Friday, August 30, 2013

2 Ingredient Mini Apple Pies

It is FALL!  Nothing is more Fall-ish than Apple Pie!
I'm not sure the last thing I made that was this easy.

You'll need:

1 can of biscuits (I used a honey butter kind)
1 can pie filling of your choice

And.... cooking spray and cinnamon sugar (bot both are optional ;) - Sticking to my guns here.... 2 ingredients only.

Spray a muffin tin

Take each biscuit and separate about 3/4 of the layers from 1/4 of the layers.  Set the 1/4 layers aside. Stretch out the 3/4 layers and place in the muffin cups.  Fill with pie filling.  Take the 1/4 layers of the biscuits and place on top of the filling. Seal as best as you can.

With scissors, make a few small slits in the dough on top.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if you'd like.

Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes.


Monday, August 19, 2013

White Enchilada Lasagna in the Crockpot

Bringing Mexico to Italy in my Crockpot :)

Did you see the Hatch Chile sauce my friend and I canned last week?

Well..... here's the first thing I've made with that deliciousness!  If you don't have your own homemade Chile sauce, just use a large can of diced Chiles.

You'll need:
A Rotisserie Chicken (or pre-cooked)
Cream Cheese
1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Can (or fresh) of mushrooms (diced)
1/2 C Sour Cream
2-3 lb of shredded or sliced Cheddar-Jack cheese
Chile Sauce (or just chiles-> then add onions)
2 large tomatoes (diced)

Mix together the Cream Cheese, Soup, Mushrooms & Sour Cream

Next, disassemble your chicken. (Not cool.)

Start the layers in your crock pot by first pouring about half the jar of Chile Sauce on the bottom.
Next, layer tortillas.

Continue the layering as you'd like.

I went like this:



Cream Mix


Chile Sauce


Cream Mix
Chile Sauce


Cream Mix

Honestly, layer however it floats your boat.

Then cook it in the crock on low for about 5-6 hours and then turn off, and let sit for about an hour.

Cut or scoop and serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.
We had some Spanish Rice on the side.  So appropriate :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Spicy Pickled Green Beans- A Canning Tutorial without a Pressure Cooker!

Confession time: Spicy Pickled Green Beans.  If you have never tasted this delectable snack, go order a Bloody Mary at an awesome restaurant, 86 the bloody and add extra extra rabbit food.

I used to work at a comedy club that had the BEST Bloody Mary's I've ever tasted.  Our bartender made the mix from scratch and the garnish, Dear Lord, the GARNISH.... Green Olives, Cocktail Onions, a Celery Stick, a Lime and SPICY BEANS!  If there was ever an order for a Bloody Mary, the waitstaff would hoard around that end of the bar like a Rat on a Cheeto just to steal a bean.  It was quite humorous, to say the least.

Last week when ordering Bountiful Baskets, I saw they were offering a 28 pound box of fresh Green Beans for $21.00.  No time like the present!!!!  I ordered it, recruited a friend to spend the weekend canning with me, and plans were set! We also got a 25 pound case of Hatch Chiles which we canned on Sunday.

Saturday morning!  Up and out the door at 8:30 AM- Time to pick up the basket and my case of green beans!!!  Whoot!  I was like a kid on Christmas morning! My friend and I picked up our goodies, grabbed a Starbucks and off to the store for supplies.  Now...... I'd been researching different ways to spice the beans and with my 28 pounds I needed to prepare to make 60.... yes, SIXTY pints of beans.

We bought our supplies (including doughnuts and random snacks for the 6 kids at home) checked on the price of a jar at the store and were on our way!

*Note- We were at one of the cheapest stores in town and this small jar of pickled beans is $4.56 for 9.9 oz or .38¢ per/oz.

I ended up purchasing 3 cases of quart jars @$8.98 per case because I felt like larger jars of this treat were necessary.

Also on the list:
6 gallons of Vinegar, 1 pound of Pickling Spice, a gigantic stalk/bunch of Fresh Dill, about 15 Jalapenos, 20 bulbs of Garlic, Sugar, Dried Red Chiles, and Sheets of Seaweed.

Let the fun begin!!!!
Before you start ANYTHING else, you need to make sure your jars are sanitized.  I just put them all in the dishwasher and ran it.

Set up a smaller pot of HOT water for your seals and rings to stay hot in.

Get a large pot (with pull out strainer) of water boiling on the stove (For blanching).

Get another HUMONGOUS pot washed and available for the actual canning part.

Wash, de-stem and cut Jalapenos in fourths.

Peel ALL Garlic.

Prep Fresh Dill.

Snip roses out of yard. make arrangement using fresh Dill as filler.

Make Brine
(Each batch fills about 2.5 jars)
2.5 Cups Water
2.5 Cups Vinegar
2/3 Cup Sugar.
Bring to a simmer until sugar is dissolved.

We used just about every bowl I own during this process.

Fill a popcorn size bowl with beans.

Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Using Kitchen Shears- snip both ends of beans.

Discard tiny, shriveled or 'yucky' beans.

Once you have a full bowl of prepped beans, pour into pot of boiling water and blanch for 5 mins.

Remove beans from water immediately and put into bowl.

Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Dump into the largest item you can find (for later).  I suggest a clean cooler.  We used my wok......

Repeat..... And I mean... repeat.
Assemble Jars
Decide how many jars will fit in your fatty daddy mother of all cooking appliances pot.

