Over the summer, I got a case of tomatoes at the farmer’s market and they were so tasty that I decided I needed to save some for over the winter. Sun drying was out of the question. Too much rain and too much humidity. So, I decided to make sauce and can it. My previous sauces have been too watery, so this time I tried a new approach. Lydia from Lydia’s kitchen, says the tomato seeds can make the sauce bitter, so I quartered and seeded them and filled 2 pots with the pieces, skin and all. I cooked them down for 2 or 3 hours, then let them sit overnight to cool, so I could put them through the blender. The next morning, I processed the cooked tomatoes in a high speed blender on the smoothie setting for a couple minutes, including the skins, which were now soft. I poured the thick, rich sauce back into the pots and cooked it down to half.
The following day, I heated the sauce, sterilized jars, filled them and capped them. I processed them in a boiling water bath for the amount of time indicated by the Ball Blue Book for 7800 ft. elevation.
This is my new favorite way to preserve tomatoes. Sadly, we have already used up all the sauce for spaghetti, pizza, and soup. The good news is, I seemed to have cooked out enough of the water for the sauce to stay thick. The flavor was incredible. I think next season I will be getting several cases of those tomatoes.
Pumpkin seeds are a healthy, easy-to-make snack. They’re a great way to make optimal use of the whole pumpkin or other winter squash. They’re packed with zinc, which will help you ward off those winter colds. Stuffed squash and pumpkin seeds are both easy to make in the rv oven. I do my pumpkin seeds on the stove top because it’s easier for me.
I like my homemade, roasted pumpkin seeds, so once I’ve got the squash in the oven, I put the seeds in a colander and rinse well. Next, I pop them off of the membranes, then rinse them real good and drain them. Soak them in salt water overnight, and the next day, drain and either roast them or fry them. I like to fry them because I always forget about them in the oven and they burn.
I’ve already soaked the seeds in salt water, so I don’t add any more salt. I add a few tablespoons of coconut oil to my cast iron fry pan and dump the seeds in. Stir frequently and reduce heat if necessary. I want them a nice, toasty brown so that they’re crunchy, but not too hard. I can tell if they’re not done enough, because they’ll be hard to chew. If that happens, I add the ones I think need more roasting back into the pan and keep stirring.
I like to leave a small bowl of seeds sitting out for my family to grab handfuls of throughout the day. The rest, I put into glass jars with tight fitting lids, after they’re cool, of course. This way we can enjoy them for months, without them getting stale. It also makes them easier to grab and go for nutritious, homemade road food or trail snacks.
Cook fresh, eat healthy, enjoy the road!
With all the specials on winter squash right now, you can make really inexpensive, tasty dinners with ’em. They’re not just for jack ‘o lanterns anymore. You can use any kind of winter squash: butternut, acorn, pumpkin, try any of the hard squashes. Rinse off the rind, cut it; in the case of an acorn squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and save them. Pumpkin as well. Most squash seeds are high in zinc, which helps build the immune system and ward off winter colds. Squash is a perfect winter food. The yellow flesh, signals lots of Vitamin A, which is another immune booster, and a critical vitamin in its natural form, from squash and carrots.
So, scoop out the seeds and cut a flat bottom on the squash, so it won’t tip over when you stuff it. Grease the bottom of the pan and set the squash in it. Then cut up some meat, or even use hamburger or sausage. I used Italian sausage links that I sliced into chunks. Stuff your squash with some of your meat, or all of your meat, as the case may be. If you’ve got extra, throw it in another pan and set that aside. Next we’re gonna take an onion or two and a handful of garlic, and chop that up and throw that in with the meat. You can mix it all together or layer it, however you like. Depending how fatty your meat is, you may need to put a few chunks of butter or coconut oil on top.
Then you’re going to cover your squash and put it in a 350’ oven for 45-60 min. When the meat is done and the squash is soft, it’s ready to eat.
Now we get back to our other pan with the rest of the meat, put the rest of the onions and garlic in there, with the meat and chop up some cabbage real fine, or chunky, however you like it. Put that on top and definitely put a few spoonfuls of coconut oil on top of that. Cover it up, put it in the oven with your squash. They should both be done at the same time. That’s it. Easy, peasy meal.
Cook fresh, eat healthy, enjoy the road!
One of the biggest drawbacks to baking in the rv is lack of counter space. There are several workarounds for this. Most rvs have flat covers for the range and the sink. If you’re using the oven, you’re not going to want to cover the range. I also tend to need the sink when I’m cooking, so the sink covers don’t help. I have, however, learned to maneuver in a small space. My family likes to tease me about using every dish in the house when I cook and that is true when I have the space. It’s easier. When I am in the rv, I have to plan out my procedure and use as few items as possible. I also tend to get all my ingredients together before I start, while at home I tend to get them as I need them.
In the rv, I line up my ingredients and utensils on the counter, if a few, on the table, if many. I preheat my oven and start mixing. For sake of example, today I made chocolate chip cookies. Usually with cookies you mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl, then combine. In the rv, I mix the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs first, then combine part of the flour with the baking soda and salt and add to the wet ingredients, gradually adding the rest of the flour, then the chocolate chips. I preheated the oven and it was ready when I was. At home I usually use 3 or 4 cookie sheets and wire racks for cooling. In the rv I only have one cookie sheet but I think I will get another one, just because it takes about twice the amount of time to bake a batch of cookies without having that second sheet ready to go in the oven when you take the first one out.
Probably the biggest frustration with rv baking, other than counter space, is temperature regulation. That tiny rv oven is going to be a different experience from your spacious home oven. You can get an oven thermometer to double check the temperature if you want to. On the road, I have used many different ovens, both gas and electric, so I have learned to just keep checking. If something doesn’t seem to be cooking as quickly as it should I turn the temperature up. If it’s cooking too quickly, I turn it down. The important part is to keep checking your food.
That’s all there is to baking in the rv oven. Just scaled down from what you do at home. Cook fresh, eat healthy, enjoy the road.