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Category Archives: Freezer

BBQ Chicken Wings, Plus Haul-Type Stuff

I’ve been buying rotisserie chickens a lot lately, but have grown tired of them. With today’s nice weather, I decided to buy chicken to cook myself on the grill. I settled on this recipe for barbecue chicken. I made the sauce per the recipe, but did everything else differently. I bought a bone-in chicken breast at the Amish market, which I had them split for me. I also bought 1.5 pounds of wings.

Maggie was very attentive during the whole grilling process.

Maggie was very attentive during the whole grilling process.

I sprinkled the meat with a seasoning mix from Penzey’s and grilled them per this recipe instead of the indirect heat suggested in the recipe above. I brushed half of the sauce over the meat towards the end of cooking it. I was glad I had bought the wings because they cooked much faster. I was able to enjoy them while I waited for the breasts to finish cooking. Those I’m saving for meals later this week.

Here’s a photo of the wings before I demolished them. I removed the skins before eating them.

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Recent Hauls

Earlier in the day, I visited the farmer’s market with Maggie. We bought:

  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Potted basil plant
  • Bulk bison burger (I’m thinking of making chili tomorrow)
  • Bison short ribs
  • A gluten-free cinnamon bun and gluten-free lemon pound cake

The cinnamon bun was okay — it wasn’t everything I’d built up in my head. Wishing I had those calories back. The pound cake I had after dinner with a sauce I made out of frozen raspberries and fresh strawberries simmered together. I drizzled some chocolate vincotto (I keep forgetting I have this) over the whole shebang. That was really good.

Thursday night, I picked up a small box from Eating Out of the Box. It contained lettuce, kale and two types of Chinese cabbage.

Garden Update

Today, I used up the rest of my landscape fabric to cover the ground around my raspberry and blackberry canes, and under my Vegtrug. Fingers crossed this makes weed control in those areas easier this season. I’m not planning to mulch the entire area, though I may eventually mulch around the base of the berry bushes. I’m also hoping the barrier fabric really does allow moisture through, as promised. Otherwise, watering those berry plants is going to be a pain.

I also planted some seeds I bought last summer at Monticello. The flowers are meant to attract butterflies. I sprinkled them in a bed by my garage where I threw down wildflower seed bombs last year. Some of those seeds and plants have returned this year. Hopefully the new seeds take too. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to plant some of my remaining vegetable seeds. I also need to devise a trellis system for the berry bushes and amend my compost mixture. Oh yeah. And mow the lawn.

Meaty Butternut Chili

DSCN4240After my trip to the bison farm yesterday, I thawed a pound of the ground bison for tonight’s dinner. But I’m still not in the mood to grill burgers (too cold out) or make tacos (not eating tortillas at the moment). Then I had a brain wave. I haven’t made chili yet this season! It was already 2 p.m. when I had this thought, so I raced to get out my crockpot and start thawing some of the frozen ingredients.

I’m not eating grains right now, so no rice or cornbread for this chili. To make the chili hearty enough to eat on its own, I decided to add butternut squash to the pot. But the huge squash I had dwarfed the quart of tomatoes and pound of bison I started out with. I ended up adding another quart of tomatoes and a pound of ground pork as well. The crockpot is filled to the brim as I type this!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground bison
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1.5 onions, chopped
  • 2 quarts diced tomatoes and juice*
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 heaping tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 chopped unseeded jalapeno
  • several drops Tabasco
  • other seasoning, including salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
  • Lime wedges

*My tomatoes held enough juice to give this chili a nice broth, but you could add beer, stock or water if needed. You also could add any number of things to the ingredient list above, like beans, etc.

I tossed the frozen tomatoes into the crockpot unthawed and turned it up to high. While I had it working on the tomatoes, I browned the bison with half of the onion and then added that to the crockpot. Then I did the same with the remaining onion and ground pork. I added the squash to the pot and then the remaining ingredients (except the lime). I added a bit of Penzey’s 33rd & Galena spice mix to the pot as well as each meat mixture as it was browning.

