Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Some meal ideas and a couple of recipes

Three months ago, I never wanted to look at my canning pot again.

Okay actually, I still don't ever want to look at my canning pot again. That last hundred and twenty pounds of apples did me in for quite awhile, I'm afraid. But for as much slaving over the hot stove that I did, I'm thankful for it now!

Here's a short list of some of the fabulous meals we've eaten this week, all local and organic and healthy-ish, thanks to the God-forsaken canning pot:
Pancakes for breakfast, topped with canned apples, spiced up with cinnamon and nutmeg, with a side of elk sausage.
Sloppy Joes with ground venison, made with homemade canned barbecue sauce, peppers and diced tomatoes from the freezer, and a side of bread-and-butter pickles.
Homemade polenta topped with a thick meat sauce (ground elk, home canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, peppers, garlic, and basil from the garden.)
Last night's chicken tortilla soup, in a base of homemade duck broth with all kinds of garden veggies.
A roasted wild duck (provided by The Hunter) served with (sob) the last of the kale from the now frozen cold frame.
Steamed kohlrabi and carrots served as a side dish to a ham dinner on New Year's.
Canned peaches on top of vanilla ice cream for dessert.

The challenge at this time of year is figuring out how to use everything I managed to put by, without serving spaghetti five nights a week. It's a fun challenge though, and so satisfying.

Here's a couple of recipes from the list above that really ought to be a part of everyone's repertoire.

Southwestern Sloppy Joes (this is my altered version; the original is from the Cowboy Cookbook by Golden West Publishers.) This recipe only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish (score one for the busy mama!)

1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. diced bell pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground elk (or beef, or venison, or even turkey)
1 cup pureed canned tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup uncooked oats
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 lb cheddar cheese, cubed
6 sandwich buns

Saute the onion and pepper in oil in a heavy skillet until soft. Add beef and brown. Stir in tomato puree, water, barbecue sauce, oats, salt, chili powder and worcestershire sauce. Cover and cook over low heat until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cheese and stir til melted. Serve on toasted sandwich buns.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (my own creation based on what I had on hand. Measurements are estimated.) This one also takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.

2 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 pints duck broth (or, if you don't happen to have wild duck broth on hand, use chicken broth.)
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped frozen spinach
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sea salt
8 corn tortillas

In a large pot, saute chicken breast in hot oil over medium heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken, chop into small pieces, and set aside. Add onions and peppers to the pot, saute til soft. Add garlic and cook one minute more. Add all remaining ingredients except tortillas. Return chicken to pot. Simmer about 15 minutes. Chop the tortillas into 1-inch pieces. Place a handful of tortilla pieces in each bowl, then ladle the hot soup on top of them. Top with grated cheese.

What kind of tasty meals have you been making this winter? I'm always on the look out for more cozy-warm meals to serve my family (especially if they involve using up canned tomatoes!)


Kim said...

Okay, I really need to figure out how to can apples and peaches!

I'm using the last of my grape jam right now, so I'm trying to sneak strawberry in on Andrew because I have so much more of that in the pantry. It's a long time til grape season!

Julie said...

Kim, it is SO EASY to can peaches and apples. If you did jelly, you can do fruit in a sugar syrup with no trouble at all. Get your hands on a copy of the Ball Blue Book for canning and it'll walk you right through the process. The only thing you need is some water and sugar, the fruit, and plenty of time. (Apples do take a lot of work to can. But they're worth it!) I can't wait to hear how you do this year when you try it, you'll be glad if you do. :-)

Wendy said...

This someone who did have spaghetti (for the second night in a row) is certainly impressed and hungry now!