Savory Garden Spaghetti Sauce

  Straight from the garden to your stock pot, bet you’ll never want to eat jarred spaghetti sauce again!

  A big thank you to Connie for inspiring this dish by posting photos of hers simmering on the stove on Facebook! I don’t know why I haven’t thought to try this before.  I took careful notes while I made our sauce, but you change the proportions per your families taste buds!

Savory Garden Spaghetti Sauce

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Garden Spaghetti Sauce text

Ingredients

  • 30 whole Medium Tomatoes (more Or Less Depending On The Size)
  • 2 whole Peppers, Any Color
  • 8 ounces, weight Mushrooms (optional)
  • 3 whole Onions, White Or Yellow
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 24 cloves Of Peeled Garlic
  • 2+ T. each total, divided use, of Oregano, Rosemary, Parsley (fresh If You Have It, Dried If You Don’t!)
  • 2 pinches of Thyme
  • Kosher Salt & Cracked Pepper, to taste
  • 20 leaves Of Fresh Basil (more To Taste)

Wash and rough chop all veggies. Saute onion pieces in butter in the bottom of a large stock pot, add in garlic cloves and mushrooms, saute a few minutes more. Add in all veggies. Season WELL with all listed seasonings, per your taste buds. Simmer on the stove, covered, for 45 minutes.
Stir and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 hours. {Your house is going to smell AMAAAAZING!!!}
Right before serving, throw in fresh basil, and blend with an immersion blender.  You will want to taste and check seasonings. I was surprised how much I needed to add again at this point.
{The tomatoes really bland everything down}
Serve hot and fresh over pasta or place in jars, 3/4 full, cool and freeze.

Enjoy with a salad and bread sticks!

~T

 

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Jalapeno Popper Dip

  So as bad as I wanted fall weather to come and stay, I am SO thankful that its held off a bit.  The last part of September, our tomato plants FINALLY, after doing awful all summer, started producing.  YAY!  We also have an abundance of jalapenos and red peppers.

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  I can’t let all those good peppers go to waste, so I was on the look out for recipes using either.  For the Red Peppers, we’ll do Steak Fajitas or Southwest Cream Cheese Stuffed Red Peppers.  Here is what I found for the jalapenos:

Jalapeno Popper Dip

I am in LOOOVE with this dip! Tastes JUST like Jalapeno Poppers! I don’t like a lot of heat, so we seeded the jalapenos, it was perfect, even the kids could eat it.

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Ingredients

  • 6 whole Small, Fresh Jalapenos (or 3 Lg)
  • 4 ounces, weight Chopped Green Chilies
  • 12 ounces, weight Softened Cream Cheese
  • ½ cups Sour Cream
  • ½ cups Mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 cup (generous Cup) Fiesta Cheese
  • ½ cups Real Bacon Crumbles
  • ½ cups Panko Bread Crumbs
  • ½ cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated

Carefully slice and seed jalapenos, reserving some seeds to stir back in, ONLY if you like it spicy. Preheat oven to 400*.
Combine jalapenos, green chilies, cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, fiesta cheese and bacon bits. Spread into baking dish and top with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. (1 did 1 ramekin and 1 mini oval baking dish, pictured above) Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes, watching carefully, until crumbs are just turning golden brown.
Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

~T

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Gooseberry Patch

And Then There Were 2….

  I have a “MOM, What’s for Dinner?” Recipe for you. Well, not really a recipe, more of a throw it all together sorta thing.

I had nothing planned for dinner, which is unusual for me. I love to try new recipes and usually have one picked out in the morning and prepping supper by mid afternoon.  On this particular night, it was already 5:30, and we had just walked in the door from a SUPER busy day.  The kids tummies were going off and the clock was ticking. Hmm, no money for frivolities like take out or pizza delivery, so it was time to come up with something, and QUICK!

Here is what I made:

Y-U-M!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Let’s call it Garden Italian Creme Pizza.  OR “MOM! What’s for Dinner? Pizza”.

I had one of these Philadelphia Cooking Cremes that I got for next to nothing with a coupon, yay!  And a garden full of basil, jalapenos and red peppers.  I also had a container of tomatoes that needed to be used. Hmm, what could I make?! 

