mise en place for canning bacon

Canning bacon ends and pieces.

Did you know that according to the USDA you should use bacon within 7 days even if you are refrigerating it? I know I keep it around much longer than that. Do you? What if you only need a little bit of bacon? Enough for maybe a thick coating of four cheese burgers or some potato and leek soup, which is what we had tonight.

Walmart has bacon ends and pieces for $4 for two pounds. Two dollars a pound for meat is my magic number for canning. If I can get meat that cheap I look for options to can it for later use. You can can it up in a pressure canner with minimal work. When you need some bacon pull it off the shelf and fry it up. It will not work as bacon strips but is great for any application that uses small bits of bacon like salads, soup toppings, burgers and what-nots. Here is how to do i.t

cooked in the jar

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Pizza from leftovers

So if you, hypothetically, where to make lasagna from scratch and have left over sauce, sausage, mozzarella and ricotta what would you do? If you are me you would spice up the sauce with a bit of scratch made sriracha and make some pizza dough.

About that sriracha. I used some of the habanero sriracha I made a while back. This stuff packs a punch. I thought two teaspoons was going to be the right amount. For me it was spicy and awesome. For the guinea pig it was too much. You might want to add just one teaspoon of it per cup of pizza sauce. If you are using a more traditional sriracha two teaspoons should be fine.

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It's been a few years since I made lasagna from scratch. Finding milk that isn't ultra pasteurized has been a problem as it won't set up a curd correctly. But I recently found a place that sells raw milk in South Carolina and they sell non-ultra pasteurized, non-homogenized milk for a little less. So I decided to go for it. The other day I made the ricotta cheese and mozzarella. Today I made the sauce, sausage and pasta and put it all together. But if you are going to do something big like this why not do it twice? I made two batches but in the name of science I did one with store bought ingredients and also the scratch one. Now I have a control group and an experiment group.

What was the verdict? In order to insure they were more or less flavored the same I didn't go full tilt on the seasoning. I didn't tell the guinea pig which was which. They said the scratch one had "more sausage flavor". It had more tooth to the pasta which they liked. And there may have been a touch more ricotta in the one made from off the shelf parts. Given the sometimes unpredictable nature of making things from scratch I would call only three things a great try at trying to clone tore bought stuff. Next time I will go full seasoning. Herb up the ricotta, garlic up the sauce, spice up the sausage. Maybe even a layer of meatballs. But, I will forgo the family tradition of putting raisins in the meatballs. I never much cared for that as a kid.

Now to let all this stuff cool and stock it in the fridge and freezer for a day when I don't feel like cooking. If you aren't going to make the cheese but are up for making the pasta I have some good news, you don't need to boil the pasta first. I cranked it out to a "4" on the pasta machine thickness and just layered it in raw. There is enough moisture and heat in the sauce to cook it all the way as it bakes in the oven. Depending on how long it takes you to boil water it may even be faster to make the pasta from scratch than it is to boil the water and cook premade pasta noodles. Another perk is that you can have unbroken sheets of pasta instead of having to jigsaw puzzle the normal noodles in the layers.

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bagel with cream cheese and gravlax

A project a week in the making. Very tasty for dinner. The gravlax recipe will come later but here are the other two parts:

Cream Cheese

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mise en place

Like the previous entry in What's Scratch Cooking once you combine all of this and say the magic words this goes great with carbs.

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