What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce from Frozen Tomatoes

Did you know you can freeze tomatoes?  I thought it was frowned upon, but I saw (here) the other day that you can totally do it!  We got a bag of free tomatoes a few weeks ago that were about to bite the dust, so I threw them in the freezer.  Today I dumped them in a crockpot with a few seasonings and by the end of the day I had homemade spaghetti sauce.  Voila!  It was a little bit runny, but that’s my only complaint.  Anyone know how to fix that?  I heard that if you make spaghetti sauce from scratch, you are supposed to de-seed them first.  Maybe that was my problem.

Anyway, here’s how you do it.  (Originally from Superhealthykids.com)

 

 

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce from Frozen Tomatoes

 

  • 3 frozen, whole tomatoes
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs Italian Seasoning
  • I also added a bit of salt to taste

Dump it in the crockpot and cook on low for 5 hours or so.  After the tomatoes defrost, the peel comes off really easily. Just peel it off and throw it away.

The tomatoes just break apart and form this lovely mush.

After it’s done cooking, put it in a blender for a few seconds, and it’s ready to go!

 

 

Advertisements

Healthy Game-Watching Dips

I’ve been ready for some football since the beginning of the summer, and now it’s finally here!  We’ve been going to sooooo many football parties and I’m always at a loss for what I am supposed to eat when there’s nothing but brownies, cookies, hot wings, and soda.  But do not fret my little readers.  We have here two awesome and healthy (and delicious I might add) alternatives to the football munchie woes.  We tried them both with a superb success rate and they are going down in the PGM journal of recipe keepers.

Here they are (excuse the iphone pics)”

Black Bean Dip (from my Fabulous new friend Lissette)

  • 1 can drained black beans
  • 1/2 onion
  • 6-8 sprigs cilantro
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp herbamere (a spice mix made from veggies found at most health food stores)

Blend and enjoy!

Homemade Salsa (from the gardener out back, who also happens to be my neighbor: The Bestie)

  • 2 tomatillos
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/2 a bunch cilantro
  • lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/4 – 1/2 onion
  • pinch of garlic salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • chile powder (optional)

Blend in a food processor.

Here’s a tip from the author:  salsa will taste better if you use a variety of tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc.).  She is right.  It was delish.

Enjoy enjoy

 

 

What’s For Snack Time Wednesday: Plum Jam (3 ingredients and sugar free!)

So…turns out jam making is a chore!  Woah Nellie, I am wiped out!  But, it was a great experience and I’m glad I did it.  I just made one batch in case it turned out awful.  But it didn’t!  It was just time consuming.  3+ hours of cooking on the stove, and my friend said to me, “I bet you could make it in the crockpot.”  Genius.  Has anyone ever tried that?  My biggest surprise about the whole thing was how much it cooked down.  I used 24 plums, and it filled a big pot.  By the time it was done, it probably made about 1 cup of jam (see that jar back there?).  I’m learning all kinds of lessons here.

Anyway, here is the recipe.

Plum Jam (original recipe found here)

  • 3-4 lb. ripe, Italian plums
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Wash the plums and cut them into small pieces (1/2 inch or so), removing the stone as you do it. Place them in a heavy pan and pour a little water in the bottom, no more that a half a cup.

Bring the plums to a boil, stirring often so that they don’t burn on the bottom. Add the cinnamon stick and the cloves.

Boil gently for 3 or more hours, stirring often.

Place the cooked plums in a ricer or sieve and stir to remove the skins and spices. Bring the jam/butter back to a boil until it has reduced as far as you want it and is very thick. Ladle the butter into clean, boiled, preserving jars or into freezer bags. Freeze or can, as you wish.

I just put mine in a jar and plan on eating it throughout the week.

Consensus:

Me:  It’s bitter since it doesn’t have any sugar, but it’s pretty good!

The Mr.:  Says it is TART, not bitter (excuse me).

The Uncle:  Says it reminds him of Christmas

The kiddos:  Ate it like it was normal jam.

Plums the word

 

 

If you are like us then you have a plum tree giving plums up the wazoo!  We are up to our ears in plums.  Cannot eat them fast enough and I offer them to all our guests and force the kids to eat them all day long.  So, I have to do something!  I just spent some time looking up what to do with plums and narrowed it down to a few options.  Here is what I came up with.

+ Plum Bread (sounds interesting) Recipe here.

+ Plum Pie (never remembered hearing about this, except for “Little Jack Horner sat in a corner, eating his Christmas pie.  He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a PLUM and said ‘What a good boy am I.'”  If it has stood the test of time in nursery rhymes, maybe it is good?).  Recipe here.

+ Plum Crumble (who doesn’t love a good crumble?) Recipe here.

+ Plum Jam (I think this is the winner and I am 90% sure I am making this tomorrow.  More on that later)  Recipe here.

Hopefully that gives you a few ideas.  Stay tuned for more tales of the plumhood.

