Category Archives: Veggies & Sides

Easy No Peel Salsa For Canning

Standard
Easy No Peel Salsa For Canning


I finally had enough tomatoes between my garden and my friends’ to make some salsa this year. It was a terrible year for my tomatoes, but everything else seems to be doing great in the garden. Better luck next year I hope. 

Anyway, I couldn’t wait to make some yummy salsa to put away in my pantry for my last minute canning before harvest season is over. This recipe does not require you to boil, peel, and core your tomatoes. That’s why I’m calling it easy! Does it alter the taste of your salsa? Not in the slightest way (in my opinion)! It’s delicious and is also a fantastic way to throw in those cherry tomatoes from your garden! They have such a delicious flavor and add just the right amount of sweetness. If you don’t have them, don’t worry; just use whatever tomatoes you’ve got on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon of washed tomatoes chopped in half or in quarters to go into your food processor (if using cherry tomatoes, just leave them whole) 
  • 3 medium sweet onions 
  • 5 bell peppers any color
  • 4-5 jalapeño peppers with seeds (or without if you don’t like salsa with a kick)
  • 3 tablespoons salt (I love to use pickling salt when preserving food)
  • 1/2 c bottled lemon juice & 1/2 c bottled lime juice (you MUST use bottled juice and not fresh when canning)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic 

1. How in the heck do you measure a gallon of tomatoes? My favorite way is to throw them into my gallon size Tupperware that clearly has a “1 G” printed on it. Don’t have one? Maybe you have a quart size Tupperware or measuring cup laying around. Remember, four quarts in a gallon 😊 Wash your tomatoes and process them in batches in your food processor. I found 5 pulses worked for me on the cherry tomatoes, and 6 pulses for the regular tomatoes. 




2. Here is where you’re going to drain each batch of tomatoes through your strainer before putting into your pot. I used a silicone spatchula to press the juice out of the tomatoes. You can see how much juice is in there in the beginning vs the end after the spatchula/strainer. 




3. Continue to run your peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro through the food processor and add to your tomatoes. There’s no need to drain any of them, and you should pulse to the consistency you like. Personally, I like my salsa chunky.



4. Now add your salt and bottled lemon and lime juice. These babies are exactly 1/2 a cup each. You can choose to do all lemon or all lime if you like. I just like the flavor the mix gives them. ***IMPORTANT: You must never alter the amount of acidity in a recipe for tomatoes. They do not contain the acid they once did, and canning with incorrect acidity leads to botulism. You cannot smell or detect botulism on your own, so do not risk it. Also, the acidity of lemons and limes can change daily and are not reliable, so that is why it’s important to use canned juice only. It is cooked and maintains a certain ph that is safe for preserving food.***


5. Bring to a boil and then summer for 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking on the bottom.


6. Pour into your prepared jars. This recipe makes about 10 pint sized jars.



7. Wipe your rims before sealing and give them a 15 minute water bath (or more depending on your elevation). Voila! You have delicious salsa that is shelf stable and ready to eat all through the winter months 🙌🏻

Smoked Stuffed Cabbage

Standard
Smoked Stuffed Cabbage

  
Y’all remember from my last post about smoking meatloaf and how delicious it was. Well this time we decided to smoke some stuffed cabbage, which again was inspired by seeing it on a restaurant menu at a BBQ place. It was so good and I hope you’ll give it a try the next time you’re considering sides for your next BBQ.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 jalapeño chopped (with seeds if you like it hot)
  • 2 T butter divided 
  • Olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • Salt and pepper

1. First prep your cabbage head by peeling off and discarding the outer leaves. Then core it by using a sharp knife to dig out the core and scoop out enough room to stuff it.

   
  

 
2. Slice your bacon into bite size pieces and cook in your skillet. Then take out the cooked bacon and place onto a plate with a paper towel to allow it to drain and remove all but a couple spoonfuls of the bacon grease from the skillet.

   
    
 
3. Now add your chopped sweet onion, jalapeño, salt, pepper, and 1 T of butter and sauté for about 15 minutes allowing the onion to caramelize. Then add your garlic in and cook another 5 minutes or so.

   

4. Turn the heat off and add your bacon back to the mix. 

  

5. Drizzle the inside of your cabbage head with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and add your other T of butter. Then begin to fill with your stuffing.

