Tag Archives: Recipes

Canning Tomatoes

We feel so incredibly blessed to still be able to can and freeze produce this season. It is the first year in a long time that we haven’t had a garden and when we moved I mourned the fact that we wouldn’t be able to can and freeze like we had in the past.

Between family being generous with their produce, co-workers dropping off produce on our step, and the local farmer’s markets, I have canned more this year than any year in the past. What a blessing.

Tomatoes have been plentiful, so I have been canning using my old trusty recipes as well as a few new ones. I think we are set with two types of pasta sauce as well as pizza sauce. I still hope to make salsa, but am rather scared. I’ve never made salsa before. All that chopping. Oy!

Here are my favourite tomato recipes this year:

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce 
(this is our absolute favourite pasta sauce recipe)

Yield: 8 cups (It is safe to double this recipe)

8 cups (2 L) coarsely chopped, peeled tomatoes (about 9-12 tomatoes)
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
2/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (5 % strength)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 6-oz/156 mL) can tomato paste

Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, wine, vinegar, basil, parsley, salt, sugar and tomato paste in a very large non-reactive pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency, stirring frequently. For mine to reach the thickness we like, I had it simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours.

Remove hot jars from canner and ladle sauce into jars to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of rim (head space). Process 35 minutes for pint (500 mL) jars and 40 minutes for quart (1 L) jars in a hot water bath.

Pasta Sauce
15 lbs. Tomatoes (approx. 30 large tomatoes)
2 Lrg. Onions
2 Green Bell Peppers
2 tsp minced garlic
2 Cans Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp. Oregano
2 tsp. Rosemary
2 Tbsp parsley
1 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt to taste (1 tbsp?)
Pepper to taste (1/2 tsp?)
  1. Blanch 15 lbs. tomatoes for 1 minute. Place in ice water. Discard cord/stem and peel and cut each tomato into large chunks (I cut each large tomato into 8ths). I blanch about 7 tomatoes at a time and cut an x into the bottom of each tomato before blanching, to make the peeling process easier.
  2. Puree 2 large onions in food processor (or chop really finely) then add to tomatoes.
  3. Chop 2-3 bell peppers into small pieces and add to tomatoes.
  4. Add minced garlic.
  5. Add 2 cans tomato paste.
  6. Simmer 30 minutes.
  7. Add all spices and the fresh basil.
  8. Simmer until you get to your desired thickness of sauce. I simmered mine for 30 minutes and then used the immersion blender to get the sauce to the consistency I wanted. I then simmered it another 1-1 ½ hours to help it thicken more.
  9. To can, ladle into hot, sterilized pint jars (or quarts if you are canning a larger amount) to within 1/2 inch of top, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per pint to assure acidity, seal with sterilized lids and process full jars in boiling water bath for 35 minutes for pint jars and 40 minutes for quart jars.
This made 16 pint jars for me.

Homemade Pizza Sauce


4 lbs paste or Roma tomatoes (I just used whatever I had-beefsteak this year)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 small can of tomato paste
1/2 tsp lemon juice per jar

1.     Prepare a boiling water bath canner and four half pint jars. Place lids into a small pan of water and bring to a gentle simmer.

2.     Peel, core, and dice the tomatoes. Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil, tomatoes, tomato paste, kosher salt, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. As they heat, use a potato masher or the back of a fork to help the tomato chunks break down into a rough sauce. (I used the immersion blender. Bring to a low boil and cook, stirring regularly, until the sauce thickens and reduces by half. This took about 2.5 hours for me.

3.     When sauce is finished cooking, remove it from the heat. Funnel into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Place ½ tsp lemon juice on top of each jar. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

4.     Note: While this sauce can be made with any variety of tomato, choosing a meatier tomato like a plum, roma or beefsteak means that your yield will be closer to mine. If you make it with watery tomatoes, such as an heirloom, bump up the starting weight a little, to ensure you get the proper yield.

Makes 4 half pints. It made 6 for me—I must have used bigger tomatoes.

**It is very important to practice safe canning methods. If you are new to canning or need a refresher, please check out these health and safety suggestions found in THIS link.**

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Canning Unsweetened Applesauce

We are on a canning roll here these days. Our latest fun has been applesauce. Jason came home with an ‘apple machine’ to help with the peeling and coring part of the project and I am so glad he did. It sped up the process sooo much. I thought these machines would be too pricey, but he found a PC Brand one for $12. It is metal and sturdy. The only thing we didn’t like about it is that it doesn’t clamp down, it is kept down with suction, which isn’t a very smart design considering the apple juices get under the suction part and ‘unsuction’ it.

