Apple Cranberry Butter

  • 5 apples
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 bag cranberries 
  • Cinnamon stick 

Cook in a large pot until mushy. Remove cinammon stick and blend. Add:

  • 3 Tbsp apricot brandy
  • 1 jar honey

Cook on low heat several hours until mixture reaches desired consistency. Refridgerate or can.

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(Not) Crab Dip

My husband and I both really enjoy seafood, although we can’t always afford it. The one knock-off we regularly use is imitation crab meat. It’s great for adding to pasta, vegetables, or eggs, and I also use it in hot and cold crab dips–though I guess here it would simply be seafood dip.

On their trip to Alaska in September, my parents brought back a selection of salmon items, and my mom made smoked salmon dip with some of it. It made us both want some dip of our own, so this weekend I planned and made a hot dip. This is based on a recipe from someone at church, and not for those watching their weight.

Unfortunately I completely forgot to get a picture of it, so I used a stock photo instead.

 

Hot Crab/Seafood Dip

Ingredients

  • 8–16 oz. seafood, cooked
  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Parsley
  • Dill

Method

  • Cut seafood into small pieces
  • Combine all ingredients except half of the cheddar cheese and the panko
  • Spread into casserole dish or baking pan
  • Cook at 350F for 20 minutes
  • Top with remaining cheese and panko
  • Cook for another 10 minutes
  • Cool and serve while warm

 

We tend to eat our dips with whatever’s on hand, but usually crackers. Wheat thins are our favorite.

Weekend Warriors, Kitchen Edition

After the past weekend, I feel very productive. Although most Saturdays involve both cleaning and cooking, we were also home more than usual on Sunday and cleaned out the fridge. This followed the freezer cleanout on Saturday. Both, naturally, led to other projects. Suffice it to say, I did a lot of cooking and consolidation–not all of it planned. I also made myself a nice breakfast Saturday. I could spend days doing this stuff and hardly leave the house, so I feel rather accomplished, though we’ll see how long that lasts.

Further, I’ve been on a quest to use up the entire bag of limes I bought last week. Not my usual citrus purchase, so I figured why not change it up a bit?

Saturday morning starts out with a round of dishes. Pretty normal so far. Next, a large pork roast with a marinade of soy, honey, garlic and lime juice from here. It was an 8 lbs. roast at a ridiculously low price, and has been taking up way too much room in the freezer ever since. It just fit in the crock pot. Doubled the marinade recipe. But, most of freezer problem solved. Pork is delicious.

There were two peaches left from the week, which isn’t enough to make fruit butter. However, there was a pint of blueberries in the freezer. More space in the freezer, and no wasted fruit. It made exactly 1 jar and 3 spoonfuls (guess where they went?).

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Blueberry Peach Butter

  • 2 peaches, cut into large chunks, skin on
  • 2 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey

 

Meanwhile, I’ve done a second load of dishes, started the big pot for iced tea, and seriously debate whether to make breakfast. Seduced by runny eggs and cheese, and the oil-herb cubes in the freezer, I do.

 

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Fake Eggs Benedict

  • 2 slices of toast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 oil-herb cube
  • 2 slices lunch meat
  • 3 slices cheese

 

At this point, I stop to eat and work on a writing project I owe someone. Some parts still need typed, but most of it’s ready. Still working on some unfinished parts as we speak. Then shopping (this week’s haul: mushrooms, greens, parsley, onions, nectarines, strawberries, pears, lemons, cherries, eggplant). Back at home, I’m crazy enough to do more.

I decided, during the freezer cleanout in the morning, to make stock from the chicken bones and veg refuse that were in the freezer. End of freezer space issues, and that goes on the stove, as well. Pork is looking nice with basting every few hours, butter is simmering–did I mention the immersion blender is a great tool? I don’t like breaking out the food processor for small batches.

Since I can’t take a nap at this point, so veg on the movie and work on the typing project. This is what happens when you do most of your draft material by hand. Eventually the stock is done, and I can turn things off and go take a nap. Saturday napping is a must, especially when you need to get stuff done.

Ingredients for fish tacos–the first idea to get through the limes–have been building all week. So I made those for dinner. Cue more cooking, though this time it’s mostly knife work and mixing. Made two new things for them, lime crema which I took from here and an Asian slaw. By that time, we were so tired and hungry they were inhaled before any pictures could be taken.

Quick Asian Slaw

  • 3 cups cole slaw mix
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 Tbps red wine vinegar
  • garlic
  • ginger

 

Sunday I have a major headache, and by the time I’m able to get up, church is out of the question. However, I have to put the pork in the fridge at this point, so cue fridge cleanout. There are 5 jars of pickles in there. 5. Homemade. We aren’t buying any more until  those are gone. Then, there are over 2 quarts of fruit butter, never canned. Really, no idea. Just that nebulous “stuff” was down there. And that really won’t do. Out comes the canner.

