Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

it’s Wednesday…  I’ve made a 1 1/2 hour (roundtrip) to Kindersley once, cleaned the house (sort of), made the muffins for the booth at the school and am making my second trip to Kindersley to pick up uniforms for my son’s Junior Basketball team…

I need to get these jerseys to him, then get something started for supper before I go watch his game and get my other two children sent off to the rinks they need to be at…

sound familiar to anyone out there?  if this type of day is ringing a bell, you need to go get yourself an Instant Pot… some people might give you crazy advice to slow down…  don’t listen to them when you have the tools to cook faster!!!

not only does it look great on your counter – it is a lifesaver for families that don’t know how to say ‘no’

I’m telling you, even the farmer could cook with this…  you push the sauté button and add onions and olive oil…

when they start to cook add your ground beef… brown it and strain if it is fatty…

no time for real garlic or fresh herbs today…

toss in some garlic and chilli powder

venture into your super tidy pantry…  because every mom has time to clean her pantry every other Tuesday…  and grab a can of green chiles and tomato sauce…

toss in some Cancun salt… if you recently did not get to leave your hectic life and go to Cancun, then any ordinary salt will do… but make a mental note to book yourself a well-deserved get-a-way…  

fancier moms might chop up real cilantro… but when you are putting it in a dish like this I think you are wasting your time…  dried cilantro is just fine and it’s not going rotten in your refrigerator because you forgot you had it…

use the package of free noodles your friend gifted you because her husband saw the ‘organic’ label on them and said ‘not up in here!!!!’

(one man’s trash is this lady’s treasure)

place the dry noodles right on the meat sauce and cover with water

place the lid on and set for high pressure for 5 minutes… (it roughly takes 10 minutes to get to pressure… then using the quick release it takes a few minutes to lose the pressure… so overall the cooking time is around 20 minutes)

leave your teenage son in charge of it (which I would never do with a boiling pot of water) and head out to get your daughter to her hockey practice and watch your other son’s basketball game…

feeling like freakin’ Martha Stewart while you drive

when you come home and realize that your teenager forgot about it completely, no need to panic… it is just fine…

add some frozen corn and tex-mex cheese to it, turn on the sauté to warm it up and serve with a smile, knowing that cleanup is only one pot!!!

Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs thawed, ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (7 oz) green chiles
  • 500 gram bag of dried pasta
  • 3 cups water (to cover pasta)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 cup tex/mex cheese

Directions:

  • in Instant Pot, on saute setting, add oil and onions
  • when slightly cooked, add the beef and brown
  • if it is fatty beef, strain and return to pot
  • add spices, chiles and tomato sauce and mix
  • place dry noodles on top and cover with water
  • on high pressure setting, set timer for 5 minutes
  • use quick release when it is complete
  • add the corn and cheese in at the end

filling the freezer

the calm before the storm… the week before harvest is in full swing and farm wives everywhere are trying to sober up from the summer (you know who you are) and begin filling their freezers with meals and baking for the coming harvest…

a few friends of mine use this “The Big Cook 2” cookbook to stock their freezer with easy, go to meals when they are in a pinch…  and I decided to cook up a few… mainly because I realized that I will be running with three kids for 6 different sporting teams they are on…  so life might get a touch busy…

this cookbook allows you to apparently prepare 200 meals in 1 day…  I call that false advertising…  I was able to get together 5 yesterday and am hoping for 3 today…  although beginning at 10 am after I roll out of bed might be the reason for my lagging production…

for harvest, I need meals that serve the 12 farmers I am taking meals to plus the 4 of us here at home… (the kids apparently want to get fed)…  so if you are using the recipes I post, adjust accordingly to what your harvest demands are!

which leads me to introduce you to Odell Beckham Jr…  or should I say the remains of OBJ…  my middle son goes to school with a boy that is in 4H… for those of you that are not familiar with 4H, google it because I am not familiar with it either…

all I know, is this boy raised a cow, named him Odell Beckham Jr and now we are eating his cow…

so the recipes I used for this batch of freezer meals were:

