Posts Tagged ‘onions’

Food Stamps Cooking: Noodling…

February 10th, 2016

2015-01-08 1st Phone 001

The Club House has been a hub of excitement and activity!  We’ve been noodling around!  grin/giggle

Our church participates in the annual Lenten Luncheon series every year.  The first year we moved into this community the ladies’ group chose to make Sloppy Joes for the meal they prepared.  When beef prices skyrocketed and buns became too rich for our blood, the menu was changed to chicken and noodles.

Every year, Delilah, bless her heart, would purchase and boil up chicken breasts, cook up all the noodles and package everything into plastic bags.  On the day we served, all the church ladies would descend on the local Baptist Center’s kitchen and heat everything to perfection, lay out a collection of salads and host the ‘party…’

Delilah left us not so long ago so The Normanator and I took up the mantle.  We planned to buy the meat a little at a time so as not to assault our budget.  You can imagine our delight and surprise when we answered the door one evening to find that a Good Samaritan was bringing us FORTY POUNDS (40#) of chicken thighs, compliments of his generous heart.

We stashed the gift in our freezer until last week, when we thawed the chicken and began to season and roast it.  We filled a 7 quart roaster, a 4 quart roaster and a 3 quart roaster.  Each layer was carefully seasoned with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning and roasted in the oven for hours on end.  The house smelled of Thanksgiving and we thanked Delilah and our benefactor.  When everything was cooked and cooled the meat was taken off the bones and packaged into one quart plastic bags. They were packed into the freezer one more time!

In Delilah’s absence and to honor her memory, The Normanator and I took on the challenge of cooking all those noodles.  Someone shopped at Sam’s Club and brought us three great ginormous bags of dry noodles.  We giggled at the industrial size of them.  And then we boiled water, broth  and more of both to get them cooked!  It was a marathon!

Prior to serving the meal, we’ll thaw the meat, add it to the noodles, along with more broth and a big bag of frozen peas. There will also be some sauteed onion and celery pieces.   The offering will fill a large roaster with amazing flavor, color and texture. It will smell divine!  This will provide the main dish and there will be an array of salads to accompany it.  Our ladies are amazing cooks and they will do us proud!

It was a good call, changing the menu.  Even in quantity it is an easy meal to prepare and carry to the venue.  It is simple and filling, yet nourishing.  Many of the people who will share this meal are elderly.  Meat can difficult for them to chew, that age group does not want large portions and it is a menu that creates winners all the way around.  We will leave it to the ministerial association to nourish our souls.

People who depend on Public Assistance for their food dollars must rethink their menus because of costs or availability…if you hold an EBT card for WIC or SNAP you know this all too well.  If you use food commodities you are probably clever at adapting meals using what’s on hand.  Stretching food dollars and food budgets is no easy feat, especially if you are using Public Assistance. *That’s why this blog came into being.  We want to help any way we can.  We love hearing from our Members at

Connie Baum



Food Stamps Cooking: BEAN SOUP!

November 2nd, 2015


Ham broth and bits of ham from the freezer made for a yummy soup!

The Normanator and I are making every effort to prepare our meals by using food we’ve stashed in the freezer in order to make room for the piggy we’ve ordered from Norm’s cousin.  This piggy has been feasting on vegetables and watermelons and such like all summer; it should provide us with wonderful protein.

We invited a dear friend to join us so I wanted to present LOTS of nutrition for her lunch time pleasure!

To make this soup I placed the chunk of frozen ham broth into a 3 quart saucepan and heated it through thoroughly.  While it was parked on the back burner, the front burner held a skillet filled with onions, carrots, celery happy to be sauteed.  It begged for salt, pepper and a quick shake of onion powder.  By the way, it SMELLED divine.  I opened a can of white beans and placed the whole works, juice and all, into the ham broth.

SIDEBAR:  Canned beans in this house is convenience food.  While it may be ideal to use dry beans that have been soaked, on this occasion I chose to raid the pantry.  Canned beans are often found in bundles of food from food pantries or food drops, so users of SNAP or WIC which are paid for by EBT cards can also catch a break with canned beans.  END SIDEBAR.

The flavors married nicely as the sauteed veg were poured into the “hot tub” of broth with ham bits.  While they mingled I made a dessert that won the hearts of the people at our table.

