.
Bring to a boil and stir for two minutes.
Take off the stove and stir in the vanilla extract.
Let it cool to just warm.
Stir in the powdered sugar a half cup at a time until you reach a frosting like consistency.
Frost each cupcake.
As the frosting cools all the way, it will get thicker.
So, either use a little less powdered sugar and frost when totally cool OR frost before the frosting is completely cool.
I frosting mine with the frosting slightly warm.

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You may use all-purpose wheat flour. Instead of the oat flour, use wheat all purpose flour and don't use the flax meal.
Also lower the baking powder to just 2 teaspoons.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dried Zucchini Chips

I am a lover of all things zucchini and when I heard about making them into chips, I knew I had to try them.
They are not baked or fried like a traditional chip. These use a food dehydrator.
They don't get quite as crisp and crunchy as a regular chip, but they are still pretty tasty.

You will need a food dehydrator, or the lowest setting on the oven you have.
You will need a mandolin, food processor with slicing disk, or a knife for slicing the zucchini.

Ingredients:
3 medium zucchini, cleaned and sliced thin- I sliced mine about 1/8" thick.
a few Tablespoons olive oil
salt, pepper, or other seasoning as desired

Slice the zucchini and put in a large bowl.
Drizzle over the olive oil and  sprinkle lightly with seasonings.
Work the oil and seasoning into the slices so they are fairly evenly coated.
Set your dehydrator to 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread the zucchini out in a single layer. I used 4 trays.
Dehydrate for 4 to 5 hours.
Take out and store in covered container.
Best eaten within a couple days.

This will be enough for 3-4 people.
If you use your oven, check them often and turn them. They will take about 2-3 hours.
Don't go heavy on the spices. The flavor intensifies as the chips dry.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- School Lunch

My daughter just started back to school this week and it made me think that taking your lunch to school or work would make for a good frugal topic.

My daughter is now a junior and has been taking her lunch since elementary school.

Packing a lunch is not only more economical, it can be healthier.

Most schools rely heavily on processed foods and making a lunch can be as processed or as fresh as you want to make it.


If I had to pay for my daughter to eat at school, it would cost me almost $3 a day.
Packing a lunch doesn't cost much of anything depending on what you choose to send.
The cost of the groceries can be absorbed into the food budget and you may not notice a difference.

You do have your start up costs.
You should have a lunch box or bag.
You need some containers for food and drink, as well as a wide mouth thermos for anything that needs kept cold or very hot.
An ice pack is also a good idea.

I like to send leftovers.
Heat them up.
Before you put them in the food thermos, heat the thermos with boiling hot water for about 10-15 minutes.

Make up a big batch of pudding that you divide into containers to last the week.

You can do a lot of prep the night before so it doesn't take much.
Finish it up while they are eating breakfast.

I even saw an idea once for sending a hotdog to school.
Fill a big thermos with boiling water and add the hotdog.
Pack a bun separately.
At lunch, the child can take the hotdog out the the thermos and put in the bun.

If you have a garden, send some fresh veggies.
Green pepper slices or cherry tomatoes or even carrots.
If you don't have a garden, check out the farmer's market in your area.

I also like to send popcorn sometimes.

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Have a great Friday!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- The Food Dehydrator Investment


I love my food dehydrator. It isn't something I use every day, but it has paid for itself in many ways.

A dehydrator will cost anywhere from $50 for a simple one to well over $150 for a big box dehydrator.
For my needs, I went simple.
I can buy more trays, should I ever need them.

If you plan to dry herbs, make sure you get a digital thermometer instead of one with a dial.
The digital is a bit higher priced, but it is more accurate.
With herbs, just a little too high of temperature and they will get ruined.

Today, I am planning to make some zucchini chips using the dehydrator.
I will have to let you know the results.

The dehydrator can save you a lot of money and you will end up with something a lot more nutritious.
Both are big wins and totally worth it.

Grow your own herbs and dry them.

Get bananas when they are marked down or free and make banana chips. They taste so much better. If you look at banana chips from the store, you see oil in the ingredient list. Because, they have been fried too.

