Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Yummy Breakfast Casserole


I get in these moods and try something new and then make it over and over because everyone seems to love it so much. That is the case for this breakfast casserole. It is so good, and (at least I think) so good for you. I make it for my family at least once a week and it lasts for a couple of days (sometimes 3 if my teenage eating machine son is not here.. :) .. I like it most of all because it is not your typical bread based breakfast casserole (never have liked those) and it is versatile. You can use a variety of veggies in it and it tastes good each time. I listed the veggies I use most often when I make it. You can add or omit other veggies instead. Here is my recipe…

Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole
1 sweet potato (medium to large size), peeled and grated (grating it with a food processor makes it easy)
2T butter
1 medium onion, chopped
½ of a red or green pepper, chopped
3 large mushrooms, sliced
½ cup (or so) sliced celery
1 lb sausage (such as Jimmy Dean)
12 eggs
½ to 1 cup grated cheese of your choice, optional (I’ve made it with and without cheese, tastes good either way)
Salt & pepper, to taste

Lay grated sweet potato on the bottom of a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Heat a large frying pan on medium high and add butter. When butter has melted add veggies. Stir and cook until veggies begin to soften. Add sausage and cook until veggies are tender and sausage is completely cooked. Spread the veggie/meat mixture on top of the sweet potatoes.

In a large bowl crack eggs and mix well (like you would for scrambled eggs). Add grated cheese and mix. Add salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over sweet potato/veggie/meat mixture. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes until eggs are set. Serve with a bit of salsa on top and a breakfast smoothie to go along with it for a delish meal that will keep everyone happy and full for a very long time!

Here it is in pics…

Gather ingredients together…




Prepare veggies..




Lay grated sweet potatoes in the bottom of a 9x13 pan…




Cook veggies until they begin to soften..




Add sausage and cook until veggies are soft and sausage is cooked through.




At this point I remembered I had some grated zucchini leftover from muffin making in the fridge and I added that too (like I said the recipe is versatile) ..






Layer the veggie/meat mixture over the sweet potatoes…




Mix up the eggs in a bowl (add the cheese if you want.. I added a handful of grated mozzarella cheese to this batch)…




Pour eggs over veggies & meat…




Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until the egg is set…




Enjoy!!!



Monday, August 27, 2012

This Week’s Menu

 


Monday
Leftover sautéed cabbage w/chicken & shrimp, grapes & melon slices

Tuesday
Crockpot chili (or I may make a huge pot of it and can a few jars, we’ll see how my day goes), tortilla chips & salsa, salad

Wednesday
Salmon salad, deviled eggs, oven roasted veggies (sweet potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, onions, garlic), honey dew melon

Thursday
Sierra’s night to cook – she is still deciding on what she wants to make

Friday
Coconut chicken, baked sweet potatoes, green beans (if I have enough from the garden, otherwise it will be salad), watermelon

Saturday
Leftovers

Sunday
Baked ham, potato salad, salad, watermelon




Sunday, August 26, 2012

Garlic Roasted Green Beans


I wanted to use up the last of the green beans I picked the other day and boiled or steamed green beans just did not sound that great to me. So I decided to roast them instead… oh my.. that was the ticket! And it was so easy to do.

I put my snapped fresh green beans in a bowl and added about 5 cloves of chopped garlic (we LOVE garlic.. :) .. then I drizzled enough olive oil to coat them well. I put them on a large baking tray….




Then put them in a 400 degree oven. I stirred them a couple of times while they cooked. It took about 20 minutes for them to cook. I sprinkled salt and pepper over them when I pulled them out of the oven… all I can say is… DELISH!!




Friday, August 24, 2012

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken & Zucchini Pesto Pasta


My daughter Sierra has been in charge of one dinner a week for the last several weeks. She is enjoying this quite a bit. I have a good time just watching her creativity bloom in the food arena. Her recipe choices and cooking practice is showing me she is on her way to being quite a chef!! :)

This week she chose Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken and Zucchini Pesto Pasta. She had to make a few changes to the chicken recipe. The original recipe (which can be found here: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=376900  ) called for 12 oz of chicken. There was no way that amount would feed our family. Three pounds is more like it! The original recipe also called for frying the chicken until it was fully cooked. Since she was doing so much more chicken she decided to just brown it well and then bake it to finish the cooking time. She also used skinless boneless thigh fillets instead breast meat.

She began by chopping up a LOT of garlic. We love garlic and I’m pretty sure she must have chopped up 15 to 20 cloves.



She then melted butter (about 2 tablespoons for each batch) and added some of the garlic and let this cook for a minute or so. Then put her chicken pieces in the frying pan. She browned them well, flipped them over and browned the other side. Then transferred them onto a tray. She repeated the process until all the chicken had been browned.






She baked the chicken at 350 for about 15 minutes (until fully cooked). She pulled the chicken out of the oven and turned the oven off. Then using a fork she sprinkled brown sugar on top of the chicken and rubbed it on a bit. Then put the whole tray back in the still warm oven and waited a few minutes until the sugar had melted.




And that was it!!

Then she started making the Zucchini Pesto Pasta. Frist she made the pesto sauce. She followed this recipe here: http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2010/08/recipe-for-basil-pesto-with-lemon-and.html  omitting the pine nuts (at $13 a pound it was a bit too steep for our budget! :)..




