Vegetarian Recipes

Bean and Pasta Soup

Recipe By : Real Food for Real People
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Soups Vegetables
Vegetarian

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 packages Vegetarian Bouillon — dissolved in:
1 1/2 cups Hot Water
8 ounces Tomatoes, canned — stewed and chopped
4 1/2 ounces Pasta Shells — uncooked
14 ounces Red Kidney Beans, canned — rinsed and drained
2 cups Spinach, frozen — chopped
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Basil
3/4 ounce Parmesan Cheese — freshly grated (optional)

In a 2 1/2-quart saucepan, combine the dissolved bouillon and tomatoes, then cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for 7 minutes. Add the beans, spinach, oregano and basil and stir to combine. Cook until the macaroni is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. (If the soup is too thick, add a small amount of water.) Divide the soup into 4 soup bowls and sprinkle each portion with 1/4 of the Parmesan Cheese.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 339 Calories; 5g Fat (12.2% calories from fat); 17g Protein; 58g Carbohydrate; 12g Dietary Fiber; 5mg Cholesterol; 1397mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.

Copper Pennies

Recipe By : Real Food for Real People
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Salads Side Dish
Vegetables Vegetarian

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 pounds Carrots — peeled, 1/4″ slices
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar
1 large Onion — diced
1 large Green Pepper — diced
6 ounces Tomato Juice
3/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Prepared Mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

In a large saucepan, cook carrots until crisp-tender, then drain. Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well. Add carrots and stir until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate about 4 hours. Serve cold as a salad, or warm it and use as a side dish. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 278 Calories; 14g Fat (43.1% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 40g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 394mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat; 2 Other Carbohydrates.

No-Fat Hash Browns

Recipe By : Real Food for Real People
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Fat-Free Potatoes
Side Dish Vegetables
Vegetarian

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
6 medium Potatoes — scrubbed NOT peeled
1 medium Onion — chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cut potatoes into short strips, using a knife or the french fry attachment on your food processor. Do the same with the onion. Mix these together and place in the top of a strainer pan. Add 2 cups water to the bottom pan (these are set up like double boilers) and place strainer pan on top of bottom pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and place on a burner set to medium heat. Cover pan, and cook until water begins to boil (you can tell the water is boiling by listening or watching for vapor to leave from between the pans), then turn heat down to low. Cook for about 20 minutes, until both potatoes and onions are tender. Serve hot with meal.

Note: If you do not have a steamer pan, you can use a steamer basket placed in the bottom of a 2 quart saucepan. Be certain water in bottom of pan is not deep enough to come into steamer basket. Steamer baskets are inexpensive and can be found in most grocery stores or department stores where kitchen utensils are sold.)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 103 Calories; trace Fat (1.3% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 8mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Vegetable.

Roasted Fall Vegetables

Recipe By : Real Food for Real People
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Side Dish Vegetables
Vegetarian

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
5 pounds Pumpkin — Sugar Pumpkin ONLY
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter or Margarine — melted
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 large Carrots — sliced
4 small Potatoes — halved and sliced
1 medium Apple — peeled & sliced
1 medium Onion — chopped
3 cloves Garlic — minced
1/4 teaspoon Thyme — dried
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper — freshly ground

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut top off pumpkin, about 2 in. below stem. Scrape out seeds and stringy pulp with a spoon. Mix oil and butter in a small cup. Lightly brush some inside pumpkin, then sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of the salt. Place cut side down at one end of pan. Pile carrots, potatoes, apple,
onion and garlic at other end of pan. Drizzle with remaining oil mixture, then sprinkle with remaining salt, the thyme and pepper. Toss to coat, then spread out. Roast 30 minutes, turning vegetables over once. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F., turn pumpkin over and continue roasting 15 minutes, turning vegetables once more, until vegetables and pumpkin are tender. Fill pumpkin with vegetables. Cut in wedges to serve.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 233 Calories; 5g Fat (16.7% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 5mg Cholesterol; 215mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat.

Honey-Wheat Sunflower Bread

Recipe By : Real Food for Real People
Serving Size : 16 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Baking Stone Friendly Breads
Grains/Nuts Vegetarian

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 cups Water — very warm
3 cups Flour — (more or less)
2 packages Active Dry Yeast — (5 tsp.)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Oats — (not quick)
1/4 cup Butter or Margarine
1/4 cup Honey
2 teaspoons Salt
1 cup Sunflower Seeds — unsalted

In a large mixing bowl, combine water, 2 cups flour, yeast and sugar. Beat on low speed for three minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled- about 30 minutes. Mixture will be spongy. Stir in whole wheat flour, oats, butter, honey and salt. Mix well. Stir in sunflower seeds and remaining flour, until ready to turn onto floured surface and knead. Knead until smooth and elastic, for about 5-8 minutes. Shape into a ball and place inside a greased bowl. Turn once to coat top, and cover with a cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Punch down and divide in half. Cover and let rise another ten minutes. Shape into two loaves, and place into two greased bread pans. Cover and let rise until doubled- about 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cover with foil, and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 273 Calories; 9g Fat (27.4% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 42g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 299mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Uncle Mike’s Salad

Recipe By : Real Food for Real People
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Salads Vegetables
Vegetarian

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
1 head Iceberg Lettuce
1 small White Onion
6 medium Radishes
1 stalk Celery
2 medium Carrots
1 large Tomato
to taste MSG — or Seasoned Salt

This salad makes it’s own dressing which is fat-free and tastes wonderful!

Wash, core and drain lettuce, then using your hands, tear into small pieces and place into a large bowl which can be covered. Next, slice onion into rings, then cut rings into 1/4’s so they are actually short strings, and add to lettuce. Slice radishes into thin pieces and add to salad mixture. De-string celery by breaking near one end and pulling strings from stalk with end piece- repeat with opposite end if necessary. Now, cutting diagonally, slice celery thinly and add to salad mixture. Shred un-peeled carrots and add to mixture. Core and cut tomato into small cubes. Now, lightly toss salad, and then season with MSG or Seasoned Salt, to taste. Toss salad again, then cover securely and refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Shake bowl to coat salad with seasoned juices before serving.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 34 Calories; trace Fat (7.9% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 26mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Vegetable.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Recipe By : Real Food for Real People
Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Beans Rice
Vegetarian

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 medium Onion — chopped
1 medium Green Pepper — chopped
3 cups cooked Brown Rice
2 cans Mexican style Pinto Beans or Chili Beans — (16 oz)
3/4 cup Hickory Smoke Bar-b-q sauce

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and green pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes. Add rice, beans and Bar-b-q sauce. Simmer 10-15 minutes, until heated through. Serve on buns. This is a very economical recipe, especially if you use homemade bar-b-q sauce. This recipe also freezes well.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 106 Calories; 2g Fat (19.9% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.

 

Spice & Herb Guide

Below are the names, origins and suggested uses for many herbs & spices. I will add more herbs and spices to this list as time allows. If you have any additional information or requests for information, please email me and I will answer you as soon as possible.

Allspice

Allspice is the dried, unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, an evergreen tree in the myrtle family. After drying, the berries are small, dark brown balls just a little larger than peppercorns. Allspice comes from Jamaica, Mexico, and Honduras. Allspice is used in Jamaican jerk seasoning and in Jamaican soups, stews, and curries. It also is used in pickling spice, spiced tea mixes, cakes, cookies, and pies. Food producers use it in ketchup, pickles, and sausages.