You can dry all kinds of fruits or puree the fruit and make fruit leather-also known as fruit by the foot.

You can make your own meat jerky.

Try vegetable chips in it instead of frying or baking if you are into raw foods.
I have read about lots of foods done this way, but not white potatoes. I am not sure about that.
But I have read about using kale, sweet potatoes, and zucchini. You could do garlic and onions also.
Pretty much what you want to try.

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My husband is finally settling into his new job. It has been quite a change. After 7 years of works overnights, he is now on days. Rearranging my schedule has been something too. He will also have normal weekends so that will be nice. I have not had a day during the school year when I got to just sleep in.
When Kiddo was off on the weekends, he was coming in from work and I'd wake up.
His new job is a pay cut, but closer to home.

Have a great Friday everyone!



Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Heirlooms!

I am excited.
My Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes are finally ripening.
They look a bit different than the standard tomato. They have green shoulders, but are still ripe.
The red is a deep, dusky hue instead of just red, red.
They have a complex flavor that you have to try to really understand what I mean.
The smell is just incredible!

This year I grew Rutgers, Delicious, and Cherokee Purple.
All three are considered heirloom.
I think of the Cherokee and Delicious as more so than the Rutgers.
The Rutgers was developed in the 1940s so it is old enough to be considered heirloom.

When you buy the plants, heirlooms cost no more.
Many times, when you buy the seeds, heirlooms have more seeds per packet.

I love when the tomatoes are ready.
Time to make salsa- fresh and canned.
Can tomatoes for the coming seasons.
And just eat them!

This is a summertime favorite for my daughter and I. We slice up some tomatoes and cucumbers, sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite kind of tomato?
Do you have a favorite was to eat them?

Have a great day!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Layered Zucchini


I love this time of year! This is when my garden really starts to hit it's stride. One of my garden favorites is zucchini and I use it in as many dishes as I can.

This year I have four plants and, so far, they are all producing.
I am bringing in about three to four zucchini a day.
It's time to get cookin'!

Layered zucchini reminds me of lasagna a little bit.
Instead of the noodles, you use zucchini.

Layered Zucchini:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius.
You will need a large saucepan.
You will also need a colander, a small bowl, and a skillet.
To bake, you will need a greased 8" square pan.

Ingredients:
6 cups sliced zucchini- 3 or 4 medium/small, 5 or 6 small, OR 1 large
1/2 pound ground turkey OR ground beef
1 cup spaghetti OR tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano OR 1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves OR 1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup ground flax OR dry bread crumbs
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese   

Directions:
After you have sliced 6 cups of zucchini, partially fill a large saucepan with water and salt it. Bring the water to a boil and add the zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes. Any longer and the zucchini will be too soft.
Drain. Cool.
Crown and crumble the ground turkey in your skillet. Stir in the tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt, and garlic powder. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the egg, cottage cheese, and parsley.
Get your baking pan and layer half of the zucchini in it.
Sprinkle with half of the ground flax
Cover that with half of the cottage cheese mixture, half the ground turkey mixture, and half of the mozzarella.
Repeat, except do not add the rest of the mozzarella yet.
Put in the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Take out and sprinkle with the mozzarella and put back in the oven for a few minutes- just to melt the cheese.

Serve.
This makes enough for 4 or 5 people.

You can buy flax seeds or already ground seeds.
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Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Zucchini Time

My zucchini is starting to go into full production.





I love zucchini. I just can't wait until I am able to start picking.
I prefer to pick them smaller. These are as big as I like to let them grow.
I believe the flavor is a lot better.

The larger ones are fine for shredding, if you are going to use it as a filler or for baking brownies or bread.
A couple I know shreds it and adds to to all kinds of things such as meatloaf to give added nutrition.
I have not tried that though.

My daughter claims to not like zucchini.
Yet there are some ways she likes it.
One is zucchini alfredo.
Another is cheesy zucchini sausage casserole.

She also likes a few things baked with zucchini that I will have to bake and post.
I thought I had posted them, but I checked and no, I did not.

