Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snack Recipes: Granola and Salsa

Well, I originally wrote this on one of our big snow days.  I just didn't post it like I should have.  So, without further ado, my snow day cooking adventures!

I live in Northern Connecticut, and today we have a wintery mix of precipitation.  My translation: it's raining ice and it's going to be really scary driving anywhere.  So, I'm at home today.  I thought I'd get some cooking done.  I wanted to share my recipes I'm making today.

First up is homemade granola.  *Caution* This makes a lot.  Like 2 gallons, a lot.  It keeps well as long as it has been thoroughly cooked and dried out.  One batch for our 2-person household lasts about 2 months.  The sweeteners in this is sweetened coconut flakes, dried fruit and honey and that's it!  It's really good mixed in greek yogurt (my favorite) or eaten by itself (hubby's favorite) or eaten like cereal.  Here it is:

Beth's Homemade Granola
1 large container quick 1 minute oats
1 large bag sliced almonds
1 large bag sweetened coconut flakes
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cloves
2-3 cups water
1 cup honey
1 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large box raisins

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
In a (very) large bowl mix the dry ingredients (oats through cloves).  Mix until all ingredients are equally distributed.  In a large microwave safe bowl, combine wet ingredients (water through vanilla), but reserve 1 cup water.  Heat for about 2 minutes on high in microwave.  Stir wet ingredients together until well combined.  You will still have oil bubbles, but hopefully small ones.  The honey and water and vanilla should be dissolved together.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Mix until entire mixture is damp and sticks together a little.  You may have to use reserved water or a little more to accomplish this.
Here's the long part.  Spread into thin layers in baking dishes; I use 4 13x9 casserole pans.  Be sure to use dishes with about 2 inch high sides.  Bake a half at a time for 2 hours, turning after 1 hour.  (So total baking time is 4 hours.)  Let the oats cool and dry out for at least an hour.  Pour raisins evenly over all the pans.  Transfer into 2 1-gallon containers.  Enjoy!

Some substitutions you could use:  different oil, like sunflower oil; other dried fruit like papaya, pineapples, or dried cherries or a combination; different nuts like pecans or walnuts, or both!

My next recipe is my favorite thing to bring to a party:  salsa!  I'll be bringing some of this batch to our friend's Superbowl Party on Sunday.

Beth's Salsa
1/4 onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 jalepeno, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
handful of cilantro leaves
1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with chilies), liquid drained
1 can whole tomatoes, liquid drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin

In a food processor pulse together onion and jalepeno, about 5-6 times.  Add remaining ingredients and mix together until combined to your preferences.  For chunkier salsa, pulse instead.  For more liquid salsa, use liquid from cans.  Makes 1-2 pints.

Enjoy!  Happy cooking!

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