Monday, July 27, 2015

Sweet and Sour Sauce

It took me awhile to optimize this one but now it's perfect. Use for dipping, as a sauce, or when making sweet and sour chicken. Whenever I open a can of pineapple in juice I just save the juice and freeze 1/4 cup amounts so that I have it on hand to use in this recipe. 

1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup pineapple juice (+ water up to 2/3 cup total volume)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 drops red food coloring (optional)
1-2 tablespoon cornstarch (dissolved in cold water)

Whisk all ingredients except cornstarch in sauce pan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to simmer. Slowly add dissolved corn starch while whisking sauce. Continue to simmer and stir frequently until sauce reaches desired thickness. Keeps in fridge for a couple of weeks. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Quick Refrigerator Dill Pickles ("Claussen Like")

I finally optimized my quick pickle recipe this summer and they are very close to a Claussen refrigerator pickle. You can use canning jars or clean recycled jars (i.e. jam, pickles, salsa). For maximum crunch, it is best to make your pickles within 24 hours of picking the cucumbers. This is a great beginner "canning project". 

6-12 pickling cucumbers (depends on size)
6-8 clean pint jars and lids (or similar size)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (per jar)
1/2 teaspoon dill seed (per jar)
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (per jar)
pinch crushed red pepper flakes (per jar)
pinch black peppercorns (per jar)
6 cups filtered water
2 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
1/3 cup pickling salt

Wash cucumbers, removing all thorns. Cut ends off cucumbers and cut into spears or slices. Set aside. Add spices to bottom of each jar. Fill jars with sliced cucumbers (depending on the size of the cucumber you should be able to fit 1-2 cucumbers per jar). Combine water, vinegar, and salt into large pot. Bring to boil. Ladle or pour the boiling brine into each jar until cucumbers are covered. Wipe the rims of each jar with a damp towel. Place lid on top and screw on band until finger tight. Let jars sit on counter for 10 minutes. Place jars in fridge. Pickles will be ready to eat in 2-4 days and should last for at least a month in the fridge.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Macaroni and Cheese

Smooth and creamy comfort food. Leftovers reheat very well. Great dish to take to a party or potluck. Recipe can easily be doubled. Serves 6.

2 cups elbow macaroni noodles (9 oz by weight)  
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded orange cheddar cheese
1 can condensed cheese soup
1 cup milk (2% or whole)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (white or black)
1/2 teaspoon mustard

Bring large pot of water to boil. Measure two cup of elbow macaroni (9oz by weight) and cook for 6 minutes exactly. Remove from heat and drain. While cooking the macaroni, combine the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and heat over medium low heat until melted and well combined. Add noodles to cheese sauce and stir. Keep covered and cook on low, stirring occasionally, until noodles reach desired tenderness. Should take about 10 minutes.

If making for a potluck or party, keep warm in a slow cooker.

Slightly adapted from Sis Sister's Stuff.