But, I will be making some blueberry zucchini bread  one of these days. My blueberries are ripening good now.

I have also got a recipe for zucchini pizza crust that is pretty good.

When I grew up, my mom never grew zucchini so I never had it until the last five years.
Now, I find all kinds of ways to fix it.

Nutritionally speaking, zucchini gives you a lot!
It contains magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, beta carotene, maganese,  vitamin C, calcium, vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6, and folate.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summertime Business

Things are starting to happen in the garden.
I am now harvesting and canning green beans.

The broccoli is coming on.
I will be freezing some of that soon too.
I did make broccoli salad last night for dinner.

Summer gets pretty busy when everything gets into full swing.

I have lots of tomato plants and I plan to make plenty of salsa as well as ketchup and juice and chopped tomatoes.

Between the garden and some stressful things going on, I haven't gotten a lot done as far as recipes go.
I have been taking pictures and as things settle down I hope to get back into a routine.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Growing in the Garden!

baby zucchini

sweet potato plant

Anaheim peppers

cabbage

cucumbers

broccoli is a growing

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!

Here are some scenes of yummy goodness in my garden!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- Popcorn for Snack Time

Who says snacks have to be out when you have a food budget? You can just snack frugally!

Everyone loves popcorn!
But, those microwave 3 packs can get pricey.

To save, you can buy them in bulk at Costco or Sam's Club.
A better choice is regular popcorn.

You can get a pound of it for $1 or maybe a little more.
It makes LOTS!

You can make it on the stove, invest in an air popper, a microwave popper, or even put some popcorn and a little oil in a paper bag and do microwave popcorn your way.

It really takes mo more time popping regular corn than it does the microwave variety.

Make your own caramel corn for a treat!

Popcorn is low calorie and filling.
Popping your own not only saves you money, it is healthier.
None of those chemicals that come in the bags of microwave popcorn.

And you get to season it just the way you want!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- More Meat Tips

Eating lean meat is healthier.
It also costs more.

One thing you can do is buy a cut with a higher fat content and cut off the visible fat before cooking.
If it is ground meat, you can drain the meat on paper towels or dump in a strainer.
You can also rinse the meat after cooking.
But, if you do this, be aware some nutrients will be lost as well as any seasoning you may have used.

Cheaper cuts of meat can be a little tougher.
You can make the meat more moist by adding a little water or broth to the pan while you are cooking it.
You can also marinate the meat before cooking.

Adding a little fat to the frying pan before cooking the meat will seal in juices.
Heat the pan, add the oil and make sure it is hot before you add the meat.
If the oil is not hot, it will soak into the meat, instead of searing the outside.

If you can afford to, you can save quite a bit of money by purchasing a quarter, half, or whole cow, pig, sheep, or whatever you want.
It is a big expense up front.
But, when you figure out the cost per pound it is a good investment.

I am sorry I missed last week's Frugal Me Fridays. I was unable to get to my computer.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mushroom Cheese Burgers

If you are a mushroom lover, this is a burger for you.
This is a different type of vegetarian burger. Usually you see bean burgers or maybe a thickly sliced grilled portabello mushroom for a burger.
This burger is made with white button mushrooms, brown rice, and cheddar cheese.
You can pile them up with all the fixings, but they are moist enough without additional condiments.

Plan ahead to make these.  The mixture has to chill so it will take several hours between mixing and chilling and cooking.
The first time I made these I forgot about the chill time and meal time was a little later than normal.

You will need a large skillet for frying.
You will also need a mixing bowl.

Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic or 2 teaspoons garlic powder
8 oz. white button mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
1 cup cooked brown rice- follow package directions
1/2 cup uncooked oats, either quick or regular
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 to 4 Tablespoons ground flax seed- you can use bread crumbs

Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in your large skillet.
Add the onion and garlic and cook and stir until onion is soft
Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are tender and most of the liquid has absorbed.

Stir in the brown rice and cook for a minute.

Pour that mixture into your bowl.
Stir in the oats, cheese, and egg.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the flax or bread crumbs. You just need the mixture to not be too wet and sticky.



