Friday, July 29, 2016

When life gives you zucchini - make jam! Surprise Zucchini Jam - NO PECTIN NEEDED! Must-Have Garden Recipe!!



This fantastic Surprise Zucchini Jam will be a great way to use up those ever-growing zucchinis in your garden.  It turns out fantastic and uses no pectin!  Ding-ding-ding - money saver!  (Jello is lots cheaper than pectin!)  

I ate mine on some bread/toast and it was amazing!  I just couldn't imagine what it would taste like??  However, I was pleasantly surprised.  Great for biscuits, toast, even over cream cheese/served with crackers as an appetizer!  It would make a fun homemade Christmas gift, too!

I am making lots more varieties of this recipe.  My husband's grandma always used apricot jello. Strawberry jello is supposed to be great! Also, I thought it would be good to use pineapple jello and include some ground jalapenos for pepper jelly.  Lots of possibilities here!

Since this recipe uses no Surejel/pectin, I was very skeptical. However, after a sit overnight, it was all set up.  In the fridge, it was the perfect "jam" consistency.  (Prior to that it looked like relish.)  Don't stress.  It's will work!

(NOTE:  I didn't peel my zucchini and wish I had.  I'm fine with it but picky family members are more likely to eat it without dark green flakes in it LOL.)

Here's how I made Surprise Zucchini Jam AT HOME MY WAY:

Surprise Zucchini Jam

  • 6 cups PEELED and finely grated zucchini (seeds removed)
  • 5 to 6 cups sugar (I used about 5 1/2 cups)
  • 1 (16 ounce) can CRUSHED pineapple (juice included)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 (3 oz) or 1 (6 oz) box jello (apricot, peach, strawberry)
Instructions

Place PEELED and finely grated zucchini (seeds removed) in a pot large enough to incorporate (eventually) all of the ingredients.  Cook for 20 minutes or so - so that it actually boils for total of 10 minutes.  I carefully did this since my zucchini didn't have a lot of juice.  I covered it with a lid and stirred often.

Add sugar, pineapple (including juice), and lemon juice.  Cook so that it boils again for 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat.

Add jello.  Stir for 1 minute so jello completely dissolves.

Place in sterilized (I use my dishwasher) canning jars and add lids/rings.  Water bath 10 minutes according to standard canning instructions.




Enjoy!


Gina



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pumpkin Bread - NO EGGS - Delicious, frugal, & VEGAN!



Last night I tried a recipe for pumpkin bread that was a complete SUCCESS!

I like to try to incorporate vegan recipes into my menu whenever possible.  My niece makes mostly vegan or vegetarian dishes and I have enjoyed learning to make some really good food that doesn't incorporate meat or animal products.  Am I a vegan?  No.  But, I have discovered that vegan dishes leave me feeling wonderfully full and satisfied without feeling stuffed and sluggish.  The other part about vegan cooking that I like is that the recipes I have tried are simple, and less expensive to make.  I love having a few vegan recipes in my files for when I run out of eggs or need a meal and don't have any meat.

This recipe for pumpkin bread turned out fantastic!  Seems like pumpkin recipes always have increased amounts of eggs so I wasn't sure how this would turn out??  I found this recipe HERE (Hell Yeah it's Vegan!)  (I'm anxious to try lots more of her recipes by the way!)

The texture of this pumpkin bread is light.  The crumb is fine.  It's really amazing!  I will probably only make this recipe for pumpkin bread from now on.  Hmm.... I'm not sure what the eggs could have added to this recipe??  

I added raisins to my recipe for this loaf but plan to incorporate nuts, chocolate chips, dried cranberries??  I found the recipe a little overly sweet so I'll probably cut back on the sugar.  I might also increase the cinnamon because I love really spicy pumpkin bread.  

Try this recipe out for yourself!  You will be so glad you did.  And when you run out of eggs and need something to make, you'll be so glad you can make this Pumpkin Bread - NO EGGS - At Home My Way.  

Pumpkin Bread - NO EGGS - 
Vegan Recipe
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar (Next time will cut this in half to 1/2 cup) 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (Next time will increase to 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin purree
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used olive.)
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • Optional:  Nuts, raisins, chocolate chips (1/2 cup)
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease and flour one loaf pan (or spray)

Mix together dry ingredients into a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk wet ingredients together, including pumpkin.

Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring just until blended.

NOTE:  This batter will be thick!  That's OK!

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake 50-55 minutes or until top is browned and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool 20 minutes and loosen edges with a knife to remove from pan.

Cool completely before covering or placing in a baggy for storage.







Enjoy!


Gina

Friday, June 10, 2016

UPDATE-UPDATE-UPDATE Parmesan Chicken - DUMP METHOD - EVEN EASIER INSTRUCTIONS!



Doug and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary this week.  You might ask, "What on earth do I care about this lady's anniversary?" LOL.  

PARMESAN CHICKEN TIME!

I have made Parmesan Chicken, various ways, throughout our marriage - on our anniversary.  By now, I wouldn't want to have an anniversary without my homemade Parmesan Chicken.  (Eating out is overrated LOL.)  We have lots of good memories of me successfully (and unsuccessfully) learning to make this really good meal!

Funny how as time passes you learn to roll with the punches.

As a newlywed with NO STOVE, I made this meal using a microwave.  Sounds gross to me now, but we loved it.  But then, at 18 and 20 years old, we didn't know much better LOL.

As time passed, I made this recipe in the oven, slaving over the stove putting "love" into it as it baked and bubbled in the oven on lazy weekends at home.

Next, I found myself working 30 minutes away from home. Commuting and being gone 11 hours each day.  I found a better way to make this well loved recipe.  I posted that method here on this blog and it HIT IT BIG!  In fact, my recipe has been featured as one of the top 25 most pinned crockpot chicken recipes, which I found really AWESOME!  You can find it featured on My Natural Family - HERE.

More time passed and I was still not finding enough time in my mornings.  No matter how much I did the night before, prepared, organized, I still needed to shave off more time (and dirty dishes) from my mornings.  

I tried a new method for making Crockpot Chicken Parmesan.  DING-DING-DING!  WINNER-WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER! (Literally lol)!

This recipe involves literally placing frozen chicken in the crockpot, sprinkling with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, dumping on either some tomato sauce and sprinkling with spices, or dumping on some jarred spaghetti sauce.  Turn it on - DONE!   It doesn't get much easier than this.  No dredging, shaking bags, dealing with more mess than necessary.  Woo hoo!  It's dreamy!

I made Parmesan Chicken this way on Tuesday - our actual 31st anniversary- and it just turns out FANTASTIC!  My sweet hubby decided after eating it for our anniversary dinner that he was keeping me for a few more years LOL.  Am I lucky or what?

Here's my newest, easiest method ever for making Crockpot Parmesan Chicken-Dump Method - AT HOME MY WAY:

Crockpot Parmesan Chicken-
Easy Dump Method
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I use frozen because we are gone 11 hours during the day and it has plenty of time to cook.  Needs 8-10 hours, if chicken is frozen)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (I use the kind in the green can.)
  • 2 jars spaghetti sauce 
  • Mozzarella cheese (grated) (add after all cooked)
Instructions:

Place chicken in crockpot, sprinkling around each piece with some seasoned bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.

Sprinkle any remaining crumbs/parmesan cheese after all the chicken has been layed in the crockpot.

Dump on the spaghetti sauce.

Place the lid on the crockpot.

TURN ON LOW.

COOK ALL DAY - AT LEAST 8-10 HOURS.

At end of this cooking period, heat your water for pasta.  At boiling, place the pasta in (I use penne), salt the water, and start cooking. When the water starts to boil again, place the grated mozzarella over your chicken/sauce in the crockpot and replace the lid.

When the pasta is finished, the cheese will be melted, and dinner is SERVED!

Enjoy!



Gina

1.  Frozen chicken into the crockpot:


2.  Sprinkle each piece with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.



3.  Dump on the sauce of your choice.  This time I used plain seasoned tomato sauce with garlic powder & oregano/salt & pepper:




4.  PLUG IN THE CROCKPOT, PLACE THE LID ON, AND TURN ON LOW - FOR 8-10 HOURS (if using frozen meat):


5.  All cooked.  Take a look at that yumminess!



6.  I place the mozzarella on while my pasta is cooking and let it melt.


7.  Dive on in there!  Get yourself some!







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