I was so excited to make this dessert that I forgot to take a picture!  my bad…

Three apples were peeled and placed into a bowl of salted water so the flesh did not turn brown.  One by one, they were cored and sliced and placed into a heavy skillet along with a pat of butter and a splash of coconut oil.  I stirred them often, coating each slice with the oil/butter combo.  When they began to soften I sprinkled everything with cinnamon and a bit of sugar.  *My mom used to use brown sugar.  Either would do nicely.  Before they finished cooking I added a few drops of water and a handful of raisins.

No one spoke during the meal.  All we heard from the three of us were slurps of soup and murmurs of “Mmmm!”

The cost of this soup was nearly nil.  Two carrots, one small onion, 2 ribs of celery and broth with ham bits from the freezer kept the ledger in the black.  The apples were bought in bulk so we think they were about 15 cents apiece.

Now I’m dreaming of pork chops with apple slices…grin/giggle

Our mail was wonderful this morning…one of our precious members is doing a great service in her part of the world and she shared her story.  I will share that message with you SOON.

Are you relieved that we are not hounding you to BUY something? Nothing to buy here…we only share ideas that might help you to s t r e t c h your food dollars.

Please remember that you are loved and appreciated.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there might be links on this page. Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated. Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline. Always do business with those you trust implicitly. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind. If you are reading this outside of the USA, you may be leaving cookies behind.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Because of scheduling issues, the Cooking Class planned for November 6 in Tecumseh, NE has been set instead for Friday, November 13th.  This class is still offered at no charge but it is important for you to save your place at the table by calling  402 335 2134. Ask for Terri.

Food Stamps Cooking Club: Beef ‘n Barley Soup

March 5th, 2015


What could be more satisfying on a brisk March day than a serving of

Beef and Barley soup?

One cup of barley went into a cold skillet as this soup was “born”…I toasted it gently over a medium-low heat, stirring to make sure it did not brown too quickly.  This process took about 5 minutes and the elegant aroma of toasting barley made for time well spent!

Next came a box of chicken broth.

SIDEBAR:  Beef broth would have been preferable but you know that we use what we have because the Kitchen Kops do not CARE!  END SIDEBAR.

There was a container of beef I had browned for another meal in the freezer.  It was a perfect item to use for this soup!  The block of beef, still frozen, went into the broth, as did the toasted barley.

While the heat thawed the meat and warmed the broth I chopped up an onion and 3 or 4 ribs of celery, using a rough chop.  Those went into a bit of oil in my trusty cast iron skillet for a quick saute`…at this point the kitchen began to smell divine.

As lunchtime neared and the stirring and aroma were making the household eager for the meal to be served, I decided to add a bit of color.  *The color was completely optional.  If you do not have ‘gravy booster’ liquid in your pantry, do not worry your head about it.

Two small spoonfuls of the liquid made for a beefy looking broth.  Then I made an executive decision:  the broth was too thin.  With a bit of cold water and about 3 teaspoons of corn starch mixed together, I added the thickener to the soup and the new consistency pleased me no end!

I let it simmer on a very low heat while I put a meat patty into a hot skillet.  I love the sizzle that happens when cold beef hits a hot surface!

SIDEBAR: The meat in the patty was left from the day I made stuffed red peppers.  As I mentioned in a recent Cooking Class, a meat loaf mixture can be made and used for not only meat loaf, but for meat balls, meat patties and stuffed peppers.  Saves time, gives the cook options and tastes divine!  END SIDEBAR.

When the meat was sufficiently browned on one side, I flipped it to cook the other side.  While it took care of business on its own, I spread mayo on brown bread and added some crisp lettuce leaves to make sandwiches as companions to the soup.

A Quality Assurance taste test reminded me that thyme would add a bit of zip so I sprinkled ever so little into the soup and gave it one last stir.

As you can see by the photo above, the soup looked quite good enough to eat!  Sorry; I forgot to photograph the sandwiches, which were wondermous, btw.  Our house guest did not know they were sammies; she called them by their English name:  “butties”.  She pronounces that “buh ti’  as with a short ‘i’.  We giggled our way through lunch, as you might imagine.

