Shipwreck Pie, Minus the Shipwreck

Shipwreck Pie (featuring boxed dehydrated flavored potatoes)

This version of shipwreck pie uses an inexpensive, boxed, (any) flavored, dehydrated, sliced potatoes. Our family favorite is Rosemary & Herb with Creamy White Sauce but try others for unique flavors. The end result is a fancied-up many-layered meatloaf that is good served with vegetables, pasta, or rice.

Ingredients:

1 boxed dehydrated sliced potatoes with flavoring packet

1 lb. ground beef (divided into 2 equal portions)

2 cups beef broth

1 ½ cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese

1 medium onion diced (diced finely and divided into 2 equal portions)

2 tablespoons butter, sliced into thin pats

4 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

 

In a well-greased slow cooker, layer the ingredients as follows:

  1. Dehydrated sliced potatoes from box mix
  2. 2 cups beef broth poured over potatoes
  3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of nonfat dry milk over broth
  4. 2 tablespoons of butter sliced thin into pats spaced evenly on top
  5. Sprinkle ½ of seasoning packet from box
  6. 1 pinch Italian seasoning
  7. ½ cup Colby Jack cheese
  8. ½ of the diced onion
  9. ½ lb. ground beef
  10. ½ seasoning packet
  11. ½ cup Colby Jack Cheese
  12. ½ lb. ground beef
  13. ½ of the diced onion
  14. Pinch of Italian seasoning
  15. ½ cup Colby Jack cheese
  16. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons flour over surface
  17. Remainder of Italian seasoning sprinkled on top

Cook on high for ½ hour, then on low for ½ hour. Can keep on warm up to 2 hours.

Easy Slow Cooker Yogurt

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Slow Cooker Yogurt

This is one of the easiest ways you can save some serious money. If you eat yogurt, add up how many little, 5-7 oz. cups you go through in 7-10 days. For the cost of some milk, yogurt, gelatin (optional), and electricity, you can make the creamiest homemade yogurt. It is so easy!

What you need:

  • a slow cooker, thick beach towel, small clean containers for finished yogurt, and a whisk
  • 1 gal of milk (fresher is better, pasteurized is fine)
  • 3 TBS powdered milk (optional- use if you want thicker finished yogurt)
  • 1 small packet Knox gelatin (optional- great for thicker yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt with active cultures (save some from previous batches or use store bought as a starter. Just check the label for active cultures)

Pour milk in slow cooker. Mix in powdered milk if you prefer a thicker yogurt or if milk is high heat pasteurized. Turn on low. Let milk cook for 3 hours.
Unplug slow cooker and let sit for 3 hours without removing lid.
Scoop out 2 cups of the warmish milk and whisk with active yogurt and optional gelatin.
Return milk mixture to slow cooker and whisk quickly into warm milk.
Cover still unplugged slow cooker. Wrap in thick beach towel to retain heat and leave sitting without disturbing for 8-10 hours (this is where I go to bed).
When the cover is lifted and you scoop your spoon through the creamy yogurt you won’t believe how easy it was!
Scoop into containers and refrigerate promptly.
Top the unsweetened yogurt with fresh fruit, jam, or chocolate syrup. It’s so yummy.

If you like sour cream or Greek yogurt, simply strain through cheesecloth overnight in a colander in the refrigerator. The whey that collects is wonderful for making bread, lemonade, or even acidifying the soil around plants.

Now, you do the math. You can get a gallon of yogurt for the price of milk and some extras in 16 hours.

Let me know what you do with yours.

Grandma’s Easy White Bread

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Grandma’s Easy White Bread

What you need:

  • 1 TBS of active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 TBS bacon grease (or other natural oil/shortening)
  • 6-ish cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 TBS sugar
  • 2 standard loaf pans, greased
  • 2 9×5 standard loaf pans

This bread is so incredibly easy to make—even for folks who don’t think they can bake bread.

I got the recipe from my grandmother, back in the 80s, when I was a fairly new housewife, making our first home, and struggling to save money. It was then that I learned that my grandfather once owned a bakery. I’m thankful that they were able to pass on skills that are in danger of slipping away.  Note that *bacon grease or oil prevents the dough from becoming too elastic and controls the big air holes in the bread. Don’t leave it out, if you want a nice small crumb that goes with sandwiches and everyday use. Once you are making bread, you can experiment with it and its effect on texture. Have fun!

