Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Zucchini Relish-Canning

Que the ominous music... It's July so you know what that means, it's officially zucchini season! I was gifted a couple larger ones and decided to make something everyone would truly enjoy, Zucchini Relish. This is a perfect way to use up extras and once canned can be enjoyed all year. This recipe is straight out of the Ball Blue Book, my only change was using all green peppers because I didn't have a red one and I added a jalapeno. Why? Because I was the one cooking:@) This sweet relish is very nice with hot dogs and hamburgers and I'm sure we'll all be having a few more of them this summer!
You can find a round-up of 10 more zucchini recipes HERE.

Zucchini Relish-from The Ball Blue Book, makes approximately 3 1/2 cups
2 C chopped zucchini-about 3 medium or one large
1 C chopped onion-about 1 medium
1/2 C chopped green bell pepper-about 1 small
1/2 C chopped red bell pepper-about 1 small
2 Tblsp salt
1 3/4 C sugar-I cut back to 1 1/2 C
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed
1 C cider vinegar
  1. Combine zucchini, onion, peppers and salt. Mix well, cover with cold water and let sit for two hours.
  2. Drain, rinse and drain thoroughly. (I suggest placing the veggies in a clean dish towel and wringing them out.)
  3. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot and bring to a boil.
  4. Add veggies and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Pack hot relish into hot jars leaving 1/4" headspace.
  6. Remove air bubbles, add caps and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Let's use up those productive zukes and have a happy day:@)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Fruity Chicken Kabobs with Lemon Pepper Rub

A 99¢ bottle of lemon pepper caught my eye at the store and I used that as my inspiration for some Fruity Chicken Kabobs with Lemon Pepper Rub. Don't hesitate to add peaches and nectarines to kabobs folks, they are amazing when grilled and I don't even bother peeling them. To add to the fruity theme I brushed everything with a coating of lime infused olive oil, that brought a little something extra to the party too. This was the first time I used a rub on shish-ka-bobs instead of a marinade and it worked well. Which bites were the best? The ones that had a little bit of everything:@)
The original recipe for this rub was created for long cooking ribs, I cut back on the salt for quick cooking kabobs. It also made over 1 1/2 C of rub, the recipe below is one fourth of the amount called for. This would be great with pork too.

Lemon Pepper Rub for Boneless Skinless Chicken-adapted from bbq-porch.org
2 1/2 Tblsp Lemon Pepper Seasoning
1 1/2 tsp salt-original recipe would use 1 Tblsp
2 Tblsp white sugar
1 1/2 Tblsp paprika
cayenne pepper, my addition, a few shakes if desired -I desired:@)

Lime Infused Olive Oil
2 Tblsp olive oil
zest of half a lime
juice of half a lime
a bit of freshly ground pepper
a pinch of kosher salt
  1. Mix lime olive oil and set aside.
  2. Generously sprinkle lemon pepper rub over chicken, completely coat the meat. Set aside while the grill heats up.
  3. Skewer meat, veggies and fruit of your choice.
  4. Brush everything with lime olive oil.
  5. Grill over medium heat until cooked through.
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Spicy Green Bean Stir Fry

I've never eaten at PF Chang's but my son is especially fond of their green beans, apparently they're worth the hour drive to get them... Since my planter gave me a bunch of beans a quick Google was in order, it told me I had all the ingredients on hand.  My only change, I saw this as an opportunity to use some of the sweet red chili sauce in the fridge instead of dry flakes and sugar. While my Spicy Green Bean Stir Fry might not be authentic, it sure is tasty:@)

Spicy Green Bean Stir Fry-adapted from food.com
1 lb green beans, washed and trimmed
1/4 C water
2 Tblsp grated ginger
2 Tblsp garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tblsp cooking oil-I used vegetable

Sauce:
2 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tblsp sweet red chili sauce
  1. Mix sauce, set aside.
  2. Boil water in wok, add beans, cook for 3-5 minutes, drain.
  3. Heat wok over high heat, add oil, ginger and garlic, cook until fragrant.
  4. Add beans, stir constantly until beans are soft, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add sauce, stir until it thickens and glazes beans.
  6. Serve with rice if desired.
Have a happy day:@)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sweet and Spicy Beef Kabobs -Outdoors or on the George Foreman Grill

These Sweet and Spicy Beef Kabobs are another good example of how nicely the George Foreman Grill can cook things and they were done in about 5 minutes! The recipe is from the Food Network Magazine, Sept 2014 issue and I did let the meat marinate for hours, it had lots of big flavor, garlic and soy being the most dominant (I used a garlic press). And in case you're wondering, while I noticed the sweet... The heat? Not so much. This is a nice robust marinade that's sure to bring compliments, I can see it becoming a summertime favorite!
Pin It
I'm not a fan of sriracha ~if you've been around Pig In Mud for a while, go ahead, insert hot sauce joke here:@) and used a Garlic Tabasco sauce, simply use whatever hot sauce you have. Also subbed red wine vinegar. This made a great dinner and the leftover meat was very nice thinly sliced on a salad.

Tip for the George Foreman Grill: It's best to try to keep everything cut to about the same size, around 1" square-ish. While I don't worry about that too much on outdoor grills, I do like for everything to be in contact with the plates on the George. And I do move things from the back to the front and turn them a few times.


Fire up the grill of your choice and have a happy day:@)

Monday, June 29, 2015

The magicOpener really works! -got a new kitchen toy

Sometimes it's the little things that really do make life easier... Have you seen The magicOpener advertised? It honestly makes opening bottles and cans a snap! I don't know about your brand, but the lids on my water bottles are too small. There's only around 1/4" to grab onto and twist and it can be very hard to get them open with my fingers, but The magicOpener works great. It's also perfect for pop tops, whether beverage or pet food (broken fingernails are a bummer!) and it works on traditional glass soda and beer bottles. It's comfortable to hold and has to be amazingly helpful for folks with limited dexterity or limited hand/wrist strength too.
The sturdy magnet keeps mine handy on the fridge... 
Tip: If you need to remove it more easily simply store it closer to the edge of the refrigerator door and slide it off.

magicOpener is currently offering a 20% off promotion, use code MymagicOpener at checkout. So feel free to stop by their site HERE and order one for yourself at a discount (or maybe get a few, they're great Christmas gifts-yes folks, it will be here before we know it:@) This offer expires July 31, 2015.

The magicOpener has quickly proven to be a very useful kitchen tool and I'd like to sincerely thank them for the opportunity to do this review. I think you'll like this product if you get it folks.

Tops will be popping this 4th of July weekend! Have a happy day:@)

Full disclosure: I was sent The magicOpener for free in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

As American As Apple Pie -Patriotic Pie Decorating Ideas

My son is a good sport, even though this was his birthday pie he didn't mind sharing the theme with the 4th of July! Truthfully, my whole family has been very supportive of my bloggy shenanigans and I do sincerely thank them:@) I wanted to do a round up of easy ~and some more involved~ ideas to help make a festively decorated Patriotic Pie for this holiday weekend. This flag pie came together fairly quickly.

One of the easiest decorations, yet has a big impact. Use a pizza cutter on the dough. Rhu-Berry Pie HERE.
This would look amazing with a cherry pie!

Much more work: Forever May She Wave Pie HERE.

Using cookie cutters is one of the easiest ways to decorate the top of a pie or cobbler HERE.

While I wasn't happy with the filling in this pie, I do still love the idea of decorating a graham cracker crust HERE.

My first attempt at piping meringue, stars and stripes (or a starfish throwing water balls???) A true bloggy blooper... 
But the pie is great! I will be revisiting this decorating idea HERE.

And I see Williams-Sonoma has a fun cutter out this year HERE...
I'd be glad to take it for a test drive if they'd like to send me one for a review-she said shamelessly:@)

Bake up something special and have a happy day:@)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Basil Salt-Preserving the Harvest

My son's basil plants are very happy this year and we have a long way to go before there are garden tomatoes here in Philly. I was gifted a gorgeous bouquet and had to get creative... If you have an abundance of basil this Basil Salt was a cinch to make, turned out great and made the house smell amazing! It's fantastic on popcorn and I look forward to sprinkling it on tomatoes in the near future. 
Quick product review: While I was thrilled with the Fresh Herb Keeper from Ball and feel it's worth every penny...
Unfortunately these Dry Herb Jars with locking shaker lids are disappointing. My immediate thought was, they're only plastic, they can't keep humidity out. When I turn it upside down while closed, some of the salt dust shakes out-proving that they're not completely sealed. And as you can see from the pic, you shake from the center of the top and the lid gets covered in salt/spice/cheese-whatever's in the jar. While it pains me to post a negative review, my honest opinion is, these lids might be good for storing grated cheese in the fridge, but that's about it.

Basil Salt-from Food Network
Ratio: half basil (pack the leaves into the measuring cup) and half kosher salt-I used 1/2 C of each
  1. Add both and chop finely in food processor or food chopper.
  2. Spread out on baking sheet and dry in 225 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until dry. Stir half way through. Note: I lined my baking sheet with tin foil, it did stick a bit but was easy enough to get a little spatula under it to stir it. I figured that was better than basil flavored chocolate chip cookies:@) 
  3. Cool and run through food processor again to make a fine salt. I did dry my food chopper with a paper towel after the first processing.
  4. Store in an air tight container.
Preserve a little bit of summer and have a happy day:@)