Archive for the ‘How To’ category

Food Stamps Cooking: SOUP DAY!

February 4th, 2016
This is perfect for National Soup Day!

This would be great for observing National  Soup Day! Some veg, broth, a bit of meat and it’s done! National Soup Day.

Happy National SOUP DAY!  When The Normanator and I learned that today is a special day, we all but cheered!  We LOVE soup and often joke that we would eat it for breakfast if it were available!

There are jillions of soup recipes.  This post is not about recipes; it is about creating something yummy with whatever you find in your kitchen.  And making a soup supper an experience.

If you aim for convenience (and who does not?) may I suggest that you use cans of veggies?  A can of corn, a can of green beans, a can of tomatoes, and if you are really feeling flush and well supplied, you could throw in some meat. Onions and celery make good additions to soup, too, as does cabbage!  *So do leftover vegetables that may be languishing in your refrigerator.  Cooked rice, barley or any other grain will “beef” up your soup…**Think quinoa, wheat berries, macaroni, lentils or beans.

Sometimes meat is unavailable.  Meat is spendy.  If you have a veggie soup and a cheese sandwich, you are fortunate.  If you are really lucky you might even have the fixings for a salad.  I am thinking Peas and Cheese salad…canned peas, whatever cheese you can grate or chop and some onion or pickle with a dab of mayo will really make your soup meal shine.

Another partner for soup could be a carrot salad and this is a great thing to get kids to eat their vegetables.  Finely grate some carrots, toss in some cranberries or raisins, a dab of mayo and make mounds of salad on shredded cabbage or lettuce leaves, using an ice cream scoop.

When I was a kid my mom would make soup by boiling veggies, draining the water, adding whatever veggies–taters, carrots, onions, celery, for example.  Then she would add milk or broth, depending what she had on hand.  She seasoned the food with salt and pepper and we enjoyed the result of her labor.

When I grew up and found the Food Network I learned that sauteing the onions, carrots, taters or whichever vegetable will be in the soup is a nifty trick for adding flavor.  You can use vegetable oil to keep things moist and then build your soup from there.

SIDEBAR:  The suggestion is made to saute the vegetables. This does not mean that if you do NOT saute them that the Kitchen Police will nab you.  Do what works for YOU in your kitchen!  END SIDEBAR.

Go survey your pantry shelves and your fridge.  Determine what is available.  Do you have foods that are green or yellow or orange or white?  Do you have tomatoes?  How about garlic, if your gang fancies it?  You might have onion powder or cumin or chili powder or some other flavor that could be added.  Taste your concoction, add a pinch of flavor and taste it again. Playing with your food in this way makes for full flavor!

After you have decided what you’ll put into your soup, put some effort into setting an inviting table.  Use mugs for the soup instead of bowls for a change.  If you have place mats, that will make a nice touch.  No mats?  How about paper towels or clean hand towels from your bathroom shelf?  Making a nice table, sharing a meal with your loved ones, engaging in meaningful tabletop conversation can shape your children’s lives in wonderful ways.  Little people love to decorate paper table cloths or paper napkins with crayons and art work…

Many people like crackers in their soup. Some people place a slice of bread in the bottom of their bowl and pour the soup over it. You can also use popped corn to top off any soup.  Kids think this is great fun.

Personally, I love to cook.  Not everybody likes to cook, has the time to cook or the  ingredients on hand to make soup or any other meal.  It’s quite possible you never learned to cook for whatever reasons.  Maybe you need a mentor.  Ask a neighbor or relative or friend to take you under their wing and show you the tips that make their kitchen turn out great food.  People love to help one another. Your local Action Center offers cooking classes, too.  In Southeast Nebraska there is no cost for these lessons.  For those of you who are in the Tecumseh, NE area you can call the office for information about the classes:  402 335 2134 and ask for Terri.

This little corner of the internet aims to help those who depend on Public Assistance for their food dollars and the Club House is always open for people who want to learn to cook.  You are welcome to contact us by emailing foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  Oh, how we love mail!

