Pizza night is a weekly occurrence in our house. The kids won’t let me forget it either. On pizza night, I use our bread machine to make the dough and make the sauce as well. I even attempt cheese sometimes when I have fresh milk on the farm.
With permission from my mother, I am going to share the pizza sauce recipe we have been using my entire life. My parents used to own and run a pizza joint in Illinois, so yeah–it’s pretty amazing.
For this recipe you’ll need 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (28 ounces each), 2 tablespoons of oregano, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder (or more to taste), 1 1/2 teaspoons of basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse ground pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of fennel seeds.
I start making the pizza dough. While the bread machine is doing its own thing, I start dumping all the ingredients into a saucepan. I mix everything and put on a simmer, then preheat the oven to 450.
Here’s where my mother and I differ. My mother adds 1/3 can of water to her sauce. I don’t like that. I keep the seasoning portions the same and skip the water.
When the dough is done, I add the sauce and desired toppings. I cook it in the over for about 10 minutes, but that can be adjusted due to different ovens, number of toppings, and personal preference. So, just keep an eye on it.
You don’t see a lot of fennel in most pizza sauce recipes, but I promise it’s good. I recently served frozen pizza and had very disappointed children.
The only possible thing that makes this recipe better is using tomatoes you canned yourself.
So, we processed some chickens on our farm recently and I kept some from market for our family. As always, we used whatever we already had on the farm. Anything else was purchased from local markets.
The first step many people skip is the brining. We always brine the chickens we sell at market. The chicken is juicier and tastes amazing. When we keep some for the house I actually request mine not to be brined because I like to use different brines for different recipes. Brining on top of an already brined bird isn’t going to hurt it. We just have the option of just pulling what we want from the rest of the processing.
The brine I like to use for this chicken is simple. I mix enough water to cover two inches above the bird with 1/2 cup of salt and garlic powder in a large pot. I cover the pot and put it in the fridge the night before cooking (I did add more water in my above photograph).
The next day, when I’m ready to start cooking I preheat the oven to 425F. I put the chicken in my deep casserole/roasting stoneware. I cut a lemon in half and prick it and add it to the chicken’s cavity. I also add 8 garlic cloves (some always fall out).
Next, I mix homemade butter we purchase locally from another farm (raw Jersey cow milk with a small amount of raw, local honey) with salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder.
Then I slather the chicken with this butter. After slathering, I add 2 cups of chicken broth to the dish and put in the oven covered for 45 minutes.
While the chicken is roasting, I harvest fresh cuban oregano and tarragon. I harvest a good handful of the oregano and about ten tarragon leaves. I chop the fresh herbs.
The next ingredient is a bit trickier to obtain. I use two cups of cream. I’ll be honest. I didn’t have two cups this time around. I had about a cup. I made it work because I didn’t want to go to the store. See the picture of the mason jar above? The cream has separated from the raw goat milk. I just scoop this off a few jars and I have cream for the meal.
I mix the cream with the herbs, five quartered red potatoes, and 1/2 cup of sherry.
When the 45 minutes are up, I remove the chicken from the oven and add the potatoes and cream mixture. I then roast for another 45 minutes uncovered.
This is the result. This chicken was almost 5 pounds. No matter what, check the temperature of your chicken. You want it to be 165F.
What are some of your favorite chicken recipes?
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
8 cloves of garlic
2 cups chicken broth
5 red potatoes, quartered
1/2 cup sherry
Brine the night before (1/2 cup salt and garlic powder).
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425F.
Add the chicken to a baking dish. Cut the lemon in half and prick it. Put the lemon and garlic cloves in the cavity.
Mix butter, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Cover the chicken in buttered mixture.
Pour chicken broth in dish with chicken.
Roast covered for 45 minutes.
Chop fresh oregano and tarragon to add to cream, sherry, and potatoes.
When 45 minutes are up, take chicken out and add potato and cream mixture to the dish.
