Simple Crescent Roll Sandwiches

When I was pregnant I always assumed that I would just feed my son exactly what we had for meals.  I consider this about 70% true, but what about the other 30%?  The days we eat steak, or a big … Continue reading

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Strawberry Freezer Jam realfoodinarealworld.com

I’ve been a busy girl this week!  I have been elbows deep in strawberries whenever local toddler lets me.  I bought a flat of strawberries from Prochaska Farm at the Canton Farmers Market on Sunday.  I just finished up turning the entire flat into freezer jam.

Why freezer jam?  A few reasons.  The first, is the taste.  Preserved shelf stable jam is very tasty, but to me, freezer jam tastes just like fresh berries.  Secondly, it is much faster and easier.  You don’t have to get the canner going and deal with preserving the jars after you prepare the jam.  I can make freezer jam alone while wrangling a toddler (although I aim for nap time).  I do not attempt to can things alone usually.  I try to wait until I have help with either the canning or the toddler.  It’s convenient to be able to make freezer jam alone, either when my kiddo is napping or mostly this week I made it while he was watching some cartoons.  (Yes I limit screen time, but some well placed Sesame Street works wonders in actually accomplishing things)

Enough with the chit-chat.  Let me get to the reason you are reading!

Low Sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam

Ingredients:

  • One box Sure Jell low sugar pectin (pink box)
  • 3 cups sugar (I prefer the Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups crushed strawberries (approximately 2 quarts of fresh berries)

Directions:

The Sure Jell pectin comes with directions in the package, always check those to be sure that you are following the correct directions.  I will break down the steps here so you can see just how easy it is!

Assemble all the components

Strawberry Freezer Jam realfoodinarealworld.comStrawberry Freezer Jam realfoodinarealworld.com

Large pot and spoon for cooking the pectin mixture, canning funnel and ladle, measuring cups, bowl and potato masher for crushing berries

Mix pectin and sugar well in large pot, set aside.  Clean, de-stem and crush berries, approximately one cup at a time.

Strawberry Freezer Jam realfoodinarealworld.com

Add water to pectin mixture, heat over medium-high heat while stirring constantly.  Once pectin mixture reaches a boil, continue to boil and stir constantly for one full minute.  Remove from heat, stir in crushed berries and stir until well combined.

Pour mixture into jars leaving a half inch of headspace(I usually use a mixture of pints and half pints)  Place lids and bands and let cool for up to 24 hours on counter and then place into freezer for up to one year.

One batch of jam will yield approximately 4 pints, or 8 half pints.

Strawberry Freezer Jam realfoodinarealworld.com

Quick Tip: Freezing Celery

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Let’s talk celery.  You buy a big bunch with great intentions.  After a while, the celery starts to look a little sad.  You can wrap your celery in foil to make it last longer, but eventually, we have to give up the fight.

Or do we?

Save your celery my friends!

Now, according to every resource out there, celery needs to be blanched before freezing.  I’m sure if you feel like going down that path, it will work delightfully.  For me, freezing without blanching works just fine.  The only applications I use my frozen celery for are things like soups and stews.  If you were to need your frozen celery for any other purpose, you might find it to be too soft.

Wash and dry your celery.  Dice into slightly larger sections than you will need for the final destination.  Freeze on a baking sheet and then place into a zip top bag.

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Look at you, combating food waste and saving your celery!  You are a Real Food superhero!

Homemade Convenience: Freezer Chicken Nuggets

Homemade Freezer Chicken Nuggets realfoodinarealworld.com

If you are anything like me, I always keep a stash of quick food in my freezer.  Things like chicken nuggets, I would buy a Costco size bag and always have a quick protein source ready.  While most of the “better” brands don’t have too many creepy additives, I like to know that I’m getting local happy chicken.  These things are awesome!  I make several pounds at a time, and then I always have a meal that takes 15 minutres.

These are relatively simple to prepare, but a little time consuming.  For the time reason, I do several pounds at a time.  Time well spent if I can make a ton of meals at once!

First things first, in order to make breaded items, you need to know about “Wet hand, dry hand.”  Breading with this method is exactly what it sounds like.  One hand will be in the dry ingredients, and one will be in the wet.  This prevents the dreaded “glove hand” of layers of breading and goo.  Here are the steps:

  1. With your left hand; select a piece of chicken, and coat with the flour mixture.  Leave chicken in flour.
  2. With right hand, pick up chicken from the flour and dunk into the egg mixture.  Still using right hand, remove chicken and place into the breadcrumb mix without touching crumbs with your hand.
  3. With left hand, liberally coat chicken with breadcrumb mixture

Ok, now that we know how to bread, on to the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I usually do 2-3lbs at a time)
  • 1 1/2 c Flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4c milk
  • 1c bread crumbs (I get some from a local bakery for super cheap!)
  • 1c Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • salt and pepper to taste

Set up your station:

Homemade Freezer Chicken Nuggets realfoodinarealworld.com

Not my usual chicken, but what I had on hand at the time

I have the best results with two bowls and a deep plate (similar to a pie plate)

Bowl #1: flour and salt & pepper

Bowl #2: eggs, beaten and milk

Dish #3: both types of bread crumbs and seasoned salt

Directions:

  1. Cut the chicken into desired size and shape.
  2. Follow “Wet hand, dry hand” breading instructions
  3. Place breaded chicken strips on a foil covered and greased baking sheet
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, turn halfway through baking
  5. Eat!

To make freezer nuggets:

  1. Follow all directions above and then let chicken cool completely after baking.
  2. Freeze and place strips into a zip top bag.
  3. To bake from frozen (don’t thaw) just place on greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Click here for a printable recipe

 

 

 

 

Quick Tip – Freezing Brown Rice

We all know how healthy brown rice is for us, but it takes forever to cook!  Did you know you can freeze it?  I make a double batch every other month or so and freeze.

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It’s easy, just cook your rice as you normally would, and let cool.  I’m lazy so it just cools in the pot until its cool enough to handle.  Then I portion into quart size freezer bags.  I like to push the rice so its flat, this makes thawing quick and easy.  Plus they are super easy to store this way.  Freeze and file away in the freezer.

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I’m not sure how long it will stay good, mine always gets used up within a month or two.  To thaw, I just set it out on the counter for an hour.  I have also quickly thawed under warm running water for a few minutes.  Pop it in a bowl, nuke in the microwave until nice and steamy (I add a little bit of water to create steam) and dinner is ready!