Orange Marmalade

According to my husband this is the best thing that I have ever made, orange marmalade. I don’t eat marmalade, never have but I love the smell of the oranges and lemons cooking on the stove. I am telling you canning is the easiest thing in the world to do.  He was so mad that I dumped some out to take the picture, oh well the price you pay for creating art. And look only four ingredients for this and I am betting that you probably already have these in your house. I mean for $4 you can either go and buy the fruit need and make 3 jars or go to the store and spend $4 on 1 jar of marmalade. I don’t know about you but I rather make it and save money.

Orange Marmalade

Ingredients

  • 3 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Remove peels from oranges and slice thinly. Place in a small stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Remove thin outer rind from lemon with a vegetable peeler and cut into fine strips with scissors or a sharp knife, using a zester is easier. Add rind and water to saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover and boil gently for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove and discard white rind and seeds from lemon. Chop orange and lemon pulp finely in a food processor or with a sharp knife. Add to saucepan, return to a boil, cover and boil gently for 20 minutes.
  3. Add sugar, return to a boil and boil rapidly, uncovered, until mixture will form a gel, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  4. Ladle into hot jars and process for 10 minutes in a water bath. Make sure to start timer once water starts to boil with the lid on the canner.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

I promise once cranberry season is over I won’t post anymore cranberry recipes, my husband is a cranberry nut. My husband loves everything and anything that has to do with cranberries and oranges. Our favorite place to go for breakfast is Panera Bread, which is where he gets his muffin fix. I love the place but there is a down side, they only serve his favorite muffins in the fall and winter time, which means that for the other half of the year I am listening to how much he wants his cranberry-orange muffin.  I might even buy extra cranberries one day and freeze them, so I can have them for the rest of the year. Well to start saving me money I came up with my own version of this seasonal favorite. And I have been told it’s even better.

Cranberry-Orange Muffin

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Put the cranberries and 2 tablespoons orange juice in a small saucepan, and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Remove berries from the heat, and set aside.
  3. Lightly grease a 6 or 12 muffin tin with shorting.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, cream the butter and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Fold the flour into the butter mixture, adding the milk and orange juice. Fold in the cranberries. Do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan on a rack. Serve warm.

Summertime Favorite

I have these memories about going to my Grandmother’s house in the summertime and in her back yard there would be wild strawberries growing. I can remember sitting picking and eating them one after another another. The memories of youth, I only hope that my children have as great as childhood memories as I do with the simple things.

Since then I have move to warmer climates and I have fresh strawberries just about everyday. What do you do with all those strawberries? Easy make Strawberry Shortcakes. Nothing tastes better then the simple things in life.

Strawberry Shortcake

  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and diced
  • Sugar to taste
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 3 tbs water

Whip Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions:

 Take the diced strawberries and put them in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and water. Give it a quick stir. Add a couple of tablespoons at a time to the strawberries. Sweetness to taste. But remember it is suppose to taste like strawberries and NOT like sugar with strawberry flavoring.

For the Whip Cream:

  1. In a deep mixing bowl, beat 1 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar over cream; beat until soft peaks return. Do not over beat. Makes about 2 cups.

Tip: When making the whip cream make sure that the heavy cream is really really cold. And if you have time freeze the bowl and beaters. This will help the cream whip quickly and will increase its volume.

Chinese Take Out Made In

I love Chinese food. It has been a tradition in my family to eat it every New Year’s Eve. So when I got married I carried that tradition with me. My only problem is it can get expensive and with this economy I want to save as much money as I can. So I ordered Chinese one night and started to figure out what was in them and make them myself. The biggest difference is I baked my egg rolls and didn’t fry them and I used brown rice. I made 20 egg rolls and only had 6 left over and a cup of rice. I have never seen my family eat Chinese this fast or this much before.

Fried Rice

Ingredients:

3 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon teriyaki sauce
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 cups cold, cooked rice
6 green (spring) onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

Beat eggs with a whisk in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat very little oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat and make an omelet using half the beaten eggs. Turn out onto a plate to cool (do not fold omelet). Repeat process with remaining beaten eggs. Place 1 omelet on top of the other, fold and coarsely chop. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss chicken strips with the sesame oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over high heat in large frying pan or wok and stir-fry the prepared chicken strips until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until onion has softened. Add 2 tablespoons more vegetable oil and when hot, stir in the cooked rice and green onions, tossing and mixing thoroughly until very hot. Sprinkle with soy sauce and mix evenly. Remove from heat and stir in chopped cooked egg. If desired, garnish with additional sliced green onions.

Egg Rolls

Ingredients:

tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 ts fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 small red pepper, cut into 1-inch julienne strips
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
20 egg roll wrappers covered loosely with a damp paper towel to prevent drying
1 shredded chicken breast, cooked

Directions:

In a wok or skillet, stir-fry the ginger and garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add scallions, carrots, and red pepper and stir-fry over high heat for 2 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, and sugar. Add the cabbage and broth mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Add sesame oil, cool for at least 15 minutes, and strain. Fold in the minced cooked chicken.

Fill and roll the egg roll wrappers, using 1 tablespoon of filling for each roll. Working with 1 egg roll wrapper at a time, place the wrapper with one corner of the diamond closest to you. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Roll the corner closest to you over the filling. Brush the top corner with water. Fold in the sides of the wonton and continue rolling the egg roll up until it is closed. Press to seal, set aside, and continue with the remaining ingredients.

In a skillet set over moderately high heat, heat the remaining oil and saute the egg rolls until golden brown on all sides, using tongs to turn them. Serve when cool enough to eat, with dipping sauce.

Or. Brush egg rolls lightly with vegetable oil and bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Dipping Sauce

1/3 cup lite soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 to 2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Southern Sweet Potato Pie

This was the first time that I have made a sweet potato pie. I did not think that for one minute it was going to be as popular as it became. Both pies were gone with in 24hrs of me finishing them. This pie is good warm or cold, either way serve it with some whip cream and you will have a hit. Best part is when you take it out of the oven it starts to make your kitchen smell sweet and warm, very inviting.

Southern Sweet Potato Pie

  • 2 pounds sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1.25 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Directions

  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
  2. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread (left) & Banana Apple Bread (right)

I can not talk about the greatest pumpkin bread without giving you the best Banana Bread. Now bananas in this house do not last long. I can get them on a Friday and be out by Monday. I think that’s how my youngest got the nick name Sammybanany. She is so going to hate that name when she gets older, I know I hate mine. Add if for some odd reason the banana do start to go bad before the kids eat them all I freeze them. That way I don’t waste food or money. Anyways I have made this bread for my family for years now and it never fails it gone with in days of making it.

Banana Bread

1/2 c softened butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c mashed bananas
2 c flour
1 ts baking soda
1-2 ts vanilla

Directions:

1) Grease & flour 9×5 pan.
2) Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time and stirring in between each one and add bananas.
3) Add flour, baking soda and vanilla. Stir until combined.
4) Pour into pans and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tooth pick comes out clean.
5) Remove from pans and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Apple-Banana Bread

1/2 c softened butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c mashed bananas
1 apple, 1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced
2 c flour
2 ts cinnamon
1 ts baking soda
1-2 ts vanilla

Directions:

1) Grease & flour 9×5 pan.
2) Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time and stirring in between each one and add bananas & apple chunks.
3) Add flour, baking soda and vanilla. Stir until combined.
4) Pour into pans and add sliced apples on top, bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tooth pick comes out clean.
5) Remove from pans and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Pie and More

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s that time of year again when the weather starts to cool and and the kitchen starts to heat up with your Fall goodies. One of my family’s new favorite fall treats is anything pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, muffins and pies. I got frustrated one year, waited too long, and I could not find pumpkin on the shelf, so I made my own. And since that day I am not allowed to go back to canned pumpkin and honestly I don’t mind. Not only is doing it myself healthier for my family it makes the house smell great when the pumpkin is cooking in the oven before you puree it. So go ahead give it a try. Plus what you don’t use you can freeze for another time.

How to Roast a Pumpkin

1) Cut the pumpkin in half. A serrated knife and a sawing motion works best – a smooth
knife is more likely to slip and hurt you!

2) And scrape the insides. You want to get out that stringy, stuff that coats the inside surface. I find a heavy ice cream scoop works great for this.

Note: SAVE THE SEEDS- roast them and have a healthy snack later on. Two for one.

3) Prepared pumpkin in the oven, just like a butternut squash. This method takes the longest. Just put the prepared pumpkin in an ovenproof container (with a lid), add about 3 cups of water to help prevent it from drying out and pop it in an 350 F (200 C) oven. It normally takes about 45 minutes to an hour; just test it periodically by sticking it with a fork to see if it is soft! I find that this is the best, I think it gets better flavor.

4) Using a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a tablespoon) gently lift and scoop the cooked pumpkin out of the skin. It should separate easily an in fairly large chucks, if the pumpkin is cooked enough.

5) With the hand blender, it just takes 2 or 3 minutes! It’s ready to pop in the fridge or freezer (just pack it containers, like Ziploc bags or plastic containers, exclude as much air as you can, and freeze it!)

Or.. You can make a pie

Best Pumpkin Pie (makes 2 8’ shallow or 1 9’ deep dish)

1 cup sugar
1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 large eggs
3 cups pumpkin glop (cooked pumpkin)
1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated milk (I use the nonfat version)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
pie crust(s)

Note: if need be you may use 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice if you don’t have all of the above, but you get results with the separate spices, I think.

1) Mix everything together until blender together.

2) Bake at 425 F (210 C ) for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F  ( 175 C ) and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

It’s only two steps and its so easy my kids like to help me make it.

Now for Pumpkin Bread (makes 2 loafs)

2 cups of fresh cooked pumpkin
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (not self-rising flour)
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and sugar.
3. Add the eggs, water, oil and pumpkin.
4. Stir until blended.
5. Pour into two lightly greased and floured 9×5” loaf pans.
6. Bake approximately 1 hour at 350 F (175 C). When a clean knife can be stuck in and removed cleanly then it is done.
7. Remove from the oven and cool slightly (10 minutes).
8. Then take out of pans to let cool on a rack.

Now this recipe doesn’t need anything else to make it better but having a cream cheese frosting on top of a warm fresh piece is amazing. This batter makes great pumpkin muffins, just bake in muffin pans for 13 minutes at 350 degrees or until done.

My Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz cream cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 ts vanilla

Shift sugar first. Then mix everything until smooth. This is real easy and tastes great.