Shredded Hash Browns Recipe

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

I had a dream…

…of being able to make shredded hash browns at home without them being completely gross.

Because even my best-laid plans would leave me with poor results…

Too soggy. Too gummy. Too raw. Too burnt.

And hopelessly stuck to the pan.

I can make homemade marshmallows and french bread from scratch, for goodness sakes. What was up with these stinkin’ hash browns?

I am way too stubborn to buy frozen shredded hash browns from the store, so there we were, stuck eating fried potato cubes instead. Tragic.

Come to find out, there were only a few simple steps standing between me and homemade hash brown potato heaven. Who knew?

If you are in the same boat I was, you’ll want to definitely pin or save today’s post. It’s life-changing information, I’m telling ya.

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

Crispy Shredded Hash Browns Recipe

  • 2-3 potatoes (Any type will work, but Russets are classic hash brown potatoes. I use medium to large sized spuds)
  • 4 tablespoons butter or bacon fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Shred your potatoes. I don’t peel mine first (because I’m lazy. Because the peels provide extra nutrition. *A-hem*), but you can if you want.

If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can use a hand grater. I personally hate grating stuff by hand, so my food processor makes short work of the potatoes.

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

Now comes the important part: rinse your potatoes. The starch on the potatoes is what tends to make them gummy and sticky. We want it outta there.

I simply put my shredded potatoes in a colander, and rinse until the water is clear, not cloudy.

Allow the potatoes to drain thoroughly. I like to squeeze ’em a bit to get out all the moisture I can, or you can pat them dry with a clean dish towel.

Toss in the salt and pepper. Don’t forget this step. Seasoning is important…

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

Meanwhile, heat up the butter or bacon fat in your skillet until it’s melted. I use my 12″ cast iron skillet, because I’m cool like that.

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

Place the potatoes in the pan, give them a quick stir, then leave them alone to cook on medium-low heat.

The leaving alone part is important. Don’t fuss with them, just let them cook on that side for 8-10 minutes or so.

Now give them a flip. I’m not talented enough to flip the entire potato mass at once, so I flip it in sections. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just get it flipped.

Cook the other side 5-8 minutes, or until it’s that lovely shade of golden brown and appropriately crispy.

Serve immediately. Accompany with ketchup if you want, or eat plain for pure shredded hash brown goodness.

homemade shredded hash browns recipe

Kitchen Notes:

  • If you don’t want to use butter or bacon fat, coconut oil will work in this recipe. I do think butter or bacon grease will offer more flavor, though.
  • Every stovetop is different, so watch the pan closely the first time you make these. You want the heat high enough to crisp up the potatoes, but not so hot that it burns the bottom before the middle has time to cook.
  • It’s tempting to try to crowd the pan with more potatoes (I get greedy sometimes…), but keep in mind that if you do, you’ll likely end up with soft/soggy hash browns. In order for them to nicely crisp up, they need to have room to cook.
  • Serve your homemade hash browns alongside some of my other favorite breakfast foods, like:

4.0 from 2 reviews
Shredded Hash Browns Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 potatoes (Any type will work, but Russets are classic hash brown potatoes. I use medium to large sized spuds)
  • 4 tablespoons butter or bacon fat
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Shred your potatoes. I don't peel mine first, but you can if you want.
  2. Rinse your potatoes.
  3. I simply put my shredded potatoes in a colander, and rinse until the water is clear, not cloudy.
  4. Allow the potatoes to drain thoroughly. I like to squeeze 'em a bit to get out all the moisture I can, or you can pat them dry with a clean dish towel.
  5. Toss in the salt and pepper.
  6. Meanwhile, heat up the butter or bacon fat in your skillet until it's melted.
  7. Place the potatoes in the pan, give them a quick stir, then leave them alone to cook on medium-low heat.
  8. The leaving alone part is important. Don't fuss with them, just let them cook on that side for 8-10 minutes or so.
  9. Now give them a flip. I'm not talented enough to flip the entire potato mass at once, so I flip it in sections. It doesn't matter how you do it, just get it flipped.
  10. Cook the other side 5-8 minutes, or until it's that lovely shade of golden brown and appropriately crispy.
  11. Serve immediately. Accompany with ketchup if you want, or eat plain for pure shredded hash brown goodness.

