Peach Pit Jelly

One of my favorite things about summer here in the south is that you can find peaches everywhere… and if you’re lucky enough to live near an orchard, you can grab a whole box of them without spending a fortune. There’s so much you can do with those peaches.

We spent a little time this past weekend and now have a big box of them sitting on the kitchen counter. We made a big batch of ice cream last night and I’m looking forward to “putting up” the rest of what we can’t eat over the coming days.
Eat them straight from the box of course (after washing them), but then there’s peach ice cream, peach cobbler, peach crisp, and even savory dishes like peachy crockpot chicken, or something like apple and peach chutney.

Peach Collage

And do you know what all of those dishes along with pretty much every other recipe have in common? You don’t use the pit. Even when you can or freeze your peaches, those are removed first.

Being frugal at heart, I couldn’t just let them go to waste. There’s still so much flavor from the little bits and pieces of flesh left on. So why not put that to good use and make a batch of peach pit jelly?

The recipe below is from the very first Kindle cookbook I published - Homemade Jelly and Jam Recipes.

Peach Pit Jelly
 
Ingredients
  • peach pits, enough to half fill a large kettle
  • enough water to cover pits
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 pkg powdered pectin
Instructions
  1. Prepare 4 half pint jars and lids by sterilizing them, keeping them hot, and get your hot water bath canner ready.
  2. Throw peach pits from cooking, eating or canning project into a large kettle, cover with fresh water (a couple inches over the pits) and just set aside on the counter overnight.
  3. Note: You want to end up with at least 4 cups of juice after boiling. The more pits you have in the pot of water, the richer and darker the jelly will be.
  4. The next day put the pot on the stove and bring to a boil, cooking for about 30 to 45 minutes at a nice, rolling boil, but not too hard. Stir occasionally. Remember, you want to end up with 4 cups of juice, so add more water if you need to, and continue to boil.
  5. Remove from heat and let sit long enough to handle.
  6. Set up a 'jelly bag' over a pot, or lay several sheets of cheesecloth in a large colander suspended over a large pot.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared strainer and allow to strain; do not push or force it.
  8. When totally strained, measure 4 cups juice into a large cooking pot, stir in the sugar until it's dissolved, and put back on medium-high heat to return to a boil.
  9. When it boils, stir in the pectin, and return to a rapid boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  10. Test with your cold metal spoon for doneness by dipping the spoon in the liquid and removing. When jelly no longer drips from the spoon and slides off slowly in a sheet instead, it has jelled properly.
  11. Remove the pot from the heat, skim off any foam, and ladle hot mixture into hot, sterilized jars, leaving about ¼ to ½ inch headspace in jar. Apply the lids and process in hot water canner for 10 to 15 minutes (adjusting for altitude.)
  12. Remove from heat, let sit for 5 minutes, then remove jars to a towel covered counter, leaving plenty of room in between jars for air circulation.
  13. Let sit undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.
  14. Yields 4 half pint jars.

 

Homemade jelly made from peach pits

Simply Sauteed Okra

I’ll let you in on a secret. I used to think that I don’t like okra. The only way I’d had it was deep fried with a corn meal breading. It was ok if it was well done and really fresh, but nothing to write home about. I’d never touches okra in any other way shape or form. I didn’t grow up with it and my husband described it as gross and slimy. I never gave this southern staple a chance.

A few weeks ago my friend Nikki totally changed all that for me. We went over for a barbecue at her house and she had roasted some Okra from her garden in some olive oil and salt. They were the most delicious little appetizer/snack. We munched on them while the boys grilled the meat.

When I went to the farmers market on Wednesday, I picked up a basked of red okra and talked to the lady at the stand about cooking them. She recommended sauteing them with a little salt and pepper. I decided to play around with it a little bit and came up with my own 3 ingredient recipe. It’s super simple and comes together in a flash.

Sauteed Okra
 
Ingredients
  • fresh okra
  • coconut oil
  • sea salt
Instructions
  1. Slice the okra into bite-sized chunks (discarding the tops). If you're in a hurry, cut them into smaller chunks.
  2. Heat some coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the sliced okra to the pan and let it cook. Occasionally move them around in the pan until they are soft and start to brown a bit on the edges.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

I didn’t give any measurements in the recipe on purpose. Cut up about 2 medium sized okra pods per person. Use enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of the pan. If the Okra starts to stick to the skillet, add a little more. Season with salt to taste.

Okra pan fried in coconut oil

Homemade Zucchini Bread Recipe

One of the kid-friendliest ways to use up a bunch of zucchini is to “hide” it in a yummy breakfast bread like the one below. If you don’t tell them, they’ll never know it’s got a nice serving of vegetables right inside the warm loaf of yummy breakfast bread. My husband even went so far as telling our daughter she could only have 1 slice for breakfast since it wasn’t all that good for you… she gobbled it up and declared it was the best banana bread I’ve ever made.

