Archive for the ‘Recipes’ category

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Member’s Cooking Lesson

January 17th, 2014
Mother Connie has a hodge podge of cookbooks and recipes; some of her food notions live in her head...

Mother Connie has a hodge podge of cookbooks and recipes; some of her food notions live in her head…

You all know by now that the mail you send makes Mother Connie’s heart go pitty-pat!  Today  a message from a Club Member came in that really piqued my curiosity!  Here is what Delaine wanted to share with all of us:

“With food-stamp allotments being so small, and being cut all the time, I know fully how every calorie counts and how to count every calorie.  For me, I am in a very uncomfortable situation that most people do not understand, and that is for some of us, hanging onto every pound we have is as difficult or more difficult than losing weight.  Please do not envy us.  It sounds wonderful, but it is more painful to try to gain weight than lose it, as I have done both.  I was obese until I got sick, and now I am on the other side of the scale of having to try to hang onto every pound, so trust me when I tell you I understand the dilemma.
In the meantime, getting as much nutrition from every food stamp penny is my goal, and even when I am off the social network, as I apparently will be over the next few months, I will still only have the same amount of money for food as I currently have in food allotments.  I have many helps and hints both for stretching food stamp money and using ‘food for cleaning.’ “
Delaine goes on to share how she ACCIDENTALLY learned to make syrup on the cheap:  ” It’s just like the pancake syrup that is 1 cup brown sugar to 6 oz of Dr. Pepper, and boiled down to syrup consistency.  Cheap and accidental, because I was not intending to make pancake syrup when I discovered that!”
SIDEBAR:  Mother Connie is no fan of soda pop but a cook’s gotta do what a cook’s gotta do!  Go with what you have on hand!   END SIDEBAR
Delaine goes on to share her preference for comfort food that won’t break the bank:
“1/2 package elbow macaroni

1  can black beans
1  can corn
2  small cans tomato sauce
Taco season mix – equal parts chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and sugar.
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
The trick to this recipe is to brown the macaroni thoroughly.  It should look like “whole wheat” macaroni.  Drain and rinse the beans and corn and add to the macaroni along with 2 cans of tomato sauce and the spices.  Add 2 tomato cans of water, reduce to a simmer and wait for all the water to be absorbed.  You may need to add water if the macaroni is too stiff.
This goes well with a pan of corn bread.”
SIDEBAR:  Mother Connie strongly suggests you add a green salad or plate of raw veggies OR fruit  to this menu, if that’s  available.  END SIDEBAR
We greatly appreciate Delaine’s contribution to our Cooking Class! 
Those who are living on a dime, people who use public assistance for their food budgets and anyone who holds an EBT card for SNAP or WIC needs all the help they can garner.  If you use a food pantry, food commodities or any other form of public assistance you know that it’s a tough row to hoe.  We hope to help in that regard.
If you have not signed up for our little series of tips, we invite you to do so.  And keep those emails coming!  foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com
We remind you, also, that you are dearly loved.
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.

To Can or Not to Can…at Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 10th, 2013
To soak or not to soak?  This age old question has been debated before.  Here we'll take another look to see what we ought to put into that bowl!

To soak or not to soak? This age old question has been debated before. Here we’ll take another look to see what we ought to put into that bowl!

It may not be soup weather as you read this.  IT IS 94* here today!  But soup weather will soon be upon us.  If you have beans on your shelf, you are going to be in the soup…but in a GOOD way!  Enjoy this one, kids!

Those of you who have food commodities sometimes get cans of beans…those of you who think of canned beans as ‘convenience foods’ watch for sales like hawks hunt for  prey!  Those of you who have practiced frugality like an art form may prefer canned beans but they may also like the challenge of soaking dry beans.

To be honest, soaking beans CAN be challenging.  Sure, all you do is throw them into a pot and let them sit and soak.  BUT you also have a house to keep, a job to be on time for-if you are fortunate to HAVE a job, maybe two!-and then there is the small matter of keeping your gang fed on whatever schedule everyone in the house has going! And we have not even mentioned getting everyone to school/work/wherever OR the laundry… It’s enough to drive a person out of their ever lovin’ mind!  I’m sure you can relate.