 

Creamy Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

spinach-quesadilla-recipe-

So I really, really wanted to call this recipe “Weed Quesadillas”

However, I was a little worried some folks might get the wrong idea. Ya know, considering we do live rather close to Colorado…

But all you cool homestead folks know exactly what I’m talking about, right?

Not *that* kind of weed, but rather those lovely plants we are constantly pulling and pruning and mowing from our gardens and yards.

I’ve developed a whole new appreciation for “weeds” as of late. Mr. Emerson says it best:

What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve gone from cussing my weeds to appreciating them (well, most of them, at least…), and finding ways to put them to good use.

From eating dandelions, to sautéing up lambs quarters, it’s astounding the bounty you’ll find growing outside when you know how to look.

The first time I ever ate lambs quarters was in cheesy quesadillas. I was so impressed with the outcome, those humble quesadillas set me on a path to learning what other types of useful wild plants I had growing in my yard.

Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

Two Cool Things About This Weed, errr… Spinach Quesadilla Recipe:

1. If you have family members who think eating foraged plants (aka weeds) is absolutely crazy, these quesadillas are a fabulous introduction. They’ll never know… *ahem*

2. You can use any sort of edible leafy green in this quesadilla recipe: lambs quarters, purslane, dandelion greens, plantain leaves, wild amaranth, kale, spinach; whatever you have in the garden, yard, or fridge.

Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

One Important Reminder About Eating Weeds/Foraging

Please be very, very careful with what wild plants you are picking and eating in your yard. Before I stuck my weeds in my frying pan for the first time, I triple-checked to make sure my identification was accurate. It’s always a good idea to ask your County Extension Agent or a knowledgable forager in your area before you take that first bite.

Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

Creamy Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

(aka Quesadilla a la Weeds)

  • 4 cups spinach leaves (or other dark leafy greens of your choice), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened (how to make cream cheese)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a combo of mozzarella and sharp cheddar, but feel free to use whatever you have in your fridge)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Flour tortillas (how to make tortillas)

In a medium frying pan, sauté the onion in the butter until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

Add the spinach/greens to the pan and allow them to wilt for 3-4 minutes. It will look like a massive quantity at first, but will quickly reduce in size.

Place the cream cheese, tomato, and shredded cheese in a separate bowl. Mix in the spinach/onion mixture. Season with salt & pepper as needed.

Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

Spread two to four tablespoons of the mixture on half of each tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half.

Heat the tortilla in a lightly greased pan, flipping once. Your quesadillas are done when they are a lovely shade of golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.

Makes 4-6 tortillas, depending on how much filling you put on each one.

Kitchen Notes:

  • I used my cast iron grill pan (affiliate link) to make the lovely lines on my tortillas, but a regular flat pan or griddle will work just fine too.
  • Eat your spinach quesadillas plain, or serve with a side of guacamole, salsa, or sour cream.
  • Homemade tortillas are the best, but if you’re in a hurry, store-bought ones work as well. I used a thin wheat tortilla for this batch.

Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

Creamy Spinach Quesadillas Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 4-6 quesadillas
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups spinach leaves (or other dark leafy greens of your choice), roughly chopped
  • ½ of a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups shredded cheese of your choice
  • Flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. In a medium frying pan, sauté the onion in the butter until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Add the spinach/greens to the pan and allow them to wilt for 3-4 minutes. It will look like a massive quantity at first, but will quickly reduce in size.
  4. Place the cream cheese, tomato, and shredded cheese in a separate bowl. Add in the spinach/onion mixture.
  5. Stir to combine. Spread two to four tablespoons of the mixture on half of each tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half.
  6. Heat the tortilla in a lightly greased pan, flipping once. Your quesadillas are done when they are a lovely shade of golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.

 

How to Save Money on Real Food

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It’s no secret…

I’m a huge fan of:

a) Growing/raising my own veggies, meat, eggs and dairy products

b) Buying from local producers

c) Bartering with neighbors who may be growing stuff I’m not

But let’s face it… that doesn’t work for everything.

