Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Easy Peasy Mini Pizzas...

For an easy, different lunchtime meal, for just a snack, or for a party treat, mini pizzas are just perfect.  They take very few ingredients and are VERY easy and fun to make.

  • English muffins
  • Marinara sauce
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Grated mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: meats like diced ham, pepperoni, sausage, hamburger or vegetables like chopped peppers, sliced mushrooms, chopped onions.

  1. Split an English muffin with a  knife or fork and toast it.
  2. Spread 2 - 3 Tbsp marinara sauce on a muffin half.
  3. Put parmesan cheese on top of the marina sauce and mozzerella on to of that.  Optional: you can add meat and/or vegetables on top.
  4. Cook in microwave oven for 20 seconds or until cheese starts to melt.

Here are the ingredients to make the mini pizzas: English muffins, marinara sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Have a grown-up cut, or use a fork, to split an English muffin in half.  Put the English muffin in the toaster.

Spread 2 - 3 tablespoons of marinara sauce on the English muffin.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese on the marinara sauce.

Add grated mozzarrella cheese on top.  If you have other ingredients like meats and vegetables, put those on top.

Put the mini pizza in the microwave oven for 20 seconds or until the cheese starts to melt.

There you have it.  A delicious home made mini pizza, just right for a lunch or snack.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

No Cook Refrigerator Pickles...

Here is how you can make your own pickles just in time for summer picnics or anytime snacks.  Making them is really easy and requires no cooking!  You can get cucumbers for making these pickles at the grocery store or make the pickles with your own home grown cucumbers. 

  • 1 - 1 1/2 lbs. pickling cucumbers
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cups vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt 
  • Fresh dill
  • Optional seasonings (mustard seeds, celery seeds, garlic, sugar, onion, etc.)

  1. Wash and cut the cucumbers.  You can cut them in 'chips' by cutting across the cucumbers about every 1/4 inch or in 'spears' by cutting them from end to end.  Also, cut off each end of the cucumbers.  That helps them to stay crisper.
  2. Put the cut cucumbers, fresh dill, and any seasonings in wide mouth pint jars.
  3. Make your brine by mixing the water, vinegar, and sea salt in a pitcher until the salt is dissolved.
  4. Pour the brine mixture in the jars until the cucumbers are completely covered.
  5. Screw the lids on the jars and put the jars in the refrigerator for four days.
Since these are refrigerator pickles they are not pickles you can leave out.  Always keep the pickles in the refrigerator.  They will be good for a couple of months and they get better as each day goes by.

When picking cucumbers, I use 'pickling cucumbers.'  They are much more crisp than salad cucumbers.  Good pickling cucumbers are dark green, firm, and have lots of bumps.

To make the pickles, the first thing I do is wash off all of the cucumbers.

Have a grown-up cut off the ends of the cucumbers so they are just a little smaller than your jar and then cut them into long spears.  They will fit perfectly in pint size jars.  Put as many cucumber spears in each jar as you can.  A pound of cucumbers fills about two jars.

Add 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh dill to the jars.  You can also add optional seasonings for different tasting pickles.

Next is making the brine.  Measure 2 cups of water and pour it in a bigger pitcher.

Pour 1 cup of vinegar and add that to the bigger pitcher.

Measure 1 tablespoon of sea salt and add that to the water and vinegar mixture.

Stir the water, vinegar, and salt until the salt is completely mixed.

Pour the water, vinegar, and salt mixture into the jars until it covers all of the pickles.

Screw the tops to the jars on tight and then put the jars in the refrigerator.  Here is the hard part - you now have to wait four days for the cucumbers to become pickles (although I usually eat some before the four days).  Don't forget, these are refrigerator pickles and need to stay in the refrigerator.