The recipe is from “The Zucchini Cookbook” available on Amazon Kindle.

Homemade Zucchini Bread Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 2 9x5-inch loaf pans.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. In another large bowl, beat eggs, canola oil, grated lemon rind, egg and vanilla extract until completely combined. Add zucchini, stir until well combined. Add flour mixture, stir just until well mixed. Fold in walnuts.
  4. Divide batter evenly two loaf pans and cook for about an hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack. Let cool completely on wire rack.

 

Sliced zucchini bread with walnuts

Zucchini and Ground Beef Stew

My neighbor down the road is a big gardener. He’s gotten a much earlier start this year than we did … Plus I guess it helps that he actually knows what he’s doing. We stopped by earlier today to talk about plants and how to best take care of our tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, zucchini and squash.  We walked out of there with 4 beautiful zucchini that I’m turning into a yummy zucchini and ground beef stew with tomatoes, onions and garlic. It’s one of my favorite summer meals. It’s great on its own topped with a little Parmesan cheese, or you can serve it over cooked rice or pasta.

Beef and Zucchini Stew
 
Ingredients
  • 3 to 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop your onion and garlic. Slice the zucchini.
  2. Brown the ground beef and add the onion. When the meat is almost done browning, add the garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the meat is done.
  3. Add the sliced zucchini and give it all a good stir. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the can of diced tomatoes (including the liquid).
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender to your liking.

This tastes just as good warmed up the next day, so don’t be afraid of leftovers.

Homemade Beef and Zucchini Stew made with zucchini fresh from the garden.

Fried Rice with Vegetables

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is so versatile. Serve the veggie fried rice as a main dish or lunch, or as a side when you’re making fish or baked chicken. 

Vary the veggies depending on what you already have at home, what’s on sale at the store or what’s in season to make this even more frugal.

If you’re making this as a main dish, consider scrambling up some eggs and pouring them in once the veggies are pretty close to being done. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until the egg is done to your liking.

Veggie Fried Rice
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ cup frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ cup chopped fresh green onions, including tops
Instructions
  1. Put a large heavy skillet over medium heat, add vegetable oil and heat well, then add rice, stirring until light golden in color.
  2. Add in the broccoli and peas, stir and cook until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onions, stir until ingredients are all hot.
  4. Serve immediately.

Use gluten free soy sauce to make this a gluten-free dish. 

Veggie Fried Rice

Ginger Mint Green Smoothie

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. How about starting the day with a yummy green smoothie packed full of stuff that’s not only tasty but good for you too.

If you’re making this smoothie for the kids, leave out the ginger (or only add a tiny piece) and consider making it with apple juice or adding more fruit to make it a bit sweeter.

Green Smoothie with Mint and Ginger
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups of baby spinach, washed
  • enough fresh water for consistency you want
  • 1 pear, core remove and diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ to ½ cup fresh chopped mint leaves
Instructions
  1. Put the spinach in your blender and fill about half way up with fresh water, then blend until smooth, adding more water to get the consistency you want to drink. Once you have it blended, add the diced pear, ginger root, and ¼ cup mint leaves. Blend, add more water if necessary, and taste. Add more mint if you like, then blend until frothy.
  2. Serve immediately. Will make 1 serving and is easily doubled.

 

Glass of healthy green vegetable smoothie with mint and ginger

On St. Patrick's Day Everyone Can Be IrishOn St. Patrick’s Day Everyone Can Be Irish

St. Patrick’s Day gives us all an excuse to have some fun and eat delicious comfort foods.

Just thinking about corned beef, cabbage & soda bread give me goose bumps.  Those classic Irish dishes are among some of my favorite but it’s fun when you can find new recipes that make your tummy happy.

Since St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner I thought it would be nice to put together some recipes and crafts and create a kindle ebook to celebrate.

You’ll find delicious Irish food along with a bunch of crafts that your family will enjoy creating together.

And remember, with all Kindle ebooks, you don’t need a Kindle to download them. Amazon makes it easy to put right on your computer, laptop, or other e-reader or device. And the price is right, too!

www.hillbillyhousewife.com/stpaddybook

Vegan Cauliflower Bake

I love cauliflower and have been cooking with it quite a bit lately. With it’s mild flavor, it’s a great dish that goes with just about anything and a great way to get my family to eat more veggies. In order to cut back a bit on the dairy we eat, I tried my hand at making a vegan cauliflower bake that still has that yummy “cheesy” taste. I love how this turned out and it got two thumbs up from my husband and daughter as well.