Roast for an additional 45 minutes uncovered.
Monitor chicken temperature. Must read 165F for safe consumption.
We recently made some smoked fish. Over 30 pounds of it. What do you do with 30 pounds of smoked fish? You make approximately one crap load of various fish dips/spreads.
We ended up freezing a lot of it and sharing with family. It’s summertime. Fresh fish is important during this time of year. Because summertime.
I am going to give the recipe for 3 pounds of fish meat for the sake of simplicity. Most of us are not working with 30 pounds of fish and each batch we worked with was in three-pound increments (we did make multiple batches of our favorites though). We have a processing room in our barn. It is complete with air conditioning, sinks, and I even have a gas stove out there. This is much easier for us to work with bulk in a roomy and clean environment. Cleanup is also much easier than my kitchen at the house.
First, you take three pounds of shredded smoked fish. You can use store-bought. I have used salmon before when we lived in a development, before having the homesteading luxuries of trade. You can also make your own (here’s how we make our smoked fish).
Shredding is probably the hardest part. After shredding, add two tablespoons of lemon juice, twenty-four ounces of cream cheese, 3/4 cup of sour cream, two tablespoons of horseradish, and 1 1/2 teaspoon of hoisin sauce.
After adding all the ingredients, mix with a hand mixer. We used hooked attachments, but it is very doable with regular attachments.
This is our base recipe. This is the recipe I take out when we have guests and potential picky eaters. Our family likes flavor, and I personally appreciate anything a little spicy. I don’t dislike the base and I do use it, but I like to try different flavors to spice things up a bit sometimes.
When making different flavors and blends, we add half an ounce of seasoning in the whole three-pound batch and increase from there to taste. Not every seasoning combination needs the same amount because some are more potent than others. Here are some variations to the recipe we tried:
Jerk. We sadly only made one batch of this. We ran out of seasoning. I personally, would have loved to have added a bit more seasoning to this one, but again, we ran out. This one is awesome and one of my favorites.
Hot. We made a lot of this one. And We definitely added more than that half ounce because I’m crazy obsessed I like spicy flavors. We used cayenne pepper powder, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Go with these seasonings to your personal taste as both are potent.
Frank’s Red Hot. Which actually turned out about medium. This was neat to try, but not my personal favorite. This is for the people who say they like spicy foods, but don’t actually mean it. Or people who are like my daughter. Who is five and also appreciates spicy food, but she’s five and cannot compete with mommy yet.
I teach and I’m off for the summer. I like this for sandwiches and cakes (crab cake like consistency). Once it’s made, especially in bulk, it’s easy to freeze this stuff and take it out as I need it. You can obviously use other fish. Salmon is pretty popular. If you try this, let us know what you think. If you have other ideas for seasoning, please share. I love cooking and trying new things.
Smoked Fish Dip
3 lbs. shredded smoked fish
2 TBS lemon juice
24 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
2 TBS horseradish
1 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce
See entire blog post for measuring and suggestions
Shred smoked fish in a large bowl.
Add all remaining ingredients.
Mix with a hand mixer (hooked or regular attachments).
So we traded for some fish. White and amberjack, to be specific. We were very excited because we were hankering for some smoked fish. We use a competition Yoder pellet grill that we purchased from Southern Grillin’.
Look at this. Isn’t it just amazing?
The process is easy. And although this amazing smoker simplifies the idea of smoking, I do recommend sticking around to just monitor the temp. That’s how I am with most cooking though.
So, you smoke the fish at 225-250 degrees Farenheit (107-121 degrees Celsius). You want the internal temperature to be 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius) when you’re done.
Once it’s done, it looks like this.
Which turns into this magnificence. I love to eat straight smoked fish, but you can also use it for fish dips. We enjoy eating the dip as a spread on fresh homemade bread. I also like to take already made dips and spreads and adjust it a bit for a cake, much like a crab cake. Awesome, easy meals.