Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Apple Pie in a Jar

That's right, you read the title correctly! Canned apple pie filling that you make at home! Super easy, just a little time consuming! My sweet Sister in Law requested the recipe, so I figured I would put it up on the blog so that she (and others) can have easy access to it! Ready? Here we go!

12 cups sliced, peeled, cored apples treated to prevent browning and drained. (you can either use fruit fresh which you can purchase at any store that carries canning supplies, or you can do what I did and fill part of the sink with water and add lemon juice to it...same thing...my way is cheaper!)

2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup ClearJel (this is a cooking starch that is a thickening agent and is the ONLY one that is suitable for home canning. I purchased mine from amazon.com and it was relatively inexpensive.)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups cold water
2 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice

1. Prep your canner, jars and lids.

2. In a large pot of boiling water, working with 6 cups at a time, blanch apple slices for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a covered bowl. (I used another stockpot and put tin foil on the top of it)

3. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine sugar, ClearJel, cinnamon, nutmeg, water and apple juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice, return to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Drain apple slices and immediately fold into hot mixture. Before processing, heat stirring, until apples are heated through.

4. Ladle hot pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot filling. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

5. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 25 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

*Courtesy of "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving"*

There will be seepage, this is normal, as long as the lids sealed it is nothing to worry about and will be shelf stable for a year. Each pint makes 1 pie! Perfect for holidays or a quick desert, then all you have to worry about is making a crust!

This is what your sauce will look like while it is cooking. If you use Instant ClearJel it will thicken much faster.

Adding the apples to the mixture.

Folding in the apples.

This is what I mean by seepage. All the jars that leaked sealed perfectly fine, just leaves a bit of a mess to clean up!

This is why I always have towels under my jars...just in case!

The finished product! Apple Pie Filling in a jar!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

It's that time of year!

I don't know about you, but for me, back to school means back to routine! I love having a schedule and a routine, and part of my routine includes having a meal plan! Some people start out with a week at a time, which I think is fantastic! I personally don't like having to think about it very often, so I plan out at least 6 weeks worth of meals at a time. This allows me to know what I need to shop for and then I can plan the meals according to how busy our schedule is! (For example, tonight is grilled cheese and soup because we have horseback riding lessons right after school. Something quick and easy that everyone in the family loves!)
I don't have any sort of cutsey way of keeping my menu, I didn't make my own chalkboard or anything like that. It is a piece of paper that I have divided up into grids with the dates at the top of each box and the days of the week with the main course written in. If I use a recipe from a certain cookbook then I make sure to make a note of which cookbook to minimize the time spent searching through all of them to find the right one. (I'm kind of a cookbook junkie...I have a lot of cookbooks...and my sweet Mother in law has the same addiction as I do!) I keep my meal planner on a clipboard that is hung up on a push pin in my kitchen. Real fancy...I know. But hey, it's practical and it's functional!
Like I said, not pretty, but it works!
I figured other people might have a hard time coming up with ideas for meals (I know I did when I first started meal planning) so I thought I would share some of my go-to meal ideas! If you want any of the recipes, please don't hesitate to ask and I will do a post with the requested recipes! (And pictures hopefully!)

Chicken Pot Pie (30 minute meal)
Chicken Alfredo (30 minute meal)
Parmesan Chicken
Stir Fry (30 minute meal)
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Chicken Penne with Broccoli (30 minute meal)
Sweet and Sour Chicken/Pork
BBQ Beef Patties over Rice (30 minute meal)
Chicken Crepes
Chicken Enchiladas
Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken
Cheddar Broccoli Soup (30 minute meal)
Haystacks (30 minute meal)
Pigs in a blanket
Fried Chicken
Minestrone Soup
Pot Roast
Country style ribs
Breaded Chicken Tenders (30 minute meal)
Breakfast for dinner! (Pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs)
Fish n' Chips
Potato Chowder
Baked Mac & Cheese
BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Roasted Chicken
Pan Seared Chicken

I am just getting into cooking more with my crockpot, so as I make more meals, I will post ideas on here! Also, can you tell we eat a lot of chicken? This is why I buy from Zaycon so that it is cheaper! Please feel free to post your recipe requests in the comments and I will put up recipes soon!