Jalapeño Meatballs

Here is a fun recipe that is great for appetizers, parties or any gathering that needs a little spicing up. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound regular pork sausage
  • 1 (8 ounce) brick of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 container of French’s Jalapeño crisps (half put in a food processor to turn into bread crumbs, half leave intact.)
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ghost pepper

Directions

  • Add all the ingredients into a large bowl. 
  • Put on latex gloves
  • Mix bowl well with hands kneading all the ingredients together.
  • Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line your large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Scoop slightly rounded tablespoons of the meat mixture and roll into balls.
  • Place 1-2 inches apart on sheet.
  • Bake for 14-15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this spicy little treat!

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L Rice

Meal-Prepping 101: Beef Stew

Beef (or any meat) Stew

On February 16, 2017 at Quest Community Church, Westerville, Ohio, we will once again be joining together to work on our meal-prepping skills.  The second recipe for this class is a traditional Beef Stew (The first recipe, is Cranberry Chicken posted on 2/11/17 on this site).  Stew is a traditional standby in the Rice Household.  It is perfect for meal-prep as a freezer meal before and after being cooked.  If you enjoy canning, it can also be prepped in individual and family servings by using a PRESSURE CANNER (please see the post on this site for Turkey/Chicken Stew, under the canning and preserving page).  But I digress.  The nice thing about stew is that it can be made with pretty much anything you have on hand as well as tweaks here and there for what you like and what you don’t like.  Example: Some people my love parsnips, others may not, some people think you are weird putting in peas in a stew, some say oh that’s a must have.  My Grandma and Mom would refer to their stews as “refrigerator stew”, that meant anything left over from previous meals got thrown in a pot and cooked as soup/stew.  In short the “waste not want not” method of country cooking.

For our class on 2/16/17, I will be outlining the meal prep freezer way to put up stew before cooking, although here and there I will also outline other methods.  Ready?  Here we go!

Ingredients for each meal:

  • 1 lb of meat (beef, venison, pork, turkey, chicken…)
  • 1 1/4 cups diced onion (I prefer red onion but its your preference)
  • 2 tsps. (or 4 cloves) garlic, minced
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of Thyme
  • 1 cup of carrots diced/sliced (I like lots of carrots, so about 5 carrots sliced)
  • 2 cups of diced/sliced celery
  • 1/2 cups of frozen peas (do not get canned, they get squishy)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of APPLE CIDER Vinegar

Ingredients to be added the day of cooking:

  • 1 tsp of Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups of Broth (to match the meat you use)

Freezer Containers needed if freezing:

  • 1 quart freezer bag
  • 1 gallon freezer bag
  • Pen to write contents and cooking additions for day of cooking

BEFORE CLASS DIRECTIONS:

  • Label you large gallon freezer bag with the title of your recipe and date prepared:
    • example:  Beef Stew 2/16/17
  • Keep your quart freezer bag with your large gallon freezer bag.
  • Since we will be working with raw meat, please, make sure you keep your product fresh and sealed and COOL in transport to and from class and put in the freezer as soon as you return from class.  You also may want to prepare the meat and keep in your refrigerator at home and then add to your bag once you return from class.
  • Cube your meat into small pieces.  I will be using venison for my stew.
  • Make sure you trim off any grisly or large fat portions (and skin if poultry).
  • Put in your quart freezer bag and press out any air and keep cool.

Class Instructions:

  • If you brought the meat with you, keep cold in your cooler while we prep the rest of the items.
  • Chop all of your vegetables starting with your onion.  Add each to your gallon bag after you finish with them.
    • Side note here:  I also like to add things like parsnips, sweet potatoes, fresh beets, peppers, potatoes, spinach and frozen lima beans or black eyed peas.  I’ve even been known to throw in butternut squash cubes.
  • Add in your frozen peas (or other frozen veggies) to your bag.
  • Your bag is getting full now. Carefully add all of her herbs and shake so it flakes down over your veggies.
  • Add in your tomato paste and “squish” it through the bag.
  • Add in your Apple Cider Vinegar to your meat.
  • Now, we need to add our meat.  Since we have all these wonderful veggies in here, we do NOT want to taint them with raw meats!!!   Very carefully, put your meat in its bag sealed, in the large gallon bag on top of the veggies.  Meat is in the bag, but not touching your veggies.  If you cook your meats ahead of time, you can add them directly in the bag, however, your meat will be very shredded when you cook the stew (which is fine, its a texture thing).

