The Best Time of Year for a Nature Hike

Take a hike in the woods, fish a mountain brook, and more. Since church is mostly shut down, on Sunday afternoons, Merri Ann and I pack a lunch, grab a lesson manual, and go find a quiet place in the woods for a picnic, time together, and a discussion. This was as quiet a place as you could find, tucked under the Continental Divide. It was an hour on paved roads and 45 minutes on rough dirt roads. That’s a long way for a prayer and discussion, but oh, was it worth it! A Nature Hike in a Quiet Canyon …

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Grilled Panini Sandwich Recipes

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a hot sandwich, and what better way to do that than with crispy grilled sandwiches? Cook them in the panini press, and you have easy, tasty hot sandwiches in no time. Here are some of our favorite grilled panini sandwich recipes. Tips for Grilled Sandwiches When making a panini or a grilled sandwich, it’s important that you use ingredients that mix well together rather than fight over which one will be the star. In our Reuben sandwich below, we were hesitant with using our Black Russian bread at first because of the big flavor, but …

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Oven Grilled Shish Kabobs

These are the easiest shish kabobs we have ever made.  Just put the whole shish kabobs in the oven and forget them.  When you can’t grill on the deck, this is the way to quick and easy shish kabobs. The marinade is excellent. Ingredients 2 pounds sirloin steak or another beef cut salt 1/4 cup vinegar 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon seasoning salt 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper dash cayenne pepper 1 large sweet onion 2 bell peppers, red or green Directions Trim the beef and cut it into 1 to …

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How to Bake a Perfect Pizza on Your Grill

It’s easy to bake pizza on your grill. Pizzas are baked quick and hot—perfect for the grill. You can have picture-perfect pizzas from your grill in no time. Pizzas make great summer food, but no one wants to heat the oven up to 400 degrees in the summer. That’s okay—grill the pizza. Not only is it the slick way to bake pizzas in the summer, but you’ll also really impress your friends and family—a backyard magician. What You’ll Need to Bake Pizza on the Grill A grill with a cover. You can use gas or charcoal though the charcoal will …

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How to Pack a Terrific Lunch for a Nature Hike

Several years ago, Merri Ann and I hiked up Burns Creek Canyon in the Big Hole Mountains and then up a side canyon called Hells Hole. (It’s not aptly named unless you’re trying to climb out the top of the canyon.) We found a beautiful meadow overlooking the canyon where we spread out a blanket and had a wonderful lunch from our daypacks. The Perfect Lunch for a Nature Hike To keep our food cool and safe in the summer sun, we packed insulated lunch bags, each with an ice a pack and then our food, and then buried them …

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Pork Chops with Apple Gravy

Pork and apples is a classic combination, but the apple gravy is a different twist. We like this pork chops and apple gravy recipe with new red potatoes. The apple cider isn’t dominant, so the gravy works well with potatoes. You can make this on the stovetop or cook your pork chops on the grill.  If you cook the pork chops on the grill, you won’t have drippings for the apple gravy, so we have given you an alternative using Instant Clearjel and butter.  With Instant Clearjel, you don’t have to cook the gravy, so it’s very easy to make.  Of course, …

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How to Make Monte Cristo Sandwiches

This is an old French sandwich circa 1910. It became popular in America in the 1930’s and then seem to drop out of sight in the 1960’s. My dad loved Monte Cristo sandwiches. As a child, it seemed that they were popular in diners and other casual recipes. Either way, they were made with meat, usually ham, and a soft cheese, raspberry jam, and mustard or a hot sauce. They are now a type of sandwich, a meat and cheese sandwich cooked like French toast or deep fried. We’ve maintained the sweet layer with either jam or a flavored honey.

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How to Make Stuffed Pork Chops (with Recipes)

Stuffed pork chops are one of those foods that are easy to make for the family on a busy day and impressive enough that you can present them to company. Stuffed pork chops are one of the most versatile main dish foods that we know. Both sweet and savory fillings go well with pork chops so you can stuff them with an endless array of choices. They work in both the summer and winter. Since you can grill them as well as fry or bake them, you can cook them on the patio when the weather is nice. How to …

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Homemade Maple Syrup

Now you can make homemade maple syrup with maple flavoring instead of buying it from the store. This homemade maple syrup is very easy to make and surprisingly good.  It takes just five simple ingredients and three easy steps. We doubt that you can tell it from most of the store brands. The Best Homemade Maple Syrup for Outdoor Adventures When we were younger, we went backpacking frequently.  We would pack pancake mix, maybe with some nuts or dried fruit added.  We would use this recipe for syrup.  We would pour the sugar into plastic bags and then add the …

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Learn How to Bake Bread on Your Grill

Choose a FREE Bread Mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z123” at checkout. Baking your bread on the grill can provide a nice respite from the midday heat, and you don’t have to add the extra heat into your kitchen while it’s baking. Enjoy the fresh air and fresh-baked bread at the cabin, on the patio, or the next family reunion as your neighbors turn their noses upwind to get a swift of the aroma of fresh-baked bread wafting over the fence. Believe it or not, you can bake your bread on the grill, and we’ll tell you …

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Do I Need to Bake My Graham Cracker Crumb Crusts?