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 I took 2 crescents (set out for a bit to soften) and spread them into my bar pan from Pampered Chef, you could easily half this and make a circle pizza. I think circle pizzas taste better in general!!!! Dale thinks I am nuts.

“Shapes don’t make a difference.”  Uh yeah, they do.  Why do you think no one wants to share the first bite of pie? You have to eat the tip, its part of the yum factor!

  Back to the non-recipe recipe.  Ok, I just made a crust.  Bake it until starting to turn golden brown, probably 425* for maybe 15 minutes? I can’t recall, just watch it closely and remember, it’ll go back in the oven again.

Next, spread crust with Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking crème.  I used almost the whole thing for my big rectangle pizza, so 1 circle pizza would use half.

  Wash and thinly slice 1 red pepper, seed & thinly slice 4 fresh jalapenos and thinly slice your basil leaves as well.  Sprinkle all these garden goodies over your crème sauce.  Top with mozzarella cheese (FRESH if you have time, which I didn’t) and top with tomato halves.  Back in the oven it goes, just until the cheese is gooey, remember your crust is already baked.

OH MY WORD! We have had this TWICE now, and I don’t repeat recipes. It was that good!

In other news, Tylan started preschool yesterday! 

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Please excuse his butchered head of hair, er, lack of hair?  He dipped when I dodged and snip…bye-bye long bangs that I loved.  I’ve cut his hair always, but of COURSE this happens the week before school starts!!!!!  Thankfully his luscious locks grow super fast and my little curly head will return quickly, but poor kid, talk about locking into history a rather AKWARD moment!!!!  🙂

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“Oh look, here is a photo of Tylan on his first day of preschool.”

Mom! What happened to my hair?”

“Sorry son.”

He’ll forgive me, right?!

Right.

 

  Ok, it’s time for school, Buddy! 

011And then there were 2……

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~T

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Southwest Cream Cheese Stuffed Red Peppers

  I don’t know about you, but my garden is NOT doing well this year.

Sad tomato plants:

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Even more sad green bean plants:

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  We are barely getting any tomatoes and got only 1 batch of green beans before the plants fried in the hot sun. 

  It was 112* almost everyday we were gone to Florida and with Kansas being behind 10 inches of rain, things are very brown and dead here.  😦  Praise the Lord we did get some rain recently, but not before farmers lost cattle and crops.  In comparison, this seems minor, but I’m still mourning the loss of Blackberry cobbler and a freezer full of blackberries to get us through the winter….all our blackberries shriveled up before plumping up for the first time in 9 years.  Yes, it was THAT hot!

  Right now we are getting carrots, red peppers and jalapenos from the garden, for those we are thankful! 

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We love to grill out jalapeno poppers.  Just halve and seed the jalapenos, fill with seasoned cream cheese (we like to use Southwest Seasoning), wrap in bacon, secure with toothpick and grill.  DEEELICIOUS!  What do you mean do I have a photo?  Noooo, that would’ve required me to think before Dale and I gobbled them all up pigishly.

{Oink oink}

  With our Red Peppers I made this for supper:

Southwest Cream Cheese Stuffed Red Peppers049

  • 2 Tablespoons Southwest Seasoning (from Pampered Chef, it’s AMAZING! But you can use cumin, chili powder…anything you deem Mexican flavors, instead.)
  • 4 ounces, weight Spreadable Cream Cheese (I Believe Its Called Whipped And Is Found In The Bagel Section)
  • 8 whole Large Red Peppers
  • 2 cups Cooked Meat Of Your Choice: Shredded Pork, Taco Meat, Or Shredded Chicken.
  • 2 cups Shredded Cheese, More Or Less As Desired
  • Optional Garnishes: Sour Cream, Guacamole
  • FOR THE MEXICAN RICE:
  • 1 cup Uncooked Brown Rice
  • 2 Tablespoons Cooking Oil
  • 1 whole Small Onion Chopped
  • 1 whole Garlic Clove, Pressed
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 2 whole Large Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth

Preparation Instructions

First, make your Southwest Cream Cheese by adding 2 tablespoons of Southwest seasoning (or cumin, garlic and chili powder) to 4 ounces of spreadable cream cheese. Refrigerate until ready to make supper, pulling it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes ahead of time to soften up a bit.