Cover and put in the fridge until firm. This will take 3 to 4 hours.
When firm, take out of the fridge.
Line a plate with plastic wrap and make the burgers into 4 large patties. They are big so you might want to make 6 smaller ones.

Put back into the fridge for another hour. You can also quick chill them in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons oil in a large skillet.
Add the burgers and cook for about 5 minutes on either side until hot and the outside is browned.

Serve on buns with your favorite toppings.
Makes 4 to 6, depending on size. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Memphis Rub

This rub is full of complex flavors. You get a little bit of heat and a little bit of sweetness. Use it as a stand alone rub or grill your meat with the rub and add some BBQ sauce for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
I really like this rub on pork, but it is also fabulous on shrimp.

You will need a jar with a tightly fitting lid. An empty large spice shaker container or Parmesan cheese container is just perfect if you have one of those.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup paprika
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne(red) pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Put everything into the container and screw on lid.
Shake it up.

This makes about a half cup.

To use: put some on meat and rub it in.
Pork chops with Memphis Rub.

 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- The Food Processor Investment

Sometimes in order to save money, you have to spend money.

A food processor is not a necessity, but it is handy and can save you money in the long term.

Some ways it can save you money:
Making your own almond flour or other nut or bean flours.
Buy the nuts and make your own nut butter- such as peanut butter.
Buy a pumpkin and make your own puree for making pies and breads.
If you have an inexpensive access to apples, make your own applesauce.

You don't have to spend a lot of money on one.
You can find a good one for about $30 or $40, less if you catch one on sale.

If you get one that has a wide enough chute, you can slice whole potatoes or peppers.
They work great to shred zucchini.

I have used mine to make mayonnaise also.

You can use it to mix pie dough or cookie dough.

I mix up my black bean brownies in it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Under Control

Things have been a little hectic around here lately.
Hence, the lack of new recipes posted.

I have been busy transplanting volunteer tomato plants and trying to rid the rest of the garden of little maple trees.

Tons of whirlygigs descended on my freshly tilled garden and sprouted.

The garden was too wet to till so I hoed up what I could.
As large as the garden is, it took a lot of time to do small areas.

Finally the garden has gotten tilled and hopefully things will get a little more settled.

I did get a chance to grill last night.
This is what we had:
My asparagus is slowing down, but I am getting a few spears a day yet.
I decided to try grilling it.

I drizzled the spears with olive oil and sprinkled with curry powder and kosher salt.
Put on the grill and turn frequently so the spears don't burn.
When the spears are tender, take off the grill.
It only takes about 5 minutes total to cook them.

I also cooked some thick cut Iowa chops with Memphis Rub.
I will be posting that recipe in the next couple of days.

In the roaster is frozen corn.
I add a pint of corn and 2 tablespoons butter, cover and heat until hot.
That takes about 30 minutes.

Until next time!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- Making Your Own Mixes

Buying mixes of all kinds is very convenient.
But, it really isn't a true money saver.

You can make up your own mixes for just about anything.
You can find them for brownies, cookies, biscuits, cocoa, or spice mixes.

You can find all-purpose cookie mixes and just change up the add-ins when you want to make them.

You can find these recipes online or in cookbooks.

I do have spice mixes-
Cajun Rub
Creole Rub,
Jerk Dry Rub,
Sazon

I do plan to share recipes for more mixes in the future.

It is more fugal to buy the individual ingredients and make mixes and store them for when you want to make them.



Friday, June 7, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- When Cheaper Isn't Cheaper

A lot of times we got lost in the world of high priced foods.
Trying to get the best deal doesn't almost mean the cheapest deal.

More nutritiously dense foods may cost more at the store, but we eat less.
So, we actually save more.

The healthier the food is, the less we get sick and have to go to the doctor or get medication.
So, we save money that way.

I am not meaning you have to buy organics if you can't afford them.
But, many stores have a nutrition value listed by foods.
Check them out and find out what is a higher value.

A good trick for getting rid of pesticides on conventional produce is to soak it in a solution of two parts water and one part vinegar for 10 minutes.
Rinse off and dry.

