Cheap Delicious Fresh Salsa

Cheap Delicious Fresh Salsa

Tis the season for the best stuff of summer to be getting cheaper and more abundant! Yay! My favorite time of year! I had a hankerin’ for salsa today so here is what I did:

I got my prep cook:

stir fry9

She cut the tomatoes since my eczema is acting wonky today. We used about ten of them I think. Then I cut the onion and the jalapeno and the cilantro. We then tossed it all into the food processor.

salsa2

Added some lime (I am not shy about the lime!) and some salt. As you can see in the pic, that is a lot of salt. You can use less. (I recommend it.) I added a butt load more tomatoes (hence ten) to take out the saltiness. So That much salt is good for about two batches. Maybe add a little and taste it till you find how you like it.

Turn on the processor.

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Pour into a bowl and enjoy.

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If you have never made your own salsa before, it’s really all about your own taste preference. Make adjustments as needed. Salsa is usually pretty forgiving. It is easy to fix and adjust.

I took some of this salsa (since I had to make so much) and put it in the freezer. I know most people can their salsa but I wanna see how it thaws and if this is something I can make in huge batches of to save. I don’t like the idea of canning because that cooks the salsa which defeats the concept of “fresh” salsa; not that frozen is “fresh” but it’s not cooked. I will update the blog on how it turns out.

I should also say, I used one single jalapeno for all of this salsa. My mouth is very warm!. Winco sells these monstrosities they label as jalapenos but they are huge! Not like any jalapeno I have ever seen! I suppose I could have gotten away with half of one!

UPDATE: 

Frozen fresh salsa thawed, tastes just fine, however is a bit thin and watery.

Stir Fry To Die For

Stir Fry To Die For

Tonight’s dinner was so amazing! I went all out on the meat (hoison marinated pork tenderloin), budget on the veggies and pre made on the sauces but who cares? It was delicious and that is what is most important. My belly feels like it might explode! I am so full. Okay here is what I did:

First, I got my prep cook and cut up all the veggies and the meat. The meat, of course, I sliced super thin. Here is my prep cook:

stir fry9

Veggies and meat are now cut.

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There are a few things that I didn’t pull out of the fridge til after this was shot like tomatoes and bean sprouts. Now the sauces:

stir fry2

Of course the main sauce was still in the cupboard when I took this. I use the stir fry sauce you can get from any supermarket. I think it is Kikoman. Same brand as the soy sauce and rice vinegar. Notice the soy sauce as well as the liquid aminos. I have a gluten freebie in my house so we have cut as much soy from her diet as possible as well as gluten. In fact, my prep cook, is the one who struggles with gluten.

Next, heat the pan to super hot with oil already in it then drop in some onions, green peppers, red peppers, and celery.

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Let those cook while stirring till they start to change color and look translucent. Add in your big veggies like broccoli, carrots (if you like em), snap peas, etc. Add a few tablespoons of water. I continually add water (A tablespoon or two at a time) while I am cooking to keep everything steaming and to keep that stir fry noise nice and loud throughout. After a few minutes, add the fast cooking stuff like mushrooms, bean sprouts, etc. Cook for just a few more minutes and remove it all from the pan. Now add some of your meat to the pan and cook on both sides about 2 minutes total

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then add all the veggies back to it. Add a smidge more water if you need to. It is now that you add the last few items like noodles and tomatoes if you like em. I like tomatoes in my stir fry. I have been told that is weird. Whatever.

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Cook for just about one more minute and add the stir fry sauce to taste. I also added a smidge of sesame oil and a smidge on rice vinegar. I dished it up.

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Added a few drops of fish sauce. Let me tell you! This dinner was A MAZE ING!

Post note:

I usually add yellow squash and zucchini to my stir fry and I am not sure why I didn;t this time. I guess I forgot but that is another way to beef it up and stretch it out. I like the way the zucchini and squash take up the flavor of the stir fry. It is usually a nice addition.

Been A While!

Been A While!

