Tag Archives: homemade

Quick and Easy Winter Soup

Leek and potato soup:

2 – large leeks
2 – medium potatoes peeled and course chopped
1 – pint stock – or use 1 – stock cube (use the stock you like, beef, chicken or vegetable)
Salt (Taste ‘Before) adding salt, stock often contains salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white or black pepper
Optional 2 – tablespoons butter
Optional – fresh mushrooms course chopped (thin sliced)

Course slice leeks and sauté them in 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil or melted butter.
Pour in the stock, add the potatoes and mushrooms. Simmer for about 25 minutes.
Soup is ready when the potatoes are soft and tender.
Top off with additional stock if needed.
Optional – Make this into a ‘cream’ soup. Blend in 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of cream. Do not boil.
Serve warm with toasted buttered garlic bread or saltine crackers.

Chili soup:

1 – 15 ounce can Wolf brand chili (with or without beans)
15 – ounces water
1 – Tablespoon chili powder
1 – Tablespoon dried oregano

Optional: 2 – tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Optional: 1 – tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
Optional: 1 or 2 – fine diced fresh hot or mild green or red pepper.
Optional: Fine diced onion to taste.

Heat chili soup to a simmer.

Serve hot topped with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, warm soft flour tortilla’s, corn chips or saltine crackers.
Optional: Serve with a side dipping dish of green or red salsa hot or mild, the kind you like.

Thanksgiving food safety

Covid-19, government dictated lock-downs and self quarantines, smaller family gatherings has caused turkey growers and markets to have a shortage of smaller (6-10 pound) turkeys.
Shop and buy your turkey soon for your best selection.

This post has become an annual posting in hopes it will help keep you and your family safe. Food handling, thawing times, cooking time / temperatures and safe storing of any thanksgiving day food leftovers.

For some this is old information and is considered plain common sense. For others this will be their first time dealing with such a large bird and safely handling so many side dishes for one meal.
turkey
Butterball Turkey Talk provides a free service to answer your questions about proper handling, thawing and cooking Turkey.
You can reach them by telephone, email or via live chat line.
Butterball also has a informative page of FAQ’s that you may find useful.

Butterball said:
FROZEN WHOLE TURKEY
Thaw in refrigerator (not at room temperature). Place unopened turkey, breast side up, on a tray in refrigerator and follow our refrigerator thawing instructions. Allow at least 24 hours for every 4 pounds.

To thaw more quickly, place unopened turkey breast down in sink filled with cold tap water. Allow 30 minutes per pound. Change water every 30 minutes to keep surface of turkey cold.

When thawed, keep in refrigerator up to 4 days until ready to cook.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) has a nice and very informative fact sheet as well as a useful PDF file on the safe handling, cooking, Storage and re-heating of Turkey.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey USDA’s information applies to any poultry, Turkey, Chicken, Duck, Goose and so on that you may plan on cooking and serving to your family.

For more information about food safety, call: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or
E-mail: mphotline.fsis@usda.gov Or “Ask Karen,” FSIS’ Web-based automated response system – available 24/7 at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

Hints:
Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.

Thawing In the Refrigerator (40 °F or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days
Roasting Time
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Alternate methods to cook Turkey / poultry Grilling a Turkey, Covered Gas Grill, Covered Charcoal Grill, Smoking a Turkey, Deep Fat Frying a Turkey.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Basics: Safe Cooking Turkey A PDF file. Great 1 page tip sheet on cooking Turkey / Poultry.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Turkey Roasting Chart Everything you will ever need to know about Roasting your Turkey.
Hint:
Reheating Your Turkey
In the Oven
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People. Safely Prepare Your Holiday Meal Important cooking information to providing Safe food preparation information.

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Why is common sense so uncommon?
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s)

First Thanksgiving Dinner menu

First Thanksgiving Dinner – Smithsonian magazine Pilgrims and Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony in 1621. Edward Winslow, an English leader who attended said: Besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison.
In addition to wildfowl and deer, the colonists and Wampanoag probably ate eels and shellfish, such as lobster, clams and mussels.