If you don’t know much about canning, it’s easy, but a timesuck. It takes forever to boil that much water. So I do the rest of the prep, wash up most of the dishes from tacofest (only then can I put the crock pot in the sink and soak it; as far as I know it’s still there), work on the typing project. At least I’m stocking stuff for Christmas.

The rest of the day was taken up with family and birthday celebrations (not mine).

 

Still have 2 lbs. of cherries to pit.

Tater Tot Casserole

This has long been a favorite dish of many people, including both my husband and me, and I make it a few times a year as a treat. Some ingredients are staple, and some change, such as vegetables. One thing that almost never goes in ours is meat–it’s usually hefty enough without it. I, particularly, like it very creamy.

However, last night we had some ham steak, so I added it, probably the only meat I’d be happy with in this dish. And yuuumm, was it good. The lunch portion leftovers disappeared in about 5 minutes, as well. Sorry, no picture (we were too busy devouring). Recipe, however, is below.

Leave notes in the comments as to how you like yours :).

 

Tater Tot Casserole with Ham

  • 1 bag frozen tater tots
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas
  • 1 large can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 ham steak, 1/4 inch thick, diced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, with 1/3 of it reserved
  • pepper to taste

 

Assemble ingredients except reserved cheese in a large bowl and mix. Half everything and do it twice if you don’t have  large enough bowl for easy mixing. Pour into 9 x 13 pan and bake in oven for 30 minutes at about 400F. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top and bake 15 more minutes. Let sit until cool enough to eat.

A Quick Week Day Recipe

I’m always looking for something to make for dinner during the week. Something quick easy, and yes, most likely modified from a box. Shmancy, from scratch cooking is for weekends only when you get home from work after 6:30 most days. So last night (yes, a Sunday, I know), DH wanted to have the hotdogs he’d gotten on sale, and I was looking at pasta. So he says “What about mac and cheese with the hotdogs in it?” And that sounded good.

Now, DH will eat a hotdog cooked in various fashion, and particularly likes to boil them. I, on the other hand, am much more picky. I like them cooked in a pan with butter. Sometimes water, but always butter. And it turned out so delicious, because I used the real butter. Yum.

I’m having the last of it for lunch right now, and it’s already gone. Definitely want to make this again. Can you tell I’m the type of likes to eat something good until it’s gone? All in a day or two, that’s me. Then I find something else to fixate on. But that’s beside the point. Recipe below.

 

Ingredients

  • 6–8 hot dogs
  • 2 regular boxes of macaroni and cheese, preferably a cheap kind
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2–3 Tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1–2 handfuls shredded pizza cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk and butter as called for on mac n cheese box

Method

Cook pasta from mac n cheese boxes in water. Meanwhile, sweat onions in some butter in a large pan. Slice hot dogs and add to onions, along with a little more butter. Saute until cooked to desired doneness. When pasta is cooked and drained, add to onions and hotdogs. Add butter, milk, and cheese packets from boxes. Stir to combine. Add sour cream and pizza cheese, and blend in. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Onion and Mushroom Pie

Quite a while ago, I saw an onion pie somewhere. Whether it was on a show, in a book, or online, I don’t remember, but I love just about anything in the onion family. So it may be no surprise that I’ve had it on my list of things to make someday. Well, that day has come, and I made a first experiment of it last night. Now, something you should know about onions, is that DH is decidedly not an onion fan. But he is a fan of mushrooms, and what goes better with onions than mushrooms? Thanks to sales and low prices at a few stores, larger amounts than usual of both were on hand, along with the pie crusts. Unfortunately, recipes that will fill an entire pie plate–I like a nice, deep, full pie–and don’t have lots of other ingredients are hard to come by, so I created my own.

I just had some (will get a picture up with I get home, hopefully), and it’s certainly delicious. If anyone does try it, please let me know how it goes.

Ingredients

3 large sweet onions, sliced at 1/16″

2 lbs. button mushrooms, sliced and washed

1-2 Tbsp oil

1 stick of butter

Savory, bay, and marjoram to taste

Salt & pepper to taste

1/4 cup white wine

1 ramen flavoring packet

cornstarch

Method

Heat a very large pan with oil and add onions, herbs, and 2 Tbsp butter, and cook slowly until soft and slightly brown–this took about half an hour. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper, and 2 more Tbsp butter. Cook until mushrooms have significantly reduced in size, but not completely cooked.

Put a pie crust in the bottom of the pan and spoon onion and mushroom  mixture into it with a slotted spoon. Leave as much of the liquid in the pan as possible. Return pan to heat and add 3 Tbsp butter, wine, and flavoring packet. Reduce, then add cornstarch to thickness desired. Pour over vegetables and mix in as possible.

Close up the pie with the top crust and cook for 45 minutes at 400 F