Throw Together Dinner

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©atmuseranch.com

One of the reasons I love canning my own meats — besides saving money — is the convenience. It’s just so nice to be able to grab a can of “whatever” and throw a meal together. That’s what I did last night.

On the menu was stuffed green pepper and the meat of choice was chicken breast. I rotate my canned stock so as new canned chicken goes in, the older date come out. Last’s night chicken was canned just a little over a year ago.

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©atmuseranch.com

I started by cooking 1 cup of rice. Then I cooked together a about a 1/2 cup diced onion, the tops from three green peppers and a bit of garlic.

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©atmuseranch.com

I decided to use a bit of Carroll Shelby’s White Chicken Chili Kit to season my filling mixture. The whole point of this mix is that you can use a little or lot and fix it your way. it comes with it’s masa, a chicken seasoning mixture, dried green and jalapeno peppers and cayenne pepper. I used just a little, maybe about a third of each packet except for the cayenne (didn’t need that at all). Oh, and I added about 1 1/2 cups water.

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©atmuseranch.com

When that thickened, about 5 minutes, I added 1/2 quart of chicken. That works out to about 1 pound of chicken (it takes two pounds to fill a quart jar).

©atmuseranch.com

©atmuseranch.com

After stirring in the chicken, I added the rice and filled three large green peppers. I topped each with some slices of cheddar cheese and backed for about 30 minutes.

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©atmuseranch.com

They were delicious and my guys ate them all up. I now have 1/2 a quart of chicken to use for something else… another throw together dinner.

What kind of meals to you like to throw together? Share your ideas.

Best wishes (may it always be three),

Katherine Sig

 

 

7 Dinner Menus & Recipes Cook Book is Now Published

©Katherine Koch

©Katherine Koch

It’s ready!

7 Dinner Menus & Recipes for September: 7 Simple Menus, 21 Delicious Recipes and Loads of Easy Tips for Using Seasonal Foods

Check it out if you’re looking for menu and recipes for using many September seasonal food. It’s budget friendly — only 99 cent — or free to borrow if you have Kindle Unlimited (such a great idea for us readers).

Be on the lookout of 7 Menus & Recipes for October toward the end of this month.

Oh, if let me know what you think!

Best wishes (and may it always be three)

Katherine Sig

Canning Chicken

©AtMuseRanch.com

©AtMuseRanch.com

It’s been a busy few day, in between getting ready to publish my first Kindle cookbook and a 101 errands, I decided to can chicken. It isn’t as hard as it sounds. It’s mostly waiting time. It had to be done, however. A few months back I found and awesome deal of boneless, skinless chicken breast.

They’ve been in one of the freezer since. I could feel the freezer coming on. Well, that, and we’ve decided we just have to down size on the freezers. Electricity costs were frightful this summer.

It had to be done and like I said, it’s mostly time. Waiting for the heat to come up to temperature and then the processing time. That’s 90 minutes (7 quarts) and 75 minutes (14 pints), respectively for our 3500-foot elevation. In all, it took me most of of the day. In between watching the gauge, I was able to keep some proofing done. More on that later.

In the meantime, I’m putting up a video from Michigan Snow Pony who has a terrific YouTube video about canning chicken. Enjoy and let me know if you have some questions about how to can.

Best wishes (may it always be three),

Katherine Sig

Bread Making Part Deux and Trois

An easy bread recipe with a few modifications. Yup and now I have it just right.

©At Muse Ranch

©At Muse Ranch

A few days ago I talked about making no-knead artisan-style bread. While it was a good attempt, I wasn’t completely happy. So I had to work on it. I think I’ve solved my problems.

Salt: I started with 1 tablespoon of salt per loaf. Then I moved up to two… that was way too much. And then I settled on 1 1/4 teaspoons. As Goldilocks says… “just right.”

Proofing Time: I gave it a minimal amount of time, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. While texture and flavor were fine, except for the salt problem, I thought I could do better. And I was right. The extra time, making it the night ahead, give a better texture and yes, flavor.

I’m happy I solve it so fast. I’ll be using this recipe a lot. If you’re searching for a bread recipes that’s easy — and do I mean easy — then check this one out. Spend a few minutes before bead and have a delicious loaf of fresh bread for dinner tomorrow.

Best wishes (and may it always be three),

Katherine Sig

 

 

 

Writing a Book Proposal

Wondering how a writer writes. Follow me as I talk about book proposals and why I think they’re important, even for self-publishing.

writing a book propsal

Image source: © Geotrac | Dreamstime Stock Photos

A few days ago, I talked about writing a book. Yes, I am doing that, but I’m old school publishing. I never start a book without a book proposal, even if I’m self-publishing.

Normally, a proposal is used to sell the idea and is used mostly for nonfiction ideas, such as my cookbook. Now, I’m going to self-publish this book on Amazon to start, so the only  person who has to approve this is me (well Amazon if for some reason they it doesn’t met their standards).

But a book proposal does more than just sell, it helps define what the book is about and will contain.

Defining the idea is really important. Writers as a group can be very scattered so a book proposal take a broad idea and narrows it down so it’s more focused… and readable. The theme and specific details are nailed down and ultimately makes the book more salable. Most importantly, the research help determine if the books is a viable idea  — and hopefully profitable — venture.

A proposal is very simple. It’s the who, what and why of the book.  Brian A. Klems’ The 8 Essential Elements of a Nonfiction Book Proposal over a WritersDigest.com is a very good article that describes the process.

Even if you’re contemplating writing a self-published nonfiction book, the majority of Brian’s ideas are important to follow.  Here is his ideas and some of mine:

  1. Hook. Think of this as the book description that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them have to buy this book.
  2. Market Overview. Is this book viable. Are there other titles like it and are they selling. If this proposal were for a publisher, it would definitely be an essential. It’s equally important for the self-publisher because you don’t wan to spend time researching and writing a book that don’t  have a market.
  3. Competitive Analysis. This goes hand-in-hand with the above and essentially means “who’s your competition.” That can be a good and bad thing especially if you can position your idea into an area that your competition should be but isn’t covering.
  4. Author Bio and Platform. This isn’t as important for self-publishing as it is for traditional publishing (remember, they’re putting $$ up and want to hedge their bets with the right expert). Still, even for self-publishing, if you have an expertise in the subject, make sure to  let you audience know.
  5. Marketing Plan. You better have one and if you’re self publishing, then you’ll be doing a lot of the work so understand and… well have a plan in place.
  6. Outline. While you don’t have to have one to sell a self-published book, you do need one to start writing.
  7. Sample Chapter (or Two). Not necessary for self-publishing so just start writing your book.
  8. More Information. Brian suggest getting as much information as possible, including consulting books written specifically on this topic. I thoroughly agree.

Have you thought about writing a book? Do you have question? Stop by and leave a comment (or question).

Best wishes (may it always be three),

Katherine

 

 

My Attempt at Easy No Knead Bread

Come along as I try to find the perfect no knead bread recipe.

no knead bread

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After my son pulled out a package of moldy bread this weekend, I started to think about making my own bread. Store bought bread is marginal at best. And expensive for what you get, especially when . you want artisan-type bread. The problem is, my schedule doesn’t have much room in it for bread making.  Except…

The no knead bread that’s has been making the rounds that last few years really is easy. I don’t know why I didn’t embrace it before, but now I’m on a mission.

No knead bread was introduced by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. It’s a simple a bread recipe as you can get, just flour, salt, yeast and water. It’s a very forgiving recipe, too. The hardest part of making this bread is the wait time. That’s probably what stopped me from making it before. I’m not that patient. That’s one of the reason I’m not calling this attempt a true success.

I set off my my mission by finding a recipe. While Jim’s recipes is super simple, I was still looking for something. My Internet research lead me to an article and video by Alice Currah on PBS.

Nice, huh? What I liked about Alice’s recipe is that you can use any type of pot (although I did use an enamel cast iron one). I also liked her idea of putting the bread and pot into a cold oven to start.

I followed the recipe almost word-for-word with a couple of exception. I didn’t have Kosher salt so I used regular table salt and reduced it as instructed and I didn’t proof it “overnight.” ( How long exactly is overnight, BTW).

I started my recipe at 6 a.m. on Monday morning and let her sit most of the day. Around 3:00 p.m. I pulled the dough out of the bowl and placed it in the pot. I then let that set and continue to proof/rise for another two ideas. And then I baked it. Also not for the whole 1 hour. I pulled it out 10 minutes early when it reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Did you know 200 degrees F is the magic number? That was one of the little tidbits I picked up in my research.

The bread smelled and looked beautiful.

©atmuseranch.com

©atmuseranch.com

And it didn’t taste too bad according to the hubby test. It tasted just a bit bland. It definitely needed a bit more salt and something else.  More of the research I found said additional proofing helps with the test. Ah… and I’m not that patient.

This is the type of recipe you can let sit up to 14 days in the fridge, with the additional time also helping with the taste. So, my testing is continuing until I refine my recipe.

Last night I made a batch of dough. I won’t get around to forming and baking it until late this afternoon. That overnight and then some, right? Then I’m going to try a double batch like in Alice’s video. I make one half and hold the rest of the dough for a few days and see if there’s a difference in taste. After that, I’ll experience with different flours. The hubby suggest rye (geeze, all this time and I didn’t know he liked rye bread).

Ultimately, I want a recipe that’s easy to throw together, hold, and bake up as I need. Stick around because I’ll be documenting it all right here on atmuseranch.com.

Best wishes,

Katherine

 

 

My New Favorite Cleaning Tools

green cleaning tools

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Today I was the “mean green cleaning machine” thanks to my new favorite cleaning tools. New might be a stretch and I can’t say they are really that new to me. I’ve decided to get back to basic, and get rid of the nasty chemical filled cleaning product. So today, I used only a half white vinegar/half water cleaning solution in a spray bottle and a microfiber rag.

Wow, did I ever clean up. Walls and light switches. Stove stoves and the refrigerator (inside and out). Mirrors and floors. Oh, and then they was the dog water dish that has some really build up of minerals (hard water here at the ranch).

The thing is, it worked well, if not better than harsh chemicals I’ve used in the past. I had already been using some home made, green recipes for cleaning spots out of clothes. And off and on I’ve used other “old fashioned” cleaning ideas. Just not consistently.  I guess Grandmother did know what was best.

The house was so clean today (an oddity here at the ranch) that I couldn’t bring myself to make dinner and make a mess, so dinner tonight was hot dogs and left over pressure cooker baked beans.

I plan to add more green (and cheap) cleaning ideas, so stay tuned.

Best wishes,

Katherine

 

Writing a Book

writing_a_bookYup, that’s what I’m doing.  Not that writing a book is all that unusual for me. I have a few under my belts for various book producers and publishers. This one, however, is all mine.

It will be my first self-published book and my first e-book. As a lifestyle writer I’m not my fair share of recipes and food articles. Even in some of those books I’ve written for others you’ll find a few recipes. This one will have lots of recipes; thirty days worth, as a matter of fact.

The topic has been chosen and researched, but I’m not ready to share it yet. Now I’m at the point of working on the outline and choosing recipes. I’m already coming up with more recipes than I have room for so there will be a lot of editing before I even get to the writing stage.

Ah, writing, that is to come, too, along with testing and photographing recipes. I haven’t decided if every recipe will have a photo in the book. Not that I don’t want to, but if I also decide to publish a paperback version, color printing can be expensive.

I still have lots to work out and I’m on a short deadline (self-imposed, but still a deadline that I want to meet.) I’ll be sharing this journey, so do following along.

Best wishes,

Katherine

Baked Beans in a Pressure Cooker

Cooking Baked Beans in a Pressure Cooker

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I have Noreen at Noreens Kitchen to thank for this recipe. Pressure cook the bean? Sure. But everything together in one pressure cooker? Well, that was a new one for me.

They mostly worked. That’s the good news. Next time, however, I’ll cook them for another 5 to 10 minutes. They were just a little under cooked, but was my mistake. Noreen said 40 minutes and at that she also had to cook them longer. She did start off with dry, unsoaked beans, however. I thought I was playing it safe and soaked the beans beforehand.

They still needed more time.

I also used Peruano beans instead of standard Navy beans. They’re a South American staple also called mayacoba beans, They are yellow with a creamy texture. Good for baked beans.

And… the beans turned out a little juicier than I like, but a cooked them a little while longer to reduce the liquid until it was nice, sweeter and just right.

Check out my variation of Noreen’s recipe below:

Yellow Baked Beans in a Pressure Cookers

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of Peruano beans (soaked overnight or with a fast soak)
  • 1/2 pound bacon (Noreen used a full pound)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or maple-flavored syrup)
  • 1/2 cup ketcup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Directions:

Throw all the ingredients into a pressure cooker. I use a Kuhn-Rikon model I’ve had for years, while it looks like Noreen uses an new electric pressure cooker.

Follow your pressure cookers instruction. For me, I bring the pot up to temperture and hold it at it’s first red line marker. Cook for 40-minutes. Let it naturally cool down (that gives it a little more cooking time, too).

If the beans are too watery, cook over medium heat to reduce.

A note about stovetop pressure cookers: Never, never walk away. While there’s lots of safeties build into modern pressure cookers, gold old fashion diligence is still the best bet. 

Enjoy,

Katherine