So, here is our first attempt at making applesauce:

What you will need:

  • 10 pounds of apples, peeled, cored, and quartered. I used Paula Reds – they are a mix of sweet and tart, perfect for applesauce when you don’t want to add sugar. I figured out that 1 peck is about 16 apples and that’s about 5 lbs, so I got 2 pecks (1/2 bushel) of apples for this recipe.
  • 2 Tablespoons nutmeg (I skipped this because Mikail likes plain applesauce.
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Once the apples are peeled, cored, and sliced, place them in a large pot with about 1/4 inch water and heat on the stove on medium with a lid. The apples will steam and soften after about 20-25 minutes. I stirred the apples several times so they would not stick to the bottom of my pot.

I used an immersion blender to puree the apples down to my desired consistency of apple sauce. Scooping batches into a blender, food processor, or food mill would work well too. Jason thinks that he would like the texture better if it wasn’t so ‘pureed’, so next year we will use our food mill, which is still packed away in our trailer.

Once the apples are pureed, add the nutmeg and lemon juice, stirring gently to combine.
Fill pint jars with applesauce, leaving headspace. I really recommend the canning funnel to fill your jars. It helps prevent any of the applesauce getting on the lip of the jar, which could affect sealing and promote contamination. Wipe the tops of the jars to ensure no applesauce is on the jars. Then place the lid and the band on each jar.

Immerse the jars in boiling water; you might need to do this in batches. The jars should be covered by at least 1 inch of water. Boil for 20 minutes (no less). Remove and allow the jars to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. The jars will seal as they cool and you will hear the oh-so-satisfying ‘pop’ when they do. After 24 hours, check the jars to ensure that they are sealed. Simply push down on the lids. If you can press them down, they are not sealed. Put that jar(s) in the fridge and enjoy in the next few days. The rest of the jars can be kept in your pantry for up to a year.
This made 7 pints of applesauce for me. 

**It is very important to practice safe canning methods. If you are new to canning or need a refresher, please check out these health and safety suggestions found in THIS link.**

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Dry Mixes: Cornbread

This is one of my absolute favourite mix recipes that I use. I never liked cornbread until I went to the southern USA where they just know how to make it right. This recipe is a close second to the real southern dish.

Be warned, this is a large recipe. What you see in the picture is 1/2 the recipe minus 1 batch that I made right away.

4 cups flour
4 cups yellow corn meal
2 cups dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking powder
1 Tbsp baking soda
2 tsp salt

Combine well and store in an air tight container.

To make:
1 1/4 cups cornbread mix
1 egg
1/2 cup milk or water (buttermilk tastes the best)
2 Tbsp oil

Pour into an 8×8 pan and bake at 425 deg. F for 12-15 minutes.
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Dry Mixes: Shake ‘n’ Bake

Sage Shake ‘n’ Bake for Pork

5 cups bread crumbs (I got the giant box of Panko Bread Crumbs at Costco)
5 cups white flour
1/2 cup dried onion
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 tsp ground sage

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Shake well before using.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use 1 cup of mix per 4 pork chops. I shake the pork chops and mix together in a bag.
Cover in a greased baking dish.
Bake for 40 minutes
Uncover and bake for 15 minutes.

Shake ‘n’ Bake for Chicken

3 cups white flour
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups bread crumbs
2 Tbsp parsley
2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tabsp taco seasoning (you may have made that earlier this week)
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano

Use 1 cup of seasoning per recipe.

A couple of recipes I have used:

Shake ‘n’ Bake Chicken Thighs

You will need 4 chicken legs with backs attached.

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Put 1 cup of seasoning into a bag (large ziploc or a freezer bag). Add chicken parts in a bag and shake until well coated.
  3. Melt butter/margarine in a 9×13 inch baking dish in the preheated oven. Place chicken in the baking dish skin side down and bake for 20 minutes. Turn pieces and bake another 25 minutes until tender and juices run clear.

Shake n Bake Chicken Breasts

 You will need 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts:
Preheat oven to 400F. Dump one cup of shake n bake mix in a large ziploc bag or freezer bag. Rinse chicken in cold running water. Let excess water drain off. Place chicken, one piece at a time, in the bag with the shake n bake. Seal and shake the bag so that the chicken is totally coated in the breading. Remove the chicken from the bag, shaking off excess breading. Place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Do this with the remaining chicken.

Boneless chicken – Bake for 20 minutes

***I think that next time I make these recipes I am going to cut back the flour a bit and replace it with more bread crumbs. I have seen some recipes with no flour in them and I think I may like that better, although these recipes are delicious just as they are.
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