Posts Tagged ‘cooking with potatoes’

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.

 

 

 

Picnic Time at Food Stamps Cooking Club

July 17th, 2013

Picnic tables all over the place are begging to be laden with food! You can picnic on a budget, honestly you can!

Do you ever wonder what to take to a picnic, especially if you are dependent on SNAP or WIC funds for your food budget?  Here is an idea that may hit you like a brick and your family is sure to enjoy it.

I have a potato salad recipe that’s great for the great outdoors but please be sure to make sure it’s well chilled and kept as cold as possible as you get to your destination.  Wrapped in newspaper and surrounded by ice cubes or chunks in a cooler, it should travel  nicely.  Food safety is paramount, as this recipe does contain eggs.

Picnic Friendly Tater Salad

1 cup each of the following:

Potatoes, cooked and cubed *Peel them or scrub them; your choice

Smoked ham, cubed **If you have it on hand; chicken will work, too

Hard cooked eggs, peeled and chopped

Fresh apple, cubed

Cucumber, peeled and chopped *No cuke? Zucchinis will stand in…

Onion, chopped

Vegetable oil to dress

Salt and Pepper to taste

***

You could fancy it up if you have some paprika in your spice collection; you can sprinkle a light coating over the top of your dish.

You don’t have to tote it to a picnic to enjoy this salad as a main dish.  It will be perfectly acceptable to put it onto you lunch table or add it to your dinner menu!

This will pair very well with greens:  lettuce with tomato or green beans or asparagus.  What’s in your kitchen?  Use your imagination and make summer cookery simple as well as thrifty!

Are you new to the Food Stamps Cooking Club?  If you have already signed up for our series of cooking tips, we want to welcome you with open arms.

If you use public assistance for your food budget or if you are just frugal by nature or are living on a dime, we cater to you and your special needs.  We welcome your comments, suggestions and your emails:  foodstampscookingclub@google.com  !  We appreciate your situation and just want to help any way we are able.

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

 

 

Lili Inspires Post at Food Stamps Cooking Club

November 13th, 2012

Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins!
Wherever there are pumpkins, there is a wonderful SOUP!

You may have noted that your “Fearless Leader” has vacated the Club House…Yes, the Cooking Class took all I had.  I guess it must have been the cleaning that led up to the big event!  GRIN  Well, I had blog posts living in my head, but I was so wound up in living my bliss that blogging just did not happen.

It isn’t that I was lying in bed, eating bon bons and reading trashy novels.  No, no.  I have been working on my Spanish, learning how to knit-make that learning how NOT to knit-and I’ve written letters, listened to music and danced like a teen aged kid.  I have been using a mini-trampoline since we gave up the paper route and I have been cooking and doing laundry.  Nothing of note and yet it has all been deeply satisfying.  I feel productive, despite the lack of posting here.

There are a couple of things that brought Mother Connie back TODAY.  First, Lili sent a blog post of her own that made me sit up and notice, so I begged her for permission to share it.  The other thing is that one of my granddaughters posted something on Facebook that had to do with recipients of SNAP or WIC and how they are so harshly judged AND how wrong she thinks that is. 

Judgmental attitudes such as these are the reasons why this blog exists.  So here goes and oh, how I hope this helps you and yours:

 

LILI’S PUMPKIN SOUP   -   with our sincere gratitude

5 to 6 servings

1  tablespoon any cooking oil

1  large onion, sliced thin, rough chopped

1  clove garlic, minced

Flesh of one roasted 2# sugar pie pumpkin OR 2 cups canned pumpkin puree

6  cups water and/or stock *Chicken stock preferred, but ham stock’s nice and water’s fine.

Dash red pepper flakes

1  large russet potato, peeled & diced into 1/2″ pieces

1  cup shredded cooked chicken breast

1   cup diced ham

pinch nutmeg

salt to taste  *Depends on whether your stock is already salted.

