Monday, August 29, 2011

Spicy Shrimp Alfredo Pasta tutorial

Another easy seafood staple around our house. I used shrimp for the tutorial but you can use scallops, mussels, crawfish or even chicken with mushrooms!

Ingredients



1 lb shrimp
2 Tbls oil
1 Tbls chopped garlic
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 jar of Alfredo sauce
1/2 tsp creole seasoning
1 Tbls butter
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
8 oz spaghetti, cooked


Step 1


Saute the onions, green onions, and garlic in the oil until soft.

Step 2


Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp turn pink/white. Don't worry about cooking them through just yet.

Step 3


Add the jar of Alfredo sauce. Stir and add the creole seasoning. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Step 4





Once the shrimp are cooked through add the cooked pasta and toss. Then add the butter and shredded cheese, stir together. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 or so minutes so the cheese can melt and the sauce can thicken.


This is really good served with garlic bread and a salad. Mmm...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homemade Greek Yogurt and Cream Cheese!

Now that you've mastered the "homemade yogurt" thing, you are ready to turn that into Greek Yogurt and/or Cream Cheese! Well, technically, "Yogurt Cheese" but basically the same thing. Remember to SAVE THE WHEY (the liquid that drains of the yogurt)! Pour it into a jar or container and refrigerate for up to 3 months in the fridge. There are all kinds of things to do with they whey!


Homemade Greek Yogurt


Line a colander with a dish towel (that's what I use) or double cheese cloth. Set the colander over a bowl.


 Pour some plain yogurt into the lined colander. Set in fridge and let drain 3-4 hours or on the counter for 1-2 hours (then refrigerate the yogurt).


The next morning, you should have Greek Yogurt! Nice and thick! If it's still a little too thin for your taste, change out the cheesecloth, drain the bowl, and let it the yogurt drain a little longer.

Homemade Cream Cheese


Line your colander with a dish towel and put over a bowl. Spoon your Greek yogurt into the towel and fold the towel over on top. Let drain in the fridge overnight. 



The next morning, you will have cream cheese! Flavor it however you want! Sugar and fruit or chives and spices. Yum!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homemade Yogurt with Crock-pot

For those who don't want to buy a dedicated machine for yogurt making, I thought I'd try the ol' Crockpot Yogurt technique. The yogurt came out nearly identical to the yogurt maker machine batch. Give this one a shot but be aware that homemade yogurt is thin. Store-bought yogurt is thick and rich because of all the gelatin they add to it. You can add gelatin to yours but if a thick yogurt is important to you, I'd recommend draining your homemade yogurt overnight and you'll end up with "Greek" style yogurt.


Homemade Yogurt with Crockpot



Turn your crock pot to high and pour in 1/2 gallon of milk. I use whole milk and a 2 quart size crockpot insert.


Heat on high for about 2 1/2 hours. Until the temperature of the milk reads 180 degrees. (I stick my digital thermometer in the vent hole in the lid and just check it when I walk by).


Once it heats to 180 degrees, turn your crock pot off and unplug it. Take the cover off and let it cool until the temperature of the milk comes down to 110-115 degrees. This takes about an hour.


After it's cooled, stir in  1/2 cup of plain store-bought yogurt with live active cultures and mix very well.


Place the cover back on the crock and wrap the entire crock pot in a thick bath towel or two.
Let it culture overnight, 8-12 hours.



In the morning stir yogurt and store in  a container of your choice. Save 1/2 cup of this plain unflavored yogurt as a starter for your NEXT batch. Then add flavorings at this point. Honey, sugar, or fruit. Or you can drain it first for thicker yogurt and THEN add your flavorings.


Refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using.

This makes a half gallon of yogurt which seems like a lot. We go through most of this in a week between two kids and my husbands parfaits every morning. But next post will show you how to turn some of your homemade plain yogurt into Greek Yogurt and Cream Cheese!

I will leave you now with the most awesome picture ever of my 1 year old. Spaghetti night!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Garage Sale finds and Locusts

My husband and I have an arrangement. We alternate Saturday mornings to hit the local garage sales. Today was my Saturday to go and I was pretty excited with my purchase. I bought a sewing box full of thread/needles and other sewing notions for 3 dollars!


A pretty decent purchase. A lot of the notions will probably get thrown away because they are so old, but I am definitely keeping more than 3 bucks worth of stuff.


 Yes, the Dirt Dauber nest was free!!

Speaking of bugs...June was introduced to a locust shell today. We called it the locust's "suit" and we pointed out all the parts. She walked around with it and would hang it on the curtains or our shirts and say "It's not real, it's just a suit!"



I'm one step closer to getting this "Baby's First Year" memory quilt done. I've cut the squares, designed the layout, sewed the squares into rows, and sewed the rows together. I just need to border it, embroider the name and date of birth, and back it. I'm doing my "kissy face" in the picture. Don't pretend you aren't intimidated! Rawr!


Friday, August 19, 2011

My *new* Vintage Kitchen-aid and Homemade Coffee Creamer

So, it's HERE!! YAY! I have been waiting for this package for weeks and it's here!! Introducing the newest member of our family. My *new* vintage Kitchen-aid stand-mixer. It's a Hobart Solid State model which means it's AWESOME!  It's the big, menacing one, and the smaller one is my old mixer that I'm sad to say will be leaving us to go live with a new family that won't try to kill it every day.




Yes, it's beautiful, I know. She has a few nicks on her but it gives her character. Monday is my bread day so I'll put her to the test then. We spent a good part of last night cleaning and polishing her up. 35 years of grime doesn't stand a chance against a Magic Eraser!

So then I have been working on a baby clothes "Memory Quilt" for a friend of mine and I've placed the squares and gotten the overall design down and now it's sewing time! Once the rows are sewn, I'll border it, embroider the baby's name and date-of-birth, and back it! I hope I can get it done before her 1st birthday!


