Canning Jalapeños

jalapenos finalThis is one of the many, many recipes I have used to preserve jalapeño’s from the garden and gotten good reviews on so I am sharing it with you.

Warning: Anytime you are cutting jalapeños or any hot pepper please wear gloves. (Especially if you wear contact lenses.)  They are .97¢ at walmart in the pharmacy section for 8 vinyl gloves. I store them IN my canner because the kids never look there. Seriously though, unless you want the fiery gates of hell to bare its wrath in your eyeballs then wear gloves.

Ingredients and Tools Needed:

Add ingredients below to each hot sterile jar before adding peppers and brine:

Directions:

  • Prepare your jars for processing by washing them in the dishwasher and leaving them on the heated dry cycle while you work. If you do not have a dishwasher then please wash them by hand and follow normal water bath procedure. Keep jars warm until its time to use them.
  • Prepare your work station and put on your gloves. Slice your freshly washed jalapeños about 1/8 of an inch and then toss the stems in the trash bowl.

jalapeno final 2

  • In a sauce pan add your vinegar, water and sugar. Heat on medium high until it just starts to boil.
  • While your brine is heating up, place your jars next to the stove and add your pickling salt, bay leaf, garlic clove, coriander, cumin and black peppercorns to each jar.
  • Pack the sliced jalapeños into the jars as tightly as you can get them without crushing them, leaving about an inch head space at the top.
  • Using your canning funnel and canning ladle, start pouring the brine slowly into each jar until there is 1/2 inch head space left.
  • Now here is the fun part. Tap your jar gently on the counter/towel until you see all the bubbles float up to the top. I use a spoon and push the peppers down gently as I do this, but it’s not necessary. For some reason air seems to hide well in-between the peppers. You can do this with a wood chop stick or skewer as well. Which ever floats your boat. 🙂
  • Once the air is removed, use a paper towel dipped in vinegar and wipe the rims clean.
  • Place lids and rings on snugly and put jars in the WBC. Process for 12 minutes AFTER the water returns to a boil. After 5 minutes remove jars and place on a towel. Allow to set undisturbed for 24 hours. You can eat them right away, but it is better to let them cure for 4-6 weeks before opening.
  • For any jars that may not seal, store in the refrigerator and eat them first. Sealed jars have a shelf life of one year.

I hope you have fun canning and if you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them in the comment box below.

jalapeno final 3

 

 

 

 

 

Broccoli Salad

broccoli-salad-2Broccoli Salad is such a refreshing dish all year around but we especially love it for cook outs and church pot luck dinners. I never bring any back home with me so I keep a cup or two at home. 🙂 Below I have given you three options. A recipe for 5, 10, or 15 people. All recipes require the same preparations. If you need to stretch it a little further or want a new twist, you can add some small bits of cauliflower as well. Just make another batch of sauce and slowly add it until it taste right for you and your family.

I serve cherry tomatoes on the side for those who love them in their salads.

Directions:

  1. Fry the bacon in a skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Dab all grease off bacon strips. Cool and crumble. (I like it slightly crispy, its your choice on how you like it.)
  2. Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces and cut the onion into thin bite-size bits. Combine with the bacon, raisins, and your favorite nuts and mix well.
  3. To prepare the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad, let chill and serve with in a few hours. I usually make it the morning I am going to serve it.

Ingredients for 15 people

  • 3-1/4 heads fresh broccoli
  • 1-3/4 red onion
  • 13 ounces bacon
  • 1-1/4 cups raisins (optional)
  • 1-1/4 cups sliced almonds (optional). An alternative I use is sun flower seeds.
  • 1-2/3 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 – 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, optional
  • 3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon red OR white wine vinegar

Ingredients for 10 people

  • 2 heads fresh broccoli
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 3/4 cup raisins, optional
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, optional. An alternative I use is sun flower seeds.
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, optional
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

For 5 people

  • 1 heads fresh broccoli
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/4 pound bacon
  • 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon raisins, optional.
  • 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon sliced almonds, optional. An alternative I use is sun flower seeds.
  • 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, optional
  • 1/4 cup and 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon and 1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar

I hope you, your family and friends enjoy this amazing dish as much as I do. 🙂

Keepin It Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal

 

Canning Peach Pie Filling

peachesIf you’re from the south then you can appreciate a good home-made peach pie. I came across about 120 pounds of peaches this past weekend and decided to quart up some peach pie filling. Don’t panic though, this recipe isn’t for 120 pounds of peaches, I wouldn’t do that to you lol. For this recipe you only need about 7-8 quarts sliced peaches.

When I can pie filling I like to can at least 12 quarts of that particular pie. (One Quart = One Pie) The reasoning may sound silly, but it goes like this. If you can 12 each of peach, apple, cherry, blueberry, then you can bake 4 pies a month for a full year. Or you can choose to keep it in your food storage. We do not bake that many pies in our house each month, but it sure comes in handy around the holidays, church pot luck dinner, reunions, or unexpected company. Pour a jar into the crust and pop it in the oven. Voila! Dessert is done.

toolsTools Needed:

 

 

Ingredients: 

  • Capture7-8 quarts of peeled, cored and sliced peaches. When selecting your peaches make sure they are ripe and ready to eat. These peel the easiest.
  • 7 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup Clear Gel (I have used ultra gel and it works just as well for me. Others have said they do not like using it with pies because you have to use a little more than the recipe calls for. I have never had that problem personally.)
  • 5-1/4 cups of cold water
  • 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon, optional but recommended
  • 1 3/4 cups of Bottled lemon juice
  • Fruit Fresh, this stops fruit from browning.
  • White distilled vinegar (For wiping the jar rims)

Directions:

