Asparagus Fries

It’s been a very long time since I have posted and I apologize.  Life has gotten away from me a little with time and I promise to be back at my blog much more often!!

These baked asparagus fries are delicious and super easy to make.  You can season the panko bread crumbs any way you like or even make your own bread crumbs to use.

Here is how I made ours:

img_8631

Trim the asparagus, dredge in flour and then dip into one beaten egg

img_8629-3

Roll in the seasoned bread crumbs (I used seasoned Panko crumbs with a mix of parmesan and some ground pepper added)

img_8630

Place on a wire rack on a foil lined cookie sheet or you can lay them directly on the foil lined sheet but should turn them once half way when cooking.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 12-14 minutes.  The crumbs should be browned and the asparagus softened.  Serve right away.

img_8632

I served ours with our oven roasted potatoes (recipe here: Oven Roasted Potatoes ) with a bit of sour cream and a ham steak that was warmed in a frying pan in a little pineapple juice.

Don’t forget to visit our family Facebook page to see all of our crazy daily happenings on the farm!!  Chasenchanceranch

Advertisements

Veggie Tips

We eat a lot of vegetables in our house.  Raw, grilled, steamed, chopped, pan-fried, over the open fire, you name it, we eat it that way.

I thought I would share some tips we have learned along the way as well as how we (ok it’s me really) sneak more veggies into our family diet.

Keeping sliced carrots and celery in our fridge in some cold water to make them last longer is a trick I do every week.  I keep blue cheese and peanut butter around so they can dip them instead of just munching on them raw all the time.  Works like a charm!

Chopping up all types of vegetables and storing them in baggies or small containers that are visible when opening the fridge is another way of getting the kids to snack healthy as they will grab them when hungry.  I keep some ranch dressing along with the blue cheese for these types of vegetables.

Storing my own homemade salad in a bag is another easy thing for kids to grab.  I have a few different dressings to choose from and also red wine vinegar as that’s the Teen Queen’s favorite to top off her salad.  You would be surprised how quick a kid will eat salad if they only have to grab a handful out of a bag and put it in a bowl!

Keeping things colorful is inviting to all.  In our chicken stir fry I use all different color peppers and also for when I am making a vegetable side dish for dinner.  The kids call these dishes “rainbow vegetables”.

Kale chips are another great crunchy snack.  You can do the same thing with brussel sprouts by peeling them and baking.

Topping veggies with sauce and cheese is a great alternative to pasta.  This gets scooped right up in a matter of minutes!

Filling them with meat and rice topped with sauce…who could resist!

Loading up your crockpot meals with all different types of veggies that soften, add flavor and break down into the gravy is sneaky!!  This is how I hide parsnips from the Boy!

Grilling is huge in our world.  I will grill many many vegetables in the summer.  Seasoned with a little olive oil, garlic powder and salt and cooked until charred and soft.  Every vegetable is delicious!

13716224_1737290203151594_7267913236904016664_n

And last, keeping fresh corn around and teaching the kids how to microwave their own for 4 minutes and then peel allows for a delicious, no string ear every kids loves!

I have shared recipes on this blog (you can find them under the “Categories” section) as well as on our Facebook page: ChasenChanceranch for all of these pictures.  If you can’t find one, just ask!

Baked Zucchini and Summer Squash

13417532_1726530880894193_2562221166632275738_n

Baked Zucchini and Summer Squash on the menu tonight.

Slice and layer squashes, cover in sauce, top with grated mozzarella. We like onions on ours too but you can use anything you like (mushrooms, peppers, ground beef, shredded chicken and so on).

Comfort food minus the carbs!!

Bake at 425 until squash has softened, cheese has melted and onions have browned.

Comfort Food

I follow the blog of a talented woman and wonderful writer.  Cynthia Reyes was one of the first blogs I found when I looked into the “blogging” world.  I was immediately drawn in by her stunning photography and the way in which she “uses” words to explain her posts.

Her recent post Idiot-Proof Comfort Food had me laughing as usual when she shared she made a 2 ingredient recipe and forgot one of the ingredients!  Her book, which is available on her website, is as entertaining and fun to read as her blog.  On vacation last summer, I could barely put it down reading into the wee hours of the morning!

I decided to try this recipe yesterday and while it takes time, it was worth every minute!  The nice part was I was able to do chores around the house while it cooked.

Here are some pictures of how I made the recipe she shared!

IMG_5515

This is the finished dish and let me tell you, for someone trying to watch their diet, this fills just about every food desire you have.  It’s sweet, savory, filling and delicious!

I followed the directions using setting 1 on our electric stove.  I also used about 1 TBSP of butter and 1 TBSP of olive oil when I started the onions.  I covered it as well.  The potatoes do get a bit mushy if you stir it when it’s done but I like it that way.