   

  

 6. Now wrap it all up in foil and put it on your smoker at 225F about 3 hours. Your cooking time might vary depending on how hot your fire is and the size of your cabbage, but you’ll know it’s done when the cabbage turns very soft.  

  
7. Once it’s cooked bust that puppy open like a bloomin’ onion and chow down!

  

Apple Butter

Standard

  
One of my favorite things in life is apple butter on top of a buttery piece of toast in the morning. Yum!!! I also love the excitement of when the grocery store here gets their big shipment of apples in, and I always get a bunch of my favorite Honey Crisp apples. Those, as well as a few other kinds make up this recipe of apple butter, but feel free to stick with just your favorite or go all out like I did.*

The rich gold color comes from the length of time you let this slow cook. I did mine for 8 hours, but I easily could’ve let this go all night in a crock pot if I had one big enough. 

You can either make this recipe and freeze it or can it. I canned mine and I’m not going to get too descriptive in the canning instructions because I’m going to assume you know what you’re doing. If not, see my Strawberry Apricot Jam recipe for further detail or of course just ask me in the comment section.

*I used a mix of mostly Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious, Sweet & Crunchy, and a girl in my MOPS group gave me some from her tree at home that looked like McIntosh to me, but she wasn’t sure what kind they are. 

Ingredients: 

1. First lets prep those apples! But first, let’s spike some cider to get us in the mood 😉 Ok, now then…

   
   
  
2. Toss all your apples into your giant pot.

  
3. Now dump in your spices, sugar, and cider and bring to a boil. *If you’re doing this in a crock pot you can just turn on low and come stir it in a few hours. Let it boil for a minute or so, then turn down to a simmer. Cover mostly with a lid but allow a small space to remain to let some of the steam out.

   
 
4. Now you’re going to let this slow cook for a minimum of six hours (I did mine eight but could’ve gone longer like I said before) but keep coming back to give it a stir every now and then.

   
   
5. Once it’s the color you want, get out your hand blender and go to town on these puppies!

   
   
6. Now you can either divide this out and freeze it, or can it like I did with a ten minute water bath. Again, check my recipe above for water bath times where you are if you aren’t sure. This made 14 1/2 pint jars. 

  
7. Now go get a big honkin’ slab of butter and put it on some bread, toast it up, and then lather it up with some golden apple butter. Delicious!

  

Perfect Mexican Cornbread

Standard
Perfect Mexican Cornbread

  
Fall is just around the corner and that means the county fair is on its way for this part of Texas. So I’ve been working all summer on trying to achieve the perfect cornbread recipe to enter into the cornbread contest. I’ve finally got it! My husband even said “This is the best cornbread I’ve ever had in my life!” 😍 I’ll keep yall posted if I win, but even if I don’t, this cornbread is still delicious!

*Update* My cornbread won third place yall in the Tri-State Fair! It was entered into the cornbread contest and 1st and 2nd prize went to plain cornbread, but they said they loved my Mexican cornbread! Hopefully next year they’ll separate the categories into a plain cornbread and Mexican cornbread, but I’ll take it for this year! 😊

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c cornmeal 
  • 1/2 c all purpose flour (you can also use whole wheat flour or corn flour)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c oil 
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c chopped green chiles (I used Hatch fire roasted chiles and you can adjust the heat by either using 1/4 c or 1/2 c) *if you don’t have these fresh they come canned nearly everywhere
  • 1 c frozen corn kernels 
  • 1 c shredded Mexican cheese (you can just use cheddar if that’s all you’ve got on hand) 

1. Get all your ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

  
You can use your favorite cornmeal mix. I love this one and plus, it’s from Texas 😀🌵💪🏻

   
  

   
2. After you’ve mixed everything together really well you’re going to pour it into your greased 10 inch cast iron skillet, or as I like to call her “Ole’ Faithful”.

  
3. Now put into a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top starts to turn golden. 

  
4. Serve with a giant pat of butter and top with chow chow or eat plain. And don’t forget the wine! Wine, butter, and carbs = perfection. 

