Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer Pickles

Summer Pickles at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
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It is so good to see you again. Did you see my cucumber vines on the fence? Come on in and lets have a glass of ice cold peach tea.

We did an experiment with some of our cucumber vines this year. We planted them next to the fence so they could vine up on the fence. They have done so well, that next year I plan on planting all of the cucumbers along the fence line. Not only has it given a great cover for the fence, we have had better production of the cucumbers.

One of my favorite summertime pickles recipes is "The Pickle Pot". There is still time for you to start your Pickle Pot and enjoy it through the holidays. Go to the link below and get the recipe.

Summer Pickles at Miz Helen's Country Cottage 
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I usually make several pints of Dill Pickles, Sweet Pickles, Sweet Hot Pickles, Okra Pickles, Beet Pickles and Mustard Pickles. The Mustard Pickles are our favorite. That is the pickle people always ask me to give them at Christmas time.

Summer Pickles at Miz Helen's Country Cottage 
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Mustard Pickles
30 medium cucumbers
10 medium onions
4 tablespoons salt
Slice cucumbers and onions and sprinkle with salt
Let stand 1 hour
Drain in a cheesecloth
Mix the following spiced vinegar
5 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons celery seed
2 teaspoons ground ginger
4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons mustard seed
Bring the vinegar mix to a boil, add the cucumbers and onions and bring back to boil.
Simmer 10 minutes
Pack into hot sterilized jars. Process 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
Remember to listen for the pop of the lid in the cooling process to make sure you have a good seal on the jar.
Happy Canning!

I am so happy that you stopped by to have tea with me today, now don't forget your basket of cucumbers. Come back soon!

Peace and Joy
Miz Helen

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hatch Green Chile's

Hatch Green Chilies at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

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The Hatch Green Chile's are in the super market and the farmers markets.  These Chile's from Hatch, New Mexico are one of the real treasures of summer.  We always get excited when the Hatch Chile's hit the stores.  These are the best Green Chile's that I have ever had.

Come on in and we will show you 
what we do with our Chile's.  

The first thing we do is put all the Chile's on a very hot grill and burn the skin on the Chile.  Then quickly take the Chile off the grill and put them into a stainless steel bowl and cover with foil.  Allow the Chile's to completely cool before taking the foil cover off the bowl.

Hatch Green Chilies at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

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Next we peel the Chile.  If you have allowed the chile's to cool completely the peeling will come right off,  and by now the whole house is filled with the wonderful smell of Green Chile's.  It smells heavenly.
Hatch Green Chilies at Miz Helen's Country Cottage 
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It really doesn't take that long and you have a whole platter of Chile's ready to use. Next put your Chile's in the refrigerator and let the chile's chill for at least 2 hours, it will be easier to handle the chile as they are fairly fragile at this point.

Hatch Green Chilies at Miz Helen's Country Cottage 
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Next pull the stem out of the chile, and most of the seed will come with it. You can easily pick the rest of the seed off of the Chile. Today I will be preparing some of my Chile's for the freezer and stuffing some for my recipe.

Stuffed Green Chile's 
Miz Helen's Kitchen
12 Roasted, Peeled, and Seeded Green Chile's
Option: Canned Green Chile's
2 cups Frozen Corn :Black Beans With Tomatoes, Peppers and Onions

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1 cup Long Horn Cheese Shredded
1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese Shredded
Mix the thawed uncooked vegetables with the shredded cheese

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Stuff the Chile's
Hatch Green Chilies at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
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Sprinkle the remainder of the vegetable and shredded cheese mixture on top of the Chile's
Bake uncovered 350 degrees for 30 minutes
Hatch Green Chilies at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
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Serve with Mango Yogurt Dressing, Rice and Tortilla's add a green tossed salad and it is a wonderful meal.
Hatch Green Chilies at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
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Enjoy your Chile's and Happy Eating!

