Jalapeno Poppers

So I am in love with the jalapeno poppers from Wienerschnitzel. I am not a fan of spicy foods but those are awesome. So I tried to find a recipe. Well I couldn’t find any copycat recipes online for them! So I am going to attempt to make my own. My first attempt didn’t turn out too bad but it wasn’t identical either. I know I will try again but I will have to do more experimenting to make a copycat recipe. Here is my first attempt for now though!

Jalapeno Poppers
This makes about 8 poppers

1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 large jalapenos seeded with membranes removed, diced
flour
1 egg, beaten
bread crumbs
oil for frying

1. Place flour, egg, and breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Heat oil in a pan or a deep fryer. I heated the oil to about 350*f in my fryer.
2. Take about 1 tablespoon of cheese and put 1/4 -1/2 tsp jalapeno’s in the middle. Squish it into a ball. Repeat until you have no more cheese or jalapenos left. Or you get the amount you want.
3. Coat each popper with flour, shake off extra
4. Coat with egg, let any mass amounts of the egg drip off.
5. Coat with breadcrumbs, shake off extra.
6. Place into hot oil(please not with your fingers!) and fry until golden brown
7. Drain off extra oil and let cool before you enjoy the spicy cheesy goodness!

I personally love ranch dressing as a dip for jalapeno poppers. Use your own favorite dipping sauce or enjoy on it’s own.

Advertisements

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

My husband is Mexican so the past 5 years that we have been together I have had to learn how to cook some of the more traditional dishes that he is used to eating. Carnitas has been one that I avoided mainly because of the time involved and lack of utensils to cook it how his family makes it. Well I knew I could make bbq pork in the crockpot, so I created my own recipe from that based on my husband’s taste preferences and it is a healthier version as well. So win-win, I can make it at home instead of buying from some where and it is not so greasy. Plus it makes enough pork to do multiple meals for my family and the seasonings are subtle enough that it is so versatile to be used for just about any recipe with pulled pork. This feeds my husband, myself and our two older boys for a few nights when we add in other dishes like beans, rice or veggies. So I spend about $15 on pork to feed us for 3 dinners and maybe a lunch or two. Definitely saves money which I like!

Pulled Pork

6lb pork shoulder/butt, remove any skin(mine usually has a giant bone in it as part of the weight which is ok)

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Onion Powder

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Chili Powder (if desired)

1 tbsp Chicken Bouillon

2 to 4 cups Water

2 bay leaves

1. Place bay leaves and pork into crock pot with enough water to go no more than 1/3 of the way up the pork with the chicken bouillon. It usually falls between 2 to 4 cups of water for me depending on the size of the pork shoulder/butt.

2. Sprinkle the rest of the seasonings on the exposed surfaces of the pork. Don’t worry if it isn’t all coated, you will still get flavor. Add chili powder if you want a bit of a kick.

3. Let it cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6.

4. At this point I will take it out and cut out the bone and start shredding some pieces then let sit on high for another hour. If you are patient you could just leave it be for another two hours and it should just fall off the bone. Just pour the broth over the meat.

5. Shred and let sit in the broth until needed.

Fried Carnitas

Use meat as prepared above

1. Use a little bit of lard, oil or pork fat from the meat to fry the shredded pork. I use a cast iron pan for this.

2. Drain juice from the pork before putting in the pan. Some juice is ok.

3. Stir/mix until about half of the pork is crispy. 10 minutes or so. Go longer if you prefer it to be more crisp, less if you want more tender pieces.

4. Put in tacos or burritos or even eat as is!

Baked Carnitas

Use meat as prepared above.

1. Drain broth from shredded pork and spread out on a cookie sheet. I like to line with foil to reduce clean up.

2. Place in the broiler for a few minutes until crispy. This varies based on your broiler/oven and you can make it less or more crispy based on your preferences.

3. Enjoy!

Tamales

Drain the shredded pork, mix with your favorite sauce and fill your tamales with it. I will have my sauce recipe up soon so stay tuned!

BBQ Pork

Prepare meat as above. Drain the broth and add in your favorite barbecue sauce. Enjoy on its own or as a sandwich with your favorite rolls.

Dehydrating Food for Prepping and Storage

So in my effort to save money but to prep for the worst, I invested in a dehydrator a few years ago. I have used it off and on but ever really in an effort to do anything with it. Well a month ago or so I decided to try it to prep for food storage. I dried some shredded chicken, onions and potatoes. It all turned out pretty good to store but I haven’t attempted to re-hydrate the chicken for use yet! The potatoes were pretty easy to do and after looking at a few sites I decided on my own way. The onions I didn’t read up on anything on how to dry, and the chicken well I did a little reading but went the course on my own. Today I am trying onions (again) and some bread I had stashed in the freezer to make bread crumbs out of.

My dehydrator has no temperature setting so I just watch until the item I am drying is ready.

Dried Shredded Potatoes

1. Boil water while shredding potatoes (I did this by hand but you could use an electric method)

2. Blanch shredded potatoes for a few minutes in the boiling water ( You want it cooked but not mushy)

3. Dry the excess water on paper towels (or towels if you are saving money) and place into dehydrator until dry. It took about 6 hours for 4 potatoes. They are dry when they snap into pieces.  If it still flexes it needs more time.

4. Re-hydrate at a 1 to 1 ratio (1 cup potato:1 cup boiling water) and let sit until water is absorbed. Drain excess water, if any, and eat or fry if desired for hash browns. My potatoes equaled about 1 cup dry to one potato. I used russet potatoes.

Dried Onions

1. Slice onions and discard peel and the ends.

2. Separate rings and place onto dehydrator trays.

3. Dry with other items to minimize the smell or place outside.

4. Dry until it snaps into pieces. If it still flexes it needs more time. It took about 5 hours for one onion.

Dried Chicken

1. Cook chicken in a method you prefer ( I like using my crockpot) and let cool.

2. Discard any fat and skin as that can cause the finished product to go rancid.

3. Shred chicken and place on dehydrator trays until dry. It does remain slightly flexible but overall will be hard and crispy. It took about 4 hours for one chicken breast.

4. I have not tried re-hydrating yet so I will update when I do!

It is an easy way to prep food for a camping trip or just to store for one of those SHTF scenarios. Not to mention budget friendly as my dehydrator only cost $30 new and I just dry extra/ leftover ingredients that I have!

One Pan Spaghetti with Garlic Parmesan sauce

So I am sure you have all seen the video or heard about spaghetti being cooked in a frying pan (skillet). I was skeptical at first and didn’t believe it. It has been ingrained that all pasta has to be cooked in a huge pot of boiling water and all that jazz. Well this skeptic is a believer! I tried cooking spaghetti in a frying pan tonight and it turned out amazing! Add in the sauce I made, all in the same pan as the spaghetti, well I am a happy momma with only one pot to clean up from dinner and dinner on the table in a lot shorter time than traditional spaghetti.

Here is my recipe for tonight’s dinner.

One Pan Spaghetti with Garlic Parmesan Sauce

1/2 box (8 oz) Angel Hair Pasta

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Pinch of parsley powder (dried parsley)

1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese

1/2 stick (1/4 cup/ 4 tbls)butter

1. Break pasta in half and place into frying pan, add a little more water than needed to just cover the pasta

2. Over medium-high heat, stir the pasta until most of the water is absorbed and pasta is al dente.

3. Drain extra water if desired. If not it will make a thinner sauce.( I drained the water and decided I would have preferred leaving it in as the sauce made the noodles stick more than I would like.)

4. Melt butter in the pan with the noodles and add in the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine and evenly coat the pasta.

5. Serve and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did:)

Adventures in Bread Making

So I have been trying to make sourdough bread, complete with making my starter from just mixing flour and water. Well so far I have had no luck. I get OK bread but definitely nothing resembling sourdough and surely nothing resembling bread from the store. I have tried various bread recipes and nothing ever turns out quite right, doesn’t rise enough or is too crumbly or just is not working for some reason. Well all that changed the other day. I found a easy bread recipe and it worked! I mean actually worked. My hubby even asked for more which has so far been unheard of in my bread-making attempts. So now I will share the recipe with you:)

 

I found this recipe here at dailydishrecipes.com 

Only thing I did was cut the recipe in half to experiment and be sure it worked and boy did it!

This is all from the above website, all credited to Nicole Cook

You will need:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. butter, softened (we’ve used margarine, but you will have better results with pure unsalted butter)

Take the time to proof your yeast first. It works better.

In a bowl, pour the water and the sugar. Mix until dissolved. Add the yeast. Again, mix until dissolved.

Set it aside for 10 minutes. When you come back it should have bubbles formed all over the top of it. This is how you know it’s “alive” and ready to go.

Next, throw in the flour and the salt. Then, slice up the butter into smaller pieces and add it. This just makes it easier for it to blend when you’re mixing.

Now comes the fun part. Knead the ingredients together for about 10 minutes by hand, about 5 minutes with a mixer. You can usually tell it’s done when it feels slightly elastic, smooth and isn’t sticking to anything.

Knead the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl. Cover it with some plastic wrap that you have sprayed with cooking spray or rubbed with some oil. (believe you me, we have forgotten this step before, and it makes a difference. I have no idea why. It just does. So do it.)  Set the bowl in a warm place. I actually just cover mine with two kitchen towels and put it on the counter in the back out of the way.

Allow it to rise for one hour.

After an hour uncover the dough. It should be pretty big and poofy at this point. Take your hand and punch into it once or twice to get it to push all the air out of it.

Knead it again (you don’t have to take it out of the bowl, I do it right in the bowl) for about a minute or two, forming it into a ball.

Sprinkle flour onto your table or other wooden work surface.

Put the ball in the middle of the work surface.

Cut the ball into two equal pieces using a bencher, or I just use a kitchen knife.

Taking one half of the dough, knead it a little folding it over itself over and over. Create a sort of ovalish shape with it and then place it into your lightly greased loaf dish.

Now repeat everything with the second wedge of dough.

Put both pans back where you had the bowl for the first rise, but leave them uncovered. For one hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When your dough has risen the second time and doubled in size, it’s time to put them in the oven.

Just put ‘em in there for 35-40 minutes. I’m pretty faithful with my 35 minute timing, but it could take more in your neck of the woods.

When they’re done, pull ‘em out of the oven and allow them to sit in the pans for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, using a potholder or towel, turn the bread out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool the rest of the way. Since you’re aiming for sandwich bread, it is better not to cut them until they are completely cooled, otherwise they get a little crumbly.

Once cooled, trim into slices and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (if it lasts that long, because we go through one loaf in 1 day!) lol

 

 

Grilled Salmon and Asparagus

Last night for dinner we decided to change it up. I had some asparagus and we bought Salmon to eat this week. I had the dear hubby fire up the grill (yay charcoal!) and I followed this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I have to say it was amazing! I even made the dressing recipe to go with it since I had the ingredients on hand. Only change I made was dill instead of thyme for the mayo part. Hubby wasn’t too much of a fan but he doesn’t like fish too much to begin with. Bubba loved the salmon though and Moco not so much, guess he takes after his daddy! Give this recipe a try though and I am sure you will love it too. 

 

http://www.bhg.com/recipe/grilled-salmon-and-asparagus-with-garden-mayonnaise/

Grilled Salmon and Asparagus with Garden Mayo

 

ingredients

  • 46 – 8 ounces fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick
  • 1pound asparagus spears
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt or salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2cup finely chopped celery (1 stalk)
  • 1/3cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4cup thinly sliced green onions (2)
  • 1tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2teaspoons snipped fresh tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

directions

1.Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus. Brush both sides of fish and asparagus lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle fish and asparagus with salt and pepper.

2.For a charcoal grill, place fish on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Place asparagus on grill rack next to salmon. Grill for 8 to 12 minutes or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork and asparagus is tender, turning fish once halfway through grilling and turning asparagus occasionally. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place fish and asparagus on a greased grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.)

3.Meanwhile, for garden mayonnaise, in a small bowl combine celery, mayonnaise, green onions, lemon juice, and tarragon. Chill until serving time.

4.To serve, arrange fish and asparagus on four dinner plates. Top fish with garden mayonnaise. If desired, serve with lemon wedges.

If you over salt your food…

Soups and Stews: Add half of a raw potato to the pot and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, it will help to absorb the excess salt. Remove the potato before serving your meal. 

Salads and Dressings: Add more acidic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar or even tomatoes! 

Casseroles and side dishes: Double the recipe and omit adding more salt or if there is an acidic ingredient, add a pinch of sugar to counteract the saltiness. 

 

I will try to post a helpful hint in each post to maybe make your life that much easier. Or to fix if you mess up:) 

Updates in the life of this Crafty Mommy…

Well potty training the little monster has been a challenge. But isn’t potty training always a challenge? Trying to get him out of diapers to create one less thing we have to buy but the only thing that is happening is me taking him to the potty since he won’t tell me he has to go. Still less diapers being used which is always a positive!

I have been trying to plan Christmas gifts since September and still only have two gifts. So my planning has gone no where fast. Oh well I still have a few weeks left since Christmas is getting celebrated early due to family going out of town before the wonderful holiday. I have found quite a few ideas though that I want to make. Just have to find a way to get the money to get the items to make said gifts.

First is Photo Coasters from Oopsy Daisy. I am going to try these using Mod Podge and acrylic sealer paint. Need to get some cute pictures of the little monsters though so that I can make them!

The second one is Gel Air freshener’s from One Good Thing by Jillee. I think these would go great with my family since they have pets that tend to stink up their homes.

Still trying to look for other ideas though since I don’t know how well those will work once I try them!

My lovely husband is all done with Deer season. So we have chunks of meat in our freezer from the harvested deer’s of two people in his hunting party. We have used some for roast, stew and meatballs. Still need to cook more and get used to the taste!

And finally, I have a blanket I started when my handsome toddler was born. Well I finally started working on it again, using my leftover yarn to continue the crocheted blanket. A lot of different colors and probably big enough for a twin bed right now but I think once all my scrap is used it will be big enough for my bed!

Trying something new…

After reading articles on Yahoo news I came across a blog. A Family of 3 spent $250 for a month on food, eating out, anything that was not related to housing or medical care. http://smallnotebook.org/2010/07/01/the-no-spend-month/

So I figure why not try this with my husband and 10 month old son to see what we can do. We spend $400 a month on food to begin with, and that is just groceries, so it would be nice to drastically cut that down. Especially with baby #2 on the way!

I have no idea where to start with it though so this will be an interesting endeavor. Maybe going to the bank first and pulling cash and hiding the debit cars.  With Christmas coming this will be a hard month to try to do this. Though I know it can be done with a bit of planning. I think I wills tart with $300 only for the month since I really only have to plan meals for hubby and I. Son is still breastfed so table food is just extra and not enough to constitute a full serving just yet.

Ideas, tips, advice, feel free to post it! I would love some encouragement in this!