So I found a soup recipe that calls for 8 cans of beans.  There was a huge debate in Mother Connie’s head about whether to mention it, since the price of canned beans is obscene.  I’m quite sure you could make this with only one type of bean to make it easy on the bean soakers of the world; if you have the where-with-all to get 8 cans, that’s good.  If not, you might make only half a recipe IF that will feed your gang.  Use your own good judgement.  I offer it here for your perusal:

Eight Can Soup with a South of the Border Flair

I do not recall the source…emails abound in the Club House…

1 (15 oz.) can each: drained and rinsed, black beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, sweet corn. *Personally, Mother Connie would not RINSE corn…

1  15.25 oz can chicken, drained *The Kitchen Police will not write you up if you use leftover cooked chicken…

1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken soup

1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce

1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth  *Nobody will die if you use home made broth or even water with a bouillon cube or two.  We are all about saving $$ in the Club

1 packet taco seasoning 

**Mother Connie is DEATH on seasoning packets!  They are full to the top with rubbish the human body does not need to maintain good health!  Surely you have chili powder on hand!  You are most likely to have cumin.  You’ll save a bundle by NOT using packets and your budget with thank you for keeping a few spices on your shelf.  Seriously, kids.  You CAN be healthy on a tight budget.

Toss everything into your favorite soup pot.  Heat through gently but thoroughly, stirring every so once in awhile.

This soup is hearty, tasty, and would pair up quite well with a green salad and corn or tortilla chips.  Mother Connie does not normally recommend chips but there are times when chips are just the thing.  *I already ranted and raved about the seasoning packets; I’ll let up now.  ;)

If you are holding an EBT card from SNAP or WIC, if you are using food commodities or things from a food pantry, food bank, food drop, or any other form of public assistance, we are delighted to be of service to you.  Most everybody finds themselves living on a dime at times… We dearly hope our ideas and recipes help to keep your food costs at bay.  We hold no judgement and we are not about selling you stuff.  We are tickled pink whenever we see new names on our roster (which has been every day, thanks to all our Members’ spreading the good word!) and we love hearing from each of you.

It may not be soup weather as you read this.  *IT IS 94* here today!  But soup weather will soon be upon us.  If you have beans on your shelf, you are going to be in the soup…but in a GOOD way!  Enjoy this, kids!

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.

 

 

 

Hearty Breakfast at Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 30th, 2013
A hearty and heart healthy breakfast is just the thing for everyone in your family as school gets into high gear and summer's heat becomes fall's chill...

A hearty and heart healthy breakfast is just the thing for everyone in your family as school gets into high gear and summer’s heat becomes fall’s chill…

We expect temps today in the high 90s.  The Normanator and I plan to stay close to the A/C and suggest you do the same, drinking plenty of water.  Make sure everyone you love is safe and well hydrated.  The holiday weekend that lays before us will probably include outdoor fun so do take good care!

The heat that plagues us now will soon be the chill we complain about.  Having a good start to busy, chilly days is imperative!  The Imperfect Homemaker offered a nifty recipe some time back; I am sharing it with you now because it is inexpensive, easily and quickly made and it tastes DIVINE.

Maple Pecan Granola

From Kelly at The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

“I love the ease of granola for breakfast. I love the crunchy sweetness. I love that everybody in the family eats it happily without complaining. I love that my older children can serve themselves while I nurse the baby and sip my coffee.

And I love that this recipe is so simple that I can make it from memory in my groggy pre-caffienated state.

This recipe makes enough for our whole family to eat it for breakfast twice if served with yogurt, fresh fruit, and a tiny bit of self restraint!