Vegan Cauliflower Bake
 
Prep time
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Recipe type: Sidedish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into pieces and place it in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and nutritional yeast and toss, so the cauliflower is fully coated.
  3. Put the mixture in a non-stick or greased baking dish and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake uncovered for about 40-45 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and nicely browned. Flip half through.

 

Cauliflower Bake

Herb Roasted Potatoes

I love roasted potatoes. They are quick and easy to make, pretty frugal and by changing up the herbs you use (or don’t use) in this recipe, they can taste different every time you make them. Of course you can vary the potatoes as well. I made this with sweet potatoes a few weeks ago and it was absolutely delicious. You can use fresh or dry herbs, or leave out the herbs and use just a little salt and pepper. The possibilities are (almost) endless and this side-dish goes well with a wide range of main dishes. They are great with a roast, some grilled chicken or fish, or even a plate of scrambled eggs or just a few other vegetable dishes. Use the recipe below as a starting point and season the potatoes to your liking.

Herb Roasted Potatoes
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Recipe type: Sidedish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 medium yellow potatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon dry herbs
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the herbs and olive oil. Add the potatoes and toss to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bake for about 50-60 minutes and toss every 15 minutes or so, so they brown evenly on all sides.

 

Roasted Potatoes

How To Grill Portabello Mushrooms

In 2014 we’re doing our best to eat healthier. I’ve been cooking more veggies, more “real food” (unprocessed) and we’ve cut back on red meat quite a bit. One replacement that’s been working pretty well is mushrooms. They are filling, have that “meaty” flavor and texture, but they’re a lot better for you. Take these grilled portabellos for example. They are an excellent alternative to steak. I serve them with a side salad and some potatoes.

How To Grill Portabello Mushrooms
 
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 portabello mushroom caps
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 chopped cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and place them gill side up on a plate.
  2. Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a small dish. Pour most of this marinade over the mushrooms. Brush the mushroom tops (which are touching your plate) with the remaining marinade. Let the mushrooms marinate for about an hour.
  3. Fire up your grill and grill, top side down for about 15 minutes. You can also bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400 F.

 

grilled portabello mushroom

Easy Baba Ganouj Dip

Baba Ganouj is a yummy and healthy middle eastern dip you’ve got to try. I’ve stayed away from this in the past because I’m a) not a huge fan of eggplant and b) it seemed a little too involved having to roast a whole eggplant first. I’ve enjoyed making the much easier version below and I hope you will as well.  If you don’t have tahini or are looking for a slightly more frugal way to make this, try using some unsweetened peanut butter instead. I prefer the baba ganouj with tahini, but the pb will do in a pinch. I serve this with pita, crackers or some cut up raw veggies.

Baba Ganouj
 
Recipe type: Dip
Ingredients
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 2 inch chunks, wrap them in foil and bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until the flesh is soft. Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Remove the skin from the cooled eggplant and place it in a blender. Add the garlic, parsley, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil. Blend until smooth.
  4. The dip tastes great right away, but letting the flavors blend in the refrigerator for a couple hours will be even better.

 

baba ganouj

Spinach Cheese Bake

I don’t have to tell you that dark leafy greens like spinach are good for you. The hard part is getting used to eating them, especially if you have small children. My solution is to add a little cheese to the mix. This recipe calls for quite a bit of cheese. If your solution (like mine) is to eat a little healthier this year, start reducing the cheese a bit every time you make it until there’s just a bit of Swiss cheese covering the yummy spinach.

Spinach Cheese Bake
 
Recipe type: Sidedish
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2-3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1½ cups shredded Swiss cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven the oven to 350 F
  2. Over medium heat, heat the butter. Once it’s melted, add the onion and garlic, sautéing until tender.
  3. Add the spinach and mix with a wooden spoon to coat the spinach. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover your pan with a lid. Let it cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Now you’re ready to get your casserole dish ready. Put half the shredded cheese on the bottom of the casserole. On top, place all the spinach mixture. Then top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered, for about 20 minutes or so, or until the cheese begins to bubble.

 

Spinach Cheese Bake

Steamed Asparagus With Pine Nuts

One of my resolutions for this year is to cook more healthy food and to get a little more adventurous when it comes to cooking my veggies. I usually just boil asparagus or roast it with a little olive oil and salt. This version is steamed and the pine nuts add a nice bit of crunch. If you’re not a big fan of pine nuts, try some chopped almonds or even walnuts instead. I love the addition of vinegar. It adds a nice bit of tang to the dish, making it much more satisfying without adding calories.