So tonight I tried a new "homemade" recipe. I decided to make my own coffee creamer. I. LOVE. COFFEE. and my creamer is what makes my daily cup a joy to drink. It's like sunshine in a cup and I can't wait to get out of bed every morning and drink my coffee. Now, coffee creamer isn't expensive, so that isn't my reasoning behind making my own. I'm more concerned with the fact that most coffee creamers don't contain cream...and are full of chemicals and artificial preservatives. I made Honey Vanilla creamer this round.

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
(You can also use 2 cups of Half-n-Half which is half milk, half cream in place of the separate milk and cream).


Heat the ingredients in a saucepan until the milk starts to steam. Remove from heat.


Let cool slightly and pour into a container and refrigerate. I saved my bottle from the creamer I finished a few days ago.

You can use the base of milk and cream and add whatever flavorings you want. Like caramel? Add 1/4 cup of caramel sauce. Or chocolate sauce...or whatever! Easy!

And I made my neighbor a quick birthday cake a few days ago, too. Triple chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting, and broken chocolate shards.


I love chocolate. Happy Birthday, Larisa!!

I'm currently on a homemade kick so expect more recipes coming up for homemade cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sour cream and others!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Homemade Yogurt with Machine

So I received my yogurt maker yesterday and I was shaking with excitement as I brought the box into the house. I washed the jars and immediately got to work on my first batch.


This is what it looks like. It makes seven individual cups of yogurt and I found out that you can place a glass bowl in it to make one large batch. I don't think that's what it's intended for but hey, it makes sense.


First step was to heat my milk to 180 degrees. It said 42oz of milk, so that's what I used.


Then put the pan of hot milk into a cold water bath to bring down the temp to 110 degrees.


In a separate bowl, put 6oz of store-bought plain yogurt as a starter and mix it with 2 cups of the lukewarm milk.


Pour the yogurt/milk mixture back into the pan of lukewarm milk and whisk together.



Then fill each cup with the milk. I ended up with 1 cup of milk leftover. So next time, I'll use 8oz less milk. I turned it to 7 hours and put the lid on. And went to bed...I didn't think it through before I started on this batch that this would have the batch ready at 1am. I got up at 1am and unplugged the machine and put the jars in the fridge.


But I woke up this morning to 7 little jars of homemade yogurt! I mixed mine with a little honey and it was delicious! It wasn't as thick as I imagined it would be and reading more about it, I found out that homemade yogurt is not as thick as store-bought. Store-bought adds gelatin to theirs to make it thicker. I can do things to make it thicken up more, but really, I enjoy it like this. It's exactly the consistency for good fruit and granola parfaits.

I'll be doing this again but I'll be using my crock-pot to make it, for those who don't want to buy a dedicated machine. I'll let you know how that batch turns out.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Homemade Butter and Buttermilk Tutorial

Today was a very productive day full of wonderful memories...an epic failure in the kitchen and a great success, as well! I brewed myself a pot of coffee and got to work on this week's loaf of bread. I have whole wheat in the freezer so I decided today was a Cinnamon Raisin bread day. I did all the prep work and left the bread to rise. While it did, June and I whipped up a batch of Lemon Icebox Pie Icecream for later, and then she ran off to watch her Dora the Explorer movie and eat her breakfast. So I cleaned up a bit and as I looked at my half-full carton of heavy cream, I wondered what else I could make with it. I looked it up on the internet and found out you could make butter and buttermilk from heavy cream!! What's better than fresh, homemade butter spread over a warm slice of fresh, homemade Cinnamon Raisin bread? NOTHING, that's what. So, here's my tutorial on how to make fresh butter and buttermilk in about 10 minutes. I used my stand-mixer, but you can also use hand-mixers, or by hand with a whisk.


Homemade Butter




Ingredients


2 cups heavy cream

Pour the heavy cream into your bowl and whisk on medium-high speed for 8-10 minutes. The cream will go through several stages before it turns to butter. I'll post the pictures of each stage.


  






It's ready when the butter clumps together and separates from the buttermilk. Once you get to this stage, you need to squeeze out any remaining buttermilk. I used a cheesecloth, but a paper towel works.




That's it! You just made fresh homemade sweet cream butter and buttermilk. You could have added salt towards the end of the mixing if you wanted, about 1/4 teaspoon. But I enjoy unsalted butter, myself, and I don't want to salt my buttermilk. Store in a Tupperware container in the fridge. Use the buttermilk in baking and cooking!


As for the epic failure in the kitchen, I rolled my Cinnamon Raisin bread up and put it in the loaf pan, left it to rise for a second time...and forgot about it. Completely forgot I was making bread. Came back 2 1/2 hours later to what looked like a Hideous Blob in my oven. It rose over the edges of the loaf pan and down into my oven. I tried to save it, I tucked it back in to the pan and baked it. But it didn't survive. I still ate it, mind you, but it looked awful. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Then we played dress up. I was Princess Mommy and she was Queen June...I'd like to know where she got the idea that she was the Queen??!!


Then the mail passed and my little Junebug received her first Highlights magazine!! Remember those?! I LOVED getting my Highlights in the mail!


 

Followed by an afternoon on the trampoline, a change of high-heels, and half a loaf of bread that she swiped from the counter when I wasn't looking...





Marie observed as usual. She enjoyed herself today, too. Until she fell in the tub and smacked her mouth on the edge of my cast-iron claw-foot tub. She bled, cried, and was fine. No permanent damage. Nothing some Advil couldn't fix.


Whew!! Busy day today. And now the girls are in bed, and it's couples Bible Study tonight with my hubby. I hope all the students had a great first day of school today! I pray for a blessed and safe new school year and for all you parents, too. Goodnight!