Good day to you! I have been so busy lately that food has taken a backseat for me in my house. We have been unenjoying such delicacies as grilled cheese and tomato soup and bbqed hamburgers and hot dogs while I have been finishing up the year of school with my kids. I have also written my first novel and am hoping and praying to get it published! Update on that later. I have a brand new book idea that has taken hold of my ability to concentrate even while part two of my first novel awaits all of my attention. I foresee my summer being full of writing, and putting next year’s curriculum together. I will try, I promise to cook some delicious foods and post pictures and directions so you all can drool and then make them yourselves. By the way, if you do decide to make anything I post and you love it, let me know. If you hate it, I suppose let me know that, too.

Tonight I will be stir frying. Stir fry is one of my favorite dinners but we don’t get it often cuz it can get costly. One would think that produce is cheaper than buying ready-made meals but let me tell ya, it adds up. It doesn’t help that I am using hoison marinated pork loin for the meat, though. That alone was $5.99 a pound. For my family of five I bought about 3-4 pounds. Yikes! But we don’t splurge often so it’s okay to do it sometimes. It doesn’t have to be expensive, though. If you are on a tight budget, you could easily use chicken and whatever veggies are on sale. Farmer’s market season is almost here! Get the veggies from them for less and they are healthier! I can’t wait!

I’ll post tonight the process and the deliciousness of my stir fry oh and pot stickers. No stir fry would be complete without them.

Have a great day!

Beer Can Breakfast Burgers?? Are you kidding?

Beer Can Breakfast Burgers?? Are you kidding?

I have been seeing these beer can burgers all over my Facebook page since I joined my smoking group and I couldn’t wait to try them. The other day, while shopping at Winco, I came across a smokin deal on ground pork and swiped it all up. Now I have a freezer full of pork and not sure what to do with it all. Then I got to thinkin. Every time I get to thinkin, I end up blogging lol. I thought, what if I made some breakfast beer can burgers. Hey! That actually sounds really good! I had some breakfast sausage flavor up in the cupboard I could throw into the ground pork to make it sausage and then… Here is what I did:

2 lbs ground pork

2 TBSP sausage seasoning (could have been more)

Before going any further, I took a little piece of the sausage and threw it into a pan until it was cooked through and tasted it to make sure there was enough seasoning in it. I’ll look around and see if I can find the sausage seasoning recipe and post it here. It makes about a year’s worth or better. Anyway, once the flavor was right I started putting it all together.

I balled up some of the pork and pushed a cup into it then pushed the pork up the sides of the cup so it formed a sort of bowl. I would have used a beer can but I didn’t have one so I improvised 🙂 then I wrapped a strip of bacon around the pork and gently pushed the whole thing off the cup. This was tricky. It took a little dexterity to get the meat back off the cup. I cold beer would have been better for this part. Anyway, after getting the meat off the cup I messed with it for a minute to make sure the “bowl” was formed then I set each one on a piece of folded foil and then onto a cookie sheet. I added a little ball (you can use a cube or shredded) cheese to the middle. In a bowl I mixed up about 6 eggs, turns out I only needed about 5 but no worries, my kids ate the leftovers 🙂

Into the eggs I poured some cooked onions, red/green bell peppers and garlic and whisked but not too much. You don’t want to beat the eggs too much they will fluff up. While fluffy eggs are lovely, not so much for this project. Pour that mixture into the sausage bowls and they are ready for the smoker.

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I smoked them for about an hour or so between 200-300 degrees. The temp was at 200 when I put them on but it rose to 300 by the end which was fine.

on the smoker

Then I finished them on the grill. When I set them up onto the grill, they were still pretty soft so I left the foil for a few minutes while they cooked and once they were a little more sturdy I took the foil off to finish them up.

all finished

I used a meat thermometer to check the centers of them for doneness and pulled them at 160 degrees.

I personally do not eat eggs so my kids were the guinea pigs. They have given me rave reviews on this one. I hope you all try it and it works out well for you, too! I can’t wait to try new combinations!

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As a little extra bonus, you could plop these bad boys right between an English muffin! Mmmmm!

I think it was this recipe I used for the seasoning:

CRADLE ROCKING MAMA’S SAUSAGE SPICE MIX

– 8 or 9 tsp. dried sage
– 7 or 8 tsp. salt
– 4 tsp. black pepper
– 4 T. brown sugar*
– 1/2 to 1 tsp. ground cloves
– dash of some pepper: paprika, chili powder, cayenne

 
  1. Measure out your spices.
  2. Dump them in a bowl.
  3. Whisk them together.
  4. Store in a labeled container.
  5. Use 4 tsp. of the mix per pound of meat.

You can find more on her blog at http://cradlerockingmama.com/homemade-breakfast-sausage/ 

Smoked Pork! Oh my goodness!!!!!

Smoked Pork! Oh my goodness!!!!!

Ok, so I was going to throw my pork into a crock pot and forget it and then later come back and pull it and call it pulled pork. Hey, what can I say I am a home school mom with a bunch to do. But then I joined a group whose theme is smoking and grilling and whatnot and started slobbering as I read through the posts in the group. I decided how dumb am I to crock my pork? Today I spent 9 hours manning my smoker. My classroom was in the backyard. Hey I am a home school mom and we can school anywhere 😀 So, here is what I did: It all started last night. I made the rub: 1/2 cup white sugar mixed with a little maple syrup (I didn’t have brown sugar so I improvised). 1/4 paprika I used the smoked paprika you can buy in bulk at Winco 1 TBSP each of onion powder garlic powder chili powder black pepper salt 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

pork rubbed

Adjust this rub to your own taste. I rubbed this all over my roasts after I rinsed them and patted them dry. Then I covered them and put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning I pulled them out and threw em onto the smoker after it was hot and ready. I kicked back and enjoyed the songs of the birds and the breeze and the sounds of my daughter reading to me or doing math. This is the smoker I used. Nothing fancy, but it does a really good job!

smoker

I really like the taste and smell of Frontier brand lump charcoal and today I tried chunk hickory instead of chips for the first time. The chunks are way better. I used some dry and some wet just depending on the level of smoke I wanted the heat inside the smoker. If it was getting on the hot side I would use wet chunks and if it was cooler I threw in some dry ones. I brushed the meats with some olive oil a couple hours in to keep them from drying out. Also, make sure your water bowl has water in it. The water helps to even out the distribution of the heat and it keeps the inside humid which also aids in maintaining moisture in the meat.

pork on smoker

At the stall, I wrapped the meats in foil and put them back on the grill and increased the heat to 250. Once the meats hit an internal temp of 200, I pulled them off and rested them for an hour under heavy towels. Once the meat was cooled and pulled I made a vinegar-based sauce using these ingredients:

1 c Cider vinegar

1/2 c Hot water

1 TBSP Smoked paprika (you can use regular it’s okay)

2 TBSP Dark brown sugar

1 tsp Black pepper

1 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix the brown sugar with the hot water until dissolved then mix everything else together and pour over the meat. This sauce added a tang and spice that was a real kick in the mouth! Adjust the ingredients to your own taste but you can’t go wrong with this recipe. So to balance the tang and spice of this sauce in the finished product, I also made a white barbecue sauce that was a real hit with the family. Here is what I did:

1 c Mayo

1/3 c Cider vinegar

1 tsp Water (not sure what that was for but whatever)

1 tsp (or more heehee) Worchestershire sauce

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp Garlic powder

1/2 tsp Onion powder

1/2 tsp Black pepper

1/4 tsp Hot sauce (I used Tapatio)

Whisk it all up and viola! White barbecue sauce southern style!

No pulled pork is complete without a good coleslaw. I went looking online for a good recipe but didn’t find anything that particularly enthused me but I did find some inspiration. For mine, I didn’t really measure I just threw things together. Here is an estimated recipe:

1 cup of mayo

1/2 c sour cream

1/4 c white vinegar

1/4-1/2 c white sugar

2 TBSP black pepper

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup sweet relish

1/2 tsp of celery seed

I mixed it all up and poured it over my cabbage which I shredded in my food processor. The slaw added a nice mild flavor to the meat. All-in-all, my mouth was jazzed trying to wrangle all the different flavors and textures in the sandwich. One thing I would change is I would not have used regular hamburger buns. That was dumb. I recommend using a hoagie roll or something that absorbs juice without getting soggy. This is a JUICY sandwich!

 pullerporsammich

I didn’t stop there, though. As I sat there thinking about how wonderful this meat was going to be when I eat it this weekend I got to thinking about dinner for tonight. I knew I wanted to cook up the pork Spare ribs I had in the freezer and thought, “what the heck? Why don’t I thaw them and throw them on the smoker too?” So I did. I gave em a rub down with the same rub (I had leftovers) and tossed em in with the roasts after the roasts were foiled. Before long, they were done so I put them in a pan, poured in my preferred beverage:

smoking beverage

covered it with foil and left the pan in the smoker a while longer.

Here is what those babies look like!

pork spareribs

There are four of them in there. I know my pictures suck but the lights in my house are just not conducive to capturing true color. Anyway, dinner was so yummy! I served this with tomato/blue cheese salad and broccoli.

Buffalo Burgers

Buffalo Burgers

So, the other day at Winco I found some yellow tag meats in one of the cold cases and at first was like hmmm what is this? So I picked it up and saw the price was $3.15 on the yellow tag so I looked for the original price and saw $8.89! The label said ground bison. I thought hmmm. Ground bison. I always heard buffalo was amazing and for $3.15 a lb I think it is a smokin deal! So I grabbed four pounds of it.  I found a good price on Jimmy Dean sausages, too. So, yep, I grabbed four of those, too! Four is a lucky number for me. I like four. It may be an OCD thing. Anyway, I invited a friend over the other day to share my bounty of buffalo meat. Here is what I did:

I took my four pounds of meat and one pound of the sage flavor Jimmy Dean’s sausage and mixed em up. I dumped in a bunch of onion powder and some of that super yummy garlic rub they have Winco right now in bulk and mixed it all up.

Here is the kicker! I shredded Gouda cheese and stuffed my burgers with it! MMMMMM!!!!! Once all that was done, I threw em on the grill for about 5 minutes per side then put em on the buns with all the fixins! Even bacon and avocado! This girl knows how to eat!

That bison meat is well worth every dang red cent of that $9.00 per pound I didn’t have to pay! Oh ya, and I made spaghetti with the leftover meat cuz I still have about two pounds left even after feeding seven people. That spaghetti… BOMB!

One day when all the kids are at camp and you want to have a date night with your honey and you wanna fix up something you can’t usually afford, I highly recommend bison meat! I’m really sorry I have no picture for this blog. I ate the burger before I could get my phone out.

Better Than Store-Bought Refried Beans! And Cheaper!

Better Than Store-Bought Refried Beans! And Cheaper!

It is really hard for me to justify spending a dollar on a can of refried beans when I can buy a couple of pounds of dry beans for less than 2 dollars and end up with three quarts of them only mine taste better and I know what’s in them. I had a bag of pintos lying around today so I thought I’d do em up since I didn’t have any cans.

Here’s what I did:

I dumped em into the pan and covered em with water and brought them to a boil.

beans

I shut off the stove but left the pan on the burner. They sat on the stove for a bit after that, maybe an hour. Then I dumped in some dehydrated onions (don’t be shy), and dried oregano, butter (bout a half stick) and Himalayan salt for flavor. I dumped 8 cups of water in and stirred then brought that all back up to a boil. I turned the heat down to med low or low and covered the pan and let em cook a good 3-4 hours until they were soft enough to smash with a hand masher.

I prefer my beans to be smooth so I put them through the food processor and while they ran I added a pinch or two of celery salt and a few more pinches of onion powder. I actually tend to use a lot of onion powder. I love that stuff.

refried beans

bagged beans

Bag em up and toss em in the freezer. Viola! Delicious homemade refried beans made with all healthy ingredients. I think these can also be dehydrated for non freezer storage if you have dehydrator mats. I might try it myself and see how it goes and then I’ll update this blog with the results.

Cost of beans $1.60

Cost of butter $0.38