Monday, June 25, 2012

~Rice Was Nice~

Rice really was nice!  Actually, it was great!  This past week our local weathermen did indicate in their forecasts that we could get temps in the 90°F range and it could stay around for a heat wave.  The first day our thermometer read 98°F, so we spent as little time as possible outside.  The next two 90°F + days also brought an appreciation of our A/C during our first heat wave of the summer!  My kitchen remained as cool as possible.  It was the time to locate a container of Chicken Florentine a la Slow Cooker in the freezer and defrost it overnight in the fridge.  An easy dinner for one hot evening!

Any season of the year we always enjoy this Slow Cooker/Crock Pot dinner.  Extra portions are placed in our freezer for busy days... Usually,  I serve the defrosted & reheated Chicken Florentine over No Yolk Noodles, but for some reason Rice sounded delicious.  Yum!  It was! The extra cooked Rice?  It was used in another tasty dinner over the weekend.  :) 



1 Cup White Rice - I use Uncle Ben's.
1 can (14.5 oz.)  College Inn Chicken Broth Light & Fat Free
1.5 oz. Cold Water
3/4 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Dried Parsley

***Use 2 Qt. saucepan with lid.

  1. Add 1 Cup Rice to 2 qt. saucepan.
  2. Add Chicken Broth + Cold Water to equal 16 oz.
  3. Add 3/4 teaspoon Salt and Parsley.
  4. Stir all.
  5. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cover with lid.
  6. Simmer 14 Minutes.
  7. Remove from heat + burner.
  8. Do not remove lid.
  9. Let stand 20 Minutes.
  10. Fluff with fork and serve.
This is a very easy method to cook Rice.  However, do not let it over boil on the stove top while covered and is simmering.

Chicken Broth + Parsley add delicious flavorings to Rice! 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Getting ready to prep the Freezer Jam
Here in Western MA when the local Strawberry season is ripe, it's a wonderful treat to savor the taste of the fresh, sweet, juicy strawberries!  I always prep a flat of this delicious fruit and store sliced 2- cup portions in Ziploc Freezer Bags to enjoy during the year.  There is a reserved place on the top shelf of our large freezer for them.

On the same freezer shelf, there's also a reserved spot for Strawberry Freezer Jam!  Yesterday, was Jam day.  While growing up my mom, sister & I "put up" jams every summer for our fam to enjoy all year.  Now, I no longer stir the concoction over a hot stove top and use a paraffin wax sealer - like back in the dayFreezer Jam has been my method for quite a few years.  Those Ziploc 1-cup containers are so handy.

Freezer Jam is very easy to prepare.  A package of Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin contains the directions along with 2 pouches of the liquid pectin.  The directions need to be followed exactly.  Wash & dry the 1-cup containers that will be used. Click here for more of my helpful hints and suggestions!

This year the Freezer Jam is especially craved.  After losing all foods in our freezer last Halloween due to the Halloween Nor'easter surprise (with no electricity for 6 days), we purchased commercially prepared jam this past year.  The purchased jam/preserves do not compare in taste when the competition is Homemade Freezer Jam!

Yesterday, three batches were prepared - one batch at a time.  The line up was sitting on our table for the 24 hours - before each batch would be placed in its reserved place in our freezer.  Each container is labelled, including the time when it would take its place on the top shelf.  The last batch of Strawberry Freezer Jam will be stored at 4:30 PM.  :)
Strawberry Freezer Jam Line-Up

Do you make Freezer Jam?  It's scrumptious!  


Friday, June 15, 2012

~Strawberry Shortcake~

The freshly picked local, red, juicy Strawberries smelled soo goood!  It sure was worth the short drive from our home to Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow to purchase them!  Two days ago when deciding what our Father's Day dinner menu would be - suddenly Strawberry Shortcake and dessert came to mind.  It's a dessert that I have not made for...I cannot remember the last time.  It would be a wonderful dessert after our delicious dinner on Saturday.  We will be celebrating this special day all weekend!  :)

The Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder & Salt have been located along with the solid Crisco Shortening to bake the Shortcake tomorrow morning. 

