World War I is still waging on. Sir Robert Borden is the Prime Minister. The US reject the proposal for women to have the right to vote…..
The year 1915 –
World War I is still waging on. Sir Robert Borden is the Prime Minister. The US reject the proposal for women to have the right to vote. The first coast-to-coast long distance phone call in the US, with Alexander Graham Bell. John McCrae writes Flanders Fields. The Rocky Mountain National Park is established. Pluto is photographed for the first time. The Vancouver Millionaires win the Stanley Cup. Babe Ruth’s first career home run. Einstein’s theory of general relativity is formulated. The 1 millionth Ford car is manufactured. Frank Sinatra is born.
1915 has so many world changing events happening, and yet a family in rural Saskatchewan are in the midst of building their home. Little do they know the years it will age and weather, the many lives lived in it and the history made. If these walls could talk, the stories they would tell! I can only imagine the hard work that building a house in 1915 would be; none of our modern tools like air nailers, table saws, and shop lights.
Fast forward almost 100 years – Jake and I had been married just over a year and had been looking at buying our first house. We are both hard working, industrious, and like to think big. None of the houses we looked at in North Battleford were quite what we were looking for, so we kept looking and this once in a lifetime opportunity practically fell into our lap months later – with one day to decide if we would take it!
Now, we had seen this house many a time before as we had farmed land around it. It was abandoned, so we had ventured a peak around and knew what the place looked like. But the farm land was being sold and as a last minute discovery on our part, the buyers and sellers were both willing to exclude the farm yard and a few acres from their deal to be sold separately, however their papers would be signed in 1 day!
Obviously, you can guess what we decided, but it was a lot of discussion and hoping we were making the right call. This place was OLD and had not been well cared for in the last 11-12 years (from the timeline the neighbours have given us). It needed a lot of work. A LOT!
The Ugly – So what shape was it in? The one day we had to make our decision, we decided to take a walk around the acreage and revisit the house, sometime early May with snow still on the ground. I remember all the broken glass on the floors from vandals breaking out the windows. I remember the rain blowing in through where the glass should have been and the floor soaking wet. I remember the pigeons living inside frantically trying to escape the intruders through those empty windows. This poor, old house needed someone who was willing to fix everything!
And we took it – to be continued… If you have enjoyed the beginning saga of our adventures with the Old House on the Prairie, please subscribe to my blog for the next update on our story!
(Please note: historic information taken from wikipedia and dates for the house are from the best information we have gathered from neighbours and the library)
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How to Water Glass Eggs – the Old Fashioned Method for Long-Term Egg Storage (up to 18 months!)
We decided to add chickens to our homestead a few years back to have the freshest, healthiest eggs we could.
Before my garden is planted in the Spring and after it is harvested in the Fall, the chickens are allowed to free range (at some point I think we will fence the garden, but this works for now).
During the summer months in between, we give them the “free range” experience by using our DIY chicken tractor setup and move them to fresh grass each day.
With all the good nutrients they are eating, we end up with an excess of farm fresh eggs with the most beautiful, bright orange yolks.
I have sold some of the extra eggs, however I also wanted to have a way to keep some fresh for the winter months for when our chickens stop laying as many eggs.
Typically, you can get away with storing unwashed eggs in the fridge for a few months – if you have the space! But I didn’t want several dozen eggs taking up shelf space in my fridge for months at a time…
So what other options are there for long-term storage for these eggs?
I have seen ideas for easily freezing eggs, which I may still try at some point, but that takes up freezer space (instead fridge space).
The other option is powdering the eggs. I may try this option, too! That being said, powdered eggs likely limit your options to scrambled eggs and using them in baking.
My mom had sent me info on water glassing eggs, which I found intriguing.
What is water glassing?
The concept of water glassing eggs is to take clean (but unwashed), raw eggs and preserve them in a mixture of water and pickling lime.
