Category Archives: Recipes

Pantry Cooking Week 3, Chili-Quin-Corne

I know what you’re thinking.  She doesn’t know how to spell Chili Con Carne!  Don’t worry, I do.  Chili-Quin-Corne is the brain-child of my brilliant husband and daughters.  Sometimes they like to invent things in the kitchen, and sometimes the things they invent are delicious.  Chili-Quin-Corne!  It has become a standby for the times I don’t feel like “cooking”.  To be sure, it uses only one ingredient that requires actual cooking, and that, really, is just boiling water.  The big upside to this meal though, is that it is a great way to stretch one can of chili to feed four people without cooking more beans.  If you’re like me, you never remember you were going to soak and cook beans until it’s too late.  My last batch of home canned pintos came out burned and a few seals failed, so we don’t have any pre-cooked beans on hand right now.

The directions for this one are pretty simple.  Cook one cup of quinoa according to package directions. (Roughly 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa, boil, reduce heat and steam for 10 minutes or so.)  Now add one can of chili, and one can of corn.  Heat thoroughly and serve topped with shredded cheese and sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

I suppose rice would stretch the chili too, but quinoa has it beat for nutrition and cooks quicker than white rice.  Brown rice might approach the nutritional value of quinoa, but takes too long to cook to be useful in a quick-dinner recipe.  As for the corn, I believe it improves just about anything to which it is added.

I wish there were more to it, and I could look like some sort of genius, but it is really just this simple.  And, alas, I am only of slightly above average intelligence.  Oh, how I wish there were a tongue-in-cheek font.

Have a good weekend! Mine will doubtless be unproductive as I am in the middle of an excellent novel, The Women At Pine Creek, by Allis McKay, from which I have had to tear myself in order to finish this post begun on Wednesday.

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Pantry Cooking Series Week 2, Chicken Soup

All you need for a basic chicken soup from the pantry

Welcome back to my pantry cooking series!  As I mentioned in week one, cooking from the pantry helps us minimize grocery store runs, and take-out meals, as well as being handy if we just don’t want to leave home.  One thing I find worth mentioning though, is that if you have fresh ingredients on hand, by all means use them.  Fresh is surely the most flavorful, and nutritious.  I’m not recommending you permanently switch to canned, dehydrated or frozen ingredients, merely trying to demonstrate their usefulness.  Whenever I have a fresh ingredient on hand I use it over storage food.  So if you happen to have a chicken on hand start simmering it now.

Today we’re making a quick, and basic chicken soup.  I added homemade noodles to this one, but it would be just as good with a handful of rice tossed in, or homemade biscuit dough dropped in to make dumplings.  You know what your family would like best.

Ingredients:

  • 2 QT water
  • 3 Tbsp concentrated chicken stock (the brand I use recommends 3Tbsp per 1 QT of water, but I like it at half strength)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/4 C dehydrated celery
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 C dehydrated carrot (this time I used one fresh chopped carrot since I had it on hand, guess what we’ll be dehydrating soon)
  • 1 10 oz can of chicken  (This is about the most expensive way to buy chicken.  I bought it to see how it compared to fresh, and it’s decent, but for my money, next time I’ll get chicken on sale and pressure can it myself.)

Using dehydrated and canned ingredients makes this a very quick meal, only slightly slower than just opening a can of soup.  All you do is combine the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. While it boils for a few minutes you can whip up a batch of egg noodles.  No, really, you can!

 

Whole Wheat Egg Noodle Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • water as needed
  • flour for dusting

Just place the flour on the counter and make a well in the middle.  Crack an egg into the well, and whisk.

Gradually pull in flour from the edges of the well until you have it all mixed in. You can add a little water here if needed. Wet your hands and work the dough for a few minutes until it is fairly smooth.

 

 

 

Now dust your counter and roll the dough to half the thickness you want your cooked noodles to be.  This is where I usually get lazy, so we have thick noodles.  Once you have the desired thickness just cut them to the size and shape you’d like and toss them into the boiling soup.  Boil for a minute or two then simmer for about 10 more minutes.

 

MM-MM!

This whole process from start to sitting down takes maybe 30-40 minutes depending on how many times you stop to get someone a drink or help with a bathroom run.  Quick, easy, and great for a winter night.  Enjoy!

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Pantry Cooking Week One- Whole Wheat Biscuits

One of my personal goals has been to learn how to cook from my pantry.  It really helps us to be able to shop less often, which cuts out many impulse purchases. It also helps us eat fewer box and bag type meals.

I thought it’d be fun to share some of the recipes I am able to make from my pantry and long term food storage.  So for the next few weeks I’ll be doing a pantry cooking series.

I thought I’d start with my recipe for Whole Wheat Biscuits.  Breads are a nice way to round out a lighter meal, and biscuits will even double as dessert if you add a little jam, or mashed fruit and whipped cream.

  • 2 C whole wheat Flour
  • 3 tsp baking Powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C shortening – Ive also substitued butter, or shortening powder (add extra liquid)
  • 1 C (generous) warm milk – fresh or reconstitued dry milk work equally well, or substitute warm water

In a medium bowl mix dry ingredients, then cut in shortening to small pea sized chunks. Over working the dough will result in stiff biscuits.  Stir in milk to make a sticky dough and drop by spoonfuls, or spread entire dough into greased pan.  I use my 10 inch cast iron skillet.  Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for around 15 minutes until golden brown.

These biscuits turn out light and fluffy.  If you prefer to roll out and cut biscuits you can add just a tad less milk, and roll out and cut.  I just spread my dough out in the pan and cut it like cake when it’s done.  This recipe will also make nice fluffy dumplings, just drop by spoonfuls into simmering chicken soup and cover for 7-10 minutes.

Yummy with soup, as breakfast, or to round out most any meal.

I think next week we’ll make that chicken soup.

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Easy Whole Wheat Artisan Bread

My sister asked me to post this recipe, but I think some of you will like it too.  If you’ve never made bread this one is almost goof proof.  I’m sorry there’s no picture, it’s usually eaten before I think of taking pics.

You’ll need a medium bowl, a pizza peel or smooth cutting board, and for best results a baking stone, although a cookie sheet will work in a pinch. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 C luke warm water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 3 C whole wheat flour
  • 3 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • corn meal for dusting pizza peel and baking stone

First mix water, salt and yeast. Let the mixture start to bubble, it takes just a minute or two.  Then stir in the flour a little at a time, mix well but no need to knead.  Cover loosely and let sit for about two hours at room temp.  Then refrigerate for a couple hours  or up to a couple days before free forming loaves on a dusted pizza peel or board.  This dough is sticky, so you’ll want a little extra flour for your hands.  Let the loaves rise for about half an hour then transfer to a dusted and pre heated baking stone.  Bake at 400 degrees until loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped. If you make smaller loaves it’ll be about 30 min, or 45 for larger loaves. 

Happy Baking, and Wendy, you know where I am if you need help.

 

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Today I’m linking up with Homestead Barn Hop, so I thought I’d share my tried and true recipe for Honey Whole Wheat Bread.  This recipe makes two 5×9 loaves.  Originally it called for only two Tbsp honey, but my husband likes it sweeter, so I’ve adapted it to his liking.  Pretty nice wife, huh? This recipe is forgiving so if you’re out of honey feel free to use regular sugar, it also turns out well using either butter or shortening in place of the oil. Recipes are more guidelines than absolutes, don’t you think?

 Ingredients and Method                                                                                                     

In a small bowl or measuring cup mix the following and allow double in bulk:                    1/2 C luke warm water                                                                                                         1/2 tsp honey                                                                                                                            2 Tbsp active dry yeast 

Next mix the following ingredients to form a smoothe batter:

2 Cups luke warm water                                                                                                         1Tbsp salt                                                                                                                                    1 Tbsp oil                                                                                                                                 4 Tbsp honey                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       2 cups whole wheat flour                                       

Now add the yeast mixture to the smoothe batter and slowly add approximately

4 C whole wheat flour

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes, then pour a small amount of oil into the bowl, return dough to bowl and turn to coat the dough. Cover and let rise to double.  For a finer crumb you may rise and puch down twice before forming loaves, or you may form loaves after one rising.  When you’ve formed your loaves, place them in oiled bread pans, cover and rise to double again, then bake at 400 degrees until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  It should take about 40 minutes. 

Enjoy!

 

 

Dehydrating Celery

It seems our family rarely uses and entire bunch of fresh celery before it turns limp and yucky.  I’m not sure why this happens, but I think it has something to do with the clutttered state of our refrigerator.  As a result, I started dehydrating any fresh celery I have left after I use it for a veggie platter or recipe.  It’s a snap to dehydrate, requiring no blanching, and it rehydrates beautifully in soups, casseroles, and pilafs.  If you have never dehydrated it’s a perfect place to start.

First wash the celery and chop it into quarter inch pieces.

chopped celery

Place it in the dehydrator trays making sure pieces aren’t too crowded.  Ideally they shouldn’t touch, but I don’t stress this too much since they shrink so fast that if they are touching they won’t be after an hour or so.

celery on dehydrator tray

Dehydrate at 135 degrees for about 8 hours.  I leave it in the dehydrator overnight.

dehydrated celery

One bunch, minus two or three stalks we used fresh, makes about half a pint.  If you don’t have a dehydrator you can use the oven on the lowest setting with the door propped open with a wood spoon handle, and check and stir the pieces now and then.  You know it’s done when its hard and the pieces are tiny.  I put mine in a closed canning jar for a couple hours to check if any moisture forms in the jar, if no moisture forms it’s ready for the pantry.  If it does (has never happened to me) you can put it back in the dehydrator for another hour or two.  To use it you just add a handful to any moist cooked recipe that calls for fresh celery.  Yummy!