Sunday, March 20, 2022

Gardening Week 1


Have you started your indoor garden seeds yet for Spring? Now is the time! We are a little late in getting some things off to an earlier start but that's ok! It's all about trying. Some things we succeed at and other times it ends up being a fail. That's why it's super important to try again and again and if all else fails, then run to the local garden center for a plant! Just like artichokes. 

We should've started from seed around January 5th. Last year was our first try at growing artichokes. I found some beautiful plants at a local garden center and decided to give it a try.  Some things I learned.....they take up a lot of space! Artichokes have large beautiful green pokey leaves that require quite a bit of room to spread out and grow. Also, be patient. You get to look at those large beautiful green pokey leaves for quite a long time before an Artichoke will begin to emerge. Lastly, we got several artichokes off from each plant. I think we would've had more if our growing season was longer. Hopefully we will have success again this year!


It's important to find out what zone you live in so you can plant at the appropriate times and actually get a crop. I live in an area of USDA Hardiness Zones 6b and 7a so these are the things we planted from seed this week:

Bell Peppers
Jalapeños
Poblano Peppers
Celery
Oregano
Rosemary
Thyme
Sage
Basil
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Eggplants
Kale
Tomatoes
Leeks
Brussel Sprouts
Mint
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Swiss Chard
Tomatillos
Chives

Radish seeds can currently be planted in your garden outside. Also this week we will be trying to get Peas, Spinach, Carrots, Dill, and Pak Choi seeds in the ground.  I will keep you updated with our progress. What are your favorite things to grow? 

Ruth's Mile High Biscuits

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 oz. butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
3/4 c. cold buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 c. water

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Using a pastry cutter or fork, combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and butter until crumbly. Add buttermilk, egg and water. Mix just until dry and wet ingredients are combined, don't over mix.


Put dough on lightly floured surface and form into a 6x6 square. Slice into 9 even squares. Move dough to a lightly greased 9x9 baking dish. Bake at 425 for approx. 15 minutes. Serve while warm!


Brussel Sprouts


INGREDIENTS

Brussel Sprouts
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Slice each Brussel Sprout 2-3 times. Add to skillet and sprinkle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10+ minutes, stirring often. If Brussel Sprouts are too thick it also helps to add a lid for a few minutes to help steam/cook the veggies. Brussel Sprouts are ready to eat when they have cooked thru and have a nice brown caramel coloring on the sides. 

Tamale Pie

 


INGREDIENTS

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1-4 oz. can chopped green chilies, drained
1-4 oz. can chopped olives, drained
1 c. frozen corn
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Topping:
1 Jiffy cornbread box, mixed according to package directions
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream, optional
freshly chopped cilantro for garnish, optional

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an oven safe baking dish, approximately 9 or 10 inch with cooking spray. 

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown ground beef and onion and cook until no longer pink. Drain excess grease from pan. 

Next add diced tomatoes, green chilies, olives, corn, chili powder, salt and garlic powder and stir until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. 

Top beef mixture with prepared cornbread mix. Sprinkle cheese over the cornbread. Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes. Take out of oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Serve with sour cream, cilantro or any of your other favorite toppings. 



Monday, March 7, 2022

Dehydrated Marshmallows

INGREDIENTS

marshmallows, any size

DIRECTIONS

Lay marshmallows out on dehydrator trays, spacing them apart so they don't touch each other. Small marshmallows take approximately 2-4 hours to dry and larger marshmallows about 3-5 hours. Test to see if they are hard and crunchy. These store great in air tight containers for up to 6 months or if you blow through them fast like us we keep them in gallon ziplock bags. Great for adding to hot chocolate, homemade desserts, trail mixes, or just a sweet little handful to snack on. 



Sunday, March 6, 2022

Healthy Apple Snack


 Have you ever tried adding a slice of pepper with your cheese and apple snack? Delicious and healthy! 

