Posts Tagged ‘Cooking Tips’

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: 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: Delaine’s Food Bank Chili

June 9th, 2014
With very few ingredients you can make a tasty, low cost meal!

With very few ingredients you can make a tasty, low cost meal! *Mother Connie is out of tomato products at the moment…

Mother Connie flumps through life, wondering at times if THIS is the path to be taken.  This morning’s mail brought tears to her eyes with a recipe and message from one of our dear Members, Delaine.  She is following HER passion, too.  Delaine took the time to share this pragmatic recipe and dear comments with us:

Food Bank Chili

1-2 cans of beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg of taco seasoning
1 can of tomatoes or tomato paste
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Add the taco seasoning and heat though.  Upgrade to luxury status by adding browned ground meat, or use the canned surplus beef from the pantry, but brown it and use some onions if you have them.
SIDEBAR: Delaine and I have discussed the procurement of spices.  If you have access to food stores selling spices in bulk, you can purchase as little or as much as possible.  That may help some.  END SIDEBAR.
Delaine is a busy girl.  She is teaching people in need to cook nutritious foods.  Here is her comment regarding that effort:
“Easy enough for even the non-cooks to do, and delicious enough to encourage appetite.  It’s awful, but too often, I see folks dependent upon the food banks literally starving because of food boredom.  I encourage them to use their bread supplies as dippers for this, as it makes the bread more interesting.  Getting fresh fruits and vegetables to the food pantry dependent is also a severe challenge.

I was reading your information about how difficult it is for many people to cook and eat.  Much arises from the culture of poverty and homelessness, and much of it is spot on as you said: that learning to cook is fundamentally a family value.  I have taught people who have literally done nothing but microwave prepared packaged semi-food to prepare from fundamental ingredients, and the overwhelming response is ‘I never knew anything this good could be this easy!’ “
She goes on to say this:  ” I depend on your site and others for the work I do in the community.  Tragic also, are those who do not understand the fundamentals of nutrition or who do not know the basic foods: protein, carbohydrates, fats and minerals.  So thanks for your good work, Connie.  You benefit many homeless, and desperate people in Sacramento, CA. “
There you have it, people.  The whole point of having this blog is to help those who depend on public assistance for their food source.  It is not helpful to scold or shame or ignore or complicate the lives of those who have needs: how wonderful that Delaine has dedicated her life to offering others real education, assistance and care!
If you are a user of EBT  cards for SNAP or WIC; if you are living on a dime; if you love being frugal; if you get goods from a food bank, food pantry or generous gardener, we have a passion for helping you.  We trust you will benefit from the little series of cooking tips you will receive by becoming a Member and we look forward to your comments on the comment panel below this post and at our email addy:  foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com

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: 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.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Egg Yolk Video Tutorial

January 13th, 2014

People who are learning to cook will discover that sometimes eggs need to have the yolks separated from the whites.  Here is an entertaining way to accomplish that:

Are YOU learning to cook?  Are you receiving public assistance for your food budget?  Do you find yourself living on a dime?  Do you have an EBT card for WIC or SNAP?  Do you visit a food pantry or receive food commodities?  If your answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’ then you have found a place to belong.  This corner of the internet is dedicated to YOU.  There is nothing to buy and no obligation…how refreshing is THAT?

This video is part of the series we are calling our Cooking Class.  We believe that if you know how to cook you can save all kinds of money.  We know this from our own life experience.

We just love hearing from you…either on the comment panel below this post or by email:  foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.

Please  bear in mind that 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.

 

Processing Tomatoes at Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 9th, 2013
These beauties awaited us when we returned from breakfast one recent summer morning.  The Tomato Fairy had landed right on our picnic table!

These beauties awaited us when we returned from breakfast one recent summer morning. The Tomato Fairy had landed right on our picnic table!

When you are given such a wonderful gift, there’s nothing to do but shift into high gear!  We did that!  We turned these flats full of yummy goodness into these delights:

We got 8 quarts from these; we already had 6; over the weekend we canned 8 more quarts.  The Normanator and I make quite the duo!

We got 8 quarts from these; we already had 6; over the weekend we canned 8 more quarts. The Normanator and Mother Connie make quite the working duo!

Canning tomatoes is not particularly hard work.  It’s sorta messy but that’s what soap and water is for.  We just grabbed cleaning rags and scouring powder and the stove looked good as ever when we finished!

We cut out the stem portion and made a slice in the bottom of each tomato.  They were dipped into boiling water until the skin split.  As they were held under cold water that skin peeled off easily!  The skinned tomatoes went into a large heavy kettle to simmer until there was foam at the top.  That was skimmed off and discarded.  We used a potato masher to crush every tomato.  We were using juicy tomatoes and Romas, which are more firm and not as juicy, so we crushed the whole lot of them.

There was a system that worked well for us:  While we worked to cut and skin these babies, the oven was working full time.  We had a jelly roll pan with water, each pan holding 6 jars filled with an inch or so of water.  These, along with the canning lids, hung out in the oven as we worked.

When it came time to fill the jars, The Normanator skillfully put dipper after dipper into the each jar.  As soon as it was full, I was in charge of adding the salt, topping it off with the lid and securing the ring.  Each jar took its place on a towel on the kitchen table as we listened for the “CLICK!” of the lid, making the sound that it had sealed.

There was only one jar that did not seal.  It was morphed into a lovely spaghetti sauce when I poured it into a heavy skillet, added lots of oregano, basil, pepper, and a “blub” of red wine.

SIDEBAR:  No vino?  You can use 1/2 cup of any ole vinegar + 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Taste test as you go.  *The sugar diminishes the too-tomatoey  flavor of the sauce.  **That’s the purpose of the wine.  END SIDEBAR

Our benefactor told us they have put up over 100 quarts of tomatoes and salsa for the winter!  We are going to have some major good eats at our house this winter, thanks to the Tomato Fairy!  I have a feeling there will be a chili feed or two on the social calendar!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you LOVE to cook?  Do you HATE to cook?  Are you holding an EBT card from SNAP or WIC?  Maybe you have goods from food commodities, a food bank or food drop.  It could be that you just groove on the challenge of stretching your food budgets until you hear George Washington creak…If you are using any form of public assistance, we hope to be of service to you.  You seem to be passing the word, because the membership has SOARED lately.  Maybe that little list of cooking tips is helpful for you.

You most likely have ideas that will help others.  We would love to hear whatever you have to say.  Our most popular  place for ideas is  either on the comment panel or you could send an email to us at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.

Above all, please remember that YOU do matter and we love you with no reservation or judgement.  We only want to help.

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.

Food Storage at Food Stamps Cooking Club

August 8th, 2013
Proper food storage can really  s t r e t c h  your food dollars!

Proper food storage can really s t r e t c h your food dollars!

The Normanator helped Mother Connie fix up a little demonstration about food storage.  Pardon the  extra items on the dining room table; we’ve had a busy morning!  I’m sure you have, too.  grin

The Romaine lettuce you see in the above photo is 11 days from purchase!  It;’s hard to believe that lettuce could keep so well for so long.  The bunch was fresh on the day it was purchased.  It was rinsed and drained and then carefully wrapped in paper toweling.  Then the whole business went into the plastic bag you see there on the table.  It was important to squeeze the air out of the bag so the lettuce could stay cool and not turn brown.  I only take out the leaves I’ll be using and the rest is re-wrapped and put back as I’ve described.

You see a roll of aluminum foil in the photo.  If you bring a bunch of celery home, you can cut off  both ends, rinse thoroughly and use those parts to make veggie broth.

SIDEBAR: To do that, you simply put those end pieces into a saucepan, add water, salt, pepper and any onion pieces you have.  Put a medium heat under that and let it simmer until the celery is soft.  Strain that and save in a jar or refrigerator container.  It’s wise to MARK the date and contents because if it gets shoved to the back of the fridge before you use it, you might wind up with cooked garbage and that won’t save you a dimeEND SIDEBAR

To save the fresh celery ribs, simply shake off the excess moisture and wrap carefully in a kitchen towel or paper toweling.  Wrap aluminum foil around the entire thing, sealing it as you go to keep the oxygen from entering the foil package.  Celery stored in this manner will keep a couple of weeks or longer.  It will not get rubbery, either.

If you have some sort of system for using up leftovers, food storage is not a complicated issue.  For instance, when I make a salad, I will often build more salad than we have appetite to eat.  The leftovers then go into a refrigerator storage container such as the one with the yellow lid shown above, lined with paper towel. The salad goes into the container and is topped off with paper towel.  The dry towels soak up any moisture from the veg and they will not turn brown before the next meal, when they can be slicked up as fresh as ever!

If you cook beans or rice or eggs ahead for use in making lightening fast meals, keep those in a designated area in the fridge so you won’t be growing science experiments!  Make sure you rotate things so they don’t get yucky.  It is perfectly acceptable to discard foods that take up room on a shelf but you know perfectly well your gang will not touch them with a 10 foot pole, let alone EAT them!  The Kitchen Kops will never know and Mother Connie will never tell.

Many years ago, Mother Connie discovered FlyLady…this is a woman who struggled with home care and developed a system of managing house and home and figured out ways to get things done without upsetting your entire life.  One of the things she taught me was to “boogie the fridge” on Wednesdays.  Now, Wednesday is NOT the only day this can be done; you must make this idea work for YOU.  So the notion is that on Wednesday, you look over the fridge, toss what is no good and use whatever you have.  You can take this time to wipe up any spills, freshen the crispers, or take a dish cloth to the door but you are only allowed to spend no longer than 15 minutes for the whole project.  If this idea appeals to you, you might like to try it out.  If you are really excited about learning more of her system you can visit her site:  FlyLady.net.  She has a wealth of information there.

We hope WE, too,  have a wealth of information HERE.  We are tickled pink to see all the new Members who have joined this party!  It is so gratifying to think that we might be helping people and encouraging them in their quest to manage their food dollars with funds from public assistance!

Here’s hoping you can feel our love and concern for you from wherever in the world you are!

*Are you living on a dime?  Do you get food from a food pantry, food bank or food commodities?  Are you holding an EBT  card from SNAP or WIC?  Do you just love the challenge of managing your food dollars?  Are you thrifty by nature?  Do you love to cook?  Do you hate to cook?  In any of the above mentioned cases, we are here to help.  There is nothing to buy but we always hope you come by and leave us some love on the comment panel!

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.

 

 

 

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

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.

 

Beans n Rice; Rice n Beans: Food Stamps Cooking Club

July 31st, 2013

Beans n rice are standard fare for folks on slim food budgets. Here is an interesting take on beans and rice. It’s a summery version…

People who depend on public assistance for their food dollars are all too familiar with the ‘beans n rice/rice n beans’ menu.  As Congressman DeFazio recently learned -the hard way- beans and rice ARE affordable when all you have is an EBT card for SNAP or WIC or you are living on a dime and the end of the month means you are painfully low on grocery money!

Today we have an idea that freshens that concept.  Even though the end of July is upon us, the possibility exists that you have red beans in the house.

SIDEBAR: *Guess what?  It doesn’t MATTER what color they are!  We used garbanzo beans in our taco salad the other day and nobody died.  END SIDEBAR.

So here’s the thing:  I found a yummy sounding summery salad recipe that looks to me as if it’s a gourmet, high end, chi-chi/poo poo dish.  I studied the list of ingredients and thought how I would fit it into the budget and kitchen of the Club House.  I came up with this and I hope you’ll try it.  My mouth is watering and I just finished a hearty breakfast!

Green Beans*Red Rice*Almond Salad

May be served warm or chilled

1  cup cooked rice

1  1/4  cups water

2 pounds fresh green beans, aka ‘haricot verts’ – washed and trimmed  *OK to use 2 cans if that’s what you have from food commodities; the Kitchen Kops will never know.

3  tablespoons vegetable oil

3  tablespoons lemon juice  *No fresh?  Use bottled.  You have Mother Connie’s blessing.

1  tablespoon cider vinegar  *Or whatever is on your shelf.

1  teaspoon sea salt  *Whatever you use at the stove will be fine.

2/3  cup finely chopped almonds, toasted.  *Walnuts, pecans, peanuts- the Food Police truly won’t mind if you use any of these if you are out of almonds!

METHOD:

Combine the rice and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil,  then lower the heat until the liquid is barely bubbly.  Cover and allow it to cook  on low for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat to allow the rice to rest for 5 minutes.  *SHEESH!  Even rice needs a nap in the summertime!!  Fluff the rice, using a fork. You can serve this dish warm or cold so if you plan to serve it warm, cover the rice so as to keep in warm while it waits in the wings.  If you plan to have a cold salad you can allow the rice to  cool to room temp and pop it into the refrigerator til serving time.

Steam the beans, covered tightly, over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until tender and bright green – before they overcook and become brown.

Whisk the oil, lemon juice, vinegar and salt in a large salad bowl.  Add the cooked beans and carefully stir in the dressing to coat. Taste to see what seasonings need to be adjusted and then add the toasted nuts.

This will feed 6 hungry mouths and make for happy tummies!

***If you have not toasted nuts, this will be a wonderful discovery for you.  Simply use a small, dry skillet.  Put the nuts in over medium-low heat, shaking the skillet to keep the nuts moving.  When they are slightly browned and fragrant you will know they are ready to use.  It’s important to avoid scorching.  Cool the nuts before you put them into your dish.  Toasting the nuts really brings out the flavor and improves the texture of your dish.

You are welcome.  I hope this will find its way to your family’s table.

It occurred to me that this salad would pair well with tuna sandwiches and maybe a piece of fresh summer fruit for dessert.  The peaches are in now and utterly glorious.

We are very excited to welcome new Members to the Food Stamps Cooking Club again today!  It is gratifying to think we may be helping you with the never ending quest for keeping body and soul together, despite the use of public assistance to make it happen!  We truly care about your issues around getting and preparing good nutrition for you and yours.  But that’s only because we love you!

Connie Baum

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