Apparently this method has been around since the 1800’s, which certainly makes sense; before all of our modern technology, people had to be smarter about preserving their food and making it last.
Let me back up a moment and explain why it is so important that the eggs are clean, unwashed!
The egg has a protective coating on it, called the “bloom.” This essentially seals the egg.
When you wash an egg, the bloom feels almost like a thin, slimy layer (and comes off when washed).
Egg shells are very porous, so without the bloom to protect them, they go bad much more quickly.
In order to make sure I was collecting clean eggs from the chickens, I simply was diligent in keeping their coop clean with plenty of fresh shavings in the nest boxes – and I collected eggs as soon as it got light out.
The sooner eggs are collected, the less chance they have of getting pooped on or stepped on by muddy feet.
If I had eggs that did get pooped on, I washed those and used them for our daily cooking rather than water glassing them.
Can you water glass store bought eggs?
I know the question will be asked, “Can store bought eggs be used for water glassing?” Maybe, but not likely.
Why do I say this? Two reasons. You want to use fresh eggs so they last longer and store bought eggs aren’t always the freshest. The second reason brings us back to the importance of the eggs being unwashed; you don’t want lime water seeping through your egg shells into the eggs. If there is a chance the eggs have been washed, I wouldn’t waste my time (or the eggs).
What if I want to test my eggs to see if they are good?
Another common question I have heard is, “Can I do a float test to see if my eggs are still good?”
The concern is this; if you are not supposed to wash them, are you allowed to do a float test to make sure your eggs are all still good enough to use?
You can definitely do this! The trick is to do your float test in the same mixture of water and pickling lime that the eggs are going to be stored in.
The process of water glassing eggs
Water glassing eggs is so simple and fast.
Start with a clean container; I used a large glass pickle jar.
Add your clean, unwashed eggs.
Combine your water and pickling lime in a separate bowl, then pour over the eggs (you can mix it in your storage container before adding the eggs, but you’ll have to guess how much you need).
Cover and store in a cool, dark place until you are ready to use your water glassed eggs!
If you want, you can add eggs each day as you collect them; we have 10 hens and the pickle jars I used hold about 30 eggs, so I just added our extra eggs each day for about a week until the jar was full and then topped up the lime solution to completely cover the eggs.
Which brings me to another important point; you want to make sure the eggs are completely covered by the pickling lime solution.
The pickling lime solution is an easy 1-to-1 ratio; one quart of water mixed with one ounce of pickling lime. If you are making a larger batch, it is easy math to figure out how much water and pickling lime you need.
Pickling lime can be irritating for your skin, so I wouldn’t soak your hands in the solution – but reaching in to grab an egg or two as needed with bare hands hasn’t bothered my skin.
I always rinse my eggs off after pulling them out of the lime solution, before cracking the egg, just to make sure I’m not getting any pickling lime in our meal.
How long do water glassed eggs last?
Online searches will tell you 12-18 months, if stored properly.
Right now, we are using eggs that I water glassed in October, 2021 – and today is January 24th, 2023! So yes, the 12-18 month shelf life is very realistic.
Does water glassing eggs change the flavour?
So far, I haven’t noticed a difference in the flavour.
The biggest difference I have noticed is the texture of the eggs; the egg white is more watery than a same-day-fresh egg. The yolks, however, are still the same bright orange color!
When you first mix your lime solution, it will have a murky, milky look to it. Over time, the pickling lime seems to settle to the bottom of the jar in a white layer, leaving the rest of the liquid clear.
This is quite normal and hasn’t caused any issues for me.
I also had a slight crust form at the top of the lime solution over time, which also has not caused any issues.
I have read that water glassed eggs may not do as well for boiled eggs since the shells are slightly soft after sitting in the pickling lime solution for 12-18 months, however I have not tested this opinion myself.
I have used the water glassed eggs for fried eggs, scrambled eggs, and in baking… and you wouldn’t know they were over a year old! Crazy, right?