NIGHT BEFORE COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Take out of the freezer and stand upright and thaw over night IN the refrigerator.

DAY OF COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Very carefully open your gallon bag and retrieve the meat bag.
  • Open the meat bag and dump the contents in the crock pot.
  • Dump the veggie/seasoning contents over the meat in the crockpot.
  • Add in your 2 cups of broth (to match the meat) to the crock pot.
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  • Add your salt and pepper before serving to retain flavor and not needing to re-add.

FREEZING AFTER COOKING:

Stews and soups are great for freezing left overs for other meal preps.  Put in a large gallon bag or in individual sized freezer safe containers and place level in your freezer.  You can reheat later in the microwave or stove top quickly because everything is already cooked.

CANNING AFTER COOKING:

I enjoy canning left over soups and stews in half pint jars individual servings that I can grab and go for work or for a quick lunch and dinner.  ALL SOUP and STEWS must be PRESSURE CANNED.  The rule of thumb is the amount of time for the longest pressure cooking standard ingredient.  Example:  Meat and beans must be canned (half pint or pint) for 75 minutes and quarts need to be canned for 90 minutes at a pressure of 11 lbs.  If you are unfamiliar with a pressure canner don’t make soup your trial run.

I look forward to seeing you all in class and for those who can not attend, I hope you enjoy this recipe, and let me know what you think.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay Rice

 

 

Meal Prepping 101 Class: Cranberry Chicken

One of our freezer meal recipes for our class on February 16, 2017 will be Cranberry Chicken.  This recipe is also very easy to make in a casserole crock pot fresh that day as well, as with any of our freezer meals.  This recipe is also great with pork or turkey as well as Chicken.  This is one of our freezer meals that we will be working with raw meat so it is very necessary to prepare and take precautions for food safety.

Ingredients for each meal/bag:

  • 2 pounds of chicken
  • One 14 ounce can of whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup of French salad dressing (yup you read that right)
  • 2 tablespoons or 4 fresh cloves of garlic
  • 1 packet of dried French onion soup mix (however, I choose to make my own using a bouillon cube of the type of meat I’m using, boiled with a small onion)
  • It wouldn’t be a “Rice Household” recipe without a kick, so we like 1 tsp of ground chipotle pepper.
  • a 1 gallon bag with the name of the recipe and date you created on it, if you are going to freeze this for later, you will need this for the class as well.
  • You will also need cutting boards, knives, spoon, latex gloves, can opener for the class.

Directions before class:

  • Please label your bag with the recipe name, the date of the class and cooking directions (at the end).  This will be for the bag if you are creating the freezer meal.
  • Please take the time to prepare your chicken before the class and place in a bag to transport, keep this cold and fresh, PLEASE.
  • you will want to cut each chicken breast into quarters, follow the directions below.
  • Prepare and label your final bag.
  • When transporting to and from class, please make sure you have a cooler WITH ice packs.  Now, on with the directions.

Directions:

  • Put on your latex gloves.
  • Prepare your chicken breasts.
  • wp-1486843585719.jpg
  • Take your large chicken and slice in half by placing it on the side and slicing down the middle (making the breast thinner).
  • wp-1486843606032.jpg
  • Now slice each of your halves in half.
  • wp-1486843612973.jpg
  • This will give you 8 pieces of chicken.
  • wp-1486843622046.jpg
  • If you are attending our class, you will want to put these in a secure freezer bag until you come to our class, if not, carry on.
  • Now, since I prefer NOT to use the French onion soup dry mix, I make my own, to do this I dice one small onion and put in a pan with 1/4 cup of water and a bouillon cube of the meat I’m using (chicken here) and boil until the onions are soft. If prefer to use the dry soup mix, add this to your gallon bag if you are freezing or to a small mixing bowl if you are not.
  • wp-1486843655409.jpg
  • Open your can of cranberry sauce, and put into your bowl/bag.
  • wp-1486843661977.jpg
  • Now measure out your French Salad Dressing and stir it in with your onion mix and cranberry sauce.
  • wp-1486843672346.jpg
  • At this point I add in 1 tsp of crushed Chipotle Pepper.  If you don’t like heat, you don’t need to do this, we like heat.
  • wp-1486843638077.jpg
  • Stir your mixture together to the point that it looks like a sauce.  If you are putting it directly in a freezer bag, squish the items together until mixed.
  • Now, add your chicken (pork or turkey).
    • If you are doing this fresh: lay your chicken slices in a casserole style crock pot and pour the sauce over top of the chicken.
    • If you are doing this for a freezer meal, add your chicken slices in the bag with your sauce.
      • In your freezer bag, carefully press out extra air and seal.  I normally double seal items with this much liquid.
  • wp-1486843630794.jpg

