Sunday, September 30, 2012

Beef Spiedini

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If you saw my earlier post on Chicken Spiedini, you had to know that this post was coming next!  This recipe is fantastic!

Here are the ingredients:

Beef (don't buy a cheap piece of meat - sirloin of eye of round would work), thin pieces
Olive Oil - 1 cup
White wine - 1 cup
Bread Crumbs - 1 cup
Parmesan Cheese - 1 cup
Butter - 1/2 stick, melted
Lemon juice - juice of 1 lemon

Take the beef and marinade it in the wine and oil.  Keep it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

After the beef has been in the marinade for at least 1 hour, remove it.  Put the beef in a plastic bag and pound into a thin piece.

Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese.  Dredge the beef in the breadcrumb mixture.  Roll the beef and broil for 3-5 minutes on each side.

In the meantime, melt the butter.  Slowly pour the lemon juice in the butter, whisking as you pour.

Pour the butter over the beef and serve.

Spiedini served with gnocchi and pesto!

Mangia!  This recipe is listed on Simple Living and Eating!


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This recipe is listed on Domestic Randomness

Gnocchi are Italian potato dumplings.  They look like little pasta shapes but are a little denser than pasta.  My family is from southern Italy - Sicily to be exact.  My Nonna didn't cook gnocchi very often.

The first time I had gnocchi was at a Thanksgiving feast at my 1st Grandmother In Law's house.  She was a feisty little Italian lady (aren't we all!).  Her name was Angie Marz (nee Ventimiglia) - she was my son's Great Grandmother.

Angie Marz holding my little Jonah Bologna - 1999 

Here are the ingredients to make gnocchi:

2 large russet potatoes
1-1 1/2 cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

To begin with, bake your potatoes in the oven at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until soft.  Let them cool and then scoop out the potato.  Be sure not to include the skin in the potato pulp.  Take a fork and mash the potato - get rid of the chunks.  If you have a potato ricer, that would be a perfect tool to use.

When the potato is mashed, add the flour, egg, salt and olive oil. 

Knead the ingredients until it forms a dough.

Take a small chunk of the dough and roll it out, like a long snake.  Cut the dough into 1/2 inch pieces and place on a floured surface.

Cook the gnocchi in salted, boiling water.  When the dumplings float to the top (about 2 minutes), they are ready.  Drain the gnocchi and put your favorite sauce on them:  meat sauce, marinara, pesto, etc.

I put fresh pesto on the gnocchi.  It was FABULOUS!

Mangia!  This recipe is listed on Foodie Friends Friday!


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Italians love their Basil!  Every summer I grow a big pot in my garden.  It is so easy to grow.  The smell is nothing like you have every smelled before..........

Basil grows rapidly.  Before you know it, you have so much Basil and you don't know what to do with it.  That is your clue that it is time to make Pesto!

The ingredients for Pesto are:

2 cups Basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
Dash kosher salt
Dash pepper
2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Put the Basil, pine nuts, salt, pepper, and garlic in a food processor.

Turn the food processor on low.  Slowly pour the olive oil in.

When you are finished, remove the mixture from the food processor.  Add the Parmesan cheese.

Pesto is great on fresh bread, pasta, and gnocchi.  Mangia!

Cold Flu Syrup Made With Natural Herbs

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To start with, I will formally state that I am not a doctor and the information provided on this post is not meant to take the place of a doctor's advice. 

I have been suffering from extreme allergies for over a year now.  I've consulted an allergist and the only remaining course for me is allergy shots.  I do not want to do this!

Last month I did some research on natural remedies to help allergy sufferers.  In my research I discovered that elderberry has shown to be effective in reducing the severity of colds and flu.  I made an elderberry syrup, with local honey:

This syrup has helped lessen the severity of my allergies, but not gotten rid of them.  So back to the books I went.

I my research I discovered that there are a few more natural remedies that help with allergies, cold and flu symptoms.  I decided to add some of these ingredients to the elderberry syrup I previously made.

The other ingredients I am adding include nettles and echinacea.


Here is some information regarding the use of nettles in medicinal herbs:

Here is some information regarding the use of echinacea in medicinal herbs:

Here are the ingredients I used for my syrup:

2 cups filtered or distilled water
2/3 cup dried elderberries
2 tablespoons dried nettles
2 tablespoons dried echinacea
1 small chunk of fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 lemon
1 cup local, raw honey

Put the first 7 ingredients in a sauce pan.  Simmer for 2 hours, allowing the mixture to reduce by half.  Do not let all of the water evaporate - add some if needed.  When the mixture has reduced by half, take off the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.

Drain the mixture, using a fine mesh strainer and some cheesecloth.  Press the berries to extract as much juice as you can.  Discard the solids or use in your compost pile.

When the mixture has cooled, add 1 cup honey.  Stir vigorously.  Refrigerate - it should keep for 1-2 months.  If you want to add to the shelf life, add 1/4 cup brandy.

Again, this syrup is not meant to replace your doctor's advice.  I'll let you know if these additional ingredients eliminate the rest of my allergies.  Wish me luck!

The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Apple Butter

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I love fall!  I love the crisp air, and APPLES!  Today, I decided to conquer a favorite of mine - APPLE BUTTER!

Here are the ingredients for the apple butter:

6 lbs of Jonathan apples
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon all spice

To begin, I used my handy dandy apple/core/slicer gadget from Pampered Chef.  I love this tool!  It makes peeling and slicing apples so easy.

When the apples are peeled and sliced, put in a sauce pan and cover with water.  Simmer on medium low heat for 1 1/2 hours.