– marinated round steak for steak sandwiches

– dijon peppered roast

– bbq beef stew

– swedish meatballs

-carrot and cheese meatloaf

let’s begin!  with the easiest… marinated round (or flank) steak which I plan on using for steak sandwiches or fajitas…

what I failed to show was that I dumped a large portion of the marinade on my foot

marinated round steak

  • Servings: 12-16 people
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Ingredients:

  • 3 (2 lb) round steaks
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups soya sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 bulb garlic, minced

Directions:

  • label three large ziploc bags “marinated round steak”
  • place each round steak in a bag
  • combine the remaining ingredients
  • pour an even amount into each bag
  • remove air, seal and freeze
  • when ready to use, bbq on high heat for 5-8 minutes per side
  • boil marinade for 3 minutes or until it thickens in a saucepan
  • slice steak and pour marinade over it
  • serve on crusty break as a steak sandwich or use as a filling for fajitas

 

next, dijon peppered cross rib roasts…  I am not a huge fan of roast but when you have your freezer full of your sons friend’s cow you need to cook roasts!

dijon peppered roast

  • Servings: 2 roasts or 12-16 people
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Ingredients:

  • 2 (4 lb) cross rib beef roasts
  • 1 bulb garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp old style prepared mustard
  • 1/3 cup HP steak sauce
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon pepper (or ground black pepper)
  • 2 tbsp rosemary leaves (or 1 tbsp ground rosemary)

Directions:

  • label 2 large ziploc bags “dijon peppered roast”
  • place each roast into a ziploc bag
  • combine remaining ingredients and divide evenly between the two bags
  • remove air from bag, seal and freeze
  • when ready to use, place in slow cooker for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low
  • serve with potatoes, vegetable and crusty buns

 

on to stew…  which we did not get any of Odell Beckham Jr cut up into so I took the rump roasts and cut two of them up into stew meat…  which actually was fine because in the past I have found I have to cut the store bought stew meat into smaller chunks anyways… plus my dogs got the fatty pieces so win/win…

I used kohlrabi instead of celery in this recipe…  two reasons…  first reason – I forgot to buy celery… second reason – I had a lot of kohlrabi in my garden… so it is a bit of an experiment…  I’m thinking it will either taste similar to a turnip or celery… we’ll see…

bbq beef stew with kohlrabi

  • Servings: 3 large bags or 12-16 people
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Ingredients:

  • 12 lbs beef stew meat (I used 2 (3-4lb) rump roasts and cut into stew sized chunks)
  • 12 cups cubed kohlrabi (or diced celery)
  • 4 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups bbq sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup powdered beef bouillon
  • 1 cup dried onion flakes
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp prepared mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar

Directions:

  • label 3 large ziploc bags “bbq beef stew”
  • distribute evenly the stew meat and kohlrabi into the three bags
  • combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and distribute evenly into the bags
  • remove excess air, seal and freeze
  • when ready to use, cook in slow cooker for 4-5 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low
  • serve over rice or mashed potatoes with steamed broccoli or corn on the cob

Swedish meatballs… the first time I have ever made meatballs with cream of wheat cereal and let me tell you – delicious…  I sampled a few and loved them…  and I’m not even that Swedish… mostly Norwegian which shares many native dishes such as Lutefisk and Pult with Sweden…  so maybe it came naturally to me to make Swedish meatballs?

(that being said… hamburger helper and pizza pops were a common occurrence growing up so perhaps I was raised a touch American… and yes, I am trying to insult American’s and my mother all with the same joke… )

swedish meatballs

  • Servings: 4 large bags or 12 people
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Ingredients:

  • 6 lbs beef (lean, ground, raw)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream of wheat cereal (dry, uncooked)
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 3 cans evaporated milk

Directions:

