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Homemade Sour Cream (Updated Version)

Homemade Sour Cream (Updated Version)

I was looking at my 2011 post on Homemade Sour Cream and realized that I haven’t posted about any of the tips and tricks I’ve learned for making it better. So, here we are. The updated version…

Sour cream is very easy to make at home. It takes about one minute of hands-on time, unless you count the time that you wait for your water to boil. Then, you have to let it sit for 12-24 hours. When it’s done, you just give it a stir and put it in the fridge. It’s a good idea to label it with the date, too.

What You Need to Know.

Sour cream is supposed to have live, active cultures, like yogurt. When you make your own you know that it does (if it doesn’t, it won’t turn into sour cream). This makes it good for your digestion, which is a great thing in any food item. If you’re the kind of person that wants to know exactly what is in their food, making your own will put your mind at ease, too. Not to mention, it’s very easy to make, it’s delicious, and it will impress your friends.

What You Need.

  • 2 glass jars with lids
  • A cooler
  • Buttermilk
  • Heavy cream
  • Water – to sterilize your jar and heat the cooler

I use:

  • About ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 24oz freezer jar for the sour cream
  • 1 large jar for the hot water

 

How It’s Done

Prep work:

  • Boil some water. I fill the kettle so I’ll have plenty.
  • Put your jars and the lid for the sour cream jar in the sink.
  • Pour boiling water into the jar, swish it around, and dump it out.
  • Clean the lid in a similar fashion.
  • Fill the larger jar with boiling water and put the lid on.
  • You’ll need to wear oven mitts.

Putting it together:

  • Pour the buttermilk and cream into the jar.
  • Put the lid on and shake it up.
  • Take the lid off and leave it off. It needs to breath.
  • Put both jars in the cooler and close it.
  • Leave it alone for 12 to 24 hours.
  • Take out your sour cream and stir.
  • Put the lid on and put it in the fridge. It will thicken some more when it cools.

You’re done!

Do You Have to Use a Cooler?

No. You don’t have to, but I find I get better results this way. It keeps it warm, so the cultures can really do their thing and you get thicker sour cream.

If you don’t want to use a cooler, you can just set it on top of your refrigerator and cover it with a cloth to keep the light out and keep stuff from falling in. If you do it that way you should use cheesecloth held on with the lid ring, or twine or a rubber band. And then, put a dishtowel over the whole thing.

If you want the cooler effect, but don’t have one you can use for this, improvise. You can use any container and something to provide insulation. A cardboard or plastic box filled with towels would be better than nothing. I don’t recommend using actual fiberglass insulation, for obvious reasons.

Do You Have to Use Heavy Cream?

No, but it yields the best results. Milk works, too, but it will not get nearly as thick. It will still taste good, and the consistency is fine for some recipes, like Ranch dressing or cheese sauce. But, it will be a runny mess on a baked potato or burrito.

Can I Make It Thicker?

Adding powdered milk to your cream or milk will make it thicker. Make sure you mix it in really well. If heavy cream is too pricey for you, try whole milk with added powdered milk.

What if I Don’t Have Buttermilk?

What you need are the live active cultures. You can buy packets of sour cream starter culture online. If you happen to have sour cream with live active cultures, you could use that in place of buttermilk.

The old trick of adding lemon juice or vinegar to milk to make “buttermilk” doesn’t work for this. No cultures.

Why Use a Freezer Jar?

You don’t have to. Freezer jars are straight. Since it doesn’t have a shoulder, it’s easier to get all the sour cream out. Less waste and easier cleanup. But, any kind of jar you have around will work.

 

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Quick and Easy Cold Green Beans and Bacon

Quick and Easy Cold Green Beans and Bacon

This cold green bean recipe takes about one or two minutes to prepare. You eat it right out of the dish you make it in and store your leftovers in. A simple, one-person snack that’s not crap. It’s also a nice, refreshing dish when the weather is hot. Of course, you could make this as an easy side dish for two or more people. You could even serve this as an alternative to a salad.

Here’s how it came about…

When I get really hungry and have to eat something right this minute, one of the easiest things to do is open a can of French style green beans, drain it, and eat them right out of the can standing in the kitchen.

It works, and I actually like them that way, but a couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted a little more substance. So, I added bacon bits. The real bacon kind. I stirred them up in a container I could eat them from and then just seal up and put in the fridge to save the leftovers for tomorrow. Oh, and I actually sat down to eat them. At my desk, but I was sitting.

Today I decided I wanted to do something a little fancier. I wanted more flavor, but I didn’t want to alter it to the point that it was no longer a really fast and easy thing. I decided to look up recipes for ideas of what I could add, and everything I found started with fresh green beans! NOOO!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for starting with fresh vegetables most of the time, but in this case it completely defeats the purpose. All of the recipes I found require cooking. That means too much time, too much effort, and it uses dishes.

This is about as quick and easy as it gets.

Ingredients:

  • One can French style green beans
  • Bacon bits – real, fake, or homemade if you have them*
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic salt

Equipment:

  • Can opener
  • Bowl or container with a lid
  • Fork

Instructions:

  • Open your can of French style green beans.
  • Drain it.
  • Dump it in a bowl or container that has a lid.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
  • Toss in a couple handfuls of bacon bits.
  • Stir with a fork and eat.

When you’ve had enough, put the lid on it and put it in the fridge. Now you’ll have an even quicker snack waiting for you tomorrow.

* When it comes to the bacon bits, you have options. The very best are homemade from nitrate-free bacon. Of course, that only works if you’ve already got some in the fridge. Short of that, real bacon bits work great. Fake bacon bits will work, but they will get soggy if you don’t eat it all right away.

 

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Rachel vs. “The Kitchen”: Simple Split Chicken Breasts

Rachel vs. “The Kitchen”: Simple Split Chicken Breasts

Rachel vs. “The Kitchen”: Simple Split Chicken Breasts


This is so easy, but it always comes out juicy and wonderful. I make it frequently. I save up the bones in the freezer until I have enough to make Homemade Chicken Stock.

I am planning to adapt this to a whole roasted chicken recipe soon, using some of the basics from my previous post Easy, Delicious Roast Chicken and Gravy.

 

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Found Recipe: Guac & Chicken Pinwheels

Found Recipe: Guac & Chicken Pinwheels

I came across a recipe for Guac & Chicken Pinwheels with Tyson Grilled & Ready on Twitter (retweeted by @therebelchick here).

Guac & Chicken Pinwheels

This is so quick, easy, and good. It looks like a great way to use up some of the ingredients you have hanging around the fridge, too. I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for inviting ways to use up the rest of the fresh spinach before it goes bad.

So what we have here is some chicken, cheese, spinach and guacamole, rolled up in a tortilla and cut into bite-sized peices. It would make a great snack, appetizer, or main dish. You could even serve it up with some homemade ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Personally, I would use sliced cheddar or pepper jack in place of American cheese, and substitute some of my cook-ahead chicken for the store-bought chicken in the original recipe, but I love the idea here!

One thing that’s pictured, but not named,in the original blog post is Wholly Guacamole, store-bought guac. While nothing beats homemade guacamole, I have found that this brand is quite good, and makes for a very acceptable substitute for the real thing. Normally I won’t touch store-bought guac, so that’s a pretty big deal.

Thanks to @therebelchick and @Momhatescooking for the headsup on this one!

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