Harry Potter Holiday Feast

A while ago I had bought myself The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. My family and I are big Harry Potter fans so this purchase was an easy win. We went through a very long process of deciding what we wanted to make. As we were flipping through the book I noticed that all the recipes in this book contain no exotic ingredients. As in I don’t have to travel to a weird off the beaten path shop to find 1 required ingredient to complete any of the dishes found in this book. Everything needed for each recipe can be easily found at any local supermarket. After much deliberation, we decided to make Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings(pg 64-65) and a Custard Tart (pg 190-191). The recipes we chose were a little more labor intensive than my normal recipes, stew from scratch and 2 different dough from scratch, so I had to enlisted the help of my fiance to get everything done within a reasonable amount of time. First thing we did was sit down and plan out a time table of about how long it was going to take to make each dish. We calculated that it would take a minimum of 3 hours to make both recipes. Our game plan was to make this on a weekend so that we weren’t rushed trying to make everything in less than 3 hours.

We began by making the Tart dough the night before. You can make the dough the day of but once the dough is made it can get refrigerated for up to 3 days.

We started by adding flour, sugar, and salt into our mixing bowl and mixing these ingredients around a little to combine. Then we added in the small pieces of cold butter. Since we do not own a food processor we made due with a manual dough kneader. Knead the dough mixture until the butters is kneaded into a corn meal consistency (grainy instead of powdery).Then we added an egg yolk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract and began mixing with a  spatula to make the dough come together, It was a tiny bit dry we we added another splash of heavy cream wot make things a little easier. Once the dough has fully come together we transferred it to a piece of plastic wrap and wrapped it up. The dough can remain refrigerated for up to 3 days.

When we were ready to get the crust baked we pulled the dough ball out of the refrigerator, unwrapped it and placed in on a lightly floured table space. We also turned on the oven to preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Using as rolling pin and flour to prevent sticking we rolled out the dough from a ball to a roughly 11 inch circle. If its too difficult to roll out the dough, let it set out for a few minutes. This allows the dough to thaw out a little bit and to  be more cooperative about being rolled out. Once the dough is rolled out to an 11 inch circle carefully pick it up and lay it over the un-greased tart tin. then carefully begin pressing the dough into the ridges and bottom of the tin, cutting off the excess at the top. Keep the excess pieces in case there is some holes you can press in the excess dough to fill the holes. Once you tart dough is fully pressed into the tin, we placed a sheet of aluminum foil over the top and filled with uncooked rice to use as weight to prevent the dough from puffing up during the blind bake. The recipe in the book suggests freezing the tart shell for 10 minutes before adding the foil and weights. This is to make make sure the butter is frozen before the baking process begins, If you don’t touch to dough too much and have it extra chilled this freeze step isn’t necessary. We placed the tin into the oven and allowed to bake until the dough looked dry( approximately 20 minutes). Once dry, reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until golden (approximately 8 minutes). Once the tin goes into the oven you need to begin preparing the Custard.

Begin by adding milk and cream into a saucepan  over medium heat. Gently bring to a simmer do not bring to a boil. While waiting for the dairy to warm up,  add egg yolk, sugar, and corn starch into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. This next part is difficult. If done incorrectly you will end up with scrambled eggs and goop instead of creamy custard. Using a glass measuring cup, scoop out at least a 1/2 cup of warmed dairy mixture from the saucepan. Slowly pour the warm dairy mixture and whisk into the yolk mixture to temper the liquids. Once both mixtures have been successfully combined pour the tempered mixture into the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Continue gently warming the custard stirring continuously with a wooden spoon allowing the custard to thicken up.  You can tell the custard is thick enough when you pull the wooden spoon out of the mixture and swipe your finger across the back. A cooked custard will still be liquid but will hold the swipe line in place. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add butter and vanilla extract and stir until combined. Once the custard is ready, immediately begin pouring the custard into the  tart shell. Fill close to the top but leave a little breathing room at the top. Carefully put the tart into the oven. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degree Fahrenheit and bake until the custard puffs up and is jiggly, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set on a wire cooling rack or a thick towel on an open table space because I have no idea where the wire cooling racks have disappeared to. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Next up, homemade herb biscuits to go with the beef stew. Begin by adding flour, salt, baking powder, black pepper, and all the herbs into a bowl. The recipe uses ground sage, ground thyme, dried marjoram, and chopped fresh parsley as the herbs mix. Whisk by hand or set on low in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whisk mixture together to combine the ingredients. Add in pieces of butter to the mixture and rub it with your fingertips in the mix until it resembles a coarse meal.  I have shoulder problems, which means that sometimes mixing the butter in by hand is a difficult task. One shortcut I use to at least cut down on the amount of time needed to hand mix is cut the butter into smaller than normal pieces and whisk at a 10 second burst of high speed mix with my fingertips for a little bit and then another 10 second burst if needed. Generally a coarse meal is a mixture that is grainy instead of powdery. Once you have achieved a coarse meal texture, add eggs and milk and mix with a rubber spatula to bring the dough together. Once you have 1 large clump of dough wrap it in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator until needed.

