Prep Time: 30 min - 60 min

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Recipes that take between 30 minutes and 60 minutes to prepare.

Gena's Peanut Butter Balls

For years up until she passed away a few years ago, my mom would send us a big container of Peanut Butter Balls at Christmas time, because they were always one of my favorite treats that she made. And in later years it was also an extra incentive for her that one of my sons loved them as much as I did (the other is not so big on peanut butter)

Here is her recipe - we made it with pecans instead of walnuts - and I think it was a good change.

  • 1 cup nuts ( 100g ), crushed smallish
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 1 tablespoon butter

German Potato Salad

My wife requested I make this last night on Christmas Eve to go with our traditional supper of lobster. With me unemployed this year we could have never afforded to buy lobster, but fortunately my wife had 4 of them in the freezer from when she'd found them dirt-cheap and prefrozen back when I was among the employed.

I am not a big fan at all of the potato salad we all know so well from family picnics - drenched in mayonaise as it is. But German Potato Salad on the other hand is heaven on earth! It is a completely different thing altogether, with tart malt vinegar, bacon bits, celery and more. And it goes together surprisingly easy with a mini chopper food processor.

If you are vegetarian, I'm sure this may still be worthwhile, but to me the bacon really makes the recipe. Especially since I used my home made bacon this time around.

Simple Calzones

Calzones are surprisingly easy to make. Here is a simple method to do it completely from scratch. Just take some fat and flour or corn starch and make a roux, then dilute with stock to make a thick sauce or gravy. Add salt, pepper, and whatever other herbs and spices you like. Mix in your meat and cook well, then fill your calzones with the meat and some grated cheese.

Refried Beans and Burritos

Refried beans can be a healthy snack, or a full meal if you want them to be. You can wrap them in a flatbread as I do at the end of these videos and turn them into a burrito, or you can dip corn chips into them for a snack. Or for a full meal of taco salad, lay down a bed of corn chips, then some refried beans, lettuce, tomato, green onion, bell pepper and whatever else you want on top. Then top it off with a bit of sour cream and your favorite hot sauce. Delicious, and nutritious!

Personal Pizza Night

Sometimes when we do pizza, we do one big one for the whole family, and vary things a bit by doing parts with some ingredients, and parts with other ingredients - so as to keep everyone happy. Mainly the boys since neither my wife nor I are particularly picky when it comes to pizza. But sometimes it is more fun to do personal pizzas and let everyone build their own from the bottom up. I'll roll out the dough and then let the boys have at it, dressing it up as they see fit. It is only slightly more effort than doing one big one, but it is a whole lot more fun!

Quick and Easy Rice Goulash

I started out to make my regular goulash recipe and it was not until I had the beef in the frying pan that I realised I was out of whole wheat pasta for this recipe, so I quickly decided to improvise by using brown rice. It worked fantastically and both of the boys love it! I started out as I always do by taking the ground beef out of the freezer and plopping it straight into the pan - I started with a 5L dutch oven because I knew I'd fill it all. I turned the burner on about 3, put the lid on, and started into my onions. When it comes to onions in things like this I usually puree them these days just because the boys will balk if they see onions in something. They actually like the taste of onions, they just have this odd idea in their head that they do not.

Here is everything in the recipe :

  • 2 things of beef ( about 1 lb each, total 2 lbs )
  • 4 medium / large onions, pureed
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp thyme
  • 1.5 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp savory
  • 3 cups organic brown rice
  • 500ml tomatillo
  • 750ml tomato and basil from 2005
  • 125ml home made ketchup
  • about 5 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup pot barley

Bleenies / Blintzes / Crêpes

Bleenies were one of the first "indigenous" foods I learned to make on my year on a student exchange in Soviet Ukraine. I wish for the life of me I could recall exactly how we used to make them, but I do recall it was really easy, and not really a recipe per-se but just tossing a few things together. It almost always involved some sort of soured milk product - either something like kefir that had been intentionally soured, or milk that had gone off, which happened a lot with their shoddy milk supply chain.

This recipe is one I got from a Romanian woman who served them at a BBQ she hosted last summer. It is easy to throw together, and pretty flexible too. In fact, the "recipe" she gave me did not really list the amounts of anything except the 1 litre of milk! So I've put some solid numbers on those ingredients in the many times I've made this since then.

  • 1 litre milk
  • 70 to 100g sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 to 2 and 2/3 cups flour (see below)

Makin' the Bacon

Here are a couple of videos on making your own bacon. We now have to let it sit in the fridge for a week so we'll follow up next weekend with another series of videos on what to do next. If you have a smoker of any sort, then making your own bacon is pretty easy. In fact, even if you do not you should be able to finish it up in your oven for unsmoked bacon - I'll try that once and make a video for it as well. This is the first time I'm making my bacon this way - usually I brine the belly for 2 or 3 days in my regular brining solution, and then smoke it. But I decided to give curing a try since I think it is a more correct way to do it, and I also decided to try using nitrites even though I am pretty sure you can cure without them. Nitrites work their way into the meat and then turn to a gas, and as the gas escapes it is noxious to microorganisms which kills them and gives you a higher degree of certainty that the meat is safe. I've never worried too much about that since bacon always gets cooked well anyway. I'll also try this again with just a salt cure and no nitrites.

The exact recipe I'm using is from monty on Ottawa Foodies. It looks like this for 5 lbs of belly.

  • 1/4 cup non-iodized salt (pickling, kosher, sea)
  • 2 tsp Insta-Cure® (6.25% sodium nitrite)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Home Made Chicken Nuggets

For quite some time now I've wanted to figure out a way to make my own chicken nuggets, because the boys love them so much, and generally speaking they are not very good for you. Ironically, we did manage to find some vegetarian "chicken" nuggets that do well on the nutrition front, but are pretty expensive. And the boys just won't believe us that they do not have chicken in them :-) Finally I started playing around with things and came up with a really great recipe. Especially because it goes together so easily.

Home Made Hamburger Helper

Yeah, I know, the proper name is "Goulash", and I already did an article and video on this a few months ago. That does not change the fact that this is one of my all-time favorite meals both for its simplicity and yumminess! It is especially yummy when you use good quality local organic beef like I do, bought directly from a local farmer and good friend. And of course home-canned tomato sauce. I checked my inventory and I still have 3 x 750ml jars from 2005 which are getting to the end of their shelf-life, so I used one of those. And I also only use whole wheat pasta for anything I make, so that it will be as healthy as possible.

This is as easy to do yourself as hamburger helper(tm) ever was, but far more fulfilling. And better for you too.

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