As you probably know, this blog is dedicated to helping people who use Public Assistance for their food dollars.  You may hold an EBT card for WIC or SNAP…you may be using goods from food commodities or a food pantry.  Maybe you attended a food drop or someone gifted you with some foodstuffs.  In any case, our purpose here is to help you stretch your food budget and let you know that someone cares about your situation, whatever it may be.

Happy National Soup Day, kids!  I hope this post has helped you.  Please consider yourself hugged.

Connie Baum 

PS:  Check out Carol’s blog!  She has a soup recipe you’ll love!  *Her blog is snazzier than this one, too! grin

Food Stamps Cooking: Holidays

November 24th, 2015

 

It's a pity you cannot SMELL this luscious soup!

It’s a pity you cannot SMELL this luscious soup!

When our guys come home for any visit they clamor for this soup! It is only cauliflower and onions but they fancy it is a gourmet offering!

It is a thick, flavorful broth that begs for crusty bread or crackers.  We usually have a green salad with it; sometimes it’s a fruit salad.

If cauliflower is not available you can substitute cabbage.  All I do is steam a head of cauliflower…if I were to use cabbage, I’d chop and steam that…and I saute a couple of large onions.  I work in batches to whirl the ingredients  in the food processor.  *You could use a blender, too.  The idea is to make a smooth, creamy soup.  It would be just as tasty if you simply combine the cooked vegetables without blending or processing.  You’ll have a thinner, soupier consistency but the flavor will be the same: GREAT!

To make it creamy I made a gravy (See the video if gravy is a mystery to you.).  I combined everything, added salt and pepper an stirred it.  When I tasted it, I felt that it needed “something” so I put some chicken stock into the mix.  *If you have bullion cubes you can use that with water.  It boosted the flavor and made it a bit thinner.  When I serve this I will sprinkle some parsley over the top of each bowl.  I am blessed to have fresh parsley but I would not hesitate to use dried herbs.

This takes some doing but it is EASY and very economical.  Often you’ll find onions at special prices.  The thing about soup is that when your family gathers for a meal the clean up is minimal.  That leaves more time for card playing, visiting, and looking through photo albums!

If you are a user of WIC or SNAP’s EBT cards you are likely interested to learn how to s t r e t c h those food dollars.  Maybe you have things from a food pantry, food drop or you get food commodities.  In any case, we are dedicated to serving those of you who use Public Assistance for your food dollars.  We only want to help.  We are not selling a thing.  If you want to become a Member you will receive a little series of cooking tips.

When this little  blog was created, Mother Connie was warned that users of Public Assistance would never find it.  Well, I’m here to tell you that users of Public Assistance are always looking for the best ways to help themselves.  I recently had a message from someone who felt she had benefited immensely from the ideas presented here.  This sort of feedback is what keeps Mother Connie searching for ways to keep on keeping on!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind.

Food Stamps Cooking: #HASH!

October 28th, 2015

I’m thinking these ingredients will make a dandy hash for our lunch!

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Whenever possible I like to cook once and eat twice (or more)!  Some time back I browned some ground beef; I labeled and dated it and popped it into the freezer.  Last night I moved it to the fridge to thaw.  I poked around the pantry and found a can of wax beans…thinking of color, I imagined a colorful lunch to delight The Normanator, who is a meat and potatoes kind of guy!

I will combine the famous trilogy: onions/carrots/celery with the beef.  I’ll peel and chop the potatoes. Nothing is easier than a one skillet meal!   A bit of salt and pepper and I’ll have a quick, easy, frugal main course.  The wax beans, heated in a saucepan, will round it out!  YUM.

When you are working *outside the home you arrive at mealtime, tired and hungry.  By combining these simple ingredients you can create a filling and nutritious offering for those you love quick as a wink.  You get bonus points if you can persuade the family to help peel carrots or taters; double bonus points if they will help with the chopping! grin

 

*This is just as true if you are working INSIDE your home, you stay at home mommies n daddies!