  1. Begin warming your water in your WBC on medium high heat.
  2. Run your jars through the dishwasher and the heated dry cycle. Leave them in there to stay warm while you get everything ready. If you do not have a dishwasher then wash and rinse by hand. Place jars upside down on the jar rack in your WBC and place lid on canner. Your jars will sanitize and stay heated for your pie filling when the time comes.
  3. Wash and blanch your peaches. Then cut into slices or even sized chunks.
  4. Sprinkle fresh fruit on your peaches and turn with your hands to coat evenly.
  5. Combine water, sugar, clear gel and cinnamon in a large pot. (2-4 qts works for me.) Stir ingredients together and heat over medium/high heat until mixture begins to bubble and thicken.
  6. Add the lemon juice and boil the sauce for 1 minute stirring constantly.
  7. Combine the drained peaches with your boiling mixture and continue to heat for 3-4 more minutes.
  8. Remove jars from your WBC and set on a towel next to your peach pie filling mixture. Turn the WBC on high and replace lid so it comes to a boil.
  9. Using your jar funnel, fill the jars leaving a one inch head space at the top. Gentle tap the jar on the counter to try to push the air to the top and help the filling settle in the jar.
  10. Run a small spatula, knife or chop stick long the inside of the jar slowly to help get rid of air bubbles. (preferably not a metal tool)
  11. Using a paper towel or rag dip a corner into some vinegar and wipe the rims clean of any filling that might be on it. If you skip this step you are running the risk of an improper seal. It is very important.
  12. Place seals and rings in place. Screw rings on finger tight.
  13. Place the filled jars on your canning rack and lower gently into the water. You should have at least 1-2 inches of water covering your jars at all times.
  14. Processing times are as follows:

 

10645096_10201528405571243_6967743142670642951_n15. After processing time is up remove your jars carefully with your jar lifter and set on a dish towel undisturbed for 24 hours. Expect to see some air bubbles in the jars. I freaked out when I saw them, but learned it is common and your product is still safe. The only time you need to worry is if they are bubbling (multiplying) or the lid starts expanding.

 

That about wraps it up! All that’s left after this is to pour a jar in a pie crust, top it off with some pretty lattice-work and bake it in a preheated oven set at 450° for ten minutes and then drop the temperature down to 350° and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until the crust is brown and the mixture is bubbling through the lattice-work. If you notice the outside of the crust is getting to dark to fast, then cover them with strips of aluminum foil about half way through cooking.

Serve with some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and your family/guest will have a little bit of heaven in their mouths that day. 🙂

10600450_10201542414201450_3796662151967085073_n

Keepin It Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canning Blueberry Pie Filling

DSC_0166I found a pretty good deal on blue berries at Sam’s Club. They were selling them two pounds at a time for $4.98. So I thought to myself that some dehydrated blueberries would be good to have on hand….and then I thought about pie and blueberry cobbler and thats all she wrote. 🙂

So as I am canning this delicious blueberry pie filling I got to thinking. If I canned 12 quarts each of Apple Pie filling, Blueberry Pie filling, Peach Pie filling and Cherry pie filling that we could have 4 pies a month for a year if we wanted. (You could change it up and do blackberry or something also if you wanted to.) The holidays would be great because I wouldn’t have to buy the ingredients. I would just have to make the crust. Please feel free to leave pie ideas in the comment section.

The recipe I am sharing will get 3 pint size jars out of it. This is the first time I have done a large amount all at once and I personally did them in batches based on the recipe ingredients. I didn’t try to cook all 6-7 pounds of blueberries at once.

 

toolsTools you will need:

 

 

20140803_081605Ingredients:

  • 7-8 cups of blueberries (2 1/2 – 3 pounds of blueberries)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar, I use Zulka pure cane sugar because I love the taste and flavor of it but any granulated sugar will do.
  • 2/3 cups of Clear Gel. I use Ultra Gel because its non GMO and Gluten free and does the same thing as regular Clear Gel. Clear Gel is a modified corn startch and an absolute MUST for any canning recipe that contains corn starch. If you read a recipe that tells you to use cornstarch then look for a diff recipe. I made that mistake once. 😦 (Why Can’t I *Can* that?)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • A dab of Wiltons’ Violet food coloring, optional. Berries tend to lose their vibrant colors during cooking processes so I add a little bit of the food coloring to enhance the appearance of the pie filling. You could also use regular blue (8-12 drops) and red (2-4 drops) food coloring to make purple as well.

Directions:

  • You will want to follow your basic water bath canner instructions for setting up.
  • Wash your berries and lay them out on a paper towel. Pick any stems off of them that may have been missed.
  • Fill one of the large pots about half to 3/4 the way full and bring water to a rolling boil. Pour in the blue berries and blanch for one minute. Remove from heat and pour into strainer. Pour berries back into the pot and put a lid on them to keep them warm. Make sure they are not on a hot burner.

20140803_083843(1)

  • In a separate pot, pour your sugar, clear gel, and water. Whisk it together until very smooth and there is no clumps. Make sure to take a spoon around the edges to get any that may have clumped there.

20140803_082254

  • Add food coloring at this time if you are using it.

food coloring 2

  • Put pot on stove set to medium high heat. At this point, you do not want to walk away from your stove. You will need to stir constantly to prevent scorching. Expect the mix to start to thicken and maybe even clump pretty fast. Just keep stirring. The goal is to get a somewhat gel consistency that you can still stir smoothly. Once it gets somewhat stiff, add the lemon juice and stir it in.

20140803_083542

 

  • Add your berries and fold the gel into the berries. Remove from heat.
  • Use your canning funnel and ladle to add the mix to the jars one at a time. Leave a one inch head space.
  • Use a dip stick or anything that is not metal to scrape the sides to rid the jar of any air bubbles. This is a very important step, don’t skip it. I use a kabob stick for mine.

20140803_084857(1)

 

  • Next, using a cloth or paper towel, dip it in white vinegar and wipe the edges so they are clean and free of any of the mixture. This is another important step in making sure the jars get a good seal.
  • Place lids and rings on jars finger tight.
  • Put jars in rapidly boiling water in your water bath canner for 30 minutes then remove and place on towel.
  • Do not move for 24 hours
  • After 24 hours take a sharpie or label and write the date on the jar as well as what it is.

20140803_103247 To bake a pie you would need two of these pint jars for one pie. We choose to can them in smaller jars because we often use them to top ice cream, cheesecake and many other yummy desserts. You can always can these in quart jars as well by doubling up on the recipe for however many quarts you desire. There are several different recipes out there, but I really hope you enjoy this one. Our family does!!

