Posts Tagged ‘cooking with potatoes’

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Humble Potatoes

April 17th, 2015

Pardon our lack of visual delights.  It’s complicated.  *SIGH…

There is an organization in our small rural town dedicated to helping people and changing lives.  It is South East Nebraska Community Action–or SENCA, for short.  One of the programs sponsored by SENCA is an annual Woman of Distinction event, honoring the amazing women of Johnson County, Nebraska.

It is costly to present this affair so to raise funds to defray the costs a Potato Bake was put on so the public could make a freewill offering, have a great meal, and have a really good time.

The SENCA office location was host for the evening.  Their Advisory Board, made up of 7 people in the community who are just average folks in the community did the planning, cooking, serving and of course, clean up.

They baked a LOT of potatoes; they set out an array of toppings that were mouth watering and pretty.  The offerings included butter, sour cream, grated cheese, broccoli, creamed corn, bacon bits, chopped ham and well seasoned chunks of chicken.  Beverages were iced tea and water.

SIDEBAR: Other items were considered but to minimize cost these were omitted:  onions, chives, chili, salsa, red/green peppers, chopped lettuce and olives.  END SIDEBAR.

The plates were colored to match SENCA‘s theme colors: red and blue; the flatware was delivered to their door by one of the Advisory Board members who happens to be a minister.  The kitchen at his church was missing all its flatware that evening! (Every piece is in its proper home this morning!)

The potatoes that did not get consumed were toted to a sister agency in a nearby town.  The leftover veg was stowed in the SENCA fridge and some of the meat went into the freezer for use by the SENCA cook.  There was not a shred of  waste!

I mention all this because it got me thinking how easy it is to make up fixin’s for baked potatoes for a hungry family.  The cook might spend an evening or a day off afternoon chopping whatever veggies the family favors and keep them in the fridge til they are needed.  Well scrubbed potatoes will cook nicely in the crock pot til it’s time for the evening meal.  Various toppings could be set out for each diner to decorate his potato to his own liking and no one would be put upon after a tiring day of work. And the food budget would still be intact!

SIDEBAR: IF you have a dishwasher, loading potatoes into it is a slick and simple way to get a lot of taters clean in a hurry!  That’s how the SENCA bunch pre-cooked theirs!  When those taters came out of the dishwasher they were checked for spots, oiled and placed on baking sheets to slide into the ovens! END SIDEBAR.

Users of EBT cards from WIC or SNAP might find this idea useful, if not new.  If you or someone you know uses food from food commodities or a food pantry, this is just one more way to make life a wee bit easier.  Maybe you have things from a food drop or church food pantry…dressing up the humble potato is a wonderful way to add fiber, nutrition, flavor and oomph to what might otherwise be a boring tater!

As you who are Members of this humble Cooking Club know, we dedicate  this piece of cyberspace to those who depend on public assistance for their food budgets.  We intend for it to be a helpful asset.  We also hope you will share your stories and experiences with us.  If you like, you may write to us at  WE LOVE HEARING FROM OUR MEMBERS!

We also hope you are getting benefit from the little series of cooking tips we send along to new members.

Connie Baum 

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


Food Stamps Cooking Club: Turban Squash Soup

October 31st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connie Baum

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

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Roast Chicken

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

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


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

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

Mother Connie’s Version of Lemony Roast Chicken

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

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

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

10 cloves thinly sliced garlic  *Garlic powder had to do

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

Salt and pepper to taste

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

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

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

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

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

This will serve 4 people.

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

Connie Baum

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

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:  !  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!”


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


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


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


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!



  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


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!


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.


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.