Aniseed

Aniseed, sometimes spelled as anise, anis or anise seed, is considered a spice with a sweet licorice-like taste. Both seed and leaves from the plant pimpinella anisum carry the licorice taste, but in recipes, either whole or ground seeds are usually used to add distinctive flavors to food. Since aniseed is native to the Mediterranean, you’ll find it used in a number of Greek and Turkish dishes, but its popularity has certainly spread to many other countries and the plant proliferates in the wild in North America.

The Greek drink ouzo has a distinctive aniseed flavor, as do the similar Italian Sambuca, the French Pernod, and the Turkish Arak. It is used in breads, a number of desserts, and also quite often in savory dishes like Indian curries, mole, and a variety of fish and meat dishes, pickles, stews, seafood, beets, cauliflower and pasta sauces.

Basil

The dried leaves and stems of an herb grown in the United States and North Mediterranean countries. Has an aromatic, leafy flavor. The flavor and aroma of basil is most intense during the summer months, when it is abundant. For flavoring tomato dishes and tomato paste, turtle soup; also use in cooking peas, squash, snap beans; sprinkle chopped over lamb chops and poultry. Since the oils in basil are highly volatile, it is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor. There are two varieties: Turkish (1 to 2 inch long oval) and California (2 to 3 inch long narrow) leaves. The Turkish is said to have the better flavor.

Bay Leaves

The dried leaves of an evergreen grown in the eastern Mediterranean countries. Has a sweet, herbaceous floral spice note. For pickling, stews, for spicing sauces and soup. Also use with a variety of meats and fish. They are used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread. Rye bread is denser because the limonene from the caraway fruits has yeast-killing properties.

Caraway Seeds

These small dark seeds of a plant grown in the Netherlands. Flavor that combines the tastes of Anise and Dill. For the cordial emmel, baking breads; often added to sauerkraut, noodles, cheese spreads. Also adds zest to French fried potatoes, liver and canned asparagus. It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as havarti. Caraway seed oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes.

Cardamom

In India Cardamom is traditionally used in curry blends, and in Scandinavian countries it is commonly added to breads; however, most of the world’s Cardamom crop is used in Arabic countries as a flavoring for coffee. A small amount of Cardamom will add a tempting flavor to coffee cake, Danish pastry, specialty breads, and apple pie. Try Cardamom the Arabic way and add a little to your ground coffee before brewing, then sweeten and top with cream. Cardamom comes from India, Guatemala, and Ceylon.

Cayenne Pepper

The Cayenne, or Guinea pepper, or Bird pepper is a hot, red chili pepper used to flavor dishes and for medicinal purposes. The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice known as cayenne pepper. Hot and spicy, cayenne pepper is available year round adding zest to flavorful dishes around the world and health to those brave enough to risk its fiery heat. It is excellent added to cheese dishes and creamy sauces and soups. The common name “cayenne” was actually given to this pepper because of its cultivation in a town that bears the same name in French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America. Cayenne pepper is an excellent source of vitamin A. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and dietary fiber. Cayenne pepper should be kept in a tightly sealed glass jar, away from direct sunlight.

Chervil

Available as fresh leaves or dried and crushed. Fresh has a hint of anise and dry has a hint of parsley flavor. That subtle, tender flavor-part anise, part parsley-that you’ve been trying to identify in the fish sauce, will almost certainly turn out to be chervil. Subtlety is key when using chervil in cooking. Although chervil will never dominate a dish, many cooks use it to enhance the flavors of other herbs accompanying it in recipes. Chervil is an important inclusion in the traditional French fine herbs blend of tarragon, parsley, chives and chervil. Chervil complements scrambled eggs and omelets, fish, poultry, cream cheese and herb sandwiches, salads and even mashed potatoes.

Chili Flakes

Chili flakes are the dried seeds of chili pods. The seeds and membranes are the hottest parts of a chili. The amount of heat in chili flakes depends on the variety of chili pepper and where it was grown. Crushed dried red chilies can be added to or sprinkled over all kinds of dishes. You can easily make your own by drying fresh red chilies on a radiator and then crumbling them with your fingers. To preserve full flavor, always store in the refrigerator. For a spicy oil, combine 1-2 tablespoons of chili flakes with a cup of your favorite vegetable oil. Lightly simmer for about 10 minutes, allow to cool completely, then strain. Stored in the refrigerator, this oil will keep for about 6 months and can be used in salad dressings, marinades and to spice up your favorite sauté.

Chinese five-spice powder

This is a mixture of ground spices, including anise pepper, cassia, fennel seeds, star anise and cloves. It is a powerful mixture, so use sparingly. When you try this seasoning you will be surprised at how beautifully the flavors — sweet, warm, cool and spicy — blend. This is an extremely versatile mixture suited to rice, vegetables, pork and virtually any type of stir fry. A pinch can add new excitement to muffins, nut breads, or even waffle batter.

Chives

An herb which resembles hollow blades of grass, and the smallest member of the onion family. Chives have a mild onion flavor. Available as fresh or freeze-dried hollow stems. Delicate and peppery, mild onion flavor. Often snipped and sprinkled on food just before serving for seasoning. Use for potatoes, eggs, sauces, seafood and salads.

Cilantro

An herb with wide delicate lacy green leaves and a pungent flavor. The seed of the cilantro plant is known as coriander. Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavors are very different and cannot be substituted for each other. (Some countries refer to the cilantro as coriander, so any references to “fresh coriander” or “coriander leaves” refer to cilantro.) All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the most commonly used in cooking. Coriander is commonly used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, South Asian, Mexican, Latin American, Chinese, African and Southeast Asian cuisine.
Use for salsa, tomatoes, chicken, pork and seafood.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. It is commonly used in cakes and other baked goods, milk and rice puddings, chocolate dishes and fruit desserts, particularly apples and pears. It is common in many Middle Eastern and North African dishes and in flavoring lamb. It is used in curries and pilaus and in garam masala. It may be used to spice mulled wines, creams and syrups. The largest importer of Sri Lankan cinnamon is Mexico, where it is drunk with coffee and chocolate and brewed as a tea. This warm spice is available in sticks and ground into powder, and has many uses. Cinnamon is also reported to be useful in regulating blood-sugar levels in diabetics.

Cloves

Available in whole or ground, these dried flower buds are used in savory and sweet dishes. Ground cloves are strong so use sparingly. The word clove is from the Latin word for nail  “clavus”. The clove is native to the North Moluccas, the Spice Islands of Indonesia. It is cultivated in Brazil, the West Indies, Mauritius, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar and Pemba. Cloves can easily overpower a dish, particularly when ground, so only a few need be used. Whole cloves are often used to stud hams and pork, pushing the tapered end into the meat like a nail. They enjoy much popularity in North Africa and the Middle East where they are generally used for meat dishes, though rice is often aromatized with a few cloves. Cloves are often used to enhance the flavor of game, especially venison, wild boar and hare.

Coriander

Coriander is probably one of the first spices used by mankind, having been known as early as 5000 BC. The Romans spread it throughout Europe and it was one of the first spices to arrive in America. Coriander is not interchangeable with cilantro, although they are from the same plant. Ground Coriander seed is traditional in desserts and sweet pastries as well as in curries, meat, and seafood dishes with South American, Indian, Mediterranean, and African origins. Add it to stews and marinades for a Mediterranean flavor. Available whole or ground, this warm, aromatic spice is delicious with most meats, particularly lamb.

Cumin

This warm, pungent spice works well with meats and a variety of vegetables. Cumin “seeds” are actually the small dried fruit of an annual plant in the parsley family. Native to the Mediterranean, cumin is hotter to the taste, lighter in color, and larger than caraway, another spice it’s sometimes confused with. Sold whole or ground, the seeds come in three colors: amber, white or black. Amber is most widely available, but the black has such a complex flavor it should not be substituted for the other two. Cumin is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern, Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines, and is one of the main ingredients in curry powder. Goes well with beans, chicken, couscous, curry, eggplant, fish, lamb, lentils, peas, pork, potatoes, rice, sausages, soups, stews, eggs.