If you have barley in your pantry, you could make it into a hearty soup all on its own, without meat.  I thin you will find it to be filling, nutritious and inexpensive.  Paired with sandwiches or salad or fruit you have a simple meal that is easy to prepare, quick to fix, and very budget friendly.

We would be remiss if we did not welcome the New Members to the Club!  It is so gratifying to know that this little corner of the web is able to touch peoples’ lives in ways they find meaningful and helpful.  Thank you so much for putting your toes under our table in a virtual manner!

If you are a user of an EBT card from SNAP or WIC, if you receive food commodities or have things from a food pantry, we have dedicated our work to YOU.  Maybe you just like to nurse your nickels for sport…perhaps you are not using public assistance but are simply skint and are on the lookout for ways to be frugal in the kitchen.  We hope we are meeting and exceeding your expectations.

We love mail-hint/hint-you are welcome to send mail to:

To all our members, we remind you that you are dearly loved and cared about.

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.

Roadside Stands Help Food Stamps Cooking Club

September 6th, 2013
Looky what WE found at a roadside stand in North Central Nebraska!

Looky what WE found at a roadside stand in North Central Nebraska!

It’s been a busy week here in the Club House–we have hosted a Book Lovers Club meeting; we have had surprise visitors, which we always enjoy, and on Thursday we took the day to travel to Central Nebraska on business.  We did toss in some pleasure, too:

We had a ginormous pizza loaded with sauerkraut, lots of meat and cheese and spices that tickled our taste buds.  Only one slice was plenty for a meal!  WOW.  This was served at a tavern in the quaint and charming town of Dannebrog, Nebraska.

We had a ginormous pizza loaded with sauerkraut, lots of meat and cheese and spices that tickled our taste buds. Only one slice was plenty for a meal! WOW. This was served at a tavern in the quaint and charming town of Dannebrog, Nebraska.

Visiting the roadside stands this time of year is wonderful!  We picked out a watermelon, a red pepper the size of my head, and some squashes: a turban squash and a butternut squash.  Everything looked so tempting and delish!  There was a wide variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, melons, onions, squashes, and the workers all talked about the crops that are still being harvested.

The sight of new vineyards popping up along the landscape was a treat for our eyes, too.  We visited a winery but they were so busy harvesting the grapes they were not available for tastings or serving meals.  We’ll just have to make another road trip at a later date! 😉

Soon Mother Connie will be posting a recipe for a casserole featuring spaghetti squash.  It is sooo mouth watering in a photo I saw that I cannot wait to make one and show all of you.  The spaghetti squash will be ready to pick very soon;  you WILL be kept in the loop!

The squash featured in the above photo make luscious soups for fall.  The recipe for squash soup has been featured here before but when a new batch of soup comes out of the Club House Kitchen, you guys will be the very first to know!

For those of you who have recently become Members of our merry band of foodies, we welcome you.  We are happy to help anyone but especially we like to focus on those who use public assistance for their food budgets.

Those who use EBT cards for WIC or SNAP and those who depend on  food commodities, food pantries, food banks, and the generosity of gardeners have told us repeatedly that the help we offer is really helpful and for that we are grateful.  We hold no judgments and we are not out to sell you stuff!  We hear, also, from people who simply like the challenge of wrestling with the food dollars to see how far those dollars might  S  T  R  E  T  C  H !  We are painfully aware of how you are all living on a dime and we love you madly.

Your comments mean the world to us.  Thanks for stopping by.  We are working diligently on plans for the Cooking Class; you are in that loop, too!  We hope it will be helpful for you in keeping your food costs to a minimum!

Connie Baum

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


Cucumbers and Food Stamps Cooking Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summery Cucumber Side Salad

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

2 medium tomatoes, washed, peeled, chopped

1 small onion, peeled and diced

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

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

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

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

Plans are in the works for an offline cooking class…stay tuned!  And do remember you are loved and appreciated!

Connie Baum

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



Food Stamps Cooking Club: After the Party…

November 22nd, 2010

After a big dinner, there'll be time for coffee and relaxation. Then it's on to the leftovers!

When the Thanksgiving feast has satisfied your appetite and you are so full you think you’ll never be hungry again-ever-the last thing on your mind is the next meal!