Keeping It Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal 🙂

The list below is a different recipe I got from canningusa.com, but is just as good. 🙂

Ingredients 4 Quart Jars Per Quart 6 Quarts 8 Quarts 10 Quarts 12 Quarts
Blueberries 5 cups 30 cups 40 cups 50 cups 60 cups
Granulated Sugar 3/4 cup 4-1/2 cups 6 cups 7-1/2 cups 9 cups
Water 1 cup 6 cups 8 cups 10 cups 12 cups
Lemon Juice (Required for Canning) 1 Tbsps. 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsps. 1/2 cup 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsps. 3/4 cup
ClearJel® 1/4 cup 1-1/2 cups 2 cups 2-1/2 cups 3 cups
Salt (Optional) 1/2 tsp. 1 Tbsp. 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. 2 Tbsp.
Cinnamon (Optional) 1/2 tsp. 1 Tbsp. 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. 2 Tbsp.
Nutmeg (Optional) 1/4 tsp. 1-1/2 tsp. 2 tsp. 2-1/2 tsp. 1 Tbsp.

 

 

Uses For Sweetened Condensed Milk In Your Food Storage

dulce de lecheIs your Sweetened Condensed Milk in your food storage about to expire? Is the can starting to rust? Recently a question was posed in a group I am in on Facebook. A wonderful lady has asked,

“I have about 16 cans of sweetened condensed milk that I need to get used up asap as the cans are starting to rust. Any suggestions?”

So this lead me to research the uses of Sweetened Condensed Milk when you have a large amount you want to use. My first thought was Caramel and Dulce de Leche, so I thought I would share my secret with all of you. Yummy!

Have you ever made Dulce de Leche in a crock pot? It is so super easy its not even funny.

All you need is:

  • 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 half pint canning jars with lids and rings (jelly jars)
  • A Crock-pot

Yup, thats it!! 🙂

Directions:

  • Divide the sweetened condensed milk evenly between the 3 canning jars and place rings and lid tightly on jars so none of it leaks out.
  • Place jars in the crock-pot and completely submerge in water AT ALL TIMES. This is a very important step if you want it to turn out right. The jar MUST be completely submerged in water.
  • Turn crock pot on low for 8-10 hours adding more water if you need to.
  • Once done, let the Dulce de Leche cool on the counter at room temp before opening. The jar will appear to be sealed but these are NOT shelf stable. They MUST be stored in the fridge. Sorry guys. 😦
  • Warm before using (optional)

You can also make this recipe without the jars and simply place the cans in the crock pot. However, I would not recommend doing it with rusty cans. This recipe can be used as a topping or dip for just about anything you can imagine.

caramel topping

 

Now for the delicious Caramel Sauce Recipe using your food storage ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Heavy bottom sauce pan, 2-3 quart should be fine
  • 3/4 Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water (in the pot)
  • 1/4 cup of light corn syrup
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons Powdered milk
  • 3/4 cup water (to mix with the powdered milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Pour 3/4 cup granulated sugar into your sauce pan being careful not to get any sugar up on the sides. It will look like a sand pile in the middle of your sauce pan.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of water into the center of the sugar, again making sure there is none splashing up on the sides of the pan.
  • Add 1/4 cup of light corn syrup.
  • Turn on medium heat. Don’t stir or mess with it to much. You do not want the mix to come up on the side of the saucepan or you will get clumps of sugar in your caramel. Should this happen, take a basting brush and dip it in a little bit of water and gently push the sugar down off the side and back into the mixture.
  • While the mixture cooks, mix 3/4 cups of water with 4 1/2 tablespoons of powdered milk. Whisk together until smooth.
  • At this time, you are going to let the mixture cook for a little bit until it turns a dark amber color. Do not leave unattended. As soon as this happens, remove from the heat.
  • SLOWLY, I cant emphasize this enough, pour a small amount of milk into the sauce at a time, whisking as you pour. DO NOT add all the milk at once. This is very important. The mixture is going to foam up as you pour it and whisk it. You dont want it to come up over the sides so if it does your adding it to fast and to much at one time.
  • While mixing add your vanilla extract.
  • Continue to mix until all ingredients are blended. It is going to be somewhat thin at this time. Once its all mixed up put it in the refrigerator so it can set.
  • Serve on top of ice cream, dip your apples in it or use it for whatever your heart desires. 🙂

I haven’t forgot that this article is about using up your sweetened condensed milk thats in your food storage before it goes bad. So I am including a recipe link I found at Southernplate.com for some yummy caramel candy chews. I hope you all enjoy these recipes and please feel free to comment.

Crock Pot Whole Chicken – Easy Recipe

When we go to Sam’s I often find farm raised whole chicken on sale 2 for $10.00. So I will grab some and toss them in the deep freezer down stairs. Six months ago was literally the first time I have ever cooked a whole raw chicken. Before that it was always chicken breast or wings etc… So the sales on these chickens inspired me to learn different ways to cook them. As always, my hunt began on Google and the recipe below is a combination of what I found.

60c4fb73-8766-4e3e-97ed-aac5c01625d5Not everyone is picky about their meat, but we are in our house so I am posting a picture below of the kind we buy and why. We try to stick with farm raised meat and organic vegetables as much as possible, but sometimes it is hard to find. Although any chicken will work for this recipe.

 

7b92c233-057f-4f60-b4c2-8e5558d60a3aIngredients for chicken rub:

  • 4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper


For the crock pot: (Carrots, celery and potatoes are optional.)

  • 1 med- large yellow onion, quartered
  • 5-6 carrots, scrubbed and chopped in halves or thirds. (or you can use baby carrots), optional
  • 5-6celery stalks, optional
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed (or 3 tsp of minced garlic)
  • 2 whole lemons, One quartered for under the chicken and one quartered to stuff inside the chicken. (Of course you can slice some and place it on top like in the picture if you want. I like to make food pretty )
  • 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 pound young chicken

crock pot whole chicken
Directions:

1. Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Prep vegetables and place in bottom of crock pot, setting aside a quartered lemon and some onion to place inside the bird.
3. Wash and pat dry your chicken with a paper towel. (If there are necks or organs inside the chicken please remove them.)
4.Rub smashed garlic all over chicken and then place inside chicken along with lemon and onion.
5. Place chicken on top of vegetables inside slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. You know your slow cooker better than i do. Internal temp should be 160 degrees F in the leg.
6. Remove chicken from slow cooker once it is done and place in a cooking dish. Put in oven under the broiler for 4-5 minutes. This will give the skin a little crispness to it.