I portioned mine out into small containers and will use it as my “fill in” snack in between meals this week.  It may not last a week as my mother has already dug in to get herself a bowl!!

Do take the time to visit Cynthia’s blog.  I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I do!

Caprese Salad

cap

A nice light salad is perfect for lunch or dinner on warm days.  Tonight I decided to make a caprese salad.  Most places leave the tomatoes whole, but I like to chop it all into nice size chunks and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.   This was a great side to serve with our leftover Pork Roast (recipe here). 

Tomato season is right now so get those tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinegar and give this is a try.  Chop it all or slice it and drizzle with the balsamic.  You can add some fresh ground pepper if you like.  You can also chop it very fine and serve as bruschetta on crusty bread.  It’s a great summer food 🙂

cap4 cap2basilcap3 cap

Dilly Bean and Dill Pickles

first batch

I hit up a local farmers market today on my lunch break and they had a perfect selection of beans and small (perfect pickle size) cucumbers on sale. I am still waiting to harvest ours so I bought some.  I spent less than $5.00 and made 5 pint and 1 quart size jar of dill beans and dill pickles.  I canned them and they will sit now for about 2 months before we will open them as the longer they sit the stronger they!! 

Dilly Beans are a fabulous treat.  The bean flavor combined with the dill and garlic makes for a wonderful eating sensation.  My kids will eat at least one jar a month sometimes more if I let them.  I also can some for them to sell in their stand they set up in our yard. We sell pint jars for $5 and people buy them right up!!  That covers the cost of the ingredients and the jars with a little left to add to the “kids” fund.

Here is my recipe and pictures are at the end:

Dill Beans and Dill Pickles

2 cups Cider Vinegar

6 cups water

1/4 cup pickling salt

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

put all in a pot and bring to a boil.

Wash and cut the ends off the beans. Discard the ends. Then trim the beans to fit into your jars (I have used all sized jars it doesn’t matter if you want them long or to fit into a 6 oz jar).  DO NOT THROW OUT YOUR TRIMMINGS!!  You can put them in a freezer bag for soups or you can steam them for a dinner!!!

(you have to follow canning methods same as any other item you can)  If you don’t know how to can, please google it.  It’s so easy!!

Using the hot jars, stuff them with the beans/cucumbers making sure to rotate the jar so they are standing upright and not shoved in.  Stuff in 3 nice size sprigs of dill in between the beans/cucumber.

Using the funnel, ladle the hot brine in to cover the beans/cucumbers completely leaving 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar.

Wipe the jar and place the hot lid on.  Place the ring around and tighten until just tight.  Process in a hot water bath (canning method) for 10 minutes.

The brine makes enough for about 5 pint size jars.  If you are worried about running out, make a double batch.  Whatever you don’t use, let it cool and store in a sealed container in the fridge until you are ready to can more.  You can reheat it or add it to the new batch you make.  I made a double batch as I will make another 5 jars of dilly beans when our beans are ready and I will make at least 8 more jars of pickles (sliced larger cucumber style) again when our cucumbers are ready. It’s stored in the fridge and I will add it to the next batch of brine I make when the time comes.

ingredientstrim to size scrapsbrine photo 4-2 tiltphoto 2-3 cukespickles beans

 

Mini Meatloaf and Rainbow in a Pan Veggies

Image

This is a wonderful homemade meal on the fly.  The meatloaf is fun for the kids to help make and it’s super tasty.  I do not make a starch with it because there is stuffing right in the meat so you just need a side veggie and dinner is on the table!!

Image

mix beef and stuffing and press into pan

Image

put a little pasta sauce in a dip in the middle

Image

bake and then top with cheese and set in oven to melt (this is something the kids love to do as you can see)

Image

little tasty cups of meatloaf!!

My kids call this veggie side “rainbow in a pan”.  Super easy and pretty too!!

Image

zucchini, summer squash, orange and red pepper, snap peas

Image

sprinkle a little panko crumbs on for the extra texture

Mini Meatloaf recipe (this is adapted from the Kraft website)  HEAT oven to 375°F.

Take 1 lb. extra-lean ground beef

1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix

1 cup water

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 small jar spaghetti sauce

grated mozzarella cheese

Mix all together in a bowl. Press into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Makeindentation in center of each with back of spoon; fill with spaghetti sauce (or you can use Ketchup or alfredo or even BBQ sauce).

BAKE 30 min. or until meatloaves are done (160°F).  Sprinkle on cheese and bake 5 min. or until melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Rainbow in a pan recipe:

Slice zucchini and summer squash thin

julienne style slice the orange and red peppers

Clean snap peas

Using a saute pan add 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil, add veggies and cook until soft.  Sprinkle with panko crumbs and let sit for 2 minutes off of heat.  Serve