In this modern day of consumerism, I think it is so grounding to try old (even “outdated”) methods of being just a little more self sufficient and cutting down on waste.
At one point before we got chickens, I couldn’t even find eggs at the grocery store because of supply chain issues.
And right now, I keep hearing about the exorbitant prices for eggs at the store!
So yes, I am very content to look after my little flock of chickens, feed them veggie scraps, let them free range, and preserve the eggs we collect from them.
It is a great summer treat to help beat the heat – and is healthy for them!
And the other great part? It only has 2 ingredients!
You can use this recipe with either cantaloupe or watermelon.
I actually was making a frozen cantaloupe sorbet for my hubby and I when I realized that if I just left the sugar out, I could make some treats for the pups while I was at it.
First, remove the seeds and cut the rind off, then slice the cantaloupe into chunks.
Next, toss them into the food processor or blender with about 1 tablespoon of cold water.
Blend until it is an even consistency.
I bought these cute dog paw silicone molds a while back and I can’t believe this is the very first time I have used them!
Spoon the mixture into the silicone mold and freeze until it is solid.
PRO TIP: the molds are very flexible, so you should set them on a cutting board or baking sheet that you can place in the freezer with the molds before adding the cantaloupe mix. This will help prevent spilling.
And viola! You just made the cutest, healthy dog treats ever!
And as I mentioned, the only difference in this recipe versus what I made for my husband and I is the sugar; if you want to sweeten this up a bit and serve it to guests, just add a tablespoon of sugar (the melon is already sweet, so a little sugar is all it takes).
Oh, and you can also use an ice cream maker to make it more of a sorbet slush consistency for the humans.
1 cantaloupe, cubed
1 tablespoon water
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until it is an even consistency.
Fill silicone molds, then place in freezer until solid.
Enjoy spoiling your pet!
If you try this recipe out, don’t forget to drop a comment and a photo of how it turned out for you! (Don’t forget to include your pooch in the pic!)
I have wanted to try my hand at compound butter for some time now; all the mouth-watering recipes on Pinterest are just sooo tempting!
This week I needed to prune my basil, but didn’t have enough to make a full batch of pesto so I decided compound butter would be the perfect way to use up the extra herbs.
And as long as I was softening a whole block of butter, I thought I would try a couple different recipes to see which I liked best.
I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but one of the combinations I had seen was honey orange compound butter – and we have our own home-raised honey, so why not?
The first savoury recipe I tried was roasted garlic & dill with chives, which I plan to use on baked potatoes, mashed potatoes or perogies.
For the second savoury combo, I used the excess basil I had pruned, oregano, and some purple thyme flowers to give it a pop of color. Oh, and roasted garlic. Gotta love garlic in almost everything!
I plan to use the herbed garlic butter for pastas, steaks, and buttering grilled cheesers (I’ve already used it on grilled cheese sandwiches and it turned out AMAZING). Hmm… And I’ll bet it would be great on grilled corn on the cob…
I found that making compound butter was really easy and fairly quick once the butter was softened. And the beauty of so many different combinations really leaves it up to your imagination as to which ingredients to add!
And how much to add is up to you, too… If you love garlic, add lots. If you want a hint of citrus, add a smidge of lime zest.
It is supposed to last for a couple weeks in the fridge (remember, this is my first time making compound butter and haven’t tested the shelf life myself yet); if you want to store it longer than that, just pop it in the freezer.
The first step is to allow the butter to come to room temperature so it is nice and soft. (I used salted butter, but I’m sure you could make unsalted work as well)
I put my butter in the mixing bowl directly from the fridge so I wouldn’t have to try getting soft, sticky butter out of the packaging later.
I know at least a few of you are thinking you’ll skip the wait time by throwing your butter in the microwave – don’t do it!!!
Every time I have tried softening butter in the microwave in the past, I end up with at least part of it getting melted – and you want softbutter, not meltedbutter!
Once the butter is nice and soft, you get to start your gourmet recipe!
Add your ingredients of choice and then mix everything together well until it is an even consistency.
I used an electric hand mixer, but you can also mix it with a whisk or spatula (the softer the butter, the easier to mix).
Once all the ingredients are well incorporated, spoon it onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap it, then form it into a log.
It won’t shape perfectly at this stage since the butter is still so soft, so place your compound butter back in the fridge for a while until it hardens up a bit, but isn’t completely hard.
Now you can roll it on the counter to get a more even “roundness” to your shape.
So now that you know the process, let’s get to the recipes I tried out!
As I mentioned, we have our own home-raised honey from our bees – and I had been looking for some fun recipes to use the abundance of honey we have on hand.
I don’t usually eat much sweet stuff, so I made this batch smaller than the rest.
1/2 cup soft butter
1/4 cup raw honey
Zest from 1 large orange
In the future, I think I’ll save some of the orange zest and roll the simi-hardened compound butter in it to give it a bit of extra “wow factor”
I tried this out on pancakes and YUM! It had such a nice balance of sweet from the honey and fresh tartness from the orange zest.
It would also go well on cornbread, biscuits or even banana bread.
Dill & Roasted Garlic with Chives
Dill and garlic are two things I use in sooo many recipes!
They work together so well to create a complex flavour profile in recipes like mashed potatoes, creamy green beans, and creamed peas & potatoes.
This compound butter will also go great on baked potatoes for BBQ season.
1 cup soft butter
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
3-4 cloves roasted garlic, diced
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
Herbed Garlic Butter
Basil, Oregano, and Thyme are staples in my herb garden.
I love using them in Italian dishes like lasagna, fettuccine or herbed olive bread.
I already used this compound butter on grilled cheese sandwiches with the olive bread and it was to die for!
1 cup soft butter
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3-4 cloves roasted garlic, chopped
Clearly, I need to hone my skills to get perfectly round logs – but hey! Once the butter is melted over a juicy steak, no one will care if it wasn’t perfectly shaped!
So what do you think? Which combos should I try next?
For those of you who don’t farm, that means many a long day (and often well into the night) spent in the field getting crops in the ground.
I have done my fair share of those long hours and am thankful to be able to get a full night of sleep, but want to do my part to help my hubby out while he is pulling the all-nighters running the seeder.
We live in the country, so picking up Subway or other fast food isn’t exactly convenient (or cost effective)…
I try to keep a good variety of sandwiches in the mix so Jake doesn’t get tired of just eating the same kind day after day.
(we also have chickens that have been laying like crazy, so egg salad sandwiches are a great way to use our farm-fresh eggs).
Egg salad sandwich mix is pretty quick to whip up and stays good in the fridge for several days – and is sooo fast to spread on some bread and send out to the field!
The biggest thing is having an easy-peel method for the boiled eggs, otherwise it can be a huge pain to make. I do not have the patience to pick tiny pieces of shell off each egg, to my easy-peel method is a must!
Once the eggs are all boiled and peeled, I either chop them into pieces or simply use a fork or potato masher to mash them up.
Then, I add about 1 cup of Miracle Whip (my hubby prefers it over Mayo, so if you are a hard-core Hellman’s person go with that!), 1 tablespoon of mustard, about 3 pickles (chopped), and sometimes even a bit of dill and stir it all together.
Obviously some salt & pepper to taste is recommended as well…
Depending on how “stiff” or “runny” you would like your mixture, you can take some extra time to really make sure the yolks are well mashed – or – you can add a splash of pickle juice for some extra zing.
And viola! You are prepped for the next batch of sandwiches within minutes!
Ever since we got laying hens a couple years ago, we have had a surplus of eggs; this pushed me to get creative with the ways we used them up without wearing out one boring, old recipe.
I mean, 10 eggs a day for just 2 people is a lot!
Even with selling eggs, we always seem to have more than enough.