  • label 4 large ziploc bags “swedish meatballs”
  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • in a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk
  • add the raw beef, cream of wheat cereal and onions
  • mix very well with hands until well combined
  • using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop out and form 1 1/2” balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheets
  • bake in oven for 25 minutes
  • place in a bowl with paper towel to cool and collect the excess fat drippings
  • while meatballs are cooking, mix in a large bowl the cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and evaporated milk
  • when meatballs are cool, evenly divide amoung the four large ziploc bags
  • pour the soup mixture into each bag
  • remove any air from the bags and seal
  • place in freezer
  • when ready to use, place in slow cooker at high for 4 hours or low for 5-7 hours
  • serve with steamed rice and a vegetable

lastly, meatloaf…  and let me tell you… by this point of the day I had seen enough of Odell Beckham Jr…

this is a huge recipe and it ended up making 7 loaves for me…  which felt like a tonne of packed meat…  but we had one of the loaves for supper and it was really good the kids said…  I could not eat it…

I chose not to freeze these with the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard topping…  when I go to cook them I’ll put the glaze on then…

carrot and cheese meatloaf

  • Servings: 7-8 loaves
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Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 6 cups chopped onion
  • 3 cups grated carrot (or more)
  • 6 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 9 lbs beef (lean, ground, raw)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup prepared mustard

Directions:

  • in a very large bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper and bread crumbs until well mixed
  • add onion, carrot, cheese and beef
  • mix with hands until very well combined
  • pack an even amount of mixture into the 7-8 loaf pans
  • cover each pan with tin foil and label
  • place into freezer
  • when ready to cook, defrost overnight and all day
  • combine brown sugar, ketchup and mustard and spread on top of each meatloaf
  • bake at 350 for 1 hour
  • let stand for 10 mintues before serving
  • serve with baked potato, corn on the cob and a tossed salad

and there you have it…  freezer getting stocked… and on to day two now…  the baking will come later… as I have some giant zucchini’s just waiting to get grated and made into loaves, muffins and cakes…

it also is moments when I write stuff like that where I realize what I have become and never thought I would…  a person that talks about zucchini… non-stop… it has become one of my favourite google searches and topics…

not exactly sure what that says about me… actually I do know what it says about me… I’ve accepted it…

 

meal to the field #11

combining canola… and needing buns for the kids lunches… so I made Tracey’s cheese buns she has told me about… I did not tackle making them in the figure eight shape she does…  I am not that talented… but you should try it because I think it would taste better that way…

 

Tracey's cheese buns

Ingredients:

  • Tammy’s Bun Recipe
  • 2 tbsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic salt

Directions:

  • use Tammy’s Bun Recipe and add the onion flakes and garlic powder to it
  • let rise three times, punching down ever 15 minutes
  • roll out in a figure eight shape transfer to a parchment paper to rise
  • mix the parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese and sprinkle over the buns
  • sprinkle Maldon sea salt flakes and garlic salt over the buns
  • bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes or until browned and done

I love this salad…  my kids not so much… but it is everything I like in a harvest salad… packs well, transfers well, sits well…

frozen pea salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups frozen peas
  • 4 small heads broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 pkg (500g) cooked, chopped bacon
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews, chopped

Directions:

  • in a large bowl, mix together the peas, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and cheese
  • mix Ranch dressing and sour cream together and add to the salad
  • place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours
  • dish into containers and add bacon and cashews on top

the farmer requested this… beef stroganoff… a favourite from his childhood…

 

beef stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • 6 round streaks, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • olive oil
  • 3 yellow onions, minced
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 carton (320 g) button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 pkgs Egg Noodles

Directions:

  • heat olive oil in a pan
  • in two batches, place steak in flour, salt and pepper and then to brown on med-high heat in the pan
  • in a large pot, whisk chicken soup and sour cream together
  • transfer first batch of meat to the large pot with the soup mixture and brown the second batch of meat
  • transfer second batch of meat to the soup mixture
  • heat olive oil and add onions, garlic and then mushrooms
  • add this to the soup/meat mixture
  • keep on very low heat until you are ready to serve (at least 1 hour simmering)
  • serve over egg noodles

my mother cans peaches every fall… so I make peach cobbler every fall… as well as eat canned peaches for breakfast at least twice a week until they run out… I can remember blanching the peaches, getting the skin off of them, slicing them and putting them in the sugary juice in the canning jars… messy work and I’m grateful she still does it on her own so we can enjoy them…

peach cobbler

  • Servings: one 9x13 pan
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Ingredients:

  • 3 quarts canned peaches, strained (or 12 fresh peaches, sliced)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold shortening, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup whole milk

Directions:

  • mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan on medium/high heat
  • add peaches and boil and gently stir for 1 minute
  • pour into a 9×13 greased dish
  • cut shortening into flour, sugar, baking powder and salt mixture
  • add milk and mix until sticky
  • spoon over the peaches and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes
  • serve warm if possible

meal to the field #9

in the past fifty days or so we have only combined around seventeen of them… this means there has been more days not combining than combining which doesn’t make for happy farmers… in fact my farmer  has lost weight just from the stress of not combining…  I told him fad diets like that never work but he did it anyways…

so this meal I did on Friday and then it promptly rained again so we couldn’t finish up…  we have a lot of canola still out there waiting to get combined… Canadian Thanksgiving is this coming weekend and it looks like it will be turkey to the field… I have done this only one other year in my 15 years of cooking for farmers…

and this is why farmers talk about the weather… a lot…

  

cucumber dill salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 large cucumbers, sliced with a mandolin
  • 6 green onions, chopped

Directions:

  • in a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, dill and salt
  • mix with a whisk
  • cut cucumbers with a mandolin into thin slices and place in bowl
  • add green onions, mix and dish into containers
  • chill in fridge for at least one hour

  

pot roast in beer and onions

Ingredients:

  • 2 1kg cross rib pot roasts
  • salt and pepper on roasts (season well)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 white onions, chopped
  • 14 crushed garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 bottles of beer
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 2 tsp herbes de provence

Directions:

  • turn crockpot on high
  • heat oil in a large dutch oven on medium/high heat
  • season the roasts and one at a time sear each roast (all sides) for 2 minutes per side
  • place into the crockpot
  • in dutch oven, place onions and garlic
  • season the onions and garlic with thyme and herbes de provence
  • add beer and broth
  • pour over the roasts in the crockpot
  • cook on high in crockpot for 4 hours or longer
  • take meat out and slice and put back in crockpot and serve


roasted carrot sticks with dijon dressing

Ingredients:

  • 8 large carrots, cut into sticks
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

Directions:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • cut carrots into sticks and place on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • roast for 15-20 minutes until tender
  • mix up olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme and rosemary
  • pour over the carrots and serve


basically if you are eating a roast or any sort of beef dish that has a gravy, you need to make yorkshire pudding…  the farmer’s family called them ‘pop-overs’ but I grew up knowing and loving them as ‘yorkshire pudding’…  my love for them has never faltered… I love them fresh out of the oven with nothing on them…. or with the meal with some butter and gravy in the centre of them… or later that evening, cold from the refrigerator…  oh I love them so… that’s why you need to make 36 of them even if you are not feeding a whole crew of farmers…

“auntie

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 2/3 cup homo milk
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour

Directions:

  • using three muffin tins, place dollops of butter in each well and place in 400 degree oven
  • whisk up eggs and add salt and milk
  • add flour to mixture
  • take out smoking hot muffin tins and pour batter into them, filling each well half way up
  • bake for 20 minutes
  • serve warm, with gravy and butter


  

these brownies are so easy to make and moist and delish… the reason I sprinkled them with icing sugar is because I forgot to put parchment paper in the baking pan and half the cake stuck in the bottom of the pan and it was a bit of a disaster…  so icing sugar covers all wrongs…

zucchini brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • in a standing mixer, beat sugar and oil
  • mix flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl
  • add flour mixture to sugar and oil
  • beat and add zucchini
  • fold in chocolate chips and pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan
  • make sure the baking pan is well greased and has parchment paper lining the bottom of it so cake does not stick
  • bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until centre of cake is done
  • let cook in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes and then take out of pan and let cool
  • cut into 12 brownies and serve

meal to the field #8

my farm is nestled between two towns, one with a population hovering around 200 and the other at around 300… the smaller town has the store and school… the larger town has the bank, rink and doctor’s clinic… neither have a paved street but both have a post office and a bar…

if you come to this area, you will meet farmers, oil field workers, teachers, nurses, mechanics, truckers, electricians, hunters, hutterites… and the odd person running from the law trying to hide in the middle of no where…  I quickly realized after my first trip here to meet the farmer’s family that my choice of occupation (should the relationship pan out) was going to be limited… thus me becoming a stay-at-home mom…

it was rather difficult at first to be a stay-at-home mom… not the stay-at-home part so much but more the mom part… when your children are little you really do stay at home and lose your mind…  I like to look back on those years fondly as the ‘dark days’…  back when words like ‘I’m bored’ came out of my mouth…  or ‘play-date’…

then last year when my youngest went to grade one and it is the time that most stay-at-home mom’s get a job my farmer husband told me to take a year to figure out what I feel should be the next step in my life… I currently am in my second year figuring that out…

but one thing I know I have to do every day is cook… and this has made me think that when I cook I want it to be fulfilling and artistic and inspiring and interesting… if I have to devote this much time to something I might as well become as interested in it as possible and try to create things that not only feed a belly but feed my soul….

and this brings me to the topic of cream cheese…

 

I love cream cheese…  ever since I discovered in college ‘the Great Canadian Bagel’ store where you could buy bagels and cream cheese in mass quantities and then eat it at your leisure in your dorm room while watching ‘Pretty Woman’ for the 24th time wondering who the lucky guy to discover you was going to be…

last harvest I went on a major cream cheese kick…  I went to our store in the smaller town and picked up four blocks of cream cheese just for the meal I was doing that night… when you are giving the food to ten farmers that means they each are getting around 3.2 oz of cream cheese each…

I was purchasing the cream cheese and a few other baking supplies like eggs, baking powder and graham cracker crumbs and a man beside me in line started to chat…

he was purchasing beef jerky, two Red Bull’s, a pre-made sub and a family sized bag of chips…  again, I had the baking supplies and cream cheese…

 he said to me ‘hey…. (nodding his head towards me so I knew he was referring to me)…  you from around here?’ … I politely replied  ‘no… just on my way through and decided to grab four packages of cream cheese and some graham cracker crumbs to tide me over’…

I always wonder if I had shown a little interest where that relationship could have gone…  I picture it heading the direction of a scary version of ’50 Shades of Grey’…  not the wealthy, helicopter version but more the ‘this Red Room has rats in it and is in a dirt basement’ version…

which brings me back to cream cheese… put it in as many things as you can… icings, potatoes, soups, cream sauce… you won’t be upset with yourself… and buy it in large quantities and see if someone asks you if you are  ‘from around these parts?’…

whipped potatoes

  • Servings: one casserole
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Ingredients:
– 9 large red potatoes, washed and cut in chunks
– 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– 2 tsp onion powder
– 1/4 cup butter, cubed
– 1 tsp Lawry’s seasoned salt
Directions:
– cut potatoes into chunks, leaving skin on, and place in cold, salted water in a pot and bring to a boil
– boil on medium/high heat for 20 minutes or until soft in the middle
– strain
– in a mixing bowl, place cream cheese, sour cream, salt, onion powder and butter
– put potatoes into the mixer and beat on medium speed until well combined
– spray a large corningware dish with Pam, put whipped potatoes into the dish and sprinkle top with seasoning salt
– cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour


the poor farmers had no idea this curly haired guy had his hands all over their biscuit dough

yellow squash three cheese biscuits

Ingredients:
– 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
– 5 tsp baking powder
– 4 tsp sugar
– 1 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
– 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
– 1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese, shredded
– 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
– 1 1/2 cups yellow squash or zucchini
– 2 cup buttermilk
– melted butter, for brushing on biscuits
Directions:
– in a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda
– add butter and using a pastry blender mix until it resembles coarse oatmeal
– stir in cheeses
– add squash and buttermilk and with a spatula combine
– turn out onto a floured surface and knead until it come together
– roll out to 3/4″ thick and cut with a circle biscuit cutter
– place on a parchment lined baking sheet
– brush with melted butter
– bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes
– cool on a rack and serve

