canning tomatoes

by Jessie on February 13, 2014


One of my favorite times in the summer is when we get to can tomatoes.   We normally get about 8 jars of tomatoes out of one box of tomatoes.  The process is super easy.

For Chunk Tomatoes (I like to use Romas)


Blanch tomatoes and remove skin (Place in boiling water, then ice water…skin comes right off).




Cut into chunks.

IMG_3291Bring tomatoes to a boil and remove “scum” from top of pot.

Boil for several minutes.

While tomatoes are boiling, run your jars through a dish-washing cycle to clean and heat them.  Boil your lids and rings over medium heat.

Grab a butter knife, some sea salt or canning salt, and a paper towel. Grab a stick magnet and funnel (you can find these near the mason jars and lids).

IMG_3294When the jars are finished, pull one out (don’t dry it).

Put funnel in jar.

Put one teaspoon of salt in the bottom.

Ladle in your tomatoes (make sure juice covers them).

Use the butter knife to stir inside the jar.  (This removes air bubbles and mixes the salt.)Use paper towel to dry rim (very important, as moisture on the rim will prevent jars from sealing properly).Use stick magnet to grab a lid and rim out of the simmering water.

Put lid on and use a towel to tighten ring on jar.

TURN THE JARS UPSIDE DOWN on the counter, and don’t touch for 24 hours.

 Jars of Tomatoes

Check to make sure they are sealed the next day. We have been canning tomatoes like this for years.  EASY.




making a rue

by Jessie on February 13, 2014


A rue is a thickening agent that can be added to anything (stew, photo credit: SierraBlair via photopin ccgravy, mac and cheese, etc.) This is a cooking method that is essential for any kitchen.   I like this method much more than the corn starch thickening procedure because I think it brings more flavor to the party.  Plus, I am not a huge fan of the shine that corn starch adds to dishes.  I do believe that there is a place for corn starch, AND you will find it in my pantry, as I will use it in a pinch; BUT I am a true blue Rue girl.


Let’s get to it!

here is all you need…

-All Purpose Flour (about a cup)

-Butter (no less than 1/2 stick)

  1. Melt your butter over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle your flour over the melted butter, and IMMEDIATELY begin to whisk the ingredients together into a paste.
  3. Continue to whisk.  Your paste will get darker and darker the longer it is in your pan.  I normally go for a light caramel color.
  4. Add your liquid (cooking liquid from your roast or chicken if making a gravy or stew).
  5. Whisk, whisk, whisk.

It is that easy.  Here is one of my favorite “rue” recipes.  Enjoy!


photo credit: Jing a Ling via photopin cc

Mac and Cheese!

  1. Boil some salted water and cook your macaroni (I like to use the oversized macaroni).
  2. In a separate pan, make a rue.
  3. After the rue thickens and turns a caramel color, add 1/2 cup milk.
  4. Whisk, Whisk, Whisk.
  5. Continue adding milk in 1/4 cup increments and whisking until the sauce gets to the consistency of cake batter.
  6. Add 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and whisk, whisk, whisk.
  7. Drain your mac and add it to the cheese sauce.
  8. Pour your mac and cheese into a greased baking dish, add 1 cup of shredded cheddar to the top, and bake for 25 minutes on 350.