freezer-friendly


I’m so glad that I keep up w/the food blog…it’s nice 😉

Anyway, our garden has been exploding w/veggie-goodness over the past few days, and it’s honestly pretty inspiring, food-wise, when you see so many yummy, home grown things coming into the house.

For instance, those beautiful tomatoes and gorgeous basil had me drooling over bruschetta…only we didn’t have any good bread in.  But then, that got me thinking of using my stand mixer to just make some bread, only quickly, bc most bread recipes seem to take hours for rising time.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and it’s for French Bread (used for pizzas), and I loved it bc it only took about an hour and a half, start to finish, including rising time.  And, there were like, four ingredients.  Sold!

I forgot to take “before” pictures, so after mixing the ingredients together and then letting the dough rise for an hour, here’s the almost-finished product:

(I was pretty surprised that my dough had actually doubled like it should, bc I normally don’t have the best luck w/dough.  I love the stand mixer!)

Then, I formed the dough into a long sort-of log shape, and set it to bake for 30(ish) minutes:

Tada, bread!

PS- this is soooo good, too!  I couldn’t help cutting a few pieces off while it was still hot, and wow, warm bread and butter?  Really doesn’t get any better, if you ask me!

Later that night, I cut up the tomatoes, ripped up the basil, and we had bruschetta (w/chicken alfredo…bc we’re super-healthy over here!).  The bread was perfect- definitely a recipe I plan to use again and again 🙂

Presented beautifully on the prettiest cookie sheet I could find! 😉

After being completely surprised w/a stand mixer from my parents as a house-warming gift (yay!), it just seemed like the time to start trying out recipes that I had been scared off by, bc they involved dough/bread.

I decided to start w/a recipe I found on Pinterest, one for homemade pretzel bites- and honestly, doesn’t the idea of making pretzels sound delicious?  I could eat bread all day, every day, so this was just perfect! 😉

Anyway, here we go- mixing the dough:

Then, let the dough rise for about an hr or so, just until it doubles:

After, divide the dough into 4 parts, and roll them out (I instantly thought of it like making playdough snakes when I was little!) into strips about 2-ft long.  Then, cut the strips into 1″ pieces:

Next, add the bits into a pot of boiling water and baking soda- boil for about…1o seconds?  Just enough for the bits to float.  Remove, add to a greased baking sheet, and coat w/egg wash.  Salt, and place into the oven at 425 for about 15 minutes.  (The recipe said 15-18, but at the 15-minute mark, I felt like mine were looking burned.)

And then…tada, pretzels bites!

Wow, these are so good, and so addicting, and well, I probably put on a few pounds after this experiment bc I couldn’t control myself.  So worth it!  🙂

I’ve saved the easiest broth for last!  Really, after fooling w/huge cow bones and chicken carcasses for beef and chicken stocks, a little veggie broth will be a breeze!  And, since I wanted to make soup for dinner tonight, it seemed like the perfect time to try out veggie broth-making.

I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com, and it’s listed as the “World’s Greatest Vegetable Broth,” and even has 4.5 stars.  Sounds perfect!

Here’s the list of ingredients:

  • 1 pound celery
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet onions
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pound tomatoes, cored
  • 1 pound green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound turnips, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 gallon water

First, roast the onions, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, and turnips (all tossed w/olive oil) for a little over an hour at 450-degrees (oh, I used parsnips instead of turnips bc I had some, and didn’t wanna buy turnips!):

Gettin' roasted

Once the veggies were roasted, they went into the stock pot w/the celery and…well, everything else:

After that, it was boiled for about…maybe two hours?  The idea was to boil it until the liquid had reduced by half- I think it took about two hours.  When it was finished, I poured the mix through a colander, and discarded the veggies- I know I should have saved them, but…I didn’t.

Anyway, tada- vegetable broth!  🙂

Another fun project, courtesy of Pinterest! 🙂  This was the “silly” project I had in mind the other day, that I never got around to making, and honestly, it wasn’t nearly as tricky as I thought it’d be.

For starters, I used pre-made crust, which takes out all the usual pie-making nonsense.  Next, the pies are super-small, so the lattice work is really easy to do!