 

SIDEBAR: It is enormously helpful if you can spend some time on your day off or in an evening to pre-cut your veggies and keep them covered in water in the fridge.  That will cut down on your prep time when you are ready to cook. END SIDEBAR

If you have EBT cards from SNAP or WIC you are the people to whom we have devoted this corner of the internet.  Do you use  food pantry food?  Are you receiving food commodities or picking up goods from a food drop?  Any of you who depend on public assistance for your food dollars are the ones about whom we are concerned.  We hope to help you eat well and wisely and on a tight budget.

You are welcome to contact us at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  The comment panel on this blog is closed.

Connie Baum

PS/We are excited to announce that there will be a Cooking Class at SENCA in Tecumseh, NE on November 4!  There is no cost but to save your place at the table you need to call 402 335 2134 and let Terri know you are planning to come learn about SALADS!

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. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind.

Food Stamps Cooking in the Clubhouse

October 23rd, 2015

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This is Nikki, a young mother who came to the Clubhouse to cook!  She copied Mother Connie’s favorite spaghetti sauce recipe so she can use some of the tomatoes she canned from her garden!

It was thrilling to have Nikki ask to come and cook with Mother Connie!  She had some end of the garden goodies; I had some pantry items.  We decided to make soup, talk about cooking and food and hang out together!  Her husband brought their children when it was time to eat and another family of four joined us for the party!

Before Nikki arrived I assembled a few items to incorporate into our soup:

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Not sure what Nikki would bring, I thought we could begin with the famous onion/carrot/celery threesome and these items.

I drizzled a bit of oil into a large pot and added the goodies to soften them and add savor to the soup…

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As these veggies sauteed I added a bit of salt and pepper.  When Nikki arrived, we added her eggplant, potatoes, more carrots, and some canned tomatoes.  We also used a spoonful or so of tomato paste and just a touch of sugar (to cut the tomato a tad).   We had LOTS of broth and we added a bit of water, and  some precooked quinoa.  There was frozen corn and frozen peas to add for flavor, nutrition and color. Nikki had dehydrated some kale so those flakes were sprinkled in to add color, flavor and nourishment.  Vegetable broth was added to give dimension to the flavor profile and add volume.  We talked about how we could have used cabbage or noodles or other vegetable combinations. We added some basil to the soup just before it was served. YUM YUM YUM

Since Nikki and her family are vegetarian we talked about all the ways there are to get complete protein.  She is well aware of how important optimum nutrition is and we swapped ideas about what to cook and how to make various dishes or adapt them.

We also made a ginormous salad (which of course we forgot to photograph!).  We began by shredding dark greens.  We added tender, sweet butter lettuce pieces we tore. Then we layered kidney beans, cranberries, quinoa, almond slivers, Napa cabbage, broccoli and tossed everything together.  Shame on Mother Connie for not capturing the beauty of the greens on camera!

We laid everything out on the table and served the food buffet style from the stove.  One of our little guests, Ava, who is 10, brought a loaf of soda bread to share THAT SHE HAD BAKED ALL BY HERSELF!  It was tasty and crusty and made a fine partner for the loaf of sourdough bread that Nikki brought to share!

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I think the littlest guests had fun:

IMG_20151021_185628550Jack, Eli, Ava and Lucy had the kitchen to themselves!

The afternoon and evening was more of a party than a cooking class!  It made my heart go pitter-patter.  I was as happy as a pig in mud! 

If you have garden goodies left you are no doubt fixing stir fry dishes, soups and canning or freezing things as you have the time. Maybe you use  food from a food pantry or you have food commodities.  If you have an EBT card from SNAP or WIC it’s likely you have created home made soups and such like.  Maybe you have played with the seasonings to suit your family’s fancy.  In any case this little corner of the internet is devoted to those of you who struggle mightily with  your food budget.  We hope to help you stretch the food dollars and eat as well and wisely as you possibly can.  If you have joined our ranks and are receiving the little series of cooking tips we offer, we dearly hope you find them helpful.

Our comment panel is closed but you are always invited to send your thoughts to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com

Connie Baum

PS/ SENCA will be offering another cooking class in Tecumseh, Nebraska in November; details will be forthcoming.  There will be no cost but interested people can reserve a spot at the table by calling 402 335 2134.  Ask for Terri.

