Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Update on canned green tomatoes

I promised you an update on the green tomatoes I canned for having fried green tomatoes during the winter. Well they turned out great and were delicious. I will definitely being doing this again every year.

After opening the jar I drained off all the water. Place the slices gently in a pan of flour, sprinkled them with a little salt and black pepper then turned them over to thoroughly coat them with flour. 

I heated a tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a non stick pan. When the pan was hot enough I added the coated tomatoes and fried them on one side till golden brown then turned them and fried till the other side was golden brown. 

They turned out great and tasted just as good as fresh picked green tomatoes and the texture was no different that fresh cooked ones. :)

You do have to be careful in handling them because they will break apart if not handled gently but they are well worth the being gently with them. They are easy to can and for some one who loves fried green tomatoes like I do it will be great having them canned up to make fried green tomatoes when you can't get fresh ones. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fried Green Tomatoes

 I really love fried green tomatoes. They are my favorite way to eat any tomato. I found out not to long ago from and internet friend of mine that she cans green tomatoes to use in making fried green tomatoes when green tomatoes are not in season. She was kind enough to tell me how to do it. :)

I also learned from another lady on the internet that she dehydrates green tomatoes for sending to her son so he can make fried green tomatoes during the off season. So I decided to try that first. They dried beautifully but when it came time to re hydrate them they did not do well at all. So I tried the canning way next.

I picked a bunch of green tomatoes, washed them good and then sliced them.  I had my jars already to go. Since I am the only one here I used half pint jars where my friend uses wide mouth pints.

I filled the jars to one inch line. Covered them with boiling water to the 1/2 inch mark, added a half a tablespoon lemon juice, wiped the rims of the jars and then added the 2 piece caps. I processed them for 40 minutes in a boiling water bath. They came out looking really good. 

I have a total of 15 half pints to last me till next year. The problem is I am not sure they will last that long with as much as I love to eat them. I have not tried frying the canned ones yet but will do so later this week and then I will report back with the results. But I am sure they will come out pretty good. 

I also had enough red tomatoes to can 7 pints of tomato sauce yesterday. I will be using it to make tomato gravy for hubby once in awhile. 

I hope those of you who can your own foods are having a good canning season. :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Home Made Tv Dinners

Do you like the convience of tv dinners but don't like the idea of their cost and what all is in them? I don't either. I want to know what is in the food I serve my family and keep costs down at the same time. By doubling up on what you are cooking one night you can make enough to have a meal for everyone another night during the next month or two. Or have lunches for those who have access to a microwave at work.

Tonight I made pork enchiladas, refried beans and rice. I made enough to serve 3 meals tonight and have 9 more to make tv dinners for lunches or dinner during the next two months. This will save me time later on and because I made everything home made it cost me less than buying 9 tv dinners at the store.

These trays are trays that my uncle got when he was getting meals on wheels for seniors. He would save the trays for me. Some of them are also trays that you get food in from a fast food place. I also have family members who buy tv dinners save their trays for me. The trays cost me nothing and I can use them over and over again.

As you can see some of the trays have two compartments and some have three. When there is two I will combine a couple of the meal components in to one compartment.

Most of my trays have lids. I put the lids on them, set them in the freezer to freeze. Once they are frozen hard I take them out and quickly take off the lids, cover with plastic wrap, put the lid back on and back in to the freezer they go. I do that just to give the food a little extra protection from freezer burn.  For the ones I have no lids for I cover them with plastic wrap and foil.

They stack nicely in the freezer and are ready to grab and pack in a cooler to take to work or to get one out and heat up when some one is hungry.

What you can not see is that I use a Dymo label maker to make labels of what each dinner is and place them on top of the lids. That way you don't need to open to see what the meal is.

I have made lots of different meals this way and my family loves having them on hand for days when I am busy or sick they have  complete home cooked meal with out me having to cook it.

Some of the meals I have made are as follows:

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn
Roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes and peas & carrots
Pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage patties
Beef & Bean Burritos and Spanish rice
Chicken Stew & biscuits
Spaghetti and Meat Sauce ( only cook the spaghetti noodles half way done before freezing )
Mac & Cheese w/ little sausages
Ham Steak, Baked Sweet potato and mixed vegetables
Sliced Turkey breast, stuffing and green beans

I used frozen vegetable straight from the bags with out cooking them. They will cook while you are heating up the dinner. I use only round white potatoes to make the mashed potatoes because baking potatoes some times turn grainy when frozen. I prebake the sweet potatoes and let them cool completely before cutting in half and placing in the trays.

Once you get in the habit of making these home made tv dinners you will love them. They are really easy to make a cheaper than store bought. And you can make them the way you want them. :)