 In a mixing bowl, combine:

  • 3 cups of old fashioned or “large flake” rolled oats
  • 2 cups of chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds (super-duper good for you and available at health food stores and well stocked grocery stores or online 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

In a small pot combine:

  • In a small pot, combine:
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • a splash of vanilla extract

Heat until the coconut oil has melted.

Pour wet ingredients over the dry, and stir.

Spread granola out on two parchment lined cookie sheets and bake in a 300 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until fragrant and slightly golden brown.

The trick to perfectly cooked granola is to remove it from the oven just before you are convinced it is done, because it will continue to cook a little even after you’ve removed it from the oven.

Cool completely before moving to a tightly sealed glass jar. 

Serve sprinkled on yogurt, alone as a yummy crunchy snack, or in a bowl with milk.”

As you can see in the photo above, Mother Connie is out of pecans, so I will be using walnuts.  Let’s hope the Kitchen Patrol is on another detail while this project is underway.  Also, we are temporarily out of the large flake oatmeal, which we much prefer, so the quick stuff will have to do for now.

If you have never used Chia seeds, you are in for a treat!  They come in black or white.  We prefer the white, as we understand they pack a bigger punch.  Because we are raisin fans, we will use those also.

Thanks to Kelly for her recipe and a peek into her busy family life!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you enjoy the challenge of wrestling with the food budget,  S  T  R  E  T  C  H  I  N  G   every food dollar?  Maybe you are a holder of an EBT card for WIC or SNAP…you might be receiving food from a food drop, food bank, food pantry or food commodities.  Knowing how to cook, understanding what value is in various food items and knowing that you are supported NOT JUDGED is vital to feeding your loved ones well and wisely.

We are just thrilled to see the new faces in the Club House.  This is so gratifying to Mother Connie and the Food Stamps Cooking Club.  We are all in this together, kids, and we are here to help one another.

Above all,  remember that 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.

 

 

 

Summer’s End Quiche at Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 29th, 2013
End of Summer goodness can make for an easy, tasty dish on the cheap!

End of Summer goodness can make for an easy, tasty dish on the cheap!

As sweltering summer days come to an end, we seek fresh ways to use garden goods. It has to be something your gang will enjoy…We hope for quick and easy, we yearn for lots of nourishment and it’s GOTTA BE CHEAP!

A precious friend from Mother Connie’s high school days shared a recipe for something yummy that fills the bill:

Quiche!

Mother Connie is not high on “convenience foods” such as boxed cheese side dishes, potato products or gray mixes. But I do lean hard on frozen veggies. IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT. My top 2 faves: Spinach and Broccoli. This recipe features the latter and will melt in your mouth.

Broccoli Quiche

Start with: 2  cups broccoli, chopped.  Boil gently for about 10 minutes

3/4  cup zucchini, peeled and thinly sliced

3/4  cup yellow summer squash, peeled and thinly sliced

Boil 2 cups Broccoli for ten minutes.

While that’s cooking slice 3/4 cup Zucchini and 3/4 cup Yellow Summer Squash thinly. ***You will not lose points if you only use one variety of squash.  Use whatever you have.

Then grease a deep dish pie pan or casserole and layer squash slices on the bottom.

Drain the broccoli thoroughly and add that to the squash slices.

Top these layers with a sprinkle of red onion-about 1/3 cup.

***Or whatever color onion you have.  You may have to resort to onion powder.  It’s all good; the Kitchen Patrol is probably off duty today anyway.

Top the whole works with 2 cups of cheese.  Colby or Jack are preferred; use whatever you have on hand and know the kids will eat.

If you are green chili aficionados and have a 4 oz can, you can drain those and add that to cover the cheese layer.

Break 6 eggs.

In a blender, combine with 2 cups whole milk, salt and pepper to taste and blend well.

***No blender?  No worries.  Just use an egg beater, whisk, food processor.  Don’t worry; it will all be fine and in 100 years from now you will not care that there was no blender in your kitchen.  

When the eggs are fluffy and light, pour them over the veggies and cheese.

