Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Meatballs 101

© Can Stock Photo / sadakko
Meatballs are easy to make and wonderfully versatile. They can be used in soups, sandwiches, with spaghetti sauce, or served on toothpicks as appetizers. I typically use lean ground beef when making mine, but I've also tried ground chicken and turkey, and they make tasty meatballs too. However, I would recommend added a little cooking oil as ground chicken, and ground turkey, can be a little dry.

Meatballs 101

1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg
1 pound lean ground beef

Preheat oven to 350F. Blend bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, pepper, egg and ground beef together in a large mixing bowl and knead together until well blended. Break off small pieces of meat mixture and roll into 1 1/2 to 2 inch diameter meatballs. Place meatballs on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Classic Chili con Carne

© Can Stock Photo/roxanabalint
I can't remember where I found this recipe, but I've tweaked it here and there and have added some other ingredients. It tastes like good old-fashioned chili con carne should taste, and it's great on a hot dog or by the bowl. 



  • 1-pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounce)
  • 2 cups water or beef broth
  • 1 can kidney beans (15 ounce)
  • 1 can Ranch Style Beans (15 ounce)
  • 1 can chopped green chilis (4 ounce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder, or 1 or 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon buffalo chicken sauce (or Tabasco sauce)
Brown ground beef, chopped onion, and, if using, minced garlic, in a four-quart pot until the meat is completely cooked. Stir in tomato sauce, broth, beans, green chilis, seasonings and buffalo chicken sauce. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Top with chopped onions, chives, grated cheese, or sour cream, if desired.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sweet and Tangy Peach Pork Chops

I've been inspired by other food bloggers posting pork chop recipes with apricot preserves as a glaze. Neat idea, but I never much cared for apricots, which is a polite way of saying that I don't like them.

Pork chops have always been a so-so dish for me. I like the flavor, but they tend to be a bit too dry for my taste. However, it's nice to take a break from beef, chicken and fish, so the next time I found pork chops at the supermarket for a decent price I decided I'd be a little creative and see what I could come up with.

Instead of apricot preserves I used peach preserves. I love peaches, but they are really sweet, so I tried adding a little lemon juice to offset the sweetness. The result came out quite nicely, and it would be a dish worthy of serving to guests.



1 package thick cut pork chops -- approximately 6 to 8 chops
2 - 3 tablespoons peach preserves
2 - 3 tablespoons lemon juice
lemon pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Wash pork chops thoroughly, shaking off excess water. Place on paper towel to drain.

Mix peach preserves and lemon juice in a prep bowl. (If thicker glaze is desired use less lemon juice.) Place pork chops on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, or sprayed generously with cooking spray. Apply peach glaze mixture with pastry brush and sprinkle with lemon pepper, if desired. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160F. Serve.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Orange Chocolate Chip Loaf

Here in southern Arizona we have an abundant supply of citrus. So, what do you do when someone gives you a big bag full of fresh oranges? You do what Rosie would have done. Use them to create something wonderful. This recipe is easy and delicious, and I had a dear friend who adored it. 



   1/2 cup butter (softened)
   1 cup sugar
   2 eggs
   1 tablespoon grated orange zest
   1/2 cup orange juice
   2 cups all-purpose flour
   2 teaspoons baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Optional Glaze

   1/2 cup orange juice
   1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add orange zest and orange juice. Mix until well blended. Add flour mixture, a little at time. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan. Bake for one hour.

If desired, make glaze by stirring sugar and orange juice together in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour over loaf. Let stand for 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Yes You Can Can

Just like in Rosie's day, home canning can help save money and make food stretch further. Whether it's fresh fruit grown in your home garden or on sale at your local supermarket, home canning can be a lot of fun, as well as a nice family activity.

Home canning may seem mysterious or intimidating at first, but there really isn't that much to it. You'll first need to invest in a few basic supplies to get started; a canner, which is a large, oversized stockpot with a special rack inside, a jar lifter, and a set of mason jars, all of which can be found at Ace Hardware. You'll also need some canning pectin, which is available at your local supermarket, and you follow the recipes inside the pectin box. Here's how I do it.

  1. I begin by filling my canner with water, placing the rack inside, and turning the burner on medium-high. (If for some reason your canner does not have a rack, place a folded tea towel on the bottom of the canner before filling it with water.) The canner uses a lot of water, and it may take as long as forty-five minutes to an hour, perhaps longer, before it reaches the boiling point. You'll need to fill your canner with enough water to cover the tops of your jars by at least one inch. Water gets heavy, so I use a pitcher to fill mine.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Wash your jars, caps and rings. Place the jars on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven, and drop the caps and rings in a saucepan filled with water. Heat the water until it begins to boil, and then turn the heat down to low.
  4. Prepare your fruit as directed by the recipes inside the pectin box. Do not deviate from the recipe. Once you've filled your jars wipe away any excess that may have dripped on the top of the jar. Place a cap on the top and make sure the ring secure. Then, using the jar lifter, gently place the jar inside the canner, once the water has begun to boil. Once all the jars are filled and inside the canner, cover it with the lid. Make sure your rack is on the bottom of the canner and never place a jar directly on the bottom of the canner. I leave my cans in the canner for thirty minutes and do not lift the lid during the cooking process.
  5. Once you've finished cooking your jars carefully remove them from the canner using the jar lifter. As your jars begin to cool you'll hear popping sounds. That means the caps are sealing. To test the caps press your finger down on the center. If the cap doesn't move then it's sealed. But if the cap does move it means that for some reason it didn't seal properly. It happens, so simply place the jar in the refrigerator once it's completely cooled and use the contents promptly.
  6. DO NOT try to lift the canner until it has completely cooled. A full canner will be extremely heavy, so you may need to bail out some of the water with a pitcher before lifting.
There are plenty of videos on YouTube that can give you a crash course in home canning. Your community college or other community centers may also offer canning classes.

Have fun.