1 shallot, finely minced

Heat a large stockpot of medium. Add oil and onion.  Saute onion til golden, add minced garlic and cook 1 minute

Add pumpkin, 4 cups of stock and/or water and the red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

After cooking — if your pumpkin is not pureed *I roasted mine in he morning, scraped the flesh from the skin upon cooking the soup* then mash well with a potato masher.

Add diced potato and 2 remaining cups of stock or water.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.   Mash or blend the potatoes into the soup.

Add chicken, ham, nutmeg, and salt to taste.  Heat until the meats are warm.  Stir in minced shallots and serve.

Lilli adds some cooking tips:

I’ve made this with just chicken, just ham, no meat whatsoever and with both meats.  The consensus is that it is best tasting with both meats.  *MOTHER CONNIE HERE:  People who  use SNAP don’t always HAVE meat!   Lili continues:  I prefer using a fresh pumpkin over canned.  Home cooked pumpkin has a prettier color and lighter flavor than canned.  for liquid, I prefer half chicken stock and half water.  This soup is also delicious when made with squash in lieu of the pumpkin.  Butternut squash is my favorite.  One other bonus:  the leftovers freeze very well.  I freeze soup in single size portions, for my weekday lunches.

She continues:

If you like this recipe, my name is Lili and I’ve been happy to provide it for you.  Please leave a comment.  If you did NOT like this recipe, my name is …um, er…BOB.  And I think the comments are malfunctioning today. Yeah.  That’s it.  The comments are not working so don’t bother leaving one if you don’t like it!”

MOTHER CONNIE AGAIN:

Now you understand, dear Members, why I was moved and motivated to come to the computer and blog once again.  I’ll make every effort to be a better advocate for you from now on!   Thank you so much, Lili!  I hope they leave some love for you and leave “BOB” alone!  grin/giggle

If you Members choose to  leave some love on the comments section here, I will see so Lili gets your message.  Now let’s get some soup going!

 

Connie Baum

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

PS/The membership is growing!  Each of you is dear to Mother Connie’s heart and it is her sincere hope that this blog, along with our little series of tips is helpful to you and yours!  Thanks to all of you!

The Forgiving Cabbage and Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 13th, 2012

Cabbage is easy on the budget, versatile, and very forgiving

One of the vegetables I lean hard on all year long is the humble cabbage.  Sometimes I choose the ones with “pointy” tops, but I really prefer the round ones.  They tend to be sweeter.  Red cabbage is gorgeous when used as raw; it will bleed if cooked.  The more color a vegetable has, the more goodness it contains.

Cabbage can be a nutritious snack when you tear away a leaf, roll it and eat it as if it were a carrot stick.  If it waits patiently in your crisper while you choose other veggies to prepare it does not wither the way head lettuce will.  It can be a great companion for ham or corned beef; it can be sauteed with onions to be a complete side dish on its own, or you can create kraut or salad from it.  No matter how you use it, you will nourish your loved ones and use your food budget dollars wisely.

It’s common for keepers of the kitchen to routinely prepare certain things in the same way.  We all “suffer” from the human condition and it’s really easy to get in a rut.  Take cole slaw, for example.  We probably make it the way our mothers did.  I found a different way to make slaw and it is really, really yummy!

Cole Slaw with Creamy Lime Dressing

DRESSING:

1  clove of garlic, crushed

1/2  cup mayo

3   tablespoons fresh lime juice ***The Kitchen Police will not arrest you if you use bottled juice.

2   tablespoons sour cream

1   teaspoon white sugar

1   teaspoon hot sauce

3/4   teaspoon salt

SLAW:

14   ounces of pre-packaged cabbage mix  ***For maximum savings you would do well to buy a cabbage and shred it yourself.

4  green onions cut crosswise into sections, then cut lengthwise into thin strips  *Do not stress if green onions are unavailable;                                use what you have

1/2  cup diced red bell pepper  *Nobody will die if all you have is green pepper!

1/4  cup thawed frozen corn

2  tablespoons packed coarsely chopped basil  *fresh, if you have it.

2  tablespoons packed coarsely chopped cilantro

METHOD:

Prepare the dressing by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl or pitcher.

