Sunday, August 30, 2009

Craving Vegetables, 2 Recipes

Lately, I have been craving vegetables. This is a good thing since veggies are supposed to be so good for you. You're in luck today because you get two recipes for the price of one.

Last night, I had my heart set on a big pot of vegetable soup for supper. I thought I had posted my easy recipe for Homemade Vegetable Soup, but couldn't find it in the archive. So, just in case, here it is again.

I call this Basic Homemade Vegetable Soup because any vegetables can be added to the basic recipe below and I usually do that. Two of my favorites are fresh cauliflower and a can of Lima beans. My mother adds cabbage, which is another favorite. I've seen okra added, but not in my soup. When my husband makes this and we don't have cans of mixed vegetables, he starts opening and dumping whatever vegetables we happen to have in the pantry.

Basic Homemade Vegetable Soup
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cans mixed vegetables
1 large can tomato juice

Fry ground beef until done. Drain, and place in the soup pot. Add the mixed vegetables and tomato juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 30-45 minutes. This makes a large pot and leftovers can be frozen for use later.

My next recipe, which I plan to make this week after doing my grocery shopping, is called Marinated Garden Salad. This recipe belongs to my aunt and I've never made it, but I have eaten it and it's delicious. I've also seen many variations of it online.

Marinated Garden Salad
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can French-cut green beans
1 can peas
1 can mushroom pieces
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 C. celery, diced
1 C. green pepper, chopped

Drain all the juice from the cans of vegetables. Dump veggies in to a bowl. Mix together and set aside.

1 C. sugar
1/4 C. white vinegar
1/4 C. oil
1/3 C. water

Bring to boil, let cool and pour over vegetables. Store in glass jars and chill in the refrigerator.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blackberry Cobbler

My brother has been picking blackberries at our mom's house for many weeks and she's got a pretty good batch of berries in her freezer now. Although not my favorite cobbler, I love peach, blackberry comes in a close second. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and I'm in heaven. Personally, I can't wait to make a cobbler.


Blackberry Cobbler
1 quart berries
1/2 t. salt
1 T. flour
1/2 C. corn syrup
1 C. Bisquick Baking Mix
2 T. sugar
1/2 C. milk
1 1/2 t. sugar

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Combine blackberries, salt, flour and corn syrup and spread mixture into the baking dish. Mix together the Bisquick with 2 T. sugar and milk and pour over the berries. Top with 1 1/2 t. sugar. Bake in a 350° oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An indoor picnic

The heat is unbearable outside, 90° temps and high humidity. For supper tonight, I decided to have an indoor picnic of Baked Beans, Macaroni and Cheese, corn on the cob, and hot dogs. I can't wait for my husband to get home from work so I can dig in.

I have made my baked beans and macaroni and cheese for so long, I no longer measure the ingredients. Both are just a "dump and stir" kind of dish now. I dump everything in and cook. For the purpose of my blog, I'll see if I can come up with at least close measurements.

Baked Beans with hot dogs

1 lg can or 2 small cans of pork & beans
about a 1/2 C. brown sugar
about a 1/4- 1/2 C. catsup

Dump all ingredients into the baking dish and stir. Put dish into the microwave, cover with wax paper, and cook on high for 10-15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, place several hot dogs that have been pierced with a fork into the dish and finish cooking. Let cool slightly before serving.

Macaroni and Cheese
1 1/2 C. macaroni, cooked
1 C. Velvetta cheese, cut into small cubes
1- 1 1/2 C. milk

In pot on stove, combine all of the above ingredients. Cook on medium to high heat until cheese has melted. Stir constantly to keep from burning. Season with salt to taste and serve. My mother makes this same dish in the microwave by combining all ingredients and cooking on high until the cheese is melted.

Well, my husband just walked in and I am hungry. I hope you enjoy your indoor picnic.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Are we tired of Zucchinis yet?

I might just get there tonight. Remember the big zucchini that I mentioned in my previous entry below? My husband brought another one home on Sunday and I am peeling, slicing, and shredding them tonight for the freezer. I'm afraid by the time I am done, I won't want to look at another zucchini.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

What to do with all these Zucchinis

It's zucchini time at our house. The harvest is coming in and the variety of ways to prepare them is challenging. In the past, I have made zucchini cake, zucchini bread, zucchini casserole, and fried zucchini. When my husband got home today, he brought in the biggest zucchini I have ever seen and told me that "we must have missed this one in the garden." For a split second, I believed him, then realized there was no way we would not have picked a zucchini before it got that big. He confessed that someone had brought several to work for anyone to take.

Honestly, it is really too big to slice and fry. The seeds alone would be huge. However, I think I can peel it and then remove the seeds, leaving just the meat, shred it, and put into zipper bags for the freezer. I'll have to check all my recipes for the right measurement before putting them into the bags, so I can have them pre-measured for certain recipes next winter.

Now, on to today's recipe, Baked Zucchini Sticks. It's a new one that I have tried and is actually very healthy, but don't tell the kids.

Baked Zucchini Sticks
2 medium size zucchinis
2 eggs
1/3 C. seasoned bread crumbs
2 T. grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 t. garlic powder
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425° f and spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Peel and slice the zucchini into 3" x 1/2" sticks. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and set aside. In a shallow bowl mix together the bread crumbs Parmesan Cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dip each stick into the beaten egg and then roll in the breadcrumb mixture. Place zucchini sticks onto a cookie sheet and sprayed them lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with Ranch dressing, horseradish sauce, marinara sauce, salsa, or any favorite dipping sauce.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Each year at the Indiana State Fair they hold a competition to determine the annual Signature Food of the Fair. Past winners have been Deep Fried Pepsi, which I blogged about a few years ago, and just about any deep fried snack food. Since this year at the State Fair, it's the Year of the Tomato, it only makes sense that this year's signature food would involve tomatoes. The 2009 Indiana State Fair Signature Food is...... drum-roll please...... Deep Fried Pizza. Okay, I agree, it's not as exciting as Deep Fried Pepsi, but who doesn't love pizza?

Since the fair has officially started yet (it opens this week), I only have information from what I have read in the newspaper about this delicacy. From what I understand, Deep Fried Pizza consists of hand-tossed pizza dough deep-fried to a golden brown and topped with pizza sauce and grated cheese and will sell for about $5.00. When I read this, I thought it was something new. Then, I did a Google search and found that Deep Fried Pizza originated in Scotland in the 1970's and there are tons of recipes online for it.

Now, on to my recipes. Since my State Fair said that it is the Year of the Tomato and the tomato plants in my garden are producing like crazy, I thought I would share a couple of easy recipes using tomatoes. First a disclaimer, I don't like or eat tomatoes. BUT, I love salsa, ketchup on my french fries, and a slice of tomato on my hamburger. Weird, eh?

A co-worker gave me her recipe for homemade salsa several years ago. It has the best flavor and is so easy to make. I first used it when we had an abundance of tomatoes from our garden. Then, I gave the recipe to my brother and he told me some time later that he uses canned tomatoes and makes it all year round. I love to can salsa for family and friends as a Christmas gift.

The second recipe is for a very popular dish around my part of Indiana, Fried-Green Tomatoes. When restaurants around here have them on their menu, they sell out practically every day. There's lots of versions of the coating for Fried-Green Tomatoes and I will go over that in the recipe below.

Homemade Salsa

12 C. fresh tomatoes, peeled (or 4 large cans of tomatoes)
6 green bell peppers, chopped and seeds removed
2 medium size onions, chopped
3 T. minced garlic
1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. vinegar
3 T. canning salt
3-4 hot peppers, chopped

Stir all ingredients together in a large pot on the stove. Bring to boil and then reduce heat. Cook slowly for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on how thick you want it. Stir often to keep from burning on bottom. Pour into clean hot canning jars and place canning lids on. Jars should seal themselves, but you can process them in a boiling water canner, if desired. Make sure you check to make sure they have sealed. If not, store those jars in the refrigerator.

You can determine how hot you want the salsa by the type of peppers that you use. Experiment with different batches and see what you can come up with.

Once the salsa cools, serve with tortilla chips.

Fried Green Tomatoes
1 medium green tomato per person
salt and pepper

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 to 1/3 inch slices. Beat a couple eggs together in a bowl and dip each slice of tomato into it and then into a dish of flour to coat. Place slices into a large skillet with hot vegetable oil over medium heat and fry about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Another version that I have seen is to dip the slices into buttermilk instead of egg and cornmeal instead of flour. It's all up to the cook, so you decide which combination you want to try.

My zucchinni plants are really starting to produce, too. Next time, I will post some recipes for zucchinni dishes.

Until next time,