4 Easy and Simple Recipes That Will Actually Make Your Life Better

I am not one that likes to be in the kitchen for long periods of time and I am not a gal that likes long drawn out recipes that use words like “fricassee”.  Yes, I had to look this word up and no I will probably never make a recipe that has that word in the instructions no matter how tantalizing it may seem.  I say probably because nothing is impossible but again highly unlikely.  My style is simple and to the point so I can get on with the rest of my life with my kids and family.  It’s also important to me that I can control as much as possible what goes into my food, the nutritional value and you betcha I love to know where it comes from! Do you like simple? Do you like easy wholesome recipes that you don’t have to slave away at? If the answer is YES, then this blog is for you. These four easy and simple recipes will actually make your life better. Why?  Because they are versatile, gonna mention simple again here and if you have a garden or have access to a garden or “borrow” veggies like Peter Rabbit from a garden or even shop at a grocery store then you’ll have some great resources to start building on!

Are you ready for the goods?

4 Easy and Simple Recipes

Sarah’s Basic Red Sauce-Easy and Simple Recipes #1

This recipe is something I use for pretty much anything that has to do with Italian; I use it for my version of “eggplant parmesan”, I use the same base to make tomato bisque and then I blend it up. It’s easy and simple and basic-three words I love to hear!  I use tomatoes out of my garden during the summer months and then during the non harvest months I use either tomatoes that I have literally just cut and froze or stewed tomatoes that I have processed. You could also use store bought tomatoes if you absolutely had too but the the flavor is going to be very different.  I literally cry the day we eat or last fresh tomato off the vines!

What You’ll Need:

8 cups or 2 quarts fresh or bottled tomatoes

1 small onion diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Good olive oil

1 tsp Thyme and oregano

3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan add a good amount of olive oil (maybe 2 or 3 tablespoons) I really don’t measure because that means more dishes that I have to do later. I know go ahead and laugh but now you know my thought process.

Add onion and minced garlic and saute till onion becomes translucent. Add your tomatoes and let cook down for at least 15 or 20 minutes till tomatoes start to break down.  Then add your herbs here. I use essential oils in my home and I love using ingestible essential oils in my cooking, especially when I don’t have access to fresh herbs.  They are easy and simple to use and taste so much better then dry herbs.  I usually use 1 or 2 drops if I am replacing dry herbs in this recipe. Once you add the herbs turn the heat down to low or simmer. Add Salt and pepper to taste

The key to this recipe is TIME.  Don’t rush the cooking process.  You should have about half the liquid you started with and the sauce should be a thicker consistency.  I normally let this sauce simmer for at least a good hour and just give it a loving stir every few minutes to check on it.  Patience is a virtue and it’s so worth it.

I’ll often times double the recipe and then freeze half of it for a meal later on.  You could also make this in bigger batches if you are a big fan of freezer meals and want to make several.

Hot or Not so Hot Pepper Jelly-Easy and Simple Recipes #2

This recipe is in honor of my sweet and spicy hubby that loves jalapeno jelly on his burgers and such.  He has now converted me, truly bless him the day I tried hot pepper jelly on my burger.  This recipe you can easily process if you are into canning.

What You’ll Need:

1/2 cup jalapenos de-spined and de-seeded

1 1/2 cups sweet bell peppers (color really doesn’t matter)

1/2 cup vinegar

Low no sugar pectin ( I use Ball brand)

1/2 cup raw cane sugar (will depend on your pectin brand)

Directions

First get all your prep work done, it will make this recipe go much more smoothly and will be easy and simple to make. Get your peppers  chopped and prepared first. In a food processor place peppers and vinegar together and blend till smooth.  Pour mixture into a stock pot. Add the sugar according to the pectin instructions.  I used a half a cup of raw cane sugar in this recipe. Heat and mix and bring to boil for 3 minutes.

Next stir in pectin and return mixture to a boil following the instructions on the label, about 3 minutes and then remove pot from heat.

Pour jelly into hot sterilized jars or freezer safe jam containers if you are freezing.

Let them sit uninterrupted for 24 hours if you are freezing or processing your jelly.

Blackberry Chia Freezer Jam-Easy and Simple Recipes #3

I don’t love using pectin just because it’s extra steps that you’ve got to go through so when I can I use chia seeds!  They are high in fiber and are an amazing source of Omega 3 fatty acids and they help stuff setup really fast!  Easy and simple is my motto right!? You can really make this jam with any fruit you’d like.  Berries are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye but I’ve made peach chia jam and it may have not been the most beautiful thing to look at but it tasted great! So try making your own variety and just use equal amounts from the recipe.

What You’ll Need:

1 lb fresh blackberries ( you can use frozen too)

3 tablespoons organic maple syrup

3 tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest and juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan bring berries to a low boil on medium heat stirring frequently. Add maple syrup, lemon and chia seeds. Cook jam till it starts to thicken which should take about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.  Let jam cool for a few minutes before transferring to airtight containers. Let sit till completely cool and then freeze. Can’t get more simple then that and it is sooooo good. Pretty sure little angels played their harps as I took a bite of this one!

Last But Not Least-Homemade Fruit Leather-Easy and Simple Recipes #4

I love preserving food in a way that gives the most nutritional value without comprising taste.  For the same reasons I love having snacks on hand that we use at the lake, hiking, camping, on the ski slopes, in emergency preparedness kits or road trips and fruit leather fits the bill! This recipe again is so versatile for so many different flavor combinations.  Here are just a few of my family’s favorites!  When it comes to easy and simple recipes, this one is queen!

Blackberry Peach

Plum, Pear and Cinnamon

Apricot

Peach Nectorine

Raspberry Stawberry

The combinations truly are endless! For this recipe you will want a dehydrator.  I love my l’Equip dehydrator and I also use it to make sun dried tomatoes and dried fruit as well.

What You’ll Need:

Dehydrator

Fruit leather trays for dehydrator

6 cups fresh fruit

Zest of a lemon, juice of a lemon

1/4 to 1/2 cup raw local honey

Non stick cooking spray

Directions:

In a food processor place fruit, honey and lemon.  Blend on high till smooth. Spray down your fruit leather trays with some no stick spray.  Then pour about 1/2 cup of fruit mixture in each tray.  Move the mixture around till it’s nice smooth in an even layer and continue to repeat that process till you run out of space and trays for your dehydrator. I set mine at about 125 degrees and I can do a batch in about 24 hours.  I make several batches of fruit puree at one time and store them so I don’t have all the mess again for every batch.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think! What other easy and simple recipes do you use in your home?  There is always more to learn and grow from.

 

Enjoy and keep on inspiring!

Sarah

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