Italian Sausage Pasta

https://wordpress.com/post/chasenchanceranch.wordpress.com/6094IMG_5778

This is another easy, hearty delicious meal.

This is a dish I created a while back trying to come up with a different use for Italian Sausage instead of the usual meals.

4 Italian Sausage Links
16 oz box of pasta (I use large shells) cooked
1/2 onion
1/4 slice of pepper (2 colors or 1/2 of one color)
1 medium clove of garlic
3 TBSP butter
4 TBSP olive oil
2 cups beef bouillon with 1 heaping TBSP cornstarch stirred in until dissolved
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Par-boil the sausage for 25 minutes and then finish cooking in micro (about 3 minutes) or pan fry until cooked through. Set aside to cool a bit to slice

Dice the onion and peppers (I like to use 2 colors to keep it colorful)

Mince the garlic clove or dice very small

Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onions and peppers. Cook until soft (about 5 minutes).

Add the oil and garlic and stir gently heating it on medium heat for 2 minutes.

Turn the heat up and pour in the bouillon and cornstarch mixture stirring frequently until starting to thicken and turn down heat.

Add in the sliced Italian Sausage and heat it through.

Serve over pasta and sprinkle with grated cheese!

Advertisements

Hyacinth Oil

Hyacinths are a special Easter flower and smell very similar to a lilac. They also are grown from a bulb which can be replanted in your garden as a perennial.

Our local grocery store had them on clearance after Easter for $1.00 so of course I bought 10. The bulbs were planted today and now I am making some hyacinth oil to use in our homemade body scrubs (which I will use mainly for my hands and feet).

Place the cut flowers into a bowl with 1 cup of water and 1/8 cup of sunflower oil (or you can use olive oil) and let soak for a day or two.

Store the oil in a jar and use it to scent your body scrub!!

**Body Scrubs can be made many ways.  I will use this with organic cane sugar and a touch of glycerin**

Lemon Lush Cake

IMG_5217

With Easter and spring coming, this is the perfect dessert!

This is light and delicious!  The buttery crust compliments the rich cream cheese and light lemon pudding perfectly!

CRUST- 2 cups flour/1 cup butter softened

Blend with pastry cutter, press into a cake pan (13×9) that is lightly greased with the butter left on the wrapper. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for approximately 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool completely

CREAM CHEESE LAYER –

2 8oz cream cheese bricks softened

1 cup sugar

Using a paddle, blend the softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth and spreadable.

Spread over the cooled crust

PUDDING LAYER:

2- 3.4 oz boxes instant lemon pudding mix

3 1/2 cups milk

2 TBSP Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed is best or you can use store bought)

Using a mixer or whisk for 4 minutes

Spread over cream cheese layer

 

Chill the entire cake for 2-3 hours

Spread on whipped cream (or coolwhip)

Keep leftovers refrigerated with plastic wrap to keep it fresh (if it lasts long enough)!!

 

Cranberry Sauce

sauce 4

In our area you can buy fresh cranberries between October and December and then they are very hard to get.  The stores have great sales on them so I always try to grab them and make our supply of cranberry sauce and can it for the year.  I also froze 6 bags so I will be able to utilize fresh cranberries when we need them (especially since my son saw the batch of cranberry sauce I made today and said “mom that won’t last until Christmas”).  He LOVES the stuff.

I made it today using my recipe at the bottom of the post.  I made a double batch so you would need to double the recipe if you are making a double batch also.  I find it best to only double the batch and make multiple batches if you want more than 6 jars as it sets up better.  I will make another double batch next week to can.

start sauce2 popping

First wash cranberries.

In a pot add 1 cup of water per 12 oz bag and 3/4 cups sugar and bring to a boil.

Place cranberries in boiling sugar water and boil gently for 10 minutes (they will start to pop and foam and look like this picture).

sauce3 boil

After 10 minutes take the hot cranberries and pour them through a fine strainer or use a food mill to separate.  I have done both and there are not lumps or pieces of fruit in the sauce after you strain it.

mill  Today I used the food mill.

Once you have it separated you can do:

1) if storing in the fridge, pour into the containers, let cool and then place in the fridge for up to 10 days.

2) if canning it get the jars prepared and water bath

THIS IS FOR CANNING:

Take the strained juice and place it back into the rinsed out stock pot.  Bring to a boil and add 1/2 bag pectin (1.75 oz box) or 3 heaping tablespoons.  Boil for approximately 1 minute.

20142

Ladle into hot prepared jars and put them in the water bath.  Once the water is boiling again, time it for 15 minutes with the lid on and boil gently.  After 15 minutes turn the heat off, remove the lid and let them sit for 5 more minutes.  Remove and place on a towel or wire rack and let sit for 24 hours before moving.

2014

This was a double batch

 

Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

As a tip when we are going to eat one I pull it out and put it in the fridge for a few hours so it’s chilled!!

CRANBERRY SAUCE RECIPE (for 12 oz bag)

12 oz bag cranberries rinsed

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

pectin (if canning)

Bring water and sugar to a boil.  Add cranberries and boil gently for 10 minutes stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and pour into a bowl with a fine mesh strainer or use a food mill to separate skins and stems.

IF REFRIGERATING — place in jars or container and let cool.  Cover and store in fridge for up to 10 days.

IF CANNING — have water bath boiling and jars/lids hot

Place the strained cranberry sauce back in the rinsed out stock pot and bring to gentle boil.

