Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Garden Potatoes

We are getting a ton of garden new potatoes! An easy way to preserve potatoes is to blanch them. Clean them real well and then peel them if you don't like the peel. I love the peel on new potatoes, plus when they are small they are the pits to peel! Then dice them the size you would want them for stew or casseroles. Have boiling pots of water on the stove while you are prepping the potatoes. After they are cut up the size you want them then throw them in a pot full of boiling water for 5 minutes. (this takes several pots of boiling water going at the same time)The time starts when you throw them in the water, not after it starts to boil again.  Then drain the pot and rinse potatoes under cold water and drain very well. I lay out kitchen towels on the counter and put the potatoes on these to just drain a bit more and let them completely cool. Then take quart size freezer bags and fill them full, getting any air out. Place in the freezer in a single layer until frozen, then you can stack them after fully frozen.
It is so awesome during the winter to go to the freezer and pull out garden fresh potatoes for my stew or casseroles! Garden potatoes just have a different taste than store bought, YUMMY! And freezing is SO much quicker and easier than canning. I like this method because the potato holds its texture and does not get mushy like you would think freezing them would do. You do however need to be AWARE that when you add these already blanched potatoes to a recipe that they are partially cooked already and will cut your cooking time down, otherwise they may get mushy. Like if you were making mashed potatoes with them, it will not take the full amount of time to boil them, it takes like 10minutes and they are ready to mash!         ENJOY!
Linked to Totally Tasty Tuesdays

Here I roasted the potatoes in the oven with Freddy's burger/fry seasoning

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken

This week is fair week in our town.  We started it off by winning free tickets to the Diamond Rio concert! They are an awesome country group with so many hits and they put on a wonderful show.  It is so awesome to see a band that has been together for 20 years and still play a show like it was their first show.  They seemed very genuine and happy to be in our small town. Then last night our 5 year old daughter wanted to go Mutton Busting before the rodeo.  She has never done this before, but as we explained what she would be doing, she was thrilled to try it.  For those of you who don't know what Mutton Busting is, you put your innocent, helpless child on the top of a sheep in a pen and then they let the sheep out and it takes off running with your child on its back and the child who hangs on the longest wins the prize.  This idea thrilled my daughter, this is like the perfect thing for her.  She does this with her dog all the time so she knew she had this one.  We paid the 10 bucks and signed the paper saying we wouldn't press charges on them if she got hurt and put her in a long line of anxious kids. Then it was her turn and the one she was to ride was an awnry one and it was already bucking when it came down to me her before she got on it.  My daughter saw the chaos and the bucking and the cowboys put her helmet on and placed her on the awnry sheep and then the gate never opened......she chickened out!  I really do know she would have done it if it weren't for the sheep bucking and going crazy before she was placed on it.  My husband and I were kinda let down that we just lost 10 bucks and had no show of her riding the sheep, because we knew she would give that thing a ride!  But, I also look at it as a blessing, I think God was protecting her from getting really hurt because that sheep had already bucked a kid off.  We then went to a great rodeo and I got my yearly funnel cake, oh I love those things!  Tonight will be carnival rides and if I am lucky, another funnel cake!
This dish is wonderful and easy. It calls for chili powder, but I didn't add that, I just kept mine sweet with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and the brown sugar. I bought chicken tenderloins instead of the chicken breasts, so I didn't have to cut the chicken. I got this wonderful recipe from the cute blog, Full Bellies, Happy Kids.  She has some yummy recipes on that blog!  I think next time I make this dish that I will combine my bacon wrapped green beans with this recipe.  Put the chicken then green beans and wrap bacon around the both and then use the green bean sauce to pour over the top, I think the combo would be perfect.

Brooke waiting in line for the Mutton Bustin!

 Brooke at the carnival-Braedon went to the Tractor Pull with grandpa

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cookie Salad

This is a fun recipe that I adapted from the cute blog, Chef In Training.  I already make a fruit salad similar to this, but this recipe has the addition of cookies! YUM!
Cookie Salad
2pkgs instant vanilla pudding(I only used one and it was fine)
2C buttermilk, I used 2% and it was great
2(11oz)cans mandarin oranges, drained
1(20oz)can pineapple tidbits, drained(I used crushed pineapple,drained)
1 tub cool whip (light)
I also added a can of drained fruit cocktail
1package fudge striped cookies

Mix buttermilk and puddings together. Fold in cool whip. Add drained fruit. Crush up cookies, not too small. Mix all together and refrigerate for several hours. Really, any fruit combo would work for this. Adding fresh cherries and strawberries would be good.

