Aaaah the holidays. A special time of the year when friends and family gather to bask in the warmth of their relationships and enjoy some really good food. So much food in fact that oftentimes the day afterward can leave you scratching your head. Wow, there’s so much food leftover! What do I do with it all??
Well when you’re tired of eating the same leftovers over & over again, the freezer can be your friend. Or my favorite: planned leftovers. That’s where you make a whole new meal from those delicious leftovers.
Take that turkey & dressing for instance. RancherMan loves when I make Turkey & Dressing Patties from them. It’s like Potato Cakes, but with turkey & dressing instead. Come see.
RancherMan & I were planning a day trip to visit my dad. When we go for a visit I like to take any meal-planning pressure off him. I’ll typically whip up something super easy & portable to bring with us so he doesn’t feel he needs to put on a spread for us. On this day I decided a big pot of soup would fit the bill quite nicely.
We typically leave early in the morning so we can drive the 3 hours for our visit. We’ll stay all day and plan to be back home around 10 that evening.
Since I’ll be whipping up this soup early in the morning I need a lazy-cook’s recipe. You know, a recipe where I can just start with some cooked ground meat, open a bunch of cans, dump it all in a slow cooker’s crock and GO!
I was baking some Beer Bread recently. As I pulled out the ingredients for my bread I noticed I was dangerously low on baking powder. But wait, didn’t I see a large container stashed way in the back of the pantry just the other day?
I dug around until I found it. Wow, it’s apparently been in the pantry for quite some time. But it seems such a waste to just throw it away. I wonder if it’s still good… So I decided to run a quick test.
Y’all know I love to make my own broth, right? I mean, when I found out how simple it was, and how cheap, and healthy – there was just no reason NOTmake it. Just plunk some bones into a pot of water and then cook them until they’re broth. I don’t add veggie ends or seasoning of any kind. Just pure bone broth.
I typically pour that cooled and strained broth into plastic jars and store them in the freezer. But too many times I’ve failed to properly plan in advance & I’ve had to chunk frozen broth from the jars for my recipe.
So now that the weather’s cooler and I don’t mind heat & humidity from the kitchen coming through the house, I figured I’d can it this time instead. Don’t be intimidated by a pressure canner, y’all. Canning broth is easy.
I try to invite my parents to supper as often as I can. There’s just something about breaking bread together that bonds us. Plus it’s much less expensive to invite them to a simple meal at home than to meet them at a restaurant. And it’s much nicer to visit in a home setting too. So recently I invited them over.
I made a plan to cook a simple Instant Pot Roast as the main entree. A side of green beans and breaded Potato Cakes was planned for sides. But dad loves that I serve dessert when I invite them over. So I also planned a very simple dessert. Fried apples… with a twist.
Since I’m baking bread so often I went looking for ways to shorten my bread-baking tasks. Let me tell ya, whether using a bread machine or mixing & baking it up the old fashioned way, these shortcuts make homemade bread a breeze!
I love cheesecake, y’all. I mean really, really love cheesecake. But I’ve always been intimidated to try to make it myself. I mean – water bath in the oven? The top cracking if you didn’t cook it just right? The 2-part pan leaking in the water? It just sounded so… finicky.
So instead I always enjoyed my cheesecake at a restaurant table, #thankyouverymuch.
Then I read someone saying that the reason you bake it in a water bath in the oven is because it must have that moisture. Without that moisture you’re doomed to have a dry, cracked cheesecake. This person said that’s why a pressure cooker is the perfect way to make cheesecake. There’s naturally lots of moisture.
I’ve made yogurt for years, neigh decades. It was the very first self-sufficient step I ever took. Back then looking at those non-recyclable (in my area) plastic yogurt tubs that I was forced to throw away, I just figured there had to be a better way.
And there WAS.
I started making 1/2 gallon of Stove-Top Homemade Yogurt every week or so since then. I’ve never looked back! But now there’s this Instant Pot craze. So I took the plunge. And there’s a yogurt setting on mine too. Hummmm…
Okra is a powerhouse in the garden. Heat? Drought? Poor soil? It just seems to laugh at it all! My garden struggled this year due to the prolonged cool, wet spring. When the sun finally did come out & the temps warmed, many of the things I’d planted had already given up the ghost. But not the okra.
Now okra will produce you out of house & home if you let it. So I only planted four (count ’em – f-o-u-r) plants! It’s been about right to supply RancherMan & me with okra. But I’ll need to harvest & accumulate enough okra for frying up for us. Thankfully it’s easy!