Peace and Joy
Miz Helen
This Post is Linked to:
Countdown to 2011

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Whats For Dinner Next Week: Stewed Chicken

This week my Grocery Store has whole Chicken on sale for $0.79 a pound, which is a pretty good buy, so it is a good time to stock the freezer with whole Chicken.  I will cook a whole chicken at the beginning of the week and will be able to use it in several different ways.  The Hatch Green Chilies from Hatch New Mexico are in season and on sale this week end.  We will have to have Stuffed Green Chilies...Yum! We still have some fresh garden vegetables however most have stopped producing in the August heat.  It is hard to survive 106 degrees.
There are some Farmers Markets around the area to check out those wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables.

Herb Roasted Pork Loin with Mango Salsa
Roasted Squash and Sweet Potatoes
Tossed Green Salad
Homemade French Bread
 Fruit Cobbler with Ice Cream

    Chicken Vegetable Casserole
Lettuce Wedges with Dill Sauce
Fresh Fruit Mix
Chocolate Cupcakes

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce
Tossed Green Salad
Garlic Bread
Cantaloupe Slices

Stuffed Hatch Green Chilies
Pinto Beans
Tossed Green Salad with Salsa
Mango Yogurt

Chicken Salad
Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Fresh Melon Slices
Banana Pudding

Taco Night
Build your own Taco Bar
Oven Baked Tortilla Chips
Snickerdoodle Cookie's

Date Night
We are going out! Wa Hoo!

We are going to cook a whole chicken this week to use in two of our recipes.  If you work I would suggest you cook your chicken on Sunday, but if  you are home on Monday you can just cook it then.  

Stewed Chicken
Wash the whole Chicken inside and out
Be sure and take out the neck and liver
Place the whole Chicken in a 5 1/2 Quart stock pan
Whats For Dinner Next Week: Stewed Chicken at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
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2 carrots  large chop
1 large onion large chop
3 stalks celery with leaves large chop
2 fresh sprigs of rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
2 fresh sprigs of thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Cover with water and bring to boil
Whats For Dinner Next Week: Stewed Chicken at Miz Helen's Country Cottage 
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Cover the stock pot
Turn down heat and cook on medium heat  1 hour or until the chicken will fall off the bone.
When the Chicken is cooked take it out of the broth and let it cool.
Strain the broth pour it into containers to use for soup or chicken stock. Freezes well
Take all the Chicken off the bone and divide it into 2 or 3 sometimes even four packages.  Usually an average size Chicken will yield approximately 6 to 8 cups of meat.  An average recipe will call for 2 cups of chicken, so you can get from two to three different recipes from the one chicken plus the soup or stock.  

At the end of the process, I have 3 quarts of wonderful chicken broth, and 3 2 cup packages of chicken ready for the freezer plus, the 2 cups for my casserole tonight.
Whats For Dinner Next Week: Stewed Chicken at Miz Helen's Country Cottage 
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Sometimes I will stew several Chickens  at the same time and freeze the broth and Chicken in packages, so its is ready to go, when I have an extra busy day, a friend is sick and needs Chicken Soup, or a quick casserole for a luncheon.

Be sure and let me know "Whats For Dinner Next Week" at  your house...
Have a great week and Happy Eating!

Peace and Joy
Miz Helen

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Pickle Pot


The Pickle Pot at Miz Helen's Country Cottage 
In the beginning of the cucumber harvest we start the Pickle Pot
 I remember when I was a little girl going to my Mother's refrigerator and taking a bowl of pickles from 
The Pickle Pot. 

The Pickle Pot at Miz Helen's Country Cottage 
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I don't ever remember a summer when I didn't have a Pickle Pot in my refrigerator.We always have a bowl of pickles from the Pickle Pot for our lunch or dinner. There are pickles for relish, burger's, salads, and the vinegar is heavenly used as a salad dressing.

Pickle Pot
A large glass container is best, but plastic is ok.

Fill the container half full with sliced cucumbers

The slices can be different sizes that is what makes the Pickle Pot fun.

Fill 1/4 of the container with white onion slices.

Salt the cucumbers and onions very well and mix together.

Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of pickle spice to taste.

Pour White Vinegar over the cucumber and onion mixture just until barely covered.

Fill the remainder of the container with water.

Let your Pickle Pot set for 1 week in the refrigerator before using.

You can add to the Pickle Pot all summer, just keep chopping cucumbers and adding salt. From time to time you may have to add more vinegar and water.

The Pickle Pot
Miz Helen's Kitchen
1 Quart Glass Container
1 yellow onion sliced
3 cloves garlic
3 cups cucumber slices
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons pickling  spice
White Vinegar to cover onions and pickles
Water to add to Vinegar
In a clean GLASS  container begin to layer with sliced onions, then sliced cucumbers. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 pod of garlic. Repeat the layer and add 1 tablespoon of the pickling spice. Repeat the layer again ending with the last tablespoon of pickling spice and the remainder of the salt. Fill the container 3/4 of the way full with vinegar and 1/4 with water until the cucumbers and onions are completely covered. Seal the jar tightly and shake up and down to distribute the seasons. Place in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before serving, (if you can wait that long). As the Pickle Pot empties just add more cucumbers and onions and your Pickle Pot is always full all summer long.

Let me know how you enjoy your Pickle Pot. Make a memory!

Peace and Joy
Miz Helen
 This Post Is Linked To:
Pickle Pot Dressing

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quiet Time

We live in a fast paced society. We are always in a hurry no matter what we are doing. Today I want to have some Quiet Time with you. Often times when a little child requires discipline we will put them in Time Out. As adults  we still need the discipline of taking a time out and having a Quiet Time to just allow our spirit to be still.
One of my favorite Bible verses is "Be still and know that I am God" Psalms 46:10

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If you can join me in meditation today, just find a place that you can be very comfortable and very quiet. Today I am taking my Quiet Time out by my beautiful yard Angel. I like to just sit for a while and reflect on the beauty that God has placed all around me.

Just take a few deep breathes and as you exhale release all the tension and stress that may be building around your shoulders.

Just start to relax from your toes to your head.

Now just think of all the beauty that God has placed around you.

Allow your mind and your spirit to travel to beautiful places that you have seen or want to see.

Now just thank your God for all the beauty that He has given you.

Allow yourself to feel God's love for you and know that He is always present with you.

Thanks for joining me today for a Quiet Time.

Peace and Joy
Miz Helen

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Whats For Dinner Next Week: Green Chili's Enchilada Chicken

You are invited for Dinner, just look at the menu and pick a night, so come on in and we will take a look at what we will be serving for Dinner next week here at The Country Cottage.
We have been discussing the concept of food planning and how it effect's our time and budget so I wanted to share with you a series of "Whats For Dinner Next Week". Just some menu idea's and a few recipes along the way in hopes that it will make your week a little easier.Our Grocery Sale Ads come out on Wednesday, and I like to plan my menu's so I can get my shopping done before the week end, so I will be posting this series on Thursday each week.

Grilled Flank Steak
Fresh Green Beans & New Potatoes
Sliced Tomatoes with Basil Oil
Garlic Bread
Fresh  Peach Ice Cream

Slow Cooker
Green Chili Enchilada Chicken
 Fresh Steamed Asparagus
Green Tossed Salad
Flour Tortilla's
Fresh Berry Short Cake with  Ice Cream

Pinto Beans
(don't forget to soak the beans the night before)
Roasted Seasoned Potatoes
Lettuce and Tomato Salad
Mexican Corn Bread
Lemon Cup Cakes

Slow Cooker
Bar B Que Ribs
Cole Slaw
Pinto Beans (left over)
Roasted Corn on the Cob
Peach Ice Cream (left over)

Mexican Meatloaf
Mango Salsa
Tossed Green Salad
Baked Corn Tortilla Chips
Lemon Cup Cakes (left over)


Turkey Burgers on the Grill
Pinto Bean and Corn Salad
( made from left over corn and beans)
Seasoned Sweet Potato Chips
Watermelon Sorbet

 Fish Fry
Catfish and White Fish
Spicy Cole Slaw
Fresh Black Eyed Peas
Oven Baked Hush Puppies
Ice Box Surprise Pie

Slow Cooker
Green Chili's Enchilada Chicken
From Monday Menu

Green Chili's Enchilada Chicken at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

