We planted several berry bushes on the Homestead this year, but the only bushes producing a decent amount of fruit this year is the 2 blackberry bushes we planted last year. I love watching all the kids go out for a mid day “snack” as they stand at the berry bushes and eat the blackberries right off the plant. The berries were disappearing like hotcakes and I thought the kids were eating them all. Turns out, the birds were enjoying the berries just as much.
We covered the bushes with some netting and viola, enough berries to make a small batch of jam. By “small” batch I mean literally…1 jar. I found this super simple non-canning recipe from food.com and we got right to work.
Pick 3 cups of ripe berries and wash. Put a plate in the refrigerator to chill.
Mash the berries in a small stainless steel pot until you reach your desired jam consistency (we like a little bit of chunkiness in ours).
Add 1 1/4 cups of sugar (we used organic raw sugar), put on the stove and heat on medium until all sugar is dissolved (this happened almost immediately).
Raise the heat to medium/high and boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Test the jam by putting a little bit on the chilled plate and see if it stays in a mound. If it does, you’re done! If not, keep boiling.
Poor into a glass jar, put the lid on and let it cool. Once cooled, put in the fridge (or open it up and enjoy warm jam on homemade zucchini bread, mmmmmm). The jam should last several weeks.
Super easy right??? I can’t wait to try all the other berries next year! Anyone else have good easy jam recipes to share?
How many of you out there love PASTA as much as me?!?!?! In my opinion, there’s nothing like a warm pasta meal in the winter. Add some salad, bread and wine – I’m pretty much in heaven. Not to mention, pasta meals are so EASY to make and EASY to freeze! So for this cold, rainy week, I whipped up some of my favorite pasta meals and of course…. put them in the freezer. In the chaos of the day, I did not take pictures of my Baked Ziti. But I will happily put up some links for recipes on my Pinterest page .
Lasagna with Mushrooms
*Note – this recipe makes two 9×13 trays*
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 package of portabella mushrooms, diced
- butter or oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 boxes of no-cook lasagna noodles
- 2 teaspoons of parsley
- 2 teaspoons of basil
- 2 teaspoons of oregano
- salt & pepper
- 3 jars of marinara sauce (or your favorite pasta sauce) *there is only 2 in the picture, but I discovered I needed more*
- 32 oz ricotta cheese
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter OR oil in a saute pan on medium/low heat
- Saute onion, mushrooms and garlic until tender – turn off heat to cool
- In a seperate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, oregano, parsley, basil and parmasean cheese
- In a separate bowl mix together pasta sauces and mushroom mixture – add salt and pepper if needed
Time to layer the Lasagna!
- Put a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan
- Place 3 noodles across the pan (leave some space in between, the noodles will expand)
- Layer the top of noodles with cheese mixture
- Add sauce mixture on top
- Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese on top
- Layer with noodles and repeat.
- When you get to the last layer sprinkle the top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese
- Cover with foil and plastic wrap to freeze OR bake covered at 350 for 40 min until bubbly
*Makes two 8×8 trays*
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup parmasean cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups mozarella cheese
- 2 jars pasta sauce
- Vegetable oil
- Slice eggplant in 1/2 inch slices – lay out on paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 20 min.
- Mix egg and water in a bowl
- Mix breadcrumbs and parmasean cheese in seperate bowl (I like to use a pie plate)
- Heat oil in saute pan (enough for the eggplant to float when fried)
- Dip eggplant in egg mixture, then breadcrumb mixture
- Fry in oil on both sides until golden and eggplant is tender – then transfer to paper towel to soak up oil
- Once eggplant it cooked, begin to layer in pan – sauce, eggplant (overlapping), sauce, mozzarella cheese. Layer 2 times.
- Cover with foil and plastic wrap to freeze OR bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes