Archive for the ‘Cooking’ category

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Garlic Lovers’ Dream

March 2nd, 2015

2015-01-08 1st Phone 001Midnight Pasta is the easiest, tastiest pasta dish you’ll ever make!

Is pasta one of YOUR comfort foods, too?

I’ve always fancied spaghetti, macaroni and any other pasta product ever invented.  Recently I’ve turned to the gluten free varieties and I do believe G-Free is my favorite now.  It never gets mushy as it cooks!  I bring well salted water to a boil, add the pasta, lowering the heat a bit.

SIDEBAR:My favorites are spaghetti or linguine but any pasta will do. END SIDEBAR.

I put a wooden spoon across the cooking pot instead of replacing the lid and let it simmer until the pasta is cooked–20 minutes.

For Midnight Pasta I do as I’ve described and while it bubbles I take a whole head of garlic (If you have a larger crowd around your dinner table, you’d want to add more garlic accordingly).  I peel it and put it into a skillet with a bit of olive or coconut oil.  You’ll need to put it on a low heat and stir it occasionally.  As the garlic cooks and sweetens it softens.  When every bud has become soft, add a ladle or two of the pasta liquid and stir thoroughly.

JUST before you are ready to marry the garlic with the pasta, add 1 to 2 cups of Parmesan cheese to the garlic.  *You may need to ladle more of the liquid from the pasta to melt the cheese.

Drain the pasta, dump the cooked product into a good sized bowl with the garlic mixture and toss it to thoroughly coat the goods.  By this time, the aroma of the garlic has your taste buds crying, “HURRY!  GET THIS TO THE TABLE!  WE ARE HUNGRY!”  grin

A crisp green salad and maybe a slice or two of garlic bread per diner makes a complete feast with lots and lots of flavor for very little money !

As you know, this little corner of the internet is devoted to users of Public Assistance for their food dollars.  We hope we are helping those who have EBT cards from SNAP and WIC  and those who get goods from Food Pantries, Food Commodities and generous gardeners or neighbors who wish to be helpful.  We are not fancy/schmancy; there are no apps and  certainly there is nothing to buy. We mean to HELP your budget, not desecrate it!

**Just because we have ads doesn’t mean you are obligated to spend money!

Because of computer issues we have been conspicuously absent.  While being offline we have found some ideas we cannot wait to share with you!  We’ll want to tell you about the Cooking Class, too!  It was such fun and it’s a pity you could not ALL attend!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Using Our Imagination…

February 4th, 2015

Mother Connie has been plagued with technological issues.  Hence, no photos…(SAD FACE)  But at least everyone at our house is warm and well! (HAPPY FACE)

Plan A was to post pictures of the luscious food that was photographed specifically for the blog.  HOWEVER, Plan B had to be executed because those perfectly gorgeous photos canNOT be accessed. (SAD, TEARY FACE)

SIDEBAR: In my next life I’ll be an IT whiz.  END SIDEBAR

During these cold weather months we have concentrated on oven meals, one pot dishes and hearty soups.  *They all made lovely portraits which I suppose we’ll never lay our eyes on.  They all tasted  wonderful and the left overs were morphed into different and tasty offerings.  That is part of the joy of cooking at home.  Not only do you save money and know precisely how the food is prepared, you get to revel in re-imagined leftovers!

The Normanator begs for chili soup oftener than I care to ‘build’ it. Yesterday, on a shopping trip, we found a package of reasonably priced ground chuck so I snatched it up.  For dinner I browned and seasoned the meat with salt, pepper, a rather stingy amount of chili powder and I added onions.  This made for great filling for tacos.  YUM  We  oohed and aahed between taco bites at dinner!

This morning, as snow fell and obscured our view of the street, I used the meat left from tacos to make a chili soup.  I added chili flakes, fresh green pepper, and home canned tomatoes.  As I looked for beans I was stunned to discover I only had garbanzo beans!  Not suitable, imho, for chili soup!  I spied the jar of lentils.  I pulled out of the freezer a bag of barley and tossed a handful into a skillet to toast and I put the toasted barley and some lentils into the soup mix.  I added some onions.  I spooned in a scant teaspoon of sugar to diminish the tomato’s sting.  It began to bubble and smell like chili.  I tasted it and swooned.  I can hardly wait for lunch time!

No doubt many of you have made similar substitutions.  That’s what you do when you have what you have.  Especially if your pockets are empty and/or it you are in the midst of a blizzard!

Those of you who depend on public assistance for your food dollars know precisely what I mean here.  If you use WIC or SNAP or food commodities or get your eats from a food pantry you have no doubt made plenty of substitutes.  You are to be applauded for your creativity.

After being offline for what feels like forever it was a joy to see that we have so many NEW Members to this club!  Thank you all for joining and we welcome the newcomers with open arms. We hope you’ll have good, solid help from this little part of the internet.  You are welcome to contribute, too.  Send any messages to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  WE LOVE MAIL because we love our Members!

There will be a Cooking Class at SENCA in Tecumseh, Nebraska on February 24, 2015.  There is no cost for the class but we need to know how many will be able to attend.  Please call 402 335 2134 to reserve your spot.  The class will focus on One Pot Meals and we will be talking about seasonings.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Down to the Bone!

December 9th, 2014

If you are popping in here for the very first time, we welcome you with open arms!  If you are a New Member, we are very happy to have you in the Club House!

This little piece of the ‘net is dedicated to those who depend on SNAP or other public assistance for their food dollars.  We are not fancy; we do not have apps and there is nothing to buy.  We just want to help you with your food dollars.  Incidentally, we have faithful Members who just like to  save money and are good at finding bargains!

At the recent Cooking Class we held at our South East Community Action Center (SENCA) one of the tips given was how to make vegetable broth.  We amped up the soups we demonstrated with home made broth which was not only CHEAP but really easy to make. *The taste factor was a WOW!

Today I ‘d like to chat with you about BONE BROTH.  The leftover carcass from your Thanksgiving turkey or any chicken bones, bones left from chops or roasts or any meat can make a tasty and highly nutritious broth for use in soups, gravies,  and stews.  The value of bone broth is the calcium that comes out of the bones and into the broth.  So you get very good tasting broth and a wealth of nutrition.  It would be a pity to toss this into the trash!

SIDEBAR:  There is a LOT of buzz about food waste in the home.  One lady was asked to weigh the waste that came from their dinner plates.  In only 2 days, there was a total of 4# (FOUR POUNDS!) of food scraped into the trash!  People-CHILDREN-all over this country are going to bed hungry and going to school hungry and people are throwing food into the trash at alarming ratesEND SIDEBAR.

So here is how you make bone broth:  Place whatever bones you have into a pot.  Cover the bones with water and season with salt, pepper, onion and/or garlic powder or whatever flavors your gang fancies.  Let it simmer as long as you like.  Taste the broth when you are satisfied it has simmered long enough.  If you like the flavor, it is done.  If you want to change the flavor, add whatever you like–sage, rosemary, maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes can do wonders to improve the flavor of your bone broth.

Strain the broth so you lose the bones and pour the finished product into a canning jar with a lid or covered refrigerator container.  Store in the fridge up to 3 or 4 days.  Make something wonderful with it!

WAIT!  You don’t necessarily need to discard those bones…if you let them dry and whirl them in your food processor you’ll make bone meal.  I know a lady who used to put the powdered bones into gelatin capsules and take them as a food supplement.  *I know.  It’s time consuming.  I don’t have time for it, either, but I wanted you to know about it!

Here is a thought for you to consider: pork bones and chicken bones make good pot mates.  Both are good when seasoned with rosemary or sage.

We love hearing from you!  You can contact us at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Roast Chicken

October 1st, 2014
This is such an easy, low cost dish.  It's tasty enough for guests and EZ on the budget AND the cook!

This is such an easy, low cost dish. It’s tasty enough for guests; tender on the budget AND the cook!  This set of hind quarters is ready to be  dunked in a marvelous marinade and popped into a cozy oven!

 

Roast chicken is so easy and so elegant.  It is such an easy fix, too.  I found a recipe in the food section of our Lincoln Journal Star that struck my fancy; when I served it to The Normanator he approved.  That spurred me to share it.  Besides, Carol, from CTonabudget  said she could not wait to have it.  She and I have been aghast at meat prices so the idea of a new recipe for roast chicken hit our hot buttons!

When I found the recipe I knew I was going to be away from home for a day so I put it all together and kept it, covered, in the fridge.  There was ample time for the flavors to marry.  I won’t torment you with the details of how delicious this was…I will give you the particulars and you can see for yourselves how yummy it can be!

Mother Connie’s Version of Lemony Roast Chicken

1/2  cup olive oil *I did use olive oil but any vegetable oil will be fine

1/2  cup fresh rosemary leaves *No fresh leaves here; poultry seasoning was what I had

1/4  cup fresh squeezed lemon juice *Bottled lemon juice was all I could find in our pantry

10 cloves thinly sliced garlic  *Garlic powder had to do

SIDEBAR:  Did I mention we live in a small town and our shopping choices are limited? The moral of this story is to use what you have and make do.  The flavor of this dish will still make you a star in your own home!  END SIDEBAR.

Salt and pepper to taste

3  1/2# chicken, 8 or 9 pieces…  *I had hind quarters and that was PERFECT.

In a large bowl, combine oil, rosemary, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.  Choose a baking dish that will accommodate your chicken pieces in a single layer.  Brush about 1/4 of the mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.  Arrange the chicken meaty side up over the marinade and cover the meat with the remaining marinade.   Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

When you are ready to cook your chicken, preheat the oven to 475*.  Remove the plastic, turn the pieces over and spoon any excess marinade over each piece.  Roast for 15 minutes.

Remove the whole business from the oven and turn each piece so it is meaty side up.  Return to the oven and roast for an additional 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned.

This would be delicious served with rice or potatoes and a big green salad!  Any leftover pieces are just yummy when served cold, too!

This will serve 4 people.

Are you living on a dime?  Do you have an EBT card for SNAP or WIC? Maybe you have goods from a food pantry or you get food commodities.  Maybe you are spending the last of your Farmers Market coupons.  In any case, this little corner of the internet is dedicated to helping you manage your food dollars.  When you become a Member you will receive a little series of Cooking Tips and we hope you will communicate with us, either on the comment panel here or by email: foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com    There is nothing to buy, no stress or apps or fancy stuff.  Just heartfelt help with your food costs.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Staying the Course!

September 9th, 2014

Seems as if it’s been ages since we’ve met here—I have learned from spine surgery that I am not cut out for being waited on!  The Normanator made a fabulous chief cook and bottle washer but it feels good to be back in the kitchen again!  And I’ve missed you guys…

My first venture into the kitchen led me to choose one of my comfort foods.  I took a picture but the results were dismal.  This dish tasted far better than this photo shows:

ghoulash 001Goulash?  Really?  grin/giggle

I learned to make goulash when I was 10 years old.  My mother had a serious bone fracture with complications.  That’s when I fell in love with all things domestic! Mom directed me from her place on the sofa and that’s how she taught me to cook.  Maybe that’s why I never depended much on recipes?

The Normanator had some ground beef left from something he made for us.  I found the gluten free pasta in the pantry, along with some tomatoes we canned last year.  I browned the meat as the macaroni cooked.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper…that’s when the whole meal turned a corner.

I wanted cumin for its wonderful smoky flavor.  I think the effects of the pain pills were still in my head because when I shook the spice into the meat I suddenly realized I had NOT taken the cumin.  I had grabbed the CURRY!  We sped from German food directly to India and there was no road map!

I thought of the quote “Stay Calm and Carry On” I’ve seen on the ‘net.  So I stayed the course and hoped we would not have to scrap this meal.  *It’s hard to cook with your fingers crossed. GRIN

I added some chopped onion and some frozen corn, hoping to save the dish.  I knew there were eggs in the fridge in case this was the disaster I feared…I added some of the home canned tomatoes and kept on keeping on!   Just in case, I added a pinch of red pepper flakes.

As I plated this new creation I called goulash it smelled divine.  It was different to the taste but not unpleasant.  The Normanator had no complaints and I felt we had scored-having a tasty, very low cost meal, mistakes and all!

Mistakes can happen in any kitchen.  When it happens to you, just roll with it.  Depend on your creativity and whatever sits on your pantry shelf or in the fridge and carry on!

I want to thank all of you who sent your good wishes for a speedy recovery and I want to welcome all the newbies who signed up to be Members and receive the little series of cooking tips!  It is such fun to read your messages and see the new names every day!  We truly  hope we are a contribution to your lives.

If you are using EBT cards from  WIC or SNAP or you have Farmers Market Coupons, this little corner of the internet is dedicated to YOU.  Maybe you have goods from a food pantry or food bank; you might have food commodities.  You may just love squeezing your food nickels til the buffalo bellows!  In any case, we just want to help.  There’s nothing to buy; no fancy apps.  Just ideas to help you feed the people you love when you are on a tight food budget!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Summery Corn Salad

July 22nd, 2014
Here are the fixin's for an easy-breezy cool summer salad!

Here are the fixin’s for an easy-breezy cool summer salad!

 

Summertime and the livin’ is….HOT!  Who wants to hover over a hot stove in late July when the outdoor temps are soaring?  Not I…

We receive a monthly publication called “NEBline” which comes to us from the University of Nebraska extension from Lancaster County.  The most recent issue touted summer salads and they all have ingredients, most of which are available to those who use public assistance!

Here’s what The Normanator and Mother Connie are having for dinner tonight:

CORN SALAD

Yield: 6 servings

2  cups whole kernel corn *Use fresh or frozen, cooked and drained **Use canned if that’s what you have in your pantry.

3/4  cup chopped tomato  *If fresh tomatoes are not available to you, just drain a can of tomatoes and save the juice to use in soups, stews or a “stewed tomato” side dish. Chop the amount you need and store the excess in the fridge.

1/2  cup chopped green pepper

1/2  cup chopped celery

1/4  cup chopped onion

1/4  cup /ranch dressing

In a bowl, combine veggies.  Stir in dressing.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

SIDEBAR: The Normanator thinks salad is not properly prepared unless the dressing is a Nebraska brand, Dorothy Lynch.  I hate to break it to HIM but people really could use whatever dressing is your personal favorite.  END SIDEBAR.

And here is the DELICIOUS finished product with The Normanator's favorite dressing!

And here is the DELICIOUS finished product with The Normanator’s favorite dressing!

Feeding those you love with funds from an EBT card for WIC or SNAP or getting goods from a food pantry or food commodities is never a cinch.  Living on a dime is difficult and stressful,  to be sure.  Since we are passionate about helping those who have no trust fund to pay for groceries we hope this little corner of the ‘net is helpful for you.

If you have not done so, you are welcome to sign up as a Member in order to receive our little series of cooking tips.  And you are equally welcome to send us some love at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com!  We dearly hope you will put a message in the comment panel.  To access that panel, simply click on “comments” at the top and bottom of the blog post.

And please keep yer cool on these hot summer days!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Freezing Zucchini!

July 17th, 2014

The Normanator took command of our trusty  old  Saladmaster machine and after we had peeled a monster zuke, he chopped a batch …

Freezing Zucchini 001

And froze half a dozen bags:

Freezing Zucchini 002

This is not a glamor job nor is it brain surgery but it is wonderful to have this in our freezer!

SIDEBAR:  You don’t need a fancy, high priced machine to chop these babies!  If you have a food processor, that will work.  If you have a box grater, that’s good for this project.  Help your children learn safe methods for peeling the veg, if you feel that’s appropriate, and the older youngsters can CAREFULLY use the box grater with adult supervision.  END SIDEBAR.

Zucchini can be used in so many ways and they all save money!

*Who does not love great ways of  S T R E T C H I N G their food dollars?

We love to add it to stir fry dishes, fresh veggie salads, and for stretching leftover stews or soups.  My favorite use of zucchini, though, is to peel and chop it to cook with potatoes.  When you mash potatoes that have been in the ‘hot tub’ with zucchini, NO ONE will ever know those guys were there!  Add a bit of butter and milk to the mashed beauties and it will look and taste 100% like “smashed” taters!  Another idea:  Add some grated zukes to your spaghetti sauce!

Another great use of zukes is to wash and cut the smaller to medium sized ones in half, LENGTHWISE.  Scoop out the seeds,  leaving a hollow and place them on a greased baking sheet.  You can fill that little opening with pieces  of onion, celery, carrot and drizzle a bit of cooking oil over each little “boat”.  Season them with salt and pepper and garlic, if you have some.  Slide them into a 375* oven until the veg is tender.  When they come out of the oven you can sprinkle a bit of cheese over the tops and let that melt.  That’s really a meal in itself.  Add a few biscuits; serve fruit for dessert and you have a delicious, tummy pleasing menu for those you love best!

For those of you who may be new here, this little corner of the internet is dedicated to those who depend on public assistance for their food dollars.  If you hold an EBT card for SNAP or WIC; if you get goods from a food pantry or use food commodities, we want you to know that we support you in the best way we know how.  We help you cook with the goods you might have on hand.

And to those of you who might be contributors to your local food pantry, might we suggest you pick up a spice or two for your next donation?  You might even consider getting a salt/pepper set to take to your local caring cupboard.  Word is that these items are often overlooked by donors and funds are so tight that there is no room in the food budget for such “luxuries”….it’s something to consider.

Are you living on a dime? If so, you no doubt have picked up a tip or two you might like to share with the other Members.  There is a modest series of cooking tips that you will  receive if you join our numbers.  We think those of you in the trenches might teach Mother Connie a thing or two, along with some of the other Members!  wink/wink  *Don’t be shy; send YOUR tips and tricks to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.

So enjoy the bounty of all those zucchinis and do remember you are loved and appreciated.

 

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Let’s Make Vegetable Broth!

June 13th, 2014
Mother Connie will show you step-by-step how this jar of broth came into being!  *Pity you cannot smell this because the aroma might make your mouth water!

Mother Connie will show you step-by-step how this jar of broth came into being! *What a pity you cannot smell this because the aroma might make your mouth water!

Making broth can save you a TON of money!  I paid $1.29 for a good sized stalk of celery.  I’ll show you exactly how I turned the waste from that stalk into a delicious ingredient for soups, stews, gravies or sauces.

As soon as I bring the groceries home, I run a sink full of cold water and let the vegetables hang out in it to clean them and rinse away any residue of sand or soil that may be clinging to each one.  Since I wanted to make veg broth (and save a ton of $) I placed the whole stalk of celery in the sink thus:

Making veg broth 002

After it had soaked awhile and was clean, I pulled it out, shook the excess moisture off and patted it dry with a kitchen towel.  I then placed it onto my cutting board and chopped off part of the end and some of the tops:

Making veg broth 004

As you Members know, Mother Connie is a big fan of cooking once and eating twice.  While I was making the broth I was also making a meal, for which I needed to use both celery AND carrots.  I scrubbed them within an inch of their pretty orange lives and trimmed the tops and bottoms, which were added to the celery pot.  *Celery and carrots need not be the only guests at the party…you could add onion pieces, chunks of taters, cut off ends of asparagus, pieces of any root vegetable, whatever vegetable strikes your taste buds’ fancy!

Making veg broth 006

Making veg broth 008

There was enough water to cover the celery and carrots and the whole works got a dose of salt and pepper.  It even got a dash of garlic, just for fun.  I set the burner low enough that there was a nice simmer going.  Little bubbles; no hard boil.

SIDEBAR:  If you don’t have extra salt or pepper or you don’t care  for garlic you need not fret.  You can always add the seasonings your gang likes best when you prepare the recipe you’ll use for your brothEND SIDEBAR

Making veg broth 010

After the veg cooked and the broth was full of its flavor  (I was very busy; it stayed on the stove for about  4 hours.)   I strained the whole business into a large bowl.  *I did this in the sink, just in case I spilled or slopped!  *As it happened, I cooked some potatoes so I added the potato water into the mix.  This means LOTS of richness for whatever gets to hang out with the broth as I am cooking in the days to come!