Cooking Directions:

  • If you are cooking “FRESH”.
    • Turn your casserole style crock-pot to LOW and cook for 5-6 hours, the chicken will be cooked through and tender.  The sauce cooks into the chicken and is great to put over sides like mashed potatoes.
  • If you are cooking from a freezer meal packet:
    • The night before stand up securely in your refrigerator and thaw.
    • The day of cooking.  Dump the contents of the bag in your casserole style crockpot.
    • Turn on LOW and cook for 5-6 hours.
    • The chicken will be cooked through and tender.
    • The sauce cooks into the chicken and creates a wonderful gravy/sauce to go over sides like mashed potatoes.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Please feel free to leave me comments!

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay Rice

 

 

Black Eyed Peas & Ham Soup

Black Eyed Peas & Ham Soup

February 7, 2017

In the dreary days of February nothing is better than coming home to a hot crock of soup!  Especially when my loving husband has been doing the cooking!  We believe in using everything we have on hand and that means when we get a ham we use it all!  After putting up for the freezer most of the meat we were left with nice sized ham bone with scraps on it.  The perfect beginning to an amazing filling soup.  This amazing treat screams Country Southern Cooking at its best.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of dried black eyed peas
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 5 carrots, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of celery seed
  • 2 stalks of chopped celery (optional)
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large ham bone with meat scraps on it (with about 3/4 lb of ham scraps)
  • 1 small can of diced tomatoes with peppers
  • 5 handfuls of torn kale leaves (remove your stems)
  • tsp of course ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 cups of water

Directions:

  • The night before: Rinse your black-eyed peas and pick through and discard anything that isn’t a black-eyed pea.  Soak in water overnight.
  • The next day, drain and rinse your peas
  • In a skillet, heat your olive oil.
  • Sauté your carrots, celery, celery seed and onion on a medium heat for about 5-7 minutes.  Do not burn your veggies.
  • Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Put your veggies in your crockpot.
  • Add in the ham bone, extra ham if needed, rehydrated black-eyed peas and the water and simmer for about 6 hours in your crockpot. 
  • Add in the tomatoes.
  • Remove the bone scrapping off any additional ham scraps into the soup.
  • Simmer for another 30 – 45 minutes.
  • Add in your kale leaves until the leaves are done, approximately 10 minutes of cooking.

Let cool and enjoy, maybe with some homemade corn bread on the side!  This is a hearty soup that will leave you warm and satisfied!

wp-1486512518062.jpg

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

But I thought…

Written by: Bob Rice  (aka: 1eyedbob) 2/4/2017

Most of this is reprinted from a conversation I had with another forum member. It is all my account of my last week of deer season, here in Ohio. Please take into consideration that not only am I new to deer hunting in general but also new to crossbows. I’ve thrown a little humor spin to my story to make it enjoyable, but that’s who I am. Sit back and enjoy, as your own pictures of past hunts and memories fill the void that we like to think is filled with nothing but knowledge.

I’m finally back at home, sitting comfortably in front the fireplace. Yes, it’s gas and I only have to throw a switch on the wall, but I live in the city. Some modern luxuries are nice, but a little smoke and the smell of burning hardwood, would be nice.

This past Monday I drove out to my buddie’s farm in Southeastern Ohio, in a small town I went to school in during the late seventies and eighties. After I had pulled into his driveway, he came out and was on his way to work. We chatted for a bit and he took off. He did ask how the road condition was coming in because he didn’t want to chain up, as it had been snowing and there are some steep hills.

