FOOD FACT FRIDAY ~ Walnuts

FFF WalnutsHere are 9 facts you may not have known about Walnuts:

  1. Walnuts are the oldest known tree food and date back to 10,000 BC.
  2. English walnuts (aka: Persian walnuts) originate in Central Asia. They were introduced to California in the 1700’s.
  3. Walnuts were used in salads way back in the 17th-19th centuries.
  4. California commercially supplies 99% of the U.S. California is now responsible for 3/4 of the world trade of walnuts.
  5. Walnuts are only harvested once a year, between September and November.
  6. The Greeks called walnuts karyon, meaning “head,” because the shell resembles a human skull and the walnut kernel itself looks like a brain!
  7. Walnuts have always been considered important for their medicinal properties, including curing bad breath, reducing inflammation, and healing wounds. Nutritional benefits of walnuts have become well-known, especially their omega-3 fatty acid content.
  8. Walnuts are an excellent source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  9. Walnuts may lower cholesterol, have antioxidant powers, provide stress relief and reduce blood pressure. Eating as few as six to seven walnuts a day could help scavenge almost all the disease causing free radicals from the human body.

So, candy these little dudes and have a feast, walnuts are good for you.

Get to know your food!

DMS

Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Allow Me To Introduce Jose… Jose Jalapeno On the Deck

Jose-Jalapeno-on-the-deckThis past summer (I can’t believe I am already referring to it in past tense. Where does time go?), David and I were browsing the produce in the garden department at a store. I spotted a Jalapeno plant and decided I was taking this guy home. I showed it to David and said:

“Look! We can have a Jose Jalapeno On The Deck!”

I totally pulled off a Jeff Dunham accent. If you know who I am talking about, he has a “Jose Jalapeno on a Stick“, although I am not sure his can reproduce like mine…

IMG_20140810_082645_776-1Given our new found love of Jalapenos, I was hoping to enjoy some from Jose, from a plant I actually knew. I planted Jose in a large terracotta pot and placed him outside on the deck. There he would be happy because during the summer we get about 8 hours of sunlight. Jalapenos like sunlight and they like water.

After about two weeks or so, Jose was looking a little yellow, but he was beginning to produce some jalapenos!I couldn’t understand why he had turned so yellow. He looked sick, bless his heart. David told me countless times to give him some food, give him some food, GIVE HIM SOME FOOD!IMG_20140810_082635_888-1 I finally broke down and decided I would feed him, what could it hurt? Poor little guy had the prettiest little pepper, but his leaves were so unhappy. It must be hard work producing jalapenos. I mixed up some plant food and gave him a good dousing of the mineral enriched water along with some other plants I had growing on the deck for the summer. About a week later, Jose was starting to green up! He also began producing new leaves, blooms and his jalapenos got larger. David was right, Jose was hungry!IMG_20140907_190011_200-1At the first threat of frost I decided to bring Jose in. When I wrote about peppers for FOOD FACT FRIDAY. I learned that peppers do not really have a growing season and can grow year round. I brought him inside and placed him in the warmth and light of the deck door, safe from frost and frigid air, snow and ice that was to come.IMG_20141209_184816_285-1Jose is still a very happy little plant. When I brought him inside, he was still producing 8 gorgeous jalapeno chile peppers for me.IMG_20141123_090650_725-1Not wanting Jose’s hard work and efforts to produce these fine peppers for us go to waste, I decided I would celebrate the harvest by making Jalapeno Poppers. These little jalapenos were small, but made the cutest bite-sized jalapeno poppers. Some only requiring about a 1/4 of a slice of bacon.IMG_20141209_174307_638-1I used the same recipe I used for the ones we did on the grill this summer. It only took about 2 tablespoons of both the cream cheese and cheddar to stuff into the slices.IMG_20141209_175652_214-1It was almost tedious, but I made them work.  Look how cute they were, all tucked in with their bacon blankies around them… Aren’t they just the cutest things you have ever seen?IMG_20141209_180839_920-1

IMG_20141209_184745_933-1Jose Jalapeno On The Deck still resides inside the deck door. He sits in his pot beside a basil plant that I brought to life from a sprig from the produce department I purchased at the grocery store. Yes, you heard me. I actually rooted a sprig from the grocery store. If I had to name the basil I think I would call him “The little basil plant that could”. The day I planted him in the pot, he almost cooked in the hot summer sun. Luckily he came around after a good watering.IMG_20141209_184836_928-1Jose is still producing a couple of peppers for me. However, he has had some bloom drops. I believe it is due to the lack of pollination and no bees to assist him. I see a few more blooms forming. I am keeping an watchful eye. This time I am going to see if I can help him out by using a little brush to pollinate the blooms. Stay tuned….

DMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Recipes, Worth The Blog | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

David, Here’s Your “Meatball Sammitch”

Meatball Sammitches | The Mountain Kitchen

Have you ever eaten a meatball sandwich before? It never really has appealed to me at all. It looks so messy and the bread had to be soggy from the sauce poured onto it… I tried one last week for the first time. You know what? It was GOOD!

Ever since I made the Killer Meatballs, David has been practically begging me to make them for meatball sandwiches. Having not been too keen about the whole meatball sandwich idea, I drug my feet. After he suggested “make us some meatball sammitches” for the hundredth time, I decided I would make the damn sandwich to shut him up! I mean really, just because I made him a meatball sandwich, didn’t mean I had to eat one. I could just pour them over some good old fashioned pasta instead. So last week, David got his “meatball sammitch”. Here’s how I made them:

Meatball Sammitches

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Meatball Sammitches | The Mountain KitchenIngredients:

The Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 cups diced day-old bread
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound ground beef (Chuck – 80/20)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (Click HERE to make your own)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg

The Sauce

  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

The Sammitches

  • 4-6 Hoagie Rolls
  • 1-2 cups Mozzarella Cheese or Italian Cheese blend, shredded
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated for garnish

Meatball Sammitches | The Mountain KitchenDirections:

  1. Soak the bread in the milk in a medium bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the beef with the shallots, garlic, ricotta, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, and egg. After the bread has soaked up the milk, remove it from the bowl and ring out the remaining liquid, and discard (or give it to your cat). Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Form the meat mixture into 2-inch balls using a scoop to mold each one uniformly. Place them on a broiling pan and bake them at 400 degrees F until golden on the outside (about 20-30 minutes).Meatball Sammitches | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. In a large dutch oven or enamel pot, prepare the sauce. Add crushed tomatoes, sauce and spices to the pot and bring to a simmer over low heat.
  5. When the meatballs are done add them to the sauce. Cover and simmer for no less than 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, slice hoagie rolls open, leaving a hinge. Bake the rolls at 325° for 10 minutes or until heated through.
  7. Remove bread from the oven. Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese onto the inside of the warmed hoagie roll; spoon 3-4 meatballs per roll, depending on the size of your rolls. Ladle over some sauce and top with more mozzarella cheese. Serve with extra sauce and Parmesan cheese if desired.Meatball Sammitches | The Mountain Kitchen

So it turns out, I do like meatball sandwiches, I just had to make them myself. It also turned out that we had some meatballs and sauce left over and decided to finish it off on top of some fettuccine the next day for supper. So, I not only got a tasty sandwich, but I also got my pasta.

Meatball Sammitches | The Mountain Kitchen

Perhaps it will be a while before David begs me for meatball sandwiches again. I can only hope….

DMS

Categories: Italian Inspired Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Candied Walnuts

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Candied Walnuts

I forgot to buy walnuts for the beet salad I had planned for Meatless Monday last week. I usually buy some honey roasted walnut halves from Wally World (Walmart). They sell them in their salad/granola section near the produce for a pretty good price. The thing is I can’t seem to find them anywhere else. I don’t like to go into Walmart unless I really have to, but the other day going to Walmart was way too inconvenient and I could not find any sweetened walnuts of any kind, anywhere else. I decided that I would make my own daggum walnuts and candy them the best way I knew how. I bought some plain walnut halves and went home to figure out how I could candy them myself, while the beets for my salad were roasting in the oven.

The candied walnuts I made turned out a lot more candied than what I was buying and so much better! Here’s how I made my candied walnuts:

Candied Walnuts

  • Servings: 1 Cup Candied Walnuts
  • Time: 20 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Candied WalnutsIngredients:

  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup walnut halves

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter into the water and honey inside a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat. The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Candied Walnuts
  2. When the butter has melted pour the mixture over the walnuts in a large bowl and toss the nuts to coat well.The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Candied Walnuts
  3. Add the nuts back into the pot and sir in brown sugar.The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Candied Walnuts
  4. Bring the mixture to a bowl over low heat stirring continuously, until golden brown and toasted, 5-7 minutes. You will notice that the mixture get very thick and most all of the liquid evaporates. The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Candied Walnuts
  5. Transfer to a piece of waxed paper to cool.The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Candied Walnuts

Next time you cannot find a product you normally buy, try to figure out a way to make whatever it is yourself. You may even surprise yourself at how much better you make it.

You could use any nuts you prefer. They would make a great Christmas gift for the nut lover in your life. You could also do batches of each kind of nut you wanted and give a sampler.