My fiancee and I decided that it would be easier for us to use the electric skillet to make the beef stew because the skillet has a really nice lid to use for the dumpling part. To begin making the stew we add some oil to the skillet and turn on the heat to medium-high. Sear all the beef pieces in batches if necessary, remove from skillet to a plate to rest. Once the beef has been removed add a little bit more oil and toss in the chopped onion and reduce to medium-low heat. stir the onions to prevent from sticking to the skillet until onion are softened. Once softened, add in flour and stir until combined. Pour in the chicken stock and stir to combine the flour and onion. Then add in the seared beef and its accumulated juices, salt and black pepper and return the heat to medium-high. The stew will need to be stirred occasionally until chicken stock has thickened and is bubbling. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for one hour. After one hour has passed add the chopped carrots, celery, and potatoes into the skillet. Allow to simmer for one hour stirring occasionally. After one hour has passed give the stew a good mix before adding in the dumplings. Remove the dumpling dough from the fridge and begin pinching off 1 inch dough balls into the stew. It is important that your hands are a little wet otherwise the dough will stick to your fingers instead of fall into the stew. Cover with a lid and let the dumplings steam for 30 minutes.

Dishing up and serving our meal is definitely the best part of this delicious meal. There was no leftovers.

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Custard Tart:

  • Tart Crust
    • 1 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
    • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
    • 1 stick  cold butter, cut in small pieces
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 2 tablespoons Heavy Cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl a mix to combine. Add butter pieces and mix until the mixture is a coarse meal. Stir in egg yolk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract and keep stirring until well combined. Remove from bowl and form a disk then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. remove dough from fridge. Unwrap and roll out dough on a floured surface. Roll out at to approximately an 11 inch circle.  Carefully transfer to tart tin. Gently press the dough into the corners of the pan and remove any excess.

Freeze tart shell for 10 minutes. Line the pan with aluminum foil and fill will pie weights/uncooked rice. Bake until the dough is dry and set, approximately 20 minutes. Once in the oven begin the first step of the custard recipe. Reduce heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking until crust is golden brown, approximately 8 minutes.

  • Custard
    • 1 Cup Whole Milk
    • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
    • 3 Large Egg Yolks
    • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
    • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Heat milk and cream in a saucepan until it is hot but not simmering (do not boil). While waiting for the dairy to heat up whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth. Scoop out and slowly pour 1/2 cup of the hot dairy mixture into the egg mixture whisking vigorously to prevent the eggs from becoming scrambled. Once well combined add the tempered egg mixture into the hot dairy mixture int he saucepan. increase to medium high heat stirring constantly until the mixture thickens up.Do not let the mixture come to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract.

Raise the oven temperature to 375 degree Fahrenheit. Remove the tart shell from the oven and pour the custard filling into the crust.  Carefully put the custard tart into the oven to back until the custard has puffed up and is still slightly jiggly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove form oven and allow to cool completely before releasing the tart from the tin and serving


 

Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings:

  • Herb Dumplings
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
    • 2 tablespoons milk
    • 1 egg

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, black pepper, and all herbs. Add pieces of butter and rub through mixture with your fingertips until it is a coarse meal.

Whisk milk and egg together and add to the coarse meal mixture.Mix with a rubber spatula until a clump forms.Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until needed for the beef stew.

  • Beef Stew
    • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 pounds chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon flour
    • 1 14 ounce can chicken broth
    • salt and black pepper to taste
    • 2 carrots, cuts into 1 inch pieces
    • 2 ribs of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 4 potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wide skillet. Add the meat in batches to sear on all sides. Then transfer to a plate. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook over medium-high heat until until softened.

Add the flour to the skillet and stir to combine. Pour in chicken broth, browned meat and its juices, and salt and black pepper to taste stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and stir occasionally until thickened and bubbling.Reduce heat to a simmer and let the stew simmer for one and a half hours.