I grabbed my backpack that held a few things I always carry while hunting and retrieved my crossbow from its case. My wife had heard me talk about wanting a case for protecting my bow when travelling, so she ordered me a nice camouflage, soft style for Christmas. I had my sights set on a hard case for more protection but she didn’t know that. I am very loved, what can I say.

As I walked up and across the field that morning, I could hear an owl hooting off in the distance. This was going to be a great day, I could just feel it. There was a slight breeze blowing out of the West as usual, and I was thankful to have an enclosure waiting for me to sit in. Now these aren’t just any deer blinds, no sir. These have swivel chairs and a propane heater. An offer I couldn’t refuse.

As I came upon the first blind, I decided to walk on to the second blind. The second one has tags on each tree with the distance written on them. No need for a range finder. And I thought city folk had it easy. I began running through my mental checklist and procedure for entering the blind. That’s when it hit me. CRAP! I left my quiver in that fancy new case since it has its own compartment for arrows.

After cussing myself for not having any arrows, I turned around to hike back uphill to my car. Now I could feel the snow blowing into my face and thought how nice a heated blind would be. I had packed my toe warmer heat packs and fleece pants, but intentionally left those at my mom’s house to hunt the unheated tree stand that was there.

After retrieving the quiver and attaching it to its rightful position, I began the trek back to the blind. The wind had picked a little as had the snow, and for a brief moment I thought about just using the first blind since it was closer. But I’ve seen deer from the other blind and am stubborn at times, so I continued on. It was about then that I began to notice the sweat forming on my back and chest and was becoming more thankful for the awaiting heater and chair, in the confines of an enclosure.

As I approached the feeder station and blind, my heart warmed up a bit, just knowing I was there. I climbed the ladder up to the top of the double stacked scaffolding that the blind sits on, and remembered not to open the door too far or it would make an awfully loud, SQUEAK! I did not want to announce my presence to every deer in the county so I cautiously snuck in and closed the door.

While taking off my backpack and hanging my bow up, remember high class blind here boys, I began to get my bearings again. That’s when I realized that something was terribly wrong. I had my bow, arrows with broad-heads, skinning knife, pee bottle, even my Hotseat cushion, but where’s the heater? I turned on my cellphone’s light and scoured the floor under and around the chair. Hard to hide a heater and propane tanks in a 4’x4′ blind.

What?! You’ve got to be kidding me! How could my friend neglect to mention that he had removed the heater for the season? He ALWAYS made it a point to say, “Don’t overdress when you come out to hunt at my place, I’ll spoil you”.

Well it didn’t take too long for the chill to take over. What do I do, tough it out or bail? I’m wearing my 600 gram Rocky’s with two pair of wool socks and wool underwear, so I decided to sit it out for a bit. I think I started steaming a little, but that was because it was starting to eat at me. Anyhow, nine-o-clock rolled around and the feeder started whirring. Usually scares the crap out of me, but not this time, I was ready. Bring on the deer! I could picture deer running in for a meal like it was last call at a packed bar. But the problem was, there wasn’t hardly any corn coming out of the feeder. What?!! How long had this been going on? Maybe for days and the deer wouldn’t be coming in at all. I could feel my shoulders sink in a little as my day continued to look rather bleak.

I managed to wait and watch the wind and snow come in harder, which began to add to my shivering. At about 10:30 I got a text from my buddy asking if I had seen anything yet and that he was home from work early. Bad weather has a tendency to do that in construction. I told him no and mentioned that the feeder wasn’t really feeding anything. I expected him to follow up with something like, “I’ll be out to hunt the other blind”, or, “I forgot to tell you I took out the heaters”, but no.

Well, I’d had enough. I grabbed my pack and my crossbow, yes with the quiver attached, and headed back. It didn’t take long to see how fierce the wind was blowing across the open field, as my footprints had already filled in and some slight drifting was occurring. No more picturesque visions of rolling green pastures or the ominous hooting of a distant owl.