Curry Powder

Curry powder is a blend of up to 20 different herbs and spices, including the commonly used: cardamom, chilies, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mace, nutmeg, pepper, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, saffron, tamarind and turmeric (which gives curry its characteristic golden color). In Indian cooking curry is freshly ground each day (making it far more flavorful and pungent than the mixes sold in the store), and comes in “standard” and “Madras” (hot) versions. For all Indian curry recipes such as lamb, chicken and rice, eggs, vegetables and curry puffs.

Dill

The small dark seed of the dill plant grown in India, having a clean, aromatic taste. Dill seeds are used as a spice, and its fresh leaves, dill, and its dried leaves, dill weed, are used as herbs. Like caraway, its fernlike leaves are aromatic, and are used to flavor many foods, such as gravlax (cured salmon), borscht and other soups, and pickles (where sometimes the dill flower is used). Dill is said to be best when used fresh, as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried; however, freeze-dried dill leaves preserve their flavor relatively well for a few months. Dill is a predominant seasoning in pickling recipes; also adds pleasing flavor to sauerkraut, potato salad, cooked macaroni, and green apple pie.

Fennel Seeds

These little green seeds have a sweet, aniseed-like flavor that pairs well with chicken and fish. Fennel goes well with fish and is used in Italian sausages and some curry powder mixes. Toasting Fennel Seeds accentuates their flavor. Fennel Seed added to meatballs or meat loaf gives an authentic Italian flavor. Saute Fennel Seed with sliced peppers, onion, and sausage for a quick pasta sauce. Refreshing fennel can be added raw to salads, blanched and char-grilled on a barbecue or tossed into stir-fries.

Garam masala

This mixture of ground roasted spices is made from cumin, coriander, cardamom and black pepper and is used in many Asian dishes. Ready-mixed garam masala is widely available, although the flavor is better when the spices are freshly roasted and ground.

Garlic

Fresh, dried and powdered garlic are available in markets throughout the year, however, fresh varieties from California are in season from June through December. Garlic is arranged in a head, called the “bulb,” averaging about 2 inches in height and diameter consisting of numerous small separate cloves. Both the cloves and the entire bulb are encased in paper-like sheathes that can be white, off-white or pinkish. Although garlic cloves have a firm texture, they can be easily cut or crushed. The taste of garlic is like no other-it hits the palate with a hot pungency that is shadowed by a very subtle background sweetness. While elephant garlic has larger cloves, it is more closely related to the leek and therefore does not offer the full health benefits of regular garlic. Mild and aromatic, the first of the new season’s garlic can be eaten raw in dips or marinades, or blanched and roasted for a creamy accompaniment to roast chicken.

Ginger

Ginger is a spice which is used for cooking and is also consumed whole as a delicacy or medicine. It is the underground stem of the ginger plant, Zingiber officinale. The ginger plant has a long history of cultivation, having originated in Asia and is grown in India, Southeast Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. Its actual name is Root Ginger. Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be stewed in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added as a sweetener; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added. Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes and Chinese cuisine to flavor dishes such as seafood or mutton and vegetarian recipes. Powdered dry ginger root (ginger powder) is typically used to spice gingerbread and other recipes. Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 parts fresh for 1 part ground, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are not exactly interchangeable. Ginger is also made into candy, is used as a flavoring for cookies, crackers and cake, and is the main flavor in ginger ale—a sweet, carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage, as well as the similar, but spicier ginger beer which is popular in the Caribbean. Fresh ginger should be peeled before being eaten. For storage, the ginger should be wrapped tightly in a towel and placed in a plastic bag, and can be kept for about three weeks in a refrigerator and up to three months in a freezer.

Mace

Mace is the aril (the bright red, lacy covering) of the nutmeg seed shell. Mace and nutmeg are very similar, though mace is somewhat more powerful. Mace is a lighter color and can be used in light-colored dishes where the darker flecks of nutmeg would be undesirable. A small amount will enhance many recipes, adding fragrance without imposing too much flavor. Mace works especially well with milk dishes like custards and cream sauces. It contributes to flavoring light-colored cakes and pastries, especially donuts. It can enhance clear and creamed soups and casseroles, chicken pies and sauces. Adding some to mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes creates a more interesting side dish. Some beverages improve with a little mace, especially chocolate drinks and tropical punches.

Marjoram

Whats the difference between marjoram and oregano? Oregano was long considered wild marjoram but the plants do not look particularly similar. To confuse matters further, marjoram is a member of the mint family and considered the twin of thyme. Marjoram has a more mild, sweet flavor than oregano with perhaps a hint of balsam. It is said to be the meat herb but compliments all foods except sweets. Common to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods, marjoram is grown domestically and imported mostly from Egypt. Dried, the herb holds that lovely fragrance and its flavor much better than other herbs do when dried. Marjoram combines well with other seasonings and will enhance so many different dishes. Consider it a natural for meat dishes but don’t hesitate to use marjoram to season vegetables served cooked or raw, fish and chicken or dishes with eggs and/or cheese. It is especially good along with other herbs in beef stew.

Mint

Mints are aromatic herbs. Fresh mint is usually preferred over dried mint when storage of the mint is not a problem. The leaves have a pleasant warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams. In Middle Eastern cuisine mint is used on lamb dishes. In British cuisine, mint sauce is popular with lamb. Mint essential oil and menthol are extensively used as flavorings in breath fresheners, drinks, antiseptic mouth rinses, toothpaste, chewing gum, desserts, and candies. The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavors are menthol (the main aroma of Peppermint, and Japanese Peppermint) and pulegone (in Pennyroyal and Corsican Mint). The compound primarily responsible for the aroma and flavor of spearmint is R-carvone. Methyl salicylate, commonly called “oil of wintergreen”, is often used as a mint flavoring for foods and candies due to its mint-like flavor.

Mustard Seed

Available ground or as seeds, Mustard seeds are the small seeds of the various mustard plants. Pungent, sharp, hot flavor. The seeds are about 2 mm in diameter, and may be colored from yellowish white to black. They are important spices in many regional cuisines. The seeds can come from three different plants: black mustard (B. nigra), brown Indian mustard (B. juncea), and white mustard (B. hirta/Sinapis alba). It is often referred to as “eye of newt. Use for meats, vinaigrettes, seafood and sauces.

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

Monosodium glutamate, also known as sodium glutamate and MSG, is a sodium salt of the non-essential amino acid glutamic acid. It is used as a food additive and is commonly marketed as a flavor enhancer. Trade names of monosodium glutamate include Ajinomoto, Vetsin, and Accent. It used to be predominantly made from wheat gluten, but is now mostly made from bacterial fermentation; it is acceptable for celiacs following a gluten-free diet. A report from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) compiled in 1995 on behalf of the FDA concluded that MSG was safe for most people when “eaten at customary levels.” However, it also said that, based on anecdotal reports, some people may have an MSG intolerance which causes “MSG symptom complex” commonly referred to as Chinese restaurant syndrome” and/or a worsening of asthmatic symptoms. Subsequent research found that while large doses of MSG given without food may elicit more symptoms than a placebo in individuals who believe that they react adversely to MSG, the frequency of the responses was low and the responses reported were inconsistent, not reproducible, and were not observed when MSG was given with food. While many people believe that MSG is the cause of these symptoms, a statistical association has not been demonstrated under controlled conditions, even in studies with people who were convinced that they were sensitive to it. In the 2004 version of his book, On Food and Cooking, food scientist Harold McGee states that “[after many studies], toxicologists have concluded that MSG is a harmless ingredient for most people, even in large amounts.” Although once associated with foods in Chinese restaurants, MSG is now used by most fast food chains and in many foodstuffs, particularly processed foods.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg or Myristica fragrans is an evergreen tree from the Banda Islands in the Moluccas of Indonesia, or Spice Islands. Until the mid 19th century this was the world’s only source. Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree. Nutmeg and mace have similar taste qualities, nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavor. Mace is often preferred in light dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like hue it imparts. Nutmeg is a tasty addition to cheese sauces and is best grated fresh. Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider, mulled wine, and eggnog.

Oregano

Oregano is an important culinary herb. It is particularly widely used in Greek, Spanish and in Italian cuisine. It is the leaves that are used in cooking, and the dried herb is often more flavorful than the fresh. Oregano is often used in tomato sauces, fried vegetables, and grilled meat. Together with basil, it contributes much to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes. Oregano combines nicely with pickled olives, capers, and lovage leaves. Unlike most Italian herbs, oregano works with hot and spicy food, which is popular in southern Italy. Oregano is an indispensable ingredient in Greek cuisine. Oregano adds flavor to Greek salad and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies many fish or meat barbecues and some casseroles. The dish most commonly associated with oregano is pizza. Its variations have probably been eaten in Southern Italy for centuries. Oregano became popular in the US when returning WWII soldiers brought back with them a taste for the pizza herb.

Paprika

Paprika is a spice made from the grinding of dried Capsicum (e.g. bell pepper). Paprika is principally used to season and color rice, stews, and soups, such as goulash and in the preparation of sausages as an ingredient that is mixed with meats and other spices. It is often smoked to draw additional flavors. In Spain, paprika is known as pimentón, and is quite different in taste; pimentón has a distinct, smoky flavor and aroma, and is a key ingredient in several sausage products, such as chorizo or sobrasada, as well as much Spanish cooking.

Parsley

Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (parsley is a relative to celery). Available as fresh leaves, curly or Italian (flat leaf), or dried and flaked. Fresh, slightly peppery flavor. Whenever possible, choose fresh parsley over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. Choose fresh parsley that is deep green in color and looks fresh and crisp. Just like with other dried herbs, if you choose to purchase dried parsley flakes, try to select organically grown parsley since this will give you more assurance that the herbs have not been irradiated. If you have excess flat leaf parsley, you can easily dry it by laying it out in a single layer on a clean kitchen cloth. Once dried, it should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place. Curly leaf parsley is best preserved by freezing, as opposed to drying. Although it will retain most of its flavor, it has a tendency to lose its crispness, so it is best used in recipes without first thawing. Use for poultry, seafood, tomatoes, pasta, soups, and vegetables.

Pepper

Pepper is the world’s most popular spice ; a berry grown in grapelike clusters on the pepper plant. The berry is processed to produce three basic types: black, white, and green. Black is the strongest (slightly hot with a hint of sweetness) flavor of the three. White peppercorn is less pungent. Black and white are available whole, cracked, and ground. Green peppercorns are packed in brine and are available in jars and cans. Whole peppercorns freshly ground with a pepper mill deliver more flavor than pre-ground. Goes well with cheese, eggs, fish, game, lamb, pork, poultry, salad, sausages, soup, steaks, strawberries, tomatoes, veal.

Poppy Seeds

The seed of a flower, grown in Holland. Has a rich fragrance and crunchy, nut-like flavor. The white poppy seeds form part of the Indian spices. They are added for thickness, texture and also give added flavor to the recipe. The sugared, milled mature seeds are eaten with pasta, or they are boiled with milk and used as filling or topping on various kinds of sweet pastry. Milling of mature seeds is carried out either industrially or at home, where it is generally done with a manual poppy seed mill. Poppy seeds are widely used in Karnataka cuisine, Turkish cuisine, Andhra cuisine, Bengali cuisine, Oriya cuisine, German cuisine, Slovak cuisine, Czech cuisine. Excellent as a topping for breads, rolls and cookies. Also delicious in buttered noodles.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a woody herb with fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves. The fresh and dried leaves are used frequently in traditional Mediterranean cuisine; they have a bitter, astringent taste, which complements a wide variety of foods. A tisane can also be made from them. When burned they give off a distinct mustard smell, as well as a smell similar to that of burning which can be used to flavor foods while barbecuing. Rosemary is extremely high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin B6. Avoid consuming large quantities of rosemary if pregnant or breastfeeding. Delicious in lamb dishes, in soups, stews and to sprinkle on beef before roasting.

Saffron

Coming from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus, it takes 75,000 blossoms or 225,000 hand-picked stigmas to make a single pound which explains why it is the world’s most expensive spice. Available as threads (whole stigmas) or powder. Pungent, bitter flavor. Most specialty food shops carry saffron, though if it has sat on the shelves for too long it may have lost flavor, so look for bright color. Saffron appears in Moorish, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. Its most common function is to color rice yellow, as in festive Indian pilaus and risotto Milanese, where its delicate flavor make it the most famous of Italian rice dishes. It combines well with fish and seafood, infamous as a key ingredient of Spanish paella as well as bouillabaisse. In England, saffron is probably best known for its use in Cornish saffron buns where it is paired with dried fruit in a yeast cake. Because of its expense, intense flavor, and strong dying properties, very little saffron is required for culinary purposes and the key is to distribute it evenly throughout the dish being prepared. Use for bouillabaisse, curries, fish, poultry and rice.

Salt

Salt can be used in moderation to add flavor and to bring out the taste of other foods. It also acts as a preservative when it is used in pickling and chutney-making, or when curing meats and fish since it draws out the moisture and prevents decomposition. Table salt can be purchased with or without iodine. Sea salt has a slightly stronger taste than table salt.

Sage

Peppery-tasting safe has large, slightly furry leaves when fresh. In Western cooking, it is used for flavoring fatty meats (especially as a marinade), cheeses (Sage Derby), and some drinks. In the United States, Britain and Flanders, sage is used with onion for poultry or pork stuffing and also in sauces. In French cuisine, sage is used for cooking white meat and in vegetable soups. Germans often use it in sausage dishes, and sage forms the dominant flavoring in the English Lincolnshire sausage. Sage is also common in Italian cooking. Sage is sauted in olive oil and butter until crisp, then plain or stuffed pasta is added (burro e salvia). In the Balkans and the Middle East, it is used when roasting mutton. Dried sage goes particularly well with pork or in pasta sauces and in stuffings. It has a very strong flavor, so use in moderation or it will overpower the dish. Great for meat and poultry stuffing, sausages, meat loaf, hamburgers, stews and salads.

Savory

Savory: an herb so bold and peppery in its flavor that since the time of the Saxons it has come to denote not only the herb itself, but also a whole segment of cooking. It is synonymous with tasty and flavorful foods. Available as fresh leaves, dried and crushed or ground. Piquant blend of mint and thyme. Because the leaves are so tender they can be added fresh to salads or used as a toothsome garnish. One efficient way to preserve that fresh, summery flavor is to bottle the herb in vinegar at the height of the season. The ancient Romans were reported to have used savory vinegar as one of their main condiments as well as using savory liberally in their sauces. Savory also dries well. Once dried and chopped, it is an integral part of many herb mixtures, such as Herbs de Provence. This blend of Mediterranean herbs brings out the best in stews, vegetable dishes, pizza toppings, and shines as a seasoning for roasting meats and fish. Also use for beans, lentils, lamb and poultry.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds add a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible, crunch to many Asian dishes. They are also the main ingredients in tahini (sesame seed paste) and the wonderful Middle Eastern sweet call halvah. They are available throughout the year. Add sesame seeds into the batter the next time you make homemade bread, muffins or cookies. Sesame seeds add a great touch to steamed broccoli that has been sprinkled with lemon juice. For healthy sautéed chicken with sesame seeds, tamari, garlic, ginger and your favorite vegetables for a healthy, but quick, Asian-inspired dinner. Also use for breads, chicken, seafood, noodles, chickpeas.

