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Category Archives: Sides

Quick Fridge Pickles

Papiere came for a visit….and stopped at a farmer’s market on the way. He told us he was going to do this, so we fully expected the abundance of veggies.

We grilled a lot of veggies and ate them for lunch and dinner. However, we woke up two days into his visit to find a cucumber starting to mold. I chucked that one and then quickly set to work on saving the rest of them….making Quick Fridge Pickles.

First, I sliced and salted the washed cucumbers. After ten minutes I put them into their jars.

Then, I boiled 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 Tbs of diced garlic, 1 Tbs of dill weed, 1 Tbs of peppercorns, and 3 dried chili peppers.

Once this mixture started to boil I poured it into the jars of cucumbers until they were covered. The amount was perfect for 2 one quart jars.

After everything was cool I covered the jars and stuck them into the refrigerator for 24 hours. Today we tore into these spicy spears!

Now the cucumbers have an extra 5 days of life 🙂

Our spice mixture was just based on our personal tastes, you can taylor yours to whatever you think will work. Quick fridge pickles are great because they stay crispy, not soggy like most pickles are that get canned for the long haul.

If you are more of a visual learner check out Serious Eats for an awesome little slide show!

Slow Cooker Potatoes

This week has been crazy. We’ve been out late every night so far. I usually think of slow cooking only in the fall and winter because it’s just so homey and we love thick, warm, cozy foods when it’s cold out. But since I didn’t have a lot of time in the afternoon I grabbed our slow cookers and put them to use.

First I made BBQ Chicken. It was nice walking into a house that smelled like summer, but without the grilling. The BBQ was sweet with just a little spicy bite. Everyone enjoyed this with some of Gram’s Coleslaw and some watermelon.

Then I made Baked Ziti in the slow cooker and served it with a salad. Not a bite of leftovers. Yay! I was worried about this one. My kids usually don’t go for baked ziti, and I thought the noodles would be mushy. It was pretty good though and even the pickiest of my kids ate everything they were served.

Tonight I was in a pickle…I need to go to the market tomorrow to restock…our fridge echoes like the grand canyon right now. But, I had some BBQ chicken from two nights ago leftover, and a bag of small red potatoes. Darn it…not much for variety! Potatoes and slow cooking have not gone well for me in the past, but I had to do something. 365 Days of Slow Cooking had a slow cooking method I had never tried before and so I gave it a go. It worked out great and was super easy to clean up!

Here is what the potatoes looked like when I got home.

I spooned them out, cut them into quarters and sprinkled with salt. A couple slices of cucumber and dinner was served.

I was nervous that the potatoes would not be cooked all the way…which was a minor worry considering I was really nervous that I was going to come home to burned potatoes stuck like concrete in the bottom of a pyrex dish inside a slow cooker. But, they were perfect! Tender all the way through, not mushy at all, and definitely not burned.

I recommend being very careful with the oven safe dish that is placed in the bottom of the slow cooker. I had a little issue with condensation from cooking getting between the pyrex dish and the slow cooker causing a slight vacuum seal. Just be easy with it, mine came out fine after a little TLC.

I’m so glad that there are so many great slow cooker recipes out there. If dinner wasn’t ready to go I would have an anarchy on my hands. What do you do for busy nights?

Tomato Pie

Our neighbor’s garden is overflowing with tomatoes, ripe tomatoes that need to be picked or they will rot. I’d start canning them, but it is REALLY hot outside and we live in a 100 year old house…with no central air conditioning. We do have window units, but not in the kitchen. So the idea of boiling water in my kitchen for an extended period of time is not on my list of things I’d like to do.

I pondered the tomatoes for a little bit, but no matter how hard I stared at them I could not will them to tell me what to do with them. Then I remembered that there was a little bakery I had gone to about two years ago that had a tomato pie as a signature menu item. Why not? I rallied the troops and presented them with several recipes I had found online. This is the one that sounded most appealing to us for the filling, but we wanted it in a pizza crust. I also only used large tomatoes given to us from our neighbor…yellow and red, but cherry tomatoes would have been a lovely addition.

I made Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4) for our crust according to package directions. It’s our favorite gluten free pizza crust, but you should use your favorite pizza crust recipe.

I made the filling according to the original recipe.

What you’ll need:

– Pizza dough (homemade or uncooked store bought)
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
– 2 Tbs finely shredded fresh basil leaves
– 7 or 8 ripe tomatoes, cut in half and sliced
– 1 cup of fine bread crumbs (we used gluten free crumbs)
– 1/2 cup coarsely grated fresh mozzarella
– 1/2 cup coarsely grated pecorino or Asiago cheese

1. Prepare pizza dough according to directions.
2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
3. Brush a pie dish with olive oil and spread the pizza crust into it, and brush the top of the dough with olive oil.

4. Put in the oven for approximately 8 minutes, set aside and leave the oven on, but lower the temp to 400 degrees F.
5. In a separate bowl mix the tomatoes with the salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

6. Layer tomatoes, cheese, and bread crumbs in the baked pizza crust. We had enough for 3 layers.

7. Put into the 400 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until everything is browned on top.

8. Eat up!

We enjoyed this, but we decided that in the future we would make mini-pies instead of one regular sized pie. We will also add a slice of provolone cheese on top of the filling for an extra layer of cheesy goodness.

Gram’s Coleslaw

This is my Gram’s coleslaw. It was a staple at every holiday and cookout when I was growing up. In high school my friends called her the coleslaw grandma. It’s a sweet tasting, uncomplicated recipe. I hope you enjoy.

You’ll need:
1 medium head of green cabbage
2 large dollops of mayo
8 oz can of crushed pineapple
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove any cabbage leaves that are wilted and then rinse the head of cabbage. Chop off the bottom of the cabbage head to remove the stalk, and then cut into four quarters, or any size chunks that you are comfortable with shredding.

2. Shred the chunks of cabbage directly into your serving bowl.

3. Open and lazily drain an 8 oz can of crushed pineapple. You just want to remove the small amount of pineapple juice, but don’t don’t press the lid down hard.

4. Add the crushed pineapple and 2 large dollops of mayonnaise. My grandma always said that the amount of mayo depends on the consistency that you want…we like 2 large dollops.

5. Mix thoroughly.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. You can serve this right away, but I think it tastes better when prepared about 6-8 hours ahead of time, and set in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap.

Enjoy!