As stubborn as I am, I just can’t figure out a way to grow my own coconuts to make coconut oil here in Wyoming…

Or make my own sea salt…

Or grow my own coffee beans in our blizzard-prone climate…

So when I need those extra ingredients or natural living products, that means my options boil down to:

  • Costco — The nearest Costco is 2+ hours away… (I don’t even have a membership)
  • My local natural food store (45 minutes away) — I buy a few things here, but their inventory is small, and the prices are high
  • Amazon — Honestly, I probably buy from Amazon more than anywhere else… It’s usually a last-resort, but when I can’t find a natural ingredient in a 300 mile radius, they are my only option.

Until now, that is.

I’ve been wanting to tell you guys about this company for a couple months now, and I can finally spill the beans.

What if I told you there was a company that combined the best attributes of Amazon, Whole Foods, and Costco, but with lower prices and a sustainable-minded mission?

Too good to be true?

Nope.

Meet Thrive Market

I’ve been looking at Thrive Market for a couple months now, and I’m completely impressed. Here’s the facts—>

  • Thrive Market is a brand-new online marketplace with a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. You can get everything from GMO-free food, snacks, vitamins, supplements, personal care products, cleaning supplies, beauty products, kitchen staples, pantry essentials, baby food and products and much, much more.
  • You’ll get wholesale prices on more than 3,000 of the highest quality healthy foods and products from more than 400 of the best-selling brands at wholesale prices (these aren’t knock-off or generic brands– they are the same items you’d find at your local health food store).
  • Thrive Market’s prices are 15 – 25% lower compared to other online retailers.
  • Free national shipping on orders over $49 (WIN!)
  • Every paid membership is matched with a free membership for a low-income American family.
  • All packaging, boxes and inserts are made from recycled paper and are recyclable.
  • Customize your shopping experience with the Gluten-Free, Paleo, Raw, Vegan, or Moms categories.

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What This Homesteader is Buying from Thrive Market:

So am I ditching my garden and my milk cow and buying all my food online now? NO WAY! :)

But I am using Thrive Market to fill in the gaps for things I can’t grow or find locally for good prices, like:

  • Natural dishwashing gel
  • Grade B maple syrup
  • Canned coconut milk
  • Redmond Real Salt
  • Grassfed gelatin
  • Chia seeds
  • Almonds

I was thrilled to notice they even have lard and tallow! I don’t need to purchase these, since I render my own, but if you don’t have access to high-quality pork or beef fat, this is a perfect option.

Now, I’ll be honest– I won’t be buying everything Thrive Market carries. I don’t buy the “organic” processed foods at my local health food store, and I won’t be buying them here, either. But they definitely have enough of the other natural pantry staples I use on a regular basis to justify my membership.

But is it really cheaper?

Let’s compare:

Up until now, I’ve been using Amazon Prime to order many of my pantry items.

Amazon Prime is $99/year.

Thrive Market is $59.95/year.

Costco memberships are $55/year (if you have a store in your area), but I know for a fact Costco doesn’t carry many of these specialized natural ingredients.

Since Thrive offers free shipping for orders over $49, I plan to make one big order each month, or split an order with a friend.

Here are some side-by-side comparisons of a few products (affiliate links):

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Free Trial Membership

I’ve been working personally with Thrive Market for the past couple months, and they have generously agree to offer Prairie Homestead readers a free 30-day trial membership, 15% off your first order, AND a chance to win a $250 shopping spree (who wouldn’t love that?)

Click here to sign up for your trial membership and to enter the giveaway.

Giveaway ends 3/22/15 at midnight. No purchase necessary to win.

DISCLAIMER: I am an affiliate of Thrive Market. It’s rare you’ll see me devote an entire post to an affiliate relationship, but I did so here because I like the company THAT MUCH. And yes, I am personally using them on a regular basis, and would continue to do so, even without the affiliate relationship. Many of you live in rural areas, with limited food options, like I do, and that’s the reason I’m sharing Thrive with you today.

How to Separate Cream from Milk

how to separate cream from milk

Some of you probably read the title of this post…

…and furrowed your eyebrows, wondering “Why on earth does is she even writing about that? It’s so simple!”

But it’s funny how quickly something can become a lost art….”

Take rendering lard and clabbering milk, for example. Not so long ago, lard and clabber were staples of every kitchen. And now, I’m betting if you were to take a random poll of people walking down the sidewalk, the vast majority of folks would have no idea what they were, or how to use them.

The same goes for cream. It used to be common knowledge how to quickly skim the inches of cream from a ice-cold jar of fresh milk and turn it into homemade sour cream, stiff peaks of whipped cream, or bright yellow homemade butter.

But for those of us who grew up with homogenized milk, seeing a creamline for the first time can be a completely foreign, yet awe-inspiring experience. I know it was for me.

how to separate cream from milk

I’ve received a number of emails from folks who bring home their first jars of fresh, local milk, and discover they aren’t quite sure how to separate cream from milk.

So for the cream-newbies out there–take heart. You’re about to experience one of the most beautiful parts of homesteading (aka fresh cream), and I’ll show you exactly what to do with it.

(Remember: This will only work with non-homogenized milk-– if you’re waiting to see a creamline on your homogenized gallons, it ain’t gonna happen…)

How to Separate Cream from Milk

There’s more than one way to skin a cat (er… skim some cream), so I’ll highlight some four of the most popular methods for separating cream from milk:

1. A Old-Fashioned Ladle

This is my weapon of choice because it’s fool-proof, with no extra equipment required. Here’s how to do it:

a) If you are dealing with very fresh milk, let it sit for at least 24 hours, so the cream has plenty of time to rise to the top.

how to separate cream from milk
The magnificent creamline. This will vary depending on your particular gallon of milk.

b) Identify the creamline, so you know what you’re working with. (You’ll be able to see it by looking at the sides of the jar)

c) Gently dip the ladle into the cream layer and allow it to fill. Make sure you aren’t dipping too deeply and getting into the milk. You’ll be able to see the difference– the cream is thick and yellowish-white, while the milk will appear much thinner and sometimes even blueish.

d) Pour the ladle of cream into a separate jar, and repeat until the majority of the cream layer is gone. (I like to leave about an inch of cream in the jar– it gives the milk a better texture, and also ensures I’m not swiping too much milk into my cream, which can upset the butter-making process.)

e) Use the resulting milk for drinking/cooking, and then turn the cream into a variety of beautiful projects (details below).

how to separate cream from milk

2. A Turkey Baster

If you have a smaller creamline, you can use a turkey baster to slurp it off the top (simply follow the same instructions as you would for the ladle). However, my turkey baster skills are rather clumsy, and I’ve ended up spewing stuff all over my kitchen more than once. Therefore, I tend to only trust myself with a ladle…

3. A Gallon-Sized Ice Tea/Lemonade Container

I haven’t personally used this method, but I know many homesteaders swear by it.

Simply pour the fresh milk into a glass ice tea/lemonade dispenser. (I’ve seen them for sale all over the place lately… In both one and two gallon sizes– like this one (aff link)).

Allow the milk to sit for at least 24 hours, then open the spigot at the bottom– the skimmed milk will come out, leaving the creamline floating at the top. Once you are nearing the end of the milk layer, you can capture the cream layer in a separate container.

I haven’t used this idea yet, mostly because my kitchen is tiny and I have limited room for extra “stuff.” But having a spigot of milk in your fridge does sound kinda handy, especially when it does double-duty as a cream separator.

4. A Cream Separator

And last but not least, we have the good ol’ fashioned cream separator.

I’ve seen more than one of these babies for sale on Craigslist, or hanging out in antique shops… Although I’m always tempted by them, I haven’t ever purchased one because:

  • They aren’t exactly cheap…
  • Some of the models are humongous– I don’t have anywhere to put it!
  • I just haven’t found them necessary, especially when my ladle does such a good job.

Now– if you had gallons upon gallons of milk to skim each day, investing in a dedicated cream separator would make sense. Or, if you are trying to capture cream from goat’s milk, a separator is pretty much a necessity. However, for the average homesteader with one or two cows, I just don’t think a separator is a must-have.

So I have my cream… now what?

You lucky duck… Fresh cream is the queen of the homestead, in my opinion. There are so many things you can do with it.

SO. MANY. THINGS.

Here are just a few:

how to separate cream from milk