Burst media_leaderboard

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Strawberry Basil Jelly

Yep, this one might be a little bit different folks... but I just love the combination of fruit and herbs together!  Several weeks ago (because I'm so far behind on my posts), my parents were over for the weekend and my husband had brought home an entire flat of the most wonderful strawberries!  As a fun "project,"  I asked my mom to show me how to make jelly/jam.  This is definitely not something I've ever done, and I was curious.  So this post really belongs to my parents and my daughter - the Lovely Lily!  You'll notice that these are not my hands.  Ha.  

You are wondering about the basil, right?  Well of course during the process of serving as the official "project photographer,"  I got to wondering... "Wow, that sure is beautiful and so fragrant!  I betcha that would be amazing with some chopped up basil or thyme in there!"  And that little kernel of thought is all it took.  We made some with and some without the herbs; but honestly, the jelly with the herbs was super awesome!  Feel free to make yours both ways as well, if you just want to make plain old jelly.  But hey, playing with your food is always a lot of fun!  


Before anyone leaves me snarky comments, I know this is technically "jam,"  but in my house, somehow it all gets called "jelly."  So please do me a favor and play nice.


Ingredients:  
  • 8 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cored
  • 11 cups + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 boxes SURE-JELL (fruit pectin)
  • herbs of your choice
    • chopped basil
    • fresh thyme, stripped (optional)


Step-by-Step:
Prepare the strawberries.  All the strawberries need to be hulled and cored... and smashed.  Lily used a potato masher for this.  Smushing up the berries is a great job for a kid if you have one hanging around.  It also turns out that the recipe calls for an insane amount of sugar.  :(  So Lovely Lily leveled off each cup and measured it all out.
The only pot I had that was large enough to accommodate this whole operation was a pressure cooker (without the lid on), so that's how they did it.  In went the berries and the SURE-JELL.
Lastly, a teaspoon of butter.  We'll call this "grandmother magic."  And off the berries went to begin the cooking process.
For the next part of the process, my mother took over.  The jars and lids need to be sterilized and prepared.  They need to be submersed and boiled for at least 10 minutes.  

 Allow the hot water to remain in them while the berries are cooking.
Bring the berries to boil on medium heat.  
Boil the berries for at least a couple of minutes on a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat.
Add sugar to the fruit mixture in the pot.  Return to a full rolling boil.  Boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.  DO NOT REDUCE THE SUGAR IN THE RECIPE SINCE THAT WILL RESULT IN A FAILURE TO SET. *This statement comes directly from the package.  Don't blame me for this crazy amount of sugar.
granulated sugar
Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling each to within 1/4" of top.  Check the canning section of your grocery store for these wide mouth canning funnels.  They are the perfect size for fitting into the top of the jars.
Long handled tongs work great to add the sterilized lids to the jars to avoid contamination with your fingers.  Also, both the jars and the jelly are like hot molten lava right now!  If you have any drips on the jar rims and threads, you will want to make sure you wipe those clean.
You will want a rag or some sort of protection while screwing the rings onto the lids.  These jars are super HOT right now!
Here we have one perfect little jar of strawberry jelly.  But was I happy with that?  Nooooo... I had to somehow start thinking of something different to do with it.  
So I ran out into the herb garden and picked some fresh basil and some fresh thyme and decided that we were going to have some fun!  :)  Of course this is completely optional, but I don't think you'll be disappointed.  For this first one, I chopped the basil and for this small jar (about 1 cup of jelly), I added a large pinch (probably about 1 - 1 1/2 tsp) of chopped basil.  
chopped basil
I gave it a little stir to distribute it throughout.
For this one, I did the same with some thyme leaves.  Aren't the colors pretty together?
fresh thyme
Now place the jars of jelly back into the pot.  If you don't have a canning rack, you can place a towel in the bottom of the pot to keep them off of the bottom and to keep them from bumping around in there.  They need to be completely covered in the water by about 2 inches.  Bring the water to a gentle boil and allow to boil for around 10 minutes.  You can see that we have them labeled according to which herbs we added.  We also left some plain.  
Carefully remove them from the boiling water and set them upright on a towel to cool completely.
You can see that my mother used a two-tong method to accomplish this.  Now during this cooling process, you will start to see the lids pop down.  You may even hear them "pop."  After they cool, you can check the seals by pressing the center of the lids with your finger.  If they spring back up, then they are NOT sealed, and refrigeration is necessary.  If they are sunk in, and do not pop up, then they are sealed and you can store them unopened in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.  Refrigerate opened jams/jellies for up to 3 weeks. 
Well of course we had to test some out, so we made some quick muffin tin drop biscuits, some homemade whipped cream, sliced up some more fresh berries, and used that gorgeous strawberry basil jelly as part of an absolutely killer strawberry short cake! 
Now I will fully admit, there's also nothing wrong with just having some jelly on your toast with a cup of tea on a rainy day, either.  That's real life, folks.  :)