In a large serving bowl, toss all ingredients to combine well.  Drizzle the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss again to mix well.

Allow this to stand for about 10-15 minutes before serving so as to allow the flavors to marry.

Here’s hoping your gang will love this as much as I suspect they will!

Other ideas for switching up your slaw: Use white -or green- cabbage with red cabbage. Add diced apples, peeling and all, to your cabbage, along with white or regular raisins.  You could also toss in some finely chopped nuts-walnuts or pecans or almonds would be divine and add good nutrition.  Another way to make a change is to add finely chopped prunes.  Oh, pardon me; they call those dried plums these days.  my bad    GRIN  For adding color, you can’t beat the tried and true shredded carrots, pineapple, or parsley.

Cabbage, like all veg, gets sweeter when it is roasted.  You might like to try spraying a baking sheet with a very light coat of oil, scatter the cabbage wedges across the sheet, spray the cabbage very lightly and roast it in an oven set for 325* until it is tender.  It need not sit there alone, you could also scatter slices of well scrubbed,unpeeled, slices of potatoes.  Salt and pepper the whole works and take it to the table, knowing you did not have to work very hard to deliver goodness to your gang!

If you are using food commodities or goods from a food bank or food pantry, this will please your food budgets.  You might simply be like so many these days who are living on a dime.  It might even be that you grew some cabbages in your garden or fell heir to some home grown garden goodies or you just love a bargain because you are frugal by nature.  In any case, this little piece of the internet is designed to help you in any way we can.  We appreciate you; we appreciate your comments and we appreciate your offerings!

The offline Cooking Class is not far away.  October 2 is quickly approaching.  That is the day that French pastry chef Lawrence De Villiers will come to show us the fine points of making crepes!  How lovely it would be if EVERY Club Member could come to the Club House and be a part of the fun.  We hope to make a video that will charm and inform you if you cannot participate in real time!

Just a reminder for those of you who may not know or have neglected to tell your story-the Public Insight Network is eager to hear from you.  There is nothing to buy.  Click here:  Public Insight Network.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  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

Let Them Eat BEEF at Food Stamps Cooking Club!

September 12th, 2012

We know from the mail and past comments, there are a great many of you Club Members who take advantage of every meat sale to get the protein for your family meals in large quantities and stash your goods in your freezer.  It’s a great strategy for saving money and it’s convenient to have a good supply where you can easily access it.

Two Club Members in the same batch of emails wrote to say that they had gangs of family coming but were at a loss as to how to doll up the beef roast they wanted to use.  Well, ALSO IN THE SAME BATCH OF EMAILS, dear April came to the rescue!  Here is April’s way of preparing roast.  BE WARNED:  Your mouth is sure to water when you see what April does with roast beef!

APRIL’S ROAST BEEF  

INGREDIENTS:


  2 tablespoons olive oil

  1 pound beef, cut into cubes

  1 small onion, minced 

  2 garlic cloves, minced

  1 tbsp steak seasoning

  3 cups water

  3 cups apple cider

  1 bag frozen mixed veggies

  4 potatoes, peeled and cubed

  1 tsp cinnamon

  1 tsp ginger

METHOD:

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat with the oil. Add beef and onions and garlic.

Once browned, add water and cider. Next, add steak seasonings. Stir and add potatoes. Bring to a boil reduce heat.  

When potatoes are about 10 minutes from being done, add mixed veggies, cinnamon and ginger.

Thanks a bunch, April.  That apple cider is going to make the kitchen smell like autumn and the spices will give your whole meal a fall flavor.  How would it be to bake some apples with that, just for a nice dessert?  Yummy, I’m thinkin’!

Are you living on a dime?  Do you use public assistance to put food on your table?  Are you an EBT card holder for WIC or SNAP?  I wonder if you get goods from food commodities or a food bank or food pantry?  Maybe you are like many of the Club Members and just enjoy the fun of bargain shopping, coupon clipping and sharing recipes or ideas that have helped you in your kitchens.  If you fall into any of these categories, the Food Stamps Cooking Club salutes you.  We GET how hard it is.

I also wonder if you have contacted the Public Insight Network to tell them about your experiences with public assistance.  They would love to hear from you.  There is nothing to buy.  Just click here:  Public Insight Network.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  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

Potato Pancakes at Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 10th, 2012

Potatoes make wonderful “planned overs”

One of things we do in the Club House is to cook once and eat again and again, morphing left over food into fresh offerings AND saving lots of food dollars in the process.

We had a house guest over the weekend and she and I loved being in the kitchen together, cooking our hearts out.  One of the items on the menu was mashed potatoes.  Cooking in the same pot was a zucchini; the two veggies were whipped together, along with a bit of milk and a pat of butter.  We ate to our hearts’ content–we also had a ginormous vegetable salad, sauteed kale with onions and braised pork chops.

Our guest inquired what would happen to all those leftover taters…Her face lit up when I told her that one thing would be potato pancakes.

Mother Connie is not high on recipes; I like to cook with whatever I have on hand.  SO…I used about a cup or so of the mashed potatoes and I tossed in a medium egg, combining the two until they were rather thin and well mixed.  Then I dribbled a bit of milk and incorporated that.  I sprinkled in a big spoonful of flour and stirred until I thought that would pour well into a skillet.  Then I tossed in a half tablespoon of baking powder.  The trusty iron skillet was heating with a thin coat of oil over the bottom.  As I poured the first big spoon full of mixture into the skillet it sizzled!  Another spoonful and the bowl was empty.   They fried quickly to golden brown goodness!

It was just perfect for the two of us but had I needed more it would only have been a matter of more potatoes and maybe another egg.  I’d have added flour and baking powder just so as to have a batter that poured easily onto the hot skillet.

Since the mashed potatoes were already seasoned, there was no need to add much.  I sprinkled some salt in for the egg but it would not be required.

Potato pancakes are great just ‘naked’ but sour cream is nice, if you happen to have some.  I have made them when I felt moved to sprinkle some parsley flakes over them as they went on to the plates.  You could certainly reheat any leftover gravy to dribble over them.

These potato pancakes went well with a big vegetable salad, covered with Thousand Island dressing, home made, of course.

It’s pretty certain that whatever choice you make about these yummies will not summon any Kitchen Police.

Switching gears and changing subjects quickly–have you heard about the Farm Bill and how that could impact the SNAP program?  It isn’t bad enough, it seems, that people need public assistance to provide meals for their families…our Congress wants to make us all jump through hoops and wait with bated breath for THEIR votes.

If you are one of those who are living on a dime or are dependent, for whatever reason, on SNAP or WIC or if you have food commodities or things from a food bank you can depend that this little blog is NOT beholding to the Big Wigs.  We just want to give people who are doing their best to keep their loved ones healthy on a budget.  We want to give you a hand UP by helping you to s t r e t c h your food dollars.

We do not do this alone.  Oh, my no.  We have PEEPS–Club Members who are loaded with great ideas and they share them with no reservation.  YOU are the fuel to this little engine.  You have POWER, whether you feel it or don’t!  And besides, Mother Connie loves YOU.  If Congress loved you they’d have voted long before now!

Connie Baum

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

PS/Have you heard about our upcoming offline Cooking Class?  OBOY, are we excited!

Summer Salad at Food Stamps Cooking Club

June 27th, 2012

Magnificent Garden Greens: BEANS!

The doorbell rang this morning and when the door was opened, there stood the FOOD FAIRY, big as life!  She had two grocery bags, one in each hand and a big smile on her face!  There was a bag FULL of zucchinis-she must have read about the zukes ‘n curry from the other day?  She also had a generous bag of green beans.   There’s no telling how she knew Mother Connie and The Normanator have been jonesing for fresh green beans.