This took me approx 10 minutes to prepare, put in the crock pot and forget about until its done. You can’t get much easier than that for a heart warming, home cooked meal to serve your family at the end of the day.

crockpot chicken

Other ideas: You can also add some potatoes to the crock pot in the last hour of cooking to serve a long side your chicken. The possibilities are endless! Use your imagination and have fun!!

 

Source: Recipe found at http://www.thelittlekitchen.net and altered to fit my families taste buds.

 

Twice Baked Potato

twice baked potatoIf we eat a baked potato this is the way we do it. I have not had one single person dislike this recipe. 🙂 With twice baked potatoes the toppings and ingredients are endless.  Its all about your flavor and what you like. This recipe is our base recipe. We often add Jalapeños to the adults potatoes. (big surprise right? lol)

Something else I really love about this recipe is that you can get the kids involved. After making the basic blend of ingredients you can let them add cheese, bacos, mushrooms or whatever their little hearts desire on top. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 Large Baking potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of ranch dressing, more or less to taste.
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream, more or less to taste
  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits
  • 1/4 pound (4oz) of Velveeta cheese. cut into small cubes or slightly melted. (usually the heat from the potatoes melts it nicely.)

(Optional: Half of a small white onion and red onion, 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Both of these need to be finely diced in a small mixer. Almost minced. Saute all of these in butter and then mix into the potato mixture. Other optional ingredients might be McCormick garlic and herb seasoning. We have never had to add salt to these.)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F for baking the potato.
  • Scrub the potato well and blot dry with a paper towel.
  • Rub or brush potatoes with some oil and then rub with sea salt.
  • Prick skin with fork to release the steam.
  • Stand potato up on its end inside a muffin tin and bake for one hour or until a knife or fork inserts easily.
  • Once done baking slice of the top of the potato. You will want to slice off as thin a piece as possible. Think of potato skins. Once i cut the top off i had cheese and bacos and stick the tops bake in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese. It makes a wonderful appetizer for the family while you cook.
  • Scoop out the centers into a bowl with a spoon leaving a small amount on the walls to support the potato. (not real thick, you just dont want to rip through the skin.)
  • Mash the potatoes with a masher or a mixer. Add dressing, sour cream and bacon bits. (optional) You can also add your sauteed onions and garlic at this time. Stir in Velveeta.
  • Beat with mixer until fluffy. You will have to use a spoon to scrape the sides.
  • Add toppings such as shredded cheese, bacon, jalapenos etc…
  • Spoon into shells, bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Serve with any meat dish such as meatloaf, slow cooker ribs, pulled pork, steak etc…. and enjoy.

 

 

 

Cinnamon and Cloves Party Gift

cinnamon 1You can do many things with cinnamon and cloves now and days. While in the kitchen cooking I looked at my cinnamon sticks and wondered what I could do to use them. Then it hit me. Cinnamon and cloves! Putting the two together can make the worst house smell wonderful. Following the directions below made my house smell fabulous all day:

Use 3 cinnamon sticks and a pinch of whole cloves. Place in a small pan and cover in just enough water so the cinnamon sticks float. Turn water on med head until water begins to steam then turn down to low.

Then I got to thinking that, if put together right, these could be great and affordable little gifts for friends or visitors during the holidays.

I took draw string gift bags left over from my wedding and cut up three cinnamon sticks (in halves) per bag and dropped in a pinch of whole cloves. Pulled the drawstring tight and voila!  You could also put one of these in your drawers, in your closets or hang it from the rear-view window in the car.

For less that $15.00 You can make more than a few of these to hand out.

What You Need For This Simple Project:

Directions:

  1. Cut 3 Cinnamon sticks in half with scissors and add to a bag.
  2. Place a pinch of whole cloves in the same bag and draw the string tight.

 

 

Shredded BBQ Beef

bbq-beef-sandwichWhile shopping at Sam’s a while back I came upon a sale for a double pack of rump roast for about $11.00. Usually $16.00 or $17.00. I brought it home and threw it in the deep freezer and forgot about it. A few days ago I thawed it to make roast and vegetables and we ended up going out that night.

I had to make something out of it before it went bad and the family had been asking for BBQ a lot lately, so I decided to use the roast and make Shredded BBQ Beef for sandwiches that night.

Ingredients: (one 3-4 pound rump roast)

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 ketchup
  • 1 tablespoons spicy brown mustard (Some people like to use Dijon Mustard)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion powder
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 24 oz BBQ Sauce of your choosing, I like Baby Ray’s
  • 1/2 – 1 large yellow onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced jalapeno’s, very optional!

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients (except meat) in a large bowl and mix very well.
  2. Pour half of the mix into bottom of slow cooker.
  3. Place meat inside slow cooker.
  4. Pour remaining mix over the top. Turn meat to coat all sides.
  5. Sprinkle diced onion on top.
  6. Cook on low – medium for about four hours. Pull roast out of slow cooker and shred meat with two forks discarding any fat.
  7. Place back into slow cooker for another hour.
  8. Remove meat from slow cooker with a slotted spoon onto serving dish. Spoon some of the bbq sauce over the meat, but not a lot. If you want to spoon some sauce into a bowl and set it on the table that is fine to. Serve hot over buns or mashed potatoes.

bbq beef

 

 

 

 

 

Canning Asparagus

Grilled AsparagusOne of the reasons I do not grow asparagus is because it takes 2-5 years to produce. Maybe I am just lazy in that aspect, but it is just easier for us to buy it in bulk and can it from home.  Recently my neighbor brought us a big box of frozen asparagus. The tips and ends already cut. I don’t know about other canners out there, but seeing a box of vegetables like that is like Christmas morning for me! I get super excited.