Check out farmer's markets.
Many times there are real bargains closer to closing time.
The vendors want to get rid of their produce and will usually mark it down, even if only a little bit.

It all adds up.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cajun Rub

I love dry rubs. I make up different kinds to use when grilling. They are easy to make and keep fresh tasting for several months.
A lot of dry rub recipes state that they are for a certain meat, poultry, or seafood. I like to add rubs to my vegetables too.

This is my recipe for Cajun Rub. It has a strong, complex flavor with just a hint of heat. If you don't want any heat, cut down on the cayenne.

You will need a jar with a tight fitting lid.
I like to save my old larger spice containers or Parmesan cheese shaker containers for my rubs. They work great.

My cayenne has no label because I make my own and I have a pepper mill to grind my black pepper.


Ingredients:

1/4 cup Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 Tablespoons onion powder
2 Tablespoons dried thyme
2 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons ground pepper
1 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper, depending on how hot you like

To your jar, add all the spices and salt.
Screw on the top and shake to mix.
There: you are done.

Last year I bought the wrong kind of pepper plants. Instead of throwing them out, I dried them and ground them up for pepper.




Hey All

Just a quick note to let you know I have a Facebook page. I will be posting here later.
If you want to check out my page go to Ruth's Yummy Stuff on Facebook.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- Cutting the Meat

I am not talking about about cutting meat out of your diet.
Though, having meat free meals once in a while can be tasty AND budget friendly.

There are ways to save some money on meat.

Stew meat costs more than a roast or maybe even steak on sale.
Buy the roast and cut it up.
Use what you need and freeze the rest.
And if you cut the cubes smaller than the stew meat you buy, there actually seems like more meat.
I usually end up with a bigger roast than I need because there are only three of us.
I cut the roast in half and cook that and cube the other half for a meal in the next few days.

Most grocery stores have meat counters and the worker will cut up or slice any meat you want.
If you find a boneless ham at a good price, take it to the meat counter and ask them to slice it and package it how you want.
My sister usually does this and gets so much of it deli-sliced for sandwiches and the rest in thicker pieces.
When a whole pork loin is on sale, get one and have them slice it into roasts or thinner to cook that way or even to make your own tenderloin sandwiches.
Same thing with a beef loin. You can get the most expensive cuts off the loins.

Another way to save on meat is just to use less.
If the recipe calls for a pound of meat, use 3/4 or maybe less if you want.
Especially if the meat is chopped or ground, you really don't even notice.

If your meat is in pound packages, cook it all.
Take out some of the cooked and save for another meal.
Cooked meat freezes well.

These are a few of my meat tips.
Do you have any?

Have a great Day!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mushroom and Chicken Cobbler


 I love this dish. I always make it in the spring when morels are up. But, it is also delicious with button mushrooms that you can buy at the grocery store.

You will need a pan large enough to hold the chicken and that has a lid.

1 pound chicken meat
seasonings for making broth- I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley
1 cup water.


Heat the water to a boil.
Lower to a simmer and cover. Cook for 1-2 hours.
Take out chicken and let cool. Chop.

Measure the water. You want 1 cup so if it is more, add back to pan and cook down until you get a cup.
Set aside.

2 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion
8 oz. sliced button mushrooms. If using morels, use 2 cups halved.
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
salt, pepper and parsley to taste.

Melt the butter in the pan and add the onion and mushrooms.
Stir and cook for a few minutes.
When that is soft, sprinkle over the flour and cook and stir for a minute.
Pour the broth and milk over and stir in and cook until the sauce has thickened.
Add the chicken and taste. Season if you like.
Pour into a baking dish.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 Celsius.

Make the scone dough.

1 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tablespoons milk
extra milk for brushing

In a bowl, add the flour and cut in the butter until it is crumbly.
Mix in the cheese.
Add the milk and work it in so it isn't sticky.
Roll out on a floured surface to a height of about an inch and cut out 12 rounds and place the rounds along the edge of the cobbler.
Brush with a little milk.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.
Serves 4.

