Family Favorites

Baked Beans

1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 lb bacon
1 large onion, diced
1 lb dry beans, cooked (see Dry Bean Basics recipe)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar

Saute hamburger, onion, and bacon until done.  Stir all ingredients together into a large casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, uncovered.

Beets with Sauted Greens

1 bunch of beets with greens
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped onion (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on.  Cut the greens off about 1 inch from the top of the beet.  Rinse the greens, removing any large stems, and set aside.  Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.  Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.  When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and onion and cook for a minute.  Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet.  Cool and stir until the greens are wilted and tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve the greens as is.  Slice the roasted beets into half inch slices.  Stir together the last 3 ingredients and pour over sliced beets when serving. 

Chile Rellenos Casserole

21 oz canned whole green chiles, or use fresh ones that are blistered, with the skins and seeds removed
2 lb mexican blend cheese, or combined cheddar and Jack cheeses
4 eggs, separated
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 slices fresh tomato

Preheat oven at 325 degrees.  Rinse chiles, slit open and remove any seeds.  In 13"x9" baking dish, alternate chiles with cheeses to make two or three layers.  Beat egg whites in a bowl until stiff.  In another bowl, beat yolks until foamy.  Beat in evaporated milk, flour, sugar, and salt.  Fold egg whites into yolk mixture.  Pour over chiles and cheese.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Arrange tomato slices on top.  Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes longer.  Let sit 15 minutes to firm up before serving.

Dry Bean Basics

Fresh Sun Gold Farm Dry beans should not require soaking to cook thoroughly.  If you are using an old bean, more than 2 years old, soaking may be required.

Soaking the beans:  Pick through the beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled beans and any foreign matter.  Rinse well.  In a stockpot, cover the beans with 10 to 11 cups
of water.  Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight.  Drain and rinse the beans.

Cooking the beans:  Return the soaked, rinsed beans to the stockpot.  Cover the beans with 3 times their volume of water.  Add herbs or spices (no salt), as desired.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered,
stirring occasionally until tender (start
checking after about 45 to 60 minutes).  Boiling the beans will break the skins and leave you with a mushy meal.  Add more water if the beans are not covered. Most beans will cook in about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  When the beans are tender, drain and use in recipes; or for later use, immerse them in cold water until cool, then drain will and freeze in 1 to 2 cup packages.  One pound of dry beans will yield about 5 or 6 cups of cooked beans.

Chinese Cabbage Saute

1 head Chinese cabbage, cut into 1 inch slices
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken bouillon
1 tbsp soy sauce
pinch of sugar

Saute cabbage, mushrooms, and garlic in olive oil quickly until cabbage is wilted.  Stir together bouillon, soy sauce, and sugar.  Add to cabbage.  Heat through and serve.

Corn, Tomato, and Zucchini Soup with Basil

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 ears fresh corn
2 tbsp butter and olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cups peeled, cored, seeded and chopped tomatoes
2 small or 1 medium zucchini, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper
1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves (divided)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste

Heat the broth in a large, deep saucepan.  Cut the kernels from the cobs and set aside.  Add the cobs to the broth (break them in half if necessary to fit them into the pot);  let them simmer very gently, with the lid partially on, while you prepare the other veggies.  Place the butter or oil in a large, deep saucepan or casserole dish and turn on the heat to medium.  A minute later, add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.  Remove the corn cobs from the stock and add the stock to the vegetables.  Cook until the zucchini is tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the corn kernels and most of the basil.  Add the vinegar.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Serve, garnishing with remaining basil.
Note: To peel tomatoes, plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Remove immediately and plunge into cold water.  Skins should slip off easily.

Fresh Garbanzo/Chickpea Hummus

1 bunch fresh chickpeas, shelled
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, stems discarded, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup tahini
1/8 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Shell chickpeas and discard pods.  Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the chickpeas until they are just tender but not too soft, 3 to 5 minutes.  Strain and run under cool water.  Place chickpeas in a blender or processor with the lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and tahini.  Pulse until the beans are coarsely chopped.  Start to drizzle in the olive oil slowly, while blending.  If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit more olive oil and lemon juice.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Continue to process with on-off bursts until mixture is pureed, scraping down the sides as needed.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.  Serve at close to room temperature.

Leeks and Beans

2 bunches leeks, washed and cut
2 medium red or russet potatoes
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can water
1 pkg chopped mushrooms
1 lb fresh green beans
1 dash Tabasco sauce, or other hot sauce
1 tsp pepper

Chop all veggies roughly and add to crock pot.  Add water and mushrooms.  Add rest and mix, then set on low for 6 hours.  It's ready after 6 hours, but can keep on low for 12 hours easily.  Refrigerate in liner at night, if needed.  Freezes well.

Leek and Potato Soup

3 tbsp butter
3 leeks, thinly sliced
1 medium or large onion, chopped
6-8 red or Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced (no need to peel)
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or enough to cover potatoes)
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat then add onions and leeks. Cook, stirring, until onions are limp and just slightly brown.  Add sliced potatoes to saucepan, then pour in enough chicken broth to just barely cover the potatoes.  Continue cooking over medium heat until potatoes are tender.  Using a potato masher, mash and stir potatoes until desired consistency is reached.  As you mash the potatoes and the soup thickens, turn down heat and stir frequently with a large spoon to prevent scorching on the bottom.  Add one cup of heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook 15 minutes more over low heat, stirring frequently, then remove from heat and serve. 

Roasted Peppers

To enhance the flavor of both sweet and hot peppers, roast in a hot oven or on the grill until the skin is black.  The faster, the better.  Seal in a plastic bag for 15 minutes.  For use later, put bag in refrigerator or freezer.  When ready to use, hold pepper under cold running water to slip the skin.  Remove seeds and use in any recipe.  Great in rellenos, scrambled eggs, enchiladas, pizzas, and salsas.

Potato and Green Bean Saute

1 pound new potatoes - 1 inch chunks
1/2 pound fresh beans, trimmed
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh basil, minced

Boil potatoes until almost tender (about 15 minutes)
Add beans and cook another 3 minutes.  Drain.  In a large skillet heat oil and garlic.  Add potatoes and beans.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Toss with basil and serve immediately.

Potatoes, Peppers and Chicken Bake

1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1 chicken fryer cut into serving sized pieces
1 1/2 lb stewed tomatoes
1 lb potatoes, cut into large chunks
1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
2 medium sweet peppers, cut into large chunks
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp thyme
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large skillet, heat Italian dressing and brown chicken over medium heat, set aside.  In a 13"x9" baking pan, combine remaining ingredients, add chicken and turn to coat.  Bake uncovered, stirring occasionally, 50 minutes, or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.  Serve with at side of steamed green beans.

Rhubarb Lemonade

4 cups cut rhubarb
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 lemon, sliced

Put all in pot and bring to boil until rhubarb is soft.  Push through sieve.  Syrup can be stored in fridge for a week, or in freezer indefinitely.  When ready to use, add 3 parts water and ice.  Adding crushed strawberries and/or lemon-lime soda makes a really good punch.  Add in any consistency to lemonade.

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Pineapple Freezer Jam

1 1/2 cups finely diced rhubarb
1 1/2 cups sugar
Combine these, stir and let sit overnight in fridge.

The next day add:
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
Bring to a boil, until rhubarb is done.  Take off heat.  Stir in strawberry jello (1 1/2 oz).  Cool and store in jars or other containers in the freezer.  Should keep for up to one year. 

Tomato and Green Bean Saute

1/4 pound bacon
1 lb fresh green beans
1 large tomato, diced
3 to 4 ears corn
1 small sweet onion
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
1/4 cup packed small fresh basil leaves

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp.  Place bacon on paper towels, then crumble.  Pour off all but 1 tbsp bacon fat from skillet and set aside skillet.  In a small saucepan of boiling salted water, cook beans until tender.  In a sieve, drain beans and rinse under cold running water to stop cooking.  Working over a bowl to catch the
juices, cut corn kernels from cobs.  Chop onion and mince garlic.  Add oil to bacon fat in skillet and cook onion over moderate heat, until softened.  Add garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, corn and vinegar and cook, stirring, until tomatoes just begin to lose their shape.  Remove skillet from heat and gently stir in beans and half of bacon.  Cool mixture to room temperature and gently stir in basil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with garlic croutons and sprinkle with remaining bacon pieces.

Tomatillo Tortilla Soup

1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb tomatillos
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 small onion
1 tbsp flour
1 cup black beans
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 small sweet pepper
1/2 packet taco seasoning
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tbsp lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Cube chicken. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan.  Cook chicken with 1 tbsp lime juice, and saute until fully cooked.  In a large stockpot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil.  Dice onion and sweet pepper, add to pot and sweat for about 3 minutes.  Add flour, mix well.  Add tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to a boil.  Roughly chop the tomatillos, add them to stockpot, and cool for 10 minutes.  Using a strainer, remove about 1/2 the
veggies from the stockpot, add to a food processor, and puree the vegetables.  Pour your puree back into the pot.  Add the corn, black beans, taco seasoning and chicken.  Let soup
simmer for about 30 minutes more, stirring occasionally.  Top soup with a handful of crushed tortilla chips and chopped cilantro.

Tomato Leek Tarts

1 15 oz pkg refrigerated pie crust
4 oz provolone cheese, shredded
1 lb leeks, white portion only, sliced
6 medium plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Place both pastry sheets on greased baking sheets.  Sprinkle each with provolone cheese, leaving 1 inch around edges.  Arrange leeks and tomato slices over provolone cheese.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and pepper.  Top with mozzarella cheese.  Fold edges over filling.  Bake at 425 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes or until crusts are lightly browned.  Cut into wedges.  Serve warm.

Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

3 ripe tomatoes, cut into quarter rounds
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp pesto, or 1/4 cup chopped basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Place tomatoes in a shallow baking dish.  Sprinkle with olive oil, sugar, and salt.  Top with pesto or basil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake another 10 minutes.  This sauce is great on tortellini, or any other pasta.