If you wanna be fancy/schmancy you can sprinkle paprika over the top.

Bake at 350 for 45 min. Test with toothpick like a custard.  The quiche will be done when the toothpick comes out clean.

It may need 5 more minutes or so.

Thank you, Sheila!  This is a good dish for busy days.  While the quiche does its thing in the oven, you can throw together a fruit salad and it can double as dessert!  Summer squashes provide wonderful, filling nourishment, as do the eggs.  Best of all, it tastes delicious and will not break the bank!

If your eyes have fallen on this page, you probably know that Food Stamps Cooking Club is dedicated to helping people manage their food budgets, particularly if they happen to be living on a dime, using public assistance or benefiting from generous gardeners!  If you receive food from a food pantry, food drop, food bank or have food commodities we are here to help.  Do you hold an EBT card for SNAP or WIC?  We are here to help you the best way we know how.  We will be offering a fall offline cooking class featuring basic cooking skills because it’s important for you to know how to feed your loved ones as economically  as possible.  We truly mean to offer value to all our Members.

If you choose to join our ranks we have a little series of cooking tips for you as a thank you.  We are not selling stuff.  What a concept, huh?

If you really wanna make Mother Connie’s heart go pitty-pat, you could leave your comment in the comment panel.  YOU ARE LOVED AND APPRECIATED.  YOU MATTER TO US.

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.

Cucumbers and Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 28th, 2013
Cucumbers can shine in a hot weather salad...or NOT!

Cucumbers can shine in a hot weather salad…or NOT!

One of our kids calls these “coonkumbers”…it’s shorthand to refer to them as “cukes”.  The Normanator doesn’t care what you call them; he doesn’t like them.

Yesterday was a rare event in the life of your humble blogger.  We treated ourselves to a double date with former neighbors, which involved a restaurant meal and a baseball game.  It was so great not to have to think about shopping, chopping and presenting a meal.  Better yet-I was not on the clean up committee!

I ordered a chicken fried steak, smothered in creamy white gravy, which was completely tender.  I cut it with my fork, savoring each bite.  I also ordered turnip greens which were drizzled with a lovely vinegar.  Freshly sauteed green beans appeared on the plate, as well.  My third choice was a delicious sounding salad that promised to cool and refresh:  cucumbers with tomatoes and onion.

The salad was a train wreck!  Thumbs down all the way!  I suppose I was expecting the kind of cuke/tomato/onion yumminess that my dear mother always made.  She peeled the cucumbers, chopped the tomatoes and cukes in to bite sized pieces and the onions were minced so as to be the background.  She would save a few rings of onion for garnish.  Then she bathed it all in a solution of vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.  It was always delectable.

What our waitress delivered to the table were HUNKS of cucumber, whole tomatoes that were so pathetic they had NO juice and were wrinkly and unappealing.  The onions?  Oh, my, they were hunks of onion, too!  CHUNKS, none of it was even chopped!  It looked icky and tasted blah.

Complaining about food ordered in a restaurant is not my cup of tea but when asked directly how everything was, I suggested that they rethink their salad or remove it from the menu.  I suspect they might take my idea under advisement, because even the manager got involved in salad conversation…

Here’s how cucumber salad should be prepared, in Mother Connie’s humble opinion:

Summery Cucumber Side Salad

1 medium cucumber, washed, peeled and diced into bite sized pieces

2 medium tomatoes, washed, peeled, chopped

1 small onion, peeled and diced

Place vegetables in a small bowl.  Add a liberal amount of salt and let stand for 15 minutes or so, until there is juice in the bottom of the bowl.

Pour off the juice and salt.  Add enough vinegar and cold water to cover the goods.  Add  a generous amount of salt, pepper and sugar to the mix and allow it to stand in the fridge so it has time to chill and the flavors can marry.  Taste test the solution as you go.

