Monday, September 19, 2016

Dry Vegetable Cheese Chowder Mix {Meal in a Jar}

One of my all time favorite soups is now available as a shelf stable dry mix.  Aside from the convenience of having these lining your pantry shelves for a quick and delicious dinner any time, recipes like these also make for the perfect gift.  Not to mention the convenience factor for camping / backpacking / hunting / 72 hour kit food options.  No refrigeration, light weight, nutritious and great tasting.  Just switch out the glass jar for a ziplock bag if you plan to hit the hills.
To make this even more backpacker friendly, you can buy resealable mylar bags, add the jar contents along with boiling water to the bag, seal it up, and let it cook on its own.  This takes about twice as long as boiling on the stovetop, but it is another option.

Shelf life on these jars are 1 year.  If you have a food saver with the ability to seal a mason jar lid on dry goods, it will last much longer (upwards of 15 years if kept in a cool, dry place).

You can use any brand of freeze dried or dehydrated food here, but I've included links to the products that I use personally.  Click here to find out more about how you can earn these products for free or half off.

Dry Vegetable Cheese Chowder Mix
Menu Managed Original

1/4 c. mashed potato flakes
1/3 c. cheese blend powder
1/4 c. powdered milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chicken bouillon
1/2 c. dehydrated potato chunks
1/2 c. dehydrated carrot dices
1/2. c. freeze dried onions
3/4 c. freeze dried broccoli
3/4 c. freeze dried cauliflower
3/4 c. freeze dried celery

Add all contents to a wide mouth quart jar, in the order listed above.  You will have to push down on the celery to get it all to fit.

To make the soup:
Add 7 cups of water to a pot and turn heat to high.
Dump contents of jar into water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, until potatoes are fully cooked, stirring occasionally.
Soup will thicken up quiet a bit near the end of cooking time, so don't worry if it looks too thin.
Add up to 1 more cup of water if soup seems too thick for your liking.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Pineapple Zucchini

As weird as this name may sound, this is no joke!  Cubed and skinned zucchini is soaked in pineapple juice, absorbing all of the flavor to make perfectly pineapple look and taste alikes.  I opted for tidbits, since that is what we use most, but you can also grate or shred your zucchini if you are going for more of a crushed pineapple texture.  This is an excellent recipe for those big or over ripe zucchini from the garden.

Now, as far as taste is concerned, these really do taste just like pineapple.  You will notice the difference in the way they look, and the texture, but I have had success in several dishes using these in replace of the real thing; fruit salads, jello's, etc.  If you want to see a picture of them on an actual dish, check out this Hawaiian Haystacks photo/recipe.

A second note on terms of canning.  Most vegetables need to be canned in a pressure canner (as opposed to a water bath) because of their non or low-acidity levels.  Soaking the zucchini in pineapple and lemon juice, as well as the sugar, makes these suitable for water bath canning.  However, it is recommended that you do not process in jars larger than pints (no quarts).

Pineapple Zucchini

16 c. zucchini, cubed in the size you want, or shredded
46 oz. canned unsweetened pineapple juice
1 1/2 c. bottled lemon juice
3 c. sugar

Prepare your zucchini by first cutting it in half lengthwise and removing all of the seeds.  
Use a knife or a vegetable peeler to remove all of the skin.
You should be left with just the "meaty" portion of the zucchini.
Chop zucchini into chunks or tidbits, or grate if you want crushed pineapple.

In a large pot, combine pineapple juice, lemon juice and sugar.  
Stir to dissolve sugar and then add the zucchini.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Fill hot, sterilized pint or half-pint size jars, leaving 1/2" headspace.
Remove air bubbles, wipe rims and place sterilized lids on each jar.
Secure with a band and fingertip tighten.

Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes, being sure to adjust for altitude (25 minutes Utah time).
Makes 8-10 pints.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lemon Custard Cake

Another great option for summertime treats, this lemon custard cake it great alone, with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or topped with juicy berries (my personal preference).
Do not be alarmed by the runny consistency of the batter - that is exactly how it is supposed to be.   The cake firms up quite a bit once cooked and cooled.

