Monday, January 28, 2013

Canning Smoked Sausage Soup

I decided on Saturday to can some Smoked Sausage Soup. All I did was quadrupled the recipe, left out the bay leaf and cooked in in a big stock pot just long enough to re hydrate the dried vegetables but I don't think I let it cook long enough before canning since the vegetables re hydrated even more in the pressure canner while it was processing them.

As you can see there is less broth then there should be so I will be adding more when I open a jar to heat it up. By quadrupling the recipe I was able to get 9 quarts. Only 8 are pictured because I gave my bil one before I took the picture.

I processed the soup at 10 lbs pressure for 90 minutes. It will come in handy on days I am to busy, to tired or to sick to cook. :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cheesy Potato Bacon Soup

I didn't have time to take pictures while making this soup because I had to watch out for my husband who was outside helping my son get the snow blower going. My husband has severe COPD and he can hardly breathe in cold air.

This is a spin off that I came up with from an old Amish Potato soup recipe that I have been using for years. I tweaked the original recipe to fit my family's taste.

To make you will need:

8 slices bacon
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon minced dried onion (original recipe calls for one whole onion chopped)
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup cold water
6 cups milk
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Chop bacon and brown in a skillet, set aside.

Place potatoes and onion in a large pot. Cover with water, add salt and cook till the potatoes are done. Drain. Mash slightly. Melt butter in a skillet, add flour and cook for one minute. Add the 1 cup water and cook till thickened. Add to the potatoes and then add the milk. Add bacon and the drippings. Then add the shredded cheese and some black pepper and cook on med heat until thoroughly warm and thickened and the cheese is melted. Serve with sandwiches or crackers.

For those that are like me and do not like cheese plain potato soup can be pulled out of the pot and set aside before the cheese is added to the pot.

                                                                Plain Potato Soup

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Smoked Sausage Soup

It's really cold here again today so I decided to make a pot of soup. I haven't made Smoked Sausage soup in a few years so it was past time to make it again. It's been so long since I made it that Hubby doesn't remember me ever making it before but I can assure him I have. :) The last time I made it I used my biggest crock pot and between him and my oldest son they ate the whole pot of soup. LOL

                                              Doesn't it look good? And it taste so yummy!!

To make the soup I started with:

 a half a package of Eckrich smoked sausage.
1 cup of dehydrated mixed veggies which equals a 16 oz bag of frozen veggies
2 med potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried minced onions

   I sliced the sausage, peeled and cut the potatoes in cubes and added them both to the crock pot.

      Then I added the dehydrated veggies, the salt, pepper, parsley, dried onions and bay leaf.

Lastly I added the 2 cups water and 2 cups chicken stock. I turned the crock pot on high and let it cook for 8 hours. Hubby and I each had a nice big bowl and there is enough left for our lunch tomorrow. :) I love a good pot of homemade soup on really cold days.

Home Canned Pot Roast Dinner

Yesterday I was pretty tired all day and didn't feel like taking the time to cook a whole meal from scratch so I pulled out two jars of the pot roast w/ potatoes and carrots I canned a month or so back.  A store bought can of peaches and a can of biscuits that I had gotten on sale last week in a buy 2 get 3 free deal.  I dumped the jars of pot roast in a baking dish.

Placed it in a 375 degree oven and let it heat up for 20 minutes then I  but the biscuits on a baking sheet and placed them in the oven. I opened the peaches and placed them in the freezer to chill a bit.

Not a fancy meal but a filling one that took me all of about 5 minutes to prepare and clean up was minimal.  I love meals like that on days I just don't feel like cooking. And there is no running out to a restaurant or getting take out which can blow a budget really quick. :)

Just one of the many reasons I am a prepper and proud of it!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bottled Gas... Er make that pass the Beano please

Yesterday I canned some more beans. I did them pretty much the same way I did the first two batches. This time I did plain pinto beans that hubby can eat as it with cornbread or I can use to make re fried beans. I figured out that the price of canning 10 pints of pinto beans worked out to 35 cents a jar where as I have to pay a $1.09 for a can at my local store. At least for me it is quite cost effective to can my own versus buying them already in a can and at least I know every ingredient that is in them.

I started with 2 pounds of pinto beans and I wound up with 10 pints plus a nice size bowl for hubby to have with cornbread tonight and tomorrow.

After the pinto beans were done I did Bean w/Bacon soup. For that I used two pounds of Great Northern Beans, a half a pound of bacon and a half a cup of dehydrated carrots.

After sorting and rinsing the beans several times I placed them in a big stock pot and added the bacon and dehydrated carrots.

 I added enough water to bring the water level 3 inches above the beans, brought them to a boil and boiled for 2 minutes then lowered the heat to medium and let them simmer for 1 hour. Then I filled the jars, wiped the rims, added the two piece lids and placed them in the pressure canner and processed them for 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. I had processed the pints of pintos for 75 minutes. 

Pintos and Bean w/Bacon Soup

My two day total of canning beans left me with 7 quarts of Baby Butter Beans w/ Ham, 9 pints of 15 Bean Soup, 10 pints of Pinto and 5 quarts of Bean w/Bacon Soup. 

Now all I have to do is lay in a good supply of Beano so hubby can enjoy all his beans. :)

Next week I will be canning Black Eyed Peas but that is going to have to wait until I go buy some more pint jars. I am out and since hubby is the only real bean eater in the Family I can most beans in pints. Except for the butter beans. That one bean I really like. :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Beans, Beans the wonderful fruit! The more you eat....Well you know the rest.

I am running out of home canned beans in my pantry so today I decided to can some. I had two bags of 15 Bean Soup Beans that I had been waiting to fix for when we had some one besides my hubby here to eat them because I don't have room in my freezer to put the left overs but with my oldest boy overseas I had no one else to eat them. So today I decided to can them. I used two pounds of beans and 2 cups of diced ham.

I sorted through the dried beans making sure to take out any bad beans, small stones and dirt. 

Then I rinsed the beans several times in cool water and put them in a large stock pot. 

Then I added the cold ham broth that I had made last night after I skimmed the cold fat off. 

Then I added the ham that was on the ham bone I had made the stock out of. 

Looking good already and it isn't even cooked yet! :)

I brought the beans to a boil on high heat and boiled for two minutes then I reduced the heat down to a simmer and let the beans simmer for and hour.

After an hour I drained the beans reserving the broth and put the beans into pint jars leaving a two inch headspace. Added a half a teaspoon of canning salt to each jar. Add the hot broth to with in an inch and a half from the top of the jar. Wiped the rims and added the lids and rings. Then I placed the jars in the pressure canner.

I processed the beans at 10 lbs pressure for 75 minutes. Then let the canner cool down before I took them out of the canner. I got a total of nine pints from two pounds of 15 Bean Soup. One jar did not seal and hubby said that was ok because he would eat it for supper tonight. :)

While the canner was cooling I got my next batch of beans ready to go into the pressure canner. This time I did Baby Butter Beans with Ham. I used about 2 - 2 1/2 pounds of beans and 3 cups of diced ham. 

I sorted the beans and removed and bad beans, small stones and dirt. 

I rinsed the beans several times in cool water then placed them in a large pot along with the ham.

Instead of broth this time I used plain water. I added enough to bring the water level 3 inches above the beans.  I then brought the beans to a boil, let boil on high for two minutes then reduced the heat and let them simmer for 1 hour.

I drained the beans and reserved the water, placed the beans in the jars leaving a 2 1/2 inch headspace. Add a teaspoon of canning salt to each jar. 

Then I added enough of the reserved water to within 1 inch headspace. I wiped the rims and added the two piece lids and placed the jars in the canner. 

I processed them at 10 lbs pressure for 90 minutes. Then turned the heat off and let the canner cool down on its own. I got a total of 7 quarts out of the beans and ham.

 Don't they look good. Now all I will have to do is make a pan of cornbread, fry some potatoes, heat up a jar of beans and we have a belly warming meal that only took about 30 minutes to make. :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Preppers - Another word to describe crazy people

When some people find out I am a prepper they look at me like I am crazy. They picture me cowering behind some door with a gun or wooden bat in my hand because I think some brain eating zombie is after me but nothing can be further from the truth. Sure preppers worry some about zombies but not the kind that are made up for movies. The zombies we fear are the ones that are made from hunger because they have no food and no access to food because of either a natural disaster or food shortages, nuclear attacks, falling over the fiscal cliff or even something like a sudden job loss. We are not crazy. We just want to make sure we can take care of our families not matter what life throws at us.

Preppers know that in the event of a huge act of Mother Nature power can be lost for days, weeks and even months. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy are prime examples of that. So are ice storms and tornado's and earthquakes. With out power wells wont work and water treatment plants will no longer be able to supply you with clean water. What fresh  and frozen meats, fish, seafood and dairy products that are in the stores will be unsafe to eat in a matter of hours. Gas pumps will not work. Electric cook stove will not work. If its very cold outside there will be no furnace working to keep you home warm. Looters will run rampant with in hours of the event. First they will go for the stores but after a few days when the stores run out they will come for you looking to get what they need. These people don't care about your needs or those of your family. They only think about their selves and some times their own family if they have one. They are all about what they can get for free or what they want or need to survive. No one else matters to them. That is why preppers prep! They want to make sure they and their families have a chance to survive no matter what has happened.

A sudden job loss can devastate a family , especially if it is the main bread winner that loses their job. The family income takes a big hit because lets face it, unemployment in most cases is not near enough to what you were bringing home to pay the bills, feed the family, buy clothes and other much needed items your family must have. And then when the medical insurance stops because you no longer work for the company you have medical bills that you have to cover out of your unemployment but even a greater strain on your budget.
So what do you do? Its either let a bill go to pay the doctor when your child is sick and needs meds that you must pay out of pocket before they can get them or pay the bill and hope the child gets better on their own.
You know you are going to let the bill or bills go in order to make sure your child gets well but that only puts you further behind and after while it seems like you are drowning in debit and will never see your head above water again. It can takes months and some times even a couple of years before you can find another job where you will make enough to catch up on your finances.

Preppers think about all these things. They know they can lose their job at any time because of the current economy or a natural disaster. They have been through or seen the effects of hurricanes, tornados, ice storms, blizzards and so on. They have seen empty stores shelves before and after such an event. They have been through long term power outages. They have seen how the looters come out and the damage they do to stores, homes and people. Preppers don't look at the world through rose colored glasses. They see the world as it is and what it can be like when things go bad.

They know not to depend on the government to help them much in times of severe need. Take a good look at what happened when Katrina and Sandy hit the USA. It took days before FEMA could get into some areas to help. People were on their own trying their best to survive. Food that had been in the stores were ruined. Water was contaminated. Bodies of humans and sea life where laying around decaying. Homes were destroyed and some people had no place to stay. Gas was unavailable so they could get out if they could even get out because some roads became impassable. Sandy happened during the fall/winter and people were with out heat in cold temperatures. And no matter how prepared FEMA is it can still take them hours if not days to respond because they need to make sure their own workers are not in danger.

Preppers are also a proud people. They don't want to depend on the government or the American taxpayer to support and provide for their families. They want to do it them selves. They are hard working people who have worked all their lives doing what they can to make sure their families are well fed, warm and protected to the best that they can possibly do for them. They live with in their means and depend on no one but them selves. They do not want to be a burden to anyone. They don't want government handouts.

So if you are a prepper stand up tall and proud because you will be able to provide for your family when things go bad for some reason. And if you are not a prepper you might want to start thinking about it. Thinks about what will happen if you have to survive after a event like Sandy. How are you going to keep your family fed, warm and safe?

And for those that think preppers are crazy well I will put it this way. I am thinking the same about you because you are willing to take a chance on your survival and that of your family if something big happens around you.

Chicken and Dumplings

My 15 year old grand daughter Aliza was over today and she wanted to learn how to make Chicken and Dumplings. Oh how I wish I had thought to take a picture when they were done. She did and excellent job!
The dumplings came out nice and tender and were not gummy. :) I am really proud of the job she did. She is going to be quite a good cook when she gets older. She is good at following directions and excellent at paying attention when some one is telling her how to do something. I told her if she decides to go to Culinary School that I would gladly be her first Guinea pig when it came to taste tasting her creations.

While I forgot to take a picture I can give you the recipe. This is one that I came up with on my own when I was trying to learning to make Chicken and Dumplings. It took me 3 tries before I got them the way we like them. This recipe makes a double batch that will feed 4 adults or two adults and 4 small kids of course all this depends on how much each person eats.

Chicken and Dumplings

4 quarts chicken broth
2 -3 cups cooked shredded chicken
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups shortening
2/3 - 1 cup milk

Place broth and chicken in a large pot and let simmer while making the dumplings. Mean while mix the dry ingredient in a large bowl. Add shortening and cut in till mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add enough milk to make a stiff dough. Turn out dough on to a smooth floured surface and knead 5-6 times. Roll dough out into a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut dough into squares about 2 x 2 inches. Drop the squares into the broth one at a time until all are added. Once the last dumpling is added cover the pot and let cook 10 minutes. Turn off heat and serve in bowls and add some of the broth. Make a nice warm filling meal for a cold winters night. :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Stuffed Hot Dogs

One of my family's favorite dishes is stuffed hot dogs. Most people look at me funny when I mention that. They have never heard of hot dogs being stuffed. But once I give them the recipe and they try them most people love them. One thing bad about them is they are not the most sodium friendly meal that is why I only fix them once every 2-3 months. They are easy to make and do not take a lot of ingredients and they are very YUMMY!!

To make stuffed hot dog you will need:

1 lb hot dogs
1 slice of bacon per hot dog
3-4 slices white bread
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup water ( maybe more or less depending on the bread)
2 toothpicks per hot dog

Cut the hot dogs length wise but do not cut all the way through. Tear the bread in to pieces, sprinkle parsley and pepper over the bread. Add just enough water to make a wet stuffing that will hold together but not enough water to make to wet.

Stuff each hot dog with about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of stuffing.  You can add shredded cheese to the stuffing if you wish before stuffing the hot dogs.

Wrap one slice of bacon around each hot dog and secure both ends of the bacon with a toothpick. Cover cookie sheets with foil and spray with a light coating of cooking spray to help keep them from sticking. Place hot dogs on prepared pans and place in 350 degree oven. Bake for 20- 30 minutes depending on how dark you want your bacon to be.

Remove from oven and serve. Makes 4-5 servings depending on the number served to each person. I serve two person.

I have yet to see a kid who does not like these. Just make sure to remove the toothpicks before serving to small children. They make a great party food to because they taste just as good when cool as they do when hot out of the oven. I like to eat them cold after they have set in the refrigerator overnight.

Give them a try and I bet you will like them to. :)