INGREDIENTS

Apples, cut into slices
sharp cheddar cheese, sliced (or your favorite cheese)
green bell pepper or jalapeño, sliced


DIRECTIONS

Slice apples, cheese and pepper. Assemble and eat away!

Apple Butter


INGREDIENTS

6 1/2 lbs apples-peeled, cored and sliced
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 T. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T. vanilla

DIRECTIONS

Place sliced apples in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples and mix well.

Cook in a slow cooker on low for about 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.

Uncover, stir in vanilla and continue cooking uncovered on low for about 2 hours. Use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until desired consistency.

Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.

Serve on breads, muffins, pork chops, or just eat with a spoon. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Low Carb Breakfast Tostada

 


INGREDIENTS

1 low carb tortilla
4 eggs
1/2 c. cheese
1/2 c. arugula/kale/spinach
salt and pepper
Cholula

DIRECTIONS

Turn oven onto 350 degrees. Lightly spray 8 inch cake pan with cooking spray. Place tortilla at the bottom. 



Crack 4 eggs on top of the tortilla. Season with salt and pepper. 



Sprinkle with arugula/kale/spinach and then top with cheese. 

Bake in oven for approx. 15 minutes or until eggs have set and are no longer runny. Slice into 4 and serve with Cholula. 


*Try other delicious toppings such as onion, bell peppers, jalapeno, bacon or diced tomato. 


Thursday, March 3, 2022

Microwave Breakfast Omelette

 INGREDIENTS

1 Egg
1 T. chopped arugula and/or kale
salt and pepper
1 T. cheese, shredded
1 tsp. onion, finely chopped
Cholula or salsa
oil or cooking spray

DIRECTIONS

Lightly coat microwavable ramekin with oil or cooking spray. Put 1 T. chopped arugula/kale in bottom of dish.

 Whisk 1 egg, season with salt and pepper, and pour over top of arugula. Top with chopped onion and shredded cheese. 

Cook for 50 seconds to 1 min in the microwave. Add Cholula or salsa and enjoy!


*Try adding a tsp. of bell pepper, crumbled bacon or a sprinkle of finely chopped jalapeño!


Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Sausage Roll

 


Angela introduced us to these delicious breakfast Sausage Rolls. It's especially a huge hit among the kids. Nothing better to them than going out for a morning swim at their aunts house and then taking a break to come in for a hot slice of sausage roll. 

INGREDIENTS

1-16 oz. package regular or spicy hot sausage
1-8 oz. package cream cheese
1-8 oz. can Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheet
1 egg, beaten
Everything but the bagel seasoning

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook sausage in a skillet until browned. Discard any excess grease. Unwrap cream cheese and add to the skillet, stirring until cream cheese melts and combines with sausage. 


Let slightly cool. Unroll crescent dough sheet and spread out on a lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper. Add sausage mixture to the middle and then roll dough into a log sealing all sides. Baste top with beaten egg and then lightly sprinkle with the bagel seasoning. Cook for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Slice and serve while hot. 









Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

 


INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough
1 T. butter
4 oz. parmesan cheese

4 oz. sliced provolone cheese
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
1 lb. spicy hot sausage, cooked
Additional options:
8 oz. thinly sliced pepperoni
spinach
mushrooms

Pizza Sauce:
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1-28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
1-6 oz. can tomato paste
2 T. dried basil
2 T. dried oregano
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

Sauté onion and garlic in a saucepan. Combine with the rest of the pizza sauce ingredients and blend in a food processor or an immersion blender until pureed. Cook sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. The sauce should thicken but will still be spreadable onto the pizza. *(We also like to use this sauce over spaghetti. To thin, add 1/2-1 c. water)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I like to use a cast iron pan but a 12 inch cake pan or traditional Chicago-style pizza pan is also great to use. Coat the bottom and sides of your pan with melted butter. Sprinkle bottom and sides with fresh parmesan cheese. This will give your pizza a nice crisp crust. Roll out dough and then using your hands, spread out the dough along the bottom and sides of your pan Add a layer of provolone cheese along the bottom and then a layer of fresh mozzarella on top of that. Next add the cooked sausage. You can also add additional pizza toppings. Finish off with large spoonfuls of pizza sauce. Sprinkle top evenly with parmesan cheese. Bake until golden around the edges, about 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. You can gently lift the pizza out of the pan or just cut a slice out like a pie. 



