Monday, May 2, 2016

Canned Apricots

Canning apricots is a great way to extend the harvest all year long.  This method leaves the skin on, making it quick and easy.
If canned apricots aren't your thing, try using these to make apricot nectar - toss entire contents in a blender with some sugar and ice and you have a fantastic summer treat!
Or, you can make canned apricot nectar.

Canned Apricots

mason jars, lids and rings
Aprictots
sugar

In each sanitized quart mason jar put up to 1/4 c. sugar (based on taste of fruit).
Pour about 1 c. boiling water into each and shake bottles to dissolve sugar.
Wash, half and remove pits of apricots, and place halved pieces in prepared jars.
Pour hot water over apricots until jar is full.
Remove air bubbles with a knife or plastic spatula by running it down the sides of the bottle.
Steam quarts for 25 minutes, pints for 20 (do not start timer until steam in consistently coming out).
Remember to adjust for altitude - Utah time is 35 minutes for quarts, 25 for pints.

New to canning?
Peaches and apricots are very similar - click here to view my peach canning tutorial.
Click here for a complete list of canning tutorials.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Chopped Chicken Sesame Noodles

This chopped chicken sesame noodles recipe was modified slightly to suit more of our everyday ingredients - subbing soba for normal noodles, and bell peppers for cucumbers.  Really any assortment of veggies you have in the fridge would work here.
This was great served warm from the cooked pasta, but cold leftovers the next day were also fabulous. Perfect for a filling lunch or a summer dinner. 

Chopped Chicken Sesame Noodles
Recipe modified from Pinch of Yum

2 c. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
8oz. pasta of choice
1 red bell pepper
3 large carrots
1 handful cilantro

Sesame Sauce
3 Tsbp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. peanut butter
3-4 Tbsp. water
2-3 Thsp. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

In a food processor, combine all sauce ingredients except sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.
Pulse until smooth, and stir in sesame seeds and red pepper.

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
While noodles are cooking, uniformly chop all veggies and cilantro and place in a bowl.
Add chopped or shredded chicken and drained noodles.
Pour sesame sauce over everything and stir to coat.
Serve warm or cold.

Monday, April 18, 2016

German Chocolate Cookies

These individual german chocolate cake cookies are made from a boxed cake mix, making them super easy yet absolutely delicious.  

German Chocolate Cookies
Cookie recipe from Six Sisters Stuff
Frosting recipe from Sandy Bishop

Cookies:
1 box German Chocolate cake mix
2/3 c. butter (or shortening)
2 eggs
1 tsp. water

Mix all ingredients together until well blended.
Roll into 1" balls and place on a silpat lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes.
Let cool.

Frosting:
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
1 c. coconut
1 egg
1/4 c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped nuts (I like walnuts or almonds)

Bring sugar, coconut, evaporated milk, butter and egg to a boil, stirring constantly.
Cook slowly for 3-4 minutes.
Stir in vanilla and nuts.
Cool, and spread on cookies.

Optional:
1/2 c. chocolate chips, melted and drizzled on top of cookies.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Brown Rice

Another family favorite, this easy side is paired perfectly with steak, chicken or pork.  If this looks familiar, this previously posted recipe has been modified slightly; less butter and more liquid, resulting in a lighter, fluffier consistency.  All of my kids consider this a personal favorite, and request it often.
It is also worth noting that one can of beef consume can be substituted for a packet of AuJus seasoning + 1 can of water (if you are interested in cutting down on price without sacrificing flavor). 

Brown Rice
Recipe modified from Sandy Bishop

1 bunch green onions (about 7)
6 Tbsp. butter
3 cans beef consume (not broth) OR 2 cans consume and 1 packet AuJus + 1 can water
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/3 c. water
3 c. rice

Melt butter in oven proof medium size pan.
Add onions and saute for a few minutes.
Add consume, water and soy sauce, and bring to a light boil.
Add rice.
Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes.  Do not stir.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Take pan directly from stove top and put into the oven with the lid still on.
Cook at 325 for 20 minutes.
Stir thoroughly and serve.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hawaiian Haystacks

This is a repost on this blog - a family favorite that desperately needed a photo upgrade.
This is the perfect dish for feeding a LOT of people, but still letting everyone pick and choose what they like.  I love the different colors, textures and flavors.

Hawaiian Haystacks
Rice, cooked
1 soup can milk
2 small chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 tsp. ground fennel seed
1/2 tsp. cumin OR curry
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Optional Toppings:
Cheese
Red/Green Onions
Bell Peppers
Tomatoes
Celery 
Olives
Coconut
Pineapple Tidbits
Slivered Almonds
Chow Mein Noodles

In saucepan, combine soup, milk, chicken and spices - heat through.
Serve sauce over rice.
Top with desired toppings.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Cranberry Bars

This tasty torte comes from Lottie + Doof, and is a perfect solution for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  I ended up cutting out half of the sugar called for in the original recipe, and even still, find this pleasantly sweet.
 
Cranberry Bars
Recipe modified from Lottie+Doof

1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
generous pinch of salt
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar, plus 1 Tbsp. for topping
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 drops almond extract
1 heaping c. fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, and then add the almond extract.
Add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.

Spread batter into greased 9x9" dish, or a 9" springform pan.
Arrange the cranberries on top of the batter in a single layer, and sprinkle with remaining Tbsp. of sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and top is golden brown.
Stores up to 4 days at room temperature.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Crusty Bread {No Knead}

Every person in the world should have this recipe!  Not only is it just 4 ingredients, but it doesn't require any special equipment; no wheat grinder, bread maker, mixer, or even a bread pan.  Easily the best starting point for anyone who is intimidated or scared of making their own bread.  This recipe is basically fool proof, yet so so delicious.  The perfect artisan bread; we love serving ours with soup.

Crusty Bread
Recipe from Simply So Good
6 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. dry yeast (or 1/3 c. natural yeast)
3 c. water, room temperature

In a large bowl mix flour, salt and yeast together (if using natural yeast, wait to add that with the water).
Pour water into bowl and mix with a spatula until well incorporated.

Lightly cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12-18 hours.
After dough has risen for 12-18 hours, it should be doubled in size, wet looking, and have lots of bubbles.
After dough has risen, put a cast iron pot or a regular pan, including the lid, in the oven while you preheat it to 450 degrees.
You will need to bake each loaf of bread in a separate pan, so you can either preheat two pans, or you can cook one loaf at a time in the same pan.
While preheating pan(s), heavily flour a work surface and your hands.
Gently dump your dough onto the floured surface.
Use your hands to roughly shape the dough into a ball.
Use a serrated knife to cut the ball in half.
Use your hands again to shape each half into a round, flat ball.
Remove hot pans from the oven and remove the lids.
Gently lift each ball of dough and lay it in the center of your pans - you do not need cooking spray. Place lids on the pans and return to the 450 degree oven.
Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.
After that, remove the lids and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.