All recipes on my site were from various sources, including allrecipes.com, taste of home and other magazines, and cookbooks. Some have been adapted.

Jalapeno Pepper Freezer Jelly


Ingredients:
Fresh jalapeno peppers (enough to make 2/3 cup chopped-I used 4 large-ish ones)
1-1/3 cups bottled apple juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 cups sugar (no more, no less)
1 envelope of Certo liquid pectin (I did not try it with powdered)

Wearing rubber gloves, remove seeds from peppers and chop finely. I used a tupperware chopper that you twist back and forth-it worked perfectly. Measure 2/3 cup of chopped peppers. A little extra won't hurt.

Place chopped peppers in a 6-8 qt pan. Add juice and apple cider vinegar. Add 4 cups of sugar and stir well. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. When it comes to a rolling boil (that can't be stirred down) add the pectin. Stir well and return to a boil. When it comes back to a rolling boil, boil and stir for 1 minute and remove from heat. Ladle into clean freezer-safe jars and put lids on.

After about 20-30 minutes shake the jars a little to distribute the chopped peppers. I let them cool a little more and then put them right in the freezer. These should keep about 3 weeks in the refrigerator and about 1 year in the freezer.

note: this is a combination of the quick and cooked recipes from the certo package. I didn't have enough peppers to make the cooked recipe as it was written, but I didn't want the raw pepper taste or softer set so I didn't want to make the uncooked recipe. So I used the uncooked recipe ingredients and cooked it. It came out with a very firm set (but still easy to spread on crackers), which I like. If you prefer a softer set use the recipe for the cooked pepper jelly in the certo pectin package insert. Don't substitute any ingredients or your jelly may not come out right. Commercial pectin can be very finicky.

Skillet Macaroni




This is a great dish for a quick meal-it cooks all in one skillet. It's as convenient and easy as hamburger helper, only better tasting and better for you.

Ingredients:

1-2 tbs oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped or mashed
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp beef bouillon granules (optional)
1-3/4 cups water
6 oz (about 1-1/2 cups) elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 cup shredded cheese
1 tsp dried basil

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add chopped onion and cook until soft. Add beef and cook until browned. Drain if desired. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in tomatoes, parsley, oregano, beef bouillon, water and macaroni. Cover and cook, stirring often, until macaroni begins to soften-about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until macaroni is cooked-about 7 more minutes.

Stir in shredded cheese and basil. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Perfect Easy-Peel Hard Boiled *FRESH* Eggs

You know how hard it is to peel eggs when they're boiled from fresh eggs right? You lose a big part of the white along with the shell. The funny thing is, the eggs in the store aren't even that fresh. They're usually a week or two old, at least. So we had an extreme dilemma when our pullets started to lay. Even when I let eggs sit in the fridge for 4 weeks, when I boiled them the traditional way they were still impossible to peel. I've read about swirling them in a pan of water after boiling to crack them all over and peel easily. I never tried it but I didn't want all of the eggs peeled at once. I was about to buy a set of Eggies when I read about this trick at backyardchickens.com. I have been hard boiling eggs within days of them being laid and sometimes on the same day they're laid and it has, so far, never failed me (knock on wood).

1. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. I usually have a dozen or so sitting on the counter that have never been put in the fridge so I don't know how long it takes for refrigerated eggs to come to room temp. Maybe 30 minutes or so?

2. Fill a pot with enough water to cover the eggs. Don't put the eggs in the pot at this point. If you have a basket that will fit in the pot and still allow the eggs to be completely submerged in the water, use that and put the eggs in it while the pot of water boils. So anyway fill the pot and bring it to a boil.

3. Once the water is boiling, gently lower the eggs into the boiling water. It's easiest with a basket or you can use a ladle. I don't think it would end well if you drop them in by hand.

4. Cover the pot and lower the heat a little. With my stove the water stays boiling after I add the eggs. I have one burner that has a "power boil" feature so I don't know if it would stay boiling or come back to a boil quickly on a stove without this feature. Let the eggs simmer for about 13 minutes. note: since I use a basket that has a handle, the cover doesn't fit tightly. It doesn't seem to matter.

note: larger eggs may take longer than 13 minutes. Ours are probably just a little smaller than the large eggs at the store. 

5. When there's about 2 minutes left on the timer, I let the water run in the sink until it's really cold, and fill a bowl with it. Put some ice in too. You want the water REALLY cold.

6. After the 13 minutes is up, take the eggs out of the boiling water and put them right into the icy water. This is where a basket really comes in handy. If you don't have a basket it might be quicker to drain the eggs completely and then dump them in the bowl of water. Just do it quickly.

7. Let eggs sit in the ice water for at least 5 minutes.

And that's it. This egg was laid, boiled and peeled all in the same day. Even after they've been in the fridge for a few days they're just as easy to peel.

Soft Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups flour
extra sugar

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. Add sour cream and eggs and mix well. Dissolve baking soda in vinegar and add to mixture. Stir in vanilla. Combine cream of tartar and salt with flour. Add to creamed mixture. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with sugar and bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 7 dozen.

Macaroni Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups elbow macaroni (uncooked)
4-6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons mustard
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground celery seed
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

Cook macaroni as directed on package (I boil it for 8 minutes). Drain well and allow to cool. Mix all ingredients.

Glazed Pork Chops

Ingredients:

4 pork chops (or enough for one layer in a 9 x 13 baking dish)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tbs mustard
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbs water

Place pork chops in a 13 x 9 baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients and spread over pork chops. Bake at 350° for 1 hour, basting several times in the last half of the hour.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbs cornstarch
2-1/2 tbs vinegar
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1/2 tbs soy sauce
1/8 tsp garlic powder

hint: 1/2 tbs = 1-1/2 tsp

In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in vinegar, pineapple juice, soy sauce and garlic powder. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbly. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes.