Nachos!!

What is not fun about Nachos? Nothing. It’s fun to make and fun to eat and oh so yummy. I do a two layer nacho dish that has a great mix of textures and balance. I think you’ll enjoy it.

I always make a refried bean for my nachos as it adds an authentic flare and adds a great texture and flavour. Read the recipe for the ingredient list.

The refried beans:

I use my own home canned beans but really ANY bean will do. The beans I use are a plain pinto but you can even use a couple cans of beans and tomato sauce from the store.

Take two jars or cans of beans and pour them into a prepared fry pan that has peanut or olive oil in it. Take your favourite potato masher and over low-medium heat mash those beans really good. You want to see a nice paste of beans in the pan.

Turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir and fry the mashed beans until a good deal of liquid has reduced. Add:

2 tbsps garlic powder

1 heaping tsp of cumin

At least 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste

1 heaping tsp of chili powder

2 tbsp lime juice, you can sub lemon juice if needed.

Add all this to the beans, stir and fry for about another 5 minutes or until you have a nice spreadable bean dish that isn’t too wet but not dry either. Shut heat off and set aside.

The meat mixture:

I use ground turkey or chicken but beef will do as well.

1 or 1.5 lbs ground meat. I use 1 lb but if you like your nachos more meaty go for the extra.

Fry ground meat while breaking apart with a fork so you get a nice non lumpy texture. Add:

2 heaping tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1 heaping tsp chili powder

1 tsp corn starch

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp cayenne powder (or more depending on how much heat you want)

1/4 tsp oregano dried

1/2 cup to 3/4 cups water.

Simmer together until you have a nice moist easy to spread meat mixture (add more water if dry)

Now, take a large deep dish baking pan and layer:

Nacho style corn chips.

A generous layer of shredded cheddar cheese.

1/2 of bean mixture

1/2 meat mixture

Another layer of nacho style corn chips

a generous layer of shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 of bean mixture

1/2 of meat mixture

One lighter layer of corn chips

A good layer of shredded cheddar cheese

Add some chopped garlic or onion chives on the top for colour.

Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes until the middle layer of cheese has melted.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.

I hope you enjoy!!! Thanks for stopping by. ~Leasa

BBQ Season is Here!

First I’d like to mention that you’d think with the pandemic and all that I’d have oodles of time to do blog posts. And, you’d be right. Seems like I get swept up on social media and post my yummies on there and forget to do it here. Which is silly because I really love doing my own stuff on my own blog. I’ll have to be more aware going forward!

So anyway, my friends, we bought a new BBQ and I’m loving it. This one has a rotisserie and today I’m giving it a go. Very simple to do. I covered my chicken with olive oil, applied a simple dry rub of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and thyme. Then I trussed the bird and skewered her and now she’s happily going round and round on the spit. And it smells incredible!

I should mention we went with a Weber this time. My daughter has had one for 13 years and the darn thing looks like new and it gets lots of use. We had a Canadian made one and sadly it quickly rusted and disintegrated before our eyes. My husband got tired of rebuilding it, so here we are with the Weber. Much more solid fire machine if I do say so myself, and I do.

So, I hope you all have a great Easter Weekend and have lots of great BBQ’d food coming up in your futures. Thank you for dropping by. ~Leasa

Another Canning Season Winding Down. 2020

Tucked around my baking station, are my two large capacity pressure canners and my two large water bath canners. In the corner sits all my supplies, lids, rings, filling cup, ladle, magnet and everything I need for canning. The top of my large butcher block baking station has clean jars covered waiting for their turn to be filled.

I’ve had tomato splatter on my windows, walls, ceilings and floors. By the end of a good canning day I can feel my feet stick to my kitchen floor, especially on a corn day. Most of a canning day is spent cleaning. Cleaning before canning, during canning and after canning.

I’ve tried to cut the number of hours of straight canning as best I can because a 10 hour day of it is pushing it for this ‘mature’ lady.

But I love it. I love everything about it. I love bringing that garden in and when I need to buying all local product to go into my glass jars. I love the cleanliness of the product, the control and the cost. A 500 ml jar of for example; green beans costs me less than 10 cents.

If you decide to become a home canner, do some reading and stay away from ‘but my granny did it like this’ facebook pages. Go to Bernardin, Ball or the the National Center for Home Food Preservation to learn how to do it safely.

I put up between 400 and 600 jars a year. Next I’ll be canning some squash for later on this winter and when the canning ‘season’ is over I’ll be doing more bone broth and chicken broth.

Anyway, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Here are a few pictures of my work and thanks for dropping by!!

green beans
corn
tomato sauce
60 lbs tomatoes for ‘spaghetti sauce and meat’ day
chili sauce
crushed tomatoes
bread and butter pickles
sandwich sweet slicers
roasted tomatoes for sauce

I’ve also done chili con carne, salsa (very hot), carrots….and, just for good measure, I’ve filled one freezer too. Winter is coming…

Salisbury Steak

It had been so long since I made Salisbury steak that my son could not remember when he last had it. I had forgotten how delicious this meal is, especially on freshly mashed potatoes.

Ingredients:

Steaks

1 lb ground beef

*1/2 cup of bread crumbs

1 slices of bread ripped into fairly large pieces.

2 egg

1/2 cup milk

2/3 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 gloves garlic mashed

2 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp peanut or high heat oil

~place bread crumbs in a mixing bowl, pour milk on, set aside.

Ingredients for sauce

1 500 ml jar of beef broth

1 beef bullion cube mashed

up to 1 lb of mushrooms sliced (amount of mushroom depends on how much you like them)

half medium onion chopped

3 ounces of butter

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp of black pepper

*you may need more bread crumbs, you don’t want your meat mixture to be sloppy or liquidy. All eggs are different in size and sometimes the meat has more fat.

~I always feel that especially when making a new recipe, get your ingredients prepped ahead of time. Saves you from being flustered as you go.

Method:

Mix all of your steak ingredients with your soaked bread crumbs, except for the peanut oil. Form 4 thick patties.

In a large fry pan (I use my cast iron for this one) heat the oil using a medium heat. Brown your patties on both sides. Remove from heat and set aside in a warm 170 degree oven.

In the same pan, add the butter, continuing with a medium heat, saute’ the onions and mushrooms until tender. Add the flour whisking and stirring and let it ‘cook’ for about 2 minutes. The flour will cling to the onions and mushrooms and that’s fine. Slowly whisk in the broth and you will have a nice gravy, thin it with water if needed but no more than half a cup. Now stir in all the other ingredients for the sauce.

Add the patties to the sauce, reduce heat to medium low, add a lid and let cook until the patties reach 165 degrees in the center. Occasionally check them, don’t let them scorch to the pan. I turn mine about twice and ladle sauce over them. (again, if you sauce does get too thick, you can add a little water)

Taste the sauce and add salt if needed. I usually do.

Serve with mashed potatoes.

Soup, Soup, I love Soup: Portuguese Garlic Bread Soup

This is a new to me recipe that I found in one of my many books. I did tweek it to make it easier to make, yet keep the flavours that it intended.

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Day old bread works well, or a heavier French Bread will do. You will need about one slice per bowl of soup. (this will make about 4 bowls)

Ingredients:

Bread for bowls.

One small egg for each bowl.

Teaspoon of vinegar.

A whole bulb of garlic, cloves removed, cleaned and I like to bake them in olive oil at 375 for about 20 minutes. The baking brings out the flavour. Mash them very well.

1.5 liters of chicken broth.

Teaspoon cilantro powder.

Hand full of spinach or a tablespoon of parsley flakes.

1/2 teaspoon of salt or salt to taste. If your chicken broth is unsalted you really really need salt to bring out the flavour.

Good dash of pepper.

Direction

Gently simmer on low the broth, garlic mash, salt, pepper, spinach and cilantro for at least an hour. I let mine simmer for about an hour and a half to really blend the flavour.

Break your bread up into bite sized pieces into each Bowl.

In a separate small pan with a lid, put in about 2 inches of water and the vinegar. When it GENTLY boils or almost but not quite boiling, carefully break each egg into this water. Put the lid on and leave it for about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon you can turn each egg to ensure the top sets on each egg. Don’t over cook your poached eggs though!

Ladle soup into each bowl, put a poached egg in each bowl. Enjoy.

Pasta Meat Sauce (like my mom used to make)

There is nothing as nice as a meaty sauce that’s been allowed to slow cook all day long. There are many great versions of this pasta sauce, and this one is mine. ( I have learned that this although soooo good is not an authentic bolognese sauce, which I’ve recently mastered. I love both)

I find it so much easier to put together when I get all my ingredients ready before I start anything else. You will need:

1.5 to 2 lbs of lean ground beef.

1 large onion cut chunky.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 green sweet pepper cut chunky.

1 large stalk of celery cut chunky.

1 lb mushrooms cut chunky.

8 cloves of garlic or more. Or 2 tablespoons of powdered garlic. Lots of garlic is essential.

2 large cans or home canned jars of crushed tomato.

1 can of tomato sauce or 1 500 ml jar of home canned sauce.

1 large or two small cans of tomato paste.

3 bay leaves (always keep count of your bay leaves and remove them when the sauce is done, especially if you serve children.

1 tsp of red pepper flakes, or less depending if you want heat or not. Most children do not like it too spicy.

1 large tablespoon, heaping in fact of oregano flakes.

1 large tablespoon of dried basil flakes.

2 tablespoons brown sugar.

1/4 cup red wine, optional.

1 tsp of chopped fine rosemary.

Directions:

In a large pot saute onions in olive oil until they start to get soft. With my fingers i break up the ground beef so there’s not big pieces in with the onions. Brown the beef with the onions until there’s almost no pink left. Stir in the pepper and celery and mushrooms. Saute for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and tomato sauce and all of the other ingredients.

Bring it all to a simmer, a slight very light boil, stirring gently. Now put it on a small burner for the day or into a slow cooker. A slow cooker is nice as you don’t need to worry about it sticking too much, do check and make sure it isn’t getting too hot though.

Have some nice garlic bread ready, some freshly grated Parmesan cheese ready. I also usually make a great ceaser salad on the side as well.

Home Made Cooked Dog Food

Hello! I thought it was time for me to share my balanced home made dog food. This recipe took me years to balance, but the healthy results are worth it. This entry is dedicated to my beloved Sandy (RIP 2012) who had so many inherent health issues she needed this diet to fight the good fight. She made 12 years!!

Balanced home made dog Food

It took me a long time to get a balanced food, calcium is a hard one. Too little or too much is very bad. I would not recommend a home made diet of any kind for puppies up to a year old as the calcium balance is crucial. The best puppy diet is Wellness for puppy canned with Touch of the Wild puppy kibble. I worked hand in hand with my vet and her office to get this balanced.

Ingredients:

12 lbs lean ground beef (I buy it on special and load up the freezer, usually under $4 per lb) If your dog does not have allergies you can mix this meat with chicken and add a small amount of beef liver (too much liver is not good)

3 kilo frozen mixed vegetables, or a mix of peas and carrots, sweet potato etc.

2 liters of long grain brown rice

8 eggs

3 liters total of water/beef broth mix (about 1-liter unsalted beef broth you can buy in the grocery store on sale, $2) That’s 3 liters total liquid.

8 tablespoons ground eggshell (save all your eggshells, dry them and grind them, I use my blender.

