Monday, October 31, 2016

Baked Caprese Spaghetti Squash

This cheesy side makes the perfect accompaniment to whatever main dish you've got planned for this week.  Full of flavor and vegetables!

Baked Caprese Spaghetti Squash
Recipe from Pink Troll Kitchen

1 large spaghetti squash
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 small roma tomatoes
1 small handful fresh basil leaves
1 large handful spinach
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Cut squash in half and remove seeds and pulp.
Cook squash in microwave for 12-15 minutes, until easily shredded with fork, OR
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until easily shredded with fork.

Scrape cooked squash flesh from skins and place in a bowl.
Add garlic.
Dice tomatoes and add to bowl.
Rough chop basil and spinach and add to bowl.
Mix well, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fold in 3/4 c. of the cheese.

Pour into a greased pie dish and smooth out evenly.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned.
Top with additional fresh basil, if desired.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Oatmeal Smoothie

**The 2016 Discounted Group Food Storage Order can be found here.

This is hands down one of my favorite go to recipes for a filling breakfast, lunch or even a mid day snack.  I practically lived on this and refrigerator oatmeal when I worked early in the mornings and needed something to grab and go.  The oats keep you feeling full all morning long, and it has great texture and flavor.  
I've also loved this as a recovery drink after a particularly long or hard workout.  It works great to make ahead and have in the fridge if you are in a rush - just don't let it sit for longer than 1 day as the oats will continue to absorb the liquid.
You can play around with the flavors here.  My husband hates peanut butter, so we omit this for him.  And you can really use any fruit combination you have on hand as well, if you aren't particularly fond of strawberry banana.  This really is fool proof!

Oatmeal Smoothie

1 c. milk of choice (even chocolate... just sayin')
1/2 c. oats
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 banana
1 c. strawberries
handful ice cubes

Blend and serve.
Makes 1 serving.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Dry Chicken Noodle Soup Mix {Meal in a Jar}

Meal in Jar recipes are the perfect solution for quick dinners with zero fuss.  They also make wonderful gifts (I like to give them to new moms, perfect for when they need something healthy and fast).

You can use any brand of freeze dried or dehydrated foods here, but I've included links to the products that I personally use.  If interested, you can click here to find out more about how you can earn these products for free or half off.  OR, take advantage of our 2016 discounted group food storage order by clicking here.
You can switch up the seasonings for whatever you like to add to your chicken soup, so this is completely customizable for your tastes.

This mix makes 2 large servings.  If you have a larger family, I would recommend doubling the ingredients and leaving the noodles out of the jar.  Those can always be included in the bag along side the jar, and added at the time of cooking.
Aside from the convenience of having ready made meals like this lining your shelves, these make excellent options for camping, hunting or 72 hour kits.  These can just as easily be put into mylar bags, or if you aren't worried about shelf life, a ziplock would work just fine.
The shelf life of this soup mix is 1 year.  If you have a food saver with the ability to seal a mason jar or vacuum seal a mylar bag, you can extend the shelf life up to 15 years if kept in a cool, dry place.

Dry Chicken Noodle Soup Mix {Meal in a Jar}
Recipe modified from My Food Storage Favorites

2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 c. freeze dried celery
1/3. c. dehydrated carrots
1/4 c. freeze dried onions
1 c. freeze dried chicken
2 c. egg noodles

In each quart mason jar, add all ingredients in the order listed.

To make the soup:
Add contents of jar to 6 cups of water in a large saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until noodles are done.

Makes 2 large servings.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Canned Pumpkin

Pumpkin season is right around the corner, and these easily canned jars are the perfect go to for delicious breads, waffles, cookies, cakes, pies, or whatever else you love pumpkin for.

Due to their acidity levels, pumpkins (and all vegetables), require the use of a pressure canner.  The internal temperature of puree'd pumpkin is questionable for home canning safety, so please don't try that at home.  Stick with this cubed method and strain the water when ready to use, if necessary.  This same method can be used for canning any winter squash.

Canned Pumpkin
Recipe from Presto

fresh pumpkin
mason jars

Wash and remove seeds from pumpkin.
Remove peel from flesh and cut into 1" cubes.
Drop cubes into boiling water and boil for 2 minutes.
Pack hot squash cubes loosely into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1" headspace.  Do not mash or puree cubes.
Cover with liquid that squash was boiled in, leaving 1 " headspace.
Remove air bubbles by running a plastic knife around the edges of the jar.
Wipe rim clean with a wet paper towel.
Place hot, sterilized lids on jars, and screw on bands.

Process at 11 pounds pressure, making sure to adjust for altitude (13 pounds if you live in Utah).
55 minutes for pints, or 90 minutes for quarts.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Apple Cider {Bottled}

Apple season is in full swing and thanks to wonderful farmers and a generous neighbor, I had a plethora of them last week.  I was stocked with dehydrated apples, applesauce and canned apple pie filling already, so I branched out to try something new: apple cider.  The results were fantastic.

You really can use whatever apples you have on hand; I had a mix of granny smith and red delicious; with a few fuji's and golden delicious in the mix.  The type of apples used will contribute to the sweetness factor, so you may need to adjust the honey or sugar to your liking.
If you are making a large batch you can definitely can this for future use (instructions follow), but if canning intimidates you then by all means just leave that part out.  This should store just fine in the fridge for up to 1 week.  If you are doing multiple batches, I would reuse the cinnamon/clove spice bag - you could definitely get more than one use out of it.
Also, DON'T THROW OUT THE APPLE PIECES AND PULP AT THE END!  This can be sent through a Victorio Strainer and made into delicious applesauce, which you can either eat plain or bottle (instructions here).  Or you could use it to make apple butter.  I sifted through mine for core-less pieces and pureed them in my blender to make apple cider fruit leather, so you've got a lot of options!

Apple Cider
Recipe modified from BLDG 25
25 apples of choice
water to cover apples (should be at least 4 quarts)
1 c. honey (or sweetener of choice)
10 cinnamon sticks
15 whole cloves

Chop apples into 4-6 pieces (do not skin or remove cores - just throw it all in)
Add apples to a large pot and cover with water.
Add sweetener of choice to the pot.
Take cinnamon sticks and cloves and wrap in a spice bag or cheesecloth; toss into the pot.

Bring to a boil, and boil uncovered on high for 1 hour.
Turn the heat to low, and simmer for 2-4 hours longer.
Once cooking is over, remove cheesecloth or spice bag.
Use a potato masher to mash the apples into a pulp (as much as possible).

Using a fine mesh strainer, remove as much of the pulp as possible.
Pour the remaining cider and pulp through a mesh strainer to catch all of the big pieces (you can also pour it into a large cheesecloth bag and squeee out all of the liquid).
Season to taste, and adjust sweetener if needed.

Makes 4 quarts.

If canning: put strained cider into a large pot and bring to a gentle simmer.
Pour hot cider into hot, sterilized jars.
Wipe rims clean, and top with a hot, sterilized lid.
Screw band on as tightly as possible.
Let stand on a towel or hot pad until you hear the "pop", and the cider has cooled completely.
Store in a cool, dark place.