Of course you have breakfast options like scrambled, fried or poached eggs and some great lunch options by using boiled eggs on a Cobb salad, in egg salad sandwiches or potato salad.
Devilled eggs are a classic favourite, however the biggest deterrent for me is peeling the eggs.
If the eggs are really fresh (like the home-raised eggs we get on our homestead), they can be a real chore to peel!
The quality and freshness of the eggs are unbeatable, however the shells tend to stick to the boiled eggs and I end up with ugly, marbled looking eggs. (Not to mention the waste of throwing away parts of the egg that are stuck to the shells!)
Well, no more!
I had heard that the InstantPot makes for the quickest, easiest “boiled” eggs (although they aren’t actually boiled in water, rather steamed) and I decided to give it a shot.
Sure enough, the first batch turned out great.
And then the second batch had the same amazing results.
And then the third batch proved this method was, indeed, a consistent winner.
It still helps if the eggs are at least a few days old, but it isn’t necessary.
Start by adding a cup of water to the bottom of the pot, then add the eggs on top of the metal rack (I make sure mine aren’t touching the water).
The egg setting automatically is set for 5 minutes, however you can adjust it to less time if you would like soft boiled eggs.
If you have never used an Instant Pot before, you need to make sure the lid is securely fastened and the vent on top is in the “shut” setting (it is marked on the lid).
The timer starts once the pot is pre-heated. Once it has finished the cycle, I do a quick decompress.
Some people say to allow it to naturally decompress for 5 minutes before releasing the steam, however I find that it cooks the eggs more than I would like that way.
Once all the steam has all been fully released, carefully open the lid and immediately plunge the eggs into an ice water bath.
If you are only doing a few eggs at a time, you can use a bowl with ice water.
For larger batches, I find it makes less mess to just run cold water into my sink, add ice, and chill all the eggs at once without worry of overfilling a bowl.
Once the eggs are FULLY cooled, you can remove them from the ice water and start peeling them.
The egg shell should pull away from the egg completely and easily, often in large pieces of shell.
I like to peel them into the sink so I can rinse the eggs under running water to make sure there are no small pieces of shell left on them (I hate that gross “crunch” of egg shell when I am eating).
I should also mention that I gently tap the boiled egg against the sink or counter to slightly crunch the shell before I start peeling them.
With easy-peel boiled eggs, it really should only take a few minutes to peel a dozen eggs – and you are set for whichever recipe you are making.
Oh, right! I forgot to mention that pickling eggs is another great way to use up excess eggs.
At the moment, I am experimenting with different pickled egg recipes to see which ones come out as the approved winners by my hubby – I’ll be sure to share them with you later!
Here I go again… sharing all our secret family recipes!
Okay, I did ask my mom if she was okay with me publishing our family recipes and she was more than happy that I was able to share them with the rest of the family – and all of you!
One of the biggest weekend breakfast treats for us was Krupsua.
I can’t remember whether the origin was from our Swedish or Norwegian roots, but it certainly has “heritage” written all over it.
Most people would likely call this type of food a “Dutch Baby.”
In any case, it always goes over well with our family – and we rarely have leftovers!
That being said, the reason this is a weekend favourite is because it takes about an hour of bake time. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in getting up an hour early on a work day just to get breakfast going!
Krupsua is one of those foods that immediately brings to mind memories for me; so often, when we visited Grandma and Grandpa Plate, this was a meal I would help Mom and Grandma make…
There was a smell of fresh coffee in the kitchen, Grandma’s tidy counters ready to cook, and the sound of their grandfather clock gently chiming every 15 minutes…
Side note – I make no apology for being “that blogger” who has a big story with each recipe. Each of my blog posts are tied to something very important to me – and let’s be honest here, I’m doing this more for me than for you. 😉
But let’s get into the recipe!
I always start by adding the milk and flour together, then whisking well so they are a nice, smooth mixture.
This has proven to be a very important step, because the times I have skipped it and added the eggs right away, things just weren’t as good as usual.
Next, I crack all the eggs into a separate bowl (or more often, a measuring cup) and beat them until they are an even consistency.
Then I add the eggs into the milk-and-flour mix, along with the salt, sugar, and (sometimes) a splash of vanilla extract.
All the while, my oven has been pre-heating to 400° and a baking dish with about 1/4 cup butter have been heating as well.
Ideally, the baking dish should have tall sides to give the Krupsua a nice, high rise.
Once the oven is fully heated and the butter in the baking dish has melted, the batter gets added and then the wait begins!!
Mom’s recipe says to bake for 40-60 minutes (uncovered) – I find it typically takes the full 60 minutes to finish cooking properly.
Some people may choose to bake it with a lid or tin foil for the first 20-30 minutes, and then remove the cover for the remaining time.
Either way, you NEED to make sure you leave enough room for the Krupsua to rise without touching the top of the oven (or lid, if you choose to use one) so it doesn’t burn!
I usually put mine on the second-to-lowest rack to leave plenty of room, while also baking evenly.
As the Krupsua bakes, the sides will begin to rise first, getting a golden-brown finish on the edges.
Once the center begins to rise, as well, you are almost there!
I have made the mistake of trying to rush the process and take the Krupsua out before the center had risen fully. Don’t make that mistake. Just wait!
You want the center to get a golden-brown finish before you pull the Krupsua out of the oven.
Oh! And the center will fall again as soon as you take it out of the oven!
Don’t worry; that is perfectly normal.
Some people in my family love the crispy exterior of the Krupsua, whereas others love the soft, custard-like interior.
I’m pretty sure there is an agreement between a few of them that one person gets all of the crunchy parts and the other gets all the soft, buttery middle parts.
Grandma Plate often had rhubarb sauce or strawberry sauce on hand, which we would drizzle over our individual servings.
Some in my family prefer to eat their Krupsua plain…
… And others prefer to use syrup!
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
1 t salt
2 T sugar
1 t vanilla extract, optional
Preheat the oven to 400º and place a large bowl with the butter inside.
Next, mix the milk and flour well so there are no lumps left.
Beat the eggs and add them to the flour mixture.
Add the salt, sugar, and vanilla extract to the mix.
Once the oven is preheated, pour the mixture into the bowl with the melted butter.
I typically find that I need to bake it for 60 minutes to ensure the centre is fully cooked, though if you would like to speed up your bake time, you can use buttered muffin tins instead of the large bowl.
Remove from the oven and allow to set for a few minutes before serving.
With everything going on in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have had a lot more time on my hands at home to try out new things that interest me.
Having extra oranges on hand that may or may not get eaten before they got hard, the idea of trying to make my own marmalade so they didn’t go to waste came to mind. Also, a bit of extra vitamin C in my diet wouldn’t hurt, right?
I personally do not like overly sweet food, so I adjusted the recipe I found to have less sugar than called for by about half.
First, I washed my oranges and lemon, cut the ends off, then cut them into quarters and then into thin strips. Next time I would try cutting them into thin rounds first and then into quarters to see which method is easiest to get the thinnest strips.
Make sure there are no seeds before adding the orange and lemon to the pot. (I saved the cut off the ends of the oranges to make a vinegar cleaner later).
Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.
I let the batch set overnight as this gives the orange’s natural pectin time to set. Some recipes called for pectin, which I did not have on hand, so I chose this method rather than wait until the next time I made it to the grocery store (which wouldn’t be for a while given the government’s strong recommendation to stay home unless absolutely necessary).
The next day, I brought the batch back up to a boil, then turned it down to a simmer for 2 hours.
The next step was to bring it to a gentle boil for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring continuously to avoid burning. The recipe said to use a candy thermometer and bring the temperature to 220 Degrees F – I actually whipped out my candy thermometer, despite my temptation to “wing it!”
That being said… My batch only made it to about 210 Degrees before it started looking gelled enough, so I took a spoonful of the marmalade out and put it in the fridge for a minute to test how it set up.
It was the consistency I wanted, so I took my marmalade off the heat and put it into 3 clean, sanitized pint jars and sealed.
Of course my spoonful to test it was tasty, but I still HAD to try the marmalade with fresh, homemade sourdough bread for my final rating – and let me tell you, this will not be the last time I make this recipe!
I had a friend joke that they call marmalade “old people jam” and it made me laugh; Pinterest already thinks I am an older lady, so why not just embrace it? Haha
4 Medium Oranges, sliced thinly
1 Lemon, sliced thinly
6 Cups Water
4 Cups Sugar (if you like it sweeter you can add another 4 cups of sugar)
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Remove from heat, cover, and leave overnight.
Bring to a boil the next day, reduce heat to a simmer for 2 hours.
Bring to a gentle boil for 20 – 30 minutes. Target heat using your candy thermometer is 220 Degrees F. Test thickness by taking a spoonful and placing in the fridge for a minute; if it is watery, continue to cook. If it gels well, your batch is done.
Fill clean, sanitized jars and seal with hot water bath.
Makes about 3 pints.
Have you made marmalade? Do you plan to give it a try? I would love to hear from you below!
(Published April 2020)
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You can never go wrong with tacos! I mean, we even have a day of the week dedicated to their deliciousness!
My family’s taco recipe is a little different than what you traditionally think of when you are planning Taco Tuesday (or TacoS Tuesday, as my niece calls it).
We actually fry our tacos, which makes the cheese super gooey and extra delicious!
First, you’ll need to fry the raw ground beef. I often will fry a large package of the ground beef all at once so I have extra meat to freeze for next time I am making tacos.
(I haven’t tried using ground turkey or pork, but I imagine those meats would work quite well, too!)
As you cook the meat, add salt & pepper to taste as well as cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and a splash of lemon juice. If you have taco seasoning, you can use that instead; I just keep all the individual spices on hand and tend to make the spice mix myself.
Make sure to break the ground meat into small chunks as it cooks.
Once it is fully cooked so there is no more pink showing, drain any excess fat off. I like to place the pan back on the heat again and fry the meat until it is slightly crispy, but that’s up to you.
Next, spread refried beans on half the corn tortilla. CLICK HERE for the refried beans recipe.(I find making refried beans from scratch is WAY more cost effective than buying the canned version. And it really doesn’t take a ton of time as long as you plan ahead)
Then add your ground beef on top of the beans and then a slice of cheese.
The amount of meat you add is totally up to you! If you have carnivores in your house, you may want to add as much meat as you think will stay on the taco.
If you are on a tight budget, trying to make ends meet, you can keep this meal filling without breaking the bank by adding more beans and less of the meat.
Fry the taco, folded over, in a pre-heated pan with oil. Don’t add too much oil; you just want enough to give the tortilla a nice golden finish.
If you end up with a lot of splattering, it means you added too much oil.
At one time during our kitchen renovations, I had to make a “temporary kitchen” work without a stove… and I actually just brushed oil on a griddle to make these tacos. It worked great! The point is, that’s how little oil you really need for this recipe.
To that point, I bet you could even make these tacos on the BBQ if you had a griddle accessory. Summer is so short where we live that I love using the grill as much as possible when the weather is nice!
Once the first side of the taco is golden-brown, flip it to the other side and fry it to the same crunchy perfection.
Once both sides have been fried, you add your toppings and enjoy!
I personally love sour cream, chunky salsa, jalapeños, cilantro, avocado, green onions, and lettuce on my tacos. You can also add Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, tomatoes or cucumbers. If you like spicy food, you could even try my Fire Roasted Salsa to turn up the heat.
Summer is the time for lazy days at the lake, yard work – or harvesting tons of fresh veggies from the garden!
