Monday, June 25, 2012

Cajun Smothered Porkchops and Gravy Tutorial

Smothered porkchops are another staple down here. It's very easy to make, too!

Cajun Smothered Porkchops and Gravy

Ingredients

4 boneless or bone-in porkchops
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 medium onion, slicedd
1 cup green bell peppers, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pack of onion soup mix (I used the beefy onion soup mix this time)
2 cups of water
1 Tbs cornstarch
Cooked white rice

Step 1


In a large pan, saute the onion, bell pepper, and green onions in olive oil until soft

Step 2

Season your porkchops with cajun seasoning. Push aside the veggies and brown the porkchops for a few minutes on each side.

Step 3

In a measuring cup, combine the water, cream of mushroom soup, and onion soup mix.

Step 4

Pour the soup mixture over the porkchops. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes- 1 hour until internal temp of the chops read 160 degrees.

Step 5

Remove the chops, set aside for a minute. Mix the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of water until it's smooth. Add it to gravy, boil and whisk for 1 minute until the gravy thickens, season to taste with cajun seasoning. Add the porkchops back to the gravy.

Step 6

Serve over white rice.

Traditional Fig Jam Tutorial

One perk of being able to cook and can food is that when friends have an overabundance of fruit and veggies, they bring them to you, knowing it won't go to waste. Why, yes, I'll gladly accept the extra 10lbs of figs you picked from your tree! Score! This recipe takes two days to complete (the figs sit in hot syrup overnight) but it's worth it.

Traditional Fig Jam

Ingredients

14 cups of fresh figs
5 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs lemon juice
Boiling water
6 pint canning jars

Step 1
Wash your figs.

Step 2

Boil a large pot of water (usually 1 cup of water for each cup of figs). Put the figs in glass bowls. Pour the boiling water over your figs and cover for 15-20 minutes. Drain then rinse with cold water.


Step 3


In a pot, combine 7 cups of water, the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a rolling boil. Working in batches, add the figs to the boiling syrup. Cook until the figs soften and begin to become transparent. Put the cooked figs aside in a large glass bowl. Continue until all the figs are done. With a potato masher, mash the cooked figs. Continue to boil the syrup until it thickens.

Step 4

Pour the thickened syrup over the mashed figs, cover and lets sit at room temperature overnight.

Step 5




Prepare your jars for canning. Bring the figs and syrup to a boil. Ladle hot jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Seal with lid and band, process the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove canner from heat, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars. Cool and store. Check back after 24 hours to make sure they have sealed.

Pineapple Peach Jam Tutorial

I walked into my local grocery store and smell of fresh peaches overwhelmed me. I always know that the fruit is good when I smell it before I see it. So I grabbed a bunch of peaches and a pineapple and practically skipped to the register. Once I got home, I got started on this jam. I threw a kiwi into the equation because it was all alone in my fruit bowl at home, but you can omit it.

Pineapple Peach Jam

Ingredients


4 cups of finely diced peaches
2 cups of finely diced pineapple
1 kiwi, finely diced
4 cups granulated sugar
6- half pint canning jars

Step 1

Prepare your jars for canning. Peel and dice your peaches, pineapple, and kiwi.

Step 2

As you can see, I didn't finely dice...I'll know better next time. In a large saucepan, combine the fruit and sugar.

Step 3

Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature of the jam reaches between 218-220 degrees.


Step 4


Skim the foam off the top of the jam and ladle the hot jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim with paper towel, secure lid and band and process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove canner from heat, wait 5 minutes and remove the jars. Cool and store. Check back after 24 hours to make sure they have sealed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Strawberry Vanilla Jam Tutorial

This jam is my husbands FAVORITE. He loves it so much, he won't even eat the store-bought jams anymore. I mean, he WOULD if he had to, but I keep it hand so he doesn't have to "suffer." This jam is made using the traditional method of cooking the jam for longer length of time. No store-bought pectin is added since fruit will produce it's own pectin when cooked for 15-20 minutes. It does come out softer than store-bought but it's easy to spread and makes a great topping for desserts, especially icecream.

TIP: It's important to cook the jam until it reaches the "gel stage." This temperature varies depending on your height above sea level. To make it easier, boil a pot of water and check the temperature with a thermometer. What temperature your water boils at, add 8 degrees- and that's the temperature you must cook your jam to. Here in Louisiana, my water boils at 210 degrees so I have to cook my jam to 218 degrees.

Strawberry Vanilla Jam

Ingredients

3 containers of ripe strawberries 
2 Tbs pure vanilla extract
3 cups of granulated sugar
4 half-pint "jelly jars"- prepare the jars and lids for canning
Large pot of boiling water for processing jars

Step 1


Wash your berries. Then cut the tops off and halve. Place berries in food processor or blender and puree.

Step 2

To your puree, add the sugar and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent the jam from sticking and burning. Cook until jam reaches the gel stage (between 218-220 degrees).

Step 3



Once the jam reaches the gel stage, remove from heat. Skim off any foam that accumulates on top. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Top with lid, screw band down until fingertip-tight. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Wait 5 minutes then remove jars from canner, cool and store. (Check back after 24 hours to make sure the jars have sealed- they seal as they cool).


Monday, June 18, 2012

Shepherd's Pie Tutorial (FREEZER MEAL)

I've never made Shepherd's Pie before today. I always seem to be missing one thing when I pull up a recipe for it, but tonight we received a bag of fresh potatoes from a friend's garden. I had a pound of ground beef in the freezer so Shepherd's Pie made sense for dinner. I knew the basics of a Shepherd's Pie...meat, veggies, gravy...mashed potato topping. I winged the details and this is what I created. I thought it turned out awesome, we ate on it for several days, so it stretches pretty well, and cheap to make!

This makes a great freezer meal. Just line your casserole with tinfoil and then saran wrap. Assemble the Shepherd's Pie like normal but instead of baking it, freeze it! To reheat, put the unwrapped frozen Shepherd's Pie back into the pan you froze it in, and let thaw in the fridge. Once thawed, bake as normal.

Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients

1lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 Tbs butter
2 cups frozen mixed veggies (I used 1/2 cup green beans, 1/2 peas, 1/2 cup carrots, and 1/2 cup corn)
1 can of cream of mushroom
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups of mashed potatoes (seasoned with butter and salt/pepper to taste)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Step 1  
 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet, brown the ground beef, onions, and garlic together.

Step 2

Once the meat is browned, add the flour, cream, and 4 Tbl butter. Stir to combine.

Step 3

Add the frozen vegetables, stir to incorporate. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

Step 4

Add the cream of mushroom soup. Stir to combine. Cook until heated through, season with salt and pepper.

Step 5

Pour the beef and veggie mixture into a greased casserole dish.

Step 6

Cover the beef and veggies with a thick layer of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Step 7

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Old-Fashioned Fried Chicken Tutorial

I've never attempted to make Old-fashioned Fried Chicken before but I had a hankering for it today. I browsed a few cookbooks for a yummy coating and I combined a few recipes to make this one. I also decided to finish it off in the oven. It was AWESOME and SO BAD for you! We eat healthy here so I could justify having one fat-filled dinner. We served it along with my Homemade Mac-n-Cheese. Totally worth it.

Old-fashioned Fried Chicken

Ingredients

1 cup Crisco
1 3-4lb chicken, cut up (or your favorite chicken pieces)
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs paprika 
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs pepper
1/2 Tbs ground Mustard
1/2 Tbs dried Thyme
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
Pinch of dried Oregano

Step 1
 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large pan, melt the Crisco, heat to 350 degrees.

Step 2

In a bowl, mix the flour, paprika, salt, pepper, ground mustard, dried thyme, ground ginger, and oregano.

Step 3

In a bowl, beat the egg and buttermilk together.

Step 4

Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour and set on a baking sheet while the Crisco heats up.


Step 5

Once the oil heated, dip the floured chicken pieces into the egg/buttermilk, and then dredge in the flour again. Drop the pieces into the Crisco. (Don't overcrowd the pan). Fry for 10-15 minutes, turning, until the chicken is browned and crispy on both sides. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet. Bake fried chicken at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until cooked through and internal temp registers at 165 degrees.

Step 6


Serve hot.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes Tutorial

This year we planted tomatoes for the first time ever. We are still getting the hang of it and have had several branches break under the weight of the tomatoes. So, we decided to take those broken branches and fry up those green tomatoes. Also, in place of the salt, pepper, flour, and cornmeal, I've just used a bag of Chicken Fry- which is a seasoned flour/cornmeal mixture used for fried chicken. It's delicious, too.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients

4-5 large tomatoes (but really, you can only fry up as many or as few as you want)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup self-rising white cornmeal mix
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Step 1

Slice the tomatoes in 1/4 inch slices.

Step 2

Heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Dip each tomato slice in the egg and coat with the seasoned flour mixture. Place the tomato slices on a baking sheet while the oil heats up.

Step 3


Once oil is hot, drop the slices in one by one, cook for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Let fried slices drain on a paper towel lined plate. Serve warm, as is or with ketchup