Add carrots,  celery, and potatoes to the skillet. Stir to combine. Let the stew simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Wet hands and pinch off 1 inch of  the dumpling dough at a time and drop into the stew.Cover the skillet and let simmer for 30 minutes until the dumplings are cooked.

 

Homemade Ketchup

Since my post about making tomato paste, I felt I needed to show at least one of the cool uses of tomato paste. The most common and, in my opinion the easiest use, is home made ketchup.

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I start off with measuring out my dry spices and dumping them into a bowl. I find that 1/2 tsp of each is more than enough. For this recipe I used salt, black pepper, cumin, ground mustard and ground oregano. Feel free to mix and match different spices for different flavored ketchup.

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next I add 1/4 a cup of apple cider vinegar and mix everything well. If you need to use less vinegar, compensate by adding water. This 1/4 cup of liquids is what helps give the ketchup the right consistency.

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Using a whisk I add in a couple of spoonful of tomato paste into the bowl and mix well. And repeat until I have used enough tomato paste to achieve a nice consistency.

This time though I had made just enough tomato paste to fill this little mason jar so I added a little at a time until I ran out of tomato paste. Once you are done mixing you can use the ketchup right away or store in a container and refrigerate.

Tomato Paste

This year’s garden didn’t do so great. Mostly due to not great weather. We lost our zucchini to being over watered by the amount of rain we got. The green bean barely had a chance to produce a few beans before the plants died for the season. Luckily though the tomato plant is one that was definitely a late bloomer but definitely got a good harvest out of it! This year I grew heirloom roma tomatoes which are perfect for turning into homemade tomato paste!

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Here is my first batch of freshly picked tomatoes for the season! To get started with this recipe the tomatoes need to be thoroughly rinsed to remove any debris from the skins. I do not peel my tomatoes before cooking so it is important to clean the skins well.

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Next I remove the stems if there are any and slice each tomato in half and remove the seeds. Once each tomato has been prepared, it goes into the pot on medium heat.

I allow the tomatoes to break down into a nice tomato sauce consistency before I carefully ladle everything through a mesh strainer and into a heat resistance bowl.  This gets all the tomato skins and any stray seeds out of the tomato sauce.

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Once all the tomato skins have been removed, the tomato sauce goes back into the pot to cook some more. At this point you want to evaporate as much water as you can out of the tomatoes.It should have a soft paste-like consistency, typically it takes about 30 minutes to achieve this consistency. If you want to season this tomato sauce with anything now is the time to do it. Normally I add a little bit of ground black pepper, salt , and oregano. But feel free to add or omit any seasonings.20190929_2004573372372794616261983.jpg

After 30 minutes, remove the tomato paste from the pot and spared evenly on the bottom of a shallow pan. I used a squared glass Pyrex for this and it worked out really well. You want to spread out as evenly as possible because this will be going into the oven. Uneven layer will cause thinner spots to burn and thicker spots to hold onto more moisture. Once you have the tomato paste spread out as evenly as possible place it into a preheated 200 degree oven. This will slowly evaporate more of the liquid out of the tomatoes and concentrate the tomato flavor. Check and mix every 15 minutes so that the tomato paste does not burn. Typically this takes about an hour and a half until you achieve a paste consistency. Remove from oven and allow it to cool down before putting the tomato paste into a storage container. Tomato paste has many different applications in cooking. Stick around for part 2, Homemade Ketchup!

 

 

 

Nut-Free Pesto with Pasta and Veggies

Today was a hard day for me. Grandma would have been 91 today. While it was easy holding things together to get through my workday, after work was another story. I had made plans to pick up a bundle of Gladiolas and bring them to her. I got extra lucky and my Fiance had finished work a little early and was able to be there with me and help me get the flowers situated  in the vase. After a few emotional moments we headed home and decided we should make a recipe of grandma’s that I have tweaked and changed. Grandma’s recipe is a basic pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, with olive oil. My recipe includes the addition of chicken, and a pesto instead of using just oil to coat the pasta

20190812_1631126637389299058216408.jpg I start by prepping the chicken and cutting them in half through the middle so that they will be thinner pieces and will cook more quickly. I just add a little salt and pepper to the cut breasts and pass them off to my fiance. He prefers to have the chicken cooked on the grill. While I wait for the chicken to be cooked, I start getting my pot for pasta coming to a boil and get some butter melting in a skillet for my veggies.

