Wednesday, October 12, 2022

What's For Dinner: What We've Been Eating of Late


So, instead of posting up Menu Plans like I used to do, I thought it might be more fun for me to post up some interesting thing we’ve eaten/tried out lately instead.  So, let’s kick off the first “What’s For Dinner?” segment!

1. So, first up, I had extra cabbage to use up even after canning sauerkraut up the ying yang (I know, hard to believe, but true).  So, I was watching “Tasting History with MaxMiller” and he made this dish called Bierocks, and I was more than a little intrigued, so I decided to make them for dinner one night, seeing as how I had ground beef, cabbage and sauerkraut in the house.  Instead of his bread recipe, though, I used my Easy Sandwich Bread recipe instead and just added a few things to make the recipe closer to the Bierock recipe.  And I have to say that it turned out REALLY well, with the exception of my inability to wrap the bread around the filling well for the first couple of buns.  I ended up having to freeze about ½ of them as the recipe made a lot and I packed them into my husband’s lunch a few times as I took them out and defrosted them in the fridge, but yeah…I am definitely bookmarking the recipe to make again in the future as it was really good!

2.  I processed the two pumpkins I had to process and put the puree in the freezer in 1 cup increments, but I had 2/3 of a cup of pumpkin left over, so I decided to make Celebrating Appalachia’spumpkin roll recipe.  It was (written recipe can be found here on her blog) super easy, didn’t take a ton of ingredients and was really, REALLY tasty!  I was really happy that it was so light and fluffy compared to the pumpkin rolls I grew up with in PA as those were so rich I had a hard time getting through an entire piece without my stomach telling me “no” *laugh*.

3. I found one lowly jar of raspberries in syrup that I had stored in the freezer last year.  I had already finished canning, so I tried to think of what I could use the raspberries for.  I decided, on a spur of the moment type of thing, to make them into sweet rolls.  I took the raspberries, thawed them, drained them (saved the juice and the daughter and I drank it with lemonade…so good!), mashed them, cooked them down with some brown sugar, cinnamon and a few spices and then rolled them up into giant sweet rolls.  I ended up putting cream cheese frosting on 2/3 and put buttercream on 1/3 (the daughter isn’t a huge fan of cream cheese anything, although surprisingly she did like the pumpkin roll).  They turned out well, but are filling, so I ended up freezing some of them to defrost for breakfasts in the coming months. 

4.  I tweak my quick sandwich bread recipe to make into rolls or sweet rolls (depending on how much sugar and things I add) and I really wanted cinnamon rolls one day.  So, I made 1/2 of the recipe into cinnamon rolls and 1/2 into dinner rolls to eat with chicken one night.  I will not say how many of the cinnamon rolls I ate, but I may have eaten roughly my body’s weight in them *laugh*.  I put cream cheese frosting on the cinnamon rolls, so that helps ;).  The regular rolls were good and we not only ate them with dinner one night, but the husband took them in his lunch a few times and the daughter carefully broke a few into very small pieces to chew for breakfast the last week.  Nothing had to be frozen or went to waste on that little venture :).

5.  We had left over beef roast that I had to do something with in the fridge, so I took it and ran it through our meat slicer (it was not the most tender cut of beef straight from the oven, unfortunately) to thin slice it.  I then made a batch of sandwich rolls (the son ended up eating half of them since one recipe makes 8 *laugh*) and we had French Dips later in the week to use up the roast beef (no pic of the sandwiches, as I forgot to take them, but enjoy the picture of the rolls instead :).

Those are probably the most creative things I’ve done the last little bit.  I know most of them were sweets this time, but I will share these posts when I have enough things to share *laugh*.  How about you?  Eaten anything interesting lately?

Monday, October 3, 2022

Summer and Fall Canning List, Part 2 (With Links When Available)


This year, I really do think I’ve canned (jarred/bottled) more food than I ever have before.  I’ve definitely put up more food volumes in the past (like putting up tons of pints of applesauce or something), but this year I did a lot of small batch canning, which might run out quicker, but will allow us to have more of a variety in our diets.  I have to say I was impressed.  I went through every single jar I had in the house and still had to go and purchase some more this year.  It’s been a long time since I did that.  So, anyway, let’s get to round two of the things I canned this year.  I’m going to start out with the repeat from the last list and the simple stuff and then get onto the more out of the ordinary canning I did.

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1.   Sauerkraut (Rounds Two and Three): 

It amazed me how much sauerkraut I put up this year.  I am happy too as I was able to space out my ferments so I didn’t have to can up like 30 pints of sauerkraut at one time or anything this year. 

