The Day of The Tomato

My family has a ridiculously large garden. And I’m blessed to reap the rewards. Right now I have 8 gallon bags of frozen home grown delicious tomatoes in my freezer. Ripe and ready to hit the sauce pot. And that is literally just the tip of the iceberg so to speak of what the plants produced.

I learned how to cook, season, and can my own tomato sauce and salsa last summer. And boy….let me tell you how delicious that was all winter to have yummy jars to cook into my casseroles and crock pot!

Jellybean is growing and growing so I don’t quite have the get up an go of last summer. But my plan is to work slow and steady today with lots of water and sitting breaks. All so I can convert those juicy tomatoes into sauce. It’s a rough day when your food cravings crash against your swollen pregnancy feet, lol.

Wish me luck! I hope to have some good foodie photos to show when I’m done 🙂

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Tomato Madness

My family has always grown a HUGE garden. The tomatoes set and produced like gangbusters this year. I have been dying to put up some homemade salsa and tomato sauce. I use so much sauce in my crock pot recipes and the hubby eats salsa by the gallon. But the problem is that I didn’t know how to can either of those.

So over Labor Day weekend, my Grandma and Aunt Janice offered to teach me. It was SOOO much work but it was awesome! I love making stuff in my Grandma’s kitchen. It reminds me of being a kid again.

Start with the freshest tomatoes a garden can produce. Remove skins and seeds leaving only the yummy pulp and juice…

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Pick some yummy green chilies and throw on the grill…

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Roast until toasty and blistery and sweat until skins come off…

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Take tomato goodness and cook down until you have thick saucy goodness…

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Season with yummy veggies and spices and pour into jars and process until sealed tight!

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In 13 hours (over two days with many helping hands) I was able to make 14 pints of tomato and roasted chili salsa and 17 pints of tomato sauce. My cupboard is so happy now!!! I can’t wait to savor these goodies in the winter when everything is cold and dreary.

Eating Better (or at least trying to)

Between my full time job and the husband working full time AND going back to school, we aren’t home much at night. But our waistlines shouldn’t suffer. So I have a plan!

Cook ahead Sundays! I spend a few hours in the kitchen on Sunday and fill the fridge for the week. This week we have Baked Beef N Macaroni and Spicy Salsa Chicken.

First the beef! I browned 2 lbs of lean ground beef with one large white onion. Drained and put in large bowl. Cook 1/2 of large box of macaroni noodles to al dente and drain. Add to beef. I then mixed in an extra large container of spaghetti sauce and 1 cup mozzerella. Stir to combine and pour into 9×13 pan. I then topped with 2 more cups of shredded mozzerella. Threw in the oven at 350 to bake for 15 minutes (or until cheese is baked and the whole thing bubbles)!

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Now the Spicy Salsa Chicken! I steamed 1 1/2 cups white rice with 3 cups water. After the rice was done and tender I transferred to a large mixing bowl. I added one can of green beans, one can of sliced carrots, large can of chicken breast pieces, and finally 2-3 cups of homemade salsa. Stir to combine and pour into 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (or until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted)!

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This way we have home cooked meals to pack into our lunches AND ready to heat meals when we finally get home. Nice big pans of yumminess that keep us out of the drive thru lanes. Our favorite this week was definitely the salsa chicken! (I mixed in a little sliced fresh avocado to mine and it was to die for!)

It’s takes some time and I dirty a lot of dishes, but it’s totally worth it. Here’s hoping to win the battle of the bulge!