From the Garden: Sauteed Veggie Pasta

We’re back We’re back We’re back We’re back We’re back!!!!  We took a red-eye flight from New York back home, and less than 48 hours later we drove 10 hours to San Diego.  We are finally home and I am officially sick of traveling.  I came home to find a beautiful, humongous garden bursting with fruits and veggies in our backyard (our landlords have amazing greenthumbs).  We have plums, pumpkin, watermelon, tomatoes, tomatillos, zucchini, corn, carrots, beets, cucumbers, peaches, etc. etc.  I am in heaven.   There is so much food I literally cannot pick it and eat it fast enough.  Tonight I had no plan for dinner, so I just went out to the garden and picked what was ripe and then tried to figure out what to do with it.  I ended up with zucchini, tomato, corn, and cucumbers.  I put some olive oil in a pan, added garlic and onion, and sautéed the zucchini, and tomato til they were nice and flavorful.  Meanwhile I boiled some pasta, and added corn on the cob for the last 2 minutes.  I threw it all together with some salt and pepper, tossed in a few sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top and we had a perfect meal!  For some reason I never think to put veggies over pasta, but it totally works.  Such a yummy meal and we got so many veggies in!  I also sliced up the cucumber and cut up some honeydew.  Man I love summer.  What am I going to do when all this yummy produce is gone?

Get Your Garden On

Oh my goodness, how I love Spring!  This winter hasn’t even been that bad weather-wise, but I just get so excited about all the blossoming trees, and the sun coming out every day, and the chance to play outside!  It seems everywhere I turn people are getting their vegetable gardens ready, and I am a tortured soul!  We have an awesome space for a garden outside, but we’ll be moving back to NYC for the summer so I won’t get to reap the benefits!!  Hopefully there will be some left when we get back.  I am going to try to find a way to grow something in New York -either on my balcony or roof, or window, or community garden.  Stay tuned for that one.  Anyway, last year I was so anxious to grow some things and I found these awesome websites.  I am a complete gardening novice, so these pretty much lay it all out for the green-thumb-challenged (yes please).  Here they are:

Rebel Tomato

Interactive Gardening Tools to help you grow vegetables based on your U.S. state.

Sprout Robot

You can personalize your garden calendar, and even order seeds.  They send you emails to remind you what to plant that week.  Pretty cool.

Vegetable Garden

Another planting/harvesting calendar based on which zone you live in.

So if you are on the fence about growing something, here’s your chance to jump on it!  It can’t get much easier than that!  Let me know if you have any other awesome gardening resources.  Good luck!

A Post about My Compost

I hate wasting food.  It kills me to throw things away.  And living in New York (do I talk about that too much?  It was just a very life-changing experience) forced me to realize how much trash we have.  They are sticklers over there about recycling.  They have very strict rules about things, and we even lived in an area where if you threw away something that COULD have been recycled, they would not take your trash.  Pretty harsh, right?  So I picked up some good recycling habits, but I still throw away lots of food remains that makes me feel guilty for some reason.  Especially since I know they could be put to good use in a compost pile.  Side note:  The Mr. is from Oregon – you know the hippie granola state.  We always make fun of the Oregonians (even though I love it there) and in the past I would throw in stuff about “my compost pile” as a joke to mock it.  Guess I am eating my words.  Never say never.  I swore I would never drive a minivan and guess who is waiting for her car to die so she can buy a minivan?  Yes I just said that.  Insert mental picture here of my 17-year old self rolling her eyes.

My college roommate and fam live in the basement of our house…or rather we live in the upstairs of their house.  It’s an awesome arrangement, mostly because my bestie is right downstairs.  Anyway, we moved here in the summer when a lovely vegetable garden was already in full bloom.  We enjoyed it all summer long.  Well, it’s a big backyard with tons of space, and so there are two areas for composting.  We are both pretty much beginners, but it’s pretty funny because I talked to her about it when we first moved in and then we didn’t talk about it again.  Yesterday I went outside to turn the pile, and guess who was out there working on it?  My bestie.  What are the odds of that?  I started cracking up.  I still have a lot to learn, and don’t really know what I am doing.  I’ve got to have the Mr. build a quick little wooden frame for me to do it right I guess.  From what I have read, it is ideal to have one cubic yard to get the right temperature inside. I’m excited about it!

Here’s the pile.

See my pumpkin from Halloween?


There’s so much information out there and I wonder what people did before the internet.  Go to the library and look up books on composting??  That would take forever.  Here’s a pretty good website with the basics broken down.  And here’s the awesome cheesy video that is actually very informative and tells you everything you need to know.

I’ve read things about composting indoors using those big storage bins, composting in garages, etc.  I also know that a good compost pile will go dormant in the winter and come right back in the summer (isn’t nature amazing), so I’m not too worried or in a hurry.  Just another thing I am going to work on in 2012.  Stay tuned for the part where I stop shaving and washing my hair.  I hope it doesn’t come to that…