  

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Standard
Stuffed Acorn Squash

  
Today the weather was almost fall-like with lows in the 50’s and a high of only 71. So I thought I’d prepare one of my favorite fall dishes of stuffed acorn squash. I call it a fall dish only because acorn squash is considered a winter squash, but it’s delicious year-round. Also, keep in mind that I’m stuffing with the vegetables I have on hand in my garden right now. I’ve done this with a ton of different vegetables, so just do whatever you’ve got on hand! It’s easy to throw leftover chicken into this dish or a can of drained black beans. Next time I’ll grab some sweet potato and Brussels sprouts from the store to throw in there too! 

Ingredients: 

  • Acorn squash halved and de-seeded
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings
  • 1/2 sweet onion finely chopped
  • Small bag of frozen vegetables (I used a 12 oz bag of corn/green beans/carrot mix)
  • Garlic clove chopped 
  • 1 squash chopped
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chopped
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 c quinoa

1. First, sharpen your chef’s knife to cut this puppy open.

  
2. Now you’re going to remove the seeds. I like to use a grapefruit spoon, but a regular spoon works just fine too. 

   
 

3. Now drizzle with olive oil and season with your favorite all-purpose sort of seasoning. I love to do Tony’s, but of course you could just do salt and pepper too. 

  
4. Now pop into a 375 degree F oven and let’s get started on your veggies. These will cook for an hour.

  
  
5. Once you’ve got all your veggies chopped that you want in there, put them in your pot and drizzle them with olive oil and season liberally with either your all-purpose seasoning or salt and pepper. Also, throw a tablespoon or so of butter in there just ’cause it’s delicious. 

  
6. I like to cook these on medium heat for about 10 minutes or so just to give them a head start. 

  
7. Now add 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to this and bring to a boil for a minute, then turn to simmer and put the lid on (exactly like you cook most rice). 

  
8. After 20 minutes or so, your quinoa is cooked! If you still have some liquid in there you’d like to cook off (depending on how much water your veggies released), just cook it a few more minutes. 

  
9. Would you look at the time? The acorn squash is done in perfect time for the stuffing!

  
10. Eat like a loaded baked potato with a yummy glass of red wine 😊🍷

  

Fried Green Tomatoes

Standard
Fried Green Tomatoes

  
I picked so many green tomatoes today, and aside from using most of them for my Chow Chow, I thought I’d fry some for a delicious Southern treat.  

First, let’s bask in the glory of my 18.6 lbs of green tomatoes…

  
It’s glorious. Also, I think you can see that I am most definitely team Targaryen. I’m also in the R + L = J conspiracy theory group, and have high hopes to see my boy Jon rise from the dead next season. But anyway, back to my tomatoes… 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large green tomatoes 
  • 1 c all purpose white or wheat flour
  • 1 c cornmeal based fish fry (I love the Louisiana fish fry mix) 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T milk
  • Canola, peanut, vegetable, or your favorite oil for frying

1. Slice up those emerald beauties. Also, start heating up your frying oil. You’re shooting for 350, so it should be on medium to slightly higher than medium heat.

  
2. Prepare your egg wash by mixing your egg with 1 T milk.

  
3. Prepare a little batter station for you to dip your ‘maters in. Fish fry in one shallow dish, flour in another, and your egg wash mixture in the middle.

  
  
4. Now dredge your ‘maters in the flour first, shake off the excess, then bring it over to your egg wash bowl.

  
  
  
5. Now dredge it through the fish fry and shake off any excess.

  
6. When your oil is ready to go, put those puppies in there for about a minute to a minute and a half, then flip them over. After another minute or so, take them out and allow them to drain. You can use a paper towel, but both sides will stay crispy better if you allow it to drain on something that elevates it like a cooling rack over a paper towel. 

  
  
Now flip… Another minute on this side and they’ll be done. 

Now allow them to drain and cool for a minute before eating. Absolutely divine! 

  
 

Creamy Avocado Dressing With A Kick

Standard
Creamy Avocado Dressing With A Kick

  
This dressing is delicious on a salad or used as a topping for fajitas, nachos, or even a veggie dip. My favorite way is on a fajita salad. Yum! 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado if using a regular to largish avocado, otherwise a whole small one
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1 handful of cilantro (roughly 1/4c)
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 jalapeño (with seeds or half seeds if you don’t like the heat) 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sugar 

1. Chop your garlic and jalapeño before putting in your food processor to make sure there are no chunks. I use my mini food processor for this. 

