Monday, July 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - July 26th through August 1st

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Summer seems to have really given my organizational skills a kick in the pants.  I can't get my coupons organized, stick to a menu plan, or even stay on schedule.  It's been horrible.  The kids go back to school in two weeks, so I am hoping that will help to return our house to more of a routine.  Last week we were not able to get to everything on our menu plan so they will be making a return appearance this week.

Monday - Salmon Croquets, Scalloped Potatoes, Baked Beans

Wednesday - Sloppy Joes, Homemade Hamburger Buns

Friday - Bali Maki, White Rice

Saturday - Eating Out

Monday, July 19, 2010

Roasted Salsa Recipe for Canning

I love fresh salsa, and have always used the same recipe for years, however it is quite a labor intensive recipe.  Yesterday I had quite a few tomatoes to use up, and knew that using my regular salsa recipe would take me all day so instead of using my normal recipe I went for a roasted recipe that was much less work and tasted great.


About 7 to 8 pounds of tomatoes (I used a mixture of Roma and Celebrity)

Several hot peppers (I used a mix of Chile, Cayenne, and Kung Pao)

7 large green peppers

3 large onions

6 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 cup of lime juice

4 tablespoons minced garlic


One of the reasons that a roasted salsa is so much easier is that it doesn't require a lot of chopping, the vegetables just need a rough chop.

  Cut tomatoes up into chunks.  For the Romas I just cut the tomatoes in half, and with the Celebrities I cut them into quarters.  I left the peel on them.

  I like a hot salsa, if you don't like a hot salsa you can skip the hot peppers.  I used a handful of red Chile peppers, about 3 or 4 Cayenne peppers, and a couple of Kung Pao peppers.  This made for a spicy salsa but not an unbearably hot salsa.  If you like more or less heat simply adjust to meet your tastes.  With the peppers, I simply washed them, and cut the stems off.  I left them whole, and with the majority of the seeds in them.

With the green peppers I cut them into large strips.  I removed both the tops and the seeds.

I simply sliced the onion into about seven or eight large chunks.

After all of the vegetables were cut I mixed them together and put them in my large electric Broaster.  I then drizzled the olive oil over them, then I added in the lime juice and minced garlic.  You could easily use whole garlic and roast it with the vegetables but I didn't have any on hand.

I roasted the vegetables at 300 degrees for three hours. 

I apologize for the lack of pictures for the last few steps.  I was in a hurry and didn't get them taken.  I will try to take some the next time.

After the vegetables were through roasting, I scooped the vegetables out in spoonfuls and placed them in my food processor.  Since we prefer a thicker salsa I tried to avoid getting the juice into my processor.  I then used the "pulse" function on my food processor to mix the vegetables up.  After I ran it through the processor I poured the salsa into a large bowl.  Since I had so much sala I couldn't put it all into my food processor at once so I just processed it a little bit at a time.

After I had processed all of the salsa, I stirred it all together. 

The next step is to spoon the salsa into pre-heated quart jars.  Please pre-heat your jars since you are putting hot salsa into the jars, you can do this in the dishwasher or in a pot of boiling water.

After you have filled your jars, you will want to wipe the rims clean, and put on lids. 

Tomatoes are one of those fruits/vegetables that are borderline on acidity.  Some sources will say salsa can be canned using a water bath canner, others will say you must use a pressure cooker.  Since I have a pressure cooker, and tend to err on the side of caution I processed my jars in the pressure cooker for twenty-five minutes at eleven pounds. 

This recipe produced about eight quart sized jars of salsa.

Menu Plan Monday - July 19th to 25th

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

It's been another hot and busy week around here.  We have been busy working in the garden, canning, and freezing.  This week is going to be a weird week for us.  My oldest son is currently staying with his grandparents, and my youngest daughter will be leaving for camp, which means we will only have two kids home.  I don't think I even know how to cook for four people anymore! 

Here's what I have planned for us this week:

Monday - Chili Dogs ( I know not the most nutritious but they are quick and easy!)

Tuesday - 2 doctors appointments so we will be eating out

Wednesday - Hamburgers, Baked Beans, Seasoned Potatoes

Thursday - Roasted Spaghetti Sauce (look for recipe soon), Italian Herb Rolls

Friday - Bali Maki (look for recipe soon), white rice

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Homemade Rotel for Canning

Many of you know that I have just recently discovered Rotel, and instantly fell in love with it.  With my tomatoes from my garden just starting to come in I decided to can my own homemade version of Rotel, and it turned out great.  Here is how I did it.

1.  First you will want to blanche and peel your tomatoes as I described in this post.

2.  Next chop up your tomatoes you will need about one gallon of chopped tomatoes for this recipe.

2.  Add in 1/4 cup cut up Chile peppers (I used red but green will work as well), 2 cups of diced green peppers, one large diced onion (canned Rotel doesn't have onions in it so you can leave them out if you want but I wanted onions in mine), 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar.

3.  Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken.  Once it begins to thicken remove the Rotel from heat.

4.  You are now ready to fill your jars.  Since you are putting hot Rotel into the jars you will want to heat the jars before filling them.  I do this by placing them in the dishwasher and running them on the sanitize cycle.

5.  After you have filled the jars, stick a plastic (do not use metal!) spatula into each jar to remove any air bubbles.

6.  Before placing lids and rings on jars, be sure to wipe off the rim of each jar.

7.  Process jars in a pressure cooker for thirty-five minutes at ten pounds.

Blanching and Peeling Fresh Tomatoes

I have finally gotten my first tomatoes from my garden, and I am super excited!  Yesterday was the first time I finally had enough to do anything with, and I thought it would be the perfect time to share how I blanche and peel my tomatoes for freezing and canning. 

Before I start I want to apologize for the bad quality of my pictures.  I had my husband and 7 year old son helping so I didn't get the chance to get as many pictures or as many good pictures as I had hoped.  I plan to replace these later.

1.  Rinse and clean tomatoes.

2.  Place a large pot of water on stove to bring to a boil.

3.  While water is coming to a boil you will want to cut the stems out of the tops of the tomatoes.  I also cut out bad spots or bruises at this time.

4.  Flip tomato over and cut a small "x" on the bottom of the tomato.

5.  Once water has began boiling fill a sink with cold water and ice.

6.  Place tomatoes in boiling water and let them sit in it for one minute.  I only put a few at a time in the pot because you want to get them out of the hot water as quickly as possible.

7.  Immediately after removing tomatoes from boiling water you will want to place them in the sink of cold water and ice to stop the cooking process.

8.  The tomatoes are now ready to peel.  If you gently pull the skin starting at the "x" it will come off easily.

9.  Once the tomatoes are peeled they are ready for use in your recipes. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - July 12th to July 18th

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

It's been quite a while since I have blogged.  It's been a busy few weeks around here, and we have been undergoing some major changes as a family.  On top of all that we are busy with our garden, and I have lots of great recipes to share.  So be looking for some great new recipes over the next few weeks - including some freezing and canning recipes.

So here is my menu for the week:

Monday - Chili Dogs

Tuesday - Kikkoman Chinese Pepper Steak (using peppers from my garden) with white rice

Wednesday - Spaghetti with Italian Sausage, Bread Machine French Bread

Thursday - Crockpot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes (using potatoes from my garden!)

Friday - Chicken Cordon Bleu, Restaurant Style Smashed Potatoes

Saturday - Hamburgers, Macaroni and Cheese

Sunday - Steaks, The Best Baked Potatoes, Sauteed Mushrooms, Yummy Dinner Roll Recipe

Sometime this week we will be trying the Pioneer Woman's Panko Mozzarella Sticks.