Early planning eases harvest meal preparation

Whether its rhubarb crisp, round steak with dumplings or cranberry chicken, harvest meals don’t have to be boring

While making a rhubarb dessert for the spraying and reseeding crew, I decided if I froze rhubarb when it was picked, it would be available to make a rhubarb-apple-strawberry crisp for the harvest crew.

I made the following recipe several times this spring but not always using the same fruit. The one today has blueberries because I don’t have strawberries. The recipe is one I made up using ideas from a couple of recipes. Sometimes in this recipe, I substitute gluten-free flour for regular flour to accommodate friends on gluten free diets.

Rhubarb-apple-strawberry crisp
3-4apples peeled and sliced 
2 c.strawberries hulled and sliced500 mL
4 c.of chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb1 L
3/4 to 1 c.sugar depending on
what fruit you are
using 180-250 mL
3 tbsp.cornstarch45 mL
1 tsp.cinnamon4 mL
 
Topping
3/4 c.oatmeal180 mL
1/3 c.flour (use gluten free
if required) 80 mL
1/3 c.brown sugar80 mL
1/2 tsp.cinnamon2 mL
1/4 tsp.nutmeg1 mL
1/4 c.butter or
margarine 60 mL
 
Preheat oven to 350 F (175mL). Mix together the first six ingredients. Put into buttered two to three quart (1.75 to 2.8 litre) baking dish. Cut margarine or butter into oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake one hour until bubbly and brown. 
I bake this dessert in a nine by 12 inch (23 by 30 centimetre) Pyrex cake pan. I plan to freeze some apples when mine are ready so I can make this dessert year round. 
If we plan our menus now for harvest, we can stock our pantry with things we need to make the recipes when they are on sale.
I prefer not to serve my family bought soups but use them in recipes and reduce the salt in the recipe to compensate for the salt in the soup. Leanne Weinbender, a fellow Charolais breeder, shared this casserole recipe with me years ago and it is convenient for taking to the field. 
 
Round steak
with dumplings
Casserole:
3/4 c.flour185 mL
1 tbsp.paprika15 mL
3 lb.boneless beef round steak, cut into serving size pieces1.3 kg
2-3 tbsp.canola oil30-45 mL
1medium onion, chopped
2 2/3 c.water .63 L
2cans cream of
chicken soup
1/2 tsp.pepper2 mL
 
Dumplings
3 c.flour750 mL
1/4 c.dried minced
onion 60 mL
2 tbsp.baking powder30 mL
1 tbsp.poppy seeds
(optional) 15 mL
1 1/2 tsp.celery salt20 mL
1 1/2 tsp.poultry seasoning20 mL
3/4 tsp.salt3 mL
1 ½ cups milk 375 mL
6 tbsp. canola oil 90 mL
1 c.dry bread crumbs250 mL
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour and paprika. Add beef, a few pieces at a time. Shake to coat. 
In a Dutch oven over medium high heat brown steak in oil on both sides in batches, adding more oil if necessary.
Remove and keep warm.
In the drippings, sauté onion until tender. Stir in water, soup, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Return meat to pan. Cover and bake at 325 F (160 C) for 1 1/2 hours. 
Meanwhile for dumplings, combine flour, minced onion, baking powder, poppy seeds, celery salt, poultry seasoning and salt in a bowl. Combine milk and oil, stir in dry ingredients just until moistened.
Increase oven temperature to 425 F (220 C). 
In a bowl, combine crumbs and butter. Drop dumpling batter by rounded tablespoons into crumb mixture. Roll to form dumpling. Place on top of simmering beef mixture. Cover and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in a dumpling comes out clean. Do not lift lid while baking dumplings.
Serves 10 tp 12.
In the above recipe, you can omit the poppy seeds if you like and I have made my own regular dumplings on occasion to use in this recipe to serve younger children.
It’s easy to half this recipe when serving a smaller number of people. This could easily be cooked in a slow cooker. Put the dumplings in to cook on high just before serving. 
 
Great pork chop bake
This pork chop recipe is great for in-the-field meals with the main course all in one dish. There’s less clean up if you add some carrots. 
 
6 bone in pork chops
(3/4 inch, 1.9 cm, thick)
1 tbsp.canola oil15 mL
1can condensed cream of chicken soup undiluted
3 tbsp.Ketchup45 mL
2 tbsp.Worcestershire 
sauce 30 mL
1/2 tsp.salt8 mL
1/4 tsp.pepper4 mL
4medium potatoes cut in ½ inch, 1.25 cm, wedges
1medium onion
sliced in rings
 
In a skillet, brown pork chops in oil.
Transfer to a greased 13 by nine by two inch baking dish. 
In a bowl combine the soup, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce salt and pepper. Add potatoes and onion, to coat.
Pour over the pork chops. Cover and bake at 350 F (177 C) for 55 to 60 minutes or until meat juices run clear and potatoes are tender. Yields six servings.
I made this recipe again today. I baked it in a covered flat casserole at same temperature for two hours, which I feel improves it. 
 
 
Cranberry chicken
Here’s a recipe you can put in the crockpot to cook while you are away doing another job. 
 
12 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/4 c.whole cranberry
sauce 310 mL
1/2envelope dry
onion soup mix
1/2 c.French dressing125 mL
1 tbsp.granulated sugar15 mL
1 /8 tsp. pepper 1 mL
 
Arrange chicken in five-quart (4.7 litre) slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients in small bowl. Spoon mixture over chicken. Cover. Cook on low for eight to 10 hours or four to five hours on high. Serves 12. 
You can also bake this covered in ungreased four-quart (3.8 litre) casserole at 325 F (163 C) for one and a half to two hours. 
It’s important when working long hours to make sure everyone gets lots of water to drink. All ovens and slow cookers cook a little different so take this into consideration when trying new recipes.

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