Blueberry Cinnamon Jam

This is my third summer canning jams. When I started I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. Canning wasn’t a foreign concept to me though. Mom canned so many tomatoes and beans when I was growing up. She still does. Hopefully next year will be my year to have a bountiful garden, giving me enough produce to preserve for winter.

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If you are new to canning don’t be intimidated. Go pick up a copy of the best known canning book out there: Blue Book Guide to Preserving by Ball. They are the makers of the canning jar so you’d think they would know a thing or two about canning.

For someone who was so nervous the first time she started canning I have to say that I love making jams. Like really, really. Canning jam allows me to make some for me and my family to enjoy but it also lets me share with friends. A jar of homemade jam would make a wonderful hostess gift. Last year and the year before I listed canning as one of my food goals for the new year. This year I am coming through.

I made this jam last year too but we ate it so quickly I didn’t have any photos to share with you. Blueberry Cinnamon Jam might raise a few eyebrows, especially for the non-adventurous eaters, but trust me on this these two work so well together. There is only a tiny bit of cinnamon in the entire batch. Just a nice background flavor. My daughters went through this so fast last year for school lunches I made a double batch this year and I am contemplating on canning some more this week just in case we finish it before the end of the school year.

Canning does require a few supplies specifically half pint jars, lids, and jar rings. You can read more about canning supplies on my Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam post

Blueberry Cinnamon Jam

Yield: 5-6 half pints
2-1/2 cups crushed blueberries
3-1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1-3 ounce pouch liquid pectin

1.  Sanitize all jars and lids before starting the canning process.
2.  Crush the blueberries with a potato masher or pulse in the food processor or blender. Run through a food mill if you are opposed to the blueberry skins in your jam.
3.  Fill your large canner with water, set on stove, and cover with lid. Bring pot to boil on high heat until ready to use.
4.  In a large pot place blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon stir to combine. Over high heat bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
5.  Quickly stir in pectin and cook for 1 minute.
6.  Remove from heat and skim off foam.
7.  Carefully ladle jam into hot half pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe off any spilled jam before placing on the lid. Seal the jar with a canning ring until just tightened.
8.  Place the filled jars in your canner and lower in to the boiling water. Process for 10 minutes. The higher your altitude the longer it will take to process.
9.  Carefully remove the jars with your jar lifter tongs and let them cool in a draft-free area without touching or bumping them for 24 hours. (I usually set them on a bath towel in an out of the way corner of my counter). You might be able to hear the pinging noise of the lids being sucked down and sealed. *music to my ears* If you press down on the cooled lid and it gives that means it didn’t seal properly.
10.  All jars that are properly sealed can have the rings removed or loosened. Any jars that didn’t seal properly can be placed in the fridge and used right away.

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam

If for some reason your jam doesn’t set up correctly you can try to redo it by adding more pectin. Here is a great resource on how to do that:  How to Fix Runny Jam or you can just pop in the fridge and use it as a sauce on waffles, pancakes, yogurt, and ice cream.

Posted in Breakfasts, Preserving | Tagged as: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

One Pot Chicken Sausage Pasta

One pot pasta dinners having been taking over Pinterest lately and to be honest I can understand why. Less dishes, dinner ready in thirty minutes, and using ingredients without funky preservatives all major plusses.

One pot dinners aren’t anything new. In fact while in college I ate my fair share of one pot dinners without giving it much thought. Hamburger Helper, anyone? Actually for me it was Hy-Vee brand Panburger Partner because it was cheaper i.e more beer money. ;)

This type of dinner has come in so handy this summer and I don’t predict the one pot dinner trend going away any time soon. To be perfectly honest I just made a one pot Mexican rice dinner last night using leftover pulled pork. Mmm hmm. I think I will have to recreate it to share with you.

One Pot Chicken Sausage Pasta

Are you jumping on the one pot bandwagon? What does a quick dinner look like in your house? Soccer starts tomorrow, school starts at the end of the month, ballet, and PTA activities will start next month, so I know I will be on the hunt for dinners that I can get on the table quickly and ones that will have minimal clean up.

Precooked chicken sausage helped to make this dinner more filling. I also tossed in some broccoli since it needed to be used up and I wanted my children to get more veggies, a total Mom move I know. The pasta is cooked in the pot with the chicken sausage, chicken stock, and pasta sauce. When it is ready to serve I stirred in a little cream to create a luscious creamy tomato sauce. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and serve with a side salad and you have yourself a winning dinner. My husband said he could see this pasta dish on a restaurant menu. What better endorsement can you get than that?!