Using rice vinegar or wine vinegar-if you have it-changes  the taste of the brine and promises to delight the palate!  This is refreshing on a hot end-of-summer day and will keep well in the fridge, so you could double or triple the recipe and save yourself some prep time!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you hold an EBT card for WIC or SNAP?  Maybe you just like the challenge of squeezing the food dollars and seeing how frugal you can be!  Are you getting goods from a food pantry, food drop or food commodities?  Maybe you have visited a food bank…in any case, if you use any form of public assistance we are devoted to helping you  S T R E T C H  those food dollars.  We sincerely hope we bring value to you and your loved ones.  We bring no judgement and we are not out to sell you anything.  We have a little series of cooking tips to share if you join the Club and we always hope for your comments and emails to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.

Plans are in the works for an offline cooking class…stay tuned!  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.

 

 

Spinach – Tater Cups at Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 26th, 2013
Not only are these cute and easy to make, they are quickly created AND they are CHEAP!

Not only are these cute and easy to make, they are quickly created AND they are CHEAP!  Besides that, they are so delicious and nutritious!

Mother Connie is a fan of “Kitchen Daily“- partly because they offer quotes that make me smile.  They also have tremendously tasty recipes and I want to share one of those with you.  It seems that Kitchen Daily got this recipe from “May I Have That Recipe”…there is so much information on the web it is mind boggling!

Spinach Potato Nest Bites

From Kitchen Daily and May I Have That Recipe

4 large Yukon Gold potatoes **Guess what?  You are allowed to use whatever potatoes live in your kitchen!
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 ½ tsp garlic powder
2 ½ tsp onion powder
4 tsp vegetable oil
cooking spray **No spray?  No worries; just use veg oil in each cup
4 cup frozen spinach thawed (4 cups frozen yields 2 cups cooked)
SIDEBAR:  Frozen spinach is my ultimate convenience food!  If you only have canned spinach, though, GO FOR IT.  If you have fresh, use that and rejoice!  END SIDEBAR.
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 large eggs

 

  1. Preheat oven at 400F
  2. Grate the potatoes, add ½ tsp of salt, mix well and let them sit in a colander with a bowl under it for 20 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet, saute spinach in olive oil. Season with 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder and ½ tsp salt. Cook until most of the water had evaporated, 6-8 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Squeeze as much water out of the grated potatoes as you can. Season with ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp. onion powder, ½ tsp pepper. Add 4 tsp vegetable oil and mix well.
  5. Generously spray a 12 muffin tin pan with cooking spray.
  6. Arrange grated potatoes into each muffin cup, pressing against the bottom and up the sides.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until they start to brown slightly . Remove from the oven and set aside.
  8. In a medium size bowl, beat eggs, add a pinch of salt and spinach and mix until well combined.
  9. Evenly spoon spinach in each potato nest.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes or until egg is cooked.
  11. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly.
  12. Carefully unmold each potato nest using a butter knife around the edges of the nest.
  13. Makes 12 potato nests

This will be a satisfying side dish; it’s filling and nutritious.  These go together very quickly and little people will LOVE helping!

Food Stamps Cooking Club is dedicated to assisting and supporting people who use public assistance for their food budgets.  There is no judgement or criticism here.  We only want to be of service and offer value to  our Members.  If you join our ranks, you will receive a little series of cooking tips and our undying devotion!

Do you find yourself living on a dime?  Are you linked up to other users of SNAP or WIC or people who have EBT cards for one or the other or both programs?  Maybe you just like the challenge of making your food dollars  s t r e t c h   as far as possible.  Do you receive help from a food bank, food pantry, food commodities or food drop?  YOU are the folks we hope to target.  There is nothing to buy, there is no heavy lifting.  We do hope you’ll leave some love on the comment panel, though.  No pressure there…

The plans for the offline Cooking Class are in the works.  After consulting with some of our Members, it became apparent that we need to stick to basics.  Please stay tuned…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.

 

 

 

Zucchini Pie at the Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 20th, 2013
Here are the fixin's for Zucchini Pie...which very much resembles a pizza!

Here are the fixin’s for Zucchini Pie…which very much resembles a pizza!