Monday, February 28, 2022

Thanksgiving Stuffing


You can't have Thanksgiving without Thanksgiving Stuffing. And this is an easy and delicious way to make it!  If this is the way my mom is going to bring it to the table, so will I!

INGREDIENTS

2 boxes Chicken Stuffing (Stove-top)
1 c. diced celery
1/2 c. diced onion
2 cans chicken broth
3/4 c. butter

DIRECTIONS

Combine broth, celery, onion, and seasoning packets in a medium sized saucepan. Heat over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and simmer covered with lid for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until melted.

Pour dried bread crumbs into a large bowl. Pour broth mixture over bread crumbs, stirring to moisten all crumbs. If necessary add more broth or water to make a soft stuffing but not soggy. 

Place stuffing in a buttered 9x13 dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cover top with foil if stuffing is drying out or browning too much. 

Crockpot: You may put stuffing in a buttered crockpot on low for 3-4 hours.

Optional: Some people like to add cooked crumbled sausage to the stuffing before baking. Serve with cranberry sauce. 

Stir Fry Noodles


Stir Fry Noodles are such a quick, delicious, and versatile side dish or meal for any night of the week. Easy to add protein or any of your favorite veggies or keep it simple just like my kids prefer!

INGREDIENTS

8 oz bag of stir fry or lo mein noodles
3 T. soy sauce
1 T. sugar
1 T sesame oil
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp sriracha, or to taste
1 T. vegetable oil
1-12 oz. package of frozen Asian vegetables, thawed
green onions, sliced (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the noodles according to instructions on the package. Cover and keep warm. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, sriracha and garlic powder. Stir and then set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. Add noodles and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add sauce and stir until heated and noodles are well coated. Top with sliced green onions and serve immediately. 


Saturday, February 26, 2022

Fried Won tons



 INGREDIENTS

Won Ton wrappers
1- 8oz. package cream cheese, thawed
2 green onions, finely chopped
oil for frying
spring roll sauce for dipping

DIRECTIONS

To make Fried Won Tons, mix cream cheese and green onions until well combined. Scoop about 1 T. of cream cheese mixture onto each Won Ton wrapper. Moisten the outer edges of the wrapper and then crimp the top part of the wrapper to seal the edges. Fry Won Tons in a pan of oil heated to 350 degrees for 2-3 minutes or until crisp and browned. Serve with spring roll sauce. 




Friday, February 25, 2022

Pho Soup

 

INGREDIENTS
spice packet for Pho (found at Asian market)
water, large pot approximately 8 quarts
1 medium onion, peeled and halved 
3 inch piece of ginger, halved lengthwise 
salt, to taste

Toppings:
rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
Protein such as thinly sliced beef  (can be cooked in the hot broth), cooked chicken, tofu, shrimp, hard boiled egg
summer squash, sliced
green onions, sliced
cilantro
jalapeño, sliced
fresh mung bean sprouts
Thai Basil
sliced mushrooms
limes, cut into wedges
soy sauce
hoisin sauce
sriracha
spicy chili crisp jar (found at Asian store)

DIRECTIONS
Roast spices in a pan on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes to help release the fragrance and oil in the spices. Put spices into the mesh bag and add to a large pot of boiling water with onion and ginger. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 30-45 minutes. Once broth is flavored to your liking, remove and discard spices, onion, and ginger and season broth with salt. (The broth doesn't need a lot of salt because you will be adding soy sauce which is very salty). The broth is now ready for any of the toppings you feel like adding. Because we make such a big pot of broth I like to keep it separate and add toppings to our individual bowls so everyone can make theirs how they like. Also we can save leftovers for another meal, everything stays fresh and the broth can be easily reheated. I love how versatile this soup is, fresh and void of unnecessary artificial ingredients that store bought pho soup bowls contain. Some of my favorite toppings are rice noodles, summer squash, green onions, cilantro, jalapeño slices for a little kick, fresh mung bean sprouts, limes, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and a tsp. of spicy chili crisp. Delicious!



Thursday, February 24, 2022

Homemade Fruit Rollups

 


INGREDIENTS

4 c. plum puree (or any fruit puree combination....we have tried Strawberry, Strawberry Blueberry, Strawberry Blackberry, Strawberry Raspberry, and Plum. All have been delicious.)
1 package MCP pectin
1 c. sugar

DIRECTIONS

Use fully ripe or slightly overripe fruit. Wash and cut away any bruised or spoiled portions. Take out seeds if using fruit that has a pit. Puree fruit in a blender or food processor. If using raspberries or blackberries we like to try straining most of the seeds before going onto the next step. Stir sugar into puree. Mix well until dissolved. Slowly add the MCP pectin and stir until smooth. 


Lay parchment paper on cookie sheet or dehydrator tray. Spread 1 1/2 cups puree in border. Smooth puree with rubber spatula or tilt cookie sheet to evenly spread puree. Refrigerate any unused puree.

For conventional oven:

Set temperature control at lowest setting or 150 degrees F. Two cookie sheets may be placed in the oven at the same time. Rotate trays every 3 hours. Drying will take up to 18 hours.

For dehydrator:

Set temperature control at 140-165 degrees F. and dry for 6-8 hours.

Remove rolls from tray while still warm. Cut and roll to desired size. Rolls may be stored up to 1 month w/o refrigeration. For longer storage, place in freezer up to 1 year.

*My neighbor shared with us this box of plums. They were so small but very sweet. Perfect for making these fruit rollups. Can also use any other type of fruit in this recipe. 




Dehydrated Apples

 


INGREDIENTS

apples, any variety (I like a sweeter apple like fuji)
lemon juice or fruit fresh
water, for soaking cut up apples
cinnamon, optional

DIRECTIONS

Peel and slice apples. If you have an apple peeler it will save you tons of time. Soak sliced apples in lemon/water for 5 minutes. Lightly sprinkle with cinnamon if you prefer. Place on dehydrator trays and dry for 10-12 hours. Store in gallon zip lock bags or plastic containers with lids. Can be stored in freezer for 6+ months. 






Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Ava's Spring Rolls

 


INGREDIENTS
1 pack super thin Spring Roll wrappers from Asian store.
1 egg
oil for deep frying
sauce-Mae Ploy spring roll sauce or panda express sweet and sour sauce
Filling:
1 lb. ground meat (sausage, turkey, beef)
1 c. julienned/minced carrots
handful of mung bean sprouts
1 c. green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 c. diced onions
1 T. minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
*can add other veggies such as cabbage, mushrooms, water chestnuts, etc.

DIRECTIONS

Filling:

Heat large skillet on medium heat. Add about 2-3 T. of oil. Add meat and cook for about 5 minutes. (skip oil if meat is not lean).  Add garlic and onions and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add carrots and green beans. Mix and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add any other desired veggies along with the carrots and green beans. Add sprouts, salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.


Wrapping:

Beat 1 egg in a bowl for sealing wrappers. Lay 1 wrapper flat with a corner facing you. Scoop about 1 T. of filling (do not include any juice) onto the wrapper. Roll bottom corner over the filling. Keep rolling until the mid-part of the wrapper. Fold both sides of wrapper towards middle. The roll should look like an envelope. Continue rolling until only a small corner is left. Brush some egg wash on the top corner and seal the roll.





Deep frying:

Heat oil in a pot

When ready, deep fry spring rolls until light brown. Serve with sauce.