Here in Saskatchewan, this is the time of year that the zucchini go crazy.
Gardeners use every possible recipe to use up their excess and then start giving zucchini to their friends, family, neighbours, and maybe even complete strangers!
We all want to make sure the produce we have worked so hard to grow doesn’t go to waste.
So I’m here today to give you inspiration for one more yummy way you can use your zucchini – Zucchini Pizza Boats!
The great part about this recipe is that it is low carb, does great on the grill, and you can use other garden fresh veggies.
Just like with pizza, it is a flexible recipe that you can pick and choose which toppings you would like to use.
I like to start with a zucchini that is borderline too large because the skin will be a little tough, which makes the “boat” hold its shape on the grill better. Plus this gives you a larger hollow to add your sauce and toppings to!
Cut the zucchini in half long-wise and scoop out the soft, seedy part.
Don’t throw it out, though! We will use the insides in the sauce in a minute.
Next, heat a pan on medium heat and add some butter, a few cloves of garlic, and diced onion.
I personally like to add whole cloves of garlic; once they are nice and soft, I just smash them with my knife on the cutting board and give them a quick chop.
I find that method a lot quicker than mincing or grating the garlic raw.
Oh! And this is where the zucchini insides get added; toss it into your sauce, seeds and all.
Next, add diced tomato and some chopped oregano & basil.
I like a bit of heat to my food, so I add an entire cayenne pepper (either a fresh, chopped pepper or a crumbled, dehydrated pepper).
Then, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. This really makes the flavour pop!
And as expected, give the sauce a nice seasoning of salt & pepper.
Allow it to come to a simmer and cook the sauce down until it is no longer watery.
The more tomato you add, the more like a pizza sauce it will be.
Adding the zucchini insides, however, makes the sauce a bit different texture than normal pizza sauce, but hey – waste not, want not!
Once your sauce has cooked down to the desired consistency, scoop it into your zucchini boats.
Then you get to add your toppings!
I find that the toppings work best when they are added first and then the cheese added on top; when the cheese gets gooey, anything on top tends to try to slide off if the zucchini boat isn’t quite flat.
You can bake the zucchini boats at 350º for about 40 minutes (depending on their size, time will vary).
My favorite, however, is throwing them on the grill with a bit of smoke!
The flavour is amazing that way, plus if it is a hot day you aren’t heating up your house.
On a pre-heated grill, it typically takes about 40 minutes on low-to-medium heat to cook the zucchini boats.
NOTE: Be careful how high your flame is; you do not want to char the skin!
You can also use a pre-soaked wood plank to add flavour (and catch any gooey cheese that tries to drip off).
I like my Maple Grilling Plank better for this recipe than my Cedar Grilling Planks because it has a lighter flavour.
I like the zucchini to be soft enough to easily pierce with a fork, but not so soft that it is falling apart.
Some people may prefer their zucchini to be firmer so they are almost crunchy still.
That is completely up to you!
Once you remove the zucchini boat from the heat, allow it to cool for a couple minutes.
I promise this will become a fast favourite!
While zucchini is usually served as a side veggie, I like serving this dish as a main course – or even the entire meal because it is so filling!
1 large zucchini
1 large tomato
1/2 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1 cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Basil & oregano, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste
Cut the zucchini in half long-wise and scoop out the soft, seedy centre (reserve for later).
In a pan on medium heat, sauté garlic, diced onion, and diced tomato in butter.
Add zucchini insides along with balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, basil, and oregano.
If you want some heat, add cayenne pepper as well.
Salt & pepper to taste.
Simmer until the sauce has reduced to desired consistency.
Scoop sauce into zucchini boats, then add toppings and cheese.
Bake at 350º for about 40 minutes or grill on low-to-medium heat for about 40 minutes.
Cook time will vary depending on the size of zucchini and desired softness.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
What is your favourite zucchini recipe? Drop a comment below!