Add the pectin and boil for 1 minute stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and ladle into hot jars and cover with lids and screw bands until tight

Place in the water bath and bring to a boil and boil gently for 15 minutes.

Turn heat off, remove cover and let them sit for 5 more minutes.

Remover from canner and place on dish towel or wire rack and let sit for 24 hours before moving them.

Store in cool dark place for up to a year.

IF YOU WANT TO FREEZE YOUR CRANBERRIES YOU DO IT THE SAME WAY AS I HAVE SHARED FOR OTHER FRUITS SUCH AS PEACHES.  DIRECTIONS HERE:  Flash Freezing Fruit

Homemade Fondant and Pound Cake

chances

My 12 year old (the tween) amazes me sometimes.  Yesterday was one of those days.  She was bored with the weather being bad and declared she wanted to make homemade fondant and make our pound cake to surprise her brother when he is home from his hockey tournament.  She made the cake above.  I was amazed how she took the initiative and made this very impressive cake with his jersey and number on it.  It took her literally about 4 hours.

I don’t like fondant and will never eat a cake that has it.  The store bought fondant is gritty and normally not very good tasting and we have had some from bakeries that are not that good either as it’s thick.

This homemade marshmallow fondant was really good and SIMPLE!!!  It’s smooth, and just enough sweetness when rolled out to add a nice flavor to the buttery pound cake we make.  She used white icing glue we had on hand to attach the pieces.  It takes a bit to try and the cake came out perfect.  It will be a nice surprise for her brother when he returns late tonight!

Here are some of the pictures of her work and our recipes for our family pound cake and the recipe she used for the fondant.

photo2fold egg whip whitesbatter bakerolled out fondant fondant fondant piecesjersey light finishedcakes drying cute

Our family POUND CAKE recipe:

3/4 cup butter (a stick and a half)
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk

Cream sugar and butter. Add egg yolks until combined thoroughly. Add Vanilla.  Mix flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl and add alternately with milk. Set aside.  Beat egg whites until just stiff and fold into batter.

Bake in well greased tube pan or cake pan (we used a 9×9 and 2 small loaf pans) for 30 minutes in 350 degree pre heated oven until just browned and toothpick test comes out clean

 

MARSHMALLOW FONDANT  (super easy to make!!)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces miniature marshmallows (4 cups not packed, or half of a 16-ounce bag)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar (4 cups), plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Food coloring or flavored extracts, optional
  • Yield: 1 1/2 lbs fondant

Preparation

  1. Dust your counter or a large cutting board with powdered sugar. Place the marshmallows and the water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, until the marshmallows are puffy and expanded.
  2. Stir the marshmallows with a rubber spatula until they are melted and smooth. If some unmelted marshmallow pieces remain, return to the microwave for 30-45 seconds, until the marshmallow mixture is entirely smooth
  3. Add the powdered sugar and begin to stir with the spatula. Stir until the sugar begins to incorporate and it becomes impossible to stir anymore.
  4. Scrape the marshmallow-sugar mixture out onto the prepared work surface. It will be sticky and lumpy, with lots of sugar that has not been incorporated yet–this is normal. Dust your hands with powdered sugar, and begin to knead the fondant mixture like bread dough, working the sugar into the marshmallow with your hands.
  5. Continue to knead the fondant until it smoothes out and loses its stickiness. Add more sugar if necessary, but stop adding sugar once it is smooth–too much sugar will make it stiff and difficult to work with. Once the fondant is a smooth ball, it is ready to be used. You can now roll it out, shape it, or wrap it in cling wrap to use later. Well-wrapped fondant can be stored in a cool room or in the refrigerator, and needs to be kneaded until supple before later use.
  6. If you want to add coloring or flavoring to your fondant, flatten it into a round disc. You might want to wear gloves to avoid getting food coloring on your hands during this step. Add your desired amount of coloring or flavoring to the center of the disc, and fold the disc over on itself so that the color or flavor is enclosed in the center of the fondant ball.
  7. Begin to knead the ball of fondant just like you did before. As you work it, you will begin to see streaks of color coming through from the center. Continue to knead until the streaks are gone and the fondant is a uniform color. Your fondant is now ready to be used or stored as outlined above.

 

Sharing the tradition

mum

These beautiful mums on our kitchen table were a thank you gift from a young friend of mine.  (Lulu’s Musings should be proud of my decorated table inspired by her posts!!)   She had asked me to teach her how to can.  She made apple butter and brought it over to can at our house.

apple

Canning gets such a bad rap.  I hear all the time about why people don’t can because it’s so much work.  The truth is canning is not the work, it’s preparing what is going into the jars that is SO much work.

When we were finished, which took all of 25 minutes as the apple butter had been prepared ahead of time, she was pleasantly surprised how easy canning truly is.  She is going to make another batch for Christmas gifts and can them on her own.

And another canner is born 🙂

Grape Juice

This is the best grape juice you can have.  All natural, naturally sweet and full of the health benefits of purple grapes.

juices

To make our grape juice I use 12 cups of grape juice extracted (see how to do that here.)

12 cups pure grape juice

3 cups water

1 cup sugar (adjust to your taste if your grapes are sweet or tart)  There is no exact measurement as each batch of juice is different depending on the grapes.  I don’t even use sugar half of the time as the grapes are so sweet themselves.

Bring all to a boil and place into prepared jars.  Process for 10 minutes and store in dark cool place after cooled for up to 10 months (it won’t last that long 🙂 )

juicejuice3 juice2juicing