But we all know those next meals come around with precision and the remains of our feast can be the beginning of wonderful new and fresh culinary offerings.

Take, for instance, Maxine’s turkey club sammies and her potato salad.  She mentioned those in yesterday’s post; I twisted her arm a bit to coax a recipe from her.  My personal belief is that we all make potato salad the way our mothers did.

SIDEBAR:  Maxine put her recipe in as a comment but I added it here, just in case you overlooked it in the comments section. END SIDEBAR.

Here is how Maxine does Tater Salad:

Is it even possible to make a little bit of potato salad???????

***Mother Connie here:  Not in my world!

You probably all know this trick, but it came to me late in life, LOL. Instead of slicing/chopping the hard-boiled eggs, mash them in the bottom of the bowl. You can use a fork or a pastry blender, or ???  Makes the salad taste lots better!! Also, I use both sweet and dill pickles in my potato salad.

Boiled potatoes
Mashed hard boiled eggs
Green onions, including some of the tops
Chopped celery
Chopped dill pickle
Chopped sweet pickle
A little finely chopped red or green bell pepper, if I have any
A slosh of sweet pickle brine – good flavor and reduces amount of mayo
Mayonnaise – I use lite
Dab of prepared mustard
Dried dill weed
My daughter likes black olives, too, but I normally don’t bother.

Maxine, the idea of using a pastry blender to chop the eggs is pure genius!  Thanks for that tip AND the recipe!

We have another tip from  Club Member, Loris.  We thank her for sharing this idea:

‘For anyone who is having trouble chopping onions without the crying, here’s an incredibly simple tip – put them in the fridge first, then chop them straight away after taking them out! No more tears!’


Loris also sent along a list of soup recipes.  If you are interested to have that info, please shoot an email to

Are you using goods from a food pantry or Farmers Market?  Do you have food commodities?  How about SNAP or WIC – do you have an EBT card for either of those?  Do you have a bundle from Angel Food Ministries? It could be such a thing that you are by nature a frugal person, careful as can be with your food budget.  In any case, this little blog was designed with YOU in mind.  We love hearing from you about what goes on in YOUR kitchen and around YOUR table, so please feel free to share your stories.  This is YOUR blog as much as anybody’s.

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.

Garden Variety Food?

July 22nd, 2009

Yesterday was an embarrassment of riches at our house.  Thank goodness our food budget is not dependent on food pantries, food commodities or SNAP.  We have not procured coupons for the Farmers’ Markets, either.  Angel Food Ministries, while in our area, is not providing this family with something to eat.  BUT OUR GARDEN IS!

The Normanator brought in a fine array of beans, beets, peas, zucchini, potatoes, corn and onions and we proceeded to feast like royalty!  And the tomatoes are big, fat, red and juicy.  They just INVITE me to the garden with a salt shaker in hand for snacking!  They really ARE glorious.

The joy of having garden goods is not limited to flavor.  Oh, no.  There is power in creating a strong healthy body that can come ONLY from nutrition.  Phytonutrients, anti-oxidants, enzymes–all the goodness inherent in real, whole food just cannot be duplicated in a lab or processing facility!  We truly ARE what we eat and what is assimilated.  When we eat well and wisely we can be our best selves and raise ourselves to a higher standard of living and being.

Putting wholesome foods on our dinner tables need not be an extravagant expense.  It need not strain your brain, either.  Simple foods are easily combined to make interesting, inviting plates that beckon even to little children.

I looked at a plateful of brightly colored cooked beets and thought, “If only I had some skewers, I could make Beet Lollipops.”  So skewers found their way to my shopping list!  There are still a few beets left to pull!

Ah…  Life is sweet!

Please know that we deeply appreciate your comments on this blog and your messages to  We are THRILLED when you send your recipes and ideas.

We are preparing for our September Cooking Class.  This class is available at no charge to those who are using SNAP, or any other food assistance program BUT YOU MUST RSVP  by September 1 by email to in order to be assured a spot for the class.  Just put “SAVE ME A SPOT” in your subject line.

Thanks to those of you who have popped by Food Stamps Cooking Club to get your name on our list!  We send little tidbits out from time to time and we want everyone to feel included.

Our partners have indicated you are stopping at their “shops” as well.  We appreciate that, as do our partners!

Connie Baum