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Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

The pressure’s on

In May our churh held a ladies' luncheon. I helped to prepare chicken salad for the event by cooking about 40 pounds of bone in chicken breasts in the crock pot. This generated quite a bit of chicken broth and then I cooked the bones with some vegetables to generate even more.

During this time Rob was out of town helping a friend move cross country so I had some free time in the kitchen. I put a new gasket and vent on the pressure canner and canned six and a half quarts of the broth, made a batch of soup and then froze the rest.

Later in the week I tried another new canning project, pressure canning great northern beans and pinto beans. They do have to process for over an hour but the actual preparation of the dry beans was no different from actually cooking them for soup or some other purpose. All but one jar sealed properly. I was kind of glad the one jar did not seal because I was curious to taste the finished product. The beans were perfectly cooked and had a nice creamy texture. It will be convenient to have them on hand for quick meals in the future.


I used that one pint jar of great northern beans to try this new soup recipe from Southern Living:

Cabbage, Potato, and White Bean Soup

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbsps. olive oil*
4-6 small potatoes, peeled and sliced
4-6 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
4-6 cups chopped cabbage
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

Heat oil in large soup kettle and then saute onion until tender. Add garlic and cook briefly before adding broth and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are nearly tender then add the cabbage and beans. Cook until the cabbage and potatoes are tender and then season with salt and pepper. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

*This would also be delicious with bacon grease and a little crumbled cooked bacon added to the soup.

These successes have made me want to try pressure canning a few other items that I have never tried canning before.

What's been going on in your kitchen lately?

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Peter Piper….


If you completed that phrase in your mind you have discovered the theme of this post--pickled peppers. I saw the recipe for these pickled peppers a few months ago on the Iowa Housewife blog and was intrigued by it. My dad used to can very hot peppers which he adored but they are not something either Rob nor I care for. This recipe is for a sweet refrigerator pickle rather than a pickle that has to be brined and canned. You do need to be patient for a couple of weeks to allow the flavors to develop a bit before you dig into them. We like them on sandwiches and they would also work well in things like Three Bean or Potato Salad for a little zing or color. I would not advise substituting them in savory dishes such as Chicken a la King as I think they would be too sweet, but if you try them you can see what you think.

To make the pickles you can use large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers or you can use some of the smaller colored peppers which are often sold quite inexpensively by the bagful these days. I have tried this recipe with both kinds. I found that I needed more brine to cover the peppers completely in the jars so have adapted the recipe accordingly.

Pickled Peppers

2 large red bell peppers (or yellow or orange)
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsps. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt

Sterilize a couple of jars. Pints work well for this. Wash peppers, remove most of the seeds and membranes and then slice into strips. Cover with boiling water and then let them soak for about 5 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile combine the vinegar, water and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and then remove from heat. Add garlic, olive oil, and salt. Place the peppers in the prepared jars and then pour the vinegar mixture over them to cover. Store in the refrigerator for two weeks before using. These will keep for several months in the refrigerator. They are very tasty and easy to make.

One of our favorite ways to use them is making these sandwiches:


There is not a real "recipe" for these. Here are some general directions for making them.

Briefly heat tortillas in the microwave. Cover with a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out. For just two tortillas I would microwave for 20 seconds on high.


Spread a layer of vegetable dip down the middle of the tortilla. If you do not have vegetable dip you could use ranch dressing or a combination of ranch dressing and cream cheese. Add some grated cheese and thinly sliced lunch meat. I generally use ham or turkey.


Top with a lettuce leaf, some sliced cucumbers, and some fresh or pickled peppers.


Roll up and fasten with a toothpick. I like to wrap these in plastic wrap. They work well for school lunches or when we are travelling. If you just unwrap the top these are easy to eat without creating a mess in the car. You can also make these with other types of wraps such as the Flat Out brand, but I normally keep tortillas on hand and they are less expensive.


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A couple of economical winter recipes


My friend Betty posted a picture of a chicken recipe which she has tried recently. I followed the link to the website and was looking around and noticed that there were quite a few recipes for pork that looked really good. Boneless pork sirloin roasts are often on sale here for less than $2 a pound. I had a roast in the freezer and decided to try the recipe for Mediterranean Pork with Couscous. Rob and I both really liked it. Besides being economical it is cooked in the slow cooker, so it is very easy. The website suggests serving it with couscous but it would also be good with rice or mashed potatoes. We ate it with couscous twice and then had some on buns topped with Swiss cheese and warmed in the crockpot. There was more meat leftover which I put in the freezer. I find that these boneless roasts really help extend our food dollars.


Another recipe which I tried recently was for Roasted Carrots. I thought I had seen it on the same website but after looking there for a while I couldn't find it. I decided to just roast them the way I prepare butternut squash. Carrots are very nutritious, and they're economical all year long. This is a delicious way to serve them. I like to prepare quite a few at a time so that we can eat them for several meals.

Roasted Carrots

10-12 carrots, washed, peeled and cut into strips of similar size
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 Tbsps. olive or vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large baking pan combine the carrots with the crushed garlic, oil, and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until the carrots are tender and browned. You may want to start checking after about 15 minutes and then check again 15 minutes later. Mine were done after 30 minutes.

Have you tried any new economical recipes so far this winter?


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A good recipe for spaghetti squash


On our recent foray into the mountains we purchased some spaghetti squash and some butternut squash. A while back I had found this recipe for spaghetti squash and decided to try it out. Rob and I both really liked it and would highly recommend it.

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 Tbsps. butter or olive oil
1 small onion sliced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
about 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place cut side up in a 9" x 13" pyrex baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water. Partially cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 8-10 mins. or until squash is tender.

While squash is cooking saute onion in butter or oil until lightly browned. Combine with thyme, sour cream, and 1/2 cup of the cheese.

After squash is cooked scrape it from the shell with a fork and add to the onion mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 mins. to warm through and melt cheese.

Here is a link to another post about how to prepare the spaghetti squash which might be helpful if you have never cooked one before.

More recipes coming soon.


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A quiz and a recipe

I tried a new recipe last week that called for this ingredient:

Do you know what these are? I plan to post that recipe soon, but I'll give you a chance to guess first. 🙂

In the meantime I tried a new recipe for supper tonight that Megan had made for us while we were up visiting her family over Christmas and we really enjoyed it. I saw the recipe posted on another blog and decided to make it this week. The recipe for this soup uses kale:

I had never eaten or used kale before this. It seems to keep its bright green color better than many green vegetables and it's not bitter like collards. (I have never been able to develop a liking for collards, sorry Cathy.) You could probably substitute baby spinach for the kale if you would prefer.

I'll be looking forward to see who is the first to identify the mystery ingredient.


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