With round 2, I ended up with two pints that failed to seal.  I tried different lids and reprocessing the jars, but it didn’t work.  I’ve had more than a few Ball lids fail this year, so it may have been that, but I think part of the blame has to rest with the “Yes I Can” jars I ended up having to purchase as my local stores were out of Ball jars.  I was not impressed with how rough the seam on the jars was and am convinced that helped the seals to fail.  So, those jars got put up to hold craft supplies or dried goods, but I don’t think I’m going to attempt to can with those particular batch of jars again.

I ended up using the two failed jars to make pork and sauerkraut for dinner the next night (when it became apparent to me that the jars weren’t going to seal I just threw them into the fridge and used them for dinner the next day). 

So, yeah, simplest recipe in the world here.  Just be aware it will stink up your house (and it does stink *laugh*).  Take pork chops or pork roast, throw it into a crock pot, cover with jars of sauerkraut (don’t drain, or if you do drain and rinse be sure to throw in more liquid) and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.  The pork will be delicious, but your house will smell.  Your welcome *laugh*.

2.  Apple slices in syrup (Source:  National Center For Home Food Preservation)

Apples were on sale a bit ago.  Cheap.  .99 a pound cheap.  I was enthusiastic to say the least as I immediately thought of canning some apple pie filling.  But, once I got the bags of apples on the counter I thought on it for a minute and decided that I would just can some apple slices in syrup to use in various baking things later in the winter.  I followed the recipe in the Ball book word for word for canning apples in slices, used the proper headspace, did the hot pack canning method…the whole shebang.  All of the jars sealed, but it worries me that the apples seemed to swell up yet more in the jars as they were water bath canning and there isn’t much left in the way of headspace in a few of the jars.  They did seal, though, but yeah…that was weird.  I haven’t had that happen with anything but beans before and those were pressure canned.  Just some of the weird things that happen when canning sometimes.

3.  Potatoes (Source:  National Center For Home Food Preservation)

I got a bunch of potatoes from the CSA this year.  They came coated with mud, straight out of the ground, and hadn’t been cured at all (cured is just a fancy way of saying “dried out” as drying them with good ventilation toughens the skin and helps them store longer).  I tried to dry them out as well as I could in my tiny kitchen, but it just wasn’t working.  When I realized they were going to go bad on me, I said to heck with it and canned them all.  Some, I canned in French fry shapes to drain, dry and deep fry later on, mainly as an experiment to see if they come out better this way so my son might start eating homemade French fries versus stuff that comes in paper cartons or plastic bags.  I had a bit of siphoning with the French fry cut potatoes because I opened my pressure canner a bit too soon (before the jars were cooled down enough), but not too terrible. 

I then ended up canning up the rest just cut into chunks.  I ended up with a lot more than I thought when it was all said and done (10 pints), but they will come in handy, I’m sure.  Those came out perfect.  No siphoning, no cloudiness from excess starch…I was really impressed how well they came out.

4. Green Tomato Relish (1/2 recipe.  Source:  Bernardin online.  You can also find the recipe in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving).

I harvested my green tomatoes from my tomato plant earlier in the summer and decided to can them up into a green tomato relish.  I've made this in the past and it is a really tasty relish, so I decided to split the recipe in half and make it again this year.  I did end up with 4 jars instead of 3, but hey, I was happy with the results overall :).

5.  Heavenly Fig Jam (Also can be found in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving).  Source:  Bernardin online.

I buy dried figs when I can find them and then keep them in my food storage.  This is one of the main ways I use those dried figs as I've found that the jam is excellent.  I especially love it to make my Pantry Friendly Fig Sauce, which goes excellent with pork.  It also always looks so pretty in the jars with how the fig seeds disperse so well throughout the mixture :).  

Just a note:  In the canning book I have the orange liqueur is optional, so I always omit it.

5.  Victorian Barbeque Sauce (Rhubarb BBQ Sauce)  Source:  SB, posting up recipe from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

I really love to pull this recipe out when I have enough rhubarb in the freezer that I need to use up before it goes freezer burned and dried out (which I've found to be a thing that happens with rhubarb).  So, this year was one of those years.  I had JUST enough rhubarb from my plant (it wasn't a good year for it with how the weather went hot so early) and from the CSA to make a batch of Victorian BBQ sauce.  

I do add about a tablespoon of liquid smoke to my BBQ sauce to give it a smoky flavor.  I've seen others add liquid aminos, or soy sauce or Worcestershire Sauce to the sauce instead, so I might try that next time I make it to see what kind of flavor it gives it.  I find that it just kind of cuts down the super fruity flavor the BBQ sauce has and gives it more depth to add the liquid smoke (which I asked my local extension service about adding it and they said it was find as that was considered a seasoning and would not effect the safety of the final product).