Anyway, the recipe in the link above is for caramel apple pies- I just made apple.  Cut up about two small apples, mix w/a little bit of sugar, some cinnamon, the smallest dash of nutmeg, and sprinkle w/lemon.  Tada!  Then, cut out circles for your pies (I used one of the kids snack containers bc it was bigger than a glass), and press it into a cupcake pan:

Press the dough into the pan, and add the apples:

Next up, the lattice work.  I made another circle in the dough, and then just cut tiny strips into it. Assemble the strips to cover the apples, and just weave them together:

A little egg wash, and then into the oven (350-degrees) for about 25 minutes.

All done- and, yum!  I only made one, as a tester, and now I’m off to make more!  So cute! 🙂

(Just be sure to really let it cool before trying to take it out of the pan- I lost a bit of the bottom by being too impatient!)

 

I recently joined Pinterest, and have been loving every second of it- it’s so fun!  Anyway, one of the first things I “pinned” was a recipe for authentic Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets…which I had to try, considering how much the kids love them.  And, as it turns out, the homemade version was extremely popular w/husbands, too! 😉

Anyway, on to the nuggets- cut up two boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces; “marinate” in a mix of one egg and one cup of milk for 2-4 hrs, to soften the chicken.  Then, dredge the chicken pieces in a mix of flour, powdered sugar, salt, and pepper, and fry in…2″ of peanut oil.  I didn’t do this- I really don’t ever wanna deep fry things for the kids, so I just poured some peanut oil in the pan, and fake-fried the nuggets that way.

I made our nuggets in two batches, and learned to use tongs to turn them only occasionally after the first batch lost most of their breading due to too much flipping w/a spatula.

When they’re finished, I put them on a plate w/a paper towel to absorb some of the extra oil:

I’d also made some homemade fries for our Super Bowl meal, but threw in some blueberries w/the finished products bc…our plates looked a little too fast food-ish!  😉

Anyway, these were really good, and E and I ate way too many.  They really did taste similar to Chick-fil-As, and I’m guessing it’s the powdered sugar- sounded weird to add to the breading mix, but that was totally the key ingredient.

The kids, however, choked them down (just barely), and said that Chick-fil-A had better ones. Can’t please everyone, I guess- even if you were trying to!  Still, if you have normal eaters in your house and not super-picky little people, you should definitely make these!

I’ve never made marinara sauce before, but wanted to try it as I had every ingredient (it’s not a huge list), and I bought pasta today from my favorite pasta maker in the Italian Market (they had a Facebook 25%-off fresh pasta sale, why wouldn’t I go?)…so, it was just meant-to-be, really 🙂

I feel funny about posting the full recipe (since I can’t find it online), but I’ll email it to you if you’re interested.  It’s pretty straight-forward, and even uses canned crushed tomatoes.  I used this can that I bought back in September when we went to a local farm:

Anyway, you start off w/a base of chopped onions and garlic w/a little bit of red pepper:

Then, add in the crushed tomatoes to simmer for about 30 mins:

And voila- marinara sauce!  Smells delicious– can’t wait to enjoy it w/our 3-cheese ravioli! 🙂

This is a really great sauce- and, it’s kinda spicy!  Never would have thought of making marinara spicy, but it really works- yum! 🙂

I posted this before, but had used an Ina Garten recipe.  That stock was delicious, but kind of involved- you needed tons of ingredients, I felt.  I just recently used this one (from Real Simple), and as the site implies, it’s extremely simple!  (I thought I’d posted this recipe before, but couldn’t find it- maybe it was on my Facebook?)  Anyway, here goes!

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, preferably necks, backs, and wings
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions

  1. In a large pot, combine the chicken, celery, carrots, onions, parsley, peppercorns, bay leaves, and 16 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours, occasionally skimming off and discarding any foam that rises to the top.
  2. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Let cool completely, then skim off and discard any fat that rises to the top. The stock can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

——

So, that’s the plan- I’m making myself do this today bc I just realized that I’d had the chicken bits in the freezer for awhile, and hadn’t gotten around to making stock, which I really needed to bc I’m out of it, AND I’m also supposed to be getting more chicken backs from our CSA today.  Kinda had to do this now if I wanted to have any room in our freezer!

I’m nearly doubling the recipe bc I had chicken backs, a whole rooster, and the carcass (ew) from a chicken dinner in the freezer, and I’m guessing that that all weighed more than 4 lbs.  It’ll also simmer for longer than the two hours in the recipe, just bc I really wanna make sure that the rooster is fully-cooked to use the meat in potpies this weekend.

Anyway, if you’ve never made stock before (and if you use a lot of store-bought chicken broth), give this a try!

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