Saturday, January 22, 2011

Make your own.....YOGURT!

I've been making my own yogurt for a few months now! Not the flavored stuff you'd find in the store, but the plain yogurt that you can add your own healthy fruit purees or flavorings. I don't have any special equipment but a crock pot...that's right, a crock pot.

I found this great idea on!

8 cups (1/2 gallon) milk

1/2 c. plain yogurt with active cultures

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (optional)

Put the milk in your crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours. Unplug crock pot and leave it sitting undisturbed for 3 hours. Scoop out 2 cups milk; add plain yogurt and gelatin to this milk and whisk until well mixed. Return mixture to the crock pot and whisk gently until well mixed. Cover crock pot. Wrap in 2 large bath towels and let sit for 8 hours (I let mine sit overnight).

If you'd like a thicker yogurt without using the gelatin, pour mixture into a cheesecloth bag and let sit for several hours to drain.

Remember to save 1/2 cup of your homemade yogurt for the next batch!

Here are some pics of the process:

8 cups of milk, heated for 2 1/2 hours in the crock pot, then unplugged and left to sit for 3 hours.

whisking in the plain yogurt (I made a small mess LOL)

wrapped up for the night!

....and PRESTO! We have yogurt!

I store the yogurt in an airtight container in my refrigerator. It's good for 7 to 10 days.

Now, how to use it up?

We make smoothies (yogurt, frozen fruit, bit of water) in the blender.

Substitute plain yogurt for sour cream in many recipes.

I use it in my 100% whole wheat bread (make the dough in my bread machine, baked in the oven):

Supermoist Wheat Bread

  • 1/2 c. warm milk
  • 6 Tbsp. plain yogurt (can be Greek)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. instant mashed potato flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. whole wheat bread flour (I used stone ground whole wheat flour, not necessarily for bread, and the bread turned out great!)
  • 1 tsp. active dry or instant yeast

Place all ingredients in bread pan in order listed. Select Basic cycle (yes, Basic) and desired crust setting, or use dough setting. Press start. If using dough setting, remove dough after the cycle ends and form into a loaf. Let rise in greased bread pan and bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes.

Recently I found some TASTY recipes for frozen yogurt at

Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

12 ounces evaporated lowfat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup plain yogurt

2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

In medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in milk. Cook and stir over moderate heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; let the mixture cool in the refrigerator. Add the vanilla and yogurt. Refrigerate until the mixture is cold. Melt the chocolate. While the chocolate is hot, pour it very slowly into the chilled yogurt mixture while stirring gently. Freeze in a ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Peach Frozen Yogurt

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 pound peaches, peeled & quartered
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan. Stir in milk; let stand 1 minute. Place over low heat; cook 5 minutes or until the gelatin dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in the corn syrup. Let the mixture cool completely. In a food processor add the peaches and process until smooth; scraping the sides of the processor bowl occasionally. Combine the peach purée, gelatin mixture, yogurt, and vanilla in a large bowl; stir well. Cover and chill 8 hours. Pour mixture into a ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 envelope gelatin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup

Combine the milk, sugar, gelatin, and salt. Let stand 1 minute. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until the gelatin dissolves. Let the mixture cool completely. Stir in the vanilla extract, yogurt, and corn syrup. Pour into a bowl; cover and chill for 8 hours. Pour into a ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

  • 3 cups raspberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup plain yogurt

In food processor purée the raspberries for about 1 minute or until smooth. Strain and discard seeds. Set aside. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Stir in raspberry purée and corn syrup. Let the mixture cool completely. Combine the raspberry mixture and yogurt in a bowl; stir well. Cover and chill 8 hours. Pour raspberry mixture into a ice cream machine. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Yes, it's mid-winter and we're enjoying some homemade frozen yogurt!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Starting off the new year with another menu plan

Happy New Year!

Yesterday I spent about two hours getting my menu plan together. I had food on hand from the past two months that I'd picked up and hadn't used and I had hoped to not have to buy any groceries due to some financial shortages this month, but I will have to buy 20 lb. potatoes and just a few other things, some carrots and lettuce, probably another 50 lb. bag of flour, more milk, and eggs. It should cost around $50 - $60 for all those. I spent 15 minutes taking inventory of my freezers, pantry, and fridge, then I went to and entered the items. It came up with over 70 recipes that I had all the ingredients for! I picked many of those, added a few faves that I know I have the things for, and printed off the new recipes. Not hard at all!

Breakfasts: eggs, quiche, oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, fruit smoothies made with frozen fruit and homemade yogurt.

Lunches: sandwiches, leftovers, homemade pasta with garlic & cheese, fruit

I don't have the days planned out yet, but here are my 31 dinner meals!

  • Hawaiian chicken over rice, green beans (had this 1/1)
  • Spaghetti, homemade garlic bread, vegetable salad
  • roast chicken, winter squash, corn
  • hamburger goulash with tossed salad
  • Sloppy joes on homemade buns, steamed veggies
  • broccoli ham & cheese soup with homemade muffins
  • chicken al fredo with homemade pasta, green beans
  • salisbury patties, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans (had this 1/2)
  • chicken & veggie pot pie with biscuit crust
  • chicken broccoli dijon stir fry over rice
  • Rosemary chicken & potatoes, steamed broccoli
  • chicken wings fricassee over rice, glazed carrots
  • chicken voila (chicken bits & gravy) over rice, steamed peas & carrots
  • roasted rosemary & lemon chicken, squash, green beans
  • sausage gravy over biscuits, mixed vegetable salad
  • curried coconut chicken over rice, orange/pear salad
  • minestrone, Italian bread
  • layered chicken bake (chicken, stuffing mix, green beans, soup, mozzarella cheese, almonds), tossed salad
  • Hamburger stew with biscuits or muffins
  • chicken satay peanut curry with homemade noodles and broccoli
  • porcupine meatballs, Italian bread, green beans
  • wet burritos, corn
  • scalloped potatoes & ham, green beans
  • tuna melts, chips, veggie salad
  • chili, corn chips
  • baked bean soup, vegetable salad
  • shepherds pie
  • hot German potato salad with bratwurst, green beans
  • redneck casserole, veggie salad
  • lasagna, homemade garlic bread, tossed salad
  • taco salad