Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pasta Sauce

I like some chunks in my pasta sauce, & I like it thick.  
So this recipe was perfect for me!  
I plan to use it for pizza & spaghetti sauce.

{I Think I Can}:  Canned Pasta Sauce
I made mine be 2 quarts & 4 pints--also the one with the ring still on, didn't seal!?  So it's in my fridge, waiting to be used up in the next week or two.

4 med. onions, chopped fine
3 small garlic cloves, minced
3 T. vegetable oil
4 qts tomatoes, peeled* and quartered (I used Roma & Salsa)
4 cans (6 oz each) tomato paste
1 can (16 oz) chopped mushrooms (optional)
1 c. chopped parsley (dry)
3 T. sugar
3 T. salt
4 t. oregano leaves
2 bay leaves

Cook onions, garlic & oil in a large stockpot until tender.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Mix well and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring often.  Remove bay leaves.  Put into jars.  Top w/ readied lid & ring.  Place in canner & boil for 10 minutes.  Makes 4 quarts.

{I Think I Can}:  Canned Pasta Sauce
sauteing the onions, garlic & oil
{I Think I Can}:  Canned Pasta Sauce
getting ready for it to start cooking-notice the clean stove,
when it gets done there's red dots all over the white 
The first lesson I learned was when it calls for 4 qts of tomatoes, that means AFTER you've skinned & chunked them.  I thought I was going to have enough for 1.5 batches (I had 6 qts).  When I got done skinning & chunking them, I only had 10 cups...I still needed 6 more cups to even make ONE batch!  

So I learned from my momma, that it was ok to put them in a freezer bag & take them out when you have enough ripe ones to make a whole batch!  And that worked out just fine!!  I was worried about it being more runny, but it wasn't.

{I Think I Can}:  Freezing Tomatoes

I also couldn't find one bay leaf.  I fished and fished.  So I'll have to try & remember that when I'm cooking with the sauce!  Oh boy.  

*How to peel tomatoes:

  • fill a saucepan 1/2-3/4 full of water
  • bring to boil
  • place about 6 tomatoes in water at once, and let rest just a few seconds (like 30 or less)
  • remove from boiling water
  • keep burner on high because it'll start to cool as you add more cold tomatoes
  • continue until you've done them all
  • now take a knife and make a little slit, and the skin should just peel right off!
Most of my Roma tomatoes were pretty small so I only halved them, not quartered.

You'll be glad you made homemade Pasta Sauce to ENJOY all year round! 

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Refrigerator Dill Pickles

{I Think I Can}:  Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Anyone else have cucumbers coming out their ears?
{I Think I Can}:  Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Well here is one thing I did with mine this year.  I made pickles that you don't even have to can or pressure cook!

One thing about these, is they are not very strong dill flavored, and they are a little sweet, but not as sweet as bread and butter!

3 qts sliced cucumbers
1 lrg onion, thinly sliced
3 heads of dill*

Place the dill head in bottom of 3 qt jars (or any size containers=3 qts).  Layer cucumbers & onions in several layers until jars are full.  

Boil for 1 minute:
2 c. sugar
2 c. white vinegar
2 c. water
1/4 c. salt

Pour into jars.  Cover & refrigerate.  After 3 days, then ENJOY!  They keep in the fridge for up to a year!

To slice my cucumbers and onions, I used my salad shooter. Worked amazing!  You can also use a food processor too.  Or slice them all by hand.

*I had to do some research on that stuff.  This is what I found out:
  • fresh dill head is the best
  • dill seed can be used as a replacement &
  • 2-3 T. dill seeds=4-6 heads of dill
  • dill weed is not what you want to use
  • see below picture of the bunch of dill I bought

  • Dill weed is the more feathery dark green stuff on the stems-which you don't use in this recipe, but I used fresh dill weed in a few recipes since I had so much of it!  Fresh is always better.
    • When I bought the bunch of dill, it was such a big clump, & I only need 3 of those yellow heads-good thing it only cost me $1.99!  
      • Since I don't like anything to go to waste I may dry the dill weed, to have in my pantry of spices for the winter! 
  • Anyways, that's about all I know about dill
Enjoy the pickles!  YUM.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Vegetable Soup in the Pressure Cooker

I got this delicious recipe from my sister in law T. Anne a few years ago, but had not used it yet.  This is our first year to have a garden, so I didn't just have a bunch of veggies laying around like I did this year.  As I thought HOW can I use all these veggies and not let them go to waste, I remembered this recipe! 

2 qt potatoes, diced (I left skins on) 
3 qts water
2 qt tomato juice
2 qt green beans
1 qt cut corn (I used up some from the freezer from last year)
2 qt diced carrots
2 c. celery, diced
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 bulb garlic  (OR approx. 5 cloves, OR 2 1/2 t. of minced garlic)
1/2 T. pepper

Boil for 15 min.  Then I added a 2.5-3 c. diced zucchini.  Put into qt jars.  Put a 1/2 t. salt per qt.  Process 55 min. @ 10 lbs pressure. (DON'T forget to set the timer!)  I forgot for the second batch.  I made a loud AArggh sound when I realized it, and Ryleigh (14 months) goes ggrrr.  Ooops, she's really starting to copy off of us!

This made 9 quarts with maybe a 1/4 c. leftover.  (which worked out good for a taste test :) even though it was too late to realize that 1 T. of pepper was too much for my liking, so I made recipe now to say 1/2 T.)

Here it is getting ready to boil
{I Think I Can}:  Vegetable Soup in the Pressure Cooker
I LOVE my Tupperware 12 qt stockpot, it worked PERFECT!

{I Think I Can}:  Vegetable Soup in the Pressure Cooker
Here's the first batch that came out of the pressure cooker...They all sealed!

It's crazy when I look at the 9 jars sitting there, how many hours of work it was & it doesn't seem like very much stuff...but it will REALLY make handy dinners in a dash this fall/winter.  Just add some ground beef, or left over pot roast, rice, or noodles, barley, &/or more tomato juice-be creative!

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