Monday, October 29, 2012

Pressure Pot Cooking: Tender Lemon Chicken

Ever have one of those days where you had all the time in the world and still didn't lay anything out for dinner? Yup, I had one of those days today. Trying to prepare for this big ole hurricane/super storm "Sandy."

I finally got some chicken breast out of the freezer and it was already after 4 o'clock and by five the power had started flickering. I had to get my ducks in a row and get dinner started before the power thinks about going out for good. Only thing I could think of was lemon chicken that I make in the pressure pot. I've only made it a few times and we like it a lot.

Have you ever cooked a full meal in a pressure pot? I have to be frank with you, I had never thought of making a meal in this pot that I've also had for a very long time. I've also had this recipe for oh, say 12 years (July/August 2000) and only recently started making it. I have had it marked in the magazine but never made it as I was very skeptical about it.
4 quart pressure cooker
Quick Cooking July/August 2000
 Well used magazine its even missing its cover.
I had only seen my mother-in-law precook meats in a pressure cooker. Never had I ever seen anyone cook to completion in one. My mom gifted me a pressure cooker many years ago and so had my mother-in-law. I had just used the pan to cook in with out the lid in the past and on several occasions made ribs and finished them in the oven. Any how, before I get side tracked tonight we had Tender Lemon Chicken and the recipe follows.


1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
4 bone-in or boneless chicken breast halves, skin removed
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup minced fresh parsley ( I used 1 tsp dried parsley)
1/2 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water

In a pressure cooker, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender; remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Brown the chicken, a few pieces at a time, in the cooker. Remove chicken, and place cooking rack in bottom of pan. Return chicken and onion mixture to pan. Add broth, water, lemon juice, parsley, celery, Italian seasoning, salt if desired and pepper.

Place lid on pan and secure it down;  place pressure regulator on vent pipe. Bring cooker to full pressure over high heat. When it begins to jiggle reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 8 minutes. (Pressure regulator should maintain a slow steady rocking motion; adjust heat if needed.)

It does not look all that appealing; as I was in a hurry this evening.
Immediately cool according to manufactures directions until pressure is completely reduced. Remove chicken and keep warm. Remove cooking rack. Cooking juices in bottom of the pan should be approximately 1 1/2 cups. Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into pan juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve over chicken.
Moist and delicious chicken dish made in just minutes. 

Yield: 4 servings

*Note: If you are pressed for time and your  boneless chicken is not fully thawed like mine was today. I added extra a tad bit of extra liquid to the pan and increased cook time 16 to 20 minutes. It turned out perfect.

You should give this a try I think you will like it.

~ Farm GirlPin It

My take on Chinese take out

The kids and I were discussing what we wanted for dinner last night. Each of us had our own ideas. When I suggested Chinese take out their faces lit up. Good take out was out of our reach financially and not in the path of daddies travels. So I suggested we make our own. The kids were game for that as we have made a few dishes in the past and they turned out very good.

I went to one of my favorite sites and narrowed our search for the perfect meal. We finally selected Chinese Take-Out Fried Rice and Weight Watchers General Tsos Chicken I tweaked both recipes to our liking and what we had on hand (check out the comments by barefootmommawv for my tweaks). Only thing I did cheat on was I had the DH stop by a Chinese restaurant and pick up some egg rolls.

No meat added. Just vegetable fried rice.
Change meat from chicken to pork
What are some of your favorite take out meals that you like to make for your family? I think I will post some more of the ones I have created as I make them. 

~ Farm Girl

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Canning: Beef Vegetable Soup

I finally got time and the energy to do some more canning. I have been meaning to and promised that I would get my recipe for beef vegetable soup up on the blog. Today I cleaned out my refrigerator freezer and gathered some frozen vegetables to make some soup.

When making most soups for canning the preparation is super simple. For this recipe I grabbed 2 quarts of tomato juice from my pantry along with tid-bits from the freezer. You could easily use items from your pantry. I however like the method of cleaning my freezer out to make soups.

2 quarts tomato juice
8 cups chopped tomatoes
4 cups water
1 carton beef broth
1 1/2 lbs ground beef, browned, drained
3 small onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
4 carrots, chopped
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups frozen lima beans
2 cups frozen green beans
1 cup dried kidney beans, rinsed
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in large stock pot. Bring to a boil and boil 15 minutes, stirring ocassionaly. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.

While the soup is simmering this is when I prepare my jars. Wash and sterilize them. Prep lids and rings. Also fill canner to the fill line and bring the water up to simmer. Until ready to add filled jars.

Using a slotted spoon fill jars half  full with beef and vegetables. Fill remaining space with soup juice leaving 1 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim of jar with damp paper towel to remove any debris. Affix lids and rings, finger tight and put filled jars in canner.

Process in a pressure canner. Process pints 75 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure or quarts  90 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure. When complete turn off heat and remove canner from hot burner. Let pressure return to zero naturally. Wait 5 minutes longer and open vent. When cool enough remove lid. Wait 10 minutes then remove jars and place on dish towel in a place that they will sit on overnight to cool.

This recipe yeilded me 8 pints and 4 quarts soup and 1 quart of extra juice. Which I will probably use the extra quart the next time I make vegetable soup.

Now my husband has individual servings of soup for lunch.

~ Farm girl

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Saturday at the Park

Day before yesterday I took the kids to a few parks and another place for some photos. I didn't get the kids school pictures again this year as they are just look awful. Not worth the money, so I took matters in my own hands. This is what we created.

We had a great time out and about.

~ Farm GirlPin It

Monday, October 22, 2012

Oh My Boy...

He sure has taken after his Grandpa and his Momma! My back was hurting yesterday really bad and when I said we were having pizza for dinner tonight he jumped at the chance to cook dinner. He can cook many things as I have found out recently. He does need help putting the ingredients together and asks a zillion and one questions as to how long he lets things cook and what temps but he pulls it all together nicely.

So last night he created not one, but four deep dish pizza's. Two were pepperoni deluxe and two were buffalo alfredo. He had a little help from his sister on the crusts. They made a great team although the wouldn't admit it if you asked them. LOL

Thanks to my children we had a good dinner using homemade items that I canned mostly with a little help from store package items.

He made enough deep dish pizza's for dinner and his daddy to take for his lunch today.

Only bad thing is I'm left with the clean up. :(

Hope everyone has a wonderful day

~ Farm GirlPin It

Friday, October 19, 2012

Beef Veggie Soup

Yesterday started out as a beautiful day, but soon it turned into a cold and rainy afternoon that stretched into late evening. The change in the weather had me thinking about my Granny. When I think of Granny I think of all her comfort foods. On about any cold day you can go to Grannies and find a pot of her vegetable soup brewing. So in honor of my Granny I made some soup.

Beef Veggie Soup
Makes approx. 10 quarts

2 pounds of ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
5 to 6 medium potatoes, cubed raw
2 cans of green beans (drained)
12 oz bag of frozen corn
12 oz bag of frozen peas
1 (15 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can of tomato paste (optional)
2 cans of beef broth or 1 box
2 quarts or 1 large can of tomato juice
5 cups of water
small head of cabbage, chopped quarter size
tsp garlic powder
tsp onion powder
tsp salt
tsp paprika
tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves

In at least a 15 qt. stock pot, brown the hamburger and the onion. Don't drain. Add celery, carrots, potatoes and 4 cups of water. Cook for 20 minutes and then add all of the ingredients EXCEPT the cabbage. Bring to a boil. Add the cabbage. It will float on top until it cooks down. If you use a big pot it will fit nicely, however if you use a smaller pan you will need to add the cabbage a little at a time till its all in there. Turn down the heat and simmer for an hour or two. Stir occasionally. Serve with a wedge of cornbread and a pat of butter. Enjoy!

~ Farm Girl

Pictured with the soup is my homemade cornbread. I will be sharing that recipe as well.Pin It

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Around the Farm

Just a few quick snap shots from the farm this beautiful Thursday morning...

Someone is on the wrong side of the fence

She needs a napkin she's got something on her mouth...

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Different sights

I've been taking classes for sometime now and every now and then I mix in something that I like rather than what I have to take. Why not, Right? Here are some of the recent photos I have taken for my class.

I should be out there taking pictures now. It's such a beautiful morning. Hope everyone has a blessed day.

~ Farm GirlPin It

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bunny News

It's been sometime since I have updated on the bunny happenings around the farm. We've had a lot going on with them here this summer/fall. We've only been in the bunny business since February but it sure does seem like forever. I've learned so much already and learning more each and every day. We've had our ups and downs like any other farm with farm critters. You win some you loose some.

During the Drencho which caused the extended power outage we lost several of our bunnies due to heat. We just couldn't keep them cool enough. Heck, I think we were baking ourselves too. Any how we lost Sprite and Robin and nearly 20 babies at different stages. Some of which were our daughters fair projects. Luckily we have made great friends in the local rabbit business and we got replacements which turned out to be back ups.

That was summer it's fall now. We've not had much luck with litters living. We lost two full litters right off the bat last week but, I'm so glad to say that we did get two litters that are almost a week old. Check them out. I need new pictures as they have a nice coat of fur now.
Jinny N Reese's babies (6 or 7 of them)
Bab's N Snowball's babies (9 of them)
We have finally added a new breed to our rabbitary. We now have Californians. Another excellent choice for our local 4-Hers. The majority of our rabbits are White New Zelands, then we have a male and female red NZ, Grandpa as I call him (Cadbury) hes a Castor Rex and Jinny is a Rex mix. So meet our newest additions.

Flora and Bucky - they were on a date!

So that concludes our news right now. We are hoping that "date night" will grace us with a few more babies here in a few days. We shall see.

~ Farmgirl

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fresh Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

I'm digging the whole pintrest thing these days. The amount of recipes shared daily has gotten me out of a rut on many occasions. Now that we are in full swing apple harvest season this is the perfect dessert to complete any meal. This cake is just delicious. You will have to bake one yourself to find out...
Caramelly. Appley. Delicious.
Apple Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • I cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped apples
  • 1/2 cup nuts (pecans or walnuts)
Brown Sugar Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

For the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch baking dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon. Stir with a whisk to mix everything together.

In a large bowl, mix eggs with an electric mixer til light and foamy. Add oil and vanilla and beat well.

Stir in flour mixture with a spoon and continue stirring the batter till the flour disappears. Add the apples and nuts and stir to mix them into the batter.

Scrape batter into prepared baking dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Place hot cake onto wire cooling rack. While its still hot prepare the glaze.

For the glaze: Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Spoon the hot glaze over the warm cake. Let the glazed cake cool completely before serving straight from the pan. Serve with a scoop of Black Walnut ice cream (Mayfield's brand).

Note: This recipe can easily be doubled and made in an 9x13 baking pan.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Freezer Home fries

I'm totally in love with the idea of OAMC (Once A Month Cooking). I have done some reading up on this for a few years now. I've tried many recipes but I have never made enough meals to make it through a month. I have however used the concept of buying in bulk and dividing it out for many meals.

These home fries I'm about to take you step by step through are so simple and you'll want to thank me many times for passing this on to you. As it will cut making breakfast time in half.
Freezer Home fries

5 lbs of potatoes (white or sweet)
oil (olive or vegetable)
seasoned salt, to taste

First peel and cut potatoes into 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch chunks. Put them in a bowl of cold water to keep them from turning brown.

Work in small batches. Drain and dry the cut potatoes on a large towel.
Drying potatoes on a large towel
Put dry potatoes in large bowl. Add a splash of oil and seasoning, mix well to coat.

Spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Do not over crowd your pan.

Bake in a 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.

Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature. If doing more than one batch of potatoes I put them out on freezer or wax paper to cool. Reuse baking pan several times.

When cool, divide potatoes out into meal size portions or put in gallon freezer bag. Put in freezer and every hour or two shake the bag to break them up a tad bit. You don't want them to freeze in a solid lump.

To use add frozen potatoes to preheated lightly oiled skillet. Cook until browned and heated threw. You may choose to defrost in microwave before cooking. Either way works great.

~ Farm girlPin It

Friday, October 5, 2012

Canning: Chuckwagon Chili

I don't know if many of you know but I've been canning for years and years with mom and granny. But, it wasn't till 7 years ago that I started canning on my own with a long break in between canning with family as I had moved away from home and started a life of my own. It wasn't till I moved back closer to my roots that I began raising a garden and gaining the much needed equipment needed to can. So anyhow, for the past six years its been strictly the basics vegetables, juices and some sauces like spaghetti and salsa.

This year I did my research, I have consulted youtube videos, my BBB (Ball Blue Book) and friends I have made on several FB groups. That I finally decided its time for meals in a jar such as chili. This will certainly give me a leg up on my DH's lunches, snow days with the kids and a quick meal if we need it on those busy nights.

Here we go!

Chuckwagon Chili
Makes 8 Quarts

6 cups dried beans – (2 cups each of Red kidney beans, pinto beans and small red beans)
11 cups water
7 tsp. kosher salt divided (4 tsp. for salting beans when they cook and 3 tsp. salt for chili)
5 lbs. of ground beef
3 cups onion, chopped
2 cups red bell peppers, chopped
6 tbs. chili powder
2 tbs. cumin
2 tsp. black pepper
3 tsp. garlic, minced
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. coriander (optional)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 quarts tomato juice
24 oz. of Salsa (Your favorite will do)
29 oz. tomato sauce
16 oz. beef stock
Washed beans

Wash beans thoroughly and put them in a large pot. Add cold water to a level of 2 to 3 inches above the beans and soak for 12 to 18 hours. Drain and discard water.
Soaked beans
Combine beans with 11 cups of fresh water and 4 tsp. kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, brown ground beef, onions and peppers in a large skillet.
Drain off fat by spooning in a large colander in the sink. Shake out the excess fat. (The next two photos are of everything that went into the chili)
Everything that went into the chili

Pour meat into large pot and add 3 tsp. salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic, oregano, cayenne pepper, coriander, crushed red pepper, tomato juice, salsa, tomato sauce, and beef stock. Drain beans after 30 minutes and add to meat mixture. Simmer chili for 45 minutes or until desired doness.

Using sterilized jars fill leaving 1 inch head space.

Remove air bubbles and adjust head space if needed. Wipe rims of jars with dampened clean paper towel.

Process at 10 lbs. of pressure 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts.
Chuckwagon chili
This is how it looks after it cooled, the next day.
Happy Canning!
~ FarmgirlPin It