After trudging back to my car, discharging my crossbow, and putting my stuff in the back, I started the car and waited for the engine to warm up so that I could begin the process of thawing out. As I waited, I sent my buddy a text instead of actually walking in to talk to him, because I knew that my emotions would be easily seen. I let him know that I’d had enough of the cold and was heading out. Being a man of few words at times, he replied, Ok. Again, no mention or apology for not having a heater! Upon thawing out on the ride back to my mom’s, I had to laugh at myself for taking it so personal that I had expected things to be the way I had envisioned them to be. Boy isn’t that just like life at times.

My next day was not any better in the weather department of hunting. The ladder stand I was to use sits on a North facing slope that gets about one hour of sun at about two-o-clock in the afternoon.  The weather forecast called for flurries and light rain drizzle throughout the morning. Well, they pretty much nailed the forecast and I was wetter than yesterday and even more cold. Winds were gusting to 30 mph, which I was protected from on the shaded side of the mountain. Nothing was moving except the trees, my teeth on occasion, and the creek I had to cross to get to this little piece of paradise. Did I mention that the creek was up? I did my best to sit in the stand until I had to pee so bad that I might as well leave. Let me tell you, that right after having to expose just enough of myself to my frozen fingers that, well you get the picture.

Day two was a valiant effort, but even the deer were hunkered down. So I remained in the house plotting out my strategy for Wednesday. My wife had blessed me with the opportunity to hunt the last week of archery deer season and by golly I was intent on taking it. She also got a chuckle of out of my day’s events.

Wednesday brought about a change in the weather, and it was for the better. A beautiful forecast for the day and I had dispersed some cut apple and corn upon leaving the woods the two days prior. I finished my sausage and egg sandwich that I had made, and washed it down with the last sip of coffee. I dressed for the day, applied my, “deer cologne”, as my mom calls it, grabbed my bow with the quiver attached, and headed out.

I could tell that the creek was down a little because I had my little key chain light clenched in my teeth. It was still flowing enough to feel the force of it and the rock bottom was slippery. Once on the other side, I began my climb up into the woods. As I neared the stand, I broadcast more cut apple and could see that the deer had readily accepted my offerings from the day before. I began to get a good feeling.

I climbed into my perch and awaited that magic moment of daybreak. You know it is about to happen as the Chickadees begin flitting about and you catch the movement of squirrels from their nighttime hideaways. Soon the woodpeckers will be sounding out and the crows will be calling as they fly overhead.

At around 8:00 I caught movement from the pines, coming towards my area of observation. Of course, I knew it was my apples and deer cologne that had his attention. At least that was what I had hoped. As the deer got closer I could see that it was a six-point Buck, that’s a 3×3 for you Westerners. When he got to a point where he was hidden from me, I raised my crossbow to be ready. He continued to come in and I felt myself tighten up a little. Upon doing so, the cold metal stand made a slight metallic sound. I froze, but the Buck was aware of something out of place.

He continued to come in for the sweetness of the apples, but very cautious. I then had a dilemma. He was at 28 yards, a distance I am extremely confident of making a deadly shot from, but was slightly facing towards me. Although I consider myself a novice, I knew this was not the best presentation for a kill shot. As hard as it was, I had to let temptation give way to ethics. I think he sensed my struggle when he saw me blink and then bolted off. I can tell you that I slept well that night knowing I didn’t just wound him.

About two hours later I watched a doe and a late fawn come in to feed as well. Really? Am I being presented with another test of morals and ethics? Talk about soul searching. But I thought it would be different. You know, cut and dry. There’s a deer, shoot it. I never thought about being put in the position making a call to shoot or not, but I’m glad it happened so early in my new-found passion.

My last two days were uneventful as far as seeing any deer. The wind blew more and it never got even close to thirty degrees. The fact that I had taken a five-point Buck earlier in the season with my crossbow, not to mention my first deer ever, and a large doe in Michigan with a rifle, made it easier to draw my week to a close.

I consider myself a spiritual man and these experiences bring me closer to God. I’ve always loved the woods, even as a kid growing up in Amish country. My friends and I would spend countless hours in and around them. Climbing trees, building forts, making fires, cooking Sassafras tea, camping out, you name it. Oh yeah, and I always had a slingshot. Homemade out of a tree branch and a bike tube or one of those fancy store bought ones that actually came with steel shot. Boy those were the times.