SIDEBAR:  Once upon a time, Mother Connie strained the goodies into the sink WITHOUT THE BOWL.  Maybe you heard the wailing and the gnashing of teeth at the time?  So I am advising you to get that bowl out of the cupboard before you pull the same stunt I did.  O my.  END SIDEBAR

Making veg broth 012

The final product yielded nearly 2 quarts of good, nutritious  broth.  I will use it for soup, most likely, for braising meat and gravy.  Then it will be time to buy more celery and begin again.

Do you use goods from a food drop?  Are you living on a dime?  Do you have things in your pantry from a food bank or food pantry?  Do you use food commodities?  Might you have an EBT card from WIC or SNAP?  Maybe you are just someone who squeezes a nickel until the buffalo bellows and you want to save money on your food budget.  In any case, we are here to support you.  There is nothing to buy, there are no judgements and we hope you have some fun as you hang out here in the Club House!

If this is your first visit, I’m excited to tell you that you can sign up for a little series of cooking tips, just for becoming a Member.  No dues, no meetings, just serious help for those who need to cook frugally!

We hope you will leave us some love on the comment panel.  You are also welcome to send us a message  at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com  **We LOVE mail!  And boy howdy, do we ever love our Members!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Keep Calm and Scramble Eggs!

June 2nd, 2014

 

Eggs make a simple, low cost, tummy filling meal in minutes.  And talk about EASY-DO!

Eggs make a simple, low cost, tummy filling meal in minutes. And talk about EASY-DO!

As you all know this little corner of the internet is dedicated to users of public assistance for their food dollars.  That would include holders of EBT cards for SNAP and WIC as well as those who  visit food pantries, food banks, food drops, and food commodities.

It was my privilege to attend a large conference recently where I met people who work in food pantries.  The concern seems to be  “WHY do users of public assistance not know how to shop wisely and prepare healthy foods at home?”

This is not neuroscience, my friends. MANY of us are living on  a dime…  Here’s the deal:  People who need help with their food dollars are those who grew up poor or became needy from medical circumstances or had bad luck or made choices that put them into financial straits.  Most likely as they were growing up, their caretakers were working two jobs each to keep body and soul together and there was no time or opportunity for the next generation to learn how to shop or cook.  It may have been “catch as catch can” when it came to the business of mealtime.  Maybe they live in places where good food supplies are uncertain and sometimes unavailable.

Enter Mother Connie!  My passion is for people who want to learn to work with the resources they have in order to S T R E T C H those food dollars to get the help they need AND for those same people to feel appreciated and respected and loved as people.  There will be no scolding, no shaming, no judgement in this little part of the world. We just wanna HELP.

Today I want to share with you how EASY it is to scramble the humble egg.  Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein and can star in any menu-breakfast, lunch or dinner.

 

Begin by GENTLY heating a coupla pats o butter or a bit of veggie oil..

Begin by GENTLY heating a coupla pats o butter or a bit of veggie oil..

While your butter or oil warm, choose two eggs for each diner and one for the skillet.  *ALMOST the same as the rule for potatoes:  “one for each face around the table and one for the pot.”   Here are the eggs we fixed for today’s lunch:

Scrambled Eggs 2014 002

Mom always taught me to break each egg into a small bowl before I added it into a batch so a bad egg would not ruin the whole works.  You can see that the small bowl was eliminated here and the reason is that these eggs are farm fresh and we have NEVER found a bad egg in the many eggs we get from this resource!  This big bowl is what they were mixed in before the skillet was warm and ready to receive the goodies!

I used a whisk to mix the eggs gently but thoroughly.

SIDEBAR:  Our kitchen is NOT tricked  out with granite counters, double dishwashers, warming ovens, and islands with cook tops.  I’m guessing neither is YOURS.  So if you have no whisk, keep calm and grab a fork.  *However, I would not recommend a plastic fork grin/giggle.  END SIDEBAR

The next step requires a bit of patience because the cook – or the cook’s assistant – would be wise to keep those eggs moving so they don’t cook in a bunch.  You want scrambled eggs to be smooth and almost creamy.  Just stir them with your whisk or fork until they don’t look shiny any more.  At the beginning you can season them with plain ole salt and pepper:

Scrambled Eggs 2014 007

If you want to add texture to scrambled eggs, a nice addition *if you have the time* is to finely chop some onion and celery and/or peppers into the mix.  Just drop the chopped goods into the eggs as you start the cooking process and they will provide nutrition and crunch.