  
  
  
  
2. Blend away!

  
3. Mmmmmm, it’s heavenly! 

  
4. Yum!

  

Pico de Gallo

Standard
Pico de Gallo

  

Chips + Pico de Gallo = Heaven

This pico recipe uses cherry tomatoes instead of the traditional Roma tomatoes. I think they’re sweeter and other than a giant homegrown beefsteak tomato, they’re my favorite. I love to use yellow and red cherry tomatoes together, but feel free to just use red if you want to.

Ingredients:

  • 10.5 oz container cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro
  • 1 chopped jalapeño (deveined and seeded if you want a mild pico, otherwise just chop with seeds to increase the heat)
  • 1 c finely chopped sweet onion
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt to taste

1. Chop your onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and tomato and put in large bowl or container.

  
  
2. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime (or the whole thing if you like) and season with salt to taste. Give it a big stir and serve with chips or just about anything!

  

Budget Friendly Crab Cakes

Standard
Budget Friendly Crab Cakes



Crab cakes are sooooo yummy! But when you’re watching your pocketbook, they aren’t the first thing you think of for affordable meals. This recipe blends mild white fish and crab claw meat to help stretch the crab meat to where you won’t even notice it’s not 100% crab in there. Real crab meat has a strong flavor and will overpower the white fish you use and allow you to have real crab cakes (not that yucky imitation stuff) while not breaking the bank! I used flounder in this recipe because it’s what was on clearance in the meat market at our grocery store, but any mild white fish would work like cod, sole, etc… I’ve made this recipe with all halibut fish (not budget friendly but incredibly good) and it’s amazing too. 

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz flounder or other white fish cooked and unseasoned (just steam it on your stovetop) 
  • 6 oz claw meat (it’s cheaper than lump crab meat and just as yummy)
  • 1/2 c Italian or plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c mayo
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Dash worchestishire 
  • 1 green onion thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp Tony’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • Pinch cayenne 
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • Juice 1/2 lemon 
  • 2 T butter (for cooking crab cakes in)

1. Flake your fish apart with two forks and combine fish, crab meat, and the rest of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.





2. Stir it all together and spray a sheet pan covered in foil with non-stick spray. 



3. Form little crab cakes with your hands whatever size you like.



4. I like to cover my cakes with plastic wrap and chill for at least 20-30 minutes to let them firm up because they’ll cook easier and stay together better. It’s not 100% necessary, but I recommend it. Once they’ve been chilled, melt 1 T butter in a large skillet and add your crab cakes. Don’t overcrowd the pan! 



5. Cook on medium high heat about five minutes a side. 



6. Do in batches and you can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven while you’re waiting for your next batch to finish. Serve with the other lemon half or a remoulade sauce! 



Cilantro Lime Rice

Standard
Cilantro Lime Rice



This rice is soooo yummy! It goes great with almost anything, but I love it with black beans. Yum yum yum! This recipe is enough for 2-3 people, so double it if you need more than that.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c rice (I use converted rice for almost everything, but white or brown rice would work here too)
  • 2 c water (or however much your rice instructs you to use)
  • 1 small sweet onion chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 chicken bullion cube chopped up
  • 1 lime (juice and zest)
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • Cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
  • Green onions (optional garnish)

1. Put your sweet onion into a pot and drizzle some olive oil on them. Season with salt and pepper and cook for s few minutes on medium high heat. You’re just going to sweat them out a little bit. 



2. Now add your rice and chopped garlic into the pot. Also drizzle additional oil onto the rice, as you’ll be “stir frying” it for a few minutes. Do not walk away from your pot right now – this burns easily! Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently.





3. Now add the zest of your lime, the juice of the lime, the 1/2 chicken bullion cube either chopped or crushed between your fingers, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil for one minute, then put a lid on it and turn the heat down to simmer.







4. Cook the rice 20 minutes (or as your instructions say for your specific kind of rice) and once it’s done, add a few handfuls of chopped cilantro. I also like to garnish mine with green onion and another squeeze of fresh lime. And don’t forget the most important part – a margarita!