Thursday, October 7, 2010

Taco Soup

I made this for dinner the other night as the weather has been getting cooler with the arrival of Fall. It is one of the ultimate comfort foods and as an added bonus super easy and quick to get on the table!

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, finely diced
black pepper
1 can chili beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Seasoning (made by McCormick)

Brown ground beef with the onion and black pepper. Add remainder of ingredients and simmer until heated all the way through. Serve in bowls over Fritos or tortilla chips and top with sour cream and shredded cheese. Yum!

I haven't been able to find Mexican Seasoning for a while and didn't have any gluten free taco seasoning on hand, so I merely seasoned to taste with chili powder and cumin. The diced tomatoes I used also had diced green chiles in them. It turned out perfect! Oh, and I don't drain my cans of beans. I just toss them in juice and all.

Pickled Beets & Beet Juice Jelly

A friend of mine was very generous recently and not only taught me how to make pickled beets, but also gave me all of the beets from her garden that she didn't want. Needless to say I was just tickled because they are one of my all time favorite foods. I grew up eating them. She also sent me home with a recipe for Beet Juice Jelly so that I could use up everything from the beets. While that may sound very unappetizing, I would encourage you to try it if you are able to. My daughter who hates beets with a passion tasted some of the jelly and thought I was lying about it having beet juice in it! I'll give you both recipes for pickled beets - the one my friend uses, and the one that my grandma uses.

Virginia's Pickled Beets

Scrub beets and trim. Cook in pressure cooker until tender (about 18 minutes for decent size beets). Unfortunately I don't remember how much pressure she used. Remove peeling from beets and slice and set aside. Strain beet juice through a coffee filter and set strained juice aside.

Put sliced beets in a large stockpot. Using 1 part beet juice, 1 part vinegar, and 1/2 part sugar, create enough liquid to cover beets (2 cups beet juice, 2 cups vinegar, 1 cups sugar). Bring beets & syrup to a boil. Fill hot, sterilized jars with beets and then add enough syrup to fill the jar, leaving about a 1/2" to 3/4" of headspace. Seal jars and process in cold pack canner for 5 minutes. Remove jars and let cool.

Granny's Pickled Beets

Prep as above. For the syrup, use 2 cups vinegar, 2 cups beet juice, 1 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon mustard seed, and 1/2 teaspoon celery seed. Process the same as above.

Beet Juice Jelly

4 cups red beet juice, strained (what you don't use to make syrup when doing pickled beets)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 package pectin
1 package Kool-aid (grape, cherry, black cherry, or raspberry)

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a hard boil. Add 5 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil again and boil for 3 minutes. Ladle into hot jars and seal.

Peach Pie Filling

6 quarts sliced fresh peaches
7 cups granulated sugar
2 cups + 3 Tablespoons Clear Jel
5 1/4 cups cold water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 3/4 cups lemon juice

Peel peaches, slice, and place in water with Fruit Fresh or lemon juice. Combine water, sugar, Clear Jel, cinnamon, and almond extract in a large pot. Stir and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil sauce for 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Fold in drained peach slices and continue to heat mixture for 3 minutes. Fill hot sterilized jars immediately, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately.

Processing time is based on altitude.

0-1,000 feet: 30 minutes
1,001 - 3,000 feet: 35 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet: 40 minutes
Above 6,000 feet: 45 minutes

Apple Pie In-A-Jar

10 cups water
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons lemon juice

Put all ingredients in large pan. Bring to a boil, stirring till clear and thick. Place slices of apples in sterilized jars and pour hot syrup over them. Process 6 minutes in cold pack. Makes 6-8 quarts.

Yummy Fruit Syrup

7 cups pureed fruit (I used peaches)
7 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 package fruit pectin

In 2 quart saucepan add fruit and lemon juice. Add sugar and stir. Bring to a rolling boil on high heat and stir continuously for 1 minute.

Add fruit pectin and bring back to a rolling boil. Stir one more minute and remove from heat.

Pour into sterilized hot jars and seal (with new lids).