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Green Chili Enchilada Chicken
2 1/2 to 3 pounds of Chicken Thighs
washed and dried
Mix together
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin Powder
Rub the mix all over the Chicken
Pour into Crock Pot
1 15 ounce can Hatch Green Chili Enchilada Sauce
1 cup of Fresh Orange Juice
Place the rubbed Chicken in the Enchilada Sauce/Orange Juice Mixture
Turn the Chicken making sure it is covered.
Cover and Cook 4 hours on high
5 to 7 hours on low
When the Chicken is cooked through
Pour the liquid into a sauce pan
1/2 cup Orange Marmalade
Zest of one Orange
1/4 cup fresh chopped Cilantro
Cook sauce over low heat until reduced by 1/3
Plate the Chicken
Drizzle the sauce over the Chicken
Garnish with Fresh Sliced Oranges and Cilantro

Let me know "Whats For Dinner Next Week" at your house...I will be looking forward to hearing from you. Happy Eating!

Peace and Joy
Miz Helen

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lets Get Organized : Meal Planning

 I always think of getting organized when school starts.  When our children were in school our year went from September to September.  Now school starts in some parts of the country in mid August.  Our schools here start this week and all my friends who teach or have children at home are beginning that organization process.

When my children were home and still in school time was a very important factor as well as stretching the food dollars as far as they would go.  We didn't have computers or the Internet least of all cell phones.  Today staying organized with all the electronics makes life so much easier however there are a few basics that never change.

When I shopped for food I would buy enough to last a month.  To buy enough food to last a month for a family took quite a bit of planning.  The savings were well worth any time that I spent in the planning stage.  Today I shop once a week for food and once a month for cleaning and other supplies. 

It is estimated that Americans throw away into the trash over $600.00 in food per person every year...that comes from poor planning or no planning at all.  Many American families eat out in fast food or chain restaurant's three to four times a week.  Compared to those families who cook at least six times a week the savings are tremendous to these families.

I have to start with a well organized pantry so that I can take a quick look at what I need so I can prepare meals without always having to stop and run to the store.  Or worse yet to stop by the Grocery Store on the way home from work and wonder up and down the isle trying to make a decision what to cook for dinner that is wasted time and money.  Different regions and different cultures will have different food items in their basic pantry.  Whatever your cooking taste and recipes are, stock your pantry around your  families personal taste.

Stock Your Pantry

Lets Get Organized: Meal Planning at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
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Then make a food plan, try starting out with one week. 
If you want you can set up a spread sheet on the computer or visit one of the on line sites that let you plan your menu and then print the grocery list from the menu.  I recently visited the site.  They offer a great service and its FREE.  Another tool is just a plain piece of paper or a calendar.  I use a calendar and  I keep it  year after year, so when I hit one of those times when I just can't think of what to have, I just look back on some of my old menu's and I am inspired all over again.

Start with Sunday then make a plan for breakfast and dinner for Sunday through Saturday.
I rarely include lunch as most workers or school children eat in the cafeteria.  If  your workers and or school children are taking a sack lunch, then you would want to include that in the plan.

Next look at all the recipes on your plan and begin to make your grocery list. 
Take the list to your pantry and your refrigerator and put down just the things that  you will need to complete the weeks menu's and any staples that need to be replaced.  Some people keep a running inventory of the pantry and the refrigerator/freezer. I keep a running inventory with dates of the food freezer to guard against having products go bad as a result of freezer burn or falling into the deep "freezer well of no return" only to be found years later.

When the grocery list is complete, look at your coupon book, go online and look for coupons.
One of the stores that I like to shop has recently started an on line service that allows you to make a grocery list from the week end sale items.  It is categorized according to departments and will print any coupons that will match your list items, this makes shopping very easy.  I tried it last week and just loved the efficiency. I only use coupons for the products that I use. It has always been my feeling we really don't save any money if we are buying something that we will never use just to use the coupon.

Now we are off to the Grocery Store with the list and the coupons.
Stick to the list! Stay focused and don't be distracted by all the wonderful goodies that are not on your list.  This is where you can really save money. If you see a new product that you would like to try, jot it down on a note pad and incorporate the product in next weeks food plan. Make it a fun experience because if you have planned you won't have to come back for a week!

Tomorrow Watch for "What's For Dinner Next Week"...see you then!

Peace and Joy
Miz Helen