Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chicken & Spinach Quesadillas

It's good to have a plan "B". This morning when I went to pull the corn tortillas out of the freezer for our soft taco casserole, they were unrecognizable. Yes, they were freezer burned and pathetic. The chickens were glad to get them, me, not so much. Still wanting a bit of Mexican flair for supper, I pulled some precooked and seasoned chicken from the freezer from the last time I fixed quesadillas and headed to the garden to harvest spinach.
When I cook my chicken I usually simmer several legs quarters at a time with garlic, onion, cumin and chili powder. I shred the chicken and freeze what we don't use, which is good when you need a plan "B" supper. Strain and save that broth! It is a wonderful addition to white chicken chili or a pot of beans.
To put together the quesadillas, I saute onion slivers until almost done and toss in the spinach. Cook until wilted. Brush flour tortillas with a bit of butter. Layer 1/2 tortilla with chicken, spinach and onions and your choice of  grated cheese. Fold wrap over chicken filling and cook over medium low heat until cheese is melted and tortillas are brown. Serve with salsa. Plan 'B" is good!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Homemade Baked Beans

Homemade yes, baked no. I once again used my trusty crock pot to create these yummy beans. These were a last minute "that sounds good side", so I used my pressure cooker to help get them done for supper. In addition to my regular crock pot (that already had white beans in it for soup) I have a Living Well Pressure Cooker. Not only does it pressure cook, it stews, browns and slow cooks as well. I love it!
I used cranberry beans in my recipe because I think they cook up creamier but you could certainly use pintos, white beans or even baby limas. After using the quick soak method for my beans I pressure cooked for about 30 minutes. I then added the remaining ingredients, pressure cooked another 25 then slow cooked  for the rest of the day, about 6 hours or so. Slightly sweet and smokey tasting from the bacon, they were delicious served with the pork roast my husband had smoked. Slaw and deviled eggs completed the meal~

Homemade Baked Beans
2-3 cups dried beans (soaked overnight or using quick soak method)
water to cover
Pressure cook for 30 minutes.

1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
5-6 pieces bacon finely chopped
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
Stir into beans and pressure cook another 25 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker and cook about 6 hours.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tonight's Homestead Meal- Mega Meatballs & Spaghetti

During the summer I canned a basil marinara sauce that is perfect to serve over the mega meatballs and spaghetti we are having tonight. I am using venison that my son hunted and our farm raised lamb, but you can use ground beef or even turkey. This time of year I add spinach from the garden but during summer months I toss in grated zucchini to add some vitamins and fiber. With a salad freshly harvested out of the garden and a slice of flax seed bread our meal is complete. 

Baked Mega Meatballs
1 lb. each ground venison and lamb
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion. finely diced
1/2 -3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups wilted spinach
1 tsp Italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
Wilt fresh spinach in butter and let cool. Mix all other ingredients in a bowl and add spinach and mix well. Make meatballs in balls that fit in a muffin pan. Bake @ 350* for 25-30 minutes. Makes about 14.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cream of Celery Soup

I can't take full credit for this recipe. A friend of mine created it and I just twisted it a bit. Her original can be found on her website Homestead Letters. The link is on Life on the Homestead.
Part of eating from the homestead is not wasting food or running out to eat fast food, it is using what you have. I ended up with 2 heads of celery this past week and the first needed to be used quickly. With the exception of the celery everything in this recipe came from the farm. My original thought was to add cream at the end but it was so delicious as is, I left well enough alone. Enjoy!
                                                         Cream of Celery Soup
                                                   1 whole head of celery, cut up
                                                   2 heads of roasted garlic (yes whole heads!)
                                                   1/2 large onion, chopped
                                                    crumbled dried sage and parsley to taste
                                                    dash of white pepper
                                                   1 quart chicken stock
Put all ingredients in a pot, cover and simmer until tender. Process in blender until smooth and creamy. You may need to check to make sure the strings are fully ground, I had to process twice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hen Of The Wood Mushroom

Today I was gifted with a couple of pounds of Hen of the Wood mushrooms. Also known as Maitake, it is a highly medicinal mushroom known to have immune boosting properties and to fight cancer. Last year I froze a lot of this mushroom but plan to dehydrate the bulk of them this go round. First though I had to make a soup with some of the fresh ones! I started out by sauteing them with lots of onion and garlic until tender. Then I added a jar of my home canned beef stock. Seasoned with thyme, salt and pepper and let it cook for most of the day in the crock pot. Right before serving a splash of cream skimmed from the goat milk from yesterday. Yum.
To dehydrate them I washed the mushrooms really well, which you can do because of the thick flesh, and placed them in my dehydrator for several hours. Once dehydrated I put in canning jars to store. I will use these re-hydrated in pieces or grind them and add to soups and stews for added flavor and health boosting properties.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tonight's Homestead Meal - Meatloaf


I'm sure everyone has their own version of meatloaf. Ours here at the homestead is pretty basic. Farm raised beef, onions, eggs, fresh bread crumbs and seasonings.I usually use Italian, salt & pepper. Form into a loaf and bake. Most people overcook and dry out their meatloaf so keep an eye on it and bake just until pink is gone from the meat.
For the green bean casserole I will open a jar of french style green beans canned earlier this summer and mix with my homemade cream of mushroom soup. (Recipe follows) Served alongside the pan fried okra it makes a comforting and delicious meal. Unfortunately my camera is on the fritz so you will have to take my word for it. It looks and smells awesome ;o))
                                            Cream Of Mushroom Soup:
                                             1/4 c. chopped mushrooms
                                             1 tbsp. finely chopped onion                                             
                                             3 tbsp. butter
                                             3 tbsp. flour
                                             1/4 tsp. salt
                                              1 c. milk
Saute mushrooms and onions in butter. Blend in flour and salt and cook until bubbly. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook until thickened. Once you use this you will never buy another can of Campbell's again!!