The Johnson County Fair and PIE CENTRAL have gone into the history books and although we are dealing with “Fair Lag” just like Jet Lag we have survived quite well.  Now that there is no more Fair Food to tempt us we are getting back to wise and healthy choices!

Somebody mentioned Zucchini Pie and I remembered how yummy I thought this was, so I put one together.  I was so excited that I forgot to snap a photo of the finished product and it was half eaten by the time I thought of it!  But I do have some pictures of the process…

For this pie I cheated and used a commercial pizza roll but you could even use your standard biscuit recipe, all rolled out into one sheet.

ZUCCHINI PIE

1  onion, chopped

2  cups zucchini, peeled and chopped

1  cup mushrooms *This is optional but since this is a meatless creation I felt we needed the protein.

2  carrots, peeled, chopped  *Also optional.  They provide color.

1  can tomatoes, juice and all

Basil to taste

Oregano to taste

Salt and Pepper

Unbaked pizza crust

Yellow mustard-to be spread on the pizza crust before the vegetables are spread over the dough.

2  large eggs, slightly beaten

Shredded cheese of your choice, about 1 1/2 cups

Using a food processor speeds up the chopping…when all the veg has been chopped, saute them in a drizzle of vegetable oil til tender. Season them well with the salt and pepper and the spices. When it is nearly soft, add chopped fresh garlic and let it cook briefly.

SIDEBAR:  If garlic cooks too long or at too high a temp, it gets bitter but if you gently cook it for a short time it gets sweeter.  END SIDEBAR.

While the veggies are cooking, unroll the dough onto a well greased cookie sheet and pinch the edges so there is a “curb” and the vegetables won’t run over onto the cookie sheet.  Spread a very thin coat of yellow mustard over the dough, then spoon the mixture onto the dough evenly.

Beat  the eggs in a bowl and add the cheese to them. Combine gently but thoroughly.   Pour this mixture over all the vegetables onto the dough.  Slide this into a 325* oven for about 13-15 minutes, until the crust is brown and the eggs are set.

First, a coating of yellow mustard will go over the dough and this mixture will be spooned over that.  It smelled sooo good...

First, a coating of yellow mustard will go over the dough and this mixture will be spooned over that. It smelled sooo good…

*You may have wondered about the red pepper shown in the first photo…Mother Connie opted not to use that; the carrots provided the desired color!

This is a most filling dish and if you have any left over it freezes well.

It’s a recipe you can easily adapt to your family’s preferences.  There is no reason why you could not use ground beef or leftover ham bits or even sausage to this.  You can be as creative as you like with no interference from the Kitchen Police!

Using public assistance for your food budget is no picnic.  We GET that.  If you use and EBT card for SNAP or WIC you know precisely what I’m talking about here.  Furthermore, if you are living on a dime, facing the challenges posed by your food budget, you understand completely.  This little corner of the internet is devoted to users of food banks, food drops, food commodities, food pantries and those who are on the receiving end of generous gardeners!  We do hope it is helpful to you because we care deeply about your plight.

Mother Connie is off to see the wizard for the rest of the week.  She will be learning a new body process that promises to raise awareness. It is called BARS – we dunno WHY – and is taught by facilitators for Access Consciousness.   The former body worker in Mother Connie just cannot bid the body-working part of her life goodbye; it’s important to give value to the world and this will be one more way to do that.  Food is an important component to a healthy body; coaxing peoples’ bodies to relinquish pain, paradigms and programs is a most satisfying way to spend our days! It fuels our passion for people!

As ever, we are begging for your comments on our comment panel.  We so appreciate your involvement with us.  Please remember you are dearly loved!

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.

 

 

 

 

Pasta Party at Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 9th, 2013

Oh, the magic that can happen when you cook a spaghetti dinner!

Somehow Friday became “noodle night” in my own head!  The aroma of simmering sauce combined with the relaxation of a work week coming to an end just seems appropriate for a family meal.

