Saturday, July 22, 2017

Cheesy Enchilada Meatball Bake


Cheese ... Meatballs ... Enchilada Sauce ... all baked in a casserole. It's so easy to make and delicious to eat.

My husband, the non-Mexican or Tex Mex food person, loved this. It's not too spicy, so "everyone" friendly, but you could kick it up by adding more peppers if your family enjoys spicy.

I start with homemade Enchilada Sauce, but store-bought will do. I also use grass-fed ground beef from a local farm. To me it's a superior beef, with very little, if no, fat to drain off, and makes a better meatball.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tomato Bruschetta in a Jar


Our little raised bed kitchen garden has been exploding with some small Roma (plum) tomatoes, and I needed something to do with them besides eating them.

I'd already made Pico de Gallo Salsa, and Petite Diced Tomatoes, but then I ran across this recipe for Tomato Bruschetta ... ohhhhhh that would be awesome to just grab a jar out and use, and so began this next canning project, which really went quickly!

Next time I want some bruschetta, it's going to be a cinch to assemble. It would also be great as an accompaniment on a cheese board with a variety of cheeses and crackers.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pico de Gallo Salsa


I really love tomato salsas, but I also enjoy Pico de Gallo and make it fresh with local tomatoes every summer. There is nothing better than fresh, local, vine ripe tomatoes you either grow yourself or purchase at a local farm or farmers market. The taste in so unbelievably good, so I highly recommend making this recipe with local fresh tomatoes.

Pico de Gallo is technically a fresh salsa and not one that's traditionally canned. I really wanted to try and make some I could process and keep for many months on my pantry shelf (not that it will last that long), so I started experimenting.

Paste or Roma tomatoes hold up the best in this recipe, and they are not mushy in the finished product. See this link for more awesome salsa recipes.

10 medium to large paste or Roma tomatoes, diced (preferred since they are a meatier tomato)
1 medium onion, diced
2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup **Ball Fiesta Salsa Mix (or any salsa spice mix you like)
3 tbls lime juice
1 tbls (per pint jar) lemon juice
** If you don't have any salsa mix add 1/2 tbls each ground cumin, oregano and dried cilantro leaves (or fresh minced cilantro) or slightly more to taste.
May omit cilantro if desired.

Dice tomatoes, onion and jalapenos and place in a large bowl. Sir in salsa mix (or spices), salt and lime juice, mixing well. Let sit 5 minutes so tomatoes begin to get juicy.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop the pico de gallo into pint canning jars. Top with 1 tbls lemon juice concentrate, and evenly distribute the remaining tomato juice from the bowl into each jar leaving 1/2" head-space. Top with lids and rings tightening to just finger tight.

Process jars in water bath or steam canner 15 minutes.

Remove jars and let cool on a kitchen towel on your counter-top 24 hours undisturbed. Jars are sealed when button on lid is fully depressed and won't move up and down.

Store in pantry up to one year. Open jars must be refrigerated. Serve Pico de Gallo Salsa with your favorite chips or top on tacos, taco salads and more. It's even awesome stirred into some steamed rice and served with your favorite Mexican dishes.

Cooks note - the liquid may be below the top of the pico de gallo in the jars. Once they are processed, this is fine and will not cause the salsa to go bad. I also like to give mine a quick shake before serving.

Yield: approx.3 pint jars (recipe is easily doubled)

Original recipe adapted from Healthy Canning


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tomato Paste {Water Bath Canning}


I've been canning tomato products for years, but I never thought I'd be making my own tomato paste. I guess I was just convinced it had to take a long time to cook down and thicken ... never did I dream it would actually take less time and be much easier than I thought.

When tomato season came around again this year, I found myself buying my favorite Roma tomatoes from Willard Farms, a family farm local to me. If you can't find Roma tomatoes, San Marzano plum tomatoes are also an excellent choice.

"Prized for its use in tomato paste and sauces since its introduction in 1955, Roma Tomatoes produce a large harvest of thick-walled, meaty, bright red, egg-shaped tomatoes about 3 inches long and with few seeds. This tomato is not juicy. This is not a slicing tomato. Instead, the flesh is thick and drier so that it will cook down into a thick sauce. Cooking intensifies flavor, too. If you can tomatoes, make your own spaghetti sauce, or like to chop a tomato into an omelet, this is a great choice. It's not too juicy in the pan compared to slicing tomatoes. The fruit freezes well for later cooking, too."

And so today I set out to make tomato paste. Oh my goodness, the flavor is so rich and intensified, it tastes like a vine ripe tomato just picked. Amazingly delicious ... I may never buy it commercially again!

4 quarts tomato sauce
lemon juice concentrate
salt (optional)

Begin by making Tomato Sauce following my Tomato Sauce Canning Made Easy recipe. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1 quart tomato sauce onto a rimmed baking sheet. You can do 2 baking sheets at one time.

Place baking sheets on 2 racks in your oven and set the timer for 60 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, stir tomato sauce; you will see it's already reducing and thickening. Switch baking sheets around by moving the baking sheet on the bottom rack to the top rack and the top baking sheet to the bottom rack.

Continue baking another 20-30 minutes, checking and stirring often, until tomato sauce is reduced to a tomato paste being careful not to burn it.

Repeat process with remaining 2 quarts of tomato sauce.

Add 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice to each 4 oz jar or 1 tablespoon to each 8 oz jar, and 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt (if using) to each jar. Spoon tomato paste into jars, smoothing and removing air bubbles, leaving 1/2"-inch head-space.

Process jars 45 minutes in boiling water bath following the guidance from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Remove jars from canner and let cool undisturbed 24 hours on your kitchen counter-top. Jars are sealed when button on top of lid is fully depressed and won't move. Store in pantry up to one year. Open jars need to be refrigerated.

Yield: approx. 2 - 8 oz jars or 4 - 4 oz jars per quart of tomato sauce (my total yield was 5 - 4 oz jars and 3 - 8 oz jars for 4 quarts of tomato sauce)


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sweet and Sticky Tomato Jam


I knew as soon as I saw this recipe on Marisa's page, Food in Jars, I wanted to try it. Oh yes, it is amazing! Sticky, sweet with a little kick, it is the perfect condiment for burgers, brats and more.

Serve it over crostini with a savory cheese, or on a cheese board with a variety of hard cheeses or even over cream cheese on crackers. IT is a delicious condiment you can use in a multitude of ways.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Creamy Chocolate Pudding


Probably one of the simplest things to make with just a few pantry ingredients is pudding. When you see just how easy, you're going to ask yourself why you ever bought a box mix.

When I was first married we were on a very tight budget where every dollar mattered. There wasn't a lot of money for "extras," so out of necessity, I learned how to make my own puddings and other items; it was less expensive to buy flour, cornstarch and sugar for a multitude of uses, instead of convenience items like boxed pudding mix.

I'm really glad necessity taught me many "how to's" years ago, because I have always enjoyed cooking from scratch. There's just something rewarding about making it all yourself and not relying on box mixes.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Southern Pineapple Cake


This Southern Pineapple Cake is amazingly moist and delicious. The best part is it's so easy to make and even easier to eat and enjoy.

This cake is a "pot luck" favorite, but also makes a great after-school snack cake, or anytime you want an easy dessert. Just a few simple ingredients and you're done. You don't even need a mixer; I just beat the batter in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. See what I mean? Easy!