Hamburger Skillet Meal

Easy Hamburger Skillet Meal

This hamburger skillet meal is one of my “go-to” meals when I want something quick and easy for dinner. Many times all that I have to do is open a few jars, heat in a skillet, and I have a meal ready to go in no time at all. So stick with me while I present a few options for getting this hearty meal on the table in “two shakes of a lamb’s tail”.

Since I like things easy, I make up a bulk batch of the seasoning to keep at the ready. To the left is the recipe that I follow. It has onion flakes, oregano, garlic powder, basil, salt and pepper. Feel free to tweak your version as you see fit. This recipe produces enough mix for me to do 3 or 4 meals using about two tablespoons of the mix with each meal that I make.

If you don’t wish to make the mix up ahead of time and would prefer to do it as you make your meal, the recipe for doing it on an individual basis is as follows:

1 tablespoon onion flakes

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

So here’s how to put the meal together.

This meal works great as part of the #threeriverschallenge2022. It uses everything that I already have in my pantry. Today I will be using a pint of canned ground beef, but many times I use 1 cup of previously browned and frozen ground beef. Both work equally well in this recipe. Today I happened to be out of the frozen precooked ground beef, so I am using up a jar from the pantry. You can also use 1 pound of ground beef, brown it, and drain the grease before adding the other ingredients. For me that is just too much work when I want something quick and easy. I prefer to have ground beef precooked and either frozen or canned for easy to whip up meals. With the exception of the necessary water, what you see in the above photo is all that you need to put this meal together. Pasta, diced tomatoes, ground beef, and the seasoning mix. Easy-peasy!

Assuming that your beef is already cooked, add 3 1/2 cups of water to a skillet and bring to a boil. Add 8 ounces of your favorite pasta. Any kind works, but I tend to use the kind that will soak up and hold the liquid such as elbow, penne, cavatappi or rigatoni. Add one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes and the seasoning mix. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir often so that the pasta will not stick and will soak up the liquid. Once the pasta has been cooked to your liking (al dente or soft), remove from heat and add grated or shredded cheese if you so desire. This should serve 4. With salad and bread, it makes a hearty meal.

Notes

Instead of diced tomatoes, I have used tomato paste and tomato sauce. Depending on whether you use paste, sauce, or diced, note that the consistence of the final product will be different. I prefer a final dish with tomato pieces and a more liquid consistency – the shredded cheese soaks up some of the liquid, adding great flavor, AND I like to dip homemade bread to soak up some of the sauce as I am eating. It is all what you prefer. Play with a bit and see which version you and your family like. If you prefer a “tighter” tomato sauce, go with a paste. You can almost see the steam rising off of the pan as I prepare to put dinner on the table in under thirty minutes.

 

I hope this helps you get dinner on the table without a lot of muss or fuss. Please let me know how you took this recipe and made it your own. As always, thank you for visiting the farm today.

Finally Frigid

I wanted to give a brief update to my post on Winter Sowing.

We had expected precipitation coming in the form of rain and then snow and I was excited! This was going to be perfect but I needed to get my containers for my winter sowing project ready quickly. I had a warm, sunny day to work outside but I needed to hurry. It was the calm before the storm as they say.

I got out my materials, my tools, and my trusty helpers and we got started. They supervised and I worked. I needed a drill, soil, containers, duct tape, and the nuts/seeds I wanted to sow.

There isn’t really a hard portion to this process, although it did take some time to drill the holes in the containers. Wrapping the duct tape around the containers was not fun. It kept sticking to me as I was trying to cover the slit (see below).

Once the containers were drilled, I then cut them about 90% the way around leaving an area that could act as a hinge. The cut was a little more than halfway up from the bottom of the container. The next step was to fill with moistened soil. I used soil from my compost pile, but you could use potting soil or seed starting soil. Since I was planting nuts and pits, I was not worried about the soil. However, if you plan on using the winter sowing method for things like tomatoes, peppers, or other garden plants, please use a more sterile form of soil such as a seed starter mix. You don’t want any pathogens affecting the germination of those tiny seeds. As what I was planting would regularly grow wherever they fell from an existing tree or were carried by wildlife, I figured I would be safe with soil from my compost pile. Only time will tell though.pecan, hazel nuts, cherry pits ready for winter sowing

I was planting seven pecan nuts, six hazelnuts, one acorn from a red oak tree, and some cherry pits I had saved from summer eating. These had been soaking in water in my refrigerator for a week. The soaking is necessary for the process. If any of these grow, great. If not, all that I am out is my time.

I would be absolutely tickled if the pecans and the hazelnuts grew. I do have two ten-year old pecan trees already on the property, but I would love to have more and I have been doing research on growing hazelnuts. They can be left to grow as a shrub that wildlife use as food or habitat, or pruned to become a tree. In good growing conditions, hazelnuts will start to produce nuts in three to five years. My husband loves toasted hazelnuts and they are only available for a limited time at my local store. It would be wonderful to harvest our own for winter eating by the wood stove.

The final step in this process is to wrap the area where I made the cut with duct tape. This will hold the two portions of the container together and form a sort of greenhouse to aid in germination when the weather begins to warm. Don’t forget to mark your containers so that you know what seed is in which container.

I placed the containers on a plastic tray and put them in a shady spot on my deck. If there is a spike in daily temperatures before spring arrives, it could cause the nuts/seeds to germinate too early and the tender seedlings could be killed when the temperatures dip below freezing again. By keeping them in the shade, I can hopefully minimize any loss if we get a freak rise in the mercury this winter. It has been known to happen here. Many years ago, one January we had temperatures in the 90s for a whole week! That would really screw up my winter sowing project. If we have some freak of nature like that this year, I can simply move the containers into my basement until temperatures drop back into a more normal range for the season.

With the onset of continual frigid temperatures, the soaked nuts will begin the necessary cold stratification that they need in order to germinate. The freezing and thawing as the thermometer rises slightly above freezing and dips back down will help crack the shells of the nuts so that the little seedling can emerge when the weather warms with the spring thaw. Fingers crossed that my little project will not be in vain and that at least a couple of these nuts will become “free” food for the homestead.

Thank you for stopping by the farm today. Let me know what you think of my project. What do you think the outcome will be this spring?

 

 

 

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

When I was a child, we took our lunches to school. My mother always baked something so that we would have a little sweet thing with our lunch. These sweet items would run the gamut from bars, fudge, cookies, or cakes. All homemade. She made several really great cakes. Actually, all of her things were great. She was, and still is a fantastic baker. I did not get that from her. I do okay baking (getting better with time) but I was not a “natural” at it as some individuals.

In time, I may get around to sharing more of her recipes. But one of my favorites, was her “Jewish Apple Cake”. Yes, that was the name of the cake. She found the recipe in the local paper. Probably around one of the Jewish holidays. Back then, the local paper would have sections devoted to special things like that – Easter, Rosh Hashanah, Christmas, etc. and no one thought anything negative about it. It was recipe sharing based upon different yearly events. Heck, one year when the Seventeen Year Locust came to town, they printed recipes using locust. The one I remember most was fried locust as an ice cream topping. My apologies. Not trying to get you to lose your appetite. But you get my point – lots of things got printed in the paper and Mom saved a lot of recipes over the years.

In this whole “PC” world we inhabit these days – that is code for ‘political correctness’, I am not sure if I am supposed to call this what it was called all of those years ago, or just call it Apple Cake. To me, simply calling it Apple Cake takes away from what it was, a Jewish Apple Cake made during one of the holidays. So to me, it is a recipe saved by my mother for Jewish Apple Cake. Call it whatever you like.

Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Filling: 4 apples, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Batter: 3 cups flour (all purpose works fine), 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, 4 eggs, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 7 tablespoons orange juice.

Peel and chop the apples, add cinnamon and sugar, stir to coat apples. Set aside.

Mix all other ingredients for batter. Grease a tube pan. Alternate layers of batter and apples. Making sure to put batter on the bottom and apples on the top. Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending upon oven at 350 degrees.  It is done when a butter knife comes out clean.

Notes: I use a stoneware bundt baking pan. I grease and flour the pan before filling and it bakes for about 90 minutes in my oven in the stoneware. If using organic apples, I do not peel them.

This cake is one that I feel tastes better the second day. If you can wait that long to cut it. If not, it is great for breakfast, snack with an afternoon cup of tea, or dessert after dinner. No matter now you slice it, it just tastes delicious.

Thank you for stopping by today and I hope you will give this recipe a go. If you do, please let me know how you liked it. It checks all of the boxes for me; not a lot of ingredients, super easy to assemble, and super tasty.

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