6.  Raspberry Juice (Source:  Bernardin Online)

My mother-in-law asked me to go over and pick raspberries one day as she was worried some of them were going to rot on the bushes if they weren't picked.  She has two different types of raspberries...a bigger domesticated variety and more of our wild raspberry variety at her place.  The wild variety are smaller and much, MUCH more powerful tasting than the domesticated ones and those were the ones this day that she wanted me to concentrate on picking, which I gratefully did.  We ended up with a big Ziploc bag of berries, but they were a mixed bag, literally, of both varieties of raspberries and I didn't think they would make very good jam.  So, instead of making jam, I decided to can raspberry juice for the first time this year.  I have found that it goes great in lemonade (I used some leftovers that didn't fit into a pint jar to try it) and if I find I'm not using it I figure I'll just use it to make jelly with later in the winter or something.

7.  Mixed Berry Jam  (Source:

I had a mixed berry frozen fruit combo that I had a really good personalized price on at Carrs.  I decided to stock up on it (I had the personalized price on it all month back in like June) and I just picked up one bag a week.  When I had enough I decided to make jam from what I had gotten, which I did.  And I have to tell you folks, this jam is AWESOME!  It was this one if you have a Safeway affiliate anywhere near you (no affiliate link on that one, just sharing the product image).  The daughter really likes this stuff and has already eaten through one jar of it *laugh*.

8.  Pumpkin Butter (not canned, but in jars so I'm counting it anyway *laugh*)

I found a bag of pumpkin puree in the bottom of my block freezer that I had shoved into my beef freezer for...reasons I guess.  But, I needed to use it urgently as I was about to put more pumpkin puree back into my freezer from the pumpkin I got from the CSA and the pumpkin the daughter decorated at the fall festival as they were both showing signs that they were going to go bad on me.  So, I decided to cook down the puree from the freezer and make pumpkin butter out of it.  I threw it into the crock pot with some sugar and spices (I combined like four online recipes into one to make it with flavors we liked) and just let it cook and cook and cook down.  It came out really tasty.  I waited until it cooled and then I put it in 1/2 pint mason jars and put them in the freezer for storage.  I'm looking forward to eating it on biscuits this winter for sure.

9.  Mock Pineapple Chunks (Source:  The 1870's Homestead on YouTube) and Black Currants in Syrup (Source:  H is for Harbinger).

I got a ginormous zucchini one week from the CSA and I knew I wasn't going to be able to use it all for baking recipes and things.  I could have shredded it and frozen it, but I have a hard time using it when I do that (kind of out of sight, out of mind somehow), so I grated a few cups to make zucchini bread with later on and the rest I seeded, peeled and chunked up and decided to try a mock pineapple canning recipe from that 1870's Homestead on YouTube.  I felt very comfortable water bath canning this recipe as you are pickling the zucchini in pineapple juice and lemon juice (both nice, high-acid liquids).  I have to say I tried a piece of it before putting the rest in the jars to can and it really and seriously DOES taste like pineapple. I'm going to enjoy using it in sweet and sour pork and pineapple upside down cake (chunks, slices, I don't care so long as it tastes yummy *laugh*) this winter! 

I also got a container of black currants that week and looking at them I KNEW they weren't going to last more than like a day.  So, on top of the zucchini that was not going to fit in my fridge since it was too huge and those, I decided to can them both together.  I cleaned the black currants (not a fun task I have to say as you have to remove the little beard thing from the currant which is harder to do than you might think) and put them all into a 12 oz jar.  I only had like 2/3 of the jar full, but I just shrugged and added syrup to the jar till it was the right headspace and processed the currants like that.  I'm figuring this is going to make more like black currant juice than anything, but I'll dump the jar into a pan, let it boil down and thicken up and we'll have black currant syrup on our waffles at some point this winter.  It works for me.

10.  Caramelized Onion, Maple, Balsamic Jam (Source:  The 1870's Homestead on YouTube)

This was one of those recipes that I was nervous about, but intrigued about as I wasn't sure if caramelizing the onions and then making jam out of them was safe.  Well, not only does Pamona's Pectin have a recipe for caramelized onion jam (Google it if you are curious), but the newer Ball Book of Home Preserving does too, so I found that this jam existed.  I ended up with four and half jars, so we just used the 1/2 of a jar for bacon sandwiches (so, so good!!!).  

I made the recipe at the daughter's request as she LOVES onions, so I bit the bullet and made her some.  I'm not sure all of what I'm going to use the jam in, but stay tuned as I'll share what I make with it as I make it.  So far I know it's great on bacon sandwiches anyway *laugh*.  It is definitely a luxury canning item for sure, but hopefully the daughter likes what we make with it (so far she likes it, anyway).

And there you go folks.  The rest of what I've been up to this summer and fall till now on the home preservation front.  Hope projects are going well for you where you are!