There just wasn't a good way to take a picture of the finished product!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Crockpot Beef Tips

I have been on a mission lately to clean out my three freezers, um yeah, I said three! One freezer is mainly for the half beef we get each year, so that helps me justify having three. But, still food finds its way to the back and when I finally find it, it is attached to a hunk of ice! So, with prices of fuel and basically everything else going up, I've got to be even more frugal than I already am.  Our half beef order for this coming year is due anytime so I had to rearrange frozen foods and this put me on a use up stuff that has been sitting in the deep cold way too long.  I had a couple packages of stew beef and since it has been over 100 and high humidity off and on for weeks on end I am not about to make a big pot of stew with it! But, I will however get my wonderful crockpot out and make this yummy recipe for beef tips. It is so easy to throw together and you can serve it with mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles. It has a wonderful gravy.
Crockpot Beef Tips
2packages, or around 2pounds, beef stew
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1pkg onion soup mix
1 soup can full of water
Throw everything in crockpot and stir well. Cook on low 8 hours, or high 4-5 hours, or until beef is cooked through. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles along with the gravy it makes.

OK, this picture makes this look disgusting, but it is a hard meal to photograph, you'll just have to trust me that its way better than it looks!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crockpot Kielbasa Supper

This is a fast and convenient crockpot supper that won't heat up your kitchen. I used potatoes from our garden and prepackaged coleslaw.
Crockpot Kielbasa Supper
2pounds fully cooked kielbasa sausage, cut into chunks
(I use one package fully cooked turkey sausage)
1package shredded coleslaw mix
1can chicken broth
3 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
or about 6-8 new potatoes, halved
Salt and pepper
Throw everything in a crockpot, it will look like a lot of cabbage, but it will cook down.  Mix well and cook on low around 8 hours. I start my crockpot after lunch on low and it is done by supper, so each crockpot cooks differently.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Macaroni Salad

I love macaroni salads, they are so fun to play around with and add different things each time.  It usually depends on what I have in my fridge at the time as to what all I add in when I make it.  To me summer time equals salads, any kind!
Macaroni Salad
3C uncooked elbow or rotini pasta
6-8 eggs, cooked, chopped
3/4-1C real mayo
1/2C sweet pickle relish, or dill pickle relish
1/2C onion, I like half white, half green onion
1tsp black pepper
salt to taste
Add ins, optional:1/2C finely chopped celery, 1/2C green peas, cubed ham
Cook pasta and rinse and drain with cold water. Mix pasta, mayo, relish, onion, pepper, salt, and any add-ins together. Then add in chopped eggs and stir gently. Refrigerate for atleast a few hours, overnight is better. Stir well before serving.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tomato Spinach Pasta Salad

I wait to make this pasta dish when my garden is just right. It is hard because the spinach is about over as the temps rise, but the tomatoes are just starting.  This is wonderful and very adjustable to your own add ins.
Tomato Spinach Pasta Salad
3C uncooked rainbow rotini
3C chopped fresh spinach
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1(8oz)bottle ranch salad dressing
1C(I use one small can)sliced black olives
2C shredded cheddar cheese, sometimes I use cubed cheese
3T milk
3/4C sliced green onion, I use less
Cook pasta.  In medium bowl, combine ranch and milk and stir well.  Drain pasta; rinse with cold water to cool. In large bowl, combine cooked pasta, spinach, olives, onions, tomatoes and cheese.  Pour dressing mixture over salad and mix well.  Refrigerate until serving.
I add fresh ground pepper and I also think it needs crunch, so I use almost a whole bottle of McCormicks Salad toppings.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

 This is very easy to make and has the option to frost the cake, but I found the cake so moist that it didn't need frosting.  You can not taste the zucchini, so kids will get their veggies and not even know it! 
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1pkg pudding included devils food cake mix
1tsp cinnamon
2C shredded, zucchini
1/2C buttermilk
1/2C oil
3 eggs
1/2C chopped nuts, optional
1/2C semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 13x9(I used a bundt pan). In a large bowl, blend cake mix, cinnamon, zucchni, buttermilk, oil and eggs at low speed.  Beat 2 minutes at high speed. Pour into pan; sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips. Bake for 35-45minutes, or a bundt pan for 50minutes+, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve plain or frost.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Green Beans and New Potatoes

This is a recipe I grew up with and it is pure comfort food. My family grew the garden with the new potatoes and  green beans and grandma canned it all. We would sit at many a ball game and snap green beans together because we knew what goodness it would bring!  I could seriously eat this for dessert every night.  I can still remember as a kid seeing the canned new potatoes downstairs in the basement at my grandma's and thinking how disgusting they looked, but I always put that image aside and devoured each can! My grandma taught me how to can years ago and there is a lot that goes into it, but oh how it is worth it! I prefer to freeze most things, it is much easier and quicker, but when it comes to this dish I preserve it by canning it! This version below is adapted to the crockpot.
Green Beans and New Potatoes in the Crockpot
Adjust the amounts to the size of crowd you are feeding
2pounds fresh green beans, snapped
1pound bacon, partially cooked...or 1 ham bone with some meat on it
1 onion, chopped, optional
1-2pounds red new potatoes, rinsed and cut in half
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp salt
Place the green beans, bacon or ham bone, and onion in the crockpot. Add water only to cover the beans and cook on low for 3 hours. Remove ham from bone(if using) and discard the bone. Add potatoes to crockpot and the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for one hour, or until the potatoes are tender. Make sure they are cut in half.

I linked this recipe over at Mandy's Recipe box!

There is nothing quite like a field of Kansas Sunflowers!

