Monday, July 25, 2011

Best Dill Pickles EVER! (Just like Clausen) (Easy - no canning!)



My daughters LOVE dill pickles and I LOVE to grow cucumbers!  But, sometimes homemade dill pickles turn out kind of soggy and  my girls want them to taste just like they get in the store.  My computer helped me find a recipe that was supposed to taste JUST LIKE Clausen (refrigerator) pickles!  Those are the best anyway, right?  My older daughter (the skeptic, who doesn't "do" all my Susie Homemaker stuff) (wrong!) wanted to try this recipe so I bought some fresh dill, fresh garlic cloves, and we picked the cucumbers from my garden.

You don't "can" this recipe.  Just fill a gallon jar (we used an old pickle jar) with cucumbers and dill heads, pour over the cooled (after cooking) liquids/seasonings, let it sit on the counter for three days, and then refrigerate.  They are supposed to keep for one year like that in the fridge, without canning!  (We let them sit for the 3 days, then refrigerated them overnight and then opened the jar for the much anticipated first taste!)

Do they taste like Clausen?  YOU BET YOUR PRETTY PICKLE THEY DO!  We were all SO excited.  You would have thought we struck gold!  I guess we struck GREEN! 

These are SO EASY!  Even if you aren't a canner, try these!  They are so good!

We made spears but I just bought one of those little cutters that makes waffle fries so we can make fancy thick slices. These are definitely better made AT HOME MY WAY!



Best Dill Pickles EVER (Just like Clausen)
(Easy - No Canning!)

Some commenters thought these were too salty.  I like them that way but feel free to use a little less salt if you are way sensitive to saltiness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon of cucumbers (do not use the store bought regular cucumbers with the wax on them - use pickling cucumbers or garden fresh cucumbers)

  • 1/3 cup dried minced onion (you get in the spice isle) 

  • 6 cloves FRESH garlic, peeled, and chopped small (smash it with the handle of a knife in your hand, then peel it, then chop it) (if you aren't familiar with garlic, the cloves all together make up the whole bulb of garlic.  You want 6 cloves, peeled of the dry papery outer coating, and chopped).

  • 1/2 Tablespoon mustard seeds (found in the spice isle)

  • 6 heads FRESH dill

  • 1 1/2 quarts water (this is equal to 6 cups)

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup canning salt  (do NOT use regular salt - use CANNING SALT which is found with the canning supplies)
Directions:

Wash and slice cucumbers lengthwise into spears.  Add the dill (heads only - not stems) into the jars first, then put in the sliced/spears/cucumbers until your jar is full. (Some of our dill heads were very large so we counted them as "two heads".)

Boil liquids and all seasonings/remaining ingredients (minced onion, chopped garlic, mustard seeds, water, vinegar and canning salt) until the salt dissolves, then let COOL (doesn't have to be completely cold, just cool). Pour the cooked mixture over the pickles/dill in the jar, COVER WITH LID TO THE JAR, and let sit on counter for three days turning them occasionally (we just put a towel over the lid - so as not to leak - and turned the jar upside down and did easy shakes, and returned to upright).  After 3 days on the counter, refrigerate overnight.  Now try one!  Crunch!  YUM!


Please do not try to use the regular grocery store cucumbers, they have wax on them and they will not turn out. You can use grocery store pickling cucumbers as they are not waxed.

This recipe has been shared at:


Monday, July 18, 2011

Pics of the Sweet & Sour Pasta Salad

This is the very best pasta salad EVER!  It is not made with mayo so it can stand the heat better than other dishes you might take to a BBQ or picnic.  I get the most requests for this recipe!  I posted the recipe for this dish here, but wanted to add these pictures because it is so beautiful. 

Sweet & Sour Pasta Salad (a/k/a Peggy Jean-ish Pasta Salad)


I mix up the dressing in a quart canning jar and heat to boiling in the microwave, but you can heat it on the stove if you like.


 

This recipe will be a great one to include all of those fresh garden vegetables coming in hot and heavy now... (tomatoes, red onion, cukes & bell pepper)


 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Menu for the July

I'm getting into this kind of late, but I really like to post what we've eaten for the month so that I have a record for next July.  Helps to not forget the stuff that worked and the stuff that didn't.


July, 2011

Suppers

BBQ at niece's house - we smoked pork loins, smoked chicken, and briskit to take out to their house (they bought - we just did the smokin!)

Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans (Rebecca cooked dinner for us.)

Lasagna, and garlic bread

Hamburger Soup, HM biscuits (Rachel made dinner)

BBQ chicken & hamburgers on the grill, baked potatoes, quarters of cabbage in foil packets on the grill (from Miss Sharon at the Farmer's Market) and 5-minute a day hoecakes made in the skillet with a little butter -YUM, YUM & YUM!

Tacos / Taco salads  - make your own

BBQ brats (at 4th of July BBQ) - I took Sweet & Sour Pasta Salad

Spaghetti (always lots of spaghetti!  Sometimes once a week LOL!)

Breakfast for Supper (gravy made with local Osage Valley sausage), HM biscuits, tator tots and yellow squash (not a breakfast food but its in season and my younger daughter and I JUST LOVE it)

Smoked ham on the grill - turned out great!  Definitely do again!

Lots of leftovers (leftover smoked pork & smoked ham, spaghetti)

BBQ pork steaks

Chicken fajitas using banana peppers & bell peppers from the garden.  (Hubby just had chicken & leftover potatoes - he doesn't "do" fajitas; he's missing out); cheese beans using a can of black beans - YUM!

Beanie Weanies & spaghetti & cheese (like mac and cheese; I just like to use spaghetti pasta)

Crockpot Chicken & Biscuits, mashed potatoes, green beans and of course, HM biscuits


Breads:

5 minute a day bread  (tried baking outside in the 100+ heat but didn't allow for enough time) (Baked on the grill)

garlic bread (just store bought loaf, sliced in half lengthwise and slathered in butter/garlic powder

HM biscuits

cornbread

Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls for the Garage Sale

HM biscuits made with 1/4 cup additional milk and cooked in a butter skillet; these little "hoe cakes" were terrific with sausage gravy instead of heating up the oven on a HOT day!



Breakfasts (what a bunch of carbs)

HM chocolate chip muffins  (Plain muffin recipe from Hillbilly Housewife + choco chips)
HM apple/oat muffins (Plain muffin recipe, subbing in 1 cup oats & grated apple & 1/2 t cinnamon)
HM pancakes
HM 5 minute a day (leftover) hoecakes
HM biscuits (leftover)
HM biscuits with Gerke's Osage Valley Farms sausage gravy - YUM!
Pumpkin chocolate chip bread baked in cans (from the freezer)
HM zucchini bread cooked in fruit cans in my crockpot

Lunches

Peanut butter sandwiches on wheat bread
Hot dogs
Leftovers (green beans from my garden)
Sliced cucumbers from my garden
First tomato sandwich of the summer
Pigs in a blanket.  These were great!

Desserts

cherry jello with bananas (I took this as "lunch dessert" :) )
HM chocolate mayonnaise cake with white frosting
HM chocolate icecream
HM Cherry Cobbler (I got this recipe from www.joyinmy kitchen.blogspot.com)  in the crockpot using cherries from my freezer that I got from my niece (I loved making my own pie filling.  So easy!  Why have I not done this sooner?  Sweetened the cherries - and thickened with corn starch.)  Great recipe!
HM chocolate mint ice cream
HM banana pudding made with HM vanilla pudding (used graham crackers instead of vanilla wafers because that's what I had and it turned out fine!)

Snacks

HM microwave kettle corn (excellent!) (used a lunch sack, reg popcorn, splash of oil, salt & sugar)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hamburger Soup on cool, rainy SUMMER days in July

Missouri is notorious for extreme weather.  We can have REALLY, REALLY cold weather which included a history-making blizzard this past winter, to super, duper HOT weather (once I worked at school and in one of the classrooms it was 107 at 10AM).  But, with those extremes comes some nice breaks in the weather and we had a few cool days around the 4th of July.  On Thursday, my younger daughter used her personalized recipe book (which I made for her using Shutterfly) to make supper.  She made one of her (and her sister's) favorites, Hamburger Soup.  It has hamburger, garlic, oregano, bay leaves, tomato sauce (of course), pasta, and veges.  Its kind of like spaghetti meets vegetable soup!  Its their favorite and we snarfed it down last night!  I modified this recipe just a tad from a delicious soup recipe that my former boss makes.  He is an attorney and also is a FABULOUS cook. I had never had vegetable soup with garlic in it until I tried his recipe.  It always gets rave reviews. Here's the recipe:

SPAGHETTI MEETS VEGETABLE SOUP
(Hamburger Soup)

(remove the bay leaves BEFORE serving!)  (DO NOT EAT BAY LEAVES)
  • 1 to 2 pounds hamburger (we use a little more than 1 pound)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes +  1-8oz can tomato sauce (plus each empty can filled with water) (OR if you don't have crushed tomatoes, which we did not last night, THEN USE 2 -8oz cans of tomato sauce + 2 cans of water)
  • 1 can carrots (undrained)
  • 3-5 med. potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 can green beans (undrained)
  • 1 small can mushrooms (stems & pieces) undrained
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil or oregano
  • 2 bay leaves (large ones so you can find them)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup additional water
  • EXTRA INGREDIENT:  Cook 2 cups macaroni and serve with the soup.  (If you put it in the pot, it gets mushy so we keep it separate and just add to each of our bowls.)
Brown hamburger in a soup pot with the onion powder, or if using real onion, brown with the meat until all clear. Drain. Add all remaining ingredients, including the cans of water and extra water. Crack the lid and simmer, stirring occasionally at least 45 minutes or longer or until potatoes are soft.

REMOVE THE BAY LEAVES and serve.


Serve with cooked elbow macaroni and/or in bread bowls! Yummy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream - CUPCAKES !


Today was my older daughter's last day to work with the kids at the City Summer Camp.  She wanted to do something special for them so she decided to make these Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes.

There's not really a recipe.  Just use regular cones, and fill not quite full with cake batter.  She sat them in my broiler pan or any cake pan.  Just sit the pan in the oven with the cones all standing up.  Rebecca just used a cake mix but you could use your own homemade cake recipe if you don't want to use a mix.  Bake as the box says for cupcakes -  maybe 5 minutes longer.  I think we baked these 25 minutes.  Cool completely, and then frost and sprinkle!

That's it!

They are probably best served the day you make them.  She said the cones got a little soft from sitting overnight with cake in them and just weren't quite as crunchy as they were last night.  I bet dyeing the cupcake batter like our tye dye cupcakes would be super cute!  You could really take this idea and run with it!

What a cheap way to have a special treat for your little ones.  (We tried to find the colored cones and no stores in our little town had those.  They would be EVEN cuter!)


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