Make Mexican rice: In a large skillet over medium heat, saute rice in hot oil until slightly browned. Add the onion, garlic and salt. Cook over low heat until onion is tender. Add tomatoes, cook over medium heat until softened. Add broth; cover and simmer until water is absorbed.

Cut each red pepper in half vertically (from the stem straight down). Remove seeds and pop off the green top. Place in a large pot of salted water, bring to a boil and allow peppers to cook for 5-7 minutes or until starting to soften. Then remove them from the water, drain and cool.

Meanwhile, prepare meat of your choice or grab whatever is leftover in the fridge.

Spread each pepper with 1 Tablespoon (or more to taste) of seasoned cream cheese. Add shredded meat, Mexican rice and top with cheese, filling pepper just to the brim.

Place peppers on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve hot with sour cream or guacamole on top.

This is SO versatile!  You could use black beans, corn, cilantro, anything you deem “Mexican-ish” in this. Don’t have time to make Mexican rice? Then get one of those Knorr packets of Mexican rice for even faster prep time.

They were delicious, and despite my children’s first reaction: “But I don’t like red peppers!”, they ate them and even asked for seconds.

This is PRECISELY why “No Thank You Bites” are required at our house!

So, how does your garden grow?

~T

My Secret Weapon & Blackberry Cream Cheese Pie

  Our garden is growing nicely, praise the Lord! 

  We have already enjoyed several rounds of green onions, and a couple of salads.  Oh, and I will be sharing an amaaaazing Mexican Salad with you next week. 

  Anyhow, we do everything we can to keep our garden’s pestiside free.  Unfortunately, this means we have bugs that think our garden is an all you can eat buffet. 

    This was taken a couple weeks ago, but see poor, poor little Stubby down there, to the left.  That tiny weed looking one in the row of ever growing lettuce…….

  I’ve pointed it out for you with a white sign to help you determine just who Stubby is.

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Stubby is not returning to his former glory as his brothers and sisters have done004 after gracing us with a lovely meal.  This is because Rolly-polly’s thought he was their lunch.

Meet my Secret Weapon:

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Cayenne Pepper, that I buy in bulk.

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  This protects poor lil’ Stubby and his garden friends, like Mr. Tomato Head, from big bad bugs.  Plus, it keeps our veggies pesticide free.  Score!

 Remember my new favorite Push Crust recipe

  Well, it has opened up a whole new world of pie baking for me and this Black Berry Cream Cheese Pie is a winner!  We won’t be ready to pick fresh blackberries from our patch until late in the summer, but my freezer ones from last year worked just fine!

  This Blackberry pie isn’t overly sweet as some can be. The small amount of sugar still allows the berries natural flavor to come through, and the cream cheese layer?  Well that’s just bonus! 🙂

Blackberry Cream Cheese Pie

  • 1 whole Baked Pie Crust
  • 5 cups Blackberries, Fresh Or Frozen Ones That Have Been Thawed, Divided Use
  • ½ cups Water (or You Can Use Berry Juice If You Thawed Frozen Berries)
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • ⅔ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 6 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
  • Optional Garnishes: Whipped Cream, Additional Berries

Preparation Instructions

Prepare and bake your pie crust according to your recipe or package instructions. Once baked, allow it to cool before filling it.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine 3 cups of berries with water or berry juice. Bring to a boil. Once you’ve reached a boil, remove from heat and let cool. Once cooled, strain and push the mixture through a sieve, just to remove seeds. Return the syrup to the saucepan. Stir in the cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring and boiling for 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and cool.

Blend the cream cheese, milk and lemon zest until smooth using a mixer if you have one. Spread the mixture evenly into the cooled pie shell. Top with the remaining 2 cups of uncooked berries. Pour the cooled, thickened syrup over the berries, evenly. Refrigerate for 1 hour before topping with whipped cream and additional fresh berries for garnish.

Dig in! This is a fantastic, fresh-flavored pie! YUM!

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This makes me really really anxious for Blackberry picking time!  And then, I remember the climbing the fence with barbed wire part, and worst of all, the thorn part.  Horrible, awful, make your skin hurt for weeks from the poison, thorns.   This makes me really really anxious for DALE to pick some Blackberries for us soon! 🙂

{Love you, honey! You good little berry picker you……}

I am hoping we have enough Berries to sell this year! (fingers crossed)

Happy Organic Gardening & Baking!

~T

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