Posted in Beef, Other, Pork, The Hungry Hen, Uncategorized, Veggies w/ Meat

Portabella Mushroom Pizza

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This one, I can never get tired of. I try to stay Gluten Free. I don’t have celiac disease but I do have a sensitivity to Gluten. It bloats me up, makes me where I can’t go to the bathroom OR it makes it where I can’t stay out of a bathroom. Also, it wears me down. I don’t have the energy to push through the day if I am eating Gluten all of the time. Makes me cranky and on edge. It also messes with my sugar. Not sugar as in, I need a shot or a candy bar when it drops. Sugar as in, when it drops, I get really sick to the stomach, weak and a migraine. If I don’t eat protein fast, I’m in trouble. That’s not even mentioning what it does to the bellies of the women in my family. We can go from a size five to a size thirty over night, lol.  Now, I know there are people out there that argue over whether the whole Gluten thing is real– for me, it is real.

Anyone who knows about Gluten, understands what I’m about to say next….

It is pure hell when you are first trying to pull off of it. Not just talking about the symptoms. I’m talking about trying to make a descent meal that doesn’t leave you feeling as though you’re missing out. It’s real hard sitting there while you’re family is gorging out on pizza and you’re trying to choke down yet another salad or baked meat dish that you’ve had a gazillion times.

Standing in the grocery store one night — running late with errands and not feeling like cooking once I got home– my husband suggests grabbing the kids something from the frozen section. After feeling left out one too many times and after he grabbed some frozen pizzas, I finally put my foot down and came up with this. Making my own dang pizza on something I love very, very much– portabella mushrooms. It’s not expensive, and depending on toppings, is very quick. I love Italian Sausage, so that adds a little bit to the time factor, however, this still didn’t take me forever and a day to make. And low and behold when I made it, I didn’t even get a picture of the cooked product — which is why you get the one above– because when I walked out of the room to grab my camera, my husband and kids raised the mushrooms. In fact, the dang frozen pizzas got wasted and tossed in the trash.

Now, the Recipe below is for 8 Mushrooms. And I am crazy for toppings, so I piled them all on. You can adjust the toppings to what you like, though. And you can adjust the amount of mushrooms that you make. You can even adjust the amount of toppings you put on– I like lots of toppings. I don’t have the ounces for the Cans of things I used– like Sliced Olives– but we can all tell the difference between small and large cans. (If you NEED and MUST HAVE ounces, I’ll add them, if you just let me know.) And I don’t buy pre-made Pizza Sauce, either. I make my own. It’s not hard. If you are keen on buying it, go for it, but try my homemade below if you’re ever up for it.

Ready? I’m going to give you the ingredients, some directions and then I’m going to show you how to get the mushrooms ready– with pics. The pictures will be part of the other directions. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Portabellos (When choosing the mushrooms, make sure they are thick, round and sturdy. If they are crushed in any way or not firm, don’t buy them.)
  • 2 small cans of SLICED black Olives
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 small red pepper, sliced or you can use Roasted Peppers in a Jar — up to you.
  • 1 pack of Italian Style Pepperoni
  • 1 package of Italian Sausage — either ground or links. If you get links, you can squeeze the sausage from the Casing or you can cook it in the Casing and then slice to the thickness you desire.
  • Whatever other toppings you want — Banana Peppers, anchovies, etc.
  • 1 — (8ounce) bag of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (Unless you want more, then grab a bigger bag.)
  • 1/2 stick of butter.

 

SAUCE

  • 2 small Cans of Tomato Sauce
  • 2-4 gloves of Garlic
  • Cayenne (optional)
  • Red Pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 TBSP Basil

 

DIRECTIONS for SAUCE

We are going to go ahead and mix up the sauce and put it on the stove to boil, and then to simmer while we prep the mushrooms and everything else.  So, with that being said, put the Sauce, minced or chopped Garlic, (optional, Cayenne), Salt, Red Pepper Flakes and Basil in a pan. Cover. I actually bring it to a low boil and then let it just sit in it’s own heat until I’m ready for it.