As great good fortune would have it, there was a delightful offering from The Washington Post that will help us “road test” the green beans.  It’s a little high end so I am adapting it so it will be good for the Club Members:

Green Bean and Tater Salad for Picnics

Vegetable oil for your baking sheet + 2 tablespoons to drizzle over the veg

1#  potatoes,  peeled and sliced on the diagonal

1/2 # green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal

*This diagonal business is just for show; the Kitchen Police will never know if you are not “into” diagonals…

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

coarse salt

black pepper

2  tablespoons of honey

1/4  cup lemon juice 

*I’d use bottled juice cuz fresh lemons are not always available where I shop.  I’ve never had anyone from the Kitchen Police object to this practice.

1/4  cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley

*If I don’t have access to lemons, what are the chances I’ll have parsley?  I do have some in a bottle…Those Kitchen Police should have better things to do than peek into my kitchen!

METHOD:

Apply veg oil generously to a large baking sheet.  Place it into your oven and preheat at 400*.

Combine the potatoes, beans and onion in a big bowl.  Add the 2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper.  Give it a taste test to make sure you like the seasoning.  Toss everything to coat it well.  Spread the mixture out evenly on your preheated baking sheet.  Return the goods to the oven and roast for 35 to 45 minutes or until the veggies are browned nicely.  Stir once in awhile.

When they are well roasted but still warm, dribble the honey and lemon juice over everything.  Run another taste test; add salt and pepper if needed. 

You may serve this as a warm salad at room temp or you may chill it.  If you opt to chill it, do add a bit more seasoning just before serving, because flavors tend to dull in the fridge.

***What a great dish to tote to a picnic or carry-in meal! ~Mother Connie

*The adaptation of the above recipe is offered with Mother Connie’s apologies to Virginia Willis, chef and cookbook author.

If you are sweating bullets because the end of June looms large but your budget’s tight and your cupboard is emptying out faster than tummies are filling this food idea may be just the ticket to help you get by.

You might be one of the many new Club Members we are so happy to welcome to the Club House.  You could be a user of an EBT card for SNAP or WIC…you might even be a user of food commodities, food pantries or you could possibly be one of the army of folks who just need to S T R E T C H their food budgets.  No matter where you sit, we do hope you are getting some concrete help in making healthy meals on a shoestring.

There are a great many blogs out there on the web, most of them are classier than we are.  We are not about glamor; we are into helping people do the best they can with whatever they have.  We offer what we can with love and truth and caring from hearts who understand we are not living in a perfect world.

Speaking of glamor and blogs, Carol, our #1 cheerleader has made a great find on the web:  Creative Savv.  You might want to cruise by there and check out what she has going on.  I find it fascinating how every blog takes on the personality of the blogger.

WE LOVE YOUR COMMENTS, hint/hint.

Connie Baum

PS/Soon there will be news here about business that may trip your trigger, so stay tuned. 

PS#2/Did I mention we LOVE your comments?

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  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.

Dill Pickle Soup for Food Stamps Cooking Club?

January 19th, 2012

It sounds odd, but Dill Pickle Soup is really tasty and satisfying!

After parting company with a tooth recently, all my menu called for was soup.  No problem; soup is one of my comfort foods.  When I was offered Dill Pickle Soup I was intrigued.  Now it is my new favorite soup.  Best of all, it’s easy and quick to make and it is really inexpensive.

Here is the list of ingredients and how I tweaked them:

DILL PICKLE SOUP

2 tablespoons butter or oil

1/2 cup flour

7 cups chicken broth *Make your own broth to save the big bucks; use bouillon + water if you have no broth

1/2 cup very finely chopped dill pickles  *I used the food processor

2 tablespoons dill pickle juice  *add this as  you process the pickles

2 tablespoons + 1 pinch white sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce  *Remember, the Kitchen Police will not arrest you if you do not have this in your pantry!

2 teaspoons minced garlic  *I used garlic powder and nobody died

4 teaspoons onion powder  *I know; it sounds excessive.  It’s perfect.