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I slice up my veggies and toss those in the skillet with salt and pepper and let them cook. Once the pasta water come to a boil I add in my pasta. This time we used fettuccine but literally any shape will work for this recipe. Once everything is cooking make sure to keep the heat on low so that we can make the pesto without worries of burning or over boiling.

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Pesto is pretty simple. Though unlike a normal pesto, I cannot eat pine nuts so this recipe is nut-free! I add in all the needed ingredients, garlic, basil leaves, salt, pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar, and then blend.

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Typically I blend for a few seconds, stir the stuff on the stove and repeat 3-4 times. The pesto will look a little watery but all the pieces should be finely chopped. Once the pesto is ready I let it sit until the pasta and veggies are finished cooking.

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When the veggies are cooked I shut off the burner and let them sit until the pasta is ready. Because I used fettuccine it takes just a little bit longer to get all the noodles cooked.  Once the pasta is ready I drain out the water and flip the noodles into the skillet with the veggies. I add in a glob of butter and mix it around to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

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Once the butter is melted I pour the pesto onto the pasta and mix it around. You need every bit to be coated by the pesto. I know this doesn’t look like much sauce but it is enough for the amount of pasta and veggies.

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Once the pesto is fully mixed into the pasta, I plated my pasta and veggies into a bowl, added my chicken and of course some Parmesan cheese! Its definitely a favorite anytime I make this recipe there is usually no leftovers!


Ingredients

  • 1 box of pasta
  • 1 or 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 or 2 yellow squash, sliced
  • 3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 container of Basil, leaves only
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 4-6 cap fulls of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. thinly slice chicken breasts. Add salt and pepper to taste. cooked until no longer pink in the middle. let it cool then slice up into bit-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. Fill a pot with water and bring to boil. Add in pasta. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to a skillet. After most of the butter has melted, add in the chopped squash and zucchini.When the veggies are cooked turn off heat.Once pasta is cooked drain water and add pasta to skillet with veggies.Toss in remaining 3 tablespoon of butter into pasta noodles to avoiding sticking.
  3. While pasta and veggie are cooking add basil, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to a blender. Blend for 5-10 seconds using the blend setting. repeat 3 to 4 time until pesto is watery and have fine basil and garlic pieces. Pour pesto over pasta and mix until  well combined.
  4. Serve pasta in a bowl. Add the chicken and Parmesan and enjoy!

Meaty Zucchini Pasta Sauce

I occasionally get bored with my normal pasta sauce routine. Brown some ground meat dump some sauce in and let simmer. I recently felt like I needed to change it up a bit. So I wandered my grocery store until I found this combination to try with my sauce.

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I start this off by chopping up some prosciutto and throwing it into a skillet with some oil. The pieces will stick to each other, which is fine. I try to break up the clusters of meat as much as possible while the meat gets crispy.  The meat will need to be stirred around occasionally to make sure all parts are crispy.

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Once the meat is nice and crispy, I add in the zucchini and summer squash pieces to the skillet. I cook this down quite a bit, sometimes it is necessary to add a splash or 2 of  water to keep everything from sticking to the skillet. I also add a very small amount of salt, a generous amount of black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Keep the use of salt to a minimum since there is a lot of salt in the prosciutto. But you will need to add a  little salt to help break down the squashes.

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Once the zucchini and summer squashes have been cooked enough, I pour a jar of tomato sauce into the skillet. It is important that almost all of the liquid is gone from the skillet before adding in the tomato sauce.The water needs to evaporate away otherwise your sauce will be too runny. As the sauce simmers I taste test and adjust the seasonings. It is important to not add any more salt at this point, otherwise it will be a very salt sauce. While the sauce is simmering away I cook my pasta. Once the pasta is cooked I drain the water and add some butter to it to help prevent the pasta from sticking to itself once the water is gone. I do not run cold water over the pasta after it has been drained of water. I use the heat of the pasta to melt the butter.

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After the pasta is cooked I add a little into a bowl. Then add my sauce to it. And of course some parmesan cheese goes on top. Then enjoy!


Ingredients

  • splash of oil, canola or olive
  • 1 package of prosciutto
  • 1 zucchini, cut to your liking
  • 1 summer squash, cut to your liking
  • pinch of salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • onion powder to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • cooked pasta
  • 3 Tbsp of butter, preferably unsalted

Directions

  1. Set a pot of water and bring to boil. Set up your skillet with a splash of oil with the heat set to medium. Allow the oil to warm up and coat the bottom of the skillet.
  2. Add chopped prosciutto to skillet. allow the meat to get crispy. Stir occasionally to help get the meat evenly crisp. Once the prosciutto has reached desired crispiness, add in the cut zucchini and summer squash.  Stir around a little bit then add in the salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir to prevent the veggies and meat from sticking. If oil is completely gone and there is some sticking add a splash of water.
  3. Once the veggies are fully cooked add a jar of tomato sauce to the skillet. Stir to combine ingredients. Set stove to low and allow to simmer. Add pasta to boiling water. Once the pasta is cooked drain and add 3 Tbsp of butter to noodles and stir.
  4. Serve up and top off with parmesan cheese, if desired, and enjoy

 

 

Made in Rememberance

The past month has been such a mix of emotions and anxiety. On Februrary 20th I got the call from my Aunt informing me that my Grandpa had passed away. For me this was extra rough becuase Grandpa taught me all the skills no one else thought I should learn. Like gardening, basic electrical knowledge, how to tell the difference between tools, when to use duct tape vs when to use a bit of wire, etc. He really sparked the creativity in me because he believed that there is more than 1 way to fix a broken object.

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He lived to be 95 years old and was always being silly for a picture. I literally haven’t had time to do anything besides funeral stuff and trying to console grandma and help get her situated with her new life changes. Since things have settled down a little, and I could finally have an evening at home, I decided to make one of the many favorite meals I’ve made for grandpa, Beef Stew.

I don’t use many measurements for this recipe. This was mostly an indulgent dish for grandpa because of his health issues he had some dietary restrictions. I heavily altered the original recipe to sneak in some things that he could eat every once in a while.

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I prefer to get the pre-cut beef stew meat but if that isn’t available, such as this particular meal, I get a nice London Broil and cut it up in into cubes. I throw the cubes into a bowl and add some flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and then mix it up until the meat coated. Once coated I add a little oil, grandpa preferred extra virgin  olive oil, to a large pot and allow it to heat up. I then dump the coated meat and any excess seasonings into the pot. While the meat is browning I slice up 1 onion, 2-3 carrots, thoroughly wash 1 small bag of baby potatoes, and trim and rinse 1/2lbs – 1lbs of green beans. DO NOT USE CANNED GREEN BEANS! canned green beans will turn to mush and/or dissolve away in the stew because they are already cooked. Plus they won’t be able to take much of the flavor from simmering in the stews juices.

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Once the meat is mostly browned I toss in the sliced onion. I then let the meat finish browning and allow the onion to get soft. I also add a bit more salt and pepper to help break down the onion a little bit faster. If needed, add a little bit more oil so that things do not stick to the pot.

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Once the meat is browned and the onions are soft, I add in the carrots, baby potatoes, and 1 carton of unsalted beef stock/broth. I allow this to simmer for a few minutes before I begin adding in spices.

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After everything has been simmering for a few minutes I add in a few bay leaves, a generous amount of salt and pepper, and my special secret spice. My special secret spice is 1 cap full of ground corriander. I know its a very untraditional beef stew ingredient and it kind of sound like a large amount but trust me it’s delicious.

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I stir the spices around and put the lid on the pot and let everything come up to a boil. Once at a boil I add in another non-traditional beef stew ingredient, green beans. Adding in the green beans made this feel like a more filling meal. I give everything one last good stir and then put the lid on and let the pot simmer for at least an hour.

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Once the potatoes, carrots, and green beans are fork tender its ready to be eaten. Don’t forget to take out the Bay Leaves before serving up! If you’re feeling extra indulgent, you can add a sprinkle of your favorite cheese on top.

Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie

Its been a cold and blustry winter this past month and a half in Michigan. I feel like it is time to share one of my favortie winter meals, Chicken Pot Pie. While I do have a from scratch recipe, its more difficult to do as an after work meal so this version is a little more of a dump and cook recipe. This is also a good recipe for finishing off those half bags of frozen veggies.

To start off I melt a little butter and olive oil in a pan. Once melted I add in the chicken pieces.

I let it go until its browned nicely. I don’t add a whole lot of spices until the cream of chicken is added in. After the chicken has been browned I dump in the veggies.

Tonight I had a few half full bags of frozen corn, peas and carrots, and green beans. I add them to the pan with a little more butter and allow it to cook until tender. Once tender I add in the cream of chicken soup. For my recipe I use the cream of chicken with herbs that way I dont have to go rummaging for too many spices. My family prefers a thicker gravy like consistency so I use 2 cans of cream of chicken and about 1/2 a can of chicken broth.