Lemon Custard Cake
Recipe from Give Recipe

4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 cube)
3/4 c. flour
2 c. milk, lukewarm
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (1 Tbsp. lemonaide powder)

Separate egg whites and egg yolks.
Beat whites in a bowl until stiff and put aside.
Whisk egg yolks, vanilla and sugar until creamy.
Add melted butter and mix for half a minute.
Add the flour and mix with a spatula until well incorporated.
Continue beating as you add the milk gradually.
Gently fold in the egg white, one third at a time.
Fold in the grated lemon zest.
Pour very runny batter into a greased 8x11" baking dish.
Bake at 320 degrees for 60 minutes.
Let cool.
Dust with powdered sugar or top with fresh fruit.  I ended up putting mine face down on a platter first, but you can't really go wrong here.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Cobbler meets granola bar in this fantastic oatmeal breakfast alternative.
I altered the sugar content significantly to make this a bit more morning friendly rather than "treat worthy", and we don't miss it at all!  The berries are plenty sweet and this satisfies even my pickiest oat eaters.
You can dive in fresh out of the oven, and your bowl of breakfast will literally look like berry cobbler, or you can wait for them to cool and cut into bars; perfect for snacks or breakfast on the go.  We love these.
The original recipe calls for frozen berries, coating them in cornstarch to keep the juices down.
However, it is significantly better using fresh, so that is what the recipe below indicates.  If all you have is frozen, simply add 1 Tbsp. cornstarch to the frozen berry mixture before adding to the pan.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Recipe modified from Delightful E Made

2 1/4 c. Quick Oats
2 1/4 c. flour (we use whole wheat)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 c. mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt, mixing until combined.
Melt butter and pour over ingredients, stirring until combined and crumbly.
Pour 2/3 of the oatmeal mixture into a greased 9x13" baking pan, pressing down to form a crust.
Arrange berries over crust.
Evenly sprinkle remaining oatmeal mixture over berries, breaking up with fingers as you do.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve immediately for cobbler style, or let cool before cutting into long bars.
Refrigerate leftovers.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Churro Waffles

This is not so much a recipe, as a method of making everyday waffles even more spectacular!  This will work with any favorite waffle recipe you have.  We love ours topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream!

Churro Waffles
Baked waffles of choice
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. cinnamon sugar

Melt butter on a large dinner plate, and swirl around to distribute in an even layer.
On another dinner plate, sprinkle cinnamon sugar.
Make and bake waffles according to package directions.
When waffle is done baking, remove from iron and dip each side into the melted butter (you don't want it to soak, just enough to get the cinnamon sugar to stick).
Dip each buttered side into the cinnamon sugar mixture.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Strawberries are officially in season (as far as my backyard garden is concerned), and this is the perfect summer treat to take to parties and potlucks.
Strawberry Yogurt Cake
Recipe from A Spicy Perspective

1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
zest of 1 lemon (or use a lemon substitute)
2 1/2 c. flour, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
1 c. powdered sugar

Sift together 2 1/4 c. flour, baking soda and salt.
Min in the lemon zest and set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffly.
Beat in the eggs, one and a time.
Add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.
Alternate adding the flour and yogurt mixture, mixing after each addition, just until incorporated.

Toss strawberries with the remaining 1/4 c. flour.
Gently fold into batter.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease and flour a 10" bundt cake pan, and pour in the batter.
Place in the oven, and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cooled, whisk together remaining 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and the powdered sugar.
Drizzle over the top of the cake.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Corn Bread

I love cornbread.  It is a go to side dish at our house, and definitely isn't new here on the blog.  
However, I have three recipes, and two have been posted here before.  I thought it was time to consolidate, and explain my reasonings.

The first recipe (Creamed Corn Bread) is best.  It is moist, has great flavor and texture, makes for a better leftover, and overall we like it the most.

The second version (Corn Bread) I did away with completely until I found myself reverting back to it for certain recipes.  For example, I prefer it if the cornbread is paired with something else (like in this cornbread taco bake recipe), as opposed to being eaten alone.  It also works perfectly for any recipe that calls for a boxed corn bread muffin mix; (just omit the liquid ingredients and you've got the same thing).  If you don't have creamed corn to make the first version, this is the next best thing. 

The third version (Dry Corn Bread Mix) is excellent for camping/vacations.  You can toss everything in a bag and just add water when ready to bake.

Creamed Corn Bread
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. talk
3 eggs
1 can cream-style corn

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir to combine.
Puree creamed corn in food processor or blender until smooth.
Whisk eggs lightly and add to creamed corn.
Pour corn/egg mixture into dry ingredients; stir until well blended.
Pour into greased 8x8" or 9x9" pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Serve warm or at room temperature with honey butter.

Corn Bread
1 c. flour
4tsp.  baking powder
1 c. corn meal
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 c. butter or shortening
1 c. milk

Combine dry ingredients and mix.
Add eggs, butter and milk, beating with a fork until barely smooth.
Pour into 8x8" or 9x9" greased pan.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Dry Corn Bread Mix
1 c. flour
1 c. cornmeal
4 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter powder
3 Tbsp. powdered milk
2 Tbsp. powdered eggs
1 1/3 c. water

Combine all ingredients except water and mix.
When ready to make, add water and mix until barely smooth.
Pour into greased 8x8" or 9x9" pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.