Gardening is something you learn by doing---and by making mistakes....
Like Cooking, Gardening is a constant process of experimentation, repeating the successes and throwing out the failures.
Carol Stocker

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cowboy Beans

Spiced up Pinto a crockpot......delicious and easy!  And yes, this is another one of my concoctions.....Paul loves these, he is the one that came up with the name 'Cowboy Beans'.....go figure!

Cowboy Beans

2 Cups Dry Pinto Beans
1 Cups water
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Onion, chopped
1 Can Rot-Tel Tomatoes
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbs Black Pepper
1 Tbs Chili Powder
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tbs Brown Sugar
1 Serrano or Jalapeno Pepper, seeded, but left whole
3 Slices Bacon, uncooked cut in large pieces
*(Optional, Chopped cooked ham--Add during the last 1/2 hour of cooking if you want)

Wash Pinto Beans well and pick out all the bad beans and 'foreign' objects.
Place washed beans in a sauce pan filled with water, bring to a boil.  Let boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and let the bean sit in the water for 1 hour, then drain. (or you could  cover beans with water and let soak overnight)

In a Crock-pot Combine all the ingredients plus the drained beans.

Set Crock-pot to low and cook for 8 hours.

Serve with Cornbread....Makes great leftovers!

Boil the beans 5 mn, let sit for an hour

Drain liquid from beans

put beans in the crock pot

Add the rest of the ingredients

Mix, cover & cook

Friday, November 25, 2011

Green Chili & Tomato Dip

This dip is great for veggies and chips.  It is super easy to make, just throw it together.  Be careful, it's very addictive!  This has become a family favorite in our house.

Green Chili & Tomato Dip

16 oz Sour Cream
3/4 Cup Mayonaise
1 10 oz Can Rotel Tomatoes with green chili, drained
1 Tbs Chili Powder
1 Tbs Onion Flakes
1 Tbs Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/4 Tsp Cayenne Powder...more if you like it spicier  

Mix all ingredients together, refrigerate for at least 3hrs.
Garnish with tomatoes and cilantro.
Serve with veggies and/or your favorite tortilla chips.

Mix sour cream, mayo & spices

Chop and add cilantro

Drain the Rotel and mix in

Garnish with tomato & cilantro

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Split Pea Soup

It is definitely Soup Season!  I just happened to have all the ingredients for Split Peas Soup and it sounded really good, so I made a big pot.  This recipe makes a big pot full, so I'll have a warm hearty inexpensive lunch tomorrow.....all the flavors will get a chance to blossom, it will taste even better!

Split Pea Soup

2 Cups Dried Spit Peas
10-12 Cups water
4 Bay Leaves, divided
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion,chopped
1 Cup Carrots, chopped
1 Cup Celery, chopped
3 Cups Chicken Broth
5 Cups Water
1/2 Tsp Thyme, dried
Salt/Pepper to taste
Option: you can also add a cup or two of diced ham or cooked chicken the last 1/2 hour of cooking

In a large pot add dried peas, 10-12 cups water, 2 bay leaves and 1 Tsp Salt.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat to medium and let cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in  large skillet heat Olive Oil on medium.   Add Carrots, Onions, Celery and Thyme, saute until the onions are translucent, set aside.
Drain water from Peas then add Chicken Broth, 5 cups Water, 2 more Bay Leaves, Thyme and sauteed vegetables.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 1 1/2- 2 hours.  Season with Salt & Pepper.

Boil the peas

Chop the Veggies

Saute Veggies
Add Veggies and Broth water to drained peas

Let it cook!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hearty Meatloaf

Meatloaf was a dirty word while I was growing up....I didn't care for it at all!  Through the years I have experimented with different meatloaf recipes and finally decided just to come up with my own.....and here it is.  I get the same look from my kids when they hear the word 'meatloaf', maybe it's just the word 'meatloaf' that is unappetizing.
This is one meal in itself, but I like to serve it with mashed potatoes.  Paul and Ryan love this dish, as for Lainie...well, she's just Lainie.

Hearty Meatloaf

preheat oven to 350F

1 1/2 - 2 LBS Ground Beef
1 Small Onion, chopped
1 Medium Carrot, chopped
1 Stalk Celery, chopped
1/2 Cup Potato, diced
1/2 Tsp Thyme
1 Cup Mushrooms, chopped
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Minute Rice
1/2 Cup Oatmeal
2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
Salt/Pepper to taste
Ketchup to your liking, about 1 cup-I just squirt it on!

Saute onion, carrots and potatoes in olive oil on medium heat until onions are translucent.  Season with Salt/Pepper and Thyme.
In a large bowl combine ground beef, egg, rice, oatmeal, Worcestershire Sauce, mushrooms and sauteed vegetables, mix with your hands until well incorporated. 
Pat the ground beef mixture into an 8x8 casserole and evenly spread Ketchup over top.
Bake at 350F for 1 hour.