  

I believe these are considered ‘super-foods’… well for sure broccoli and I love beets so much I’m classifying them as a super-food…

parmesan roasted broccoli and beets

Ingredients:
– 5 large beets, washed, cubed and skin still on
– 4-5 heads broccoli, washed and cut up
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 3 tsp kosher salt
– 1 tsp ground black pepper
– 8 cloves garlic, minced
– zest of 2 lemons
– 4 tsp lemon juice
– 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Directions:
– place cubed beets in cold water in a pot and bring to a boil
– boil for 15 minutes and then strain and put in an ice water bath
– place broccoli and cooled beets in a large bowl
– add olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and mix
– pour onto a parchment lined large baking sheet
– roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes until broccoli florets are tender and browned
– mix zest of lemons, lemon juice and cheese and pour over the broccoli and beets and serve

mesquite beef kebabs from a local meat packing store… by local I mean I had to drive two hours to get there…  and then two hours home… local might mean something different to you.. 

my kids favourite salad and very simple for taking to the field is caesar salad… I do have a great recipe for caesar salad dressing but it was one of those days I thought the farmers could stand to have Costco caesar salad dressing instead…  from my local Costco…
  

which brings me to my favourite pie ever… and the one that brings back the most memories of my Grandma Reed…  coconut cream pie was one of her best and there is nothing like it with a cup of coffee…  or leftover at 1:30 am when you get home from the field and want pie… (I caught the farmer doing this last night)…

main trick to it is to make sure you get the cream thickened enough before putting into the pie crusts… otherwise it will never thicken and you get coconut cream pie soup…  which is also yummy but not quite as pretty…

grandma reed's coconut cream pie

Ingredients:
– use two baked 9″ pie shells
– 4 1/2 cups homo milk
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 5 egg yolks
– 1/3 cup cornstarch
– 1/3 cup homo milk
– 500 mL whipping cream
– 1 pkg Whip It (optional)
– 1 1/2 cups sweetened fancy flake coconut
Directions:
– in a double broiler, heat up milk, sugar and salt
– mix egg yolks, cornstarch and milk separately
– temper the egg yolk mixture with some of the warm milk/sugar and then add all of the egg mixture into the double broiler
– mix with a whisk until it resembles pudding – this will take quite awhile but it is very important to get it to the consistency of pudding
– pour into the shells and place in fridge (with plastic wrap over each pie) for 3 hours or longer
– for whipped cream, use a mixing bowl that has been in the freezer… the cream will whip faster
– place whipping cream and one package of Whip It (optional) in mixing bowl and mix at med/high speed until stiff peaks form
– spread over the cream pies and sprinkle coconut on top to serve

meal to the field #6

 I feel undesired… not by the farmer… I feel sufficiently desired by him…  just realizing that I’m at an age where the older men that used to creepily check me out no longer do… I’m too old now to make it fun for the creepers…  and I’m not quite old enough to be a Cougar yet… getting there but not quite… so I’m in ‘no-man’s land’… literally… no man wanting this…  other than the farmer of course…

so this leads to me getting a tad ‘sloppy’ with my look once in awhile… it is freeing knowing that no one is looking at you… it also means you might wake up and not actually look in the mirror until you are driving and see a glimpse of yourself in the rear-view mirror and think ‘I look tired’… or you might get sloppy with the shaving of the legs or the curling of the hair or the general hygiene desired women  attend to…

recently I had an appointment to get my knee, which I partially tore my MCL in, looked at by a doctor to decide what to do about a brace and physio…  It is a 2 hour drive for me to get into the doctor and I decided that morning to get a few more minutes of sleep instead of getting up to shave my legs…  didn’t really think anything of it as the last three doctor’s I had visited with regards to my knee it would not have bothered me to have them cut their hands on my leg hair…

sure enough, I get there… slightly late, sweating, hairy… with my three kids… the daughter wearing long white gloves and a crown and the boy’s looking like they had made special effort to find the worst outfit combinations possible for the big outing to the doctor’s office…  I see my doctor and I start to sweat more…  he is young, good looking and I know he’s going to have to touch my leg…

turns out he touched both my legs… had to check the ‘good knee’ to see how it compared to the bad one… both of my legs were hairy…  and my back was drenched with sweat and I was trying to make small talk hoping he wouldn’t notice his hands were bleeding…