  1. Put 2 cups of warm water in a very large bowl. Add the active dry yeast sugar and salt. Add the *bacon grease and whisk to mix.
  2. Gradually add flour to the mixture, ½ cup at a time. At first it will be soupy, then it will start to get sticky, then move on to have a sturdier form. It will be hard to mix. A large sturdy metal spoon works well (or a stand mixer with a dough hook). The bread will become a workable, soft dough at somewhere near 6 cups of flour. Don’t add too much or it will be too stiff and prevent proper rising. Knead for 5 minutes.
  3. Oil the inside of a large bowl and transfer the dough into it. Set it aside to rise until it is 1 ½ its original size. Pick a warm location that is free of drafts. Plan on this taking an hour or so.
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Punch down and knead about 1 minute.
  5. Divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape the pieces into a loaf and put in the 2 greased loaf pans.
  6. Set aside and let rise until double in size.
  7. Split top with a sharp knife and drizzle butter down middle for a fancy butter-top finish.
  8. Bake at 375° until light golden brown. Bread will sound hollow when thumped or tapped.
  9. Bread will be done in approximately 25-30 minutes. Set a timer and check it at 20 minutes.

Bread is a living thing and will have slight changes from batch to batch. The more you make it, the more you will get to know your yeast, altitude, personal oven, etc. Once you find the perfect crumb for your family, stick to the recipe variations you have found successful. If you get a new oven, you will have to play with it a bit to find the perfect timing.

Recipe makes 2 loaves. We slice into about 12 slices per loaf.

 

 

 

All the Whey

If you are into making your own mozzarella cheese or Greek style yogurt, you may already be acquainted with the delicious drink made of whey. It’s a shame my family had been missing out on this so long. No, we weren’t letting the protein-rich liquid go to waste. I would save it for use in bread making, soak dried beans in it before cooking, or acid up the soil around acid loving plants. Even the worm farm and compost bins appreciated a drink when there was more than enough to go around.
Well, it’s not likely there will be any leftovers this summer. The whey liquid can be sweetened up with agave nectar or sugar and it tastes just like lemonade! Chilled, over ice it is just divine–and so healthy.
The picture at left shows how much whey liquid is recaptured from a single gallon of milk after making American Mozzarella Cheese using rennet. Nothing wasted! If you are looking for a really easy recipe, check out the Junket website or the rennet tablet packet insert.

Preserves in the Homestead Kitchen

Stop looking at these jars of gooey goodness as a sweet treat and add them to the list of homestead pantry staples. Not only do preserves have a long shelf life, they are wildly versatile.

The Many Roles of Preserves in the Homestead Kitchen

Jams, jellies, conserve, marmalade, spread, preserves, or confiture—whatever you call that sweet, fruity goodness, it has a prime place in your homestead pantry.

  1. Spread it on warm toast for a filling, anytime treat.
  2. A dollop on yogurt adds some flavor variety.
  3. Use as a sweetener in muffins and cakes.
  4. Mixed with mustard as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers.
  5. Use thicker jams as a center for thumbprint cookies.
  6. Dissolved in lemonade for a tangy burst of flavor.
  7. As a marinade for meats.
  8. To add sweetness and flavor to smoothies.
  9. In mixed fruit cocktails.
  10. As a glaze for cakes and pastries.
  11. Add variety to rice congee.
  12. Make a fruit galette
  13. To top ice cream. Tomato Jam on chocolate ice cream is a family favorite.
  14. Mixed 1:1 with BBQ sauce in the Crock Pot, for an easy sweet and sour meatball sauce.
  15. As a Polynesian chicken glaze.
  16. Instead of syrup over pancakes.
  17. Make secret sauce for roast beef sammies by mixing with horseradish.
  18. Add flavor to plain cream cheese frosting.
  19. Make Eton Mess with leftover cookies, nuts, fruits, jams, and whipped cream—think “hot mess” parfait. Never the same twice and uses up the ends of everything.
  20. Mixed into rice and chunks of chicken as sweet sauce.
  21. Heated as fondue for dipping meats.
  22. As a filling for homemade doughnuts.
  23. Dehydrated, to make fruit leather.
  24. Mixed with cider vinegar to pour over salads.
  25. Mixed with hot water and fruit and frozen into popsicles.
  26. Mixed into cottage cheese to add zing to lunch.
  27. Use to sweeten and flavor homebrewed sodas.
  28. Spooned into tea instead of sweetener.
  29. Poured over a block of cream cheese as an appetizer. Savory and spicy versions are especially good.
  30. Dehydrate into delicious fruit leathers.
  31. Spicy or hot jellies make a nice additional layer in 7-layer Mexican dip recipes.
  32. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  33. Use to glaze a ham.
  34. Mixed in your morning oatmeal.
  35. Over plain cheesecake.
  36. Spread between the layers of a layer cake.
  37. Add to tired baked bean recipes, for sweet and sour twang.

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