Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Short On Dough?

Who isn't these days. But that's okay!! It doesn't take alot of dough to make some amazing lunches or dinners for the people you love.  In fact it's a lot simpler than you may think. I love a good challenge in the kitchen whether it be a huge lavish feast, or yikes!!! time to get creative. So I'll share with you two easy, mouth watering good meals that are light on the wallet and  good for the soul too.
Here's an old tried and true, Pork chops and rice....
Pre-heat oven to 350.

Believe me this is so simple. (I crave this on stormy days). 1 1/2cups white rice, mix in 2 cans cream of mushroom soup . 
Add 2 cups milk and some salt and pepper. Mix all together.

Take 4 pork chops, bone in or boneless, salt and pepper well. Add olive oil to hot pan and sear till nice and brown on both sides.

Place pork chops in the pan with the rice and cover with tin foil. Cook for 30 mins in oven, then remove foil and cook another 15 mins or until the pork is cooked all the way through and the rice is done.( careful not to over cook the chops)

Looks Perfect!! Pretty good for only 4 ingredients:)
 This  is  another  great  meal Cream of Cauliflower Soup, with a kick!  Again, super simple and really tasty...With almost any soup I always start with the basics.

Little butter and olive oil sauteed with onion or shallots and 1 clove garlic chopped .Salt and pepper, oh and don't forget the pinch of flour.

Add to pan one head chopped cauliflower and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard..

Then add a couple dabs of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch or 2 of cayenne pepper. Stir then add 31/2 cups chicken stock. I used almost a whole large chicken boulian cube for this and just added the water to make stock. Simmer  on med- low for about 10 mins.

Once the veggies are cooked turn off heat, take a soup blender ( you can get real cheap ones at Walmart, they work just fine. Or a regular blender will work, just make sure to cool soup first then pour into blender, careful not to over fill)
and blend until smooth. Add 1 cup cream (or half and half) and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
Stir. Keep  heat on low till ready to serve.

This is so delicious I think I'll just have to have a bowl for lunch! Its so tasty and the mustard and cayenne gives it a little kick. I add sour cream for my little guy's bowl to give it a more mild flavor if it's too hot...he loves this and always wants more.
So at the end of the day its not whats in your wallet that matters most....I'd say its the people sitting right next to you.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rainy day meals..

With this perfect fall weather, rain, wind, and all, I find myself wanting to stay in. Snuggle up with a blanket and a hot cup of tea.( With pear or peach honey of course..http://canningwife.blogspot.com/2010/09/peach-honey.html)  But lets get real, the only time I get to snuggle up with a blanket is at bedtime! So I compromise. Parker my sweet boy goes down for his nap in the afternoon and that's when I break out my favorite tea and grab my magazines I've been neglecting.  Put my favorite old knit sweater on and head out the door. Just my porch, my chickens and me. Yes! Some quite time. Time to  read my favorite  mag's, sip some hot tea,  and look around at the beautiful blessings God has given me.  Then of course  my mind wonders to food. What to make???? After all its the simple pleasures in life isn't it? What makes me happy on a cool rainy day?? Yep, cooking. Soup? Chicken? Roasts?...so many wonderful options come to mind.Of course these days with a toddler running around things in my life have to be simple. But just because it has to be easy doesn't mean it won't be amazing! So as the rain starts and with the storm well on its way, I take note of the simple things...First lets start with  what I have...

Celery,shallots,leeks, white and red new potato's, chopped.

5 slices of bacon chopped and sauteed. Once browned remove from pot and add veggies,cook in bacon fat.

Salt and pepper:) Stir in a pinch of flour, saute for couple min's.

So this is where I use my leftovers, I roasted a chicken last night with onions,fennel,carrots and mashed potato's. I added this to my pot but if you don't have this then just add some shredded rotisserie chicken from the store. Works great in soups.

Okay in this economy why waste a drop? Unfinished white wine goes great in soup! Just a dab. Then add 3 cups chicken stock. Simmer 5-10 min's. Add 1 cup cream or whole milk, stir and keep on low till ready to eat. Don't forget to add the bacon back in the soup once ready to serve.

Not bad for a leftover soup!

This was so good and great to cozy up with a bowl on a stormy night. Serve with bread, salad or just by itself! This was a fun soup to make on a rainy day and its just another great reminder that sometimes the simple things in life are the best things.

Beauty taking some cover from the rain.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Days like these...

Long ago in land far, far away there lived 3 beautiful maids....

Meghan lived in cute little house and her days were filled with sewing amazing little gifts for her friends and cooking incredible meals for her hard working husband and 2 beautiful daughters...but sometimes she longed for something else....

Ange spent most of her days turning women into fairy princess and making them the most beautiful women in the land. She also was a very talented writer and an amazing wife and mother. Even though Ange had been blessed with many wonderful gifts she still felt like something was missing....

That's me in the white, I spent most of my days standing over a big pot of boiling water preserving food for my family. I also am a mother and wife to my loving husband and beautiful son. If I wasn't in the kitchen or out finding beautiful castles for people to live in, you can find me out on our little farm tending to the chickens...even so I was feeling like I just needed to take a few hours away, to a magical place called ....
Willamette Valley Vineyards!!!

This is what was missing!! Some much needed and very deserved girl time. Time to relax and sit a while,  enjoying  wonderful food and wine with wonderful friends. Some days its important to just get a way  so that you get your time because even though we love our everyday blessings we still need that time where we can sit and just RELAX ....oh and don't forget the wine:)

The end...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Pear Story.