I don't eat wheat so I used oat flour and it worked well.
When making the scones, the dough stayed sticky even with adding a little extra flour and adding a little flax meal..
To solve this, I divided the dough into 12 pieces and rolled them into balls and flattened.

It saves time and still works to use 1 pound cooked chicken meat and 1 cup of already made broth or broth made from a bouillon cube and water.
The broth is richer and more flavorful if you do have the time to make it from scratch.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays- Should You Buy in Bulk

You can save a lot of money by buying in bulk.
But, you may be wasting money too.

If it is something you can freeze or keeps for long periods of time, bulk is great.
But, if you buy something perishable and you don't use it- than you are wasting money.

Normally the price per ounce is cheaper the more you buy.
Not always.

Sometimes it is cheaper to buy two smaller containers than a large one.

If you want less waste from packaging, you buy one.
But, if your goal is to save money on your budget, you buy two.

Here are a few things you may not think of freezing:

Hard cheeses- buy some freezer containers and divide it into amounts you will use before the cheese gets old and moldy.

Bananas- you can get them cheap or even free when they are overripe. You can peel them and stick in containers and take them out and serve with chocolate for a nice frozen treat. Or, put the unpeeled bananas in a bag and take them out when you want to bake. Let them thaw, cut the end off, ans squish out the fruit. No mashing required.

Milk- Pour a bit out of the jug and stick in freezer. Thaw slowly in fridge overnight before using.

You cooked some meat and have meat leftover. Instead, cook all of it and stick what you don't need in the freezer.

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Have a great Friday!

Monday, May 13, 2013

All American Apple Pie

In honor of National Apple Pie Day, I have decided to repost my favorite apple pie recipe.
I hope you enjoy!

I have always been a huge fan of apple pie. It is one of my top two favorites.
I prefer a butter crust for this pie. But, a simple shortening pie crust tastes marvelous here too.
It isn't super simple but the results are worth it.

Ingredients:

Dough for a double 9" pie crust

5-6 apples, cored, peeled and sliced- you will need to have 8 cups sliced apples
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, optional
1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Make the dough for the pie crusts and wrap and refrigerate while making the apple filling.

Put the sliced apples into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon juice, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss well.
Let it set for an hour to bring out the apple juices.

Take the pie dough out to soften.

Drain the juices into a small saucepan.
Add the butter.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Swirl the liquid so it doesn't burn, but you don't need to stir.
Reduce the liquid by about half.
Put the apples back into the large bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch. Toss till cornstarch is blended in.
Add the reduced liquid.
Toss well.

On a floured counter, roll out the bottom crust.
Add the filling.
Roll out top crust and lay it over the filling.
Fold the top down under the bottom crust and press to seal.
Crimp the edges with fingers or a fork.
Cover with a towel and refrigerate while preheating the oven.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take the pie out of the fridge and brush the top with milk.
Sprinkle with sugar.
With a knife, make some slashes in the top to let steam escape.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or til the apples are tender when pierced with a knife and the juices are bubbling thickly through the slashes.
After 30 minutes protect with a pie shield or foil ring.

Let rest for a few hours before serving.

Serves 6-8.


The lemon juice gives a more complex taste. If you want the pure classic taste of the apples, leave it out.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Frugal Me Fridays

I decided to start giving a few tips on being frugal.
Over the years, I have really learned to stretch a dollar.

Food and frugality doesn't always involve the use of coupons.
That is really what most people seem to think of first.

Really, I don't use a lot of coupons.
It is hard for me to find them for either the brands or types of foods I buy.

One of the biggest money savers is cooking from scratch.
At first, it may seem like it costs more to buy all the individual ingredients.
But, you will have left over ingredients for other meals or baked goods.

If you work full-time, it can be hard.
It is still doable.

Use your crockpot.
Or
Do some of your prep work before work that morning or the night before. Refrigerate if needed.
Or
Set aside a day every few weeks and make meals ahead and stick them in the freezer. Thaw the night before and heat up when you get home.