Below I am going to walk you through the steps I use to can asparagus for our family and our food storage.  If you have any questions or tips, feel free to leave them in the comment section. (Links added to article are the equipment I personally use and am satisfied with.)

Safety First and Following your manual~ If you lost your manual and have not read it, I suggest doing so before doing any canning. Safety always comes first.Presto Canner Instruction Manuals.    All American Instruction Manuals. (I personally own and use the All American Pressure canner. I have never had to replace it.)

Tools Needed:
  • Pressure Canner ~ Not a water bath canner! Asparagus, like most other vegetables, does not have enough acidity in it to prevent the growth of bacteria. The temperature of a water bath canner does not get high enough to kill the bacteria spores. (Note: If you are pickling the asparagus then a water bath canner is safe to use.)
  • Canning Utensils ~ For grabbing hot jars etc…
  • Large Pot ~ For boiling water.
  • Ladle ~ To spoon boiling water into the jars.
  • Canning Jars ~ I use pint-sized jars but you can also use quart size jars if you have a larger family. We have 2 adults and 2 kids in our home and the pint size seems to work fine for portions.
  • Salt ~  One teaspoon per quart size jar or 1/2 teaspoon per pint. Salt is optional.
  • Asparagus ~ 10 pounds is a guess as to what we had and it made ten pint size jars.
Directions:

Preparations ~ In other words, get your work station ready!! Wipe down and sanitize all counter tops, tables and stove tops.  Fill your large pot with water and set it on low heat so it can begin to boil as you get your jars packed. Put 2-3 inches of water in your pressure cooker and set that to low as well so it doesn’t boil down dry. If it does boil down simply add hot tap water so your water level is at 2-3 inches again. Place your jars in the dishwasher to clean and sanitize your jars. Leave them in there on the heated dry cycle so the jars stay hot.  If you do not have a dishwasher then you will have to do it the old-fashioned way.

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Prepping your asparagus ~ Wash your asparagus with cool water. Break/cut off the tough bottom piece of the stem and then wash again.

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Cut~ Using a sharp pair of kitchen scissors, snip the asparagus into 1 inch pieces similar to the size of canned green beans. Another option is to cut them into spears to fit your jar making sure to leave 1 inch head space.  (Tip: I usually turn up the water at this time to get the rolling boil process closer to done.)

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Packing your jars~ Fill your jars with the raw asparagus leaving one inch head space.  There is no need to cook these before hand. The temperature from the pressure canner will do that. Tap the asparagus down on the table to get a tighter pack. You can also push it down as well. Just make sure not to squish it to tight.  Add Salt to the jars at this time.

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Adding water~ Ladle boiling water into each jar still leaving a one inch head space.

Seal the jar~ Put on your lids and rings tightening the seals finger tight.

Add to pressure canner~ Your water level should be at 3 inches before doing this and if not add some hot tap water.  At this time, assuming your water is still boiling,  use your jar tongs to gently place the jars on the canner rack.   Once your canner is full, place the lid on and twist into place leaving the regulator weight off at this time. Turn on high heat. Let canner vent steam for a full ten minutes. Begin timing when it is at a full steady stream of steam.

granny miller photo

After Venting~ After the full ten minutes, add the weight regulator to the valve on ten. Allow pressure to build to 10 pounds or the pounds according to the chart below for your area.

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Below is a process chart to follow according to your area:

table asparagus

Once the gauge hits 10 pounds, (or recommended pressure by chart) start your timer going for 30-40 minutes. Make sure to adjust the heat level to maintain the amount of pressure suggested. Once you are adjusted, your gauge should rattle once or twice every minute.

When Processing Is Over~ When your timer goes off, turn off the heat under the cooker and let your canner cool until the pressure drops to zero by itself.  This could take up to an hour. Do not open the vent!! If the pressure drops to fast you will lose liquid from the jars. (I made this mistake a lot before I learned that trick.) Once the pressure drops to zero, begin opening the canner by lifting the lid from the back first away from your face.

IMG_20131115_080912Remove the Jars~ After removing the lid, use your jar lifter to remove the jars carefully and place them on a towel making sure not to touch/bump the jars together.  Do not touch until completely cool. (usually over night) Once your jars are cooled you can check to see if they sealed by pressing down on the middle of the lid.

DSC_0532If it pops up and down then the jar did not seal properly. If a jar did not seal, that is ok. You can place it in the fridge and use that jar with dinner or as a snack. 🙂

IMG_20131109_091320Voila! All Finished! I hope this article makes canning asparagus as easy for you as it can be. Any comments or suggestions are always welcome in the comment section below.

Orange Fluff

20095134_BG1Orange Fluff

Ingredients

  • 2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple
  • 1 pound cottage cheese, pureed.
  • Mini marshmallows, optional
  • Shredded coconut, optional
  • 1 (3 ounce) packages orange flavored Jell-O® mix
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions:

  1. Combine the oranges and pineapple in a large bowl and mix together with the pureed cottage cheese.
  2. Add the dry orange flavored gelatin powder and stir until well blended.
  3. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Tips:

Use less Whipped topping. We have used 8 oz tubs instead of 16 oz, but its personal preference.

Drain fruit VERY well. Let sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours for a better set.

You can change the mandarin oranges to strawberries, use strawberry jello (or strawberry/banana jello) instead. Top with bananas right before serving.

 

 

 

 

Dehydrating Hot Sauce

Until recently it had never dawned on me to dehydrate my sauces in our food storage. I saw several videos on you tube on how to do this and thus my adventure begins.

This particular article is about dehydrating Louisiana Hot sauce. Our family loves this on chicken and fajitas. (Well, mostly me. 🙂 )

I started with a 64 fl oz container of sauce I bought at Sam’s Wholesale for just under $4.00.

hot sauce 1

I then lined my Excalibur trays with Non Stick Dehydrator Sheets. I have heard of people using wax paper, but I prefer to use these because they are thicker and when doing sauces or fruit leather it peels off very nicely and wipes clean. (My opinion is that it is more cost effective to purchase something I can use multiple times verses throwing something away and re buying more of it.)

