Monday, August 20, 2012

Anybody Want a Little Pie?

How about some Pecan Pie Jam.  Has anyone noticed the price of nuts going sky high?

2 cups finely chopped pecans
2 cups granulated sugar
2 pinches salt
2 Tbs ground ginger
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs cinnamon (optional)
1 stick unsalted butter
2 Tbs. apple cider or lemon juice

Mix ingredients in a large saucepan. Heat until all the sugar has melted and turns to a light brown. BWB the jam for 10 minutes.

Yields about 4 cups.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wheatberry Pineapple Chicken Salad

Looking for something to eat during this hot weather?  Give this one a try.  If you have canned your own pineapple and chicken, all the better.


1 can (15-1/4 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained lightly
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (10 to12-1/2 ounces) chicken, drained and flaked
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cooked whole wheat

Mix together the pineapple, mayonnaise, and salt. Add chicken, almonds and wheat. Stir well. Chill several hours before serving. Serves 4.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Food Prices Headed Up

With all the heat and little rain happening this year, food prices are going to be taking a big jump.  That means everything you put in your mouth that you have not grown yourself is going up-meat, dairy, grains, all of it.

Take a little time now and prepare while you still can.  When you see an entire chicken on sale for under a dollar a pound, buy several and freeze or can them.  One chicken can provide a baked chicken dinner, chicken salad for lunch, chicken soup, tacos or any number of other meals.  You just have to plan ahead and be smart about it.

Summer fruits are on sale, so use them fresh and freeze or can the rest. If you have water and no. 10 cans of sugar, you are halfway to canned fruit.  Okay, maybe it is a little time consuming, but skip a t.v. show or movie and do something that will really pay off in the long run.  For example, a local grocery has nectarines 3 lbs for $1 and pears 2 lbs for $1, this week.  Guess what I'm going to be doing? Canning and freezing, that's what.  Even though we don't need to watch our pennies, it still makes sense to put up our own food. I'm the one who gets to control the amount or lack there of sugar and no chemicals.

How about a way to use some of your food storage? If you have purchased the dried refried beans from an LDS cannery, have you used them?  Here is a great recipe for frozen burritos that are better tasting than the burritos you buy at the grocery store. Purchase your ground beef on sale or get it, the tortillas and the Mexican Cheese blend at Costco or Sam's Club.

Beef & Bean Burritos
makes 40 burritos

1 cup taco seasoning
3 cups water
40 ten-inch flour tortillas
8 (15 oz) cans refried beans
aluminum foil
8 one-gallon freezer bags, labeled

1. Brown beef in a large stockpot over medium heat until no longer pink, about 20 minutes.  Drain and discard fat. Add the taco seasoning.  Stir in water and simmer mixture over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the liquid is almost entirely evaporated.  Cool.

2. Spread 1/4 cup ground beef and 1/3 cup refried beans on each tortilla.  Wrap burrito-style and then wrap each piece individually in foil.  Divide packets evenly among freezer bags.

3. Seal and freeze.

To cook one entree:
Thaw burritos in the refrigerator or reheat them straight from the freezer.
Remove foil, defrost and reheat.
Bake in foil at 375 degrees for 30 minutes if frozen, 300 degrees for 30 minutes, if thawed.

                             from the book, Fix, Freeze, Feast by Kati Neville & Lindsay Tkacsik

My Notes:
The above mentioned book was a $1.99 Kindle special I downloaded on my Ipad.

I used Taco Bell Taco Seasoning packets in my recipe.(It has a mild flavor without heavy cumin or chili pepper flavors.)  One packet per pound of ground beef.  Since my beef was extra lean, I don't bother to drain it.  I also cut back on the water to make a drier meat mixture.  I laid out the tortilla smoothed on some refried beans,added taco meat then topped with a liberal helping of Mexican Cheese blend and a drizzle of sour cream.  I then rolled and put each burrito in microwaveable plastic wrap. The wrapped burritos are then placed in gallon sized freezer Ziplocs. 

To prepare, I don't thaw them, I unwrap the plastic and heat 1 burrito for about 2 minutes.  Let it rest for 30 seconds or so, and then enjoy!

DH and I were both pleased with the flavor and ease of preparation. They make great quick snacks or lunches and you don't have to run to a fast food joint.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Canning

Okay, there is no nice way to say it, I am sick of cucumbers and pickles.  My DH planted an entire twelve foot long row of cucumbers.  A pair of empty-nesters can only each so many.  So I canned, and canned and canned some more, pickles that is. the basement
I was getting this many cukes every 2 or 3 days!  I even had to order a case of dill pickle solution, because my local stores ran out. (see previous post)  We don't even eat that many pickles.  DH has been taking them to work, and thankfully they love them.  I did take the large cukes and cut them to make stackers. You know, those ridiculously overpriced, sandwich-ready pickles. Our shelves runneth over with the bounty of the garden. 

I am also saving onion seeds.  You have to plant onions, let them die back, and then the second year they produce seeds. Imagine what fun it is to separate the pinhead size seeds from the "chaff".  It sucks. This growing your own food thing is hard work. ;)

In the guestroom closet, in case our guests get a midnight craving.
Last week, I bought a box of peaches (24 lbs) for .88 a pound.  I was up to my elbows in peaches, also.  I canned them with a medium syrup.  They are great for topping your cottage cheese or ice-cream, or for making cobblers, pies, etc.  The great thing about canning your own is you know what has gone in the can.

I peel them and drop them into a lime or lemon juice and water solution.  When I have enough for a canning load, I rinse them in plain water and stuff the bottles.  Then repeat the process.  You can also peel and puree the fruit that is too soft.  I add water and make my own peach syrup. Again great on ice cream or pancakes and waffles.  The fruit syrups can also be used to flavor lemonades, smoothies or milk shakes.

Keep a few bottles in an pantry you use often, so you won't forget they're there.