8 scoops Hilory’s Blend Supplement for home made meals (ask your vets office for it)

Cook beef in a very large pot, 24 quart at least. Or make half the recipe in a smaller stock pot.  Drain the fat off, with ground beef, even lean there’s still a bit too much fat. Put the beef back in the pot and add the liquid, break the beef up so you don’t have big chunks. Whisk the eggs and add stirring in. Add the eggshell and supplement, stir it in. Add the frozen veggies. Turn the heat up to medium when the veggies have thawed, stir them in. When the mixture almost boils put the rice on top. And pat into the liquid. Slowly stir it through. When this starts to boil, turn heat down to low and stir occasionally until rice has absorbed the liquid. Stir OFTEN as it will stick on the bottom if you don’t.

Let cool to warm, stir often as this volume will be slow to cool. I put it in 2 liter peanut butter containers and put it in the spare fridge.

You can make this in any amount by halving, or even quartering the recipe.

Canning Season full Tilt

This is just a quick reminder to all my friends who love to can. Please please be safe. I know many people do open kettle canning and have never had a problem, but seriously, it only takes that one single time to end a life or cripple the people you love.

Botulism is REAL and happens a lot more often than you think. Low acid foods must be canned with a pressure canner according to recipes or instructions from Bernardin, Ball or the https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html guidelines.

Pressure canning seems scary at first. The new canners are perfectly safe to use and easy once you get used to them. If you follow the instructions you’ll be fine and your family will be safe. The following is an actual picture that one of my safe canning groups posted of a lady who got botulism from her home canned green beans. I know in your granny’s day they used to open kettle can all the time and as far as you know, it was fine. But aside from botulism there are also all kinds of other nasty bugs that can harbour in improperly canned materials. From those you get diarrhea, vomiting, pain and sometimes even death. They used to have different names for this in your granny’s time never associating it with canning.

Even high acids like tomatoes, jams all foods must be at least water bathed and again ALL LOW ACIDS must be pressure canned.

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New Face Book Page!

Hello everyone! Just a quick post to let you know that we have a new Face Book page! Just search Janssen Produce and Specialties! Like us so you will get up to date info on our products.

The white asparagus season will be winding down this week. It’s been a very brisk busy season so far. The cooler weather and rain made it a challenge to keep up with demand but we managed. The quality is excellent!

https://www.facebook.com/Janssen-Produce-and-Specialties-1446758972241904/

I will be getting back to my recipes here soon, so stay tuned. Next up will be garlic!

Thank you for stopping by, much appreciated!

Leasa

Aruba

Recently we just returned from a trip to Aruba. We stayed at the Tamarijn Resort. A few people have been asking how it was, so I thought I’d simply do a blog posting for those interested to see. The Tamarijn is an all inclusive resort. You can eat yourself sick or drink until you fall down and it’s all included. This resort has really top notch restaurants al la cart and an amazing daily buffet that changes every day.

These are some examples of food from the a la carte restaurants. The one place we also really liked was the Ginger that had a great assortment of Asian cuisine that was all very very good. One night we really wanted to go back there for a second time as we were both craving Indonesian food, but it was all booked up (you have to pre-book your a la carte restaurants). So we decided to go to the buffet, we were thrilled to see the whole thing was FULL of fresh Indonesian foods!!! Everything from bami goreng to kroepoek and everything inbetween!

So, yes, we were really well fed! Peter and I kept our drinking down to a reasonable level so we could fully enjoy all the amenities of this resort and country. A couple of drinks in the afternoon, a couple at supper and a couple after supper. I have to admit one evening when we had just gotten back from a super tour of the entire country, I did have my afternoon drinks with my supper and after supper drinks…yes, I giggled like a school girl all the way back to my room. Thanks for leading me to safety Mr. Janssen! (that was sooo fun!)

One afternoon we took a cab to a nearby village that was having a children’s parade in celebration of the upcoming Carnival. We expected a small parade but were totally amazed at the size and organization of this event!!! After a couple of hours of waiting and a couple of hours to see it go by we were also amazed at the completion of the organization…the town had large trucks to immediately clean up all messes and equipment, and towns people were following with brooms and bins to sweep the street clean!