Strain and puree the apples.  I pureed my apples in my food processor.  Put the pureed apples into an oven safe pot.  I used my dutch oven.  Add the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves and all spice. 

Stir gently.  Cover and chill for 3-4 hours, or overnight.

When you have chilled the pureed apples, put it in the oven and bake for 3 1/2-4 hours.  Bake on 300, stirring every hour.  As it cooks, it will darken.

As the apple butter is baking, you need to process your jars for canning.  Put a large stock pot on and boil water.  Put your canning jars in the dishwasher.  This will ensure that the jars are sterilized and that they will not crack when you put the apple butter in.  In a separate pot, boil some water for the lids and rims.

When the apple butter is cooked, ladle it into your canning jars.  Leave 1/2 inch head space.  Wipe the rims before putting the lids on.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

As you take the jars out of the pot, the jars will start to cool.  As the jars cool, the lids will vacuum seal, creating a popping sound.  You will know that the jar is processed correctly if when you push on the lid, it doesn't give.  If you can push the lid up and down, the jar didn't process correctly.  Simply put the jar in the refrigerator and use that one first.

This batch made 7, 1/2 pint jars.


Grape Jelly

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Grape jelly - it is a staple in my house.  Jonah will not eat any other kind - Grape is his favorite!  I figured since I was doing all of this canning and learning how to make jelly, I would learn how to make his favorite.

My Schmoop - Jonah!

I REALLY didn't want to get fresh grapes and run them through a sieve.............that sounded like too much work.  Instead, I did a little research and found that you can make grape jelly from grape juice!

Here are the ingredients:

Grape Juice - 2 quarts
Sugar - 3 cups(if you want your jelly sweeter, add more)
2 boxes pectin
1 teaspoon butter

Heat the grape juice and pectin until right before the boiling point.  Add the sugar and butter and boil vigorously for 1 minute.

At the same time, you need to start preparing the jars for canning.  Place the jars in your dishwasher and run the cycle.  This will sterilize the jars and heat them so that the grape jelly mixture will not crack the glass.

Put the lids and rims in a pot of boiling water. 

You will need a large stock pot of boiling water to process the grape jelly.

When the grape jelly mixture has boiled, use a funnel and put the mixture in the jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Wipe the rim of the jars and then put the rims and lids on.

Process the jars in a water bath (boiling water) for 15 minutes.  Remove the jars and let them cool.  As the jars cool, the jelly will set and the lids will seal.  You will know that the jars have sealed because you will hear "pop,"  "pop," "pop!"

If you are able to press on the lid and it gives, the jar did not seal properly.  Put that jar in the refrigerator and use it first.

This is very economical!  I made 7 little jelly jars and 6 1/2 pint jars.  Considering the average jar of jelly will cost over 2 dollars a piece - I'd say this is a bargain!

Smuckers has nothing on me!

Aunt Hazel's Pecan Pie

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My Aunt Hazel was a great lady!  She was always smiling and always had a kind word for you.  I remember visiting her on her farm when I was growing up.  She lived in Oregon and had a dairy farm.  It was a beautiful place!

My Nana, My Grannie and Aunt Hazel!  3 Fiesty Ladies!

Aunt Hazel was a hard worker and knew how to have fun! When Jonah was born, Aunt Hazel and Nana drove out here to visit us.  Here she is holding little Jonah Bologna (1999).

Every woman has a recipe she is "famous" for.  Here is Aunt Hazel's recipe for her famous pecan pie!


Pie Crust - see recipe below
1 cup dark Karo syrup
3 eggs beaten
1 cup, less 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecans

To begin, I made a basic pie crust.  Her recipe didn't come with a pie crust recipe so I made my own.  In my food processor I added 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/3 cup cold butter (cut into small chunks).  I pulsed those ingredients together until it resembled a crumb mixture.  Then, I added 3 tablespoons ice cold water.  Then, I mixed it together until it formed into a dough ball.  I put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to bake.

Form the pie crust into the bottom of a pie pan.  Press the dough up the edges and around the bottom of the pan.

To make the pie, beat the butter, sugar and eggs together.  Slowly add the Karo syrup and vanilla. 
Pour the pie mixture into the pie pan. Pour the pecans on top. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

When you take the pie out of the oven, it will be dark brown, but still fluid.  As the pie cools, it will gel together - about 2 hours.

Aunt Hazel with my Grandpeepaw - on her farm in Oregon.
Look!  Uncle Johnny and Dad are in the background!
Dig out those old family recipes and share some memories!  Enjoy!

This recipe is shared with:

Pamela's Heavenly Treats

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicken Spiedini

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 This recipe is listed on Domestic Randomness

Italians love their chicken spiedini!  It is so easy to make and so elegant.  My grandmother was a Cunetto (Cunetto's House of Pasta, St. Louis, MO) so this recipe was in her blood!  Here is a picture of my grandmother, with her sister Mary and her mother Rosa Lia Cunetto..........

Aren't little old Italian ladies cute?!!!
Maniaci and Cunetto descendants at the Family Reunion
Here are the ingredients:
4 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup olive oil
1 cup white wine
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 pound melted butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
Here are the ingredients for the marinade

Place the chicken, oil, wine and spices in a Ziploc bag.  Marinate for 1 hour.

Mix Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs together.  Roll the chicken in the bread crumb mixture. 

 Put the chicken on a skewer and broil for 10 minutes.

While the chicken in in the oven, melt the butter and infuse the lemon juice.  Whisk briskly while slowly pouring the lemon juice in.  Pour the butter sauce over the chicken when you remove it from the oven.


I served my chicken spiedini over polenta.  DOUBLE YUM!


This recipe is featured on Foodie Friends Friday!