The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  For more information, here is a link!
Order your copy of the Menu Musings Cookbook!  
Connect with me.     
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)
Here's just one example - Louisiana Crab Claws Bordelaise
Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Korean BBQ Shish Kabobs

Pizza Poppin Muffins

Ham Cups

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Oreo Cream Crunch Layer Dessert

Spinach and Apricot Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Written Method:
Prepare the strawberries.  All the strawberries need to be hulled, cored, and smashed.  We used a potato masher for this.  Smushing up the berries is a great job for a kid if you have one hanging around.  It also turns out that the recipe calls for an insane amount of sugar.  

The only pot I had that was large enough to accommodate this whole operation was a pressure cooker (without the lid on), so that's how they did it.  Add the berries and the SURE-JELL. Lastly, add a teaspoon of butter.  We'll call this "grandmother magic."  Now start your berries went to cooking.

For the next part of the process, the jars and lids need to be sterilized and prepared.  They need to be submersed and boiled for at least 10 minutes.  Allow the hot water to remain in them while the berries are cooking.

Bring the berries to boil on medium heat.  Boil the berries for at least a couple of minutes on a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat.  Add sugar to the fruit mixture in the pot.  Return to a full rolling boil.  Boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.  DO NOT REDUCE THE SUGAR IN THE RECIPE SINCE THAT WILL RESULT IN A FAILURE TO SET. *This statement comes directly from the package.  Don't blame me for this crazy amount of sugar.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling each to within 1/4" of top.  Check the canning section of your grocery store for these wide mouth canning funnels.  They are the perfect size for fitting into the top of the jars.  Long handled tongs work great to add the sterilized lids to the jars to avoid contamination with your fingers.  Also, both the jars and the jelly are like hot molten lava right now!  If you have any drips on the jar rims and threads, you will want to make sure you wipe those clean. You will want a rag or some sort of protection while screwing the rings onto the lids.  These jars are super HOT right now!

Here we have one perfect little jar of strawberry jelly.  But was I happy with that?  Nooooo... I had to somehow start thinking of something different to do with it.  So I ran out into the herb garden and picked some fresh basil and some fresh thyme and decided that we were going to have some fun!  :)  Of course this is completely optional, but I don't think you'll be disappointed.  For this first one, I chopped the basil and for this small jar (about 1 cup of jelly), I added a large pinch (probably about 1 - 1 1/2 tsp) of chopped basil.  I gave it a little stir to distribute it throughout.  I did the same with some thyme leaves.  

Now place the jars of jelly back into the pot.  If you don't have a canning rack, you can place a towel in the bottom of the pot to keep them off of the bottom and to keep them from bumping around in there.  They need to be completely covered in the water by about 2 inches.  Bring the water to a gentle boil and allow to boil for around 10 minutes.  Carefully remove them from the boiling water and set them upright on a towel to cool completely.  

My mother used a two-tong method to accomplish this.  Now during this cooling process, you will start to see the lids pop down.  You may even hear them "pop."  After they cool, you can check the seals by pressing the center of the lids with your finger.  If they spring back up, then they are NOT sealed, and refrigeration is necessary.  If they are sunk in, and do not pop up, then they are sealed and you can store them unopened in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.  Refrigerate opened jams/jellies for up to 3 weeks. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Asian Apricot Glazed Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin

Asian Apricot Glazed Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin @ menumusings.com

Here's one for each of you who asks that age old question... "What am I going to cook for dinner?" Well this fall-apart pork tenderloin could not be any simpler for an easy family dinner.  So for sure, this is not the prettiest dish in the world, but oh wow it was tasty - and easy.

Pork tenderloin may not be what you would think of as a protein to throw into the crock pot, but for around $6, this super lean piece of meat just falls apart after being slow cooked in an Asian inspired glaze. And then to create a little bit of a caramelization of sorts on the glaze, I threw it in my oven at the end while my potatoes were finishing up roasting.  And that's it!  The price per person comes out way less expensive than even your favorite drive through window, and believe me when I say it's way healthier and more tasty!

Asian Apricot Glazed Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin @ menumusings.com

Ingredients:    
(1 tenderloin shown, but the glaze is enough for 2 tenderloins)
  • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • Tbsp dried onion flakes 
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c apricot preserves
  • garnishes optional
    • sesame seeds
    • sliced chives or green onions
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed 


Step-by-Step:
Let's start off by mixing together this super easy glaze.  Just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  

We start off with 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce + 1 Tbsp yellow mustard.
2 - 3 Tbsp maple syrup + 2 Tbsp canola oil.
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes + 1 Tbsp onion powder.
1 Tbsp light brown sugar + 1/4 cup apricot preserves.
So this is what the glaze looks like.  That was so easy!   This would also be great on chicken or basted onto shrimp for grilling! 
You will want to trim the tenderloin of extra fat and the silverskin.  Unfortunately, I have a round crock pot, rather than an elongated oval shaped one, so I had to bend mine.  But hey... it still worked out just fine.  
Cook in the crock pot on high for around x 3 1/2 hours.  My boys like it when it's absolutely falling apart.  Then if you would like the glaze to have that bit of caramelization, transfer the meat to the an oven safe dish and pop it into the oven at 400 degrees F until you get the look you would like.  In the crock pot, the glaze will remain pretty soft.  It's up to you.   
To serve, garnish with sesame seeds (try dry toasting them in a small pan on the stovetop first), and and some thinly sliced chives or green onions.  Good luck trying to "slice" the meat.  It works better to just break it apart into big chunks to serve with some of the glaze from the bottom of the crock pot. 
Asian Apricot Glazed Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin @ menumusings.com

Asian Apricot Glazed Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin @ menumusings.com
I hope you enjoyed this simple and delicious recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.


The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  For more information, here is a link!
Order your copy of the Menu Musings Cookbook!  
Connect with me.     
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)
Here's just one example - Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breasts. 

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Baked Chicken Taquitos

Happy Hour Pizza Rolls

Mongolian Beef

Funky Monkey Morning Smoothies

Creamy "Work Week" Chicken Enchiladas

Thai Chicken Salad Cones

Written Method:
Asian Apricot Glazed Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin @ menumusings.com

Mix all the glaze ingredients together. Trim the tenderloin of extra fat and the silverskin.  Pour the glaze over the pork in the crock pot.  Cook on high for around x 3 1/2 hours.  My boys like it when it's absolutely falling apart.  Then if you would like the glaze to have that bit of caramelization, transfer the meat to the an oven safe dish and pop it into the oven at 400 degrees F until you get the look you would like.  In the crock pot, the glaze will remain pretty soft.  It's up to you.   

To serve, garnish with sesame seeds (try dry toasting them in a small pan on the stovetop first), and and some thinly sliced chives or green onions.  Good luck trying to "slice" the meat.  It works better to just break it apart into big chunks to serve with some of the glaze from the bottom of the crock pot. 

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest