In the Kitchen

Ideas for Using Fresh Garden Veggies: Tomato Recipes, Preserving and More Ideas for Tomatoes

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by Cassie

fresh-tomato-recipe-collection

What to do with fresh tomatoes?  We are now to tomatoes on our Ideas for using fresh garden veggies series.  Tomatoes are the garden staple!

If you are not growing tomatoes yourself, there’s a good chance that a friend or neighbor has given you some from their garden. They are everywhere!  

An abundance of tomatoes is a blessing and the great thing about tomatoes, they are one of the most popular veggies for preserving and using!

Fresh Garden Tomatoes Idea #1 – Make a Tomato, Avocado, Grilled Cheese Sandwich 

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So for the first idea, we wanted to share this great recipe for Tomato Avocado Grilled Cheese HERE. Check out the recipe.

Fresh Garden Tomatoes Idea #2 – Make Your Own Tomato Sauce

We love this idea because fresh tomato sauce gives you many frugal meal options.  The best part is that you can make your own tomato sauce – and then coupled with our Homemade Italian Seasoning means that you have fresh, yummy, easy and healthier tomato sauce for pizza, pasta, recipes, Italian based casseroles, etc.

In fact, our family has tried to avoid canned goods as much as possible for health reasons – one popular one that we use to buy in cans was beans. We solved this problem, saved money and health buy making our own bulk beans and freezing them! Also canning in glass jars is great. Another popular canned item is creamed soups – we solved this problem years ago by making our own bulk dry mix that creates creamed soups pretty quickly in our SOS mix.

But canned tomatoes are a very popular canned item for many households and they have also been deemed some of the most dangerous canned foods.  Here’s a few articles that talk about canned foods and canned tomato products specifically: Mercola.com, Shape.com, Prevention.com. So if for money saving efforts and health efforts, making your own sauce has many benefits!

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Photo Credit

There is a simple recipe for authentic homemade tomato sauce on the Food.com site HERE.  After you make your sauces, you can freeze in baggies or can in glass jars, or use fresh in a couple of days.  With this basic tomato sauce, you can add extra flavor with the Homemade Italian Seasoning for your many recipes calling for pizza, tomato or spaghetti sauces.

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Homemade Italian Seasoning Recipe HERE

You can also use the Homemade Taco Seasoning combined with your tomato sauce for a mock enchilada sauce or other Mexican themed sauce and dish! It’s GREAT!

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Homemade Taco Seasoning HERE

Fresh Garden Tomatoes Idea #3 – Homemade Salsa and Guacamole

Oh yea! This is the mother of all fresh garden tomato ideas and uses! There are thousands of salsa recipes out there and ours is different every time we make it as we add things we have on hand and different spices.  It makes it so yummy. Honestly, I will even make salsa last minute by throwing a few ingredients, tomatoes as the feature, in my food processor and VIOLA – salsa comes out a minute later.

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Photo Credit

We recommend searching a site like AllRecipes here for salsa recipes with items you have on hand at the time.  It is fun to come up with a little different salsa each time.  Don’t forget that mangoes also work nicely in a sweet salsa.

Also, similar to the salsa, we throw guacamole together on the drop of a bucket.  We just use our food processor or blender!

It’s a simple recipe:

  • 3 Avocados
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • dash of salt
  • Squirt of lime juice
  • Cilantro (optional)

Blend until it reaches the consistency you want.  This can be done by hand by cutting the onions and tomato into small pieces and then mincing the garlic.  Then mash the avocados with a fork and blend until it is where you want it!

That’s it on the guacamole!

Fresh Garden Tomatoes Idea #4 –  How to Freeze Tomatoes

Finally, if you run out of ideas, recipes or don’t want to make tomato sauce for canning or freezing, consider freezing tomatoes to make whatever you want in the future! 

Finally, just like we have shared the process with the previous veggies in our series, we do also want to share the easy process of freezing tomatoes.

The thing is…. we have mentioned each time how you need to blanch veggies before freezing, which is the case with every veggie that we can think of.  Except…. tomatoes! Why? Well, because they are technically a fruit!

So you can literally wash, cut the stem off, slice or wedge (or keep whole) and place on a cookie sheet and freeze flat. Once frozen, put them in their baggies and freeze again.  When you do the process this way, you can put all of your frozen tomatoes in one gallon size bag and pull out what you need when you need it.  If you throw them in a bag and freeze, they will all freeze together as one big lump and it makes it near impossible to use, unless you plan to use tons of them at once.

Now if you want to freeze without the peels, this process is a bit more involved, but still simple! 

How to freeze tomatoes without the peels:

  1. Wash the tomatoes and cut out the stem.
  2. Then boil the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for about a minute or two – basically until the skins split.
  3. Then pull them out and let them cool.
  4. Simply rub off the skins
  5. Then freeze with the same process as stated above!

Frozen tomatoes work well to make a tomato sauce later too! I have had times that I got a great deal on tomatoes as they were going to be turning soon and I really only had time to quickly freeze them at that time before they went bad. This is a perfectly fine solution and then you don’t have to feel stressed out to can or create your recipes immediately.

What do you plan to do with your tomatoes?

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Keep watching for more ideas on using your garden veggies as we have many more veggies recipes and ideas to share this summer with you as you make the most of your garden and farmer’s market finds! 

For actual garden ideas, we wanted to remind you that we have been sharing so many gardening ideas on our Garden Gallery of Ideas HEREPinterest HERE and Facebook HERE that we hope you are seeing some incredible results with your homegrown food supply.  And, as always, we will continue to share gardening tips and ideas on all our site.

See more Recipes

See our Recipe Pinterest Board

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Alex & Cassie
 

How to Use Cabbage and Cabbage Recipes: Lots of Recipes and Ideas for Dishes and Preserving Cabbage

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by Cassie

fresh-cabbage-recipe-collection

What to do with fresh cabbage?  Now that is the question of the hour!

Let me tell you a little secret – cabbage is probably my favorite veggie.  Not my family’s per se but mine for sure! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I always try to find ways to get my family to eat it, and for the most part, they do, but it can be a challenge.

However, hand me a head of cabbage and I will devour it raw as I love the raw taste and crunch, like a natural chip! I can seriously eat it all day like this!

But not many can, including my own family.  So we wanted to share a post that gives ideas on how to prepare and use cabbage  - including perserving ideas.

This is all part of our Ideas for Using Fresh Garden Veggies series.

Recipe #1 Using Cabbage – Curried Roasted Purple Cabbage

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So for the first idea, we wanted to share this great recipe for Curried Roasted Purple Cabbage. Check out the recipe.

Recipe #2 Using Cabbage – Healthier Taco Salad 

Another favorite use is for a healthier taco salad idea. This recipe not only includes replacing the fried shell with a cabbage shell, but healthier homemade taco seasoning and swaps for half the beef to save money and health!

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 Healthier Taco Salad recipe HERE

Recipe #3 Using Cabbage – Hawaiian Haystacks

Another favorite use is on one of our kids’ favorite dishes – Hawaiian Haystacks! This is our go to meal as it cleans out the fridge, is healthy, frugal and fun!  It uses raw cut up cabbage as a feature topping! 

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Hawaiian Haystacks Recipe HERE

Recipe #4 and #5 Using Cabbage – It’s a Guy Stir-fry and Cabbage Sauté’ 

Also, cabbage is stir-fry is a main highlight and feature of a healthier stir-fry.  Some special spices, coconut oil or olive oil, meat and cabbage is more than enough for a wonderful stir-fry.  Of course, celery, onion and carrots are also wonderful additions.  Even a vegetarian stir-fry is amazing!

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It’s a Guy Stir-Fry recipe HERE

You can also just simply make cabbage saute’ just like the simple and healthy stir-fry recipe – omitting all of the meat and other veggies.  Just this weekend, I ate a heaping plate of cabbage saute’! My family thought I was a little crazy that I was satisfied eating just this, but they enjoyed it as a side with the rest of the meal. :)

Recipe #6 Using Cabbage – Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts

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Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts Recipe HERE

Also, Brussels Sprouts are in the cabbage family.  I cannot rave enough about how amazing Pan-Fried Brussel Sprouts are! AMAZING! So don’t miss that recipe either!

Recipe #7 Using Cabbage – Homemade Sauerkraut

We would also like to share with you this week another favorite, healthful, easy and important diet addition that can also double as a method of preserving cabbage is homemade sauerkraut! We will be posting this recipe this week separately, and then we will link it here too! So watch for that recipe soon! 

Recipe #8 Using Cabbage – Homemade Coleslaw

Another great recipe is homemade coleslaw.  It is so incredibly easy that this can be a go-to emergency use! I can whip up the dressing in 2 minutes and have the cabbage sliced up in 2 minutes for a salad in 4 minutes! It’s that easy! This recipe also works well with the store-bough, pre-cut coleslaw kit.

How to make homemade coleslaw

  • 1 head of cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 2 TBSP of balsamic vinegar (white distilled or apple cider also works – each vinegar providing a slightly different taste)
  • 1 TBSP of sugar
  • 1 tsp of celery seed

Mix up the mayo, vinegar, sugar and celery seed until well blended, then add the cut up cabbage and mix together.  This is best served immediately.  It will stay okay in the fridge for leftovers, but it can get more sour and mushy.  Our recommendation if serving at a gathering or potluck is to make the dressing and store in a separate container.  Then right before serving, add the dressing and mix!