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Next I measured a cup and a half of sauce per tray. Surprisingly, the entire 64 oz bottle of hot sauce fit on all five trays doing it this way. However, when I do it again I may only use one cup so it dries faster.

IMG_20131026_161629I set the dehydrator on 145° which is the setting used for fruit leather. I started this at 3:00 pm and let it run for about 8 hours at which point I had to go to bed. It was not dry in the center. I turned it down to 125° for the night because I was scared of over drying it. (silly, I know) In hindsight, it probably would of been alright to leave it at 145°, but being my first time I was leery.

When I awoke the next morning it still was not dry in the center so I cranked it back up to 145° and let it dry for another 9 hours for a total of 17 hours.

IMG_20131028_103736The key is that you do not want it to have the consistency of fruit leather. (fruit roll-ups) You want it to crack like a potato chip so when you blend it it forms a powder.

IMG_20131028_103728-1Now its time to pull out the chopper/blender. It is better to use a smaller one for these sorts of projects. Begin breaking off pieces of the hot sauce and packing it into the chopper.

IMG_20131028_103719I used my rival brand chopper and it did ok. However, I have been told by several people to purchase a Bella Rocket Blender to use when I want to do projects like this.  So now mine is on the way!! 🙂 Because of its reviews by preppers I have since added it to my *Amazing Gifts For Preppers* article.

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So what was the final outcome? A 64 fl oz container of hot sauce turned into a 2 cup, pint size jar of dehydrated hot sauce. Talk about saving space in your food storage pantry!! I was amazed.

Lousiana Hot SauceTo rehydrate the sauce, simply add a 1 to 3 ratio. One part powder to three parts (more or less to taste) hot water. It turned back into its original form in a matter of minutes and you would never know the difference.

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Sloppy Joe In A Jar

sloppy-joeOne meal that most people can agree on is Sloppy Joes! They are a household favorite across the world. So naturally, doing what I do, I wanted to come up with a way to add it to my food storage as a meal in a jar recipe. Below is what I have come up with.

(I make my meals 12 quarts at a time since that is how many jars come on one box. Each jar typically feeds four people, depending on the recipe.

3 meals a day x 31 days a month = 93 meals a month. 93 / 12 (the amount of jars per box) = 7.75 I round up to 8. So 8 cases of jars is one months worth of meals for a family of four. They also stack nicely in the corner of the closet. I love this because now I don’t have box after box of #10 cans all over the house.)

Ingredients Per Quart Jar:

Directions:

  1. Layer ingredients in jar with Seasoning Packet and cheese on top. Place the cheese in a sandwich baggy on top as well.
  2. Shake ingredients down as you go so everything fits nicely.
  3. Seal Jar with vacuum sealer or Oxygen absorbers.
  4. Label Jar with cooking directions.

Cooking Directions:

  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, remove from heat.
  2. Add ground beef to the water and let rehydrate for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Turn heat back onto medium and add the rest of the ingredients. (You may want to add a half a cup more water at this time. It will depend on how much water is left over from re-hydrating the meat. Use your judgement here.)
  4. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until done.
  5. If you decided to add cheese rehydrate cheese according to directions.
  6. Add mix to buns or homemade bread, top with cheese and jalapeño’s and enjoy.

 

Sweet Cream Filled Crescent Rolls

IMG_20130907_085640This simple, yet sweet filled crescent rolls satisfied that early morning sweet tooth in our house. These are great for breakfast on Christmas morning or for a potluck dinner as dessert. I hope you enjoy these as much as our family did. We give this recipe a thumbs up!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans Pillsbury Butter Crescent rolls
  • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Cinnamon & Sugar, (about a 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon)

Directions:

1. Unroll and spread 1 can crescent rolls on the bottom of an UN-greased cookie sheet.IMG_20130907_0908132. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spread the mixture over crescent rolls.

3. Unroll and spread remaining crescent rolls over sweet filling mixture.

4. Spread melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture.

IMG_20130907_0915035. Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes.

6. Remove and cool for ten minutes. Slice according to crescent roll pre-cut lines or cut into squares and serve.

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7.  Add printed recipe to your cook book!!

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Canning Meat Loaf Balls Safely

meatloaf-making-4-300x225Mom’s Meatloaf Ball’s

(Note: Please be sure to read my Friend Stephanie Dayle’s note posted at the bottom of the page after reading this article. It goes into detail about canning eggs and milk.)

Canning meatloaf balls can be a pleasure to add to food storage.  In the long run, it can save you money when the price of meat sky rockets and its easy to grab a jar if your hungry or want to make meatloaf balls for dinner.

There are a few different ways to make meatloaf balls out there.  The way I do it is a little different from your basic recipe, but tastes delicious.  Keep in mind, if you prefer the traditional way, then please do that way.

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 pounds of lean hamburger (I use Angus 90/10)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups whole wheat bread crumbs (or plain)
  • 2 sweet yellow onions, diced (about 1 1/2 cups when finely diced
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 2-3 teaspoons black pepper (to taste)
  • 3/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce (original)
  • 1 cup powdered milk, prepared
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for sautéing onions and garlic

For the Glaze:

  • 2 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (original)
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients to make the glaze.  Mix well and set aside.
  2. Adjust your oven rack to lower middle position.  Preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a pan on medium-high heat.  Sauté the onions and garlic until onions are caramelized and golden brown.  (about 5 minutes string occasionally.)  This will bring out the sweetness of the onion.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine your wet ingredients;  Eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, and half of the glaze you made earlier.  Use a fork to mix well.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine meat, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, browned onion/garlic mix, and wet ingredients.
  6. Using your hands mix ingredients quickly.  You don’t want to overwork it but you want everything distributed evenly.
  7. Form mixture into 2 inch round balls and place on 2 baking sheets.
  8. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes or until balls are firm.

While your meatballs are baking, get your pressure canner and supplies ready.  Put your extra glaze in a sauce pan and get warm, but not boiling.  You may even want to make another batch of glaze at this time.  It really depends on how much glaze you want to add to the jars.