Tarragon

This fragrant herb has a strong aniseed flavor and is most often paired with fish and chicken dishes. Tarragon is commonly known as a flavoring for vinegar and is used in pickles, relishes, prepared mustards, and sauces. Tarragon also goes well with fish, meat, soups and stews, and is often used in tomato and egg dishes. Tarragon adds distinctive flavor to sauces. Tarragon adds flavor to egg and cheese dishes, light soups and fresh fruits. To baste chicken, fish or seafood, blend Tarragon with butter, chives, and lemon.

Thyme

The leaves are stems of a shrub grown in France and Spain. Has a strong, distinctive flavor. A delicate looking herb with a penetrating fragrance, thyme is a wonderful addition to bean, egg and vegetable dishes. Both fresh and dried thyme is available in your local supermarket throughout the year. Fresh thyme should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. Dried thyme should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep fresh for about six months. Thyme, either in its fresh or dried form, should be added toward the end of the cooking process since heat can easily cause a loss of its delicate flavor. Add thyme to your favorite pasta sauce recipe. Fresh thyme adds a wonderful fragrance to omelets and scrambled eggs. Hearty beans such as kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans taste exceptionally good when seasoned with thyme. When poaching fish, place some sprigs of thyme on top of the fish and in the poaching liquid. Season soups and stocks by adding fresh thyme.

Turmeric

A root of the ginger family, grown in India, Haiti, Jamaica and Peru. Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, and while it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow color. Turmeric powder should kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place. Fresh turmeric rhizome should be kept in the refrigerator. If you are able to find turmeric rhizomes in the grocery store, you can make your own fresh turmeric powder by boiling, drying and then grinding it into a fine consistency. Add turmeric to egg salad to give it an even bolder yellow color. Mix brown rice with raisins and cashews and season with turmeric, cumin and coriander. Turmeric is a great spice to complement recipes that feature lentils. Give salad dressings an orange-yellow hue by adding some turmeric powder to them. As a flavoring and coloring in prepared mustard and in combination with mustard as a flavoring for meats, dressings and salads.

Vanilla

Dried vanilla pods (beans) are long and black, encasing hundreds of tiny black seeds. Natural vanilla extract is distilled from vanilla pods and is a useful alternative to pods. Vanilla extract is the most common form of vanilla used today. When choosing pure vanilla, check to make sure the color is clear, it is pure, synthetic vanillin, and is also called crystal vanilla. A dark, murky color is also synthetic vanillin, probably ethyl vanillin derived from coal tar. The dark color may be due to a red dye that has been banned in the US or a caramel coloring. A true amber color is an indication of natural vanilla. Also check the alcohol content: Synthetic products have either no alcohol or up to 2% alcohol. Some vanilla-vanillin blends may have 25% alcohol. Price: Vanilla is extremely labor intensive to produce. If you paid $20.00 for a big bottle (even in Mexico), is not pure vanilla extract. How to store: Extracts can be stored indefinitely in a sealed airtight container kept in a cool dark place. Do not refrigerate vanilla extract. Goes well with apples, apricots, chocolate, custards, fish, fruit, ice cream, plums, shellfish.

 

Spice & Soup Mixes

The market for pre-packaged salad dressing mixes, soup mixes, spice mixes and marinade packets is astounding! You can realize significant savings by making these items yourself, using the mixes in this collection.

Store spice mixes in a cool, dry place for up to six months. Heat and light can alter spice flavors, so it is a good idea to avoid keeping spices in lighted areas, or near cook tops or ovens. If you wish to store spices for longer than six months, it is a good idea to place them in your freezer. Use your imagination for gift presentations! Containers from your local ‘dollar’ store, or thrift shop are wonderful for presenting this type of gift, and will also be kind on your family budget.

Red’s Seasoned Salt

2 Tbsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground

1/2 tsp. White Pepper

1 tsp. Onion Salt

1 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder

1 tsp. Garlic Salt

1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Marjoram

2 Tbsp. Parsley, dried/minced

1 1/2 tsp. Paprika

1/2 tsp. Curry Powder

1 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder

2 tsp. Chicken Bouillon Powder

1/3 cup Salt

Combine all ingredients together in a one pint jar; shake to mix well. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Shake well before each use. Use to flavor food as desired.

Self-Rising Flour

6 cups Flour

2 Tbsp. Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp. Salt

Place ingredients into a one gallon zip baggie, and shake to mix well. Label clearly, and store in a cool dry place. Shake well before each use. Use the same as store-bought self-rising flour.

Red’s Dry Spice Rub

1/2 cup Paprika

3 Tbsp. Cayenne Pepper

5 Tbsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground

1/3 cup Garlic Powder

1/3 cup Onion Powder

1/3 cup Salt

1 1/2 Tbsp. Oregano, dried

2 1/2 Tbsp. Thyme, dried

Combine all ingredients together in a one pint jar; shake to mix well. Label and store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

To use:

Brush all sides of Beef Steak, Chicken or Pork with small amount of Vegetable Oil. Sprinkle each side with Red’s Dry Spice Rub, pressing firmly into steak with hands. Grill over medium heat (gas or charcoal grill is best) 20 – 30 minutes, or until done.

Instant Cream Soup Mix

3 cups Dry Milk Powder

1/3 cup Corn Starch

1/3 cup Chicken Bouillon (or Vegetable Bouillon)

1 Tbsp. Onion Flakes, dried

1 tsp. Basil, dried

1 tsp. Thyme, dried

1 tsp. White Pepper

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Place mixture into a one quart jar, label and store up to six months.

To make soup:

Using a small mixing bowl, mix 1/3 cup Instant Cream Soup Mix with 1 1/4 cups Water or Broth. Simmer over low heat until thickened. This makes just enough to use in place of a 10 1/2 ounce can of cream soup, when making casseroles, etc. (Add mushrooms pieces, diced chicken, etc. to further flavor to your soup).

 

Dehydrating Your Own Potatoes

For many various reasons, folks are becoming more interested in how to preserve food for later use. One of my favorite methods of food preservation is dehydration or drying. Potatoes are a main- stay of many families, and are a food which most folks are uncertain about drying themselves.

Can this be done? Of course! The difference you will see in your home dried potatoes and the ones you purchase in the stores, is in color. This is due to the fact that the commercial dehydration process also bleaches the potatoes in order to make them appear more appetizing to the public.

I suggest that you store your dried foods in jars or bags, in a cool, dry place just as you would any other home preserved food. I save mayonnaise and applesauce jars for this purpose because they are a great size, and of course, recycling is cheaper than purchasing new jars.

Home Dried Potatoes

Potatoes (an amount you find manageable)

Metal vegetable blanching basket, or French fry basket

Colander & Mixing Bowl which is larger than your colander

Paper towels

Several cookie sheets OR Food Dehydrator & trays or racks

Vegetable Oil Cooking Spray

Peel desired amount of potatoes and slice into rounds 1/8 inch thick. (Peeling is optional- there are important vitamins and minerals stored in the potato skins, but they look nicer peeled, so choose according to your personal preference.) This can be done quickly with a food processor or slicer. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil.