1 teaspoon curry powder  *Raise your hand if you ever had curry powder on hand…grin…

1 teaspoon dill weed

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2  cups warm milk

Melt the butter in a large soup kettle over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook til it becomes pale and light brown.  May take a coupla minutes.  Whisk in chicken broth until thickened and smooth.  Crank the heat to medium high, add dill pickles, juice and all; add sugar, W. sauce, garlic, onion, dill, curry  and pepper.  Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium LOW and simmer for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in warm milk.  This will serve 4 people.

***Mother Connie prefers a soup that is a bit thicker than this recipe made.  To accommodate this, I used some of the liquid from the soup pot with a spoonful of cornstarch, stirred it well, and added that back into the soup.  I whisked the whole business until it was the soupy consistency we prefer.  I could also have added leftover mashed potatoes or instant potato flakes.

The fun of cooking is the opportunity to be creative.   And devouring what you create!

I did not calculate the cost of this soup but I know it’s way less costly than most soups.  It will go really well with your favorite sandwich and a piece of fruit.

If you are a user of food stamps from the SNAP program; if you utilize food commodities; if you love dill pickles and enjoy being frugal, this will be ideal for you!  Those of you who depend on food pantries will find this recipe useful as well!

Drop us a line about your experience with this creation: foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  Thanks!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  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

Fast Food-Food Stamps Cooking Club Style

May 23rd, 2011

 

Better than resaurant food? YOU CAN BANK ON IT!

Another great gift from Mikemax appeared in our Inbox:

What you do when you don’t have time to cook, or aren’t feeling well, can have a huge impact on your grocery bill. At least 3 of our members TODAY are in exactly that boat.

Mother Connie and Carol M are both recovering from surgery. I have to be gone all day today, come home briefly, and leave again. Reasons like these—not to mention kids’ activities—are a prime reason we often succumb to takeout.

I’m not a fan of takeout. If I’m going to spend for restaurant food, I want to be served and have someone clean up afterward. And it’s expensive. Even a trip through a fast food drive-through will cost more, and take longer, than a steak dinner cooked at home. Which would you rather have?

I’m eating out of the bottom of my freezer this month. That means I’m eating the good stuff and the soup bones…there’s nothing left in between, LOL. Tonight, it’s the good stuff.

This morning I spent 5 minutes prepping a bone-in pork loin roast and figuring out how to set my oven so it will come on at 3:30 p.m. and automatically turn off at 5ish. I scrubbed some potatoes and put them into the oven to bake along with the roast.  I didn’t peel them so they wouldn’t turn black.   At dinnertime, I’ll heat up a canned or frozen veggie-or maybe make a salad, if I’ve got the stuff-and put the bowl of leftover applesauce on the table.

That roast, just under 3 lbs., was $1.98 lb. and cost $5.56. It will produce enough meat for two meals for my family of 3 adults. Dinner tomorrow—an equally busy day–will either be roast pork sandwiches or pork noodles made with Top Ramen, green onions and sliced hard boiled eggs—just like the Chinese restaurants used to make.

When I find a good deal on steak, I buy it and freeze it. Used to be, I could occasionally afford T-bones or rib steak on sale, and I’d keep around a few for nights when I couldn’t, or didn’t want, to cook. Prices have gone so high, I’m now buying boneless top sirloin, when I can find it for $4 lb. or less. With a baked potato and salad it’s cheaper than the dollar menu at the fast food joint. Faster, too…and nobody at my house ever complains about a steak dinner.

Now I’m going to turn this over to YOU. I’m curious what Connie is cooking as she recovers from cataract surgery this week. I already know what Carol fixed last night, because I read her blog, but maybe she will repeat here. She’s down to the use of one hand, and will be for awhile. What do YOU cook when cooking doesn’t seem to be an option? How do you handle nights when you’ve got to take 3 kids to a Little League game and there is no time to eat, let alone cook?

Nights like these can make or break your food budget. Let’s share ideas on how we handle them and help each other stay on track.

PS/You can find directions for the Timed Bake feature on your oven in the instruction book that came with your stove. With mine, I first set the length of time I want to cook, then I set what time I want it to come on, and finally I turn the oven dial to the desired temperature. Also, with a big piece of meat—like the pork roast—you can partially thaw it and let it finish thawing before the oven comes on. I’ve put completely frozen meatloaves in the oven in the morning and let them thaw until late afternoon, when the oven came on.  Much faster and safer, too.