My dad, grandma, me, and my sweet Brookie
Can you believe my grandma is 91! She sure doesn't look it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zucchini Beef Quiche

Here is another yummy way to use up that green stuff staring at you! The original recipe does not call for hamburger, but I highly suggest adding it.
Zucchini Beef Quiche
3C zucchini, peel and shred, press out any excess moisture
1 onion, chopped fine, optional
1/2C parmesan cheese
1/2C shredded cheddar cheese
1/2C oil
3T parsley
1tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
1C bisquick
4 eggs, beaten
I add 1/2-1pd cooked ground beef
Combine all the ingredients and stir well. Grease a 8x8 or even a 13x9 and add mixture. Cook at 350 for 30-40minutes, or until cooked in the middle and egg is set. If using the 13x9 adjust the time and watch for doneness.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Zucchini Beef Casserole

I'm sure most of you now have so much zucchini you don't know how to use it all up and are running out of people to give it to! It is funny how a garden works... during the long winter months we can only dream of having fresh tomatoes and produce from our garden and then during the dog days of summer we can hardly give our produce away because we have so much!   This recipe is fantastic for hot summer days because it uses the mircrowave and it uses up all that zucchini sitting on our kitchen cabinets staring at us! The recipe calls for the hamburger to be raw while cooking it in the microwave, but I do not like the consistency of the meat this way, so I cook the meat and then add it to the dish to microwave.
Zucchini Beef Casserole
1pd ground beef, lean
1tsp garlic powder
11/2C diced zucchini
1(14.5)oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2C instant rice
1/2C water
1/4C chopped onion, optional
1/4C soy sauce
3/4tsp dried basil, optional
Crumble beef into a 2qt microwave safe dish(this is where I precook the meat and then add it). Sprinkle this with garlic powder.  Cover and microwave on high for 2 minutes(unless you precook the meat). stir. Heat 1-2 minutes longer, or until cooked and its not pink.Drain if needed.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cover and microwave on high for 20-25minutes, or until veggies and rice are tender. Stir twice during the cooking time.
This is a great dish and the kids loved it too! I'm sure you could adjust this to a slow cooker as well.

Visit Mandy's Recipe Box for other zucchini recipes

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Creamy Tortellini

I have made this recipe many times and it is always yummy and the kids love it and get their veggies too!  It is adapted from Kraft foods.  It uses up some spinach and tomatoes from the garden and is convenient because it uses refrigerated tortellini.
Creamy Tortellini
2 pkgs (9oz each) refrigerated cheese tortellini, uncooked
~I have used beef ravioli and that is good too
4oz pkg of cream cheese, cubed, I used light
1C milk
6T grated parmesan cheese, grated
1/4tsp black pepper, I use lots more
1bag (6oz) fresh spinach
1C quartered cherry tomatoes
I like to add in 8oz sliced mushrooms
Cook tortellini according to pkg directions.  Place cream cheese in large skillet. Cook on low heat until its melted, stirring every so often.  Whisk in milk slowly, stir in 4T of the parmesan cheese and black pepper.  Add spinach; stir to coat. Drain pasta and add to spinach mixure in skillet; mix lightly. Sprinkle with tomatoes and the rest of parmesan cheese right before serving.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Creamed Potatoes and Peas

There is nothing quite like fresh peas and potatoes from the garden. Growing peas is easy, it is the shelling them that is SOOO time consuming. It seems it takes a million pea pods to shell and make just one tiny bowl of peas! But, oh the fresh taste of peas are amazing...nothing can quite describe it. Then you go and add fresh red potatoes from the garden and the combo is out of this world!!!! This is an oldie but goody recipe that always pleases and brings a smile to your tummy.
Creamed Potatoes and Peas
1pd small red potatoes
21/2 C frozen peas...or fresh
1/4C butter, cubed
1 green onion...a must in this recipe, even if you don't like onion
1/4C flour
1/2tsp salt
2C milk
Scrub and quarter potatoes; place in a large saucepan and cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 10minutes. Add peas; cook 5 minutes longer.
In another saucepan, melt butter.  Add onion and saute until tender. Stir in flour and salt and gradually add the milk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1-2minutes, or until thickened. Drain the potatoes and peas and add to the sauce and toss.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The BEST Popsicles

These are BY FAR, the BEST popsicles you will EVER taste! It makes store bought popsicles taste like water!  My husband shared this recipe with me when we first got married.  He said his mom made these all the time while he was growing up and he will not eat a popsicle unless it is this other words, he was telling me that I WILL make these for him!  I wanted to know what all of the fuss was about so I made them and sure enough....they are wonderful! It is fun because you can use any flavor of kool aid and you can even use the sugar free. Our favorites are grape and cherry.  You have to have popsicle molds for them and I have found that the old tupperware ones are by far the best and easiest. 
The Best Popsicles
1 (3oz) pkg grape jello
1 pkg grape kool aid
1C sugar
2C hot water
Mix the above ingredients together and add 2C cold water and mix well.  Pour into molds and freeze.  Use any flavor of jello and kool aid!
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