I started with 40lbs Comice pears. I was a little worried at first, what in the world was I going to do with that many pears??? I didn't even really like pears that much to begin with. It was my overwhelming addiction to canning that encouraged me to buy them...:) So after canning sliced pears in  a light syrup,( which by the way are amazing! ) making pear candy not on purpose( which is not amazing) And making pear butter yum yum, then today succeeding with pear honey...I of course made some appetizers so what else could I do??? . Well there was just one thing left to do....make a pear pie! I started browsing the Internet for recipes but nothing grabbed me. So I decided to take a chance and just go with what my little heart desired.....

Amy's Pear pie
Make your crusthttp://canningwife.blogspot.com/2010_09_01_archive.html check out my apple pie blog for the crust by clicking the link above.

Once you've made your crust your ready for your pie...

Peel core and slice, sprinkle with half cup sugar, half of a lemon  and 3 tablespoons heavy cream and 1/2 cup flour.

Add 1 cup brown sugar, couple dabs of nutmeg and cinnamon
and 1/4 cup slivered almonds.
Take a half stick cold butter cut into cubes, mix all dry ingredients in with the butter like a crumble. Place in top of pie.

Then place your other half of crust on top. Brush on egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Have oven pre heated to 425, bake for 15 Min's then reduce to 350 for 45 Min's, let cool 1 hr.

Enjoy with someone you love:)  I made whipped cream with cider butter. Next time I will add dried cranberry's and white chocolate chips into the pie....but this was so incredible just as it was.

This was the perfect pie to make on this perfect fall day.

Pear Butter

Pear honey

Pears in a light syrup.

That's pear sauce on my right.

I now can say with confidence, I love pears!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soup please...

I really get the entertaining bug in the fall. I  am constantly cooking and trying out new fun and savory recipes. But I always have my favorite FALL backs:) Like Tuscan white bean soup. Sounds plain I know but seriously once you've tasted this silky smooth and creamy soup you will  crave it... and their is  only like five ingredients!! Here's the recipe http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/tuscan-white-bean-and-garlic-soup-recipe/index.html I 've made this so many times I never even look at the recipe anymore.

Butter, olive oil, salt, pepper and shallots.

2 cans white beans.

 Just promise me you'll make this soup just once this fall and tell me what you think! I love to serve this with a spinach and cranberry salad, and toasted rustic bread on the side. Pair with your favorite Zin and you've got a meal  that's worthy of your best guests, your family and friends.

Garlic and sage

Mix in beans and sage, stir.

Add your broth,  garlic and simmer.

Let soup cool after simmer and ladle into blender. Blend and pour back into soup pot.

Turn heat to medium and add your cream

Hungry yet??

Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste.

Loving the simple life.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Roasted pears filled with fig jam and wrapped with bacon

Okay, so this was a spur of the moment recipe I came up with about 2 hrs before I had to be at my parents house for dinner and I was in charge of bringing something wonderful. Now mind you I have a toddler, and a lot to do during the day, and sometimes a quick run to the store for some fancy recipe in a book just isn't that simple. What could I make??
You might think that since it's just a dinner at my family's house that a bag of chips and salsa would do but then again you haven't met my parents! Of course they would be  happy as can be to just have us there, but, at my folks house when your invited for dinner you sort of expect a feast.. a celebration of food, wine, and fellowship. Chips and salsa just wouldn't do.
That's when  I decided to pretend I was on that show Chopped :) Seriously I did, and I could only use 4 ingredients.
That's when I came up with this tasty EASY recipe :)
Roasted pears filled with fig jam and wrapped with bacon. Here's what I did:

Peel, core and slice

Pre-heat oven to 375

Place a tablespoon of fig jam in the center of pear and wrap pear with bacon.

Let roast for about35-40 minutes until bacon is done.

Place in serving dish and top with mascarpone cheese.

ENJOY! These were delish and gone in about 5 minutes.  You could also use pancetta instead of bacon and next time I will slice the pears one more time so the bacon will wrap easier.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Perfect Pear

Pears, pears and yes more pears! Forty lbs of perfect Comice pears. I wasn't sure if I was even going to attempt to can pears this year. All I really know about pears is that I love them with cheese, wine, and several appetizer type dishes. Otherwise, for me anyway, pears can be too grainy...But of course I started thinking of how great pears would taste in the dead of winter in a pear crumble, or enjoying fresh pears with cottage cheese for breakfast...hmm. I decided I would just go and take a look at the farmers market to see what they had and at what price. I had been reading about all types of pears that were in season and I knew Bartlet's were considered your canning pear. But I also knew Comice pears were so sweet and delicious. I figure its like wine, why cook with a wine you hate?? Well, why can with a pear I wasn't that in to? I went to the market and what'ya  know, out of Bartlett's....too bad. Comice??? Big beautiful crates of Comice :) $28  for 40 lbs. Deal! So here we go....
40lbs Comice Pears

Wash, wash

Peel,core and cut.

After making a sugar bath for the pears and letting them sit in a gentle boil take pears out of sugar bath and put in to sterile jars...aren't they gorgeous??http://www.pickyourown.org/pearhoney.htm I love this website its so  informational and believe me you never waste any of the fruit.

20 min bath

Save your peels for pear honey


Pear sugar bath. Save to use in pear tini's and pear honey.
Sirly loves to crow from up high.

Loves this old farm house..

What are you thankful for?