Book Review: More Food From Small Spaces by Margaret Park

gardeningbook

In preparation for planting my vegetable garden, I picked up More Food From Small Spaces by Margaret Park from the library. I have two small raised beds that I normally plant 5 or 6 different veggies in, but they did not all fair well last year. So, I am doing some research on companion planting, vertical gardens, and proper spacing of plants to see if I can be more successful this year. This book has been very helpful. I bought my first seeds the other day and am looking forward to growing tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce, and corn. I have not had the best experience in growing corn, but the kids and I love to see the tall stalks growing in the garden. It is ornamental and makes me smile, so I will keep trying. I did harvest a few delicious cobs that I used in making salsa and other salads, so it wasn’t a total waste.

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Blueberry Snack Cake

Blueberry-Snack-Cake-2This is one of my son’s favorite treats. Every summer I stock up on blueberries when they are plentiful, inexpensive, and at their freshest. I freeze bags and bags full so that I can make this snack cake and other muffins, pancakes, etc. with blueberries all through the fall and winter. I am down to just a couple of bags and can’t wait to restock this summer! We use this often for a quick breakfast go-to. (more…)

Chicago-Style Pan Pizza

Chicago-Style Pan Pizza Prep: 30 minutes Bake: 25 minutes

Chicago-Style Pan Pizza
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes

This has become one my family’s favorite weeknight meals. This recipe calls for 1 loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed. I, however, make a quick 20 minute pizza dough instead. I start by making the pizza dough and letting it rise for 20 minutes until the oven is preheated and the sausage is cooked.

Pizza Crust ingredients:

1 package quick active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. salt


 

Chicago-Style Pan Pizza ingredients

Pizza dough (using above ingredients, follow the directions below)

1 pound Italian sausage

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 small onion, chopped

2 tsp. olive oil

1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, drained

3/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

Dissolve the yeast in warm water in medium bowl. Stir in flour, 2 tablespoons oil and the salt. Beat vigorously 20 strokes. Cover and let rest 20 minutes.

In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.

Press dough onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Sprinkle drained sausage over dough. Top with mozzarella cheese.

In a skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, salt, and garlic powder. Spoon over mozzarella cheese.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until crust in golden brown.

It is delicious!  Enjoy.

 

Three-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

This dish requires a little more time than a normal scalloped potato recipe, so I usually make it for special holidays or when my grandfather requests it. 🙂 Some people do not like Gruyere cheese and it can be a little more expensive, so you can substitute a cheese of your choice or just use cheddar. It is also not a low-fat dish with all the cheese and cream, but it is so delicious! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 lb. baking potatoes, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere (about 5 1/2 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped thyme
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 bay leaves

Prep: 50 min.      Cook: 1 hr. 15 min.     Serves: 12

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook, removing when not quite tender, 25-30 minutes. Drain and set aside until potatoes are cool enough to handle.
  2. In a small skillet, melt 1 Tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with foil. Generously butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and place it on a lined baking sheet. Add Gruyere, Cheddar, Parmesan, thyme, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper to onion mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. Peel and slice potatoes 1/4 inch thick. Arrange 1/2 of potatoes in baking dish, overlapping where necessary, and sprinkle with 1/2 of cheese mixture. Repeat layering, finishing with cheese. Pour cream over all potatoes and press bay leaves on top. Bake until cream is mostly absorbed and top is golden brown and bubbling, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

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Quick hot lunch: Pita Pizza

This may be an overly simple idea for a post, but I want to share very practical ideas for living with my readers. One of the perks of homeschooling for us is that we get to have lunch together and eat meals that we all enjoy. My kids love to have pita pizzas for a hot lunch. Most days we just grab a ham sandwich or leftovers for lunch, but once a week or so my kids enjoy having these affordable and quick pita pizzas. They are also easy to transport, so we can make them and take them with us as we run out to piano lessons, co-op, work, etc.  I will pair them with a piece of fruit, and it is always a hit. This is something that they do often by themselves if I am busy or away during lunch. I always buy the whole wheat pitas, and it adds a little extra flavor and nutrition. Our local supermarket will have these packages of pita bread for $ .99 (per package of 6) about once a month, so I always stock up and buy some for the freezer. You can use any kind of pizza sauce and cheese you prefer (or have on hand). Just spread the sauce on one side of the pita, put on your cheese and other toppings you have, if desired, and place in an oven set for 350 degrees for about 10 minutes – just until sides get crispy and cheese is melted.

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I would love to hear about any quick, lunch ideas your family enjoys!

Homemade Garden Salsa

SalsaWe were visiting the local farmer’s market one Saturday, and they were passing out free samples and recipes to make wholesome snacks for the kids.  We sampled this corn salsa recipe that was simple, light, and delicious.  So, now that our garden is producing tomatoes galore, we are making this recipe quite often.  It makes 4-6 servings per recipe.  We have gifted jars of it to family, and everyone has enjoyed it!

Ingredients:

– 2 medium tomatoes or 6-8 Roma tomatoes

– 2 Tbsp. minced cilantro

– 1 tsp. minced garlic

– 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion

– 2 ears of corn (cooked)  or half a can of canned corn

– 1 tsp. olive oil

– 1 tsp. lemon juice

– Salt to taste

 

Directions:

1.  Wash the tomatoes, corn and onion.

2.  Chop tomatoes into cubes and add them to a bowl with the garlic, cilantro, and 1/4 cup of red onion.

3.  Slice the corn from the rind (or dump from can), and add it to the bowl with the tomatoes, garlic and cilantro.

4.  Add 1 tsp. of olive oil and 1 tsp. lemon juice, and mix well.  Salt to taste.

5.  Serve on toasted bread or with chips.

 

This recipe was taken from simply recipes.  Enjoy!