Ketchup is a good condiment if you don’t prefer plain eggs; salsa is a popular one, as well.  Use whatever you have on hand and enjoy every bite.  If you have some bread for toasting, that is a good partner for eggs.  You might like to have canned peaches for dessert if it’s lunch or dinner. And if you are making eggs for breakfast, applesauce makes a great breakfast starter.

Here’s hoping this helps you immensely.  We also hope you have the time and inclination to add your comment on the comment panel below this post.

Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by and you need to know how TICKLED we are to see all the new members who have hopped on board,  despite the issues we’ve had of late!  Please know you are ALL loved and appreciated.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

 PS/You can contact us at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com , too!

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Little Ole Lentils

May 21st, 2014
Lentils May 14 002

Lentils make a delicious stand-alone entree, work as a filling side dish, or make a wonderful addition to home made soups and stews!

 

Those of us who MUST keep to a budget need to figure out the cheapest way to feed the people we love best.  If you are a user of SNAP or WIC or if you have food from a food pantry or use food commodities this info is not a news flash.

Something I enjoy cooking and eating are little ole lentils.  They are inexpensive to buy, fast and easy to prepare, and they are satisfying when I’m really hungry.  For me, lentils are comfort food.

If you are unfamiliar with lentils you might be interested to know that they come in pretty colors! Depending where you shop you might discover orange, red or yellow lentils.  The most common find will be green and brown.  They all taste pretty much the same and cook the same way but I have discovered that the green or brown do not become so mushy after they are cooked.

Lentils on their own are fine but I prefer to add some sauteed veggies when I prepare them.  I have a favorite cast iron skillet I use to saute vegetables so I like to chop an onion and a rib of celery, and add some carrot shavings for color and texture.  I love cooking lentils in home made vegetable broth.  The proportion I like to use is 1 cup lentils to 2 cups liquid.

SIDEBAR:  Cooking lentils in plain ole tap water will be just fine.  Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember that it is ALL small stuff.  If you are out of carrots or celery, the Kitchen Police will not arrest you.   END SIDEBAR

The beauty of lentils is that they do not need to be soaked.

SIDEBAR:  At a church picnic I went to once there was a huge, LOUD debate which was accompanied by extreme laughter about whether or not to soak beans.  If you ever bring a bean dish to one of our famous First-of-the-Month Fellowship dinners, you WILL be asked if they were soaked or not soaked!  This question will be followed by gales of laughter. **I suppose you would have had to BE there to think this is as funny as I do.  END SIDEBAR.

To cook lentils you  put them into simmering water.  After you add them in, lower the heat so as not to overcook the little darlings.

Since I am cooking for two I just add the cooking liquid (water or broth) to my little skillet, bring it up to a good simmer and add the lentils.  If you have many mouths to feed you will naturally want to use a larger kettle. I prefer to cook lentils without a lid so I can observe the process and stir occasionally.

I make sure there are some bubbles going on as they cook but I do not want them to boil as that will cause them to overcook and be tough.  Incidentally, lentils will be tough if they are old so make sure yours are fresh.

Do the taste test to check the tenderness…they will need to cook about 20 minutes.  When they are as soft as you like you may add some salt and pepper to season them.

SIDEBAR:  Unless you add the salt AT THE END of the cooking process, you will have tough lentils.  You are striving for tender little morsels, not crunchEND SIDEBAR

A classic way to serve lentils is to put a fried egg atop each serving.  Since I happened to have some hard cooked eggs on hand, I sliced them and used them as a garnish.

It’s really quite surprising how filling and delicious this simple meal can be.  Add a simple salad or veggie plate and a fruity dessert and you have a low cost, satisfying meal!  Even if you are living on a dime!

We LOVE LOVE LOVE your comments and your email messages!  Keep them coming at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com .  We sincerely hope you realize what a wonderful contribution each of you Members is to the world!

~Connie Baum

PS/Leftover Lentils?  Add them to your ground meat patties for dollar stretching meals!  Since they tend to be on the dry order, you might like to whirl them in your blender or food processor with broth, water or tomato juice.  You will be delighted with the results!