After a few hours on high, the chili was ready to eat! I squeezed a bit of lime juice over my first bowlful and it was quite tasty. It would be really good with some sharp cheddar grated on top.

DSCN4242

I’m letting the chili simmer for another hour on low before I cool it down for the night. Looking forward to taking leftovers to work for lunch this week!

The Haul: Impulse-Buy Edition

This weekend’s haul is less about what I bought at the farmer’s market and more about what I ordered online. But, as always, here’s what I bought at the farmer’s market:

  • Cucumbers
  • Bay leaves
  • Red bell pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Dandelion greens
  • Pears
  • Kale
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Apple sage sausage
  • Cheddar jalapeno brats

All of the above was more or less planned (well, maybe not those brats). Onto my impulse buys:

Garlic Grow Bags

I ordered these from Gardener’s Supply Company. Fell for one of their emails hook, line and sinker. But how can growing my own garlic be bad? It can’t. And I like these bright blue bags. I didn’t order enough container soil from them, but I had extra of my own on hand. I did have to buy fertilizer to supplement the container soil that I did buy from them. They sent me two types of garlic — California Early and Chesnok Red. The latter will be ready for harvest (hopefully) by early summer and I had two full heads of that type. It’s a hardneck garlic with purple cloves. The other is a softneck variety and I only got one head of that type. It’s apparently the kind you often see braided. I can’t wait to try that myself.

Food Dehydrator

My other impulse buy was a food dehydrator. I’d been thinking of getting one of these for a while now. I realize the title of this blog is Freezer Full and I’m still committed to filling my freezer as full as possible with my own home-cooked goodies. However, as every severe storm reminds me, there is one huge flaw to relying on my freezer to store food — power loss would be catastrophic. Hours and hours of work gone and hundreds of dollars wasted. Meanwhile, I’d probably be hungry. Dehydrating food is a better solution because the resulting stored foods are less likely to spoil. Never fear, however, as you’re supposed to refrigerate or freeze most dehydrated foods to extend their shelf life. Therefore, my freezer will continue to be full, even if I rely more and more on the dehydrator.

For my first dehydration experiment, I dried the fresh bay leaves I bought at the farmer’s market. I’m almost out of the bottled kind. My house smells so good right now. I never realized how good bay leaves smell! Shows what I’ve been missing by buying the store-bought kind. I may buy more fresh bay leaves next weekend just to put in a jar or something.

Garden Update

In addition to setting up the garlic grow bags, I put the winter coat back on the VegTrug — I put the greenhouse cover on and then put the other cover I have for it on top of that. This is in the hopes of staving off the inevitable first frost. My spinach plants aren’t dead, but they’re not thriving either. I’ll be lucky to get a side salad out of those. The kale seems to have slowed down. I might get a meal out of those plants. There are carrots left in the soil, the chives are still kicking and the rosemary doesn’t seem to care what’s going on — it just rolls with it.

I had to dig out one of my hostas in the side yard to make room for the garlic grow bags, but I stopped short of removing the ones in the front yard yet. I did clear out some weeds out front and trimmed back the hydrangeas. I mowed the lawn yesterday, but some spots were too long for the rotary mower.

The Haul: Shopping-While-Hungry Edition

I broke one of the cardinal rules of food shopping today and left for the markets before breakfast. The result: I bought a ton of food!