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. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind

Food Stamps Cooking: TOMATOES!

October 14th, 2015

 

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The Tomato Fairy has been very kind to us!

The tomato season is winding down…far too fast for this Nebraska girl.  Oh, how we love the plump, juicy beauties during tomato season!  We have been fortunate to be the recipients of  OPG…other people’s gardens.  We made short shrift of every tomato that crossed our threshold!

The lovelies you see here  were prepared very simply.  I washed them, dropped them into a pot of boiling water til the skins popped.  Then I peeled them carefully and quartered them.  The juice just RAN!  After they were snuggled in the bowl I sprinkled some basil over the whole bunch.

SIDEBAR: Dry basil will work just fine if that’s what you have.  I was fortunate to have frozen basil, which is essentially fresh.  Fresh herbs add a brightness that enhances the flavor of the tomatoes.  Whenever you have freshly grown basil, simply put some in each cup of an ice cube tray, add a touch of water to each cup and freeze as if they were simply ice cubes.  When you need a touch of brightness for your spaghetti sauce or other dishes, simply pull out what you need and use as if it were freshly cut!  END SIDEBAR.

These tomatoes were salted a wee bit, peppered liberally, and just a ‘scosh’ of sugar got sprinkled over  the whole works.  ‘Scosh’ is a technical cooking term my dad made up.  It means ‘just a little bit’…grin.  I also dribbled a teeny tiny bit of olive oil over the tomatoes so they’d be more ‘dressed’…can’t serve naked tomatoes, after all.  giggle.

If you have canned whole tomatoes, which can be found in food pantry bundles or food commodities you can season those just as I have described.  Tomatoes is one of those foods that helps keep the food budget intact because tomatoes can be used in a variety of ways.

Do you have an EBT card for WIC or SNAP?  Do you find yourselves living on a dime?  Are you watching your food dollars like a hawk because you receive public assistance?  Or, maybe you just enjoy the ‘game’ of being frugal.  In any case, this little piece of the internet is dedicated to those of you who may not be gourmet cooks but you are feeding your family on a shoestring budget.  We GET it.  We want to help.

If you have signed up to be a Member of this bunch, we welcome you warmly to the Club House.  If you are receiving the little cooking tips we send along we hope you find them helpful.  We love hearing from our members 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. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind.

 

 

 

 

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Tomatoes!

August 26th, 2015

**A series of unfortunate technical issues prevents Mother Connie from posting photos.  Unless the Blog Fairies come to the aid of the cause, that’s the status of pictures.  Alas.

Now let’s talk about tomatoes.

Nebraska tomatoes are famous for their rich red color and sweet, juicy meat.  Slicers find their way to BLT sammies and we who live in Nebraska seem never to tire of that offering.

There are so many other ways to enjoy this fruit.  I remember that when I was a child my mother used her home canned tomatoes to make what she called “Stewed Tomatoes”.    Some people think of stewed tomatoes as having herbs cooked into them and maybe some end-of-the-garden goodies included.

Mom’s dish was simply tomatoes and bread.  She would leave slices of home made bread on the counter at night, covered with a clean tea towel.  For lunch the next day, she would cut the bread into squares and add the cubes into a pan full of her canned tomatoes, juice and all.  She would add salt and pepper and a generous spoonful of sugar.  When they were warm she would spoon helpings of the red sweetness onto our plates, along with whatever else was on the menu.

One of the things we saw on many lunch or dinner plates over the years were ground beef patties, salmon patties or crisp bacon.  It makes my mouth water now, just to think of those meals!

At this time of year when the tomatoes are slowing down their production one good idea for using them is to include them with other veggies to make “Ratatouie”.  I dunno if that is French for “last of the veggies” or what it means, but by washing, peeling and chopping squashes, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, or anything that is still giving life you can make a terrific meal.  Toss the whole business into a crock pot and let the appliance do your work.  Season the goodness with garlic, onion powder, a pinch of chili powder or whatever seasonings your family clamors to have and you have the makings of a great meal.  If you toast a bit of barley to add to the mix and a few beans (canned are the most convenient and least cost effective) you have complete protein.  A cabbage slaw (if you did not put cabbage into the crock pot) would make a nice side for a nutritious evening meal.  And think how great the house will smell with all that homeyness bubbling in the cooker!