Put potato slices into a vegetable basket and plunge the basket into the boiling water and wait for the water to return to a boil. Once the water is boiling, start counting off 8 minutes of blanching time. While potatoes are blanching, set up a large mixing bowl in your sink and fill it with ice water.

When the potatoes have blanched for 8 minutes, plunge the basketful of potatoes immediately into the ice water and let them sit there for 15 minutes. Spread the blanched potato slices in a single layer between paper towels and blot them dry.

If you are not using a dehydrator, spray cookie sheets with vegetable oil spray (do not use regular cooking oil); if you are using rimmed baking pans, spray and use only the upside down bottoms of these pans to prevent scorching near the pan’s raised rim; if you are using Teflon cookie sheets, there is no need for spray.

Spread potato slices on the prepared sheets or pans as close together as possible but in a single layer. Place cookie sheets on oven racks and turn the oven on to its very lowest temperature. (between low and off) Keep the oven door ajar so that the air can circulate freely and let moisture escape.

Make sure that the temperature never gets so hot that your hand feels uncomfortable when held in the oven. This is necessary for thorough drying.

If you are using a dehydrator, place potato slices on racks which have been prepared with vegetable oil spray, placing potatoes close together, but not touching, so air is allowed to circulate between them. Turning is not necessary on vented racks.

Dry according to manufacturer’s instructions, or until potatoes are brittle, somewhat translucent and are not at all pliable. If you have solid racks, follow the same directions as for turning potatoes dried in an oven:

After 1 hour, turn all the slices over; then turn the slices over every 30 minutes. Drying time will depend largely on your own oven, but you should begin checking for doneness at 3 hours. The potatoes are done when they become brittle, somewhat translucent, and are not at all pliable.

Their color should be pale white with a tinge of yellow; do not let them become brown or even dark amber in color. Some potato slices will dry faster than others, so check every 15 – 30 minutes for slices which are done.

Let the dried potatoes cool thoroughly, then store for up to a year in glass or plastic jars OR plastic bags at room temperature in a cool, dry place.

**You can use the instructions from your favorite pre-packaged potato mixes to cook or reconstitute your dried potatoes, or you can use the recipes below to put together your own mixes for your home-dried potatoes.

Basic Sauce Mix

2 Tbsp. Nonfat Dry Milk

2 Tbsp. Flour

2 Tbsp. Cornstarch

1 tsp. Onion Powder or 1 Tbsp. Crushed Dried Onions

1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

Combine the above ingredients to make 1 package of sauce mix and seal it in a small zip baggie, removing as much air as possible. When making several mixes to store or give as gifts, multiply this sauce mix recipe and store in a jar until ready for use. 6 Tbsp. Sauce Mix is equal to 1 x the above recipe.

Yield: 3 cups or four 3/4 cups servings

Scalloped Potato Mix in a Jar

3 cups dehydrated Potatoes

1 package (6 Tbsp.) Sauce Mix

1/3 cup Nonfat Dry Milk

Place these ingredients into a one quart jar, making certain the sauce mix and dry milk are first placed into small zip baggies, then sealed with the air removed. Place the potatoes into the bottom of the jar, then add the baggie of mix on top. Place lid on jar and store in a cool dry place until ready to use. Attach the following instructions for later use, or for gift giving:

Scalloped Potatoes

3 Tbsp. Butter or Margarine

2-3/4 cups boiling Water

Pour the potatoes into a medium size ungreased casserole and sprinkle the sauce mix on top. Dot with butter; stir in the boiling water. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until tender. If you are cooking something else at a lower temperature in your oven, adjust the baking time; at 350 degrees bake 40 to 45 minutes; at 325 degrees bake 50 to 55 minutes.

Skillet Meat and Potatoes Casserole Mix in a Jar

3 cups dehydrated Potatoes

1/3 cup Nonfat Dry Milk

1 package (6 Tbsp.) Sauce Mix

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Beef Bouillon Granules

Place above ingredients into a quart jar, placing milk, sauce mix, pepper, salt & bouillon granules into a small zip baggie, which will be placed on top of potatoes in the jar. Place lid on jar & store in a cool dry place until ready to use. Attach the following instructions for later use, or for gift giving:

Skillet Meat & Potatoes Casserole

Brown 1 pound of ground beef in a skillet, and drain off excess fat. Stir in 2 3/4 cups water and the ingredients from the jar. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer stirring now and then, for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Yield: 4 one cup servings

 

Popcorn! The Perfect Last-Minute Gift Solution

Are you in need of a quick and inexpensive gift for someone? The solution you are looking for is right in your own kitchen cupboard! Popcorn is a great treat, and can be made in a variety of ways and flavors. T

he only significant expense of this gift is the container which you choose to place it in. Containers can range from zip baggies to recycled containers, or even purchased tins and other containers. Use your imagination along with the theme of the popcorn recipe which you are preparing, and you will be certain to have a unique and tasty gift just perfect for the occasion.

Caramel Popcorn Kit in a Jar

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 1/3 cups un-popped Popcorn

1 cup Sugar

1 cup packed Brown Sugar

Set aside can of milk. Layer sugar and brown sugar in a one quart canning jar. Next, place popcorn into a small zip baggie. Seal baggie and place on top of sugar. Place lid on jar, then using clear packaging tape, attach the can of milk to the bottom of jar so they are firmly connected for storage purposes & store in a cool dry place until ready to use. Attach the following instructions for later use, or for gift giving:

Caramel Popcorn

Remove popcorn from jar and using your preferred method, pop corn until you have about 12 cups or 3 quarts of popped corn. Remove un-popped kernels from corn, and set aside. In a large saucepan, mix sugar from jar with 1/2 cup butter or margarine and the can of sweetened condensed milk. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil.

Boil for one minute and remove from heat. Working quickly, pour mixture over popped corn, coating as much as possible while pouring, then using a large wooden spoon, mix popped corn and caramel until all corn is well coated. Spread onto cookie sheets which have been prepared with non-stick cooking spray, or eat directly from bowl.

Buffalo Popcorn

3 quarts popped Popcorn
2 cups Corn Chips, slightly broken
1 cup Peanuts
1/4 cup Butter or Margarine
2 Tbsp. Louisiana-Style Hot Sauce
1 tsp. Celery Seed
Salt

Combine remaining popcorn with corn chips and peanuts. In small saucepan, melt butter or margarine with hot sauce, celery seed and salt. Pour over popcorn mixture, tossing gently to coat. Spread on l5x10-inch baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to large serving bowl. Toss with remaining 2 cups popped corn. Serve immediately or store in airtight container.

Cinnamon-Apple Popcorn

2 cups chopped dried Apples
3 quarts popped Popcorn
2 cups Pecan halves
4 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp. Vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place apples in a large shallow baking pan. Bake 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir in popcorn and nuts. In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients. Drizzle butter mixture over popcorn mixture, stirring well. Bake for 30 min, stirring every 10 min. Pour onto baking sheets, lined with waxed paper, to cool. Store in airtight container.

Garlic-Parmesan Salt

1 Tbsp. Garlic Salt
½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. Dried Parsley
1/4 tsp. Paprika

Process all ingredients in blender or food processor at high speed until
mixture is very fine in texture (30 – 45 seconds). Store in shaker. Makes
about 1/2 cup.

 

Yummy Gifts for Pets

Many folks over the past few years have written in asking for recipes to make treats for their pets. Being a pet owner myself, I can understand the desire to be able to offer your pets nutritious snacks, free from preservatives and artificial colors and/or flavors.

Our unique collection of pet snack recipes are wonderful alternatives to store-bought treats, as well as great gift items for family and friends who are pet owners.

Cookie cutters in the shape of doggie biscuits are available in kitchen supply stores, as well as some department stores. Other appropriate shapes for pet treats, are circles, triangles and squares. No ‘yield amount’ is given on these recipes, because depending on the cutters you choose, your actual yield will vary. Enjoy making these treats, as well as sharing them with your favorite dog or cat!

Hally-tosis Treats!

2 cups Rice Flour
1 Tbsp. Activated Charcoal (from pharmacy)
3 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
1/2 cup Fresh Mint, chopped
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
2/3 cup Milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine flour and charcoal in a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients. Drop teaspoonfuls on greased sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake 15-20 minutes. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. (Doggie treats)

Super Salmon Treats

8 ounces Salmon (canned, with juice)
1/2 cup fresh Parsley, chopped (or 1/4 cup dried)
3 Eggs, including shells
1/2 cup Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup Flax Seeds
3 cups Potato Flour (more or less)

Powder sesame and flax seeds, by running them through a cycle in your coffee grinder or food processor. Add seed powder to salmon, parsley, eggs (with shells) and 1 cup of Potato Flour in your blender. Continue to add flour until mixture forms a soft dough. Knead dough on a floured surface, kneading more potato flour into dough, until cookie dough consistency is achieved.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick, and cut into strips using a pizza cutter. Cut strips into small squares. Bake squares on greased baking sheets, at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes; turn squares over, and bake 10 minutes longer. (For harder biscuits, bake longer, until crispy). (Kitty treats)

 

Outdoor Recipes

Dutch oven cooking is one of my favorite parts of camping. It seems we are always experimenting with something new to cook in our Dutch ovens. Dutch ovens are extremely useful cook ware items, and you can make most anything in them.

When using cast iron cookware, it is important to follow the instructions of the manufacturer in the cleaning and seasoning of the cookware. If taken care of properly, it will last you a lifetime.

I hope you enjoy the following recipes which are designed expressly for Dutch oven cooking. These recipes can however be adapted for use in a modern kitchen.

Enjoy!

The chart provided here tells how many charcoal briquettes to use when cooking in your Dutch oven, for the size oven you have chosen to use. You can, of course, cook using the coals of your campfire, and by using this chart, you can also get a good idea how many coals to use as well.

Lodge Manufacturing recommends that you use the “3 up, 3 down = 325 degrees F” formula. This formula is based on the oven’s diameter and the use of full-size charcoal briquettes. The diameter plus 3 equals the number of briquettes required for top heat. The diameter minus 3 equals the number of briquettes needed for bottom heat. This heats the oven to 325 degrees F.

Oven Sizes        5 inch 8 inch 10 inch 12 inch 14 inch 16 inch
Top Heat             8           11          13            15          17            19
Bottom Heat    3            5            7              9            11            13

Dutch Oven Cobblers

4 cups canned Fruit (peaches, cherries, pineapple, apricots, etc.)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Box Yellow or White Cake Mix

First, start fire early so you will have plenty of hot coals. (You can also use your oven set at 350 degrees F, or fill the bottom of your charcoal barbeque with charcoal.)

Next, line a 4-qt cast iron Dutch oven with heavy duty aluminum foil. (If you don’t have heavy duty aluminum foil, use a double layer of standard foil). If your doing this on a bed of coals use the type of Dutch oven that has feet and a flat lid with a lip to hold the coals.

Mix partially drained fruit with about 1/2 cup of the cake mix and pour into the foil lined Dutch oven. Mix the remaining cake mix and the can of Eagle Brand milk together and pour over the fruit/cake mixture.

Put cover on Dutch oven, and place coals according to chart above. Cook for 45 min. to an hour (check after 40 minutes).

Note: Cooking this way makes clean up a snap!

Sheepherder’s Potatoes

10 or 12 medium to large sized Potatoes
1 or 2 large Onions
Salt & Pepper to taste
Vegetable Oil

Peel potatoes and cut into small pieces (no larger than 1″ x ½”) then peel and dice onions. Place in Dutch oven sized pan which has been prepared with vegetable oil. Add salt & pepper to taste. Stir to coat evenly with vegetable oil. Season a second time. Use chart above for coal placement. Cook for about one hour, then check for doneness.

*For a change of pace, try adding six strips of bacon to bottom of Dutch oven, and two cups shredded cheese on top of potatoes about 20 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: Some folks say that adding Sprite, 7-Up, Mountain Dew or Beer in place of the vegetable oil gives moisture, flavor and inhibits sticking , while keeping the recipe low-fat.

Chicken Lasagna

1 pkg. Lasagna noodles, cooked and drained (1 lb)
1 cup Chopped Onion
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. Margarine or Butter
2 cans/jars Spaghetti Sauce, any flavor (26 oz)
1/2 cup Water
1 can Chopped Green Chilies, drained (4 oz)
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 pkg. Cream Cheese, softened (8 oz)
2 tsp. Chicken Flavor Instant Bouillon
3 cups Chopped Cooked Chicken
4 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3/4 cup Chopped Celery

Preheat oven to 375 F. In first Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in margarine until tender. Stir in pasta sauce, water, chilies and cumin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. In bowl, beat cream cheese with bouillon until fluffy. Stir in chicken, 1 cup mozzarella and celery.

Generously grease second Dutch oven and in bottom, spread 3/4 cup sauce. Top with half each of the lasagna, chicken mixture, sauce and 1-1/2 cups mozzarella. Repeat layering, ending with sauce. Cover; using above chart, place coals over and under oven and cook 30 – 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Uncover. Top with remaining 1-1/2 cups mozzarella. Let sit for five minutes before serving.

Dutch Oven Chicken

3 pounds Chicken Pieces — skinned

1 cup Flour

Salt & Pepper

Paprika

Vegetable Oil — as needed

Pour about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil into bottom of Dutch oven and set aside. Rinse chicken in cold water, and roll in flour. Place chicken pieces, bone side down when possible, in a layer on bottom of pan. Season chicken pieces and add a second layer if needed. Coat inside of lid with 1 or 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Place lid on pan, and use above chart to place coals over and under oven. Let chicken cook for about 30 or 40 minutes.

 

Craft Recipes – Gift Tags & Stickers

 

It can be fun to design your own stickers and gift tags. You can begin by saving glossy mail order catalogs and newspaper inserts, gift bags with cute pictures on the front, magazine pages with pictures of dolls, flowers, comic characters, etc.. Other good sources are used greeting cards or Christmas cards, and even crafting or rubber stamping catalogs.

By using the recipe below, any scrap of paper can be turned into a ‘lick & stick’ sticker! You can also design your own stickers and tags, run photo copies of them, and color them yourself. This is a very popular idea with children.

Homemade Gum Stickers

1 part White Vinegar 1 part White School Glue

Mix together in small bowl. Using a sponge brush, paint first coat onto back of paper. Let this dry and paint on second coat. Let this dry at least a couple of hours or overnight. Now you are ready to cut out your stickers. You may add Peppermint extract or any other flavor you like to glue mixture to make licking more pleasant.

HINT: When coloring your own stickers, apply glue mixture before coloring with markers, crayons, etc., to prevent possible damage from the moisture in the glue. Now, lick & stick!

Ideas for these stickers can come from magazines, advertisements, coloring books, ‘cut and copy’ books, rubber stamps, etc.. If you are planning on using ideas from several sources, you may want to make a master copy and then make photo copies so your only copy won’t be ruined if you make any mistakes while coloring.

Stickers and tags can be colored with water based markers, crayons, colored pencils, chalks, or hand painted. When you have finished coloring your stickers, carefully cut them out and then use right away, or save for future use. This can be a great activity to do as a family.

Happy licking & sticker-ing!

