Thursday, October 21, 2010

Anyone Really Can Cook!

I really believe that anyone can cook. You need to be able to read and follow directions, and if you can, then you will be able to place delicious meals on the table! The types of meals that you cook, is up to you! Find a cookbook (or cooking website) that you like and begin to experiment and have fun in the kitchen!

The other day, I made a chicken soup, black bean soup and apple sauce. That evening, my mom came over to watch Smiles for about an hour or so and she taste tested the different things that I made, and told me that I was a great cook! That made me smile. The chicken soup recipe was actually hers! I did not puree the whole entire soup base (like she does) - we like to have some chunks of carrots and celery to chew on while we are eating our soup. Did you know that if you do puree part of your soup, it makes your broth thicker? I have learned that probably in the past year.

Chicken Soup - This is such a delicious recipe! I tripled the recipe for this so that I could freeze it. I froze some of it in plastic storage containers and have read that if you place saran wrap over the top of your food before you freeze it, it will help to prevent crystals to form on the top of it. I also froze some of it using the freezer bag method, where you place the bag on a flat surface (like a jelly roll pan) and freeze it completely flat before storing it in another part of your freezer - this helps it maintain a flat shape and not some weird shape.

Black Bean Soup - I wanted to make a soup from my new slow cooker cookbook, and decided to try the recipe, Old-Fashioned Black Bean Soup. I am always a little excited and nervous when I try a new recipe…wondering how it will turn out. I left out the ham bone/ham hock, I did soak my beans overnight, and I did use the optional sherry in the recipe. My beans never came to a boil in the crock pot in the first hour, but I continued with the recipe anyway. To my delight, it was SO delicious! Dawson really enjoyed the taste and I made a second batch of it to share with my family when we watched football together on Sunday! It was a hit. I froze enough for two separate meals, with the freezer bag method.

Applesauce - Everyone should make this! It is SOOOO easy to make! There are a few different ways that you can make it (depending if you have a food mill or not). I do not have a food mill, so I peel the apples and then use my corer/slicer to chop the apples. I throw the apples into a huge pot and fill it to the top! Then I place about a half inch or so of water at the bottom of the pot and cover the pot, turn the heat to medium, wait until it boils, and then I turn the heat down a little bit so that it is simmering, stirring it now and then. After about 30 minutes or so (once the apples are mushy), I take it off of the stove and mash it with a potato masher, and there you have it - fresh homemade applesauce! YUM! You should try it! As you can see, I chose to use plastic containers to freeze the applesauce. The plastic bag method should work too, but for some reason, I wanted to freeze it in these 3 cup containers. This is the first time that I have frozen a lot of applesauce. I am excited that I will have homemade applesauce to feed to my family throughout the year! I think that I have made about 8 quarts of applesauce so far and I have MORE apples to process! I think that I will make some apple crisps to freeze too! :)

So, there you have it - 3 recipes that I have tried (ok, well only one recipe was new to me), have enjoyed and frozen part of that I can enjoy it on another day! One thing to remember - be sure to label anything that you are placing into your freezer - date and name of item. You don't want to try and figure out what mystery meat is in there or what mystery red tomato-y things are in there - I don't think that it is sauce! I have those tomato-y things defrosting in the refrigerator as I type in order to figure out what it is! :)

1 comment:

The Gang's Momma! said...

Good stuff there :) Would love it if you could send the Black Bean Soup recipe my way. And I won't be leaving out the ham hock - my gang loves that smoky flavor. Especially with beans :) Thanks, girl!