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Archive for June 5th, 2010

This household eats a lot of baked style beans or beans in general. Not only are they a wonderful meat substitute but they are a budget saver as well.

Ranch Beans

2 medium onions, chopped

2 tbsp water

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp mustard

16 oz can stewed tomatoes (or 1 can of canned tomatoes)

1 tbsp cider vinegar

2 cups of beans (kidney, black eye, navy, pinto)

1 cup bacon bits and ends cooked and crumbled (reserve 1/8 cup for top garnish later)

Soak beans night before to let them swell and soften.  Drain the next morning and place beans in pot on stove covered with water.  Cook over medium heat until the skins split when blown on.  Drain and put in roaster dish with other ingredients.  Mix well and put in stove at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour (the longer they are allowed to “stew” the better the flavor, just watch the liquid to not burn).   Remove and garnish with remaining bacon before serving.

I, rather then put this in oven, often let it stew in my crock pot through the day on low heat so it is good and thick by supper.

If you want a added “smoke” flavor to them, they also are wonderful after setting in a pan on grill filled with smoking hickory chips for a hour or longer.

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Seasoned Pork Loin

1 pork loin

Rub of your own desire or recipe I put in this blog for red meats

Pepper and seasoning salt

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup dehydrated mushrooms or 1 cup fresh, sliced

Take your loin and using your hands, rub the rub into the meat.  Don’t be bashful it’s good to play with your meat to get the juices flowing and the seasoning well into each nook.  Once well rubbed, put the loin into either a crock pot (which I used) or a dish for oven.  Cover with just enough water to keep from burning and to allow a ‘steam’ effect.  Add onions and mushrooms and let cook at either high heat (crock pot) or 400 degrees in oven for 1 hour.  Check often and baste to keep from drying out and loin moist and juicy.  Reduce heat to low on crock pot or 350 degrees in oven and continue to cook an additional hour (or longer in crock pot if you desire).  Be sure to still baste it often.

If using crock pot at this point transfer it to a roaster pan and place in oven uncovered, with some of the gravy juices, to brown and sear top.  If using roaster from start just remove the cover.  Keep basting for 1/2 a hour.  Remove from oven and slice for serving or pull apart if doing a pulled pork style.

In pulled pork you would simply re-add the juices back over the shredded meat.  If you desire gravy, place the juice in a saucepan and introduce slowly a mix of water and flour (consistency of pancake batter) stirring it constantly until thickened.  To keep a darker “rich” color to the gravy I suggest using a “browning” agent like you can find among the Worcestershire sauces and various smoke flavorings in your grocery store.

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I love this salad as a quick fix meal, in summer it’s a soothing addiction to any meal, and best of all it’s easy to make.

Cucumber-Tomato Salad

2 cucumbers

2 tomatoes

2 green onions

Ranch Dressing, Buttermilk Dressing, or homemade slaw dressing

Peel cucumbers, cut in half, cut halves in half and then cube.  Cut tomatoes into cubes and also cut up the green onions including the tops.  Put it all in a bowl and stir well. 

Add dressing of your desire.  I put a homemade dressing I also use on just cucumbers, coleslaw and other salads.  That dressing consists of the basic ingredients of:

4 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1 1/2 – 2  tbsp sugar

pepper and salt to taste

I also will add thyme, basil, parsley, sage, mint and other herbs to it for variety.

Place salad in container and store in fridge for a hour or longer to mingle flavors.

One nice thing about this salad.  Aside from the parent needing to cut the vegetables into proper pieces it is able to be made by children to allow them to feel sense of accomplishment in kitchen.  I will cut cucumbers, tomatoes and onions into separate bowls and let my daughter combine them and stir in the dressing.  She often is huge smiles when she gets to present “her” dish to the table.

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Weekends is when I do the bulk of my “main” cooking, yard work and cleaning.  For me I find it no more difficult to make up a single meal worth of food or enough for 50 people and freeze or can up the rest.  I’ll admit it takes a bit of scheduling and juggling to figure out how long things need to sit, marinate, cook, etc so you can plan other work around them.  Once this is figured out it becomes much easier to throw together several meals as well as finish other tasks while they are preparing.  Today I worked on Pork Loin, Ranch Beans and Garlic-Rosemary Roasted Chicken.

I don’t know if I truly have a “recipe” for this as the process is really simple.  Take chicken leg-quarters, breasts, halves..whatever you prefer with skin on.

You will need rosemary and garlic cloves.  Using edge of a large knife like a butcher knife press down on the garlic cloves to “burst” them from their skin.  Rough chop the cloves, you want one clove garlic per piece of chicken.  Rub your chicken with your favorite rub or seasoning. I used the Chicken Rub recipe posted elsewhere in blog.

Gently using your thumb and first finger separate the skin from the flesh.  Stuff this cavity with the garlic and 1/2 a tsp of rosemary. Put chicken in oven and bake at 375 degrees until skin falls from bones. (about 1 hour).

For this particular batch it will be used in another dish so I tore it apart into pieces when finished.

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