(Updated from May 26, 2014) When you don’t feel like preparing a pie crust for your desserts, a graham cracker crust is the way to go. It works great for cream pies and cheesecakes, especially. But do you need to bake your graham cracker pie crusts? It depends, but you will need to expose our crust to the cold or the heat to allow it to properly set. Save your graham crackers for the smores. Make your graham cracker pie crusts easier by using graham cracker crumbs instead of smashing perfectly good graham crackers to make your own. To Bake …

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Provolone Steak with Sweet Potato Hash Browns Recipe

Sweet potato hash browns make the more common breakfast side pale in comparison. They’re crisp, tender, and melt in your mouth. They’re also more nutritious. Pair them with this provolone steak, and you have a delicious meal. You can put this nutritious meal together in about thirty minutes on the patio or in the kitchen: cook the steaks, cook the hash browns, and toss a salad together.  Serve with sautéed mushrooms if desired.  If you like steaks, you’ll like this. Sweet Potato Hashbrown Recipe Ingredients 2 tablespoons butter 1 large onion, diced 3 medium sweet potatoes 1 teaspoon crushed marjoram, …

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Artichoke Garlic Bread

This is a quick and simple garlic bread made with a jar of artichoke tomato bruschetta, so it’s super quick, easy, and a bit different from your typical garlic bread. Ingredients 1 1-pound loaf French or Italian bread 4 tablespoons butter, softened 6 to 8 roasted garlic cloves 1 1/2 cups of Artichoke Tomato Bruschetta or to taste Directions Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the bread in half diagonally and spread butter on both pieces. Grill in a pan or on a grill until toasted. Mash the garlic and mix it with the bruschetta. Spread the mixture onto …

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How To Make Oven Fries

Choose a FREE Bread Mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z123” at checkout. One of my favorite things to pair with homemade burgers is french fries, but deep frying the fries in oil can be pretty tricky and often makes quite the mess. Here’s how you can make oven fries. The Best Oven Fries We’ve Ever Made Ingredients 2 1/2 pounds russet or other baking potatoes (not peeled) 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 teaspoons granulated sugar 1 teaspoon salt pepper Instructions Preheat the Oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or use a crisper and …

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How to Cook Burgers on a Rack in the Oven

(Updated From May 10, 2014) What if it rains this weekend, and I can’t make burgers on the grill? Don’t worry; I found just the trick. Making burgers in the oven means you can cook them rain or shine. When you cook your burgers on a rack in the oven, you don’t have to turn your food. The air circulates under the food and cooks the food from above and below. Cooking times are reduced. Without turning, your burgers are incredibly juicy. There is no searing of the meat to try to hold the juices in but that doesn’t matter …

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Can I Substitute Butter or Shortening for Oil in My Recipe?

The perfect cookies, the best sandwich loaves, the tastiest muffins— all of these require butter, oil, or shortening, and sometimes different recipes will tell you to use one instead of the other. So what are the advantages of each? When is it better to use butter or shortening as a substitute for oil or vice versa? This article will tell you when and how to best to use each one and when and why they might not work for specific recipes. Our Preference We admit to a prejudice for butter. We love the flavor of butter and we avoid the …

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How to Cook Steaks on a Rack in the Oven

There’s nothing like grilling up some good steaks on the barbecue, but we have to deal with the fickle Idaho winds and weather here at the Prepared Pantry, so we’ve had to improvise. You can still get great, juicy steaks when you cook them in the oven, and you don’t have to deal with any of the outdoor factors that you’d have with the grill. Cooking Steaks on a Rack in the Oven A Note to Remember: Steaks one-inch or more in thickness use more heat than for burgers, chicken or fish; turn the heat up and move the meat …

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Tips for Better French Toast

French toast is easy to make but there are tips that make for better French Toast. The goal for great French toast is to cook it until it is golden brown and crispy on the outside with a creamy, custard-like center.  Make certain that the egg mixture has soaked through the bread and cook over medium-high heat. But don’t let the bread soak for so long that it falls apart when you try to move it. Super airy bread tends to fall apart. Choose bread with structure. Day-old bread works great. Use a whisk and beat the eggs well. The yolks …

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Homemade Burger Buns

Choose One! Get a FREE Burger Press or a FREE Bun Mix! Add it to checkout and use code “Z507” or “ZBUN” at checkout. The weather is warming up, and it’s time to let the neighborhood cookouts and family picnics begin. Burgers are the spotlight of the season, and it’s always best to impress. While you’re showing off your homemade burgers on the grill, why not also give our favorite homemade burger buns a try? As Dennis likes to say, “the buns make the burger,” and it’s true. I’m sure we can all remember eating a burger fresh off the …

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The Quest for the Perfect Omelet

We wanted omelets that were easy and quick. Many recipe books instruct the reader to turn the omelets in the pan. Often they don’t fold well or break apart. We needed a solution to that. We wanted them to cook evenly, the interior set but the outside just burnished with a little gold but no tough skin. Problem 1: Cooking the Omelet Properly with No Skin on the Outside Omelets tend to be overdone on the outside when they are well set on the inside. That is especially true with thicker omelets, when the pan is overloaded a bit. Problem …

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