 

TOPPINGS

Now, let’s start frying your Sausage. And working on those Mushrooms…..

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We need to carve out the insides of the mushroom and remove the stem. For this, you are going to use a spoon, whatever size you are comfortable with. Just start by gently flicking out the stem and then scraping out the darker stuff like so….

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Be CAREFUL not to dig your spoon too deep. You do not want to puncture the bottom or the sides. We want to trap the toppings in, not have them running all over. Basically, you are making a bowl with a mushroom or a mushroom bowl, lol.

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This is what you will end up with, (the picture above). I don’t know if you can tell, but that bowl is pretty deep or deep enough for me to stack all my toppings in and for them to stay in.

Now, you most likely have a plate of this left….

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It’s up to you what you do with it but I always save it. I will add it to scrambled eggs or use it to make a Cream of Mushroom soup or I even add it to the Vegetable Soup I make and freeze for my lunches through the week. You can saute it, and add it back to the pizza but to me that’s a waste when we already have mushrooms — as a foundation for my pizzas– So, why not stretch it into another recipe.

Now that you have your foundation spooned out, place them on a Cookie Sheet.Start building your Pizza. I add a few tablespoons of Sauce or more first. Then I lay out the pepperoni — ON THE SAUCE– and BEFORE THE CHEESE. Pepperoni will help flavor your Sauce, so to me, this is the best way. Sprinkle on some Mozzarella Cheese. You decide how much. CUSTOMIZE this to your liking. If you LOVE Pepperoni, add some more on top the cheese. Next, add some Sausage, Black Olives, Red Pepper and Onion. Anchovies, if you use these things, are to be added last. 

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Once all your toppings are on, slice the butter and toss it in between the mushrooms on the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. It doesn’t take mushrooms long to cook at all. And the time will depend on how your oven cooks. You will be able to tell when they are done though. Should be some good juices in the pan and the mushrooms will loose some of their firmness.

Remove from the oven and eat. Let me know what you think because I can’t get enough of these! And if you have any left over, they are even better the next day!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Depression Food, Pork, Soups & Stews, The Hungry Hen, Veggies w/ Meat

Split Pea Soup

0e0ebc60-aa8c-4fce-9548-60eac4bcbd5e Not everyone makes this anymore but when I was growing up, it was one of very few things my mother threw together. She learned it from Grandma and Grandma learned it from those before her. Its really simple to make. Inexpensive. Not the prettiest dish, which is why I didn’t even bother putting a picture of my own on here. I used one from Betty Crocker, although the recipe I am using comes from an old, vintage Cookbook called, Cookbook: Nutritious Cooking the Waterless Way. This was put out by Ekco Prudential back in the 1950’s. One of my favorite yard sale finds. Anyone who frequents this blog knows, I dig the vintage cookbooks because the ingredients were simple, as were the instructions, and everything was from scratch. Verses now, we have all of these processed ingredients, which I’d rather get away from.

And while this particular recipe can look kind of unappealing in a pot, I think it’s important to include. Its simple, filling, great for the frugal and easy to make from scratch. It does taste great and to be honest, you can jazz it up as far as looks go by adding big chunks of carrots, celery or whatever your heart’s desire. My Grandmother and them weren’t into pretty. They were into filling the stomach in a way that was as cheap as possible. My Grandmother, who grew up during the Depression, was famous for cooking on a dime. This may have been one she would have called Depression Food.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dried Split Peas
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 quart Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 cups Milk
  • Small Ham bone, Bacon Rind or Salt Pork
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped

Directions

Wash and pick over dried peas. Cover with water and allow to stand and soak over night. (If salt pork is used, it should be cut in small pieces and browed.) Place soaked peas with an additional 1 1/2 cups of water in a 3 quart vegetable pan, over MEDIUM heat until cover vibrates or vapors escape, then reduce heat to LOW and simmer 2 hours. Remove ham bone and put remainder through a steamer – strainer pan, using masher to puree. Add milk and a dash of pepper to puree. Heat and serve. 8 servings.