I started at the open-air market. I had already resolved to buy a bunch of tomatoes for freezing. I also bought:

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 pints blackberries!!!
  • 1 1/2 pint raspberries* (part of breakfast)
  • a bunch of sweet potatoes
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 2 cucumbers
  • figs!
  • bison skirt steak

And I wasn’t done yet. I needed to go to the Amish market for sausage meat. Last week, I made this pork sausage recipe and it was really, really good, but I passed by the pork this week because the line was really long and got mixed ground turkey again. But, this weekend there’s a pig roast out in the parking lot! So, I also got suckered into buying:

  • 1 pint peach ice cream
  • homemade Amish potato chips (many of which became part of breakfast)

I also had resolved to buy fish to cook this week so I crossed the street and bought at Captain’s Ketch:

  • 1 bag of onions
  • 1 pound of wild-caught Coho salmon
  • 1 1/2 pint of their amazing shrimp salad (also part of breakfast)

What’s more, I haven’t even touched the watermelon and butternut squash that I bought last week. Also, the plums I bought last week were far from ripe and so those have been hanging out until they soften up a bit. I still have some of the peaches that I grilled to eat too.

Oh, and after purchasing everything that I did today, I forgot to buy greens like I’d planned.

*It didn’t occur to me, until there were only a few left, that maybe instead of eating the entire half-pint of raspberries in one sitting, I could have frozen them for baking or something later. This is the second time this week I’ve downed that many at one time. The farmer’s market at UMD had them this week too. In my defense, the ones I bought at work were so ripe, they wouldn’t have survived until I got home and I did share some with my coworkers.

Amish hand-made potato chips (a.k.a., breakfast).

Allergy Update

It appears that wheat, and also probably gluten, are among my allergies. I’m still trying to figure out the gluten thing though. I can drink beer, but not wheat beer. I was able to eat non-wheat flour bread last weekend, but presumably it still had gluten in it? I did, happily, find flourless, eggless cookies at the UMD farmer’s market this past week. Definitely going to stock up on those!

Garden Non-Update

Not much to report from the garden. I still haven’t planted what I said I would. I had hoped to do some planting today, but now it’s raining. Hopefully, tomorrow.

Out with the Old, In with the New

Honey Peach & Blackberry Cobbler

I made Honey Peach & Blackberry Cobbler to take to a dinner with friends last night. It turned out pretty well, considering I messed up in halving the recipe (too much sugar) and I didn’t have fresh lemon juice for the fruit. Luckily, I was using frozen peaches that I’d stored in a mixture of lemon juice and simple syrup, so they didn’t brown too much. I also used frozen blackberries from last summer.

This was all part of my attempt to continue clearing out my freezer. I’m going to need to defrost it soon, before I start filling it up again from the (hopeful) bounty from my garden and what I buy at the farmer’s market.

Speaking of the farmer’s market, here’s a fun video done by the Easton Star-Democrat about yesterday’s opening.

This morning, I had fresh berries on my oatmeal for the first time since the last of the blackberries were available last summer. You really appreciate things like fresh berries a lot more when you only eat them in-season. I love this time of year!

I like a little oatmeal with my strawberries.

Now That’s What I Call Tea!

Just opened my first tin of Harney & Son’s Chamomile Tea. So pretty and it smells amazing!

Now that's what I call tea!

Report from the garden: The weather’s been kind of dreary this weekend, but the arugula seedlings are cropping up. I bought a bunch of seedling pots and other gardening paraphernalia at Target today. I’ve also plotted out the approximate placement of the plants in my Vegtrug, for when I’m ready to transplant them.

Report from the stove: I’m trying to work through what’s in my freezer in preparation for filling it again when the farmer’s market re-opens in a few weeks. I made vegetable stock today (a portion of which will be donated to a friend’s matzo-ball soup) and used some of it in butternut squash soup. I’ve blogged about both before, so no new cooking posts this weekend.

Butternut Squash and Parmesan Bread Pudding

I was on the road yesterday and so didn’t get to the markets for any fresh food. I tapped into my freezer stores to make some Butternut Squash and Parmesan Bread Pudding. I used already roasted and cubed squash and two sections of a frozen baguette.

The reviews of the dish said it could be bland if cooked exactly according to the recipe. Some reviewers added meat to correct this problem and others added herbs. Based on the suggestions, I added a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, a pinch of rubbed sage, about 1/4 tsp. dried thyme and a generous pinch of dried rosemary.

My house smelled heavenly as the pudding baked in the oven. The results are quite tasty and it made quite a bit — at least 6 servings. The recipe suggests serving the bread pudding with kale or mustard greens. I had mine with wine.

Very Berry Oatmeal Pancakes on a Rainy Morning

Hello, Freezer-Fulligans! I’m back! My aunt was lamenting the lack of recent posts (the result of a foot injury that’s been keeping me off my feet). One does not like to make one’s aunt unhappy, so here is a post to get you all by.

The weather sucks this morning and my normal cold oatmeal breakfast wasn’t going to cut it. But I needed to do penance for dinner last night (deep-fried veggies and a chicken cheesesteak [and possibly tiramisu]). So I decided to make pancakes incorporating the oatmeal and ground flaxseed that I normally eat for breakfast.

Also? It’s March! I’ve made it almost all the way through winter without tapping too much into my frozen fruit stash. I decided to incorporate some blueberries and blackberries into my pancakes as well.

Here’s the recipe:

1 1/3 c. skim milk
1/2 c. oatmeal
2 tbsp. ground flaxseed*
1/2 c. frozen blueberries, rinsed (remember, it’s best to freeze them without rinsing them first so they hold their shape and texture)
3/4 c. frozen blackberries
1 large egg
2 c. Bisquick mix (I used the kind that is trans-fat free)

I poured the milk, oatmeal and flaxseed into a 4-cup measuring cup to let those dry ingredients soak a bit while I prepped the rest of the ingredients. After that mixture had sat for a few moments, I mixed in everything else and stirred until well incorporated.

Then, I ladled the batter onto a hot pan (one ladleful at a time; each made for a large pancake) and cooked as usual.

As you can see, the batter made for quite a few large pancakes! I smeared mine with butter and poured on hot real maple syrup.

* Don’t buy already ground flaxseed — it won’t have nearly as much of the health benefit as if you grind it yourself. I buy the whole seeds and freeze them, grinding them in a coffee grinder by the half-pint and freezing that too. Ground flaxseed needs to be kept away from light and freezing it keeps it as fresh as possible.

Letting Someone Else Do the Work: Spicy Carrot Pasta

I have a bum foot and so decided to let someone else do the cooking this weekend. This meant that lunch and dinner yesterday came from Piazza Italian Market. I had their portabella panini for lunch and I was intrigued by one of their pre-made frozen entrees — spicy carrot pasta.

Spicy Carrot Pasta

Some of the spice comes from Italian sausage — this was really good and I had enough for two dinners and lunch tomorrow. Sweet!

My Only Slightly Tipsy Kitchen*: Cranberry-Zucchini Muffins

When left to my own devices on a Friday night, I often bake. And drink wine.

Recently, I had some extra cranberries about to go bad and so I froze them, thinking they would look awesome alongside shredded zucchini in muffins. You know who else had that idea? Martha, as stated in the recipe that I used here (thank you, Ms. Food Librarian).

I made a few changes. Firstly, I didn’t have enough all-purpose flour, so I substituted 3/4 c. whole-wheat flour. While I was inadvertently healthifying these muffins, I threw in a tablespoon of ground flaxseed. Sip of wine. I only halved my cranberries where the Food Librarian had quartered hers. I have to be different, right?

Sip of wine.

I mixed the wet ingredients with the dry and started filling my muffin cups. And then I realized I forgot to add the cranberries. So, I finished ladling one spoonful of batter into each of 11 of the muffin cups on my tray, sprinkled in the cranberries, spooned the rest of the batter pretty unevenly among the cups and then stirred. And prayed. And sprinkled on some turbinado sugar. And put the tray in the oven.

Sip of wine. Rinsed the dishes. Ran the dishwasher.

Waited while the muffins baked. Precariously stacked pots on one half of the stove to make room for hot muffin tray on the other half.

Sip of wine.

Et, voila:

So good!

*Paying homage to My Drunk Kitchen (check out the Taco Episode).

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