The forest provided chestnuts, walnuts and beechnuts. They grew flint corn (multicolored Indian corn). They grew beans, which they used from when they were small and green until when they were mature. They also had different sorts of pumpkins and squashes.

England not having turkeys it is likely that the Pilgrims favored swan, geese, ducks over turkey meat. It is also likely that passenger pigeons were on their menu.

Historians think Pilgrims stuffed birds with chunks of onion, herbs and shelled chestnuts. Pilgrims did not have white(Irish) potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, butter or wheat flour to make crusts for pies and tarts.

Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of the popular women’s magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book was a leading voice in establishing Thanksgiving as an annual event. Beginning in 1827, Hale petitioned 13 presidents, the last of whom was Abraham Lincoln. She pitched her idea to President Lincoln as a way to unite the country in the midst of the Civil War, and, in 1863, he made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

As for me and my family, this Thanksgiving we will have a small(10#) slow smoked/cooked turkey, mostly for the smaller members of our clan. Adults will feast on slow cooked/smoked beef brisket, racks of ribs and buckets of BBQ sauce, the mild and hot kind. Of course there will be ample assorted side dishes, ice cream and pie for all.

Post a comment and share your Thanksgiving menu.

Raising laying hens – first coop or remodel is easy

Maximize egg production and growth rate of your meat birds by installing a coop light. Buy and install a simple timer. Set your timer to provide 16 hours light in your coop. One 60 or 100 watt bulb is all the light your coop will need.

Don’t forget to provide fresh water and an ample food supply inside your coop. Chickens Will Not go out of the coop into the darkness of night to eat or drink.
Hint: What ever you build or buy, make it covenant for ‘You’ to access. To clean, gather eggs and so on without the need to stoop low or crawl around on your hands and knees.
When possible make all gates and doors wide enough to get your wheel barrow in and out of the hen house and chickens runs.

Do it right the first time. Choosing the best coop wire. 1 inch X 2 inch or 1/2 inch X 1 inch utility wire is a good choice. Small mesh welded wire cost more than poultry netting but in the long run will be a cheaper ‘long term’ investment and a better choice. Poultry netting will rust and become useless in just a few years, 2 X 4 welded wire is strong but is not effective in keeping small chicks in nor is it a big obstacle to keep determined animals like cats, dogs, coyote, fox or raccoons out of your hen house.

It seems that after searching the Internet I find end listings on how to build a chicken coop but, most everyone wants to ‘Sell’ you a plan or blueprint.

You do not have to be an architect or construction engineer to construct a chicken coop. Anyone can do it. Keep in mind that you may need to scale any basic construction plan up or down to fit the flock size you want to maintain.
* Hint: Many storage shed plans are free to download and is a cost effective hen house by another name.
Cover windows with strong predator proof wire.

A secure coop is very important, it seems that everyone and everything likes the taste of chicken. Cats, dogs, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, fox and even a hawk or owl will take a small chicken given the chance to do so. Snakes can be a problem eating small chicks and always looking for a chance to take a few eggs. Other than stray dogs daylight predators are few, but after dark your chickens are ‘setting ducks’ just waiting to be eaten by a hungry predator.

What your chickens Really Need. Warm secure chickens produce many more eggs and gain more weight than chickens housed in a cold drafty coop. When building your coop be sure to close up any holes or cracks that allow a cold draft to enter your coop. Do not use calk or spray foam, chickens will peck at and eat calk or spray foam.
Unless you live above the arctic circle supplemental heating is generally not needed.
If you feel the need to heat your hen house consider enclosing a ‘milk house heater in strong wire or add a 250 watt heat lamp located 3 – 5 feet off the floor. Use caution, a heat space heater or heat lamp bulb that comes in contact with hay, straw etc. can catch your hen house on fire!

Some sites say chickens need about 2 square feet of coop floor space for each hen in your flock. I disagree and recommend 3 square feet ‘4 square feet is better’ of floor space for each laying hen. A 4X4 sheet of plywood = 16 square feet and should house no more than 4 or 5 chickens. Remember you will loose a few feet of floor space to nest boxes and roosting areas.
You must decide if 2 square feet or 4 square feet of floor space is best for housing you chicken flock.

Clean water is a must have thing. Don’t skimp, purchase or build large good quality freeze resistant water containers.
Feeders should be designed to prevent them from wasting feed or being of a design that allows them to set / roost on top of your feeders. Chickens Do Not go outdoors to poop! Given the opportunity they will poop in feed troughs and water containers! Hanging style containers work well. They can be raised higher off the floor as your flock grows.

Free Range or Penned hens? A chicken run is nothing more than a fenced in area that attaches to or surrounds your coop. Your chicken run should allow at least 10 square feet of run for each chicken in your flock. Thus 4 laying hens will need a minimum of 40 square feet of run. An 8 foot by 8 foot run will provide you with 64 square feet.
Free range is just what it sounds like. Free range chickens are free to range and forage anyplace they feel like going. Free range chickens seem to be healthier and consume much less store bought feed than penned chickens. However free ranging chickens are more likely to be taken by predators.

Allowed to free range chickens will eat large quantities of grass, weeds and every insect that they can catch! They scratch eating weed seeds worms and grubs.

13 free chicken coop plans
60 free chicken coop plans
65 free chicken coop plans

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Mediterranean style white bean soup

What you will need for this bean soup recipe.

1 lb. white beans
1 cup crushed, chopped or diced canned or fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 large white or 2 smallish sized chopped/diced onions
3 small, course diced carrots
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt {start with 1 teaspoon add more to your taste}
1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs, such as parsley, oregano, basil or chives
8 cups water
* Optional 1/2 cup white wine
* Optional 4 cups chicken or beef broth and 4 cups water
* Optional 1 or 2 garlic cloves minced or finely chopped
* Optional 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

Soak beans over night, drain off the water and put beans in a saucepan with 8 cups water or 4 cups chicken or beef broth and 4 cups water.

Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 45 minutes on low heat.

Add remaining ingredients and cook gently for about an hour or until the beans and vegetables are tender. Add more water if needed.

Garnish soup with grated cheese, fresh chopped Chives, Oregano, Basil or Parsley. Use the kind of herbs and cheese you like as a garnish.

Serve with hard crust bread or buttered garlic bread.
Grin… Americans some time serve this soup with saltine crackers or fresh baked cornbread.

Italian style Mediterranean soup

Ingredients needed to make this Italian farm style Mediterranean soup

2 1/2 large diced carrots
2 celery ribs chopped
1 medium purple or white diced onion or 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves finely minced
28 ounces (2 14 1/2 ounce cans) low or no salt chicken broth
* Optional 1 cup white wine
15 ounces (2 – 8 ounce cans) low or no-salt tomato sauce
16 ounces (1 14 1/2 ounce can) white or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
* Optional 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
14-1/2 ounces (1 14 1/2 ounce can) diced tomatoes with juice
1-1/2 cups shredded cabbage or shredded Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons fresh basil chopped or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
3 tablespoons fresh oregano chopped or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 to 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni(pasta the kind you like) remember this is a soup not a pasta dish
* Optional garnish: grated Parmesan cheese
* Optional garnish: drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
* Optional garnish: chives coursed chopped
* Optional garnish: basil course chopped
.
Saute carrots, celery and onion in oil and butter until tender. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Stir in broth, tomato sauce, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, cabbage, basil, parsley, oregano and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and slow simmer for 15 minutes. Add more broth or water if needed. Add macaroni and cook, uncovered, until macaroni and vegetables are tender.
Taste and adjust if needed salt, pepper and spices.

Garnish and serve with hard crust bread or buttered, toasted garlic bread.

Chow Chow using green tomato’s and excess garden vegetables

Posted September 2017. Reworked and updated.

Homemade Green Spicy Relish.

Over run with green tomato’s? Fall gardens are winding down. Many gardeners have a lot of green tomato’s and Chow Chow is a healthy good tasting way to use them before they are damaged by freezing weather.

Chow Chow was born in North America out of an effort to preserve the excess summer produce growing in the backyard, on small farms including green tomatoes, cabbage, hot peppers, bell peppers, onions, and more.
Chow Chow recipes vary widely based on what part of North America you live. Chow Chow consist primarily of chopped green tomatoes, cabbage, onion, and peppers while others can contain ripe tomato’s, carrots, beans, cauliflower, or peas. Regardless of which one you choose, the ingredients are all pickled and packed in canning jars and served cold as a condiment.

Use Chow Chow as you would any other kind of pickled relish. Use it as a topping for hot dogs, hamburgers, or barbeque. It’s also commonly used to give a little spunk to a bowl of beans or a side of cornbread. You can even make a delicious appetizer by adding a little atop a cracker with cream cheese spread.

Chow Chow pairs well with pinto or white beans, hotdogs, burgers, BBQ, chili, stew and just about any other food needing a sweet/sour spicy taste boost.

Grandma’s CHOW CHOW

1 peck (1/4 bushel) green tomatoes about 12 to 15 pounds
5 lbs. yellow onions
1 large head of cabbage course chopped (like you were making coleslaw)
5 lbs. cane sugar
5 red hot chili peppers {you need at least 2 of these and more if you like your chow chow hot and spicy}
4 chopped sweet green bell peppers
4 chopped sweet red bell peppers
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 tablespoons celery seed
1 package of pickling spices
About 1 quart of 5% acid apple cider vinegar

Dice tomatoes and sprinkle with 1 cup salt, place them in a clean old white pillowcase and hang them from a close line pole over night. {This will remove most of the green tomato juice from your bag of diced green tomato’s.} I’ll bet wrapping your tomato’s in cheese cloth would work just as well.
* Hint: Better yet course grind all of your vegetables in a meat grinder or chop using a food processor.

Chop/grind all vegetables and combine in a large kettle. Stir in salt, let stand covered at room temperature overnight, or at least 8 hours. Using a colander drain chopped vegetables.

Rinse and drain green tomato’s and other vegetables only once.
In a large pot, add chopped/ground tomatoes, cabbage, onions, peppers, sugar and spices and enough vinegar to almost cover. Cook (simmer) uncovered over a very low heat for 4 hours. Adding additional 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water mixture as necessary.
After 3 1/2 hours or so of cooking time, taste and adjust salt and spices if needed.

Fill hot sterilized canning jars to 1/2 inch from the top and secure lids to jars.
Note: Sterilize jars in a boiling water bath insuring jars are completely covered with water. Don’t forget to sterilize jar tops as well.

Process in a boiling water bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow jars to cool over night. Check to insure all jars sealed properly. Any jar that did not properly seal should be refrigerated and consumed with in a week or so.

* Hint: Adjust the vegetables used based on what vegetables are excess to your needs to be eaten fresh from your garden.

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Halloween – Thanksgiving and Christmas apple sweet treats

Candy Apples Are a real kid pleasing holiday season treat. Easy to make at home requiring only 7 ingredients, a food thermometer that will read 350%F and about an hour of your time.
.

Ingredients

Parchment paper
Unsalted butter, for parchment paper
2 cups white cane sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup corn syrup (like Karo)
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, (optional)
1/2 cup red cinnamon candies (like Red Hots)
6 to 12 Small size tart Apples like (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Blushing Golden, or Paula Red)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, butter parchment, and set aside. In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, 3/4 cup water, corn syrup, and food coloring, if using.
Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium high. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches between 300 to 310 degrees (hard crack stage), about 20 minutes.
* {Once the candy reaches 250, add the cinnamon flavor candies(red hots) and stir briefly to incorporate}

Insert a wooden stick into the top of each apple, pushing about halfway through; set aside. When mixture reaches 300-310%F temperature, immediately remove from heat. Working quickly, dip apples in sugar candy mix until completely coated. Transfer to prepared buttered baking sheet and allow to cool.

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Visit your local farmers Pumpkin Patch

Select a large-ish Pumpkin to carved your jack-o-lantern. While at the Pumpkin patch select a few smaller ones for making winter holiday season pie’s and soup.
Save your pumpkin seed to be roasted for a delicious snack.

Taste of Home website has a lot of useful information on Roasting Pumpkin Seed is easy and fun for the entire family and they are nutritious.

Pumpkin seeds are packed full of valuable nutrients. Eating only a small amount of them can provide you with a substantial quantity of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc. Pumpkin seeds have been associated with several health benefits. These include heart health, prostate health and it has been suggested they also provide some protection against certain cancers.

One ounce (28 grams) of shell-free pumpkin seeds has roughly 151 calories, mainly from fat and protein.
Fiber: 1.7 grams
Carbs: 5 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Fat: 13 grams (6 of which are omega-6s)
Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI
Manganese: 42% of the RDI
Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
Iron: 23% of the RDI
Zinc: 14% of the RDI
Copper: 19% of the RDI

They also contain a lot of antioxidants and a decent amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and folate.
Animal studies have shown that pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed powder and pumpkin juice can reduce blood sugar. This is especially important for people with diabetes, who may struggle to control their blood sugar levels.

Health line website said:
One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains:
Calories: 49
Fat: 0.2 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
Potassium: 16% of the RDI
Copper: 11% of the RDI
Manganese: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
Iron: 8% of the RDI
Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.

Pumpkins contain antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These can neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging your cells.

Webmd website say’s Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion. “Pumpkin keeps you feeling fuller longer. There’s seven grams of fiber in a cup of canned pumpkin. That’s more than what you’d get in two slices of whole-grain bread.

A single cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of most people’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it an outstanding option for optical health.
Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are thought to help prevent cataracts and may even slow the development of macular degeneration.

Popcorn Balls – holiday season treat

Homemade Caramel Popcorn Balls

Pop 1-2/3 cups un-popped popcorn {About 15 or 16 cups popped corn}
1 14 oz package caramel candy
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup{Karo}
1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions Makes about 10 popcorn balls
* In a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer inserted, combine caramel candy, butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir well and bring to boiling over medium heat. Stir in condensed milk; simmer, stirring constantly, until thermometer reads 238 degrees F (114 degrees C). Stir in vanilla.
* Pour caramel over popped corn and stir to coat. Butter hands lightly; shape popcorn into balls about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.

Caramel Popcorn Balls {Another version}
Makes 10 to 12 balls

INGREDIENTS
16 cups plain popped popcorn (do not use buttered popcorn)
1/8 cup corn syrup{Karo}
1 package (14 ounces) caramels
1/4 cup butter
Pinch of salt
1‑2/3 cups shredded coconut
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
10 to 12 lollipop sticks
Holiday sprinkles and decorations (optional)

Place popcorn in large bowl.
Heat syrup, caramel and butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until caramel and butter are melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt and coconut. Remove caramel mixture from heat and pour over popcorn. With large wooden spoon, mix until popcorn is evenly coated. Let cool slightly.

Place chocolate chips in microwavable proof bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute; stir. Microwave on HIGH for additional 30-second intervals until chips are completely melted, stirring after each 30-second interval. Stir until smooth.
When popcorn mixture is cool enough to handle, grease hands with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Shape popcorn mixture into baseball-sized balls; place 1 lollipop stick in each ball. Dip each popcorn ball into melted chocolate and roll in Halloween sprinkle decorations, if desired. Place on waxed paper until chocolate is set.