After the soups have been added I reduce down to a simmer and start on the biscuits. I normally go for a refrigerated tube of whatever is on sale and sounds tasty. While the pan is simmering away I set up the biscuits to bake.

It’s important to not cook these all the way through, because the biscuits will be going back into the oven, but you still want them to look a little golden. Once the biscuits are ready, pour the pot pie mixture into a greased pyrex dish and top with the biscuits. I like to flip my biscuits upside down so that the bottom will get crispy.

Once everything is set, I pop the dish into a 400 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes. Sometimes its more, sometimes its less, it all depends on what level of crispiness you prefer your biscuits.

And here it is fresh out of the oven! After allowing it to cool and thicken up a little bit its ready to be eaten. I like to add a handful of cheese to my bowl before digging in!

White Grape Jam

My grandmother had made a request for some grape jam so I had to make some for her. I use a very basic recipe of grapes, sugar, pectin, salt, and for a little twist I add lime juice instead of lemon juice/zest.

I begin with getting a bunch of grapes and enlisting some help to cut, peel the skin off, and remove the seeds of every grape. Then put the grape goop in a bowl.

It’s quite the challenge because this took me, my boyfriend, and his son almost 3 hours to complete. So needless to say, after this we put the lid on the bowl of grape goop and called it a night. The goop can stay like this for about 24 hours in the fridge before it tries to freeze or alter the quality of the grapes.

When I was ready to begin making he jam I put all the ingredients except for the sugar into the pot. I let it all break down a little bit before I add in all the sugar (about 10 minutes) and mix everything together. I then usually set it to very low and leave it alone for 10-15 minutes. At this point I do a taste test and add whatever is necessary. Then allow it to simmer until the grapes are mostly dissolved and theres a syrup like consistency.

After the jam is at the perfect syrup consistency, I then strain of the solids and allow the jam to cool a little bit away from the heat. I have just enough time to get my jars together before it cools too much. If it cools too much a small spatula will be needed to transfer the jam into jars.

Once the jam is poured into the jars. I allow it to cool for 30 minutes before I put the lids on.I let the jars sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours to allow it to set perfectly. Then I like to make a bunch of toast and enjoy! ❤

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of grapes, peeled and pitted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons pectin, I prefer the low sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • clean mason jars and lids

Directions

  1. Slice each grape in half to remove the pits/seeds and peel and put into a container. I ended up using a container with a lid so that I could store the grape goop overnight.
  2. When you are ready to begin, dump the grape goop, pectin, salt, and lime juice into a large pot on medium heat. Allow  this mixture to break down for 10 minutes, stirring occassionally. After 10 minutes you can add in the sugar and then let the mixture simmer still stirring occassionally
  3. When the mixture turns into a syrup -like consistency remove from heat. Pour into a measuring cup to help with the cooling and pouring process. Cooling should take about 3-4 minutes. Then evenly pour the grape jam into the mason jars. Allow the mixture to continue to cool while in the jars. Once they are cool enough, place the lids on the jars and put the jars in the refridgerator.

Tomato Jam

Probably my last ripe tomato harvest for the season. I decided to go with a long term use of turning these tomatoes into a delicious tomato jam.

These guys are pretty big and at various stages or ripe. I somewhat followed a pintrest recipe because time and ingredients were an issue.

General basis of this recipe is chop up the tomatoes, throw the other ingredients into the pot and let it simmer. The original recipe said to simmer for 4-5 hours. I really dont have that kind of time to hover over a pot waiting for liquid to evaporate so I used a higher heat for a longer period of time before switching to a simmer.

This process helped evaporate a lot of the liquid quickly in under 30 minutes and without compromising texture too much. In the end I was able to get it all done in about 2.5 hours and boy is it tastey! Through some experimentation, we discovered that our favorite way to consume this jam is to replace it as the BBQ sauce on top of Meatloaf.


Tomato Jam

Ingredients

  • 4-5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 (or more) Mason Jars w/lids

Directions

  1. Rinse and chop all tomatoes. I also removed all the seeds. Place chopped tomatoes into a medium stock pot on medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir frequently until the pot begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to stir frequently for 30-40 minutes. This help to evaporate the liquid faster. Once it begins to look a little thicker, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer. Once the texture has thickened up to a jam-like consistency, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  2. Prepare and clean mason jars. Be sure to dry out all wetness from cleaning. Carefully transfer the jam into each mason jar. Allow to comletely cool before adding lids and refrigerating jars.