Meat & Egg

Saute Veggies

Mix 'em up

Out of the Oven

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Danish

This tasty Pumpkin & Cream Danish is so easy to make, it looks and tastes like you've spent hours in the kitchen!  I'm thinking I'll make it Thanksgiving Morning and serving with coffee for a little treat before our big day!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Danish
makes 2 Danish loaves

2 Tubs Refrigerated Crescent Rolls
Pumpkin Filling
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree, not pie filling
1 Egg, separated
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Pumpkin Spice
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
Cream Cheese Filling
1 Brick Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
6 Tbs Milk(more if needed)

Preheat oven to 350F

On parchment paper unroll dough, press seams together and press into 2 13x7 inch rectangles.
In a small bowl combine canned pumpkin,egg yolk, brown sugar, pumpkin spice and pecans, mix well and set aside.
In another bowl combine Cream Cheese Filling ingredients, mix well.
Spread 1/2 Cream Cheese mixture down the middle of each dough rectangle lengthwise, within 2 inches of the edges and 1 inch from the ends.
Spread the 1/2 the Pumpkin  mixture over top of each Cream Cheese Mixture.
With a sharp knife make 1 inch wide cuts along the edge of dough just to the edge of the filling.
Fold the strips over the filling at an angle overlapping the ends and alternating from side to side.
Brush top of dough with reserved beaten egg white.
Transfer the danish along with the parchment paper to a baking sheet.
Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.
In a small bowl make icing by combining powdered sugar and milk, mix will until desired consistency, add more milk if needed.
Drizzle Icing over warm Danish.

Roll out dough, press seams and pat out to 13x7 in rectangle

Pumpkin Mixture

Cream Cheese Mixture

Spread cream cheese then pumpkin mixture

Cut 1 inch strips around edges of dough

Criss cross strips at an angle

Out of the Oven

With Icing

So good!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is a nice twist, a different way to prepare Acorn Squash.  It's very pretty and goes great with a Thanksgiving meal.

Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 Acorn Squash
2 Tsp Butter, divided
2 Tbs Butter
1 Apple Peeled and Diced
1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Tbs Water

Cut squash in half and remove seeds.  Slice the pointy end off the bottom of the squash so it will sit upright.   Place 1 Tbs of butter in each acorn half and season with salt & pepper to taste.  Cover each acorn half with tinfoil, place on baking sheet and bake at 375F for 45 minutes.

Saute apples in butter until tender.  Add Cranberries, Sugar and Water.  Cook until the Cranberries pop and the liquid is thick.

After 45 minutes remove squash from oven, uncover and fill each half with the Cranberry Stuffing.  Return to oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, until squash is tender.  Scoop stuffing and squash away from skin and serve....or serve in the shell.
Makes 2 servings

clean squash and slice off pointy part

Set on baking sheet

Add Butter

Wrap in Tinfoil

Saute Apples

Add the rest of ingredients and cook till berries pop and syrup thickens

Spoon stuffing into Acorn halves

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baby Back Ribs

Today is the first snowfall of the year, we have at least 3 inches and it's still coming down hard.  It's the perfect day for warming the house with an oven full of Baby Back Ribs.  

Baby Back Ribs

1 Slab of Baby Back Ribs, about 4 pounds

2 Tbs Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
1 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp Paprika
1/2 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Onion Flakes
1 Tsp Garlic Powder

A bottle of your favorite Barbeque Sauce 

Mix Rub ingredients in small bowl except Barbeque Sauce.  Rub mixture all over the ribs, cover in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Place ribs on aluminum foil in a roasting pain seal tinfoil around ribs and bake at 250F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Open tinfoil exposing ribs, brush on a layer of your favorite Barbeque Sauce.  Return to a 375F oven, uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

The Rub mix

Put Rub all over the ribs

Wrap in plastic, refrigerate at least 2 hours

Wrap in tinfoil

Ready for the oven

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Apple Butter

I love Apple Butter....this is a great recipe, it takes a little time but ohhh so worth it!!

Apple Butter

4 lbs Apples
1 C Cider Vinegar
2 C Water
1/2 C Sugar for every 1 C of pulp (about 4 cups)
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Cloves
1/2 Tsp Allspice

Cut apples into chunks, the smaller the faster they will cook, do not core or peel.
Put apples, vinegar and water into a large pot bring to a boil and cook down until the apples are very tender....about 30-45 mn.

When apples are tender put them through a food mill or sieve, removing peel and seeds and squeezing out the pulp.  Measure pulp by the cup and put into a large pot (the larger the pot the faster apples will cook..)
To pulp add 1/2 Cup Sugar to every 1 cup of pulp.  Add Spices.  Taste pulp and add more spices to suit your taste.

Cook on medium heat stirring constantly to prevent burning for 1-2 hours.  You can cook on low stirring occasionally, but this will take longer.  When the pulp is thick and  (won't run when put on a cold plate or spoon) it's ready.

To can and store the Apple Butter fill hot sterilized jelly jars with pulp, use 1/4 inch head space and a 10 minute water bath.  Makes about 3-4 pints.   Follow these   CANNING INSTRUCTIONS  for details on how to do the canning process.

Or, you can store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

This was the only picture I 5 year old was helping me....wanting to do EVERYTHING, so I was a little frazzled and had such a mess I  forgot all about the camera!  There is always next time!

Cooking down apples


Cutting Silage at Berry Creek