She was loosely following this recipe: http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2011/09/recipe-for-easy-penne-pasta-with.html  She heated up the olive oil, added the garlic and then the zucchini. When the zucchini had cooked until soft (but not mushy) she added her pesto sauce (the recipe called for 2/3 cup pesto, the recipe she made was 1 cup and she added it all)…




While she was doing this she had 12oz of organic brown rice spaghetti noodles cooking. When they were done she drained and rinsed them and added it to her zucchini pesto combo…




The meal was amazing!! Very delicious!




Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Canning Cabbage

I had 4 large heads of cabbage that weighted about 25 pounds. We had some really hot days and I figured I better get the last of them picked soon. My daughter Sierra and I ended up processing 3 of them yesterday and I have one left for a meal on my menu this week.

I made pickled cabbage and then canned up the last of the cabbage.

Here is the recipe for the pickled cabbage (according to how I made it)…

8 pounds cabbage
1 large onion
1 ½ red peppers
1 lb carrots
¾ cup salt
9 cups water
12 cups white vinegar
10 cups sugar
1t mustard seed
1t celery seed

Slice cabbage thinly. Slice onion and peppers. Grate carrots. Mix all veggies together in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and mix in well. Let sit for 2 hours to soften veggies. Rinse veggies well. 


In a large stock pot (mine was 14 quarts) combine water, vinegar, sugar, spices. Bring to a boil. Add cabbage/veggies. Bring to a boil. Fill hot pint jars with veggies using a slotted spoon. Fill jar with brine to one inch of the top. Wipe down top of jar. Apply lid and ring. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. These measurements made 14 pint jars.


Here it is in pics...
 

Slice and grate all your veggies. Put in a large bowl and cover with salt. Mix well. Let it sit for 2 hours…




Mix up your brine and add rinsed veggies. Bring to a boil..




Scoop out veggies with a slotted spoon and fill hot pint jars..




Add brine…




Remove air bubbles…




Wipe the jar top, put on a lid and ring…








Put in canner of boiling water. Make sure the water is at least one inch above the top of the jars…




Process (boil the jars) for 15 minutes. Remove from canner and let them cool….




I still had about 12 pounds of cabbage left. I decided to can just plain cabbage. SO… here is my disclaimer… Today the USDA does not recommend canning cabbage. For various reasons. Mostly related to botulism concerns. Believe me I do understand this. However up until about 10 years ago canning cabbage was not a problem. If you ever have botulism concerns about any of your home canned foods, you simply need to boil the food after you open the jars for a period of time. I have read anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes. Since my desire for this canned cabbage is to use it in homemade soups (which we eat a lot of during the fall/winter/spring months).. I know my cabbage will get cooked again, enough to alleviate any botulism concerns for me. All that to say, I am not recommending you can cabbage, you do what you feel is best for your family. I am just sharing what I did and why I personally have no problem with canning cabbage…

I began by chopping up my 12 pounds of cabbage into large pieces and added it to a large pot of boiling water….




I boiled it for 3 minutes. Then began to fill quart jars (I put 1 teaspoon of salt into the bottom of each jar)…




Then added boiling water and left 1 inch of head space…




I removed air bubbles, added more water if necessary, wiped the rim, put on a lid and ring and put them in my canner…




I canned the cabbage at 10 pounds pressure (for my elevation) for 55 minutes. And that was it…



 

Monday, August 20, 2012

This Week’s Menu












Monday
Leftover spaghetti (made a huge batch yesterday to eat on for a couple of days), french bread, salad (this is normally Sierra’s night to cook..  she is cooking on Tuesday instead)

Tuesday
Garlic brown sugar chicken, macaroni salad, salad (Sierra’s night to cook and recipe choices)

Wednesday
Crockpot Chili, tortilla chips & salsa, salad

Thursday
Chicken & shrimp sautéed with onions, mushrooms, peppers and cabbage (this meal will be like the hamburger cabbage meal I made a couple of weeks ago only using chicken & shrimp instead of hamburger: http://homesteadinghomemaker.blogspot.com/2012/08/cooking-with-cabbage.html  ), salad

Friday
Leftovers

Saturday
Baked pork chops, potato salad, salad

Sunday
Lasagna, french bread, salad


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Canning Green Beans


My green beans have not done as well as they have in the past. Our summer has been on the cooler side (except the last week) and it took them awhile to get going. My kids and I did our second picking today. I’m thankful for what I was able to can. I may have enough to get a few more jars canned with the next picking, which will most likely be the last.

Our afternoon started with picking the beans. Then I washed them and we had a little bean snapping party! :) (Sierra took the pic so she is not in it)…



After the beans were snapped it was time to get them canned up. I began by washing 7 quart jars in my dishwasher. While it was running I pulled out my canner and got my lids put in some hot water and pulled out the rings. When the jars were washed I was ready to go.

I raw pack my green beans. I begin by adding 1 teaspoon salt to the quart jar…



Then I fill the jar with green beans. I shake the jar around a bit to get as many beans in as I can..



Then I fill the jar with hot boiling water….



I use a chop stick to push around the beans and release any air bubbles. I add more water if needed and leave about 1 inch of head space..



I wipe the rim of the jar...

Put a lid on…



And a ring…



Now it’s time to put them in my canner…



Repeat with remaining jars…


Green beans are canned at 10 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes (pints for 20). This is for my elevation. Pressure varies based on your elevation. This website has a chart for the elevation changes: http://www.simplycanning.com/altitude-adjustments.html 

My little row of green beans gave us 13 quarts today (plus the green bean salad I made the other day)..




 
 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Homestead Garden Update


I took a few pictures of my garden this evening. It is growing well and we have some nice hot days coming this week and I’m hoping it the garden will grow even more and my tomatoes will ripen soon.