Archive for the ‘Using up leftovers’ Category

So far I am being able to upload videos weekly. I hope you enjoy these and that they are helpful.

First up is Digging Potatoes 

This shows my husband plowing out the potatoes and our gathering them. We didn’t get as many as we’d hoped, but still a good harvest, and they are SO good!

Also, here is an additional link to a video I uploaded last year on Preserving Potatoes. It shows how we prepare them for the freezer.


Cooking Pinto Beans… “What do you mean doing a video on cooking pinto beans” you might say. Well, as a new bride I didn’t know how to cook pinto beans. I just wanted to share this. Also it includes making cornbread and potato cakes (potato patties).

So – here is the video for Cooking Pinto Beans

I hope you enjoy these two videos. Please subscribe to our youtube channel, like, share, and “ring the bell” for notifications of new videos. Thank you!

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I recorded a video in my kitchen on how to make home made pastry and mini (individual) chicken pot pies. I haven’t uploaded it to youtube yet, but I did put it on facebook. Here is the link.


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I went by a local market this morning to pick up some peaches for canning (we have a rather nice orchard coming along – but no fruit just yet). When I got there I saw that they also had some “June Apples” AKA “Early Transparent” apples! SCORE!


The peaches will hold a couple of days so I set in on the apples. First I washed them with water and a little vinegar in the water (since I didn’t raise these, I don’t know if they’ve been sprayed or not) and then I got ready to peel them.

When I do apples I prepare 3 pans – 1 for the peeled and sliced apples, 1 for the peelings and cores, and 1 for the “blossom ends” and any imperfections. The pans for the apples and peelings each contain water and about 1/4 cup fruit fresh to keep them from turning dark.


You may wonder why I save the peelings. I have mentioned before in this blog that my parents and grandparents lived through the Great Depression, and in addition to that we were very poor as I was growing up. My mother learned to “make do” and stretch foods to use every scrap. So, following in her footsteps, I save the peelings to make apple juice. 

Most recipes for making juice call for cooking the whole apple, but my mother learned that by peeling the apples and using both the apples and the peelings they went twice as far!

I debated whether to dehydrate the apples for making stack cakes this Fall or to make applesauce. Applesauce won out. So after peeling about 8-9 pounds of the apples, I put them on to cook.

To make applesauce, put the peeled and sliced apples in a pot with a little water to keep them from sticking and turn on med-high.


Most applesauce recipes call for cooking the apples until soft and then running them through a strainer or food mill, however Early Transparent apples are very tart (which keeps me from snatching slices as I peel) and they cook up to “sauce” consistancy without the milling step.

When the apples begin to get mushy, add sugar for sweetening. For this many apples add 2 cups of sugar and taste for desired sweetness. I ended up using 3 cups of sugar to get them just right. If you want, you can add cinnamon and other spices, but since this is mainly for our 9 month old grandson, I left this batch plain.


Once the apples are the consistancy you want, fill clean, hot jars (pint or quart) leaving 1/2″ headspace. Wipe the rims, seal “finger tight” and place in a waterbath canner (or large pot with a rack to keep the jars off the bottom) with water covering the jars by 2 inches.


Once the water comes to a rolling boil, process the apples 20 minutes (both pints and quarts). When the time is up, turn the heat off and let the jars sit in the water 5-10 minutes before removing from the water.


The reason this fruit separated was because I put just a little too much water in the apples when I started to cook them. This was my first turn of apples for this year and was out of practice. I’ll make a note of that for next time. This won’t hurt the apple sauce, I’ll just need to stir it up when I open a jar.

While the applesauce was processing I put the apple peelings in the same pot that I had cooked the apples in (no need to wash it first – it’s all apples!) Add water just to nearly covering and turn on med-high.


After the peelings have cooked down let them cool and then strain.20160614_19515520160614_195200

Cheesecloth works pretty well for straining the juice, but I prefer an old cotton diaper. Squeeze the peelings until all the juice is out – or – until you’re tired of squeezing.


I had a half gallon of apple juice from these peelings. I put the juice in the refrigerator and will can it in pints tomorrow. I use this apple juice for the syrup mixture in canning other fruits.


8-9 pounds of apples = 9 pints of apple sauce and 1/2 gallon of juice – pretty good for an afternoon of work, wouldn’t you say?

Edit: A couple of days later I made chunky apple sauce out of the rest of the apples. I had 19 pints from this half-bushel of apples.



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I mentioned on Facebook tonight that I had Authentic Mexican food for lunch today at a mission trip fundraiser at our church – but, I shared, I had Southern food for supper!