Every Friday, I plan to give you tips on saving money.
It can be easier than you think.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zest

When a recipe calls for lemon zest, they are meaning the grated peel.

You can use a box grater or a planer.
A planer can also be known as a zester.
A zester or planer  has holes like a gater, but it is small, flat, and has a handle.

To make zest. Just run the planer over the peel to get what you need.

You can also buy dried zest.
That comes in handy if you bake a lot
but you don't keep limes or lemons handy.

Just remember to cut down the amount if you are using dried by 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of fresh called for. 

If the recipe calls for less than 1 tablespoon zest, you can just leave it out especially if you have juice, or extract in it.
Leaving it out will change the flavor a bit, but not much.
It will still taste good.

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Happy A-Z!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yellow Foods For Health

You can get many nutrients just from eating healthy.

In the past, I have read that a colorful plate means you are getting balanced nutrition.

Each color of fruit or vegetable signifies the types of antioxidants found inside.

Yellow and orange fruits and veggies have lots of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is good for your heart, cancer, and depression.

Yellow/orange also signifies vitamin C and E.

Eating the foods give the best benefit if they are raw or lightly cooked.
Not only does the food taste better and healthier, but the less heat the better.

Vitamins A and E are fat soluble which means that the nutrients absorb better into your body if consumed with a small amount of fat.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is used a lot in pretty much everything you buy at the store that is processed.
It is used a a thickener or for texture and structure.

It is a type of bacteria derived from corn.

It works the same as guar gum.

A lot of cooks use it for home baking when they cook gluten free.
The reason for this is to help with structure.
It will give your breads a more regular bread like texture and rise.

If you don't want to use xanthan gum or guar gum in your baked goods, you can mix some flax seed or chia seeds with water- 1 tablespoons  seed to 2 tablespoons water.
Make a slurry and add to you ingredients.

There are some people that have questions about the safety of xanthan gum though it has been deemed safe by the FDA.
Because of this guar gum may be used.
But, guar gum will impart a slightly different flavor.
It does come from the guar bean so is is considered more healthy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

White Chicken Chili



This is a somewhat unconventional chili. It is made with chicken, white beans, and cheese.
It is great on a cold day and it makes a ton so it is perfect for gatherings or leftovers.
You make it in the crockpot.

You will need a large crockpot.

Ingredients:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves.
6 cups water
1 large chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon oil
2-4(4 oz. can) chopped green chilies OR seed and chop 1 whole green chili pepper
1-2 diced jalapeno OR Serrano peppers
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 1b. can navy beans OR cook and season 3 cups of dry navy beans
2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

Add the chicken and water to the crockpot and let it cook on low for 3-4 hours.
Remove chicken from the water, cube and set to the side.
While the chicken is cooking saute the onion and garlic in the oil.
Add the chili and jalapeno peppers, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and salt. Cook and stir two minutes.
After removing chicken from the crockpot add the onion/pepper mixture.
Add the beans. If you are using canned pour straight in, if you are using beans you cooked drain before adding to the crockpot.
Cook on low for an hour.
Add the chicken.
Stir in the cheese until it is melted in.
Serve.

This makes about 10-12 servings.

Great served with sour cream.

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This is another repost from November of 2010. The only w I had a picture of was another waffle recipe and I have done a type of waffle the last 2 A-Z challenges so you get this.




Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vegetable Cheese Chowder

Who doesn't love a good soup? This has got cheese and broccoli. Or, if you prefer, cauliflower.

You will need a medium to large size saucepan with a lid.

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups frozen broccoli or cauliflower
1 medium size shredded carrot
1/2 cup water
2 cups milk
1/3 cup flour
sprinkle of pepper
1-3/4 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon dried parsley

In the pan combine the broccoli, carrot, and water.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
Cover and simmer about 4 minutes. Vegetables will be crisp tender.
Meanwhile, whisk together the milk, flour, and pepper.
Add to the pan and stir in the broth.
Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and parsley.
Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Unbaked Cookies

 This is a repost from July of 2009. When I started this blog, I didn't post pictures so this doesn't have one.
I didn't think about U until today so I don't have the stuff to make them and post a picture.
Once I start eating these, I just don't want to stop.