~Mikemax

Good GRIEF, Mikemax!  You’ve got me drooling!  What have I been cooking?  Actually, when you live in a small town and your life has “issues”  food arrives at your doorstep!  *EG: instead of having eye surgery you wind up in an ER, making every effort to avoid having a stroke.  Or, if you have a paper route and your wife is in the hospital you have TEAMS of people delivering those papers.

So cooking has not been much of a priority for the past number of days.  When Mother Connie is back on top of her game, there will be recipes posted from the goodies that have been bestowed upon us!  We are so blessed.

We  also have been blessed recently to have an influx of  new Club Members, as well!  The newbies have found our opt in box in the upper right hand corner of the blog and the website so they have offered up their email addies in order to receive our series of cooking tips.  YAY!  And we have received lovely messages at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  YIPPEE!

If you know of anyone who avails themselves of the EBT card supplied by SNAP or WIC or if you know folks who use Angel Food Ministries foodstuffs or food commodities or have things from a Food Pantry or use Farmers Market Coupons, feel free to share this blog with them.  They may have great ideas none of us has thought of yet and they might share!  Hector Pector!  They might just be like Mikemax and Carol and me-FRUGAL to the core!  They will love what we are doing here.

Let’s all cheer for Mikemax:  All together, now, boys n girls:  HIP HIP HOORAY for MIKEMAX!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  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: Chicken Fried Made EZ?

January 6th, 2011


Maxine knows the way to a man's heart...

Whenever I see a fresh message from Maxine come to my In Box I get very excited!  You’ll see why as you read on:

“Whoever invented the phrase, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was definitely onto something!

You’ve probably noticed that in the past few posts, I’ve really been pushing cooking from scratch. And I normally refrain from giving marital advice—I’ve been married for almost 43 years and I’m still learning, LOL.

However, this is when the two come together! Because the way to a man’s heart IS through his stomach, and there’s no faster way to get there than chicken fried-country fried-steak. Let’s make that big lug happy tonight! It’s easier than you think. When the meat’s on sale, it’s within a food stamp budget.

I learned to make this from my in-laws. I’ve shared before that they used to run restaurants. Think small-town café, with big breakfasts, homemade pies and chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes at the top of the menu. That kind of place. So, yes, I’m kind of an expert.

Start with the steak. In the meat department, walk right by the cube steak that’s $4 lb.  If you are going to pay $4 lb., buy top sirloin on sale—it’s even better.  No, wait for a sale on round steak. Where I live, it goes on special for $1.99 to $2.39 lb. every month or so. That’s all cube steak is—round steak that has been tenderized. London broil is a fancy name, but it’s still just round steak.

Here’s how to identify a round steak: a whole one is an oval, about a foot long, and there is a small round bone in the center. It will weigh around 2 lbs., more or less.

It’s a little-known secret, but any store with a fresh meat department that has a meat cutter behind the counter-or hiding in the back room-will perform all kinds of services for you for free. A few weeks ago, I told you about asking to have a frozen turkey cut in half.  Well, if you buy a round steak, you can ask them to tenderize it for you, too. So, ring the bell and ask. You want them to give it two passes through the machine.

Breading meat can be messy, but it’s easy and cheap.

Start by cutting the meat into serving size pieces. You can make them small, because they’re going to be a lot bigger after they’re breaded. Just make sure the men and boys get at least two pieces, because I can guarantee they’ll go back for seconds.

First, make a bowl of egg wash. It is simply a beaten egg mixed with ½ to 1 cup of water. I usually put it in a pie pan. Then, spread out two sheets of waxed paper—I usually use a cereal box liner and cut it in half. Put flour on one sheet and dry bread crumbs or cracker crumbs on the other.

