So I can safely say that I like to cook more than the average person. I am always in the kitchen inventing, cooking, and making something delicious. However, even with all that enthusiasm, I still have a really hard time remembering that dinner comes every night, and that my family wants to eat every night. After more than 20 years of cooking for my family you would think I would have mastered this pattern of breakfast, lunch, dinner, repeat. Sometimes I have a good kitchen day and we have homemade everything (and lots of dishes). Sometimes I am sidetracked by another fun adventure like visiting with friends or having a day working in the garden. On those days, I forget about dinner until the kids start asking where it is. They are pretty resourceful in the kitchen (lots of dishes on those days too!), but its nice to be able to have some quick dinner options.
This recipe is the base for lots of those quick meals. It goes great in creamy soups like Creamy Broccoli Soup, or over noodles for Mac-no-Cheese. I like it fresh, but unlike a regular cheese sauce, it also freezes really well. On a good cooking day, I'll make a big pot like this and then vacuum seal it in quart-sized freezer bags. When I want a quick noodle meal I just put the frozen freezer bag in hot water to thaw, or heat it up on the stove. For my crock-pot potato soup, I just dice up potatoes and carrots and a celery stalk or two, add water to cover, a little vegetable base and garlic powder and let it cook all day. When I come home I just add a package of the frozen no-cheese sauce to the crock-pot and it thaws while I'm getting everything else done. A half hour later the soup is done. If you forget to start it in the morning, it also works really well in an Instant Pot too.
I got this recipe from my mom, who got it from somewhere. I've changed it a lot over the years, but it still works! I used to use white flour, but its even better with spelt or whole wheat flour. No one even noticed when I traded out the eggs for ground flax seed. We reduced the sugar and added mini chocolate chips. Even with all my changes to make them healthier, they keep disappearing wherever I take them. Everyone loves them and asks for the recipe.
I've written the recipe the way that I make it now, but feel free to modify it to your liking, as it is very adaptable. If you want a cupcake, add some cream cheese frosting! If you don't have ground flax seed but do have farm fresh eggs, use those instead! This is the best use of brown and spotty bananas that I know of. It's actually a banana upgrade. If you have a lot of bananas, double or triple the recipe and freeze them for a quick snack later. Yum!
This whole-plant-based soup is so creamy even without any cheese, cream, butter or oil. We enjoy it with a fresh loaf of bread, a salad and a bottle of home canned peaches. Comfort food at every level. Perfect for a chilly evening and even better the next day as an easy to pack lunch. It is also very good with a sprinkle of crusty croutons. No-Cheese Sauce recipe here.
We love using our home canned tomatoes from the garden in this comforting, creamy recipe. It is a family favorite! We hope you enjoy it too! Click here to get the recipe.
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Rhubarb is always one of the first things to be ready to harvest in the spring. It is vibrant red, and has a great sour tangy flavor that goes well with strawberries. We make crisps and pies and rhubarb cake, and strawberry rhubarb jams that I adore, and make often. We freeze everything we can't eat fresh for the winter. Rhubarb is really easy to freeze, you just wash, chop and freeze in a vacuum sealed bag. This time of year as the new rhubarb crop is getting ready to be harvested I was looking for a way to use a lot of Rhubarb without using lots of sugar.
Enter the idea for Strawberry Rhubarb fruit leather. Fruit leather is a valuable lunch commodity at my house. I was giving one of my daughters a hard time about the amount she was taking to school one day and she confessed that she was also sharing it with all her friends at lunch. It goes really fast. For this recipe you will also need a bunch of applesauce. We make fruit leathers in all sorts of flavors. Applesauce is a good stretcher. It doesn't have a strong flavor, so you can blend it with less abundant and more expensive fruits to make a less expensive snack. We can our own applesauce in the fall, so this recipe takes advantage of the extra applesauce I have in my pantry too. I have a big family and also a big dehydrator. Even making this huge batch, the fruit leather was eaten before I thought to take any pictures of the finished product.
One disclaimer about all of my recipes. I rarely measure things precisely. Fruit leather in particular is something I approximate. Use what you have, sub out or add in other fruits that you like. I do it all the time.
Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Leather
This recipe fills a 9-tray Excalibur Dehydrator
4 quarts of unsweetened applesauce (16 cups)
6 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
6 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Put all of the ingredients in a large pot and simmer until the rhubarb is soft. (Rhubarb is crunchy raw, but it cooks down quickly.) When the frozen fruit is softened or the raw rhubarb starts to fall apart, blend the contents with an immersion blender, or puree in a blender in batches. Ladle the puree onto lined dehydrator sheets and place in dehydrator. Turn dehydrator on to about 115-135 degrees and run until the fruit puree is not sticky to the touch and peels off the sheet easily. Humidity will affect how much time this takes. I usually run it 12 hours.
Cut the sheets of fruit leather into strips and roll them up in parchment paper that is slightly longer and wider than the fruit leather. Twist the ends of the parchment to keep each roll rolled up. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place. I store the fruit leather rolls in my pantry for short term storage, or in an a freezer bag in the freezer where it can keep for months. Sweet and tangy with a little hint of cinnamon this is a super delicious and added sugar free way to enjoy your rhubarb harvest!