I get home and tell my farmer about this… about how it’s like when you clean your house and no one comes over but sure enough when it’s dirty you get three visitors that day… he felt bad for me I think… he also mentioned something about how he liked it when I shaved my legs and maybe I could just do it for him and not some stranger doctor guy that I will never see again…

this was the meal I took out that night… I hope you can’t sense all my anxiety and frustration through the pictures of my cooking… but it was there…


no recipe for this salad as you can see all the ingredients that are in it! but it is yummy and easy…


I’ve wanted to make sourdough bread ever since the farmer and I went to San Francisco a few years ago and we could not get enough of it…  this is a easy way to start with making it and I am going to learn the ‘over-night’ version at some point…  but this was good for on a day you didn’t have time shave your legs but you did have time to start dough fermenting…

Quick Sourdough Bread

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups all purpose flour or best for bread flour
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 3 1/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt containing active cultures

Directions:

  • in a Bosch dough machine or a mixer with a dough hook, mix all ingredients on medium speed until the dough comes together
  • if dough is too dry (it should be sticky) add another tbsp of yogurt
  • cut the dough in half to form two balls and put each dough ball into a greased bowl to rise
  • cover the bowl and let ferment at room temperature for 6-10 hours (6 is the minimum)
  • the dough should almost double in size
  • dust the counter with flour and dump the dough out
  • fold it over on itself, turning it as you do, but not crushing the air out of it
  • form into a ball and put onto a piece of parchment paper
  • do this with the other ball as well and let proof for 1-2 hours
  • it should almost double in size but be firm to the touch
  • 30 minutes before dough is ready to be cooked, put two heavy bottomed pots with lids into a 450 degree oven to warm up
  • add the dough by lifting up the parchment paper and setting into the pot
  • cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes
  • then remove the lid and let bake until crust is golden brown
  • take out and cool on a rack for 20 minutes before cutting
  • butter and wrap in tin foil for the field

Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1.8 kg Costco stew meat, cut up into small bite size chunks
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef broth, hot
  • 2 large onions, cut into chunks
  • 5 regular red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 lbs carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 head garlic, smashed and minced
  • 4 bay leaves

Directions:

  • in two or three batches, take stew meat, drop into flour with the salt and pepper and paprika and then shake excess flour off
  • brown the meat at medium/high heat in the olive oil and butter
  • set aside in a pot that you will cook it all in or a crockpot
  • in the drippings, add balsamic vinegar, tomato paste and beef broth
  • pour over the stew meat
  • add to the stew meat the onions, potatoes, carrots and garlic
  • put bay leaves in and cook at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours

my mom told me that when she had given birth to me in the hospital, a lady had made her a Homemade Angel Food cake… and that she ate the entire thing and did not share it with anyone… not even me… her new-born baby looking all hungry…

Homemade Angel Food Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites (12 eggs)
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp table salt (fine salt)

Directions:

  • mix the icing sugar and flour
  • beat room temperature egg whites with cream of tartar on medium speed until slightly foamy
  • add sugar 1/4 cup at a time and then add vanilla, almond extract and salt
  • beat until stiff and smooth
  • sprinkle the icing sugar and flour into the meringue and fold in, 1/2 cup at a time
  • gently spread the batter into an angel food cake pan that is clean and dry
  • bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes
  • cake is done when the cracks in the cake feel dry and the top springs back when touched
  • turn the pan upside down on three cups around the edge of it and let cool for 2 hours
  • this cake is great to make ahead, cut up and put in container and freeze for when you need it

Rhubarb Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Directions:

  • in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, stir all ingredients together
  • let come to a boil and then turn down and simmer until rhubarb is slightly broken down, 10-15 minutes
  • remove from pan and let cool
  • this sauce stores well in the fridge