DMS

Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Beet Salad

Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Beet Salad | The Mountain KitchenA lot of people do not like beets. I have always liked beets, especially with vinegar, salt and fresh cracked black pepper on them. I grew up eating them poured over cabbage boiled with a ham hock. My mama and daddy grew them in their garden and my mama would can them so we could enjoy them all year long. I never realized how much better fresh beets or home canned beets were until I got out on my own. The canned beets in the grocery stores have NOTHING on the taste of a fresh roasted beet. In fact, David did not eat them until he met me and learned to eat them like I grew up eating them with vinegar, salt and pepper.

For Meatless Monday last week, I made a roasted beet salad. I kept coming across recipes for them, so I decided to make my own version. Here’s how I made my Roasted Beet Salad.

Roasted Beet Salad

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Beet Salad | The Mountain KitchenIngredients:

  • 3-4 medium beets, washed and trimmed
  • red onions, sliced into this slices
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts, chopped (I made some candied walnuts and will share the recipe with you later this week!)
  • Balsamic Maple Cinnamon Dressing, (Recipe to follow. I also made this dressing for the BeetNut Tart)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Wrap the beets in foil packets and roast in the oven until tender, about 1 hour.
  3. While the beets are roasting, prepare the dressing:

    Balsamic Maple Cinnamon Dressing Ingredients:

    • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 6 teaspoons pure maple syrup
    • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

    Dressing Directions:

    Put all the ingredients into a glass jar or bottle (you could also whisk together in a small bowl). Seal and shake well to mix. Shake well before using.

  4. Check beets for doneness by poking a toothpick into them. It should pierce through without any resistance. When they are done, take them out of the oven and open the foil packets and let cool.Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Beet Salad | The Mountain Kitchen
  5. Once cool enough to handle, peel using a paper towel, then dice or slice them as desired. (This is similar to how I showed you how to make grilled beets)
  6. Add the beets, red onion and spinach into serving bowls, top with the goat cheese and walnuts and drizzle with dressing.

Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Beet Salad | The Mountain KitchenIf you do not think you like beets, then maybe you should revisit them and try some fresh roasted. They are really yummy and they are really good for you! I hope this recipe is a way to get you to try something good and healthy!

DMS

Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

FOOD FACT FRIDAY ~ Pomegranates

FFF PomegranateHere are 13 facts you may not have known about Pomegranates:

  1. Pomegranates are one of the oldest fruits.
  2. In the Ancient Greek mythology, the pomegranate was also known as the “fruit of the dead”
  3. It was cultivated in Egypt around the time of Moses and existed very early in India.
  4. The pomegranate was brought to China around 100 BC.
  5. The pomegranate is a native fruit of the Middle East. Its name in Latin means “apple with many seeds,” but it actually looks somewhat like a petrified tomato.
  6. The Romans called the pomegranate a Punic apple because it arrived in Italy by way of Carthage (Punic). Its Latin name is Punica granatum (Carthage seeds).
  7. Spanish settlers brought the pomegranate to the U.S. in 1769 according to some sources.
  8. Pomegranates grown in the US are available from September to December. (So, this explains why the plethora I have seen in the stores lately.)
  9. The edible fruit is a berry and is between a lemon and a grapefruit in size, 5–12 cm in diameter with rounded hexagonal shape, and has thick reddish skin.
  10. A mature pomegranate is about the size of a large orange.
  11. Pomegranates will make a metallic sound when tapped when ripe.
  12. Pomegranates can be stored for two months in the refrigerator.
  13. Pomegranate juice has antioxidants, nutrients, and dietary fibers necessary for overall health and for preventing potential diseases. The entire fruit can be utilized for your health, including the pomegranate peels and pomegranate extract! Practically nothing is wasted when a pomegranate is used to its full potential. (Click HERE to learn about the health benefits. There are just too many to mention!)

I had never even heard of a pomegranate, until I met David Spivey. He always talks about how he would eat them off a neighbors bush, long before they started talking about how healthy they are. I’ll never forget the time he tried to juice one in our kitchen in Virginia Beach. The white cabinets and ceiling had juice spots all over them. He’s so messy! ;)

Do you eat pomegranates? Do you like them?

Get to know your food!

DMS

Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

The Last Minute Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie | The Mountain KitchenI know, I know, Thanksgiving is over and you’re sick and tired of everything pumpkin, but I just had to share my first experience making pumpkin pie from scratch, well almost…

It has been two years since I had a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and it seems that every time I went into our local farmers’ market those little pie pumpkins would taunt me every time. Well, I broke down and bought one of those little dudes and took him home to make a pie. I used a Nancy Fuller recipe. She has a show that I record called “Farmhouse Rules”. It is a fairly new show, so if you haven’t seen it check it out. She’s a hoot!