These days, where people are living on a dime, scraping by to feed their loved ones after working hard and dragging home, exhausted, even a simple pasta meal can feel daunting.  So why not toss the whole meal into ONE POT and allowing your cook top to do all the heavy lifting?

How about this:  If you put all the ingredients into a big pot and let them hang out and blend as they simmer, the starch from the pasta can leach out and create a luscious sauce.  Here’s how to do it:

ALL IN ONE POT PASTA MEAL

Ingredients:

12  ounces pasta *Whatever lives in your pantry will do.
1  can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid  *Here is a chance to use fresh tomatoes if you have these beauties-red or yellow or even those littler babies will add tremendous flavor!
1  large sweet onion, roughly chopped
4  cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2  teaspoon red pepper flakes
2  teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2  large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2  cups vegetable broth
2  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Method:

Place uncooked pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano‬. Drizzle top with oil.

Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired .

Season to taste with salt and pepper , stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.  Pair this dish with a great big green salad and a simple dessert and you have made something wonderful!  Best of all, it was really easy, with very little clean up!

SIDEBAR:  When it comes to oregano and basil, don’t get hung up on whether to use fresh or dry.  Use what you have.  If you grow herbs, super; if not, Mother Earth will continue to rotate on her axis and the Food Police will never know or careEND SIDEBAR.

Pasta has always been “poor man’s food” but with this dish you can feel as if you are living a little higher on the hog!  It is DEEElish!  Any time you can make a thrifty, filling, satisfying meal you can feel good about yourself.    And you deserve to feel good about yourself!

We omit the details about how tickled we are to welcome new members and how we are here to serve and all that other stuff so we can take some friends to a medical appointment.  We can chat more amongst ourselves when Monday rolls around. Make it a wonderful weekend with people you love, everybody. And please remember that 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.

 

Presto! Pesto! Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 7th, 2013

Presto Pesto 001Mother Connie has assembled some tasty items that can make for fresh, flavorful, nutritious meals that are easy on the budget and great for summer’s heat!

No doubt you have heard of the cookbook, “The Joy of Cooking”…well, I do not have a copy but I understand it is a major wow.  As you can see in the above photo, I do have some other cookbooks and of course I cruise the internet to find new and interesting things to do with food.  I also subscribe to a food magazine.

SIDEBAR:  This subscription is my only splurge and I do it for YOU people so we can wrangle the food budgets together!  END SIDEBAR.

It was a radio program, though, which caught my rapt attention.  The chef was talking about PESTO and my mouth began to water.  I searched through the fridge to see what greens I might use for a pesto of my very own and was thrilled to realize I had spinach on hand. I could just as easily have used broccoli; both could have been combined.   I made the pesto, drizzled it over gluten free penne pasta and enjoyed it so much that I plan to create another as soon as possible!

It’s CHEAP, it’s EASY, it tastes fresh and dreamy and it is loaded with nutrition AND charm!

Here’s the formula for making pesto:

Pick a seed or some type of nut:  Sunflower seeds work with low food budgets, for example.  But almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, or sesame seeds will be wonderful.  They just cost more.

Choose a base:  Pick from Basil, Parsley, Cilantro, Mint, dark leafy greens–all finely chopped.  Fresh herbs if you have them…you know the drill about the Kitchen Kops and how they don’t care…

Decide on seasoning:  Garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, thyme, tarragon, oregano

Be cheesy:  Parmesan *That’s the most affordable choice but there are others if your budget can take the pain.

Finishing touches:  chopped tomatoes, roasted red peppers would be just dandy.

So you toast the seeds or nuts in a dry skillet til lightly brown and fragrant.  Allow them to cool and pulse them in a food processor til finely ground.

Use 3 cups total of your base greens and herbs in any combo that hits your hot button.

Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon total of the seasonings you like best.

Grate 1/2 cup of the cheese you’ll be using.  Add everything to the food processor and pulse to combine.  **There is the jarred cheese used for spaghetti and it is usually on the affordable side.

As the pesto pulses, dribble some oil to incorporate it and to make it smooth.  Stir in the chopped tomatoes at this point, if that’s what you are using.

This makes  about 1 cup of pesto; 1/2 cup is a serving meant to top cooked pasta noodles.  Serve this immediately as a warm dish and stand back for rave reviews from your diners!

Mother Connie put lots of mushrooms in her spinach pesto and the lemon juice that went into the dish really brightened the flavor and made a truly satisfying dish!  The mushrooms helped amp up the protein value, too.  ***And when mushroom pieces are so fine, picky eaters don’t really find anything to complain about!  grin/giggle

We know that many of our Members are living on a dime, working hard to keep body and soul together.  We understand that you are holding EBT cards for WIC and SNAP and you are doing all you know to S T R E T C H those food dollars.  Those of you who visit food banks,  food pantries, have food commodities and hope for the generosity of gardeners in your area have our undying support and admiration.  We hope we are helpful in giving you ideas that you are interested to eat and can afford to have the ingredients to make them.

We love having all the new Members that have joined lately!  We may have to install “room stretchers” to hold us all in when we meet around the Club House table!  grin/giggle  We hope you feel the love we are sending your way.

Connie Baum

MORE Zukes? Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 2nd, 2013

They just keep coming! We heard about a cool, refreshing salad idea that may be perfect for this bounteous crop of zucchini squashes!

Prolific gardeners just keep harvesting the abundant crops of zucchini squashes and this time of year we may have wearied of the breads and stir fry uses of them.  Still, they must be used and Mother Connie is always on the hunt for new ideas for them to take their place at the dinner table!

Zucchinis are such a help to those who use public assistance to fund their food budgets.  If you are a holder of an EBT card for WIC or SNAP or if you get things from a food drop, food pantry, use  food commodities or are simply living on a dime, the chances are good that you have easy access to zucchini at this time of year.

The idea I want to share with you today is best used with small squashes… yellow summer squash or zucchinis will be ideal BUT if all you have are the larger ones it would be good to scoop out the centers and dispose of the seeds.

You may scrub the skin well or peel the little darlings.  The best thing is to USE that skin, for that’s where the enzymes live that help your body to digest and utilize the nutrition it’s getting.  But if the skin is off-putting, just peel away.

Slice the squash VERY VERY THINLY and place into a bowl.  Sprinkle some salt over the veg and then drizzle vegetable oil over it – just enough oil to moisten it nicely.  Let the bowl sit on your kitchen counter for about 20 minutes, giving the salt time to draw out the moisture in the zukes.  You can add pepper, too, just to add a bit of zest.   It’s ready to eat at that point but if you plan to eat it later, it can hang out in your refrigerator.

Now, let’s visit about OIL.  I prefer olive oil for this but you may only have some other type.  Please rest assured that the Kitchen Kops do  not give a hoot about how you choose your oils.  I would caution against the use of corn or canola oil because of genetic modification concerns The GMO foods are extremely unhealthy choices.

SIDEBAR:  You know as well as Mother Connie that when you are making every effort to survive on public assistance, you take what you are offered and you are grateful to have food at all!  We GET that.  END SIDEBAR.

Zuke salad 002

Ta Da! Our salad course for lunch is ready!

Part of the fun of beginning each work day in the Club House is looking to see the new Members who have joined and will get our little series of cooking tips.  We are so happy to have you here; we exist to help you manage your food dollars and we have every intention to be helpful.  That’s only cuz we love you.

If you chose to cruise over to our pals at Living On a Dime, I hope you remembered to leave them some love and mention Mother Connie’s name.  They were excited that we mentioned them in yesterday’s post because they have something special for those who are able to be involved in all the fun they have going on there.

No doubt you have seen the phenomenal and helpful tips from our blogger pal, Carol.  Please be sure to thank her, too, for all her wisdom.  She is a gift to all our Members.

Connie Baum

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