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!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 The Hungry Hen, Veggies w/ Meat

Succotash with Bacon!

I decided to make succotash tonight because I had four cobs of corn left from the corn on the cob I cooked from the other night. I didn’t want it to go to waste. I also fried up bacon for my potatoes and instead of doing the “ham” version of succotash that everyone else does, I decided to roll with bacon. 

Ready? Let’s start with Succotash.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of corn (If you want to use a can of corn, go ahead.) I like fresh corn so, I went with that.
  • Lima Beans (16 oz bag) I use frozen.
  • Pack of Bacon
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • Butter

So what do you do?

First, I use a stainless steel skillet to fry my bacon. I’ll explain why in a bit.

Put your lima beans in a pot with water and start cooking on the stove. You can throw in some salt, butter, whatever. You want to cook these until tender. While that’s cooking….

photo 1Cut your bacon up and put it in the pan to fry. Here’s a trick—if you freeze your bacon, its real easy to cut up.

Fry your bacon until its good and crispy. While that’s frying, grab the corn on the cob.

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Cut the corn off the cob – unless you are using a can. I recommend getting some fresh corn, though. There is nothing like it. Also, my corn was already steamed, al dente. I don’t like my corn chewy but when you do yours, do it however you want.

If you do it al dente or raw, set it to the side.

Now, is the bacon nice and brown? If it is, pull the bacon out of the pan and sit it to the side to cool. Then, drain all of the grease (hope you save this) and leave only a couple of tablespoons in the pan. Leave all the bits, too.

The reason I use a stainless steel pan, and if you do then you’ll see what I’m saying, the bottom of the pan should be nice and brown now. It wont come up if you scrap it. But if those limas are done, something magical is gonna happen.

Are your beans done?

Take a good spoon with holes and start scooping your limas out of the pot. Put them in the pan with the bacon bits and grease. Even though the spoon is allowing the liquid to drain off, what tiny bit is left, will pull the brown off the bottom of the pan.  Magic. This, my friend, is flavoring. And boy ol’ boy, what flavor it brings.

Sauté those limas just a bit pulling up all those flavors and then add the corn and butter (you decide how much).. If its raw, only a few minutes on the heat will al dente it up. If it’s already al dente, then throw in some butter and all you need is enough time for that to melt. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Now, pull it off the heat and go back to your bacon. Crush it up and sprinkle on top of the Succotash just before serving.  I sprinkle before serving because I want my bacon to stay crisp. Now get you a plate and eat it up! Let me know how ya like it or if you add something to the mix!

There are tons of ways to make succotash, also. My Grandma used to add ham and onions. One woman I knew, used to add green beans as well. In other words, play around and have fun with it. It’s your world!

Casey

Posted in The Hungry Hen, Veggies w/ Meat

Bacon, Kale & Onions Recipe

I’ve been making this one quite a bit because my husband, eighteen year old son,  and I absolutely love it.  So, because of that,  I decided to post the recipe. I don’t have a picture yet of the actual finished dish, but I will be VERY thorough with the instructions. Let me know if you try it – how you changed it up, and whether or not you liked it.

Spirit behind the recipe– People seem to be on a “kale” nutritional bandwagon as of late. Everywhere I look, people are using Kale.  Growing up, Kale or Collard Greens would cook all day in a pot with some sort of fat back, side meat or Ham hock. We’d eat it in a bowl with vinegar.

I wanted to adapt the recipe into something somewhat quicker but keep the flavors my family love. I also wandered if I could save some of the nutritional value of Kale by not cooking it all day. Here’s hoping I have. if not, it’s still good anyway.

Ingredients

Pack of Bacon (Your choice—thin or thick sliced.)

Large Onion (Vandalia or any that are Sweet)

Bunched Kale (An entire bunch sold in any grocery store. They usually sell a good bit already bunched up in a twist tie.)

Salt & Pepper to taste.

What you will need:

I use a stainless steel fry pan. You can use cast iron but whatever you use, it needs a lid.

 

Directions:

Cut your slab of sliced Bacon in half, Right down the middle so that they are not the full length. Layer it in your pan and don’t worry about laying it on top of each other. Fry it up. I throw a little salt and pepper on it while it’s frying.

Note: If you want your bacon pieces smaller—go for it.

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While your bacon is browning up, cut your onions. Slice em thin or thick. I cut mine thick. Set em to the side. Then, grab your Kale. Pull the leaves off of the stems and break the leaves up to bite size or a little bigger. Toss em in a strainer and rinse—allowing the water to drain away while we do the rest of the stuff.

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Note: You don’t want the stems because again, we are not cooking the Kale all day.

Now, once your bacon is good and brown, you can do one of two things. you can either pull it out and drain it – adding it back in the end, right before serving so that the bacon stays crispy —or — keep it in there so that it stays brown, flavors up everything else even more so, but will become more tender. I keep mine in.

I drain most of the fat from the pan leaving only about 1/4 cup. If you are wanting to go an even healthier route, take out more. If you don’t care about that sort of thing, leave more.

After you decide that, add your onions. Now, I don’t like my onions soft or mushy. I like them kind of firm, so I only sauté mine in the bacon and fat till clear. The bacon brings out their sweetness but I don’t want to lose that, so I don’t cook em till good and dead, lol. You cook yours how you like.

Last, add the Kale.  The kale, being raw, will usually over flow the pan. That’s where the lid comes in. Shove it all in then push the lid on top of it. In a matter of minutes, the heat will wilt the Kale down. It’s not much different than raw spinach. Once the kale is wilted and sautéed up with the rest, you can pull it off the heat and serve. Again, you are not cooking it all day and the amount of time this takes, depends on your temp. It shouldn’t take more than fifteen or twenty minutes, though.

If you took out your fried bacon, add it back before serving. Salt and Pepper again, to taste.

This is a real simple side but can easily be a meal. Bacon is about the only thing that can get costly – what’s with those dang bacon prices???—but that can be avoided as well. Find your bacon on sale, or marked down, then freeze it. Just thaw it out before you need it.

Again, let me know if you try this – how ya like it or if you thought of another way to change it up!

 

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(Wanna pass it along? Share my recipes all you want, just please toss a link back for credit. Thanks so much!)