Here’s how I made pumpkin pie from scratch, minus the damned crust (After my latest experience with pastry dough, I am not ready for that again, yet):

Pumpkin Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: Prep: 35 | Inactive: 1 Hour | Cook: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Pumpkin Pie | The Mountain Kitchen

Ingredients:

Pumpkin:

  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin (about 3 pounds)
  • Canola oil, for oiling pumpkin

Easy Pie Crust:

  • Store bought pie crust

Filling:

  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.Pumpkin Pie | The Mountain Kitchen
  2. Remove the stem from the pumpkin and scrape out the insides, discarding the seeds.
  3. Cut the pumpkin in half and lay the pieces cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Rub canola oil all over the skin. Bake until fork-tender, about 1 hour. Let cool.Pumpkin Pie | The Mountain Kitchen Pumpkin Pie | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. Blind bake the pie crust according to package directions. Once the crust is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  5. Scoop out the pulp from the roasted pumpkin and puree in a food processor until smooth (you should have about 4 cups). Pumpkin Pie | The Mountain Kitchen
  6. Add the condensed milk, cream, cornstarch, molasses, canola oil, cinnamon, ginger, salt and eggs and combine thoroughly.
  7. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until the filling is set in the center, about 1 hour.Pumpkin Pie | The Mountain Kitchen
  8. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature or chilled.Pumpkin Pie | The Mountain Kitchen

I know that dumping pumpkin out of the can is easy, but roasting a pumpkin to prepare for this pie really was simple. This recipe was great! The pie came out velvety smooth and cooked to perfection. Of course, my sweet husband doesn’t like it. I ended up sending some to my step-son who thought is was pretty good too. Turns out pumpkins are good to eat and not just good for rolling down hills. ;)

Do you like pumpkin pie? Have you ever made it from scratch?

DMS

Categories: Sweet Tooth Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , | 25 Comments

Oh Shucks!

Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain KitchenDavid and I have been wanting some oysters all season. The other day we decided to pay a visit to our local seafood shop. We cleaned the snow off the car that had accumulated the day before Thanksgiving and headed to see if we could find an oyster.Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain KitchenGuess what we saw in the display case just as soon as we walked into the seafood shop? Yep, oysters. The lady behind the counter said these oysters were Chincoteague Oysters from Virginia’s Eastern Shore. They were a little expensive, but we wanted them bad enough to make the splurge. We got two dozen and she was nice enough to give us a couple extra just in case any were bad.

I decided to do some research about the Chincoteague Oysters. Here is what I found out:

Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain KitchenRaised on the Atlantic side of Virginia’s eastern shore, Chincoteague Oysters are a full flavored oyster that pack an extremely salty punch. This distinctive briny flavor is washed away to reveal a sweet buttery finish with the ocean oyster flavor. These oysters are the original “salt” oysters that Virginia is known for. Chincoteague oysters predate the earliest settlements along the Chesapeake. The knowledge of harvesting and cooking oysters passed on from native tribes probably helped America’s first settlers through their first hard winters. Traditionally the oysters of this region were harvested from the ocean floor by day boats using hand tongs. That was later replaced by more recent aquaculture method of seeding the oysters in cages for protection from damage. Chincoteague Bay was the first area in Maryland to embrace aquaculture on a widespread basis in place of wild harvesting, beginning shortly after the Civil War. The clear, salty Atlantic water pours through Chincoteague Inlet and provides local oysters an excellent environment for growth and giving them a distinctive, sweet and salty flavor. Other oysters are brought in and left to take on the salinity of the bay for a few weeks and sold as Chincoteague oysters. These “mock” Chincoteague oysters have the familiar high briny flavor but not much more taste beyond that.

We took the oysters home and we would have them as an appetizer for our Saturday night steak. Yep, we would be eating high on the hog that night…

Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain Kitchen

Our main course, ribeye steaks. They’re not just any ribeye steaks. These were purchased from the only town store back where I grew up. The man and his wife that own the store have had fresh cut ribyes forever and a day. They are always tender and he always tells you “don’t burn em”. They can put some expensive restaurant steaks to shame!

Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain Kitchen

Place the oysters in a preheated oven at 350 degrees and bake until you see the shells pop open, about 5-12 minutes.

Oysters need to be kept extremely cold, so what better way to keep them cold, but then to put them outside in the cold on our snow covered deck?!?! They would sit there very happy until later that evening when we were ready for them. David and I like oysters best steamed open. Normally, we would just throw these bad boys up on the grill and let them pop open that way, but since David was going to cook steaks, he didn’t want the high heat of the charcoal to die down too much, since that is what seals in the juices of the steaks.Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain KitchenWe decided to place them on some foil lined baking sheets and bake them open in the oven.Most people probably use cocktail sauce or tartar sauce, maybe even a little lemon juice to go along with their oysters. That is a perfectly fine way to eat oysters, but David and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Smoked Chipotle Tobasco Sauce.

Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain Kitchen

Chincoteague Oysters with a few splashes of Chipotle

Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain KitchenNow, were not promised anything to plug this sauce, but I am here to tell you, this sauce is so good with the saltiness of the oysters it’ll almost make you want to slap your mama!! Yeah, that good… If you love steamed oysters, then definitely give this a try the next time you have some. YUM, YUM, YUM! Yes, we also tried some Sriracha, but it just didn’t taste as good as the chipotle sauce.

Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain Kitchen

We even found a few with little crabs inside that we ate too

Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain Kitchen

Ribeye Steaks done to perfection.

Chincoteague Oysters ~ Oh-Shucks | The Mountain Kitchen

We split a potato and had some leftover collard greens that mama had sent home with us after Thanksgiving.

Thank goodness we had only planned for the oysters to be an appetizer. Even though all 26 oysters opened, these were disappointingly small. Oh shucks!!

DMS

Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | 27 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Filet a Whole Chicken Breast

KTT Peeling Ginger (2)On Tuesdays, one of my favorite grocery stores has whole, boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale. I like to plan chicken meals around this day so that I can get the fresh chicken for a bargain. Since I shared the two sun dried tomato pesto chicken recipes last week, I wanted to show you how easy it is to fillet whole chicken breasts. Filleting chicken breast makes for more even cooking and keeps you from having to cut the chicken into portions once it is cooked so that you do not have to worry about loosing the juiciness of the chicken. Here’s how you cut the fillets:

  1. Lay the chicken breast onto the cutting surface. The side where the skin was formerly should be facing down. IMG_4182-1
  2. Cut the breast in half.IMG_4183-1
  3. Make sure that the thicker end of the meat faces the knife hand. Flatten the meat with the other hand. Begin cutting horizontally through the midsection of the chicken breast half. Take caution while cutting, to avoid the hand that is holding the chicken meat down, to prevent injuring your fingers. IMG_4184-1Steady the knife to cut the fillets evenly and to the same thickness. Check your cutting progress at the halfway point to make sure that you are not cutting too high or too low.
  4. Once you trim the fat, you have 4 chicken fillets ready to use in your recipe.IMG_4186-1

I hope this helps you make your chicken go a little farther in your kitchen and perhaps saves you a dollar or two at the store.

DMS

Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Red Pepper Love

Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce | The Mountain Kitchen

My new found love for red peppers led me to this recipe I adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen. This pasta dish is creamy and so flavorful you won’t believe it. Here’s how I made Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce:

Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30-45 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce | The Mountain KitchenIngredients:

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 3 red peppers, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ – 1 cups of pasta water
  • 2 cups fresh spinach

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook according to package instructions.
  • Place the chopped red peppers onto a foiled lined baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange the red peppers in a single layer and roast in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. The peppers should  start to come blackened on the edges. Set aside until needed.Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce | The Mountain Kitchen
  • Meanwhile, add butter to a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Do not brown! Sprinkle flour over the butter and garlic mixture.Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce | The Mountain Kitchen
  • Whisk for one minute, then gradually whisk in milk. Allow to cream mixture to come to a slow boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce | The Mountain Kitchen
  • Turn the heat down to low. Stir in parmesan cheese.
  • Add the roasted red peppers to the Parmesan cream sauce.
  • When pasta is ready, remove from heat. Reserve at least 1 cup of the water. Drain the rest of the water out of the pasta, and return to the pot.
  • Add spinach and creamy roasted red pepper sauce to the pasta and toss with tongs or stir to coat. If the pasta and cream sauce is too tight and sticky, add a little of the pasta water to the mixture at a time. This will help you incorporate the pasta better. (You may not need it all. Discard the leftover water if not needed.)
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot! Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce | The Mountain Kitchen Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce | The Mountain Kitchen

This was pretty tasty according to David and even His Royal Highness liked it. Do-Againer!

DMS

 

Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas On the Mountain

IMG_20141207_164440_227-1

David and I got all our Christmas decorating done this weekend. I hiked up to the overlook to take some pictures of the outside decorations. I’m so glad I did, checkout this sunset I was able to watch while up there!

IMG_4370-1The colors of the sunsets are so vibrant this time of year because the air is chilly and there is no haze. After almost a week of cold gray dreariness, we were glad to spend some time this afternoon outside in the fresh air and sunshine. They say more bad weather is coming this week. Words like, sleet, freezing rain and snow are mentioned in the forecast. We’ll take it one day at a time. Besides if we moved up here to the mountain and did not see snow, we would be disappointed.

Good bye weekend…

DMS

Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

FOOD FACT FRIDAY ~ Bananas

FOOD FACT FRIDAY ~ Bananas | The Mountain Kitchen

Here are 12 facts you may have not known about bananas:

  1. Most species of banana plant originated in Southeast Asia.
  2. Humans have grown bananas for thousands of years.
  3. Bananas are the fruit.
  4. Wild bananas grow with large, hard seeds.
  5. When rip they are usually long and curved with a soft inside covered by a yellow skin (peel).
  6. Bananas can be found in other colors, including red!!
  7. Banana plants are not trees, they are a type of herb.
  8. India is the leading producer of bananas.
  9. Bananas grow in large, hanging bunches.
  10. A row of bananas is sometimes called a ‘hand’, while a single banana is called a ‘finger’.
  11. Bananas contain around 75% water, but healthy water. They have high nutritional value and are a healthy snack.
  12. Bananas contain a lot of potassium, making them more radioactive than other fruits. You don’t need to worry though as this naturally occurring radiation has very little effect on the body.

Oddly enough, I have had some very nauseating experiences after eating bananas since I was a young teen. I believe that it is the only food I am allergic to. Makes me sad, because I really do like them. :(

DMS

 

Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

The Mystery Chicken Dish ~ Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken

Prosciutto-Wrapped-Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen

I promised you a second recipe using the that sun dried tomato pesto, so here goes…

For the life of me I cannot remember what why I had leftover prosciutto in the refrigerator, but I did. I also had the sun dried tomato pesto nearing the end of its shelf life. I decided to use it up with another chicken dish, but I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with it. I went to the store and purchased some smoked provolone and a whole chicken breast. To go along with this mystery chicken dish I decided to pick up some asparagus. Here’s how I made what I call “Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken”:

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: Prep: 30 Minutes | Cook: 45 Minutes - 1 Hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Prosciutto-Wrapped-Chicken | The Mountain KitchenIngredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place asparagus into a 9×12 inch casserole dish. Toss w/ olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside to wrap the chicken fillets.
  3. If the chicken fillets are too thick, pound them out a bit, by placing some wax paper on top to the fillet and using a mallet to pound it out a bit.
  4. Add about a tablespoon of the prepared pesto to each breast and spread out evenly on one side of the fillet.Prosciutto-Wrapped-Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen
  5. Top each pesto covered fillet with cheese.Prosciutto-Wrapped-Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen
  6. Next, lay out one slice of Prosciutto flat on a working surface. Carefully pick up chicken fillet and place on top of the Prosciutto.Prosciutto-Wrapped-Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen
  7. Starting from the end of the fillet closest to you, gently roll the Prosciutto and chicken up around the cheese and pesto.Prosciutto-Wrapped-Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen
  8. Place the rolled chicken fillet seam side down onto the bed of asparagus.Prosciutto-Wrapped-Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen
  9. Place the dish with asparagus in rolls into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until chicken is done. If too much browning occurs tent with aluminum foil.

Prosciutto-Wrapped-Chicken | The Mountain KitchenThis was a very simple one dish meal. The juices in the bottom of the casserole dish were amazing!! Spoon over the rolls before eating.

Next week on Kitchen Tip Tuesday, I am going to show you how to turn a whole, boneless chicken breast into four fillets.

Stay tuned…

DMS

Categories: Chicken Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Kinda Like Chicken Parm ~ Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken | The Mountain KitchenRemember that sun dried tomato pesto I gave you the recipe for last week? Well in that post I promised some recipes using some of it. The first one I did was kinda like chicken parm, but without a lot of effort. Here’s how I made Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken:

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: Prep: 10 Minutes | Cook: 20-30 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 4 equal fillets
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Prepared Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the chicken fillets onto a sheet pan. Brush chicken fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
    Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen
  3. Next, add about 1-2 tablespoons of the sun dried tomato pesto to each fillet and spread out to cover the fillet.Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. Cover each pesto topped fillet with parmesan cheese.Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen
  5. Bake the chicken fillets, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the juices run clear.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken | The Mountain Kitchen

The pesto gave the chicken a very rich deep flavor. I only used parmesan cheese but probably would have used mozzarella also, but I didn’t have any when coming up with this recipe. I served the chicken with some steamed broccoli and some couscous. It was a very simply healthy week night meal.

Tomorrow I will share another recipe using this same pesto. Stay tuned…

DMS

Categories: Chicken Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Get Your Roll On!!

