Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Applesauce Recipe

Applesauce is a great food to have around the house. It goes well in many baked goods and it tastes yummy on its own! You can make your own applesauce with as little as 2 ingredients.

  1. Peel and core your apples and cut them up into bite-size pieces. You can use as many or as few apples as you want.
  2. Place the apple pieces into a sauce pan and pour enough water into the pan to sufficiently cover the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cover the pan and cook the apples for about 15 minutes, or until they're nice and soft.
  4. Mash up the apples with a potato masher or fork.
You can add some sugar into the mix if you want sweeter applesauce. You can also add a dash of cinnamon.

    Meat and Vegetable Broth--Part 2!

    Okay, now that you've got all the ingredients together, it's way easy to make broth.

    1. Dump all the ingredients into a big stock pot. You can mix and match ingredients a little bit (for instance, veggies with chicken bones or chicken bones with turkey bones)
    2. Fill the pot with enough water to just barely cover the contents.
    3. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour.
    4. Strain the broth to get all the solid chunks out of it.
    5. Store the broth in glass containers in the fridge or freezer
    There you have it!

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Meat and Vegetable Broth

    Broths and stocks serve as the base for tons of different recipes, so it's essential to have some on hand at all times. There are 3 main types of broth: beef, chicken/poultry and vegetable. You can buy all three of these at the grocery store, but they usually have additives such as MSG (which I can't eat even if I wanted to because of allergies). Plus, you can make a better tasting broth from home for free (or close to it).

    I'll explain the process of making broth in my next post. First, I'm gonna show you what can be used to make a broth.

    1. Apple cores, peels, and seeds
    2. Vegetable peels (potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, squash, you name it!)
    3. Vegetable seeds (squash, cucumber, pumpkin, etc.)
    4. Vegetable ends (you know, the "inedible" ends you cut off of carrots, celery, and other veggies)
    5. Onion skin
    6. Corn cobs
    7. Leftover veggies from dinner
    8. Bones (chicken, turkey, ham, etc.)
    9. Skin (chicken or turkey)
    10. Giblets (yeah, the guts inside whole chickens and turkeys)
    11. Gristle/Fat
    12. Pan drippings
    13. Leftover meat from dinner
    14. Garlic, salt, pepper, and other seasonings
    15. Fresh or dried herbs
    You see what I mean by "free"? Most of the items on this list are things that you would have thrown away or maybe thrown on a compost pile. Instead, you can get more use out of them by making broth! Just keep a plastic "broth" zipper bag in the freezer and add things from the list to the bag when you have them. Once the bag is full, you can make your broth.

    Stay tuned to learn more!

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Microwave Potato Chips

    Potato chips are the quintessential snack food and you can make them yourself using just 3 ingredients and a microwave! It's super simple.
    First, you're gonna slice a potato really thin. If you're skilled with a regular kitchen knife, that's fine. I, for one, am not. So, I used this slicer thingy (that's a very technical term, folks!) It makes the potato slices nice and thin. The thinner the slices, the crispier the chips!
    "Slicer Thingy"
    Lay the potato slices on a greased microwave-safe plate and brush them with olive oil. Next, sprinkle on some salt.
    Microwave the potatoes for 2 1/2 minutes. Turn them over with a fork or spatula and microwave 2 1/2 minutes more.
    Dab the chips with a paper towel and enjoy!

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Plain Ol' White Bread

    I have a confession. I'm terrified of baking with yeast. The concept of throwing out all of my hard work (not to mention wasting all those ingredients) if the yeast doesn't rise just makes me sad! I decided, though, that I needed to get over this fear. Bread is *the* staple food and it's so much cheaper to make yourself than it is to buy at the grocery store. Plus, it's really not hard at all if you don't kill the yeast. Really! Give it a shot!

    2 Tbsp active dry yeast
    3/4 cup warm water (between 105 and 115 degrees)
    2 2/3 cups warm water
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 Tbsp salt
    3 Tbsp shortening
    9 cups all-purpose flour
    Softened margarine

    Pour the yeast into a large bowl and pour the 3/4 cup of warm water over it to dissolve. Add the rest of the warm water, sugar, salt, shortening and half the flour. Mix the ingredients together until smooth. Pour in the rest of the flour and mix it until it's all incorporated.
    Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. You can either knead it by hand on a floured surface, or you can use the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. Place the kneaded dough into a well-greased bowl and turn the dough over so that the entire surface of the dough is greased.
    Cover the bowl with a well-greased piece of plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for about an hour. It should double in size.
    Let out your anger!
    Now, here's the fun part...you get to release all of your aggression! Punch down the risen dough. I'm serious! Give a good punch right in the middle and the dough will deflate again (you want it to!)
    Divide the dough in half for large loaves or into thirds for medium sized loaves. Roll out each section of the dough individually into a rectangular shape. Roll up the rectangle and press down the edges to seal them. Tuck the edges neatly underneath the loaf and place it in a greased pan. Repeat this process for each loaf.
    Brush the tops of the loaves with softened margarine and let them rise for 1 more hour.
    Bake the bread at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, on a low oven rack.

    Ta-Da! Even I'll admit that it's not as scary as it seems!

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    5 Awesome Recipe Ingredient Substitutions

    Whether you've got a food allergy or you just don't have all the ingredients on hand for your favorite recipe, you'll probably find these unusual recipe substitutions helpful! Best of all, most of these substitutions are healthier than the originals!

    1. Ground oats instead of breadcrumbs
    You'll get that same crunchy texture you want

    2. Mashed banana instead of eggs
    About 1/2 a mashed banana is equal to 1 egg. This sounds weird, but it totally works and the banana flavor is usually undetectable, especially in chocolatey or strongly spiced baked goods.

    3. Applesauce instead of butter, oil, or egg (1/4 cup=1 egg)
    Yep, applesauce is such a versatile ingredient (and a healthy one) that you wanna keep it on hand at all times!

    4. Yogurt (Greek or "regular") instead of sour cream
    You won't even be able to tell a difference!

    5. Broth or apple juice instead of wine
    Broth and apple juice are less expensive. Plus, you'll be more likely to have them on hand.

    No need to freak out next time you run out of eggs!

    Versatile Cookie Recipe

    It's fun to get creative with baking cookies! Use this basic cookie recipe and add whatever you want to it: chocolate chips, cinnamon, coconut, lemon extract, nuts, whatever!

    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    1 stick butter
    1/2 cup shortening
    3/4 cups granulated sugar
    3/4 cups packed brown sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 eggs

    Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix butter, shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and stir thoroughly. Gradually mix dry ingredients, plus chocolate chips or other variations, into the sugar/egg/butter mixture. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 9 minutes.

    What will you add to this recipe?