Friday, October 12, 2012

Seriously Easy All-Canned Salsa

My husband is a HUGE fan of salsa.  I make this at least once a week, sometimes two or three times.  I'm not exaggerating either.  I really should buy stock in the company that makes Ro-Tel.  The best thing about it is you can change up the degree of spice to your salsa.  Not only can you buy different "temperatures" of Ro-Tel but you can add as much or as little crushed red pepper as you like.  It really changes up the recipe.

This recipe was adapted from the very first recipe in the Salsa Lovers Cookbook, All-Canned Salsa. I think that's a pretty appealing name and it doesn't hurt that the first recipe is such a good one.

Seriously Easy Salsa

Printable Version

2 cans Ro-Tel, (10 oz) drained
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp dried cilantro
1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves if you use fresh)
1 tsp red wine vinegar

1.  Add all ingredients, except tomato sauce, to a bowl and blend.

I use a hand operated "processor" a lot like the Progressive International Manual Food Chopper and Salsa Maker shown to the right because I like it a bit chunky but not too chunky. 

If you don't want to purchase a food processor just for your salsa because your husband doesn't demand salsa daily, you can also use a food processor.  Pulse it to leave chunks or blend it to remove all of the chunks.

2. After you've used the food processor, add the tomato sauce and blend again.

Quick as can be, it is ready!

You can eat it immediately or let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors meld together.  I prefer it that way but sometimes my husband just can't wait!

This salsa can be frozen.  I'm honestly not sure how long it lasts in the refrigerator because it disappears within 2 days however because most or all of the ingredients are canned it would be good up to a week.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Caramelized Green Beans AKA Best Green Beans Ever

So there's these girls that have this blog called Our Best Bites.  That blog turned into a cookbook.  I. Love. This. Cookbook.  It's called Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen. I'm pretty sure there isn't a recipe on their blog or their cookbook I've tried that I have not liked.  They're awesome...and so are these green beans that I got from their cookbook.  A bit of sugar, a lot of garlic, and a handful of bacon; three of my favorite ingredients.  How could these not be good?

I barely put my own twist on these from the original recipe and it's mainly because my husband can't stand onions so I never cook with them.  If you like onions in your food, check out the original post by Our Best Bites.  I am a little lazier than Our Best Bites as I use jarred minced garlic and pre-ground pepper, too - but it's what I always have on hand so I use what I have.  Plus, I canNOT stand the smell of garlic on my hands.  Maybe it takes practice to press the garlic without touching it but I haven't been able to do it yet.

Caramelized Green Beans

1 lb. frozen cut green beans
1/2 lb. bacon
4 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Ground pepper

1.  Begin by frying up your bacon and boiling your water for the green beans.  The recipe calls for 1/2 lb of chopped bacon.  To save a little time, I chop the bacon when it's raw.  It seems to cook quicker and doesn't require turning; just some stirring.  

2.  Mix the 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp. of Kosher salt together in a separate bowl.  You won't add this yet but you can prepare it while the bacon is cooking and water is boiling.  Also make sure you have your garlic handy as you will be using it soon.

3.   Once the bacon is ready (we I like it crisp!), remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon onto a plate with a paper towel to absorb the grease.

4.  When the water is boiling you're going to add the green beans for just about 3 minutes not to the point of cooking but just to basically thaw them and brighten the color a bit.  Then drain the beans.

5.  In the meantime, take some of the bacon grease (about 2 Tbsp.) and some olive oil (about 1 Tbsp.) and heat it on medium for about 2 minutes in the pan you cooked the bacon in.  Discard the rest of the bacon grease (or save it like I do).  Once the oil/grease is heated add the minced garlic for 1 minute.  Continue stirring so the garlic does not burn.

6.  Add the drained beans to the pan with the garlic and oil for about 2 minutes and continue stirring.

7.  Stir the sauce you pre-made and add it to beans.  Continue stirring as you cook so the sauce coats the beans and begins to create the carmelization.  You will continue cooking for about 2 more minutes.

8.  Add the bacon and about a 1/4-1/2 tsp of pepper (again the recipe calls for fresh ground pepper which is probably best but I go with what I have).  Keep stirring the mixture for about 2-3 more minutes until your beans get that caramelized look.

9.  Transfer the beans to a separate container and allow them to sit so the glaze will thicken and stick more to the beans.  Often I take these to a pot luck and put it in the crockpot to stay warmed up and the glaze takes to the beans beautifully.

Since this is my first attempt at writing up a recipe, please let me know if there's something I missed...or just not quite right.  Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!  Thanks Our Best Bites!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An empty fridge breeds creativity in the kitchen!

I am always in need of something from the grocery store.  Maybe I don't do my shopping well enough, or analyze my pantry or fridge to prepare well enough.  It's probably something I need to work on but in the meantime, I have to come up with ways to get around my lack of preparation.

Here are three that I've used lately:

Quick fix buttermilk:  When you need buttermilk for a recipe, you can add a little vinegar to milk.  Let it sit for 5 minutes and it becomes a good substitute:
  1. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to a measuring cup.
  2. Add milk to the same cup to bring the liquid to 1 cup.
  3. Let it sit for about 5 minutes at room temperature.  It might get a curdled look to it but that's okay!
  4. Stir it up and add it to your recipe!
Quick fix powdered sugar:  I'm a big baker and cupcakes are my thing.  Because of that, I generally keep powdered sugar as a staple in my pantry but sometimes I run out.  Last time I ran out when I was making cinnamon rolls and I needed it for the icing.  You can't have a cinnamon roll without icing, right?  I've tried to make icing with granulated sugar before and it just doesn't work.  I discovered you can create your own powdered sugar in your blender!
  1. Add a cup of granulated sugar to your blender (1 cup of granulated for each cup of powdered).
  2. Add a tablespoon of cornstarch for each up.
  3. Pulse it and blend it and you can magically watch your crystals become powder!  
Quick fix for milk for coffee:  So I should never run out of milk with 4 boys in my house but maybe that's why I run out of milk.  That and my love for coffee and the fact that I can't drink it black and must have at least a cup of milk a day in my coffee! 

Evaporated milk makes a great substitute for milk and you can get it lowfat too!  I ended up buying evaporated milk when a recipe called for sweetened condensed milk and it has been sitting in my pantry for a while.  This was a great way to use it and not let it go to waste!  I've also heard that the sweetened condensed milk is a great substitute too if you like your coffee sweet!

I tried to have my boys use it for cereal but apparently it's not the same in cereal.  They said it tasted funny.  Eh, it was worth a try!