Tags

You can make tags for your own gifts from most any paper you like. A scrap of the wrap you used for your gift which is cut into a 2 x 4 inch rectangle, folded in half, and a hole punched into the upper corner next to the fold, is always a nice finishing touch for a gift.

One of my favorite papers to use for these kind of tags is wall paper. Wall paper is usually nice and heavy, so that the tag stands up nicely.

Save small scraps for tags when wrapping gifts or decorating your house, pick up sample pieces which are free at wall paper displays in stores, or cut them from discontinued wall paper sample books which can be purchased at a small fee from wall paper stores when the new books come out.

The only thing you have to watch out for when using wall paper for tags, is DO NOT use a marker to write your message inside! The paste coating will gum up your marker. Any ball point pen or pencil will work fine for this purpose.

Curling ribbon, narrow craft ribbon, or colored crochet thread all work great for a tie on your tags. To attach your tie, cut a 6 – 8 inch length of ribbon/thread, fold it in half and insert it into the hole from the front of the tag. Next, bring your ‘tails’ both through the loop which the ribbon/thread forms behind the tag, and pull through until it is snug. Now you are ready to tie your tag onto your gift.

Cosmetics Recipes – Non Food

I have had many requests for homemade cleaners as well as alternatives to personal care items, such as shampoo, conditioner, lotions and facial cleansers. Below you will find several natural recipes for these items.

Grainy Facial Cleanser (similar to Aapri)

Your choice of facial soap (pure soap like Ivory is good)

1 tsp. Cornmeal (for normal to oily skin)
OR 1 tsp. Granulated Sugar (for dry skin)

Wet face, then work up a lather of facial soap in your hands. Add cornmeal to one soapy hand, and rub meal into the lather. Work this between both hands, then wash face with this mixture. This mixture is gentle, yet effective and is great for acne. Be sure to avoid the eye area.

Egg Shampoo #1

1 egg
1 tsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp. ‘Castile Soap’ or mild, unscented Shampoo
1/2 cup Water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Use immediately and follow up with one of the hair rinses below. Refrigerate any left over shampoo, and use within 36 hours. This shampoo is great for repairing sun or heat damaged hair.

To use: Wash and rinse this shampoo with warm, NOT hot water. (if you use hot water, you will smell like cooked eggs!)

Dry Hair Treatment

1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 tsp. mild Shampoo
warm water

To condition dry, brittle hair: Mix mayonnaise and shampoo in a bowl. Add enough warm water to make it easier to mix. Apply to hair after shampooing, and leave on for 10 minutes. (for Very damaged hair, place a plastic shower cap over the conditioner and sit under a hair dryer, or in the sun, for 20 minutes) When your time is up, shampoo out and rinse with warm water.

Egg Conditioner

1 Egg Yolk
1/2 tsp. Olive Oil
3/4 cup Warm Water

In a medium sized bowl, beat egg yolk until it is thick and light colored. Slowly add the oil, a few drops at a time, while beating (a hand mixer works good for this). Next, add the water and beat into the egg mixture.

After shampooing, massage conditioner into hair and leave on for a few minutes before rinsing with warm water.

Egg Shampoo #2

1 Egg, separated
3 Tbsp. mild shampoo (such as baby shampoo or Castile)
In a small bowl, beat egg white until foamy and soft (not stiff). Gently blend in the yolk and shampoo.

Shampoo hair using warm water, and massage half of egg shampoo into hair and scalp. There will not be many suds with this shampoo. Rinse well, and repeat with the second half of the mixture. You will have more suds with this second shampooing. Work mixture into hair for 60 seconds, no longer, and rinse well with warm water.

Cucumber Facial Cream

1 whole Cucumber – leave unpeeled
1/2 ounce White Paraffin Wax
2 ounces Sweet Almond Oil

Cut cucumber into small pieces and puree with a food processor. Strain puree through a strainer lined with cheese cloth. Melt wax in a glass or enamel double boiler over medium heat. As soon as the wax is melted, slowly add the oil, drop by drop, stirring gently. Add strained cucumber and blend thoroughly. Remove from heat and cover pan with a clean towel. Let mixture cool slowly to prevent it from crystallizing. Stir only once or twice while cooling. When mixture is completely cool and smooth, store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. This will keep for about two months.

Makes 4 ounces.

Anti-Aging Facial Cream

1 Oz Glycerin
1 Oz Witch hazel
1/2 Oz Rose water
3 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Wheat germ oil

Combine all ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl, and gently mix with a wire whisk until thoroughly combined. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. This will keep for about one month.

To use: Massage a small amount into the skin around your eyes and mouth, using a circular and upward motion. This will help fight the effects of gravity.

Sugar-Sweet Body Polish

1 ½ cups light brown sugar (not granulated), lightly packed
½ cup almond oil
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl, stir sugar, oil, vanilla, and spice until well mixed. Pack into a decorative container that will hold about 12 ounces, or two smaller containers. Seal container(s); attach instruction tag for later use.

Peppermint Lotion

2 oz. cocoa butter
5 oz. olive oil (cold pressed extra virgin)
1 oz. Shea butter
1 tsp. beeswax
3-5 drops peppermint essential oil
2 oz peppermint tea
1 oz. aloe vera gel
1 T. liquid lecithin

Melt cocoa butter, olive oil, Shea butter, and beeswax together. Mix the essential oil, scent aloe gel and lecithin together and whisk into the melted oils and wax. Continue to mix until cooled and then pour into containers. You may want to infuse the oil with herbs like calendula or chamomile. This recipe must be kept in the fridge.

How to Make Your Own Diaper Cream

Here are basic instructions on how to make your own diaper salve which is very non-allergenic. With a couple of extra ingredients, it’s the ideal preventative and treatment for a yeast-rash. Sometimes this stuff is affectionately called “butt grease” since it keeps diaper areas healthy and running well!

Heat some water in a small pot on the stove until it is hot but not boiling. Place some kind of a spacer (a small steam basket) in the bottom of the pot. Put the glass jar on top to check the water level. The water level should reach about 1/2 way up the jar. Grate the beeswax until you have made a pile equivalent to about 1/2 cup to 1 cup. (You may not need the full amount depending on how thick you like your “butt grease.” You might prefer to make it on the on the soft-side for ease of application.)

Pour about 1 cup of olive oil into the jar and place into the hot water to warm it. As the oil warms, sprinkle in some of the beeswax and stir. Add in more beeswax and continue to stir until all the wax has liquefied. Remove the jar carefully with oven mitts or canning tongs. Now you have your basic salve. If you do not wish to make a yeast rash salve, leave it to cool.

If you would like to make a salve for a yeast rash, add 1 clove of garlic (crushed and minced, or pureed if possible) or 1/8 tsp powdered garlic. Then add 1/8 tsp of tea tree oil and leave to cool. Use this homemade cream on the baby’s diaper area regularly, or in case of yeast rash, use the herbal salve liberally at every diaper change.

Tips

Don’t let the mixture get too hot – the idea is to melt the wax and oil together, not to cook it!

Stirring the mixture periodically as it cools will result in a creamier texture, while leaving it alone will cause it to set more firm.

If you don’t get the results you want the first time, you can always re-heat it the same way and add wax to firm it up or oil to smooth it down.

Warnings

Tea tree oil on its own can be extremely irritating to baby’s skin. However, this salve seems to buffer tea tree oil’s stinging properties, so don’t be afraid to use the herbal salve on even a newborn baby.

Herbal Facial Mask (Cleans and Tightens Pores)

1 tbsp honey
1 egg
1 tsp crumbled dried chamomile
1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Apply the mixture to your face and neck. Let dry (10-15 minutes) and rinse off with warm water.