After your meatballs are cooked:

  1. Using wide mouth quart jars, place your meatballs in the jar and fill about half way.
  2. Spoon in your glaze sauce until jar is about half full.
  3. Fill jar the rest of the way with meatballs leaving a generous 1 inch head space.
  4. You can add one or 2 more tablespoons of sauce on top of those meatballs if you want, but it isn’t necessary.
  5. Remove air by gently tapping the jar on a dish towel or using a plastic utensil to push the meatballs around.  Be careful not to smash them or cut them.
  6. Wipe your rims with a clean paper towel dipped in white vinegar.
  7. Put on lids and ringers and screw it finger tight.
  8. Place jars in your pressure canner, add water and 2 teaspoons white vinegar (to avoid rusting or mineral buildup) and vent for 10 full minutes.
  9. Bring to 11 pounds of pressure and process quart jars for 90 minutes.  (pints for 75).  If your manual suggests a different time and pounds of pressure, then follow your manual for canning ground beef.
  10. When processing is complete, let pressure drop completely.  Remove jars from your pressure canner and wipe with a hot soapy dish cloth.
  11. Label the contents and date.

Pressure Canner I use This canner is a little more expensive. The reason I bought it though is because its has metal on metal seal and never requires you to replace gaskets or seals. They last forever though.  Ive talked to women who have canners like this that were passed to them from their grandmothers, so for me the investment is worth it because I get my kids in on the action when we can around here. :)

Cheaper pressure canner

This recipe has made me a wonderful meal on many occasions, especially if I didn’t feel like cooking. ;)   I hope you enjoy it for many years to come.

Keepin It Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal

Please visit Jalapeño Gal’s survival surplus

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Stephanie’s reply when asked about canning eggs and milk. (And shes very very experienced and done tons of research!)

Canning eggs themselves is not recommended (water bathed OR pressure canned) and can be dangerous. Canning ‘things with eggs in them’ – it depends on what it is. In this case I would say its harmless as the eggs is mixed in with the meat balls and is not left in solid form. The heat from the pressure canner will have no problem penetrating the egg in this way and cooking it to the appropriate temperature. The only thing I would be cautious of would be the milk and bread crumbs – both of which are not recommended ingredients to can with. The theory behind the bread crumbs is that like rice, they expand. The theory behind the milk is that milk and butter are low acid products that “support the outgrowth of C. botulin and toxin formation in a sealed jar at room temperature. Fats in milk can protect botulism spores and toxins from heat if they are in a product during a canning process. So it’s all up to each person how much risk they want to take while preserving food.

To clarify this even further the information regarding milk – is mostly in regards to canning milk solely and using milk in condensed soup recipes. Both of which are a NO NO for canning for that reason. In my opinion using milk as a ‘binder’ like what was done in this recipe would be ok. Especially since shes cooked it in the oven first. There is always going to be some percentage of a risk when you can anything, I do not believe using milk in this manner would increase that marginal risk any more than usual. Hope I haven’t needlessly concerned anyone with my nerd-dom regurgitation of information. And I do apologize if I have. Long story short – I would can meat balls. But like JG said – not for a long period of time.

15 Bean Soup & Cornbread

15 bean soupI have used this recipe for close to 15 years now. I can not recall where I got it, but over the years we have added and taken away to make this soup delicious. As with all recipes….make it to suit your family!!

(Note: I have added links for dehydrated or freeze dried foods used on the ingredients list.  I added these links for your convenience if you prefer to prepare freeze dried meals in jars as I do.)

Ingredients:

  • 1- Package 15 Bean Soup (Ham, Cajun or plain is fine)
  • 1 lb. ham steak (diced into 1/2″ squares), ham hocks, or smoked sausage (You can store canned ham or beef stew meat in your food storage to add the meaty flavor and calories as well.)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can diced or stewed tomatoes (dehydrated tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Juice from 1 lemon.  This is a very important step, it really brings out all the flavors. (Crystallized Lemon for food storage)
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup beef bouillon
  • 2- Jalapeño’s, seeded and diced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar, (Tip: This is not for flavor. Adding a cap or two of white vinegar locks in all the different colors in soups, stews or what ever your cooking.)

Directions:

  1. The night before:  Place beans in a large pot, cover with 2 quarts of water. Allow beans to soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.
  2. After soaking, drain excess water, and add 2 quarts of fresh water and meat. (Sometimes I forget this step and then have to go strain it and add fresh water, but only if its when I just start cooking it.)
  3. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 2.5 hours.
  4. After simmering, add onion, tomatoes, chili powder, lemon and garlic. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
  5. Add contents of ham packet, (optional) 1 to 2 minutes before cooking is completed. Salt and pepper to taste.

Corn Bread:

  • One box of Jiffy cornbread.
  • Add about 1/4 cup of sugar and cook as directed. (optional)
  • Serve with honey.

Canning Carrots

carrotsWe love carrots, but we hate the canned ones you buy at the store because they are always mushy and flavorless.  So we decided to start canning our own.

Canning carrots is SUPER easy!! We picked up 5 pounds of carrots for $2.50.  In our area a can of carrots cost about $1.75 so we already saved money. :)   You can do this or you can ‘can’ your own home-grown carrots.  You must use a Pressure canner when canning certain vegetables because they need a higher temperature to kill any botulism in the food.  A Water Bath Canner just can’t get that hot.  I am posting a link to two different Pressure canners for you to look at.  Pressure canners range  from $100-$200 for a good one.  The great thing is they last for many years and will easily pay for themselves, especially if you grow your own food.

My Pressure canner – This one is heavy-duty and is metal to metal seal so you never have to replace gaskets.

Alternate Pressure Canner:  I have never used this one. I have several friends who have and say it works well for them.

Items You’ll Need:

  • 5 pound bag of fresh, crisp, carrots.  No limp carrots.
  • 7 pint jars
  • salt
  • Pot for boiling water
  • Pressure canner and canning utensils
  • Knife
  • Peeler
  • Ladle for filling jars with water.