Dredge a piece of meat in the flour and shake off the excess flour. Set it aside. Do this to all of the remaining pieces. Then, wash the flour paste off your hands, and dip each piece in egg wash and roll it in bread crumbs, again shaking off the excess. Set aside.

I’ll interrupt here to explain why you set aside the meat after you floured it. You probably discovered your hands were covered in sticky goo from the flour. You’re just going to make a bigger mess if you dip the steak in the egg and crumbs at this point. Wash your hands first, then continue.

Preheat a heavy skillet over MEDIUM heat.  An electric skillet set at 325 degrees works well, too.  Then, add oil to the pan first, followed by butter or stick margarine.  *Don’t put in the butter first, or it will scorch!  Arrange the steaks in the pan. Fry until just past golden brown on one side, then flip them. Add a little more oil and butter if you need to. Salt and pepper the cooked side. Continue frying until the second side is done. Remove to a serving platter.

If you weren’t able to get all of your steaks in the pan and need to fry a second round, put the platter of cooked steaks in the oven on warm, then repeat the process. Because they’re so thin, they only take a few minutes to cook.

I’m assuming you started boiling potatoes before you started frying the steaks. Drain the potatoes and mash them.  Get the big lug to do it. :)  You can put them in the oven to keep them warm, too.

Now it’s time to make country gravy to go over the steak and mashed potatoes.  Awhile back I taught you how to make white sauce and told you that it’s exactly the same method for making gravy.  Let’s review it.

Add a little butter to the drippings in the bottom of the pan. You want about 2 tablespoons of fat. Add about the same amount of flour and stir to make a roux. Then pour in 1½ to 2 cups of milk and stir well. Continue stirring and cooking until the gravy is the right consistency. If it’s too thick-pudding gravy-, thin it with milk.  If it’s too thin, continue cooking until the milk is reduced and the gravy is the right consistency.

Now, here’s a trick for better-tasting gravy. Add a chicken bouillon cube or, if you have it, about ½ teaspoon of chicken base that comes in a jar. Salt and pepper to taste AFTER you add the bouillon.

That’s it! It almost takes more time to read it than to just DO it!

When my son went out on his own, he had me show him how to make chicken fried steaks and country gravy. Now he invites friends over and impresses them with his “culinary skill,” LOL. Seriously, he has a couple of friends who have moved out of the area, and when he goes to visit, they have him cook chicken fried steak for dinner.

You can bread other foods exactly the same way. Oysters may not be your thing – they aren’t mine, either – but my husband loves them. When oysters were on special around Thanksgiving - people actually put them in stuffing, can you believe that?,-I bought a jar and breaded and fried them for my husband. I also use this technique for eggplant and some Italian dishes. I think this is how you fry okra…but since I don’t eat okra, I can’t be sure.

Now, 3 words about bread crumbs: Don’t buy ‘em! Make your own–it’s simple and it’s FREE. It’s how I use up the heels of bread. Let them dry, break into pieces, and make crumbs in your blender. Bread crumbs will keep for months on the shelf if stored in a covered container.

Sometimes I buy round steak when it’s cheap, have it tenderized, and cut it into serving size pieces. Then I wrap them individually in plastic wrap, freeze them, and transfer to a big zippy bag. If you don’t need to cook a whole boatload at once, it’s easy to take out just what you need and thaw it for chicken fried steaks.”

~Maxine

*Mother Connie here:  Maxine, it’s good we don’t have your home address because we are now hungry and ready to storm your house and demand dinner!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Users of Angel Food, EBT cards for SNAP or WIC, food commodities or food pantries can all utilize the lesson you taught us today, Maxine.  Those who have not mastered culinary arts yet can certainly plan to put these instructions into practice with no sweat.  People who just want to make the most of their grocery budgets will leap to this, as well.

Please, boys and girls, feel free to comment about Maxine’s chicken fried steak on this blog.  You are also welcome to send a message to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com and make our day, too!

Our sponsors love having you visit them…if you do that, be sure to tell them Mother Connie sent you!  And if you have not submitted your name and email for our infrequent messages and series of cooking tips, we hope you will do that today!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  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.