7/29/14

Homemade Parmesan Garlic Potato Chips




Homemade Potato Chips.  and mine are Parmesan Garlic Chips which is so good, you'll have your family begging you to make another batch.

Chips are a rare thing around my house these days. So when I had a handful of leftover white skinned potatoes  I knew I wanted to throw a batch together to surprises my husband.

I had the thin skinned potatoes, and did not bother to even peel them, but if you have russet/baking potatoes you may want to do that. it's just personal preference.

Jan's Tip: The key to success is slicing potatoes thinly, and evenly. I use a mandolin slicer to do this, as it is difficult to slice them evenly on your own with just a paring knife.

Homemade Potato Chips:

Ingredients:

Vegetable or peanut oil
Heavy bottomed deep sided pan.
thermometer
thin sliced potatoes
Salt
Other seasonings as desired.

Heat oil in heavy bottomed, deep sided pan till oil reaches 350 degrees. (Don't have a thermometer? See Jan's Tip at bottom of post to help you out).
Cook potato slices in single layer in oil till golden brown and crispy, approx. 3 minutes per batch.
Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.
Sprinkle immediately with salt and any seasonings.
Cook and season

Jan's Parmesan Garlic Seasoning:
Mix together
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning.

Jan's Tip: Don't have a thermometer? To tell if the oil is the right temperature, carefully put a dry (not wet with water or it'll splatter) potato slice into the oil. If it sizzles immediately BUT gently and steadily is just right. If it doesn't sizzle at all it is too cold, and if it sizzles rather vigorously/violently it is way too hot.

7/27/14

Grilled Foil Packet Dinners (A.K.A. Hobo Dinners)

Do you remember grilling your dinner in a foil packet as a child? Maybe at a scout camp out or with your family? I grew up camping in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Foil dinners were a staple.

Meat Balls, Brat, Potatoes, Onion Peppers, Asparagus Foil Dinner

They can be a fun dinner over the summer right at home with out all the camping! The kids can build their own.  I like to set it up as a "Bar" where everyone can choose what they want. (But at least one veggie item besides the potatoes is must).

If you've tried and failed before It may have been that your potatoes weren't cooked all the way, or maybe the meat was undercooked, while the vegetables were overcooked.

Let me talk you through how to make it more successful, so your family can have a fun and yummy meal.
 

First Some suggestions for ingredients:


Potatoes: Raw:  The trick is to slice them very thinly and evenly. I use a Mandolin slicer on it's thinnest setting. If you want to use potato chunks, I suggest pre cooking them for a few minutes in a microwave to speed up the cooking. This is not necessary however if you stick to thin slices.
                Canned: Any shape of canned potatoes will work since they are precooked.

Vegetables: Raw: Stick to easy to cook ones like asparagus or squash, onions, peppers,
                   Canned: Green beans, corn, carrots etc. are precooked

Meats: Raw: If you want to use raw hamburger, or chicken:  consider crumbling/dicing  it rather than a solid patty, it will cook through much easier. If you want to use a brat or hamburger patty see my tip below.
            Precooked: Meatballs, hot dogs and Kielbasas are kid friendly and precooked so you are heating up the dinner rather than worrying if it is raw in the middle. Meatballs are my favorite.

How to assemble your packet dinners:

Foil sheets: Spray the side that will be touching the food with non stick cooking spray.
Using the center of the foil sheet:
Layer the raw vegetables first.
Layer the raw meats next.
Next layer any cooked meats  followed by any canned vegetables.
Add 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine on top.
Gently pull the sides of the foil up slightly, pour about an 1/8 cup water over top of food. (this will help steam/cook the vegetables).
season with salt/pepper to taste.
Pull up the sides of the foil pack and roll /fold over to seal: Creating a pouch.
Place on grill
Cook over medium heat approx. 10-15 min. (Cooking time varies per grill)
Open one packet and check to see if raw vegetables are cooked through.
Remove from grill.
If you used raw meats such as full hamburger patties, brats or chicken  in your packets see tip below to ensure fully cooked.