When we went to this parade of course we had no chairs with us. A family from Aruba provided us with shade and a place to sit. They are very happy friendly people! Aruba is a very safe place to wander around and it is true they are ‘One Happy Island’.

The weather in Aruba never changes. It’s 26 C in the morning, it’s 29 to 30 in the afternoon and 26 C at night. There is always a breeze blowing. It is like this 365 days of the year. We were told that in September the breeze might go away for a while, which really lets everyone know how hot that sun is!! Tourists like us, have a tendency to get very bad sun burns because that beautiful breeze makes you think it’s cooler than it is. One young woman got so burned on our first day there, we didn’t see her again. So we were very careful about sunscreen!!

One day we took a taxi, oh, by the way, taxis are regulated. They tell you up front from point A to point B exactly what the fair will be before you go. Which is super nice and really not expensive at all. Anyway, we went to the city of Oranjestad , the largest city in the country. We easily spent a day there. It is vibrant, exciting and oh my goodness! One Jewelry store after another! We went to an upper open air restaurant and looked over the town. If you go, you gotta go there!!

These blue horses are in different poses all over the city! How cool is that?

This is one of our views from the upper open air restaurant.

Another things we loved about the Tamarijn is that they don’t pack people in like rats. There was plenty of room for everyone even when they had new people come in while the others were still there. Our room had it’s own Cabana off of our private patio. Then over the walkway was another cabana for the upper room above us. At no time did we have to reserve a beach chair early. We had two that belonged to us, fresh every day. We also had two beach towels. There was no ‘hurry’ no stress. Our room opened up to the ocean on one side through our patio doors and on the other was a walkway to the main restaurant/entertainment area. On the walkway we saw iguanas and lots of lizards.

This photo was looking toward our beach bar. A lot of partying took place there!!

This was our neighbour’s beach lounge chairs, the birds here are very colourful and always looking for a free meal. The crows here too are very brave and love the beach bars and open air cookeries.

I think my favourite thing was swimming in this ocean every single day with Peter. We had so much fun.

I really need to talk about the all day tour (they have a half day but really take the full day!) This is where you learn so much about your host country’s people’s lives and see so much! Aruba is 19 miles long and 7 miles wide. The tour bus makes A LOT of stops, air conditioned and it has big windows! We preferred the bus over the open air jeeps as they were a rough ride and very dusty. The bus finished our tour with a stop at the Baby Beach where the ocean water is warm and shallow (for the non-swimmers or weak swimmers). Part of this also included snorkeling. Which I did. We went to the ropes where the water gets deep and they have a man feeding the fish. The first time I looked down I said “OH SHIT”! , not realizing everyone above me could hear. I saw my dad’s huge fish tank come to life, except the fish instead of 1 inch long were now 2 and 3 feet long! So many and so many colours…it was amazing and spectacular! So glad I did this! I did take on a bit of salt water, as when I came up my feet no longer touched the bottom. But I didn’t care…it was so beautiful.

This is one of the stops during the tour, this is all lava rock. Aruba is just that, lava. Aruba was created 19 million years ago with a volcanic eruption.

Another stop during the tour, a natural rock garden created by the volcanic eruption. Very beautiful.

Some of the many, many cacti here.

During the tour we took a ferry to a tiny island where we had a buffet lunch. This island can be rented out by private citizens with full service.

The view of the tiny island from the ferry.

So I’ll leave you with the following images. We’d both recommend the Tamarijn! It’s very clean, the staff and people there are super friendly. The rooms are a bit dated and a bit small, but really, with the ocean outside your door, you don’t spend much time in your room!! There is nightly entertainment and a host of things to do. There’s a list of daily activities by the Concierge ‘s desk, there’s open air pool tables, giant chess games and others. There’s two pools… The food is great…what more can you want? The cost is higher than most resorts, but remember, no over crowding, no fighting for a beach lounge chair, no lines and all in. We will go back I’m sure in a couple of years. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and thanks for visiting my blog!!