Fill each batch with:
2 cloves Garlic
1 sheet Seaweed
1-2 Jalapeno Spears
1 Dried Red Chili Pepper
Some fresh Dill
Literally 'stuff' blanched beans into jar

Top off with:  1 1/2 TBSP Pickling Spice & 2 tsp Kosher Salt

Take picture of cute baby eating green beans on floor.

Pour hot brine on top of ingredients.  Add more beans if necessary. Make sure to leave about 1" of space between the top of the jar and the liquid.

Pull hot seals and rings out of water bath.
Put everything together hot.
When the (6 jars at a time in our case) jars are all ready, using metal gripping or canning tongs, carefully put jars in the fatty pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

2 person process →When time is up, pull jars out with tongs... and oven mitts and possibly a forcefield or body armor.

Set on towel upside down for 5 minutes.  Don't touch.
After 5 minutes, turn right side up and place in a separate area to cool completely without being disturbed.

Over the next hour or two, you will hear random 'popping'.  The jars are sealing themselves and this is a good thing.  ☺

Once all jars are cooled (24 hours later) inspect the tops by:

Feeling if the lid is sealed- If it pops up when you press it, you better consume that one quickly.  Put it in the fridge to be safe.

Looking at the uniformity of the seal.  We had a few that were boiled too long and ended up being sealed but the seals were con-vexed and that made me nervous. -> in the fridge

Listening - If you tap on the lid with a spoon, it will make a high pitched ringing sound.

If you have leftover garlic, do this:

So is canning worth it?

We spent $68.98 on the ingredients and the jars (had to buy new) to make (34) 32 oz (jar weight excluded) jars of Spicy Pickled Green Beans.

Broken down:
$2.03 per jar or 6¢ per oz

If we had attempted to purchase 1,088 oz of the store brand, we would have spent $413.44 + tax.

And on top of that, if we already had the jars and were just reusing and had grown these beans ourselves, the cost would have been: $21.04 total/ 34 jars = .62¢ each or 1.9¢ p/oz.

Oh Yeah- They're worth it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Southwest Frito Salad

This is one of those 'Potluck Go-To' recipes.  You don't really want leftovers, because the lettuce will be soggy.  And you definitely want to eat it while the Fritos are still crunchy. So if you make a LOT and might have leftovers, let the eaters put the dressing on themselves as well as the chips.

You can really alter this however you want, but the most important ingredients are Fritos and French Dressing. I personally think corn would be a nice addition, but again, really- whatever you've got to throw in the mix.


Iceberg Lettuce Mix
Beans (Kidney or Black)
Diced Tomatoes
Diced Red Onion
Quartered Black Olives
Firm Avocado
Mexican Shredded Cheese

You could certainly add Chicken or Taco meat if you'd like, but I'm a fan of the vegetarian meal :)

Assemble salad, drizzle dressing and toss.

Garnish with the chips.


August Meal Planning

8/1 Thurs- Chicken & Rice Casserole
8/2 Fri-  Settlers Park Movie Night- 'Madagascar 3'/Meridian Fire Dept. Salmon Feed/ Summer Work BBQ at Rex's - Potluck
8/3 Sat- CLIMB to CC AM @Tablerock/ Eve of Destruction @Meridian Speedway/ Kuna Days
8/4 Sun- Breakfast- Bacon, Eggs, Toast, Hashbrowns/Tri-Tip, Rice, Steamed Veggies & Green Salad
8/5 Mon- Team Meeting - Chicken Pot Pie
8/6 Tues- Papa Murphys
8/7 Wed- Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry over Rice
8/8 Thurs- BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
8/9 Fri- Settlers Park Movie Night- 'Narnia'- Leftovers
8/10 Sat- Bountiful Baskets- Canning Spicy Pickled Green Beans/Nightfire Nationals @ Firebird Raceway/ Raunak's Baby Shower/ Girls Night In- Fondue
8/11 Sun- Canning Hatch Chile Sauce, Steak & Baked Potato Bar
8/12 Mon- Evening Conference Call - Chicken & Baked Potato Bar
8/13 Tues- Fromacan
8/14 Wed- Mustgo
8/15 Thurs-  Fish Tacos 
8/16 Fri-  Settlers Park Movie Night- 'The Croods' - Rotisserie Chicken, Pasta & Veggies
8/17 Sat- Out to Wingers
8/18 Sun- White Chicken Enchiladas
8/19 Mon- Leftovers
8/20 Tues- Mustgo
8/21 Wed-  Pick up Papa Murphys
8/22 Thurs- Mustgo
8/23 Fri-  Settlers Park Movie Night - 'Mary Poppins'- Bean Burritos
8/24 Sat- The COLOR Run 5K - Western Idaho Fair
8/25 Sun- French Bread Pizza
8/26 Mon- Tacos
8/27 Tues- 1st Day of School/Team Meeting- Tacos
8/28 Wed- Grilled Ham & Cheese, Steamed Veggies & Salad + Mini Apple Pies
8/29 Thurs- McD's
8/30 Fri- Settlers Park Movie Night- TBA - BoDo- Night Launch Out to Mongos
8/31 Sat- First BSU Game! - Coconut Honey Walnut Shrimp, Steamed Veggies, Rice & Garlic Roll-Ups

7 MORE months of meal planning below :)

July 2013 Dinners
June 2013 Dinners
May 2013 Dinners
April 2013 Dinners
March 2013 Dinners
February 2013 Dinners
January 2013 Dinners