Strawberry Shortcakeprintable recipe card 

Shortcake Recipe
Oven:  450°F    Time: 15- 20 Minutes

Ingredients for Shortcake:

2 Cups Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt

1/3 Cup solid Crisco Shortening
1 Cup Milk (Can be Low Fat or Soy)

  1. Heat oven to 450°F.
  2. Spray round layer metal cake pan with PAM.
  3. Combine Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder & Salt in large mixing bowl.
  4. Add solid Shortening.  Cut in with pastry blender or two knives.
  5. Add Milk and stir until blended.
  6. Spoon batter into cake pan and make even.
  7. Bake 15 - 20 Minutes until golden brown on top.
  8. Remove from oven and cool.
  9. When preparing dessert - Cut Shortcake into pie slices & cut each slice in half = a top + a bottom.
  10. Place bottom in dessert dish.
  11. Cover with sliced Strawberries.
  12. Top with top slice. Add Vanilla Ice Cream and more sliced Strawberries.
  13. Top with Reddi-Wip, if desired.
To prepare StrawberriesCut tops off 1 Quart of Strawberries.  Double rinse in cold water. Drain.  Cut each berry into 2-3 slices.  Place cut Strawberries into small bowl.  If desired add 1-2 teaspoons Sugar on top.  Stir gently.  Cover + refrigerate.

This is definitely a great dessert made with fresh, local sweet Strawberries.  Defrosted Strawberries also work very well!  This will be a great Father's Day dessert!

We will Enjoy!

To all Dads - Happy Father's Day!!!
Enjoy your special day & weekend!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grilling the Sockeye Salmon!

Gas Grill ready to use!
Sunday's sunny sky led to our outdoor thermometer reading
84°F!  It was Sockeye Salmon timeGrilled "wild caught" Sockeye Salmon is delicious and definitely a fave entree when our weather is warm.  This week my grocery store (Big Y) is carrying the fresh fillets.  Needless to say a fillet found its place in our fridge.  The previously frozen "wild caught" Sockeye Salmon fillets also grill very well.

This entree is one of the first foods that I posted about...and I still grill this delicious seafood the same way.  No fancy topping nor sauce is needed to enhance the wonderful taste of a serving of Sockeye Salmon!  Often, we read that Salmon is a great source of Omega-3.

Served with a veggie salad and a microwaved "Baked" Potato or a Pasta Salad, this is one tasty dinner!

Fillet placed in Grilling Container.
Grilled Sockeye Salmon

Salmon Fillet
Olive Oil for sauteing & baking

***My Grilling Basket is a VERY handy tool.  It is sprayed with PAM before placing on the heated grill.

  1. Heat grill.
  2. On a large dish pour about 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil for sauteing & baking.
  3. Sprinkle about 1/8 teaspoon Paprika on the Olive Oil.
  4. Rinse Salmon Fillet under running cold water.
  5. Place fillet on Olive Oil/Paprika skin side up.
  6. Turn fillet over and coat other side with Oil mixture.
  7. Place fillet on/in grilling basket/container that has been sprayed with PAM.
  8. Grill on one side and then grill other side. 
  9. Grilling time - A 1 lb. piece requires 5 - 7 Minutes on each side.
***The amount of needed grilling time depends on the size of the piece of Salmon Fillet and also on the Grill.

Today raindrops are falling, so our grill will not be used.  However, this delicious, healthy. colorful seafood will find its place on our dinner table, again, soon!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Free Fun Fridays 2012

June is here!  It's always a month packed with FuN!  It may bring you to attend graduations and celebrations or "end of year" activity gatherings!  It's also the time when children can start to relax from homework for a few weeks.

Now that does not give the idea that learning comes to a halt.  Quite the contrary!  Can you tell that I am a former teacher?  Mmm...maybe still a teacher, but now as a volunteer. 

As you are making summer plans - if you live in or near my state of Massachusetts or if you are traveling through my state that is packed with history and places of interest, the very generous Highland Street Foundation has a wonderful program again this summer for you, your family and your friends!

Free Fun Fridays 2012
Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation 

There is Free Admission to specific venues or museums on specific Fridays this summer! This wonderful opportunity starts on Friday, June 29.

Many of my faves are taking part in this program, such as the Springfield Museums, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Old Sturbridge Village.  Oh, there are so many more...

Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden at the Springfield Museums

Cooper at Old Sturbridge Village

Click on this link and learn more.  There is a FAQ link.  There is also a link to print out the calendar with the dates and places to visit.  Check it out! Learn while having FuN! 

Thank you, Highland Street Foundation!
We will Enjoy!