December 9, 2012
I can't believe how quickly the time has flown. I swear it feels like I just posted last week. But noooooo, it is December now and I haven't posted since April!
Obviously I am long overdue for an update, which will be coming soon, just not right now in this post. There will be one though. Along with more timely updates.
As well as some changes to the site itself. I can't wait! :o)
April 30, 2012
Every time I cook chicken, pork or veggies using my electric pressure cooker (not canner) I make extra broth. It is super easy and oh so flavorful. But what to do with all that extra? Besides using it to make your gravy, sauces and mashed potatoes, you can, can it. (Yup, this is where the canner comes in.)
Pressure canning differs from pressure cooking in that with a canner, higher temperatures are reached and as long as a specified amount of time goes by at temperature, then you can store food for a longer time safely, as long as your jars seal properly.
Don't forget to read your canning manual and refresh your memory! Use your pressure canner for any low-acid food, not, a water-bath canner.
I canned these pint jars (along with 4 others) for 20 minutes at 10 pounds, leaving 1 inch of headspace. I also did quart jars, processing for 25 minutes at 10 pounds.
Remember, if you are over 1000-feet above sea level, you need to adjust the weight on your canner. Check your manual as well as the Ball Blue Book for Canning.
Enjoy the goodness of homemade broth, containing only what you want in it, anytime!
Can I share a secret? I know you won't tell anyone. Right? Out of everything that I make, these are in the top four of being my favorite.
Bursting with flavor, refreshing and just so good!
- 1/4 cup butter, unsalted, melted and cooled.
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted (plus extra for dusting)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, large
- 1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest (keep extra zest in freezer for times like this!)
That's it! Just those few ingredients will bring bite sized goodness to your mouth and smile to your face.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare madeleine pan using non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Melt your butter and let it cool as you get everything else started.
- In a small bowl, sift together your flour and baking powder.
- Cream together in a medium bowl (I use a hand-mixer) your egg, extract and zest, for a full 5 minutes. (This helps to incorporate air.) Add the powdered sugar slowly (so it doesn't scatter everywhere!), and again, blend for a full 5 minutes.
- Gently fold in your flour mixture a little at a time. Once fully combined, add your cooled butter, gently folding it in also. Be patient here, it will come together. Just keep folding gently.
- Fill your sprayed pan 3/4 full. Don't worry, the batter will spread out as it bakes.
- Bake 8-9 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from oven. Gently turn out onto wire cooling rack, if you have a stubborn one, gently use the edge of a spoon to help.
- Let cool for at least 5 minutes. Dust powdered sugar over the top. (I sometimes also add a sprinkle of zest.)
- * This recipe makes 12 3-inch madeleines. I also use a mini pan, which makes 24, for those time when just a bite will do!) *
April 24, 2012
Psst, do you know how easy and delicious homemade pot pie is? No? Read on, because once you've made your own, store bought will never measure up. ;o)
- Pie crusts - (homemade or refrigerated), I usually use Pillsbury® Refrigerated Pie Crusts (I try to keep at least 2 packages of 2 in the freezer for quick throw togethers.
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast (or dark, your preference), cut into cubes, or torn into chunks (great to do ahead of time and freeze! If using pressure cooker to cook, add various veggies for flavor and enough water to make enough broth!)
- 1 cup frozen peas (keep in freezer until ready to add)
- 2 cups carrots, chopped (great to do ahead of time and freeze!) - steam until slightly undercooked
- 1/3 cup onions, chopped (great to do ahead of time and freeze!)
- 1/3 cup celery chopped OR 1/8 cup dehydrated chopped (dehyd: use as is) (great to do ahead of time and freeze!)
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled, cubed (boil until slightly undercooked, drain and set aside)
- 6 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 14 ounces chicken broth (you remembered to save it from cooking chicken, right?! ;o))
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 can cream of chicken or celery soup
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder - optional
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare pie crust for 9-inch glass pie plate. If using refrigerated crusts, follow package directions. TIP: use non-stick cooking spray on pie plate.
- Prepare potatoes and steam your carrots, both slightly undercooked.
- In 3-qt casserole dish (or similar), melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until just translucent. Add steamed carrots and celery, stir, cook until onions slightly browned (carmelized). Keep stirring. Add flour, salt and pepper (if using garlic powder, add this too). Keep stirring. Cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add chicken broth a little at a time. Keep stirring. Add milk slowly. Stir. Cook until bubbly and slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
- Add chicken, potatoes and frozen peas. Gently stir.
- Spoon into prepared pie crust. Top with 2nd crust, folding top edge over the bottom crust, press together and then flute the edge. If too much extra top crust, trim a little off with scissors before folding under. Cover edges with foil. Make slits in the top of crust.
- Bake 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Remove from oven, let rest 10-15 minutes.
I also use same amounts, but use more crusts, and cut them to make individual pot pies. Options are endless. Don't care for veggies that we've used, use whatever your family likes. Like turkey or pork better, use that instead of chicken.
When I first started making this, I didn't cook the onions and stuff... it turned out okay. But, the flavor boost of cooking them so makes it worth while.
April 8, 2012
Homemade Pop Tarts
- Pie crusts - (homemade or refrigerated), we used 3 refrigerated ones for our Valentine's pop tarts, use more pie crusts if you want more pop tarts or nice large ones
- Your favorite jam
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Original recipe calls for sugar sprinkles, on top of the glaze, we left them off - would look pretty though
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Roll out pie crusts onto a lightly floured surface (we used no flour, and just laid it out on our counter with no sticking, if you have marble slab, that would be great) and cut it into 3 x 5 inch rectangles. Easiest to measure with ruler and then cut with a sewing rotary cutter, otherwise you might find that your top crust is smaller than the bottom crust. Not that it happened to 3 of my pop tarts. No, that would never happen to me. (grins) We also made 5 x 5 inch square ones, same baking time, just more to enjoy. ;o)
- Spoon 2-4 teaspoons of your favorite jam onto one of the rectangles (depending on size of pop tart), this will be the bottom, leaving about 1/4 inch of blank space around the edge. Use a cookie cutter or paring knife to cut different shapes out of the second rectangle, this will be the top. Then place the top over the bottom piece and seal the edges together with the tines of a fork. Place on baking sheet (make your life easier, use a silicone liner), bake for 8 to 11 minutes, until lightly golden, remove to wire rack and allow to start cooling.
- While the pop tarts are baking make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle glaze over slightly warm pop tarts. FYI: Use a light hand when drizzling glaze over pop tarts, or leave off altogether, they are delicious without. If you do use it, it makes the pop tarts really sweet between powdered sugar and the jam.
I made strawberry Valentine's pop tarts. The crust is super flaky and there is absolutely no comparison to pop tarts from a store. Easy and fun to make, and they bring a smile then a grin when they are bitten into. Don't want to make any cutouts, then don't, just more flaky delicious crust to eat! But if you do, then by all means, go ahead and add the cutouts to the top crust, before you put it on the bottom crust, and lightly press down the edges of cutouts with fork tines.
Guava jelly would be fantastic on these! Have apricot jam, go for it. Possibilities are endless, use your imagination and have fun with it! Using a paring knife instead of cookie cutters (or scrap-booking cutters!) will give a more homemade feel as well as just being fun. They aren't meant to be perfect looking, but they are perfect tasting! Oh, and just an FYI, when baking with cutouts, your jam will bubble and boil, and sometimes even overflow, that is normal. Just remember to have parchment or even better, a silicone liner underneath.
I wish I could take credit for this idea and recipe, but I cannot, I am so glad I found it though! I was searching online for something else, and came across the recipe, and just knew I had to try it. Original found at: