Look out y'all….Vickie's got her canning equipment out! Shew, what an evening I had! However, I have some of the best salsa I have had in years. It's good enough to gift, if it makes it to Christmas. I'll let you know how that goes!!!
So what do you do when life gives you tomatoes? I made salsa! Initially I was going to make sauce. Then I was doing my daily perusing through Pinterest and came across some salsa recipes. This one is a keeper; if you like salsa and have an abundant crop of tomatoes, definitely give it a try.
Our tomatoes are absolutely beautiful this year. I can not take any of the credit for that. These are solely due to the love and affection my husband, Joe, has given them. They taste just like candy!
I love to can. I haven't done it in years, but when that canning door is opened, look out! I truly forget just how much I enjoy it. I will warn you, you may see a lot of canning posts in the next few weeks. Hopefully you will try canning yourself. It can be very addictive.
I loved this recipe because there was minimal prep time. No more blanching tomatoes and cutting an X in the bottom, no ice baths. This is pure genius! You just cut your tomatoes in half, place them face down on a baking sheet, and put them under the broiler. Once the skin is blistered you remove and cool them. Those tomato skins come right off as soon as you touch them. Trust me, this is a huge time saver. The other time saver is your beloved food processor. Throw the other vegetables in there, chop to consistency, and your off.
So….on to the recipe. If you have any questions about any of the process or technique, send me a message and I will be happy to answer your question. If I don't have the answer we will find it together.
CANNED TOMATO SALSA
Makes 8-9 pints
- Roma tomatoes (I used 3 sheet pans, covered with non stick foil,) halved and packed as tightly as possible.
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 large green peppers, chopped
- 5 jalapeno, seeded and membranes removed, finely chopped (leave in if you want more heat)
- 7 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 t. ground cumin
- 2 1/2 t. coarse ground pepper
- 2 1/2 T pickling salt (or coarse kosher salt, NO IODINE)
- 1/3 C Cilantro, fresh, chopped (I only used about 1 T, we like it in small amounts)
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 12 oz tomato paste
- Prepare your canner (according to instructions) so it's ready for you.
- Wash and clean your jars with soap and water, rinse thoroughly. Pour very hot water into them and keep them warm. (This will prevent them from cracking when you put the hot salsa in them.)
- Clean and wash your tomatoes. Cut them in half and place them cut side down on a tray lined with non-stick foil. Put them under the broiler and cook just until the skin blisters. Remove them and let them cool. Once cooled, remove the skin and the center hard core and membrane. Place them in a colander and mash the excess water out of them. (this is important if you don't want watery salsa). Repeat with the other two trays.
- Put the tomatoes in a large pot, cut them with kitchen shears to the consistency or size you want.
- Chop all of your vegetables in the food processor to the size you want. (Mine were all about the size of peas.) The Jalapeños and garlic were chopped very fine. Drain the water out of them in a colander, also mashed a bit with a wooden spoon to release most of the water. Add them to your pot of tomatoes.
- Add all of the other ingredients and stir well to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Using a canning funnel, ladle the mixture into your jars, leaving a 1/2 inch at the top. Wipe the rim, place a lid on top and seal with a lid ring.
- Using a jar lifter (available in the canning section of most stores) carefully place them into the canner, water or steam, and process for 20 minutes.
- Remove the jars carefully with your jar lifter and let cool to room temperature.
- Check all of your jars, the lid should be firm, you might even here it "Ping" as it seals itself when you let it sit to cool. (I love that sound!) If the lid moves up and down in the center it hasn't sealed correctly. Either refrigerate it or re-process it again.
Good Luck and Happy Canning!
Til next time,
We eat a lot of chicken. In one of my earlier posts I blogged an easy way to cook chicken so you can have it throughout the week when your pressed for time. CROCK POT CHICKEN FOR THE WEEK. As per usual I made some chicken on Monday for the week. I happened to come across this recipe by Ellie Krieger and I am so glad to share it with you.
I did make a couple of changes to it. One was using reduced fat cheese and sour cream. The other was banana peppers. We had some from our garden that needed to be used. The result was yum and added just enough heat. I also found a tortilla that is a Weight Watchers smart point count of 1. I found mine in our local Wal-Mart. They taste fantastic!
Having the chicken already cooked makes this come together very easily. One serving is 2 quarters of a tortilla. I must admit, it was so good I ate 3 quarters. My husband loved them so I will be making these again.
If you don’t like banana peppers, feel free to leave them out. I loved the bit of tang and heat they brought to the dish. You could use a bell pepper or leave it out all together. I would suggest prepping all of your items first because this goes very quickly once you start cooking.
LIGHT CHICKEN QUESADILLAS
7 WW Smart Points / Serving (using WW calculator)
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 C)
- 1 C banana peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
- 8 oz. of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 C chopped, cooked, skinless, boneless, chicken breast
- 1 t, heaping ground cumin
- 1 t, heaping chili powder
- 1/2 t dried oregano
- 2 C baby spinach leaves, slice into ribbons
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 t ground black pepper
- 4 (10 inch) tortillas (my recommendation is above)
- 1 C 2% shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 1/2 C salsa (zero sugar)
- 1/4 C reduced-fat sour cream
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onions, peppers (if using), and mushrooms. Cook until the mushroom water is evaporated and they begin to brown, about 7 minutes.
- Add the chopped garlic and cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add the chicken, cumin, chili powder, and oregano and stir until all the spices are incorporated.
- Add the spinach, salt, and pepper and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Place a large skillet over med heat and generously spray with cooking spray of choice.
- Place one tortilla in the pan and top with 1/4 C of shredded cheese.
- Spoon 1/2 heaping C of chicken and vegetable mixture on top.
- Spoon another 1/4 C of cheese on top of the chicken and top with another tortilla. Mash together slightly with your spatula.
- Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until browned and cheese is melted. Flip over and brown the other side.
- Remove and repeat with the other tortillas.
- Slice each quesadilla into quarters. Place 2 quarters on a plate with 1 T sour cream and 2 T salsa. Garnish with parsley if desired.
Ole’…… Dinner is served!
Ya know, this would be really good with a Marguerita.
Til next time,
We love bananas! High in potassium, filling, and tasty! Unfortunately, I buy them and I usually end up with some brown, mushy, ones. I will be honest, they have to be firm for me to eat them, a little green, if you know what I mean.
Does this ever happen to you? I am sure that it does. I can not be the only person in the world with soft, over ripe, bananas. Never fear, I have a use for them. It’s a tasty one too. While I can not take credit for this recipe, I am going to share it because it really is that good! My hairdresser will vouch for this one!
If you have bananas “going south” try this recipe out. No time today? No problem! Remove the bananas from their peels, mash them and put them in a Ziploc bag. Label them, and freeze them. When you are ready, they will be ready to go. They thaw very quickly. After they thaw just cut a corner off of your bag and squeeze them into a large bowl. The rest is explained below.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD
- 3 medium to large ripe bananas
- 1/2 C unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 C brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 C all-purpose flour
- 1/2 C cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 1 C semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 C mini chocolate chips
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
- Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with Crisco, cut a piece of parchment paper so it fits the length of the pan and hangs over the sides (it helps lift the bread out of the pan when it’s done) and grease the parchment inside the pan also. Set aside.
- Mash the bananas in a large bowl (or squeeze them out of your Ziploc bag).
- Whisk in the melted butter.
- Then whisk in the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together and stir into the mashed banana mixture until just incorporated.
- Gently stir in the 1 C of chocolate chips.
- Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and sprinkle with the 1/2 C of mini chocolate chips.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Gently using the parchment, lift it out of the pan and place on a wire rack and cool completely.
- Keep it wrapped tightly after cooled and keep at room temperature (if it lasts that long..haha).
Serve immediately. It will last up to 4 days.
Looks good enough to eat!
OMGoodness…..creamy, cheesy, filled with spinach and packed with flavor. This is a good one and so easy you won’t believe it. Best of all it’s lighter than most lasagnas.
I made some homemade sauce last week and had enough left over to make this yummy dish. Your favorite jarred sauce would also do. In fact, an Alfredo sauce would be really good too, in place of the tomato sauce. I might have to try it. I do happen to have a light Alfredo sauce, if you can believe that. I will have to dig it out and post it for you.
I served a green salad on the side with an Italian vinagrette. It too was yummy and my whole meal was complete in an hour. Not too bad!! Here’s the recipe……….
LIGHT SPINACH LASAGNA
- 2 T. unsalted butter
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced (or 1 T.)
- 1 t of dried thyme or 2 t of fresh thyme, minced
- 8 oz fresh spinach
- 2 lbs part skim ricotta (drained overnight in the fridge)
- 1 egg
- 1 t salt
- 1/4 t of nutmeg
- A squeeze of lemon juice or to taste
- 9 no-boil lasagna noodles (I like Barilla)
- 24 oz of tomato sauce of choice (or substitue Alfredo Sauce)
- 2 C of 2% shredded mozzarella
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and the thyme and saute’ for 2 minutes.
- Add the spinach, saute for 2 minutes more and take off the heat.
- In a large bowl,, combine the ricotta, egg, salt, nutmeg, and lemon juice to taste. Add the spinach and stir to combine.
- Spread a small amount of sauce of choice into the bottom of a 9×13 casserole. Layer in the following manner…..3 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the cheese and spinach mixture, 1/3 of the mozzarella and repeat two more times.
- Pour a half cup of water over the top. Cover it tightly with non-stick foil.
- Bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes.
- Let it stand for about 10 minutes then cut and serve.
I guarantee you will keep this in your pasta rotation for a while. Hope you enjoy it!
Til next time,
What a lovely weekend! The air had a hint of coolness and the clouds looked like cotton candy. I know it's sad for most people when summer is over. I must admit, I am really looking forward to Fall.
We went to dinner with friends by boat Saturday night. What a glorious evening it was! With the compliment of a full moon, it could not have been more perfect. Our excursion took us to Oxford. A little town, with a lot of history, and off the beaten path. Boaters and vacationers alike descend on this little town to enjoy it's charm and hospitality.
Once called Schooners, now the new Capsize restaurant. It has been redecorated inside but has the same feel. It boasts, white leather sofas inside for intimate dining. It also has a large dining room, also decorated in white. We chose to dine outside so we could enjoy the evening air. There is something special about dining on the water in the moonlight.
We shared an appetizer called the Sushi un-roll. What a fantastic appetizer. Fresh tuna, on a bed of rice, with avocado, cucumber, and a special sauce. I enjoyed the Korean barbeque shrimp tacos. Absolutely fantastic! Someone else got the mussels and raved about them. While I didn't try them I can tell you they were fragrant and I noticed she didn't leave even one. It was a huge bowl with a large loaf of bread on the side for dipping. What can I say, the food was to die for. I will definitely go back.
By boat or by car, Oxford, Maryland is a great place to visit. Many people visit and never leave after they fall in love with it's quaint charm. It comes equipped with it's own working Ferry that can transport you to St. Michaels, Maryland. Did I say quaint?? There are many other dining options. I do highly recommend trying Capsize, you won't be dissapointed.
Come visit Oxford, Maryland. You may fall in love and never leave!
Til next time,