These cookies are known by many names.
They can also be called chocolate drop cookies or minute cookies.
Whatever you call them, you have to include the word good to describe them.

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or aluminum foil.
Combine the oatmeal and cocoa powder and set aside.
In a large pan melt the butter and peanut butter over low heat. Stir it constantly til mixture is smooth.
Remove from the heat and stir in the milk. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar. Blend in the oatmeal and cocoa powder.
Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.
Let cool until firm.
You will get 4-5 dozen.


If you don't have foil or waxed paper, buttering your pan works great.

Enjoy!

Three Bean Tortilla Bake




This is a great dish for the crockpot. It is a vegetarian meal, but not vegan- unless you use vegan cheese.

You will need a large crockpot- 4 or 5 quart.

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped Ananheim chili pepper - green bell will work good too
2 cloves minced garlic OR 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup dry pinto beans
1 cup dry kidney beans
1 cup dry black beans OR 15 oz cans of all three kinds of beans, drained
water for cooking the beans, if using dried beans
1/4  cup sliced black black olives
1/4 cup chopped green chili pepper- 4 oz drained can green chilies work good
1 quart tomatoes OR use a 30 oz can
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
6-8 (6") soft shell tortillas- if you use corn, they might seem a bit small, but they work.
2 cups shredded Colby-jack or cheddar-jack cheese
sour cream for serving
Super easy guacamole for serving 

Cook your dry beans in the water, covered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until tender. If using the canned, just drain and rinse.
Set aside.
In a large skillet or pan, saute the onion, green pepper, and garlic in oil.
Add the drained beans, olives, green chilies, tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin powder
Remove from heat.
In your crocpot add 3/4 cup bean mixture, a tortilla, and 1/3 cup cheese.
Repeat until everything is used, ending with the sauce.
Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.
Serve with sour cream and maybe some guacamole on top.

This will serve 6-8 people.
Since a quart is a little bigger than 30 oz. you may end up with a little extra sauce.

This heats up well.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Stuffed Morels

If you don't know, morels are wild mushrooms. They are only found at certain times of the year. Usually anywhere from April to June in the US, depending on where you live.
They do sell kits where you can grow your own, but I don't know anyone that has had any luck growing their own.

I love these. Morels come in grey, which are small and come up first. Later on, the yellows pop and they are the larger ones for stuffing.

If you don't hunt them, know of anyone who does, or can't buy any- use the large stuffer button mushrooms available at the supermarket.

You will need a deep fryer or wide pan, deep enough for frying the mushrooms.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
large pinch of garlic powder
pinch of salt
large pinch of dried parsley flakes
pinch of pepper
large pinch of dried tarragon
large pinch of dried thyme 

10 to 12 large capped morels

1-1/2 cups flour OR mix of ground flax seed and your choice of flour
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 to 3/4 cup milk

oil for frying

Mix the cream cheese, pinch of salt, pepper and herbs in a bowl and let rest while you ready the mushrooms.
Cut the stems up to where the caps of the morels start. Save the stems for another use.
With a small spoon and /or fingers fill each of the mushroom caps. Sometimes the cap openings are too narrow to fit a spoon into, but your finger works well to push it in there.
Set aside and get your coating stuff ready.
In one bowl, pour the milk.
In another bowl, mix the flour, 1-1/2 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper.
Dip each mushroom into the milk than into the flour mixture and repeat to get a good coating.
Put onto a plate and stick in the freezer for at least 3 hours so the coating won't come off and the cheese won't leak out during deep frying.

Heat your oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You want the oil to be at least a couple inches deep to cover the shrooms.
Add the morels to the oil one by one so they don't stick together and fry until coating is a golden brown color.
This will take about 5 or 6 minutes.
Drain on paper towels and serve.

You can eat with a dip of your choosing or as is, like I do.

If you have extra cheese filling left, it is great spread on crackers.

These are great as a do ahead  of time. I like to make enough to have more than one time and keep them in the freezer.