All in all this is a winner and will make an appearance on our dinner table much more regularly, especially in the spring when there is plenty of fresh asparagus to be found at the grocery stores and the farmers market.

Steamed Asparagus With Pine Nuts
 
Recipe type: Vegetable
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped pine nuts
Instructions
  1. Cut the ends of the asparagus stems and steam the spears for about 3 minutes.
  2. Once the asparagus has steamed, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the red wine vinegar and asparagus and saute for about 2 minutes. When the asparagus starts to brown slightly it’s ready. Season it with salt and pepper and topped with chopped nuts.

 

steamed asparagus topped with pine nuts.

Slow Cooker Collard Greens

Down here we traditionally eat ham, collard greens and back-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. This year I’m going to make my collard greens in the slow cooker and thought I’d share the recipe with you. Just get them started around lunch time and by dinner they will be delicious and tender. Flavor and texture is the main reason I started cooking my greens in the slow cooker. Because of the large volume of the raw greens, I saute them in my largest pot first to give them a chance to shrink down a bit before adding them to the crockpot.

Crockpot Collards
 
Prep time
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Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • leftover ham / ham bone
  • 5 lb collard greens
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. Start by prepping your collard greens. Pull the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems. I like to add them along with any other raw veggie pieces to a freezer bag and use them down the road to make broth. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Wash and dry the collard greens.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion has softened. I find it helps to add a dash of salt to the onion mixture.
  4. Increase the heat and add the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to the boil, then start adding your greens. Add as many as will comfortably fit, allow them to wilt down, then add more.
  5. Add the ham bone or leftover ham pieces to the bottom of the slowcooker. Pour the collard mixture on top. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.
  6. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.

 

Collard greens

 

Crockpot Ham and Potato Casserole

I love this dish because it’s so simple and very tasty. If you’re not a big fan of mushrooms, use any “Cream of…” type soup. One year I made this with some cream of broccoli soup and added a little chopped up broccoli to the mix as well and it turned out really good. This is also a very kid-friendly meal and perfect for a busy weeknight after the holidays.

If you have a lot of ham leftover, consider slicing it and freezing it. When you’re ready to make this casserole just take them out and add them to the crockpot. No need to defrost them… the long cooking time will take care of that for you.

Ham and Potato Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Crockpot
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 6 thick slices of holiday ham
  • 8 potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • Cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 4 hours and serve.
Instructions
  1. Wash and slice your potatoes.
  2. Peel and slice the onion.
  3. Lay 2 slices of ham in the bottom of your crockpot. Top with ⅓ of the sliced potatoes and onions. Sprinkle with ½ cup of cheese.
  4. Repeat this layering two more times.
  5. Pour the soup over everything.

 

Potato Ham Casserole For more delicious casserole recipes and helpful cooking tips, grab a copy of my ebook Casseroles Made Simple – Tasty Meals In One Dish.

You will go from the oven to the table with a mouth watering meal for you family in no time!   Hearty homemade meals, easy clean up, saving time, saving money… what’s not to love about casseroles!

Just click on Casseroles Made Simple to order your copy today!

Ranchy Mashed Potatoes

I love these tangy mashed potatoes. The flavor is bold enough to stand up to all the other great Holiday flavors. Give them a try this year and see if they don’t quickly become a Thanksgiving favorite.

To make it festive, cut up some chives, green onion, dill or parsley and sprinkle it over the top of your mashed potatoes.

Creamy Ranch Mashed Potatoes
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 8 baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup butter
Instructions
  1. Start by peeling the potatoes and cutting them into chunks.
  2. Bring some water to a boil in a large pot. Add a generous pinch of salt and the potatoes. Cook them until they are tender. Depending on the size of your potato chunks this should take about 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Mash them with a potato masher or for smoother mashed potatoes use a hand mixer.
  4. Using the hand mixer, cream the cream cheese and ranch dressing mix together. Stir this mixture as well as the butter and sour cream into your mashed potatoes and serve.

 

The Hillbilly Housewife Thanksgiving PlannerThe Hillbilly Housewife Thanksgiving Planner

Don’t run around like a chicken (or should that be turkey?) with its head cut off on Thanksgiving morning. The Hillbilly Housewife’s Thanksgiving Planner will help you plan ahead and stay on top of things so you can actually enjoy Thanksgiving with your family & friends.

If you take a quick minute to read the first chapter you’ll realize how easy your Thanksgiving celebration will be. There are plenty of tips and ideas to make sure this year’s feast doesn’t stretch your budget to the breaking point, too.

There are also 2 bonuses tucked inside: A printable planner & checklist and all of the recipes in a printable pdf file.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Hillbilly-Housewifes-Thanksgiving-Planner-ebook/dp/B00A81OQ56