I shared this photo 20160221_185858

We had leftover pinto beans and some leftover meatloaf, but I added fried potatoes and some fried cabbage and onions. A friend then asked how to fix fried cabbage, so I decided to share how I fix both fried potatoes as well as fried cabbage. I don’t have photos for those, but they’re pretty simple – and I’ll do a blog post with pictures the next time I fix them.

First – fried potatoes… I’ve been frying potatoes since I was big enough to cook – at least 50 years! But – they always stuck and made a mess. But now I have learned how to fry potatoes that don’t stick and are easy and delicious!

First – a well seasoned cast iron skillet is a must! (I’ll explain how to do that in another blog post of there is any interest). Peel your potatoes and onions (if you’re adding onions) and put them in separate bowls. Place your ungreased skillet in a 400 degree oven for 10 or so minutes. In the meantime, microwave your potatoes until slightly soft. Drain off any water that forms.

Put the hot skillet on the stove eye, on med- med/high. Add oil of choice (olive oil, bacon grease, etc). Immediately add potatoes and turn them to coat them. Let them fry about 10 minutes, turn and add salt and pepper. In another 5 minutes or so, add the onions (because onions cook faster and will burn if you put them in at the same time). Continue cooking until they are as brown as you want them.

As for the fried cabbage, I usually fix it whenever I fix fried potatoes (they just seem to go together plus my husband doesn’t like onions in the potatoes) So – when I take the potatoes out of the skillet, I add a little additional oil if necessary, then add chopped cabbage and onions. Stir-fry until the cabbage and onions are as done as you like them. If I’m using regular yellow onions, I like them well-done, but if I have purple onions or green onions, I don’t cook them as long.

And there you have it! A couple of side dishes worthy of a pot of pinto beans!

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Do you use bread crumbs for cooking? Don’t buy them – make your own! It’s quick, easy and it’s cheap.

Start with those old bread “heels” that you were going to throw away.



Dehydrate them for 4-6 hours at about 95 degrees. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you could probably do it in an oven or convection oven on the lowest possible setting – but – you really need a dehydrator for a thousand other things!

Once they have dried, put them into a plastic bag and crush. I use my rolling pin.

20150501_172905Once they are crushed as fine as you like, store them in a freezer bag or a glass jar. If you like, you can add Italian herbs or other seasonings to your crumbs. I prefer to leave them plain and add seasonings when I use them.


See! Quick, easy and more than cheap – free!



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Today has been an adventure! It was “clean out the refrigerator day”. I had several “dibs” of things that I either had to do something with, or toss them out. (And of course I never want to throw things out if I can help it!)

A week ago I got some frozen pastry dough out of the freezer, but since both my husband and I have been sick, I haven’t had time to use it. pastry
I also had a little leftover turkey, about a cup of leftover roast, a pound of sausage that I needed to fry up and a partial jar of home canned pasta sauce .pasta sauce

So… I decided to make meat pies! First, I fried up the sausage and made some cottage cheese. meat in skillet cheese curds

Cottage cheese

Since there was so much meat and pasta sauce, I decided to make a lasagna first. cottage cheese to pasta mix (But I saved a little of the cheese for myself! Treat! And oh! Look what I found in the pasta sauce! 🙂 A Bay leaf!)bay leaf

So, I got the lasagna in the oven and started mixing the meat pies. meat mixtures
I took the leftover meat (some beef and some turkey) in separate bowls and added some frozen mixed vegetables and some instant potato soup I mixed up before Christmas for “thickening” (recipe for this later).

Next I rolled out the pastry and cut the circles with pot lid. pastry circles
I saved out a little of the pasta mixture for a couple of pies.pasta pie
Next I made the other meat pies.
meat pies

(I even made a few chocolate ones, too!)chocolate

By this time the lasagna was finished finished lasagna
I forgot to take a picture, but I baked the meat (and chocolate) pies on a parchment lined baking sheet @ 350° for 40-45 minutes. And they came out beautifully!finished pies
And best of all – my husband loved them! I think these will be great to pack on his lunches.

So… I’ve used up all my leftovers, I’ve washed up all my dirty dishes, and I’ve got enough food for several days. All in all a good day, I’d say.

Thank you Father for the bounty You have so graciously supplied. May we always be good stewards of that bounty. Amen.

Instant Potato Soup Mix
1 3/4 cup instant potatoes
1 1/2 cup powdered milk
2 tbsp chicken bouillon
2 tsp minced onion (or onion powder)
1 tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
a dash turmeric
Mix well and store in a glass jar (makes a great gift, too!)
To Prepare:
Take 1/2 cup mix to 1 cup boiling water. Stir and enjoy

This also works well to thicken soups or to create your own “cream of…” soups.

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