One of the cooking tips I would share with you about tomatoes is this:  To cut the acidity of the tomatoes you might like to add a bit of sugar-not too much-so that the flavor is enhanced.  Sugar seems to brighten the flavor of tomatoes.

And who among us does not love a tomato sammie?  A slice of bread, smeared with  mayo or butter, a slice of red lusciousness, another slice of bread and you have pure luxury in your very own hands!

Does the peeling of tomatoes seem like a bother?  The enzymes are just below the skin but tomato skins can be tough to chew or slice.  Try this:  Using the BACK of your paring knife, use a peeling motion from the stem of the tomato to the bottom, going all the way around the tomato.  Then as you peel that tough skin will pull away from the fruit without “mooshing” it.  You’ll have a pretty, smooth tomato to slice.

Another way to use tomatoes is to cut them into wedges, arrange them on a plate and sprinkle dry sweet basil (if you have fresh basil that’s even better!) and drizzle a bit of French dressing or olive oil over the whole works.  When presented on a platter over a bed of lettuce, this dish looks pretty and even the pickiest children will be more tempted to eat fresh tomatoes.  Remember to use a pinch of sugar over the top, too!

If you use SNAP or WIC to beef up your grocery budget, here’s hoping that these ideas will be helpful for you.  Maybe you depend on a food pantry from time to time or a food drop.  If you have food commodities or garden goods from a generous benefactor this might help you to s t r e t c h your food dollars.  This blog is dedicated to those who depend on Public Assistance.  We are not selling a thing; we just want everyone to feel as valuable as they are and help those who are in need of some food ideas!

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. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind.

 

 

Food Stamps Cooking Club: EOM

July 30th, 2015

Jeepers Creepers!  It is the End of the Month and the WIC or SNAP funds are  pretty much toast.  The family has to eat…what’s a family to DO?

Making the food budget and the month come out even can be tricky, as you surely have experienced.  I have a couple of ideas that may help you get everybody nourished and not have to go to bed hungry.

There was a time when eggs were a bargain.  Today that is no longer true.  You already know that beans and rice are good values but I’m guessing you’ve had your fill of those.

What about lentils?  Have you tried those?  They cook in about 20 minutes, come in a variety of colors, provide great fiber and protein and they are cheap as anything.

If you have some onion or carrot to jazz lentils up a bit to add color and nutrition, that is a plus.  Just throw some rinsed lentils of whatever color you have into a saucepan, cover them with water, put the lid on the pan and bring them to a boil. When they have reached the boiling point, reduce the heat and let them simmer til they are tender.  I like to saute any veggies I add but you don’t need to do that if you are in a rush.

If you are fortunate to have prunes, raisins, canned fruit of any kind, that makes a nutritious dessert and your tummy will thank you.

Another inexpensive go-to is rice and spinach–or any greens you may have access to…turnip greens, kale, chard or cabbage–even beet tops.  Cook the rice, add the chopped greens at the last moment to let them wither.  Season them with salt, pepper and any other seasonings your gang likes.  If you have the luxury of bread, you might like to toast it to offer some crunch to the menu.

If you have other EOM meals that you are famous for, let us know by sending an email to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com .  WE LOVE MAIL.

We love YOU, too.  People who depend on public assistance for their food dollars are not exactly livin’ the dream.  We understand and just want to help a little.

You who have shared this site with others by joining and spreading the word are really doing your part to help others.  We offer a little  series of cooking tips we hope will give you some concrete help.  It would be more fun if we could hang out in your kitchen or go grocery shopping with you … this seems to be the next best thing.

Summer is quickly drawing to a close and we’ll be talking about cooler weather ideas soon.  Be well, people, and know that you are loved.