Recipe #9 Using Cabbage – How to Freeze Cabbage for future use

Finally, just like we have shared the process with the previous veggies in our series, we do also want to share the easy process of freezing cabbage as well so that you have all of your options available to you so that you do not waste any awesome cabbage! In order to freeze them, you need to blanch them first.

How to freeze cabbage:

  1. Wash the cabbage and rip off the tough outer leaves.
  2. Then rip off leaves or cut into wedges or shreds – whatever you prefer.
  3. Blanch the cabbage – either blanch in a pot of boiling water or a steamer for 90 seconds
  4. Pull them out and then throw them in a bowl of ice water for 90 seconds
  5. Then drain them and let them dry for a few minutes.  A salad spinner will also help speed up drying time. Even dabbing with a paper towel will help!
  6. Finally, bag them up and label them with the date! Freeze and enjoy later!

Remember, you cannot eat defrosted raw veggies – they taste awful and the consistency is mushy and gross.  But you can use them in cooking and frying recipes!

What do you plan to do with your cabbage?

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Keep watching for more ideas on using your garden veggies as we have many more veggies recipes and ideas to share this summer with you as you make the most of your garden and farmer’s market finds! 

For actual garden ideas, we wanted to remind you that we have been sharing so many gardening ideas on our Garden Gallery of Ideas HEREPinterest HERE and Facebook HERE that we hope you are seeing some incredible results with your homegrown food supply.  And, as always, we will continue to share gardening tips and ideas on all our site.

See more Recipes

See our Recipe Pinterest Board

{ 4 comments }

Alex & Cassie
 

Ideas for Using Garden Veggies Series: Recipes Using Fresh Spinach

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by Cassie

fresh-spinach-recipe-collectionIt’s garden season and we are going to share a fun, yummy, helpful, fruitful (in a veggie kind a way :)) series with fellow bloggers on Ideas for Using Garden Veggies so that you can make the most of your gardening efforts.

We have spent so much of our time sharing so many gardening ideas on our Garden Gallery of Ideas HERE, Pinterest HERE and Facebook HERE that we hope you are seeing some incredible results with your homegrown food supply.  And, as always, we will continue to share gardening tips and ideas on all our site.

But, what about ideas on how to use your veggies?  You grew them, now use them!

First up in our series is Fresh Spinach!! Oh YUM! This is a FAVORITE in our house.  Spinach graces our table at least once a week, if not a few more times…. especially when it is in season!

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The first feature is this luscious Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon and Mushroom. You know how the old saying goes… “everything’s better with bacon on it…” at least that’s what Alex and the kids think! You will find the recipe for the Bacon and Mushroom Sautéed Spinach on A Frugal Chick site HERE.

Now for even more ideas, a popular way that we eat spinach is just plain ol’, good ol’ raw spinach! Basically, a spinach salad!

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This Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Berry Vinaigrette is a huge hit and uses even more of your fresh garden foods!

In addition, you can make any salad from spinach with just the right dressing.  Pour olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper – an all-time, penny pinchin’ favorite ’round our table!

But, topped with some nice homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, or even 5-minute emergency ranch dressing when you are short on time is a spinach salad comfort food!

For more yummy goodness, here’s the links to many other recipes using fresh spinach on our site. *Note, our second favorite use, or the “we need to use this” are in morning smoothies! It’s the best!

So what plans do you have for your spinach? 

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Keep watching for more ideas on using your garden veggies as we have many more veggies recipes and ideas to share this summer with you as you make the most of your garden and farmer’s market finds! 

See more Recipes

See our Recipe Pinterest Board

{ 1 comment }

Alex & Cassie
 

10 Fun, Festive, Yummy Patriotic Dessert Recipes

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by Cassie

10-patriotic-yummy-and-easy-desserts

Earlier, we shared patriotic treats using fresh fruit, well now we wanted to share some dessert ideas that are cute and festive for your patriotic celebrations this coming July 4th. Fourth of July recipes are so fun and there are hundreds of ideas and we hope these treats will give you ideas and inspiration to get your party rolling!

01 - Sugar Bee Crafts - Red White and Blue Candy Kabobs-sm

Red, White and Blue Patriotic Candy Kabobs @ Sugar Bee Crafts HERE

18 - Chic n Savvy Reviews - Red White and Blue Jello Bites-sm

 Red, White and Blue Jello Bites Recipe @ Chic N Savvy Reviews HERE 

12 - Its Yummi - Old Glory Cupcakes-sm

Old Glory Patriotic Cupcakes Recipe @ It’s Yummi HERE

02 - Just Us Four Blog - Marshmallow Firecrackers-sm

Red, White and Blue Marshmallow Firecracker Pops Recipe @ Just Us Four Blog HERE 

09 - This Mama Loves - Fourth of July Popcorn Crunch-sm

Patriotic Popcorn Crunch Recipe @ This Mama Loves HERE 

07 - Simplee Thrifty - Patriotic Pudding Pops-sm

Patriotic Pudding Pops Recipe @ Simplee Thrifty HERE

24 - Who Needs a Cape - Patriotic Cake Batter Truffles-sm

Patriotic No-Bake Cake Batter Truffles Recipe @ Who Needs a Cape HERE

10 - Im Topsy Turvy - July 4th Fireworks Cupcakes-sm

Red, White and Blue Fireworks Cupcakes Recipe @ I’m Topsy Turvy HERE 

21 - Mama LIkes to Cook - White Chocolate Berry Recipes-sm

Patriotic Berry Crepes Recipe @ Mama Likes to Cook HERE

25 - A Step in the Journey - Independence Day Cookie Pops-sm

Independence Day Cookie Pops Recipe @ A Step in the Journey HERE 

See more Recipes HERE

See our 4th of July Recipes Pinterest Board HERE

See our 4th of July Decor Ideas Pinterest Board HERE

{ 2 comments }

Alex & Cassie
 

How to Make Hollandaise Sauce In a Mixer or Blender – Quick, Easy and Tasty Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.

by Cassie

easy-hollandaise-sauce-recipe

There is a very easy, very creamy, very yummy, very quick way to whip up Hollandaise Sauce.  We have Hollandaise sauce a couple of times a month on eggs benedict and on roasted asparagus.  It is a favorite sauce in our house!

I use to do the double broiler thing, which was tedious, time consuming, and finicky!

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Then I heard about someone using their blender to make Hollandaise sauce.  Well, I decided to try it in my Kitchenaid Mixer and it worked like a dream and I have done this ever since…. so I thought it was time to share it with you!

Here’s how to do this in either a blender or a mixer!

What you need:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 8 TBSP of butter (1/2 cup or whole cube)
  • 1 TBSP lemon or lime juice
  • A couple of dashes of Cayenne Pepper (Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot works too!)
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp mustard – we don’t use it as we like the other flavors alone, but classic Hollandaise does have it.

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First, put the eggs, lemon juice and Cayenne Pepper (and mustard if using) in the bowl of the mixer or blender.  Blend on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

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While this is blending, melt the butter completely in the microwave or stovetop until hot.  Important: dump the butter into the mixer or blender immediately while it is at it’s hottest.

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Then turn the mixer or blender to high speed and mix/blend for about 4-5 minutes until your Hollandaise is a nice creamy texture!

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Then serve it immediately in your favorite dish, recipe or vegetable…. like Asparagus!

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A couple of notes:

  • You cannot successfully reheat Hollandaise sauce.  It will cause separation and lumpiness.  You can re-blend it and add a bit of hot melted butter, but this is the only way.  So make it moments before you need it.
  • The hot butter and the friction from the machines is enough heat to safely heat the eggs for consumption.  We’ve made this several times and it is heated perfectly this way.

Here’s a printable recipe for you to print and keep in your home binder!

How to Make Hollandaise Sauce In a Mixer or Blender - Quick, Easy and Tasty Recipe
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Recipe type: Sauce
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Here is a very easy, very creamy, very yummy, very quick way to whip up Hollandaise Sauce
Ingredients
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 8 TBSP of butter (1/2 cup or whole cube)
  • 1 TBSP lemon or lime juice
  • A couple of dashes of Cayenne Pepper (Tabasco or Frank's Red Hot works too!)
  • Optional: ½ tsp mustard - we don't use it as we like the other flavors alone, but classic Hollandaise does have it.
Instructions
  1. First, put the eggs, lemon juice and Cayenne Pepper (and mustard if using) in the bowl of the mixer or blender. Blend on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  2. While this is blending, melt the butter completely in the microwave or stovetop until hot. Important: dump the butter into the mixer or blender immediately while it is at it's hottest.
  3. Then turn the mixer or blender to high speed and mix/blend for about 4-5 minutes until your Hollandaise is a nice creamy texture!
  4. Then serve it immediately in your favorite dish, recipe or vegetable.... like Asparagus!
Notes
You cannot successfully reheat Hollandaise sauce. It will cause separation and lumpiness. You can re-blend it and add a bit of hot melted butter, but this is the only way. So make it moments before you need it.
• The hot butter and the friction from the machines is enough heat to safely heat the eggs for consumption. We've made this several times and it is heated perfectly this way.

 See more Recipes

See our Recipes Pinterest Board

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Alex & Cassie