JANS TIP FOR RAW MEATS: After removing the packets  with the fully cooked vegetables) from the grill, open them up and remove the meat (The brats, burgers, chicken) that are not completely cooked through and place them directly on grill for 1-2 more minutes to finishing cooking all the way through to safe internal temperatures.

Enjoy!
You can make a little gravy to pour over your packet dinners if you'd like, that always tastes great!

7/22/14

How to Soften & Dewrinkle Line Dried Clothes

How to Soften and Dewrinkle line dried clothes.

If you have ever dried your clothes outside to save on energy, you know that some of your clothes and towels will come in stiff and wrinkled. I have  a tip that will help keep your line dried clothes soft and reduce the wrinkles.



Grab your bottle of homemade wrinkle spray, and toss it into your laundry basket as you go outside.

After hanging the clothes on the line, while they are still damp. give a quick spritz of the wrinkle spray onto the clothes.

Smooth out the clothes with a brief swipe of your hand.

Although they won't come off the line, quite the same as using your dryer does, they will be soft not stiff, and have a lot less wrinkles to deal with!

The best part is, you still saved money from not using your dryer, and made the planet a little "greener"!

7/20/14

Orange & Herb Infused All Purpose Spray CLeaner

Making your own Orange Infused Spray Cleaner is a thrifty, and easy project to do! You'll love the way it cleans, but also that you are using discarded orange peels to do it.

Last year I showed you how to dehydrate those citrus peels into Orange (or lemon, or lime) zest for baking, teas, and more.  This year I am showing you how to use those collected orange peels from your family and save them to make this easy yet effective cleaner.

Save orange peels in a bag or container in the freezer till you have enough to fill a quart (or slighlty larger) glass jar.
The citrus peels add oils to aid in the cleaning properties, as well as works to infuse some of the orange scent into it.
I added fresh Rosemary to mine, but you can also add cinnamon sticks, or cloves to your cleaner. (they just trigger migraines for me, so I stuck to herbs). The herbs and spices just add a bit to improve the scent of the cleaner.
Orange & Herb Infused Cleaner
Supplies:

Glass quart jar with tight fitting lid.
Vinegar or Cider Vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
Orange peels (enough to fill jar)

Optional:
Herbs
Cinnamon Sticks
Cloves

Directions::
Place all orange peels into jar.
Add herbs and /or other optional ingredients:
fill jar with vinegar.
secure lid.
Store in cool dark place for 2 weeks.
After 2 weeks, strain the liquid into an empty spray bottle
Use cleaner within 6 weeks.


7/15/14

How to Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors

Last year at the end of the growing season I had an abundance of green tomatoes that were just out of time to ripen on the vine. I started looking through all my options on recipes using green tomatoes. There are many out there! tomato relish, pickled green tomatoes, green enchilada sauce, sreen salsa verde, etc.
but the truth is I just didn't feel like making any of them! Not wanting to waste the tomatoes either, I decided to ripen them indoors.

This method is super easy. You will however lose a few that go bad before ripening, but in this batch I'm showing you today I think I threw out 5 or 6 little ones total. The remaining all ripened just fine indoors.

The basic idea is to pick them, lay them flat in a warm but out of the way place (not so out of the way that you forget about them, though!) and let the warm indoors turn into a sort of "hot house" to help them ripen.
You'll always have a few that just won't ripen (the 5-6 that I lost), but the remaining bunch will ripen at different lengths of time. I believe the last of mine ripened at about the 3 week mark, but your time will vary some.

1) Pick them: here's mine fresh off the vine:


2) Lay them flat on a cookie sheet, or box lid in a warm out of the way place (ok mine are on my kitchen table, so not really out of the way!)


                                         
3) Every few days check on them, rotate them a little. Toss the ones going mushy or black.
4) As they ripen, wash them and use them!

Here's a look at my tray of tomatoes every few days or so. I just kept removing the ripe ones, turning the remaining ones, and remove them as they turned ripe.



Final Product: Canned Spaghetti Sauce

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