ONE

Last year we did this in our jammies, but this year we decided to gussy up a bit and capture our annual pumpkin roll on camera to share with you. Watch and see who wins…

We had to rescue the pumpkins from the Thanksgiving snow, so they would not rot before we could roll them. I really did make a pumpkin pie from scratch before rolling our pumpkins down the hill. Recipe to come. Stay tuned…

DMS

Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Bright Green Broccoli

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Bright Green BroccoliDon’t you hate it when your broccoli turn into a shriveled brown mess? Today’s Kitchen Tip comes from Anna Buckley, from Melbourne Australia. Anna tells us how we can turn it bright green and keep it that way:

“Green vegetables such as broccoli and beans can sometimes turn a rather dull olive green when added to cooked dishes. To stop this zap vegetables in microwave for 1 min. then add to pan. They will keep their bright green color. Traditionally the Chinese blanched greens in boiling water with bi- carb soda added. Works well for Thai curries, stews and warm salads.”

I don’t know about you, but I will definitely try this the next time I make stir fry. I love pretty food and this tip will come in handy!

Not only is Anna Buckley full of tips in the kitchen, but she is also a writer visit her blog and perhaps you may want to check out one of her books! AnnaBuckley.com

Thanks, Anna for the great tip! If you have a tip you would like to share, email it to us at: themountainkitchen@gmail.com

DMS

 

Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Mexican Refried Bean Pizza

Meatless Monday ~ Mexican Refried Bean Pizza | The Mountain KitchenRaise your hand if you are tired of turkey, stuffing, and Brussels sprouts and you feel like if you see one more pumpkin pie you’re gonna pop a button on your pants? I for one don’t want to look at anything Thanksgiving until next year. I indulged in all my mama’s good cooking and brought back home leftovers to eat off of for a couple of days. If you are tired of Thanksgiving foods too, you’ll love this Meatless Monday recipe I made last week. I know, I did a Mexican recipe the week before, but I can’t help it. I love this stuff! I thought I would share a recipe that will get you over that Thanksgiving coma and kick start your week with a little bit of spice. Here’s my recipe for Mexican Refried Bean Pizza:

Mexican Refried Bean Pizza

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: Prep: 10 Minutes | Cook: 15 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Meatless Monday ~ Mexican Refried Bean Pizza | The Mountain Kitchen

 Ingredients:

  •  (1) 20.5-ounce can of your favorite refried beans Refried Beans
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • Mexican Cheese, shredded

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: The following are merely suggestions according to our taste, but you could certainly omit or add any you would like.

 Directions:

  1. In a small pot, warm the refried beans.
  2. Set a cast iron frying pan (whatever type of frying pan you have will work fine, but the cast iron provides more even heat), over medium meat. Add a small amount oil or butter to the pan and allow it to heat up.
  3. Lay a tortilla on a plate or flat surface. Spoon some of the warmed refried beans onto it and smooth out all over the tortilla as you were icing a cake. Leave about 1/2” of space around the outer edge and place it in the preheated pan.Meatless Monday ~ Mexican Refried Bean Pizza | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. Quickly, add the cheese and top with another tortilla.
  5. Let the “pizza” cook for about 1 – 1 ½ minutes before flipping.
  6. Using a spatula, flip the pizza over and allow the other side to crisp for 1 – 1 ½ minutes.Meatless Monday ~ Mexican Refried Bean Pizza | The Mountain Kitchen
  7. Carefully slide the “pizza” onto a plate.
  8. Use a knife or pizza cutter to slice it up as you would a pizza. (It is best to cut the pizza before adding the toppings.Meatless Monday ~ Mexican Refried Bean Pizza | The Mountain Kitchen
  9. Garnish with any toppings you choose. Serve immediately. Meatless Monday ~ Mexican Refried Bean Pizza | The Mountain Kitchen

In case you are wondering, His Royal Highess did not get upset like he did the night I made the fajitas. ;)

DMS

Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 12 Comments

‘Twas the Day Before Thanksgiving

IMG_20141126_165546_343-1‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving… a snow storm was on the way to the mountains.

David and I both had to work. We were going to be driving outside of the edge of the storm to work, where there was hardly any threat of accumulation. We left for work in the truck in the pouring rain. We feared if we were to take the car we wouldn’t be able to get back on the mountain upon our return.

