Category Archives: From-Scratch Cooking

Daisy-chain recipes: Ketchup, Barbecue Sauce and Baked Beans, oh my!

bakedbeansThis is when/how making your own from scratch can be made quicker, when you use the same ingredients/pans/measuring equipment to make multiple recipes! Tonight we are smoking some ribs, pork roast and a venison roast.

For the roast, I used some leftover garlic seasoning rub. For the ribs, I used this recipe for Blackened Seasoning: 4 t salt, 3 t paprika, 1 1/2 t cayenne pepper, 1/2 t white pepper, 1/2 t chili powder, 1/2 t onion powder, 1/2 t garlic powder.

Then, I revamped my Homemade Ketchup recipe a bit. I originally posted this at my site, but things have changed since that post. Everyone’s journey into cooking, eating better, and/or sustainability is a little different. I’m “here”, now, with the ketchup:

2 (15 ounce) cans plain tomato sauce

1 small (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1/4 cup liquid sweetener of your choice (honey, maple syrup, molasses….or a combination!)*

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 t salt

1/2 t onion powder

1/2 t garlic powder

I mixed all of this together, carefully, and heated it in a saucepan to let the flavors meld a bit. I did not make a real attempt at cooking it down. I cool this before storing it.

So, I have this yummy ketchup, but that just isn’t barbecue sauce. I poured about three cups of it off, leaving about one cup left in my pan. On to the barbecue sauce! I added:

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup molasses (again, other sweetener could be used)*

2 T butter

2 T prepared mustard

1 T + 1 t Italian seasoning

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 T Paprika

1 T Chili powder

2 t onion powder

1 t garlic powder

1 t black pepper

1/2 t cayenne

I mixed this all together very well, cooked over low heat and DID cook this one down. I don’t like to let it go to far, but I don’t like it to be too runny. (Note: if you want to keep someone from using too much, keep it a little runny verses thick.) Again, cool this thoroughly before storing in a glass jar in the fridge (if it lasts that long!)

I have not had any problems storing the ketchup or barbecue sauce in the fridge for a fair amount of time, maybe even a month or two…but if it smells off or looks like a science experiment, please do not eat it. My mother always used to say, “When in doubt, throw it out!”

So, since I was on such a good roll, I had some leftover “beans of the week” (soaked/cooked Anasazi beans) to which I added some ketchup, barbecue sauce to taste, and about half of a chopped up onion. I might have added different spices, a hot pepper, garlic, etc. But, for today, just the sauces and onion. I put that in a greased cast iron skillet…and it will go on the smoker with the meat!

Happy Creating!

Soup of the Day: Cream of Chicken and Veggies, Cinda-Style


Soup. I just love soup. We often have it at least once a day. Even keeping in mind how much I hate “wordy” blogs that involve recipes, wherein the recipe sounds great but I have to scroll through screen after screen of ramblings and 542 photographs before I can get to want I really wanted in the first place – the ingredients list…..I have to take a few detours. Please forgive me.

For the love of soup, save yourself money and make your own broth! Meat-eaters, your chicken carcasses after serving a whole bird OR a package of pork neck bones, some chicken quarters, or any other meat still on the bones….throw it in a big old stock pot with some water, let it simmer on low for all day, overnight, then cool, debone, leave the meat in or separate it as a “meal starter”, but for goodness’ sake, keep the gelatinous fat on top! Many times you can return the bones to the pan after the first batch and make a second for “light broth”. Well, that’s great for us carniverous folk, but what about our vegan friends? Do you steam vegetables in a pan? Great! Save that water and freeze it. Instant vegetable broth! Viola! It’s free, no wasting money or good vitamins. Save it for making soup…like this one! (You can also use it to boil pasta or cook rice, make gravies or bread, etc.)

So….onto Soup of the Day!

Here’s what you’ll need:
3-4 T butter (don’t be afraid of butter, it’s better for you than margarine)
1-2 onions, chopped however your heart desires
2 cloves of garlic, chopped, or to taste
4 cups of broth of your choice
2-3 chicken breast strips
2-4 potatoes, diced
1 package frozen green peas (early peas are the best)
1-2 cups heavy sweet cream
2 T Dried or fresh mint, chopped
1 t ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
pepper to taste

Add salt at the table instead of during cooking

Melt your butter in the bottom of your soup pan. I prefer my cast iron dutch oven. While that’s getting started, chop your onion(s) and garlic. Brown your onions and garlic in the butter, over low-medium heat. This may take awhile, your patience will reward you. While browning the onions and garlic, chop your potatoes.
When those onions are brown and smell wonderful, add your broth (cook frozen broth until it is liquid, if frozen broth is used) and then add your chicken breast, potatoes, and spices. Cook until the chicken is done thoroughly, and pull the chicken out to cut into small pieces before returning to the pan. While you are cutting up the chicken, add the peas to the soup. After you return the chicken to the pan, add your cream.

That’s all there is to it, you should have a very wonderful, tasty soup of the day.


Basic Ingredients

Bulk basic ingredient spices
Bulk basic ingredient spices

What is a basic ingredient?
I like cooking with basic ingredients: ingredients that are often found as-is in nature, that have not been shaped for cosmetic appearances, have additives or preservatives, be “fortified” with anything for any reason, or with as little processing as possible.
Let’s take spices, for example. I make my own spice blends, and lean towards buying spices as a basic ingredient that cannot be broken down any further – garlic powder instead of garlic salt or garlic seasoning, buying paprika, oregano and cayenne powder instead of “chili powder”, etc. The one exception for me, with spices, is “italian seasoning”. Most recipes tend to call for all of the basic ingredients in Italian seasoning so instead of measuring each one individually, I buy a good, organic, bulk version and save myself a wee bit of time. Or Thyme. Well, you get the idea.
Later, I promise I will blog with my spice blend recipes for anyone willing to give them a try.
For now, I want to focus a little more on basic ingredients. I want to create a menagerie of recipes that use 5 or fewer basic ingredients (whenever possible) and also, whenever possible, create a one-dish meal.
I’d hoped for that tonight, but I have two dishes that might qualify, and I’m working on simplifying at least one of those into an even better recipe with more basic ingredients and less processed foods.
The meat dish: Pork Roast, Onions, Whole Organic Cranberry Sauce (without High Fructose Corn Syrup). The salad: Organic Kale, Grapefruit, mayonnaise. Aaah, the mayo! You caught me. NOT a basic ingredient. But, it is homemade and I know exactly what is in it. (Homemade mayo will be a future blog as well. I never succeeded in making it with consistently awesome results until I used a stick blender.)
For spices, I definitely prefer basic ingredients. No hidden fillers, preservatives, sugars, calories, chemicals……the label and the ingredients are one in the same.
Fruits and Vegetables: Definitely, basics are best. We love fresh first, frozen second. Our family likes to grow our own whenever possible, buy what we can’t produces ourselves, but always check the “overripe” bins for bargains to freeze, dry, or use quickly.
Meats (for those who eat meat, like we do): Basic, basic, basic… can make your own breaded filets, nuggets, strips, sauces, marinades, “convenience frozen dinners” and more.
Desserts: Homemade and basic. Here’s a quick recipe: Use 1 fresh or frozen banana per serving, lay it in a baking tray. Add a dollop of (basic ingredient) peanut butter, homemade jam, jelly or preserves, and your favorite chocolate/nut spread (or another nut butter, or marshmallows if you prefer). Bake at 350 until the smell is amazing and you can no longer stand to wait, let cool while you go and walk the dog. (That way, you don’t feel guilty about the dessert.)