One Pot Chicken Sausage Pasta

Serves: 6-8

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package of precooked chicken sausage (I used Johnsonville Three Cheese Italian Style) cut into coins
3-4 cups chicken stock (don’t add all at once, see directions)
1 cup pasta sauce
1 pound pasta*
2 cups broccoli
1/2 cup cream or half & half
Parmesan cheese for garnish

1.  In a large skillet over medium heat brown the sausage in the olive oil for 3-5 minutes or until each side becomes browned
2.  Turn heat up to medium high. Add pasta, 3 cups chicken stock, and pasta sauce and stir. Bring mixture up to a boil. Cover and turn down heat to medium -low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3.  Stir in broccoli. If most of the liquid has evaporated add in 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup chicken stock. Cover. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
4.  Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup cream or half & half. Garnish with Parmesan cheese before serving.

*choose a hardier thicker pasta like penne, fusilli, casarecce 

On an unrelated note:  We are watching the TV series Fargo right now –so good but once that is over we will need a new series to watch. What do you recommend?

Posted in Main Dishes, Pasta | Tagged as: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Festive Funfetti Ice Cream

Funfetti Ice Cream

Hold on to your hats folks I have an easy-peasy recipe to cool you off this weekend. Bonus this recipe only has five ingredients. While it mixes together easily –no heating cream or tempering eggs required, it does need several hours in the freezer to become solid. So plan ahead slightly. Make this tonight or in the morning before you plan on serving it.

July is National Ice Cream month. In fact if my Google search is correct this is the 30th anniversary of Ice Cream month becoming official thanks to Ronald Reagan. So as a true patriot I am bringing you this patriotic ice cream. Hopefully there will be many more ice cream recipes shared this month. So dust off your ice cream makers and get cranking with me. (I have the Cuisinart 1 1/2 qt Ice Cream maker)

Birthday cake flavored items have taken the food industry by storm. You can find birthday cake Oreos and M&Ms, candles and lipgloss. I couldn’t think of a better flavored ice cream to celebrate Independence Day. So whether you are making this for someone’s birthday or for America’s birthday your guests will love you.

Birthday Cake Ice Cream

Serves: 6
Time: 25 minutes + chill time
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whole cream
2/3 cup funfetti dry cake mix
2 tablespoons sprinkles

1.  In a large bowl whisk together milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved
2.  Whisk in cream and dry cake mix.
3.  Pour into frozen freezer bowl
4.  Turn on ice cream machine and let mix for 20 minutes. Stir in sprinkles.
5.  Pour into tupperware, cover, and place in freezer for at least a few hours until ice cream becomes solid.
6.  Serve with additional sprinkles as a festive garnish

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend! 

Posted in Desserts, Holidays | Tagged as: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sliders

We are all friends here, right? So I am going to be honest with you, since having Felix it has been hard getting back into the swing of recipe writing and posting. I mean I have many new recipes to share with you. They are even photographed. The problem is finding the time (and energy) to edit photos and write up posts. BUT I am determined to get back into the swing of things because I miss you and I miss sharing food with you.

Last month on my Facebook page Mary asked for this recipe. I love taking requests. In fact making people something that I know they will like makes me the happiest. I set off to work in the kitchen right away whipping up these sandwiches. Today I am finally sharing them with you!

Have you seen those Kings Hawaiian rolls in the grocery store? They are the ones in the orange packaging. The slightly sweet roll pairs so well with the salty ham. Traditionally they are made with Swiss cheese but I made half my sliders with havarti cheese which melts really well and isn’t as strongly flavored as Swiss.

What takes these baked ham and cheese sliders from ordinary to extraordinary is the oniony-poppy seed mixture that gets poured on top before baking. It is to die for.

Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sliders

Yield: 24 mini sandwiches
Cook Time: 15 minutes
24 mini Hawaiian rolls
24 slices of ham
12 slices of cheese, cut in half
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons Dijion mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon minced dried onions

1.  Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish, set aside.
2.  Slice rolls in half. Place bottom half of rolls in baking dish.
3.  Top each bottom half of roll with one slice of ham. Fold the ham in half or quarts to fit the roll. Top each ham slice with half a slice of cheese folded in half or quarters to fit the roll. Place the top half of roll on the sandwich.
4.  In small bowl mix together remaining ingredients (butter, dijion, worchestershire, poppy seeds, and onions) Pour mixture evenly over rolls.
5.  Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melty.

Do you have any recipe requests for me? Leave me a comment below or head over to my Facebook page and let me know! 

Posted in Lunch, Main Dishes | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
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