FLASHBACK: We actually got snowed off the mountain one evening last winter. The weather man had said the snow would start well after we had gotten home that evening. Turns out that weather man was wrong (What else is new?). It started snowing before we could get home. When we reached our road at the bottom of the mountain, Magoo (our commuter car) wanted no parts in climbing a mountain in the snow. We called our neighbor to see if our road was being plowed and hadn’t been worked on at the bottom yet. He did not know, so we decided to park the car at the park down the road and walk. His Royal Highness was awaiting our arrival and had the crock pot going all day. Supper was ready too! We had to get to the house no matter what. As we began to walk down the snow covered road, a man stopped his truck to see if we needed a lift. We told him where we were going and he agreed to take us up the mountain. What a good samaritan he was. Not only was he going to attempt to take us home, risking the chance of a potential accident, but he didn’t even live up our part of the mountain. As we began to make the climb up, our neighbor called. He was coming down after us! I told him we were just about up to where he was and to wait there for us. Being that our driveway is very difficult to turn around in on a clear day, we had the good samaritan drop us off in a place easy for him to turn around. It was only about a few hundred yards for us to hoof it to reach our neighbor who was waiting to carry us the rest of the way. We thanked the kind man who generously took us up the mountain. David even tried to pay him, but he refused. We walked up the snow covered road and reached our neighbor who was waiting with his vehicle. He dropped us off at our driveway and then went back home. Had it not been for the good samaritan or our wonderful neighbor, it would have taken us quite a while to climb the mountain in the snow. Thank goodness for those two men! That will not happen again. Any threat of snow and we will be taking the truck!

While at work I kept an eye on the radar and cleared the weather alerts from my phone a hundred times. I looked at some of the social media sites to keep in touch with what was happening back home. My neighbor posted a video showing the snow fall. In 4 1/2 hours the rain had switched to snow and by 10:00 a.m. there was about 4 inches of snow on the rail of his deck. Outside at work, it had only begun to mix and change over to snow.

IMG_20141126_155131_221-1

Me being stupid.

Fortunately, David and I both got to leave early for the holiday that afternoon. When we left from work, it was snowing hard and it was just beginning to stick. Even though David offered to drive, I refused to let him. After our accident over near Bull Run, I feel like I am more in control and prefer to drive myself. David would have to sedate me to have any sanity on the way home anyway.

IMG_20141126_155123_125-1As we drove further west towards the mountains, the ground got whiter and whiter, but the roads were clear. It was almost 70 degrees two days prior and the ground was still really warm, our saving grace! IMG_20141126_155805_516-1We reached the bottom of our mountain and locked the truck into 4-wheel drive to make the climb.

IMG_20141126_160758_092-1The road had been plowed, but it had been a while. The trees limbs hung low due to weight of the accumulating snow. Some even brushed the top of the truck as I drove under them. The snow in the road was a bit slushy and the truck got good traction all the way up without slipping.IMG_20141126_160746_861-1 We had almost reached our house, when three turkeys crossed the road in front of us. I was beginning to think that may be the only way we would get a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving.IMG_20141126_160931_298-1I pulled into the drive way and eased down the hill. We were greeted by about 6 inches of snow!

IMG_20141126_161505_028-1Luckily we made the right decision and left Magoo at home! He would have never been able to climb up the mountain in the snow.IMG_20141126_170021_963-1The temperature was right at 30 degrees and was supposed to drop that night. IMG_20141126_174807_048-1We made a fire and I couldn’t help but to go outside in the snow for a few pictures while it was still light. I can’t help it, I love the snow. It makes me feel like a little kid and it is so pretty!IMG_20141126_165607_180-1We would have to wait and see how things were in the morning light before we knew if we would make it to my mama’s for Thanksgiving.

Every year, we go down to my mama’s house for her Thanksgiving feast. I have had mama’s food every year for Thanksgiving since birth. Not going home for Thanksgiving would have broken my heart. She’s 73 and still does all of the thanksgiving cooking herself. She is really something else! I only hope I can cook and do half of what she does at her age.

IMG_20141127_081528_859-1We woke up Thanksgiving morning to a thick fog that blanketed the mountain. We could hardly see past the deck rail. We decided to wait for the fog to burn off before attempting to leave. The same turkeys we saw crossing the road the evening before made another appearance in our yard at the edge of the woods. They were lucky snow turkeys I guess…Thanksgiving TurkeysThe fog began to burn off slowly and by the time we left the roads were clear.

1525626_764944876886763_4119840793544092657_n IMG_20141127_093827_294-1
IMG_20141127_093855_561-1

IMG_20141127_094142_685-1We arrived late for my mama’s awesome cooking. Fortunately, we got to see the whole family and my sister-in-laws parents, who we had not seen in a long time. We had a great Thanksgiving with family.

Friday, David went hunting and I relaxed and visited with my mama. We returned home that night to find that the snow was still laying on the ground. I guess this winter is going to be as bad as they are predicting being that we have already gotten our first snow. Oh well, we will take it as it comes. If we moved up on a mountain and didn’t see snow we would be mad.IMG_20141129_074437_894-1

His Royal Highness begged for his Mema’s turkey. He loves that stuff!IMG_20141129_080059_616-1

I hope everyone had a safe and blessed Thanksgiving as we did.

DMS

Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: , , , , | 29 Comments

Closed For the Thanksgiving Holiday

CLOSED

Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving From The Mountain Kitchen

Happy Thanksgiving

Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: | 6 Comments

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