Connie Baum

PS/Please visit the website for SENCA if you are a resident of South East Nebraska.  You may find resources there that will be helpful to you and yours. For instance, they are hosting a FREE cooking class tomorrow in Tecumseh, NE.  Their motto is “Helping People; Changing Lives”…it is worth a peek! 

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: These Can’t Be Leftovers!

June 26th, 2015

IMG_20150626_113035736This does not LOOK like a pot of leftovers and it did not taste “left over” either!

Do you remember the spinach dish I prepared yesterday?  It was so delicious!  I dumped the meat we did not eat in with the spinach and put it away in the refrigerator.  It sat there all night, marrying all the flavors and getting even yummier.

For lunch today I sauteed carrots, onions and celery in a bit of coconut oil.  While they cooked I poured in a drizzle of beef broth so that would help finish cooking them.  While all this was warming gently, I heated the pot of creamed spinach and ground beef very slowly.  *I did NOT want it to scorch!

When the veggies were tender I added them to the pot which now became the soup pot!  The fragrance wafted through the house and coaxed The Normanator to the kitchen just to see what was cooking!

Since there were more ingredients today it needed more liquid.  I stirred some corn starch with a little water and poured that into the soup pot.  I added a bit more milk till I liked the consistency and I taste tested for quality assurance.  wink/wink

One more thing went in: about 2 cups of sliced mushrooms!  You can see what a pretty dish this made.  The bright green of the spinach, the sunny-ness of the carrots, and the milky liquid was cheerful and inviting!

We enjoyed soup plates full of this goodness and for dessert we had a small dish of strawberries.  We did not carry on scintillating conversation; we were enjoying our gourmet goodness!

Part of the reason this meal was so satisfying is that fresh ingredients were used.  During the summer months, fresh food is more readily available and here’s hoping you have as much fresh food as you need.  If you have enough to share, that’s even better.

Are you a user of an EBT card for WIC or SNAP?  Do you get food from a food pantry or a food bank?  Maybe you get food commodities.  It could be that you just enjoy being frugal or just getting by because you are living on a dime.  In any case, this little corner of the internet is meant for users of Public Assistance.  We dearly hope you find the information we offer you to be useful.

We have closed the comment panel but you are welcome to leave a comment for us at this address:  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: Curry?

April 27th, 2015

The Normanator and I grew up eating liver and loving it. ONE guy at church brings it once a month; he obviously loves it, too.  But hardly anyone likes it, really.

Before you turn away in disgust, just see how we prepare it at our house:

It is rinsed and we make sure the membrane is cut away from the meat.  That membrane is what makes the meat tough…ugh!  As soon as it is rinsed, each piece is laid out on a clean dishtowel.  *You could use paper toweling, if you have it, but that uses up lots of trees.  Just sayin’…

After it has been patted dry, each slice is dunked into an egg mixture…just eggs, beaten slightly.

Next it is drawn through seasoned flour and the flour is seasoned liberally with salt, pepper and curry powder.  Any excess is gently shaken away.

These pieces are set aside on a platter while 2 or 3 onions are peeled and sliced.  Those go into  a bit of oil in a cold oven-worthy skillet or baking pan.  The meat is layered over the onions, a cover is set and the whole thing goes into a COLD oven.  The oven is set at *350 for about 45 minutes to an hour.  That’s when it’s safe to peek into the oven to check the doneness of the meat with a fork.  If the meat is tender and nicely browned and the onions are clear, with juice in the bottom of the pan, your food is ready to serve. If you want the meat to cook longer, just leave it in the oven til it looks the way you like it.

We like to serve this with spinach.  Sometimes I cream it.  If I do this, mashed potatoes are added to the menu, so the creamed veg tops the potatoes like gravy.  Other times we season the spinach with salt and pepper and a few drops of rice vinegar. *Any vinegar will do.  Spinach is beyond delicious when a pinch of nutmeg is added just before it’s served.  Nutmeg can be added to the creamed version; but adding vinegar to that is inadvisable.

This blog is dedicated to users of Public Assistance for their food dollars.  Food budgets that are strengthened by EBT cards and WIC need all the help available.  So do those budgets dependent on food commodities or food drops or food pantries.  We hope our target audience finds help from our offerings.

There is a place in the upper right hand corner for people who might like to get a series of cooking tips.  Just click the button and you are instantly a Member of the Food Stamps Cooking Club!  We cherish each member and value your thoughts and opinions.  If you have ideas to share you are welcome to send us a messsage:

foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com

There is nothing to buy; no fancy apps.  Just common sense ideas for frugal food prep!  With a bit of humor, served on the side.

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: Turban Squash Soup

October 31st, 2014

Phone pix 2014 Oct 001Turban squash soup is easy, tasty and CHEAP!

Autumn seems to scream, “SOUP!  FIX THE FAMILY SOME SOUP!”

Of course you could pick up a can of soup somewhere but soup from scratch, seasoned to your specific preference is so delicious.  Squash soup is particularly filling, nutritious and easy to prepare!

Turban squash came to my attention when I went through my “Macrobiotic Phase” … I had never seen one of these beauties before and was fascinated by their unusual color and shape.  Turban squash are very dense and difficult to cut but once you’ve managed to open them up it is a breeze to oil the exposed flesh and place them on a baking sheet, flesh side down.  I roasted two of these babies in the oven for about an hour and a half at 325*.  Ovens vary…ours runs hot so you can see if 350* is good for YOUR oven.  Adjust the temperature accordingly.

As the roasting process went on I chopped a huge leek into rings, soaked them in a bowl full of cold water.  I rinsed them and cut the rings into quarters.  I sauteed these with a bit of veg oil until they were soft, adding salt and pepper.

When the squash came out of the oven, I scooped out the seeds.  Some folks like to roast those with a bit of salt for a snack.  Those are not popular at our house so I disposed of them, as I did with the outer shell.

The dark yellow-orange flesh of the squash went into the food processor, as did the sauteed leeks.

SIDEBAR No food processor?  Not to worry.  A potato masher works quite well.  The job will go faster if you add a bit of hot water and/or broth to your soup pot as you mash.  The idea is to break up the stringy pulp that remains so your soup will be smooth. END SIDEBAR.

From the food processor the squash and leeks went into the soup pot,  along with enough chicken broth to cover everything.  You could use vegetable broth, as well.  It’s a matter of using whatever you have.  After tasting this mixture I added a bit more salt and ONE TABLESPOON of brown sugar.  That was the magic bullet!

To make a thicker soup I added 1 tablespoon of corn starch.  That didn’t quite DO it for me, so I put in some leftover mashed potatoes that were just sitting in the fridge, waiting to be of service.  When I was satisfied that the soup was thick enough I called it quits. I wanted this to be smooth and creamy so I added milk until it had the consistency and color that pleased me.  You might prefer a thinner soup…it’s all about what YOU like.

As the soup gently simmered I taste tested it again.  It needed just a little something/something so I added a tiny bit of thyme.  I thought it was yummy but to make sure, I offered a spoonful to our house guest, who raved that it was “BRILLIANT!”.  Before I served the soup, I sprinkled some dried parsley into the pot to add some color.

SIDEBAR:  Had it been available, fresh parsley would have been ideal.  I dunno about YOU but we don’t have the luxury of fresh herbs so we lean on the dried versions.  END SIDEBAR.

We had half a dozen lunch guests on the day this was served.  Each of them has far more experience in the kitchen than I.  Everyone complimented the cook on the soup so I think that qualifies me to announce that Turban Squash Soup was a huge hit!

*I should have made a double batch!  It would be easy to do and that way there could be another meal, waiting in the freezer!

Changing the subject abruptly, I want to let you know that there will be a cooking class for users of EBT cards from WIC,  food pantry users, and those who have food commodities!  It will be held on Friday, November 14 at 1:30 PM at the SENCA office in Tecumseh,  Nebraska.  If you are in the area and wish to participate, just call the SENCA office to let them know you’ll be there.  There is NO CHARGE for this class but we need to count noses so we’ll have enough food for the attendees! I plan to show how to use things from your food bundles that are easy, cheap and tasty!

Connie Baum

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