Directions:

  • Prepare your Pressure canner according to your normal directions.  Place your jars in the water so they will be hot when you’re ready to add the carrots.
  • Fill the separate pot with water and turn it on low-medium to boil.
  • Wash Carrots.  Cut the tops and a little at the bottom off and discard.  Peel Carrots.  Wash Carrots again.
  • Cut into even bite sized piece.
  • Remove your jars from the water and add 1 teaspoon of salt to each jar.  (Tip: Place your lids in a small bowl and dump the hot water from one of the jars you remove from the canner to sterilize the lids.)
  • Pack the carrots into each jar about an inch from the top.
  • Ladle boiling water over carrots leaving a half-inch head space.
  • Place lids on and seal with rims, finger tight.
  • Place carrots in the pressure cooker and secure lid.  Once the steam comes out of the vent at a strong, steady pace, let it vent for 10 minutes.  Then place your weight over the valve at 10 pounds.  Allow the canner to build up to 10 pounds of pressure and then start your timer.
  • Cook pints at 10 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and wait until your Gage reads zero before removing the lid.

Voila!! Now we are all done.  Enjoy your carrots with your meals or alone.

Keepin It Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal

Please feel free to visit my store: Jalapeño Gal’s Survival Surplus

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224443_196595137142015_689517147_nGlazed Carrots:

  • 6-7 pounds of carrots
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 6 pint or 3 quart jars

Directions:

  • Prepare your Pressure canner according to your normal directions.  Place your jars in the water so they will be hot when you’re ready to add the carrots.
  • Wash Carrots.  Cut of the tops and a little at the bottom off and discard.  Peel Carrots.  Wash Carrots again.
  • Cut into 2-3 inch spears.  It’s important to try to make them the same size in length to optimize the space in your jars.  Slice the thicker ends in half lengthwise.
  • Combine Brown Sugar, water and orange juice in a sauce pot.  (You may want to double up on this part depending on if you want to fully cover your carrots in the glaze.)
  • Cook over medium heat and stirring until the sugar completely dissolves.  Keep syrup hot.
  • Pack Carrots tightly into hot jars, leaving a one inch head space.  Ladle the syrup over the carrots leaving a one inch head space.
  • Remove air bubbles by gently tapping the bottom of the jar on your towel.
  • Process pints and quarts at 10 pounds of pressure for 30 minutes.

Recipe’s courtesy of Ball Blue Book.

Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

chicken 4This is a quick and easy recipe to use with that chicken you thawed out and have no idea what to do with it!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Thick and chunky Salsa, add more to taste
  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken (small pieces not huge chunks)
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 pound Velveeta mild Mexican cheese (we have also used regular and it turned out fine)
  • 6 inch Corn Tortillas,  cut in half
  • 1 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Cook chicken in skillet and at the same time, place cheese and soup in a sauce pan to melt.

chicken 2

3. After Cheese mix is melted (no lumps) add chicken.

4. In an 8×8 square cooking dish, line with halved tortillas on the bottom.

totillas5. Spread about 1 cup of the chicken mix on top of the corn tortillas. Then add spoonfuls of salsa on top.

chicken 16. Continue to layer the pan until you are out of mixture.

chicken 37. The last layer should be topped with salsa and shredded cheese only.

8. Bake 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Serve Chicken Enchilada Casserole with remaining salsa, sour cream, jalapenos or whatever your heart desires. 🙂

chicken 4

Game Day Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs

meatballsI enjoy cooking for my family and friends, especially on game day. One of the guys favorites in our house is BBQ meatballs. (Also great for church pot luck dinners.) There is the easy way, using pre-packaged frozen meatballs, or making your own. Either way works. In this article I am going to show you how to make and freeze your own meatballs so you can make a batch, freeze them and use them for other things as well.

(Note: Prepare the actual meatball the day before and freeze.)

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds ground beef, preferably 90/10 but 80/20 works fine to
  • 5 oz can of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup dry oatmeal (rolled or instant)
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon of butter, to saute onions and garlic
  • 1/2 chopped onion, diced fine
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

Sauce:

  • 2 cups of ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon of liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions.
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  1. Saute’ the onions and minced garlic until onions are clear in color.
  2. Combine all meatball ingredients using your hands.
  3. Shape meat into walnut size balls. I like to use a heaping scoop with melon baller so they come out being about the same size. With anything you cook you always want to try to make sure that meat and vegetables are around the same size so they cook at the same rate.
  4. After shaping the meatballs, place them on a waxed- lined cookie sheet and freeze them. When fully frozen, place the meatballs in a Zip-lock Freezer bag and keep stored int he freezer until needed.
  5. When you are ready to use them, put the frozen meatballs in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on high while mixing up the sauce.
  6. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and continue to cook on high for 1 hour.
  7. Remove the lid, gently stir and turn slow cooker down to low.
  8. Cook for 4-8 hours.
  9. You can serve the meatballs directly out of the slow cooker (so they stay warm) or transfer them to a nice dish for serving.

Makes around 20-25 appetizer servings

Tips: You can use the meatball recipe for multiple recipes. Instead of using BBQ sauce you can add a jar of spaghetti sauce to the slow cooker or cream of mushroom soup and serve them with noodles or rice.

Broccoli and Rice Casserole: Mother-In-Law style

Broc rice n cheese casserole 2When my husband and I first got together, one thing he made clear he loved was his mothers broccoli and rice casserole.  Thus I learned how some family recipes get passed down.

Below is the original recipe he loves. I have since added things to make different meals such as chicken, thinly sliced beef, peas, carrots, but you get the idea. The possibilities are endless. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 stick margarine
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 cups of minute rice, cooked
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 1 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken soup)
  • 1- (8oz) jar of cheese whiz (Yes, they still make it!!)
  • 2- (10 oz pkg) Frozen Chopped Broccoli, cooked and drained, no salt.
  • Regular or sharp cheddar cheese, for topping.

Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. Melt butter and saute onions.
  3. Combine soup, water, salt and cheese whiz in large pot and heat, add rice and broccoli. (You would also add cooked chicken, peas or anything else you would like to add at this time.)
  4. Top with sharp cheddar cheese.
  5. Pour onto a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 45 minutes at 350°.