 

Note: Now days we have hand mixers, etc. instead of steamers or strainer pans. You also don’t have to puree this. My Grandmother never did.

 

 

Posted in Bread, Rolls & Such, From Scratch, Mine v/s Theirs, Pork, Seasonings, Sauces, Dressings & Mixes, The Hungry Hen

Ham & Cheese Yeast Rolls

One great thing about Facebook & Pinterest – the recipes. The bad thing about those recipes, many get you excited only to leave you feeling miserably disappointed. Money doesn’t grow on trees, so wasting bucks on ingredients creating something that doesn’t taste all that great, well, that’s a huge kick in the gut.

Luckily, we learn from experience and while that doesn’t mean we just give up on trying new things, it does mean we can spot, “what wont work”, head on. I did that the other night when someone on my Friend’s List was showing up a cool video of something that reminded me of Cinnamon Yeast Rolls, but instead of the Cinnamon and Sugar, they were rolled up and baked with Ham & Cheese. In their version, the recipe called for one of the many kinds and versions of “Canned Biscuits.”

I HATE BREAD DOUGH THAT COMES FROM A CAN. You can call it biscuits, pizza crust, croissants, rolls or whatever the hell you want to call it. It all tastes the same – processed yuck. That being said, I thought this was an incredible idea minus the Canned Yuck. So, last night, I sat down and whipped up a version of MY OWN HOMEMADE YEAST BREAD DOUGH to make this heavenly, Ham & Cheese Comfort Food treat.  AND, I know many of you are limited on time. You don’t have time to knead, let rise, then knead again only to let rise again. So we are going to use RAPID DRY YEAST and we are only going to KNEAD ONE TIME. Ready?

The.Crowin.Hen.Ham.Cheese.Yeast.Rolls

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Eggs, Beaten
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup of Honey (Some people prefer a little sweeter than others. So your choice. Either 1/2 cup or 2/3 cup)
  • 3 Individual packs of RAPID or INSTANT DRY YEAST
  • 4 1/2 cups of unbleached Flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of Salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of warm Milk (heated to 110 degrees)

 

Filling

  • 1 Pound of Black Forest Ham (I get my sandwhich sliced.)
  • 1 pack of sliced Swiss cheese (10-11 slices)
  • 4-5 slices Deli American Cheese
  • 1 Glass Pan

 

Directions

In one bowl, whisk together the dry yeast and 4 cups flour. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat eggs. Add salt and let dissolve.

In a glass measuring cup, heat milk in a microwave with butter. If you make it too hot, no worries. Just let it cool down a bit before you add it to the yeast. And don’t stress over it being a perfect 110 degrees. A degree here or there should kill it.

Add honey to milk and then all ingredients (egg, salt) to the flour and yeast.

Begin to mix. Adding a bit of flour of you need to until dough pulls from edges. Take to the counter and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is nice and smooth. Dust the counter and your hands with the 1/2 excess flour and look, if you end up using a bit more, don’t panic. It is what it is. If you think you have used way too much, rub Crisco on your hands and begin working the dough. This helps to make it elastic and workable without using more flour.

Let dough rest for about five or ten minutes.

Next step, with a rolling pin, roll the dough into one big rectangle, like so…

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Next, lay the ham out over it…

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Then, the Swiss cheese and lastly, fill in the gaps with the American.

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Roll the dough up placing the seam side down.

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Slice

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Place in glass pan

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Cover with a warm towel – I usually pop one in the dryer and sit in a dry, warm place.

Let them rise to double or triple their size. Depending on the temperature of the house and the ham & cheese, this could take an hour or two. Maybe less. Last night, it was raining here so it took a few hours. The key to light bread or one of them, is letting it rise long enough. Some people panic and go by directions. If it says 40 minutes, they let it rise for 40 but sometimes it takes longer,,,,

Once it has risen, bake in an oven 375 or 400 degrees until golden brown. Brush tops with butter OR the sauce below (if you use the sauce, bake it with it on.) and serve HOT.

These are out of this world. If you try them, please tell me what you think.

 

Here is a sauce that went with the recipe/video that I found on Facebook. Me and the kids didn’t like it because its sweet, although my husband loved it. If you don’t want the sauce, don’t use it or brush the inside of the dough with mayo—or nothing at all. We had some with nothing and it was delicious. Nothing else needed. NOTHING.

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds.

Mix together, brush tops of rolls before you bake.

 

Again, this is a hot, amazing roll that can stand on it’s own or go great with soup or anything.

Posted in Back in the Day, Depression Food, From Scratch, Historical, Pork, The Hungry Hen

How to Cook an Aged, Country-Cured Ham

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Funny, how one day I noticed just how popular Country Hams were. I was standing at the concessions stand at my daughter’s softball game. Waiting on my Fries, a kid beside me looked up at his mother and said, “Mom, did they make the Country Ham sandwiches again?” Over Hot Dogs, Burgers or Fries, some freckled faced boy wanted salty, country pork. And my slap to attention didn’t stop there. I was at the local, summer Carnival when I seen a lady I had not seen out our way before. I asked what drug her out of the city limits and she replied, “Oh, my husband and I try to stop in every year just to get us a Country Ham Sandwich.” When my Great Aunt Joyce came down to visit not long after, I asked if she was hungry and wanted a sandwich. “Do you have any Country Ham? I haven’t had that for ages. I am just dying for some!”

Country Ham is most certainly right up there with Fried Chicken and Sweet Ice Tea. The problem is, not many folks make one anymore. They wait till they hit up a Family members house, a carnival or, well, as I learned, a ball game somewhere in the South. I suppose one reason could be the size of a Ham. They are rather large and most folks don’t have the freezer space to store the left overs. Most can’t even eat a third of one on their own. But the biggest reason, I think, people make them less and less at home is because they don’t know how. Honestly, it takes a bit of doing and many have lost the know-how.

The trick to a Country Ham is, you want to soak it overnight. You want to soak it for at least 12- 18 hours. You want to cover it in water—and folks, sometimes I change my water out a few times, depending on how salty you want it. I’ve also have soaked mine for two days, as well, before. And, I have actually soaked mine in a five gallon bucket. Not everyone has the sink room, ya know?

Next, and this is a part many forget because the “knowing’ has been lost between generations. Get yourself a pot. Drain the Ham from the water you have been soaking it in, place it in the pot and cover over again with fresh, cold water. You are going to want to SIMMER the Ham for ONLY TWO HOURS. I don’t care if that thing is the size of a watermelon, only SIMMER for TWO HOURS. DON’T BOIL. SIMMER. 

When the two hours is up, pull the Ham off the stove and just let it sit in it’s own juices – that pot of water—and completely cool down. Once it has, cut off the rind and clean it up. You can glaze it…

Honey – Just drizzle Honey over the Ham.

Brown Sugar – 1 Cup Brown Sugar (I like Dark), 1-2 tsp. Dry Mustard and 1/2 tsp. Cloves (optional)

Or whatever Glaze you want to invent. I’ve seen some people make Glaze out of Jams like Orange, Apricot, Apple Butter, whatever. It’s you’re world, so roll with it.

Last, place it in a preheated oven at 400 degrees and Bake (about 30-40 minutes). When you cut Country Ham, don’t cut thick slices. It should be cut in super thin ones. Not